Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Rustic Chic Baby Shower Decor

Last month I had the honor of hosting my sister-in-laws baby shower!  You may have seen several teaser shots on Instagram because I started planning it months in advance.  #compulsiveoverplanner

The guest list was relatively small and my 'vision' for the shower was going to most easily created if I could start putting things together over the course of a few weeks.  So the decision to host the shower at our house was made relatively quickly!  Thankfully, we have the extra space and we borrowed the tables and chairs from Matt's office.

Jennifer and I spent several hours on the phone talking about what she didn't want for the shower (hot pink, lambs or shower games) and things she did (ice cream, rustic/vintage and not too much of a fuss... Ya, that didn't happen!).  Armed with that knowledge and what I had in my party planning/catering stash, I settled on  subtle feminine touches with lots of burlap, barn wood and pastels.  Rustic Chic, if you will!

The first thing I started obsessing over on was the invitation and book request cards!  Thank goodness for free graphics and PicMonkey.

Once I was satisfied with the invites, all my attention was turned towards decorations!  Using some leftover vintage fabric, I sewed napkins.

I made pink tulle pom poms, burlap pennants and paper fans to hang as the backdrop for the food table.  The straps of fabric I tied in little bows around jute.  The white curtains?  Plastic tablecloths hung with fishing line!  Thank you, Husband!  Matt also cut and built the barnwood 'canvas' that I painted to say "You're our greatest adventure!!". 

I also came across some really cute clothespins at TJ Maxx and figured out a way to incorporate them as well with some paper doilies!

All of the linens were freebie fabric that I was given by a friend and the burlap runners were leftovers from our wedding decorations!  I don't save everything, but what I do I know I'll use again.

For the table decorations, I borrowed wood slices to set burlap wrapped cans, wine bottles wrapped in jute and old hinge topped Ball jars.

By the grace of God, I was able to track down peonies and force bloom them just in time for the shower!  The pops of pink and green from the store bought flowers coordinated nicely with the pink center in the peony!


Let's talk table service, shall we?  I decided early on that I wanted to use 'real' plates, so I hit up The Dollar Tree for plates and bowls for a $1.00 each.  Since the shower, we retired our existing plateware and are using these!  I pretty much dig 'em. 


When the new purple Ball Heritage Collection came out late this winter, I had already decided that I needed a pack.  You know, just because.  The shower gave me a perfect excuse to buy three boxes!  I tied some jute in a bow around the neck and popped in a paper straw.  Done!  And cute to boot.

To finish off the tables, I used Marisa's amazing recipes for Blueberry Butter and Orange Rhubarb Butter to give everyone as a favor for attending.  After scouring Pinterest high and low, I found the perfect printable to accessorize each little jar!

I {big puffy heart} love how it all turned out!  More importantly, Jennifer loved it too!!!

A post fully dedicated to food and drink will be next!  Come back, you'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Make This: Stenciled Burlap Placemats

When I was showboating with all the pictures of the peonies that I force bloomed, did anyone notice the burlap placemats on the dining room table? 

Cute, eh?  Say they're cute.

It probably safe to say that everyone knows that I'm a big fan of burlap!  Things like that happen when you buy a bolt of 100 yards, yes... one hundred, of it for your wedding and are still coming up with ways to use it almost five years later. 

I had originally pinned to my burlap board a similar tutorial, but when it came down to it I made some modifications based on what I had on hand.  The burlap that I have is actually landscaping burlap, not the burlap you'd get at Hobby Lobby or Michael's, which is why I modified the original tutorial.  Keep reading to see how I made mine!

Stenciled Burlap Placemats

Items Needed:
Permanent Marker

Decide what you want your stencil to be.  Fire up your computer and print off those puppies.  I decided to do words, but a monogram would be cute too!  Use all caps or all lowercase, let your imagination run wild!

Cut your burlap to size.  Mine are 19"x14".  This is a super handy tip for cutting burlap and making sure you have a straight cut!

Create fray on each placemat.  I wanted to have a "frame" of frayed threads around each one.  To achieve this I pulled 4 strands out around each side.

Place the words/monogram/what-have-you underneath the burlap and use a permanent marker to copy the word from the paper to the burlap.  Remember, my burlap is landscaping burlap.  It has a really loose weave and is really easy to see through to the words below.  Just something to be aware of as you're crafting! 

Dress your table with your new placemats!

Is anyone else a sucker for burlap or is it just me? 

Friday, May 29, 2015

5 Tips for Running with your Dog

Hey folks, Haddie here!  For the last few months, Bella, Myla and I have been going out in the mornings and running to get our exercise.  Before I came to live with Matt and Myla, I didn't get to do anything like that!  Initially, I was a little anxious about the whole idea, but now I LOVE to go!  In the mornings, I stalk Myla to be sure she's not leaving without me...

Running with dogs.

One day last week, Bella and I got to talking and we came up with five tips that will help all pet owners who want to, but don't regularly run with their dogs! 

Tips for running with your dog.

One: Run facing oncoming traffic with your dog on your left side.
We run down a country road that typically doesn't have a lot of cars, but it's important for you and us to run against traffic.  This way, you see the cars coming at us and are on the opposite side of the road if a car is coming from the other direction.  Myla is also really a stickler about Bella and I being on her left side.  I think she would throw herself in front of a car rather than risk us getting hurt!

Two: For our safety and yours, no earbuds or headphones.
When the three of us go running Myla never listens to music!  Ever.  This way she can hear if a car, or even a tractor, is coming up behind us long before we ever see it!

Running with your dog.

Three: Build our stamina.
Please, please don't take off with us and run for miles and miles if we aren't use to it.  Bella was use to running with Myla (she's been going since she was a puppy), but I had to start with shorter distances.  Now that we've been at it for a while, I can hang with the two of them and our long runs are about 4 miles.

Four: A good leash.
The leashes that Myla has for us are called British-style slip leads.  You can buy the exact ones we use here!  Bella's is 'Camo' and mine is 'Purple Confetti'... You're not surprised, right?  Anyway, these leads are good for taking your dog running because they provide a gentle reminder to keep up (if we think it's necessary to stop and sniff) or slow down (if we see a rabbit) while we are out and about.

Five: Make it fun!
Usually just being out with Myla is enough 'fun' for us, but there are special days when we run to the creek and GET TO SWIM!  Initially, I wasn't even sure if I could swim?  Myla was skeptical too because I heard her say to Matt "I untied my shoes in case she sank like a rock and I had to go in after her!"  I'm not the water dog that Bella is, but we both take full advantage of our time by crashing through the tall grass and tackling each other to jumping off the bank and into the water!

Are you and your human running partners?  Do they insist that you follow any specific rules?

Linking up with Amanda, Christina and Karli.  

Monday, May 18, 2015

Force Blooming Peonies

For my sister-in-law's baby shower I knew that I wanted to have fresh flowers on the table and thought the timing would be just about right to use the pink peonies from our yard.  I was wrong. 

In the days leading up to the shower, I was diligently checking the blooms and about 3 days before I knew having my peonies wasn't going to be a reality.  So I started scouring the countryside looking for homes with blooming peonies and without risking being arrested for trespassing or vandalism or both, I knew I had to go another route!

My next thought was to issue a plea via facebook to see if anyone local had peonies that I could cut?  Initially, I was having no luck.  Everyone was in the same boat I was; their plants were loaded with blooms, but none had started to break open!  Then my friend Tracey posted a picture that gave me hope...

Thursday night I stopped at Tracey's and cut bunch of the most far along blooms with hopes of 'force blooming' them in time for the shower on Saturday!  And it totally worked!!

If you need peonies now, like I did, follow these steps to force bloom your flowers:

Cut blooms from your peony bush that have already "broken" or give to pressure when you pinch the bud between your fingers.  Be sure to cut, at a 45 degree angle, stems longer than you think you need!  

Check over all the buds, leaves and stems for critters that you don't want to bring inside your house.  Peonies are notorious for having lots of ants climbing in and around them.

Fill a vase full of very warm water and set aside.  

Run warm water in your sink and once it's pretty full you'll cut the stems, again at a 45 degree angle, under water using a pair of scissors or kitchen shears.

Place each flower in the vase of very warm water and set in a warm place.  The first night I set mine in Matt's bathroom.  Friday morning we were blessed with sun and warm temps so I put the vase outside on our porch.  Friday night they slept on top of the stove.

Change the water two or three times/day, because you want to keep them in warm-ish water, until they bloom!

Saturday morning I had six blooms open and ready to be put in the arrangements for the baby shower.  The exact number I needed for table decorations!  And this morning, they're still looking and smelling fantastic!