Jan 30, 2011

Valentine's vignette

I don't think I've ever decorated for Valentine's Day -- not because of any prejudice against the holiday, but I was just never inspired (I guess I was too busy eating those little candy hearts!). Well, that changed when I saw the adorable Valentine's-inspired decorations at Thifty Decor Chick, House of Smiths and Decorchick! I spotted those cute vases at Target that Emily at Decorchick! used on her mantle, and, well, they just jumped into my basket! And the rest just developed from there.

I don't have a mantle, but two floating shelves that since Christmas have been a little ignored. I had so much fun turning them from a forgotten feature into a romance-themed vignette.


On the smaller shelf, those aforementioned vases from the Target dollar spot, a steal at $2.50. I tore apart a Christmas pick and stuck the pieces into the vases. Behind the vases, a glittery, puffy LOVE, also at the Target dollar spot for $1 (I love that dollar spot!). I glued it onto pretty scrapbooking paper that I taped to a floating frame backing. 

On the top shelf,  I put a lovey-dovey picture of the hubs in a love-and-hearts frame I already had, and wrapped a square glass votive holder in leftover Christmas ribbon. 

On the other end of the shelf, I printed out a sweet quote about love and glued it to some more scrapbooking paper, and decorated it with ribbon and pink metallic stickers. 

I saved my favorite part for last -- a tissue-paper flower topiary. 

I made a bunch of tissue paper flowers for our wedding last summer that we never even used, but since I'm a pack rat, I held onto them -- and I'm glad I did, since I already used a couple on a Christmas tinsel wreath I made. (Get Martha's paper flower directions here). 

It took a bit of finagling, but I managed to get six of those flowers into a mostly round ball, then I held them all together with some floral wire and hot glue. For the stem, I glued together four wooden skewers and wrapped them in white ribbon. I filled the vase with river rocks to get it to stand up straight.

Isn't it super adorable? 

Let's take one last look.

Total cost for the project: $3.50. Now, who doesn't love that?

I'm linking up at Beth's Valentine's mantel party at The Stories of A to Z. Stop by and feel like love :)

Jan 27, 2011

DIY canister labels

As a wedding present, we received this set of adorable black canisters with little spoons from Bed Bath and Beyond. They were so cute we wanted to display them on the counter, but there was no good way to figure out what canister was holding what.

I loved the cute vinyl labels Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick made for her glass cereal containers, but since mine were black, I wanted something that would stand out. And luckily, I had plenty of scrapbooking paper and supplies (thanks, Sis!).

I picked out a few scraps of paper that coordinated with the green-gray walls in our kitchen and cut them into rectangles using edging scissors. Then, I did the same with off-white cardstock, making each piece a little smaller than the patterned paper. I used stamps and black ink to write the labels for our baking supplies.

But how to affix them? I didn't want to stick them directly onto the canisters, in case we decided to use them for something else. So I used a little ribbon, made a loop and glued the loop to the label, positioning it so the tails of the ribbon would peep out underneath the label just a little bit.

The loop slips easily over the latch of each canister, making it easy to swap labels as necessary. I was worried the labels would get in the way, but they really don't. I like the homemade look of the stamped letters.

Here's where they sit on the kitchen counter. I like having the baking supplies readily available. Plus, I think they're super cute!

There are also a bunch of smaller ones that we keep in the cupboard. We don't want to be overrun with canisters. :) 

An easy and free solution to trying to remember what size canister held what ingredient. What have you been DIYing lately?

Jan 23, 2011

Cute and meaningful decor, on the cheap

For Christmas, my parents gave me the Dolce folding bookcase from Target, which I'd been coveting and nearly bought twice (the second time, my mom, who had already bought it, talked me out of it without even making me suspicious! She's good.). 

I liked its modern look, its price and that it's made of real hardwood, with veneer on top. Not all Target/big box furniture is, and I'm always wary to spend big bucks (even little bucks!) on MDF furniture that might not last. Once the hubs put it together, the fun part began -- decorating!

Before buying our house, my husband and I did a great thing -- we paid off all our credit card debt (it wasn't a lot, but it still hangs over your head). Of course, our goal being new homeowners is to only spend money we have and avoid the plastic, which means having lots of willpower when it comes to buying things to fill the house.

So, instead of real shopping, I shopped my house and the boxes of stuff we still have packed to find cute and meaningful things to put on the bookcase's four shelves.

First up -- the top shelf. This is our wedding album, and the ceramic birds that topped our wedding cake. We had a birds motif at the wedding, plus I wanted something that would look just as cute decorating our future house, instead of sitting in a box forever. And they do!

And three glass bottles I got for $6 total from the local flea market. My plan is to fill them with sand from various beaches we've been to -- although they are pretty cute empty.

On the second shelf is a framed photo from our honeymoon in Aruba, plus a couple pieces of coral I snuck through customs, and a tropical-colored votive holder (I think also from Target?).

I thought I'd repaint the picture frame, but the gold is kind of growing on me...

On the right are old engineering books that belonged to the hubs' great grandfather. And a cool rock I found. :)
The third shelf has more old books and some souvenirs.

I bought this in -- where else? -- Paris.

Some purchased sea glass and a cute tray.

And on the bottom shelf, we have a cute seagrass basket from Home Goods with some antique canning jars (from the same flea market) filled with shells collected by me or family members (my mom and my sister know how much I love shells, so they collect them as gifts for me when they travel to beaches -- aren't they sweet?).

The jars are leftovers from our wedding. I bought more than 70 of them to use for our centerpieces for less than a dollar each, and they made beautiful vases and candle holders.

I sold most of them to another bride, but saved a few for myself.

(Yes, that's a real lobster claw, salvaged from a delicious meal and dried out in the sun. It's kind of gross, now that I'm thinking about it. Imagine eating a chicken wing and saving the bone, then sticking it on a shelf and calling it decor...?!).

And here it is all together in the living room!

(The shelves above are a work in progress, so please excuse.)

They kind of have an overall beach-y, antique-y vibe, which I like. The only thing I bought new for these shelves was the gold frame, and it was on clearance at Target for less than $4. Love it!

What I love more than spending less than $4 to fill the whole bookcase was how much meaning each item on there holds for both of us. 

(Since taking these photos, the shelf got a new addition. The hubs was so happy I used his great-grandfather's engineering books for decorating that he busted out an antique voltage reader -- meter? -- and fit it in. It's a little industrial-looking, but since I usually call all the shots when it comes to decorating, I decided to reward his initiative by leaving it. It's all about compromise!).

What are your favorite ways to decorate on the cheap?

Jan 21, 2011

Snow day

It's winter in Maine, so snow is no surprise. But we've been getting more than usual this year, it seems. Last week, a blizzard left us 17 inches to play in (and then shovel). 

Quite a blizzard!

Our shed is taking the brunt.

Today, we got another 10 inches or so -- and it was our second storm of the week! The snow piles on the deck are nearly out of control.

Part of that is the snow I shoveled away from the grill, but it probably accurately shows how much snow we've gotten lately, since some of it has melted in between storms. Holy cow!

At least it's pretty to look at, if not fun to clean up. :)

How is everyone else dealing with the snow, if you're getting it?

Jan 20, 2011


On Oct. 29, 2010, my husband and I became the proud parents of a six-year-old home in semi-rural Maine. It’s very well-behaved, but like any youngster it can be temperamental from time to time, and has lots of growing up to do. We’re very excited to raise this house and mold it into our first home. 

We had to do some growing up to get here. Last year, after four years of dating, we got married. 

We also made the tough choice to move out of our apartment and in with my parents for nine months, so we could save up a nice down payment. During those nine months, we planned and saved and prepared. We took a class on how to be good house parents, and we read books to make sure we were ready for the big day. We were nervous and excited and hopeful. When we finally walked through the door, we knew one thing: This house was meant to be ours.

We know being first-time homeowners won’t be easy. There’s a lot to learn and projects to tackle, but we’re ready for the challenge. I’ll be chronicling our adventures as we paint, decorate, DIY and learn what it takes to build a great marriage and a great home. And we’ll be doing it all in our great home state of Maine. I hope you’ll stick around.

Click the tabs above to learn more about me and our home, and get in touch. Want to learn more about the journey that got us here? Check out my old blog. I can’t wait to make connections with all of you and share ideas on how to raise the perfect home.