- Set a budget for each project and save money each week or month for that project. Try to pay for your projects with cash. Again, this will take patience, but beauty has a price and sometimes the hardest thing to part with is your time! It is rarely worth accumulating debt to get a look you want right now when you can get the look with a little more time/patience. Not only will you have a beautiful room or home, you will have the peace of mind that you are not putting yourself into financial ruin to do it.
- Curate inspiration. One of the best advice I got when I was getting ready to buy a home was to start collecting ideas that inspired me. Pinterest is a great place for this. (Check out my Pinterest profile: Lucyjohome.) You can also tear pages out of magazines, copy and paste pictures, collect fabric swatches and take samples that are available through the home improvement stores you walk through. Just like a vision board helps you create the life you dream of, a mood board helps you to make your home decor/design ideas a reality. [A mood board is a collection of images and products that will inspire your decorating/designing.] Take note of the homes you love to visit and the places you travel to that bring you joy. If you can’t get a picture, write a note about the area and what you remember the most about it. When it is time to actually buy your materials or commission work, you will know exactly what you want and that feels good!
- DIY projects are your best friend. There are so many DIY ninjas out there. Follow their blogs; try the projects they feature and create pieces for your home that you love. Some of my favorite projects have been creating floating book shelves for my children’s books, reupholstering a kid table and chairs, creating a headboard and framed state silhouettes for my front room. A lot of the project ideas I used came from the book Young House Love, and the others came from Pinterest posts that I saved. Investing in your home through your sweat can help you feel like you are making progress. Warning: Don’t get caught up in doing a ton of little, low-cost projects if you need to save your money for larger projects. Do you need a wreath when your kitchen tile is falling off? Make priorities based on your needs and not just on your wants. Also, carefully evaluate the cost of creating something yourself and the buying it new. There have been some DIY projects we opted not to do because it was less expensive, and less time-consuming to buy the item. Be wise with your time, money and energy.
- Remember that less funds does not mean less beauty. Scarcity is the mother of invention. Get creative by taking stock of what you already have and how it might be used in different ways. Could that old mirror be new again with a coat of paint? Does that old couch just need a new slip-cover? Do you have some fabric to cover those stained pillows? There may be projects to do in your home that you just haven’t thought about yet. See your stuff with fresh eyes. A book that really inspired me to make the most of my home was The Nesting Place. The author always emphasized “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.”
|Our gracious hostess and talented instructor, Rachelle, demonstrated for us.|
Yesterday was a really cloudy and overcast day. It certainly did not feel like spring. Thankfully I was able to play with flowers and hang with lovely ladies.
I am excited to share what I learned with you.
|This is my bouquet after I cut away the plastic. I am ready to arrange now. Notice my blue plant food packet and my rocks at the bottom of my vase.|
What to buy to make it work or what to have accessible:
1. Flowers: We used mixed bouquets from local grocery stores…Costco, Sam’s Club and Pick n Save. I spent $11 on a bouquet called “Spring Delight”. Mine was a bit too small, but there were plenty of affordable bouquets that could have worked well, and you could buy a small bouquet of filler flowers, greener or twigs too. For roses feel the base of the petals and if they are firm you know that it will last longer. It is okay if some of the guard petals on roses are a little wilted because you can pinch those off. Also check the health of all the petals and leaves of the flowers. Don’t get a bouquet that will not last and if it is not looking good, it should be discounted.
2. Vase: The ones with a neck at the top are best so that you can flair the flowers. If the vase does not come together more at the top, you will need more flowers to make the arrangement look full. You can get vases anywhere, but you buy based on the type of arrangements you want to buy. If you want to put a few flowers that your child picked for you, buy small short vases. You will need a larger vase for a bouquet of roses from your husband.
3. Rocks: It is great to have some rocks at the bottom that will help keep the stems in the place that you intend. You can get a large bag of rocks at the dollar store. They also look pretty at the bottom of your vase. When you are done with the rocks, wash them with dish soap, let them dry and then store until you need them again. They will likely be pretty slimy after your bouquet is done.
4. Add water and the plant food that came with your bouquet. When you are at the florist, ask them for a few extra plant food packets and they will usually give them to you. Change your water when it starts to get murky. Carefully remove the bouquet so that you can just put it back in just the way it came out.
5. Flower clippers: Because some flowers have woody stems that are too hearty for regular scissors, it is best to have clippers- the dollar store also have some. Remember that you would need wire cutters for fake flowers. I will have a few notes on fake flowers later.
6. Bowl of water: This is super important and something that I did not realize. If you cut the stems of your flowers without submerging them in water, pockets of air with get into the stem and they will wilt faster. Always cut your stems under water…filtered water is best. The water should be room temperature or colder because warm water opens up the flowers.
|This is a short bouquet. My friend does not like how the taller bouquets get in the way of her line of sight.|
Now here are a fews guiding principles as you arrange your bouquet:
1. Cut your stems diagonally at the bottom(under water)–this creates more surface area to work with.
2. You will start with the piece that you want in the center; you don’t want a flower that makes the arrangement look top heavy. When my lilies opened I needed to re-arrange where they went in they went. The rocks will help you keep the flowers steady when you first begin.
3. Then you add a flower on the side and make sure it is cut so it sits lower than the center flower.
4. Even out the opposite side with the same flower and/or same color at a similar height. You will put in the flowers so they cross at the bottom and help to prop each other up and stay in place.
5. Now rotate the vase a little and begin filling in the next open side.
6. Even out the opposite side and continue adding flowers.
7. Pay attention the the height of the flowers. Make adjustments so the flowers are not at the same exact level. Your goal is to create height and depth to the arrangement.
8. Once all the flowers are in the arrangement, add the filler materials which can be greenery and filler flowers (Here are a few examples: Baby’s Breath, Bouvardia, Bells of Ireland, Delphanium, Dusty Miller, Heather, Holly, Ivy, Ferns, Lily of the Valley, Lisianthus, Mrytle, Queen Anne’s Lace)
9. Take a last look and make adjustments so their is balance and depth to the arrangement.
10. Great job! Now place your arrangement somewhere you can enjoy your flowers.
|Notice how her stems are crossing at the bottom and they are being placed in the rocks to keep them steady.|
During the Christmas break I was able to do a few home improvement projects that I want to share with you.
First, I knew that I wanted to make the living room more comfortable and applicable to my kids, so I added a book shelf for their books and a table for their puzzles and coloring.
The second was a headboard that I made. My sister Joanie and her husband came to visit just last week and I was very eager to make a few improvements to the guest bedroom. The first of these improvements was a headboard for the queen bed. It really does make a room look more polished when there is a headboard. I documented the process. I got this idea from the book I reviewed last post, Young House Love.
|We have had a kid table for a long time that had Lalaloosey theme. I didn’t love that so I finally got to re-upholstering the top and chairs. Super easy with a staple gun and some plastic covered fabric.|
|Cody built me some shelves for the living room for the kid books. We have kept the kid books in the basement and I wanted them more accessible. The girls read more now that they are upstairs and they can see the covers!|
|Cody made me a frame the size I needed for the bed.|
|Fabric of your choice|
|Staple gun and staples. I got two different size staples just in case.|
|Happy stapling! Sorry, the photos are darker; you can see I started the project in the evening. =)|
|Up close of the distance between staples|
|Guest room is ready for more guests!|