Monthly Archives: July 2010

Savor the Summer: Another Fresh Flower Arrangement

Our house is under construction.  Where there once was a dated fireplace there now stands a bunch of drywall and screws . . . but soon there will be a sleek new mantel and tile surround.  Stay tuned for the big details!

With furniture stuffed against the walls and with wires strewn about, I am craving a sense of normalcy.  Maybe it just looks silly amidst such chaos,  but I’m trying to savor summer as long as possible by bringing in fresh flowers on the cheap.

As I told you here, I use single bud vases that provide total support for a stem or two of a pretty flower.  And as I told you here, I had a great time at the antique mall.  I showed you a lot of pretty goods but not the one item I bought:

I’m totally diggin’ milk glass these days and this wine decanter caught my eye immediately.  The price tag? $12.  Sold! It wasn’t until I got home that I realized it would be perfect for a single-bud bouquet.

Look at these pretty buds! When I think about how the new fireplace is still under construction, I look at this exotic flower and pretend I’m on an island somewhere where people don’t need fireplaces.

Has anyone tried my single-bud vase tip? I’ll have more flower displays to reveal soon.  In fact, I just got word that a fancy-schmancy corporate building downtown totally subscribes to my theory.  I’ll be sneaking in soon for pictures!

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Antique Mall Eye Candy

I love the thrift stores but have never been inside an antique store.  It seemed a little, well, uppity.  A nameless blogger I read once wrote that she recently went “antiquing.”  It made me laugh.  For purposes of this post, I think it’s important that I give my initial definition of the term “antiquing.”

antiquing: walking through an expensive antique store while wearing a gaudy amount of costume jewelry and using a magnifying glass to look at a  case of emerald brooches recovered from the Titanic.

Suffice it to say the regular ole thrift stores have been fine for me.  But when I stumbled upon an antique store by complete accident, I checked my gut and went in. (Check out Capital City Antique Mall at 959 S. West Temple. )

I may have been in an antique store but I did not go antiquing.   I didn’t stroll through the aisles with an eye for a rare piece or to make a quick buck off a cheap find.   I thought the same things I think at the thrift store:

  • Wow that’s pretty.
  • What’s that thing for?
  • Ooops! Thank goodness I caught it before it hit the ground.

And guess what? I didn’t feel out of place!  I spent about an hour inside and I saw some really neat things.  It was actually a good history lesson.  I took some photos but I only  had my camera phone, so the quality isn’t as good as it could have been.  Here are a few pics of my favorite finds:

Look at these hip roller skates.  What year do you think these were produced? There’s no way those flimsy little straps could secure my feet to wheels. I’d be on my booty in no time.

How about this awesome old school camera? (On the left.) Party planners are using vintage cameras like crazy lately.  In the photo on the right, party planners displayed vintage cameras and encouraged partygoers to pick one and start shooting. (How cool that they were all working!)

Image on the right found here.

How about this charming typewriter on the left?  These are also widely used by party planners these days. The bride and groom in the wedding on the right used a typewritten memo – still fresh in the paper table – to list the guests’ dining assignments.

Image on the right found here.

There were several vintage fans for sale but this one was the most captivating.  I think this would look fantastic in a living room, bedroom or study.

How fun would this doll case be for a Barbie birthday party?

I love this carnival target and love that it could be incorporated in almost any party.  But, really, how fantastic would it be in a circus birthday? Sigh.

I bought one item, which I’ll show ya’ll soon, for $12.  Not as expensive as I thought, eh?  It’s always a good thing to leave your biases at the door and I’m glad I did that fateful Saturday. Now that I’m over myself, where’s the best “antiquing”?

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Alvin and the Chipmunks Party Preview

You might recall that my sweet soon-to-be four year old niece wants an Alvin and the Chipmunk (the Squeakuel) birthday party. With the party only one week away, I am immersed in all things chipmunks. It is very a strange place.

It seems I am among the few bloggers to throw an Alvin and the Chipmunks birthday theme.  I’ll tell ya – It’s a lot easier when others have developed a starting point!  I’ll be incorporating the basics: mouse ears, nuts, and yellow letter “A”s. I’m also hoping to do a few more unique things, including one project with beach balls.

After some research, which may or may not have included actually viewing the movie, I’ve created this decor board:

Images here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

My apologies for losing the others!

So start singing and come back next week for all the exciting party details!

A special thanks is owed to Mama Judd, who is paying for a themed birthday party for all of her grandkids this year.  It’s also a way for me to exercise my hobby and learn to throw a classy party on a shoe string! Love ya Mom!

Update: The Alvin and the Chipmunks party was a big success!  See it in all its glory here.

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Black and White Bachelorette Party

I recently helped my sister throw a fabulous bachelorette party for her soon-to-be-wed BFF.  A month or so ago we picked a Black and White theme and I put together this decor board.

We wanted the invites to set a classy but trendy tone.  I hadn’t yet given in to the recent damask surge in either my home decor or party planning, but this was clearly the time.  The Michaels wedding section had this invite kit and it was only $25 with the coupon from the Sunday paper.

I compared the price with pre-cut invites at my favorite scrapbook store and this kit, which included envelopes, was far cheaper.  Since we did not have time to spare, the kit was also far more practical.  We picked out a less traditional font and whipped up an eye-catching party preview.

Please pardon the poor photo.  Please fault my sister’s weak-sauce camera phone.

The text read:

It’s time for the girls to mix and mingle

These are her last days of being single

Time is ticking and the bells will soon chime

Let’s go out and get crazy

While there is still time!

With our guests ready to party, the planning began.  Because the party was at a local piano bar, the decor had to be low to the table so it wouldn’t obstruct anyone’s view.

The bride’s chair was adorned with a black and white boa, which I hope she wore all night long.

The other girls received plain white boas.

By the way, these boas weren’t the best quality but they were cheap, cheap, cheap.  Check out Halo Heaven if you’re ever in the market.  Back before my Fancy Nancy dreams were quashed I was planning on buying boas and tea party hats there.

The table runner I so-proudly made was displayed over a solid black tablecloth.  A local bakery, the same one I used for the Safari Baby Shower, prepared black and white cupcakes for the occasion.  (The bakers even did half white cake and half chocolate just for kicks.)

Don’t you love the two-tiered cake stand?  I bought it in North Ogden at the Desert Industries, a local thrift store, for $1.  That’s right friends.  $1.

We dropped Gerber Daisies in short, square vases that I bought from the dollar store for, you guessed it, $1 each.

I was planning on using Spider Mums but my local Harmons did not have them in stock as it usually does.  I couldn’t help but be slightly defeated.  Aren’t they a pretty flower?

Image found here.

The girls had a great time and the bride-to-be had an awesome last night out.

The whole idea of decorating a table at a bar initially scared me a bit.  But didn’t it turn out lovely for how easy and simple it was?

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Help Name the New Garden

After the Behemoth of 2009, I told Doug we needed to bring this whole “garden” thing down a notch.  Doug, we can’t weed it all.  Doug, we don’t have time to pick them all.  But Daaaaaaahhh uggggg!

Okay, okay. I didn’t whine.  But I did make a respectful request.  Tone it back? Just a bit?

Doug, such a sneaky little devil, started planting when I was away.  When I came back, the yet-to-be-named Garden of 2010 looked like this:

And then a few weeks later, it looked like this:

And now it looks like this:

Before the season began, I had two demands:  1) Fewer tomato plants.  2) The tomato plants must be caged.  It was so sad to see tomato plants laying down in the dirt last year, tomatos rotting away without any support. I suggested we cut the number of plants by, say, half?  We’d still have 15 or so.

When Doug walked in with tomato cages, I jumped for joy. Honey! Won’t this be great? How many do you have there? 25? Well, 25 is better than how many we had last year.  Go forth and conquer.

Now, when Doug walked in with more tomato cages, I did not jump for joy.  I did not jump at all.  I used my lawyering skills to corner him into the answer:  he’d purchased 25 additional cages.

That’s right folks.  Doug has planted about 50 tomato plants in our backyard.

If I thought last year was a “behemoth,” what is this?  Consider this a call for suggestions.

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No-Sew Custom Table Runner

About two years ago I took a sewing class through our community’s continuing education program . Once a week I went to the local elementary school and spent an hour or so in its sewing lab.  I chose the easiest pattern (an apron) and relied on our teacher for advice whenever I got stumped.  By the time the course ended, my apron still wasn’t completed. In fact, I was so defeated, I didn’t even attend the final course.

Given my interests in home decor and party planning, sewing would be a h.u.g.e asset.  So huge, actually, that I have heavily considered adding sewing mastery to my soon-to-be-revealed 30 Before 30 List.  As of now, I just can’t commit.

Sewing inequities met reality when I couldn’t find a cheap black and white damask table runner for a bachelorette party.  A crafty friend suggested I try Stitch Witchery, a fusible tape that is ironed between two layers of fabric for a permanent fuse.

So I bought the Stitch Witchery at JoAnn’s for a couple of dollars.

Image found here.

I added an inch to each size of the table runner dimensions I wanted.  I then folded and ironed a one inch strip along each side to create a fresh crease.

Once I had a nice crease, I cut a piece of Stitch Witchery of the same length. I placed the strips as close as possible to the inside edge so the fabric wouldn’t flop around.

Apparently Jack liked the Stitch Witchery, too.  Somehow when I wasn’t looking he snatched up the tape and ate half of it.   Mmmmm.

I fused the long sides first.  When I was ready to fuse the two shorter ends, I folded and pressed the corners before I ironed fused them together.

This helped keep the inside AND the outside of the short sides crisp and clean.

The runner was great for the bachelorette party, which I’ll be debuting soon.  Thanks Stitch Witchery!

What do you think?  Should I tack on a sewing project for my 30 Before 30 List?

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Saturday Special: Artesian Well-Powered Sprinkler System

Last summer I made a wee suggestion that we plant a few tomato plants.  Well, Doug cleared a 50 x 50 foot garden, planted 30 tomato plants, and decided it was necessary to install a sprinkling system.  (Stay tuned for the update on our garden thus far this year.)

Although I tease him for the amount of veggies we ended up planting, the sprinkler system was pretty ingenious.  In addition to improving the house by adding a sprinkler system, we added a totally personalized way to fill the sprinkler system with water.

It turns out we are way too cool to water our lawn and veggies with the city’s water.  Come on now.  We water our goods with pure artesian spring water. Nothing but the best for our foliage.

And the source of this fancy-schmancy water?  This very, very non fancy pipe:

Doug is lucky enough to have an artesian spring in his backyard.  The water gushes like crazy – Doug’s latest estimate is 11 gallons per minute. That’s a whole lotta tasty h20!

An artesian spring is different from other water sources in that the water is thrust upward from below as opposed to running downhill. That makes it super cold and super pure.

Image available here.

Beyond that, all I know is that Jack loves to lick it up.

Doug did all the trenching and pipe laying that is standard for building a sprinkler system. But in addition to all that jazz, he had to build a water pump to pump the water from the spring to the pipes.

(I will pay big money to someone who can disguise this pump. Big money, I say.)

Here’s what’s going on inside there:

The pump fills a bucket full of the spring water in preparation for the sprinkler system. Any overflow is released down a culvert.

At Doug’s command, the pump sends water to the sprinklers and onto the yard.  I must admit that the water pump is pretty magical.  Doug and I like to sit on the patio at night and just watch it water those veggies.  Every once and I while I pat his back with a, “You made that.”  And he did. And it’s awesome.

Now, enough pattin’ our backs.  Who has ideas about covering this really ugly pump?

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