Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Welcome Summer with a Seaside Garden Centerpiece {Tutorial}

Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither.
~William Wordsworth, Intimations of Immortality
Side Note ::: My father enjoyed reading Wordsworth's poetry.  I now have what I always thought was 'his copy' of Wordsworth Complete Poems :/ turns out he was borrowing the book while he was dating my mom, because it has 'property of _________ University' stamped on the inside.  I guess he was trying to impress mom with 'his' poetry!    
Let's gather in the garden and imagine the salty air and ocean breeze, with the sound of seagulls in the distance.  Tonight I will share with you an easy to recreate Seaside Garden Centerpiece.  Soon I will share the table we will be dining at.
I envision our dinner on the patio of a garden home set in The Hamptons.  Table is a large, rustic farmhouse table, with benches and cozy chairs (to linger in as the sun disappears) . . . I don't ask for much do I? 

I am using my imaginaaaaaaation of what the setting for our dinner will be like.

Won't you join me?  You'll also have to use your . . . Imaginaaaaaaation (a la Spongebob Squarepants Idiot Box Episode -- most moms & grandmas know this episode).
I typically imagine the centerpiece for a table before I even plan what I'm going to cook (yes, I am the sister who likes to set a cute table).  

After all, the centerpiece is the crown of your table.  
And this table's CROWN will be a repurposed iron planter.
So let's gather our materials to make our latest crown . . . 
1.  Variety Pack of Moss ($5.99 at Hobby Lobby, use 40% coupon)
2.  [Coronado] Stone Planter and plants (keep reading for choosing plants)
3.  Assortment of shells in a variety of colors (if possible, otherwise -- use what you have)
About 1 1/2 to 2 cups of sand.
4.  Candles a must on ever table I set -- because everyone looks better by candlelight.
Please please use unscented when choosing candles for a table.
5.  Small ornaments (I keep some non-Christmas-y ornaments unpacked to use throughout the year)
6.  [Stiletto] Glass Pedestals -- to raise the candles up & away from the plant & moss.
and the most important piece to pull it all together . . .
an iron garden [Charles Street] Planter
Now, before I potted my plants, I wanted to make sure the stone planter I envisioned fit inside the iron planter . . . and it did, perfectly.

I imagined airy or wispy plants, or even tropical plants, will be appropriate to mix and mingle with shells.  

I approach my container gardens just as I do my door buckets -- I'm looking for a little Spiller (to tumble out the sides), the height of Thriller (to catch the wind and gather attention), and a bit of Filler (to fill in the gaps in between).  
1.  Filler = Palace Purple Coral Bells (love the hint of purple with the green & gray)
2.  Thriller = Autumn Fern
3.  Spiller = Goldilocks Creeping Jenny
Before you add your soil.  Line the stone planter with a coffee filter to stop soil from falling through the drainage hole.
Source ::: This Old House
It works like a dream!
Next, come the seaside details . . . play around with it until your happy.  I don't want our guests to look up from their takeout dinner amazing meal and see dirt . . . so I am adding some sea shells.
A large starfish, assorted shells and PB Mini Glass Buoys
Next we get mossy -- softening the hard surfaces of the stone, metal and glass.

First place your glass pedestals.  You want them to be on a solid surface.  
Second, rip open your variety bag of moss, and simply start placing it on top of the metal and the base of the glass.  I used about 1/2 of the bag and I probably used too much.  The purpose of the moss is not to cover the base, just soften it.

Almost done . . . 
Grab a couple of cups of sand -- and add a little to each of the two Glass Pedestals . . . 
. . .  add your candles (the pillar candle is from Michael's and it came with the twine 'bow'.), add a few small shells, starfish or ornaments if you have them handy.   Add larger, more ornate shells to the base.
Ta Da!  A new CROWN for  your table! 
I move the 'crown' to the server, while I set the table :)
The lighting is better here on this overcast day . . . so I think you can see the detail a bit better.
Of course . . . we all look better by candlelight . . . and I must admit . . . I love the textures of the moss and the sand paired with the metal and the glass.
I hope this tutorial inspires or encourages you to seek out an unusual centerpiece CROWN for your table as we welcome summer.

A few additional notes about the items used . . . 
The Charles Street Planter can serve many purposes.  I use one to house my kitchen canisters during many months of the year . . . 
Charles Street Planter with Belle Meade Canisters
. . . the Charles Street Planter also flips over to be used as a riser for a buffet during entertaining . . . 
Charles Street Planter, Riverstone Tapas Server, Tuscan Goblets & Gramercy Beverage Server.
. . . just pop out the removable tray and place on top of the flipped planter.  Of course you can dress-up and personalize the removable tray with a piece of linen or fun party napkins . . . and many other uses (besides being your table's CROWN or your patio's planter).

The Gramercy Beverage Server is also versatile.  This ceramic server can be used for both hot or cold beverages and comes with a cast iron stand as I used here . . . 
From Four Sisters Brunch with a Pig
. . . When not used for entertaining, it becomes an adorable cookie jar . . . 
. . . just by turning it around.  You can even write on it with a Sharpie or dry erase marker.  I prefer to use a sharpie -- and all you need is a squirt of Windex to remove it!
And these beautiful pieces are both on sale this month, along with many many many others.  Including the Stiletto Glass Pedestals I used within the Iron Planter.  

So to avoid being selfish, I wanted to be sure to share these deals and amazing sale with you!  If an item sells out, that you had your heart set on, please contact me -- I might just be able to track it down for you!

A HUGE Thank You for Stopping In and following along -- or skipping to the end (I understand you're busy ;).  Hope you have a wonderful day -- and don't forget to stop back in to see how the Seaside Garden Table turns out!
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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Eight Great Ways to Set a Place for Dad!

Do you have a man in your life?  One that is King of the Castle, Lord of the Manor, Master of his Domain -- Dad of course!   It doesn't matter if you are serving Eggs Benedict, homemade chili or take-out pizza, you can still set a special table for dad that reflects his good taste.  He picked you didn't he?

I've put together eight great ways to set a special place for dad! 
Each brings to focus, Dad's personality, hobbies, passions or perhaps his retirement plans :)   Hosting a Father's Day brunch, luncheon or dinner?  Make each Dad's place at the table unique to him!

Handy Man Dad

He takes care of your 'To Do List' . . . now take care of him.
If you are worried about your table smelling like 'the garage' -- wipe all the tools & cording down with 'wet wipes'.  :)

1.  Cover the table with a tablecloth and use a piece of lumber (cut to length for the runner).  Rob dad's tool box for an assortment of tools and nails or screws (wipe down with 'wet wipes' if needed).  Recycled bottle candles add a nice touch.
2.  Use an extension cord as a charger.  Add a few tools of choice -- Swiss Army Knife, flashlight, toothpicks -- and flatware (just in case).  His favorite beer in a koozie would be a welcome site too.
3.  Give him a man-sized plate with a Riverstone oval platter.  And man-sized utensils.  These Berghoff steak knives are fabulous!
4.  Top the platter with a gorgeous Core Root Plate - or any plate worthy of his artistry as a master craftsman.  
Use a fitting for a napkin ring -- give that tool box a once over.  Use a 'shop rag' for a napkin.

Dad, the Outdoor Man

Does he find an excuse to wear camouflage, even during the off season?  Set the table in his 'comfort zone'.

Outdoor Man Layering Detail :::

1.  Cover the table with a tablecloth.  Decorate the center of the table with robe, antlers and burlap wrapped potted plants or flowers.  Use a rustic tray as a charger plate.  Add the details - stoneware beer stein, flask, toothpick holder, camouflage napkin (use a bandanna). 
2.  Top tray with a plate or platter worthy of dad -- this Riverstone Tapas Tray fits perfectly.  And man-sized utensils.  These Berghoff steak knives are fabulous!
3.  Add a bowl for chili -- his starter course ;)
4.  Top with a gift -- tucked away in a camouflage bag.  Ammo?  perhaps.

Your Mariner Man

The man loves his boat, or perhaps he dreams of sailing away with you at his side one day.  Let him know he will always be the captain of the family with a special place at the table.
Now are you ready to buy a boat?
Mariner Man Layering Detail :::

1.  Cover the table with a tablecloth and top with netting.  Decorate the center of the table with driftwood or ghostwood, and a sailboat if available.  Form a circle from a length of rope (approx 2 yards) as a 'charger'.  You might also want to tuck in a 'pearl' -- a small glass ornament. 
2.  Riverstone Dinner Plate with its rope edge detailing works perfectly, alongside the Tuscan Goblet with the embossed vine design that mimics coral.  
3.  Riverstone Salad Plate comes in a beautiful gray blue - perfect compliment to the natural tones.
4.  Top with a starfish -- letting dad know he's the STAR of the family.  The napkin ring is simply a knotted piece of cotton rope.

Add Special Touches :::
Write or type out clever sayings that follow your table's theme.  Shop your house for nautical accessories or borrow from a friend.  Life preserver & sail boat from Hobby Lobby.  Message in a bottle was created for my son's 4th birthday Pirate Party.  Resin starfish tops an accent plate.

Sports Enthusiast Dad

What's dad's favorite sports team?  I bet you have a lot of memorabilia around the house don't you?  Put it to use as decorations for Dad's special day and serve tailgate food such as hot dogs & hamburgers.
Sports Enthusiast Layering Detail :::

1.  Cover the table with a tablecloth.  Use a jersey as a place mat.  Decorate the center of the table with whatever sports fan memorabilia you have available (can you tell my husband is a big Texas Rangers fan?).  Use a glove to hold the rolled up napkin & flatware and of course a stadium cup -- this is no time to be fancy!   
2.  A Baseball dart board makes the perfect charger for this sports fan.  
3.  Riverstone Dinner Plate topped with a gift of Texas Ranger tickets (hope there is a parking pass!).  

Western or Cowboy Dad

Beyond the bar-be-ques, you can set a beautifully appropriate table fitting for your gentleman cowboy.
John Wayne approved.
Sports Enthusiast Layering Detail :::

1.  Cover the table with a tablecloth.  Use narrow lengths of burlap for two runners down each length of the table.  A bull whip becomes a 'charger' (use a length of rope if you do not own a bull whip) and a cowhide coaster is a welcome home to a cold beer.  
2.  Add a Riverstone Dinner Plate and a container of toothpicks. 
3.  Add details -- A bandanna makes an appropriate napkin, adorned with a cowboy book ornament.  Add a flask (just in case your cowboy requests a shot of whiskey) and wildflowers -- these can be burlap wrapped pots, pitchers or even boots with a flower filled vase tucked inside.  Include man-sized utensils.  These Berghoff steak knives are fabulous!
4.  Despite what Lonestar says . . . most Texans believe Shiner to be only beer of Texas.

Dad likes to Camp & Fish

I love not camping :)  But my husband and son love it -- and so they go and we all enjoy the weekend. If your hubby is a camper -- consider setting a table geared to the gills with his passion!
* Ribbit . . . Ribbit . . . Ribbit *  why not add cricket, frog and crackling fire sound effects?

Fisherman / Camping Enthusiast Layering Detail :::

1.  Cover the table with a tablecloth and use a piece of lumber (cut to length for the runner).  Rob dad's tackle box for an assortment of lures -- PLEASE, Please, please DO Not use lures if you have young kiddos at the table OR if you or a family member is so attracted to shiny objects that you just can't resist touching!!  These puppies can hurt!  I included some fun frogs and of course fishing poles. Birch bark candles add a nice touch.
A wire tier (the large bottom tier to our French Wire Tiered Stand) becomes a charger.  Add a few tools of choice -- Swiss Army Knife (essential) and a blue enamel tin coffee pot.  Blue jean beer koozie and man-sized utensils.
2.  Add a Riverstone Dinner Plate (hey, there is no use for me to rough it). 
3.  Top the dinner plate with an enamel tin blue bowl and include a little fish (gummy fish work great).
4.  Bonus points if you have a tabletop fire bowl.  We don't -- but we do have this plug in make-believe fire that we used on my son's cub scout Christmas float.  The boys sat around it singing carols while pretending to roast marshmallows.  Very Cool!

The Old-Fashioned Gamer / Strategist Dad

Does your dad like to solve puzzles, and / or plot a strategic plan for world-domination (on a game board of course)?  We really enjoy family game night -- and it typically doesn't involve any games that require batteries or electricity.  Here is an fun table perfect for a gamer dad or family game night!
Dad's the Dealer, of course.

Game Enthusiast Layering Detail :::

1.  Cover the table with a tablecloth followed by game boards placed at an angle.  For a large table place several boards tip to tip as a runner down the table.  
2.  Add a round tray for a charger plate.  I used the tray that is included in our Entertaining Bucket, flatware and assorted games -- I went with dominoes, cards (Crazy Eights), and puzzle games.  Add a coaster for your drink -- don't want to mess up the game board now do we?  Add a goblet, love our Salud Goblets.
3.  Top the round tray with a Riverstone Tapas Tray and fill in the space between with assorted game pieces (in this case I used Monopoly houses, hotels and figures).  
4.  Top with a Riverstone Cafe Bowl -- that you can fill with chips -- poker chips!  

A Table Set for Dapper Dad the Business Man

You husband doesn't have to be a business tycoon or even voted best dressed from his class -- you know he is the most charming, dependable and certainly debonair man in the world.  This is also a perfect table setting to display pictures of some of your families favorites fathers.
This is one of our favorite pictures of my dad whom we lost in 2010.  He baked some pies to surprise my mom
and set the kitchen on fire in the process -- but he saved the pies!!  His buddy took this picture.
Dapper Dad's Table Layering Detail :::

1.  Cover the table with a tablecloth, in this case I used hounds tooth fabric.  I created several table runners (that also double as bread basket liners) from my husband's old dress shirts that I cut up in an earlier post.  Make a long table runner by buttoning up several together as shown.   Use a newspaper as a place mat :)  Let's hope the news is good that day.   
2.  Add dapper hurricanes that I show how to make here.  A few family photos and business ledger paper made into paper airplanes.  Add an Emerson Wine Glass, Estate Coaster, Adelaide Flatware and a wonderful Berghoff Steak Knife (dad wants steak!).  
3.  Use a fabulous Covington Accent Tray for a charger plate.  
4.  Top with a Riverstone Dinnerplate . . .
5.  . . . and Riverstone Salad Plate.  
6.  Use photos for place cards to personalize each plate.   

Just because the kids know 'Dad Means Business' doesn't mean his businessman table can't include some fun details . . . 
Paper Airplanes made from Ledger Paper -- whose plane can soar the longest?
Shrinky-Dink glass charms.
I made these years ago with a caricature of every family member, young and old --
we use them all the time.
I promise to do a Tutorial on how to make these soon!  Very fun part of our gatherings.
Incorporate family photos -- it stirs fond memories and fabulous conversation.
Your kids will appreciate (if not today, someday) that you made a point to tell
stories of your grandparents and great-grandparents to them.  
Be sure to check out my earlier post on setting up a cocktail station & decorating your fireplace mantel in honor of Dad!
It's 5 o'clock somewhere!

Lastly . . . here are a few more ideas to keep the wheels rolling :::

•  Movie Buff Dad :::
☼ Use Film Reels for charger plates. Available at most craft stores; but if you own, or have a neighbor who does . . . BORROW, she won't mind removing from her media room wall just for the day (in the name of dad).
☼ Print out some trivia related to Dad's favorite flicks!  The kids will know he's the KING when he answers his one correctly!  IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base) is a great resource.
☼ Have the table set with movie snacks -- popcorn, boxes of Junior Mints & Rasinettes for example.
•  Car Enthusiast Dad :::
☼ Use hubcaps for charger plates.  License plates, road signs etc. are all perfect down the center of the table.  Many are available at craft stores, but again, BORROW if at all possible.  Does your son or nephew have Hot wheels?  Borrow those too!  Bonus points if they are scaled models of Dad's first car or dream car!
☼ Use black & white checkered napkins -- look where bandannas are sold before you buy fabric to make your own, chances are they are already available for $1 each.
•  Golfer Dad :::
☼ Pick up some artificial turf grass to use as a table runner.  Try the garden supply or outdoor (carpet) section of Lowes or Home Depot.  Add clubs, tees and golf balls down the runner.  A few outdoor hurricanes for ambiance.
☼ Print out some famous golf courses (google them) to use as place mats.  Bonus points if you can add notes of dad's score on a particular hole.
☼ Serve Arnold Palmers (half iced tea / half lemonade -- spiked or non-spiked).
•  Music Lover Dad :::
☼ Use Record Albums for chargers.  PLEASE, please pick up used ones from thrift or used stores.  We don't want Dad's favorite LPs to risk possible damage.
☼  Music sheets or album covers down the center of the table as a runner.
☼  Hang 45s from the chandelier from thread or fishing line.

I am sure you can come up with a few on your own, and I would LOVE to hear them!
Thank YOU so much for stopping in!  I would love to hear from you, and I read each comment with enjoyment!  Happy Father's Day!!
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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Quick, Grab Your Paint {Sconce Makeover}

A quick story about a little resin sconce that wanted to be noticed . . .

My office is paneled . . .
I love the warmth of wood paneling in certain spaces -- and this is one of those spaces :)
. . . and in desperate need of a makeover.  But I have yet to envision the end result -- but I know the built in bookcase will be a part of it.

Above I had a cross to the far left on the wall -- I picked up this sconce for a great price and thought a little candlelight would be a nice touch on the wall.

And yes, candlelight is nice, but the sconce almost blended in to the wall :( and was ignored unless a candle was lit.  It really just needed some COLOR ☼.
I mixed up a bit of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint -- attempting to match the Chief's turquoise pants.  I didn't have any Provence on hand, so I used Aubusson Blue and Arles Yellow with a wee bit of Old White . . . and the result was not too far off :)

I painted the sconce and gave it a colorful new life.  Then I sanded it . . .
. . . to highlight it's beautiful curves.

And gave it a bit of brown glaze . . .
. . .  to show off it's 'carved' details.

And the turquoise sconce now lives happily on the wall getting the attention it so desperately was seeking.
The End!
Psst -- any hints on what color the built-in bookcase / credenza should be?   All suggestions welcome . . . what about a washed black (with lots of wood grain showing)?

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