5 Classically Cool Ways to Use Mason Jars in the Kitchen…

Photo Bucket

Photo Bucket

Is there anything that we haven’t done to the mason jar?  Paint it, illuminate it, fill it with buttons and hang it from the bottom of our cabinets.  I can’t really point the finger – I recently bought a $7 bag of coffee beans just so I could dump it into a mason jar and top it off with a tea light.

These handy little jars used to have a purpose, though – my grandmother used them to store homemade apple butter (and a fly one Christmas…which also happened to be the last Christmas I ate apple butter).  But I love the idea of using them for serving food; it’s practical and trendy and after all, that’s what they were made for…I think!  Pinterest might prove me wrong there.

So, here are 5 Classically Cool Ways to Use Mason Jars in the Kitchen…

#1.  Cupcake in a Jar

My Cakies

My Cakies

This idea makes me smile.  It’s so simple and ingenious and endlessly cute all at once!  Can you see these at a baby shower or an outdoor vintage wedding?  They would make such a cute gift around Christmas time!  Perfect for the kids to help make and eat…love this idea.

#2.  Overnight, No-Cook Refrigerator Oatmeal

The Yummy Life

The Yummy Life

Made with a base of Greek yogurt and old-fashioned rolled oats you can pretty much add in anything else you like – including fresh fruit, seeds and nuts!  Make these ahead and have a healthy breakfast ready for the whole family all week-long.  This is eaten cold so think of it more like yogurt and granola (which would also be really good!)

#3.  S’Mores in a Jar

Phar-Ma

Phar-Ma

I know we were just talking about being healthy and everything but – S’Mores in a Jar, people.  PharMa suggests using butter and brown sugar along with the classic chocolate pieces, marshmallows and graham crackers and I will not argue with her.  Never wait for a campfire again!

#4.  Single Serving Pie in a Jar

Our Best Bites

Our Best Bites

Best idea ever.  Use store-bought pie crust or homemade, line the inside of your jars, fill with fruit and freeze.  Pull them out and bake for a single serving or send a few as a gift.  Follow the link for more information – they have really cute gift tag ideas to go along with these, recipe suggestions and presentation options for mason jar pies!

#5.  Mason Jar Chicken Cordon Blue

Big Red Kitchen

Big Red Kitchen

Big Red Kitchen

Big Red Kitchen

We did a lot of sweet so we’ll end with savory.  Chicken Cordon Bleu is one of my absolute favorite things – this is the traditional dish made with fresh chicken, ham and Swiss cheese along with breadcrumbs, butter and herbs.  Bake and let cool…seal up your mason jar and pop them in the freezer!  Eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner…or all three ( I would).  Follow the link for preparation and baking instructions.  Mmmmmmm.

How to Create an Indoor Flowering Cactus Garden…

 

Obaz

Obaz

Living in an apartment we’re always looking for new ways to bring the outdoors in.  Flowers are great but expensive…enter the indoor desert oasis of the mini cactus garden.  It’s adorable, right?  The textures and colors make this perfect for adding visual interest to the flat lines of your kitchen or bathroom and it’s easy to do.

A Beautiful Mess

A Beautiful Mess

via HGTV

When to Start: Spring

At Its Best: Early Summer

Time to Complete: 1 1/2 hours

Materials Needed:

  • shallow planting bowl
  • pebbles
  • cacti soil
  • sand
  • newspaper
  • spoon
  • heavy-duty gloves
  • watering can
  • miniature cacti; this selection includes: silver torch cactus, Mammillaria, elephant-ear pricklypear and Rebutia

Before You Start

Cacti famously survive on little water, but if you want them to grow and flower they should actually be watered regularly during the growing season. Giving them a thorough watering before planting will help the roots make good contact with the new soil, and they should grow very well.

HGTV

HGTV

Aid Drainage

All cacti hate to sit in water, so make sure it will run freely through the growing medium, and out of the bottom of the pot. The container should have lots of drainage holes, covered by a layer of pebbles, to prevent the soil from clogging up the holes.

HGTV

HGTV

Set Out the Plants

Put on your protective gloves and start arranging your plants. If you have chosen the position for each of your cacti before you start, planting will be easier and you are more likely to end up with a good overall effect. It makes sense to put smaller ones at the front and larger ones at the back, but also consider planting those with different habits, textures and flower color next to each other.

HGTV

HGTV

Planting Tips

Wrap a folded strip of newspaper around the top of the plant. This will help you slide it out of its pot and maneuver it into the larger planter without getting spines or fine hairs in your fingers. It also protects the plant.

HGTV

HGTV

Fill in the Gaps

Once the plants are in position, use a spoon to carefully fill the gaps between them with a cacti soil. Add small amounts of soil at a time and keep firming it down with the back of a spoon to ensure that there are no air holes left around the plant roots.

HGTV

HGTV

Brush Off Soil

No matter how careful you are, some soil will inevitably get caught in the cactus spines and hairs. Use a soft brush to remove it and to keep the plants looking clean and neat.

HGTV

HGTV

Water the Plants

Water all the plants in well. In summer, they can be watered whenever the surface of the soil dries out. In winter, they should be left dry; start watering again sparingly when you see signs of growth in spring.

HGTV

HGTV

Apply a Sand Mulch

Use the spoon to spread fine sand around the surface of the planter. This helps water quickly drain away from the surface, preventing rot, and gives the planter an authentic desertlike appearance. Set your arrangement in a bright, sunny position.

HGTV

HGTV

Top Tip: Watering Crowded Pots

Cacti are often sold when the plants are almost overflowing the sides of their pots, making it tricky to water them properly before planting. Sit these in a container of water until the root ball is damp.

HGTV

HGTV

8 Steps to the Perfect Table Setting…Elle Decor and Nate Berkus

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

There are plenty of posts out there on how to set a table for a get together or dinner party but I love this one by Nate Berkus for Elle Decor because it’s so simple.  The table is worn and the centerpiece is made up of things you have lying around the house.  After all, it’s not about what you have, right…it’s how you put it together! 

If you’re hosting a Mother’s Day brunch or dinner over the weekend this might come in handy.

STEP #1.  START WITH A BLANK SLATE

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

You should be inspired already; chances are you’re starting out with a table that looks better than this ; )

STEP #2.  GET YOURSELF A TABLECLOTH

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

I tend to gravitate towards bright colorful tablecloths, especially this time of year.  If you start with a simple pattern like stripes though, or one with a neutral base, it’s easier to build on.  Berkus suggests customizing your linen – find a fabric you like and hem the edges or have someone like your local dry cleaner do it for you.

STEP #3.  ADD A BIT OF CONTRAST WITH A TABLE RUNNER

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

This is where a good eye comes in handy.  Find something that matches but doesn’t?  I think that’s the idea.  Look for hints of color that will continue throughout the rest of the setting in dishware and in the main centerpiece.

STEP #4.  GET THAT CENTERPIECE GOING

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

Grab things from around your house – pretty serving trays, vases and glassware with varying heights.  Nate’s rule: keep it low.  Too much height and people have to stand up to talk to each other across the table; not good. 

STEP #5.  PUT TOGETHER THE FIRST PLACE SETTING

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

When creating the place settings, Berkus suggests that you use one classic piece paired with an unexpected one…interesting.  Here he used a classic plate with gold flatware for a touch of glamour. 

STEP #6.  MIX THINGS UP

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

Let lose a little; your plates don’t have to match as long as they stay within the same color palette.  If you’re a thrifter like I am this is a great excuse to sort through some of those donated dishes and come up with a really eclectic mix of styles and sizes.  Add a pretty napkin to introduce a new pop of color.

STEP #7.  FLOWER POWER

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

Here Nate suggests keeping it simple.  Instead of a mixed bouquet of flowers, try staying monochromatic and sticking with a single flower species.  Use three to five vases to create height and movement.

STEP #8.  ADD LAYERS OF GLASSWARE

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

Use wine and water glasses in metallic or clear glass – those beautiful little gold ones are by Jayson Home and I love them.  What a pretty detail to add to the table, right?

So, are you inspired to start setting your table?!?

Design Inspiration…Robyn Glaser and Emily Henderson

Robyn Glaser

Robyn Glaser

Design Milk asked Emily Henderson, HGTV designer and host of Secrets from a Stylist, to share 5 of her favorite things.  She’s on of my favorite designers and it turns out that one of her favorites is prop stylist, Robyn Glaser.

Robyn Glaser

Robyn Glaser

Have you ever found yourself flipping through a magazine and being drawn in by the set design and add concept as much as the merchandise being featured?  Well, that’s Robyn and her clients include Anthropologie, Target, Tiffany’s, Harper’s Baazar, New York Magazine, Neiman Marcus and Urban Outfitters to name a few.  On top of that she also does cook books and food editorials including Bon Appetit and Food Network Magazine.

Robyn Glaser

Robyn Glaser

Robyn Glaser

Robyn Glaser

Looking at her portfolio reminds me that there’s an art in putting things together – but what strikes me the most in her set design is the casual way that life is represented.  A crowded dining table, a messy couch, an ordinary dining room with extraordinary color.  It’s life – the beauty is in how you look at it.

n034

Robyn Glaser

Which brings me back to Emily Henderson and why she’s always been one of my favorites.  Whether it’s a $5,000 couch or a thrift store save, Emily brings it all together in a beautifully livable way.  Style should be relatable and comfortable and both of these women do a really good job representing it that way.

One Kings Lane / Emily Henderson

One Kings Lane / Emily Henderson

Emily Henderson

Emily Henderson

So, where do you get your inspiration from?  Do you have a favorite designer or magazine that inspires the look of your home?

Chalkboard Paint…Fussy or Functional?

Poppy Talk

Poppy Talk

Chalkboard paint is everywhere…and on everything.  This crafty little paint has worked its way from the classroom into our living rooms, and our kitchen walls and furniture – it’s all over the place!  Is it a passing trend or a new staple in home design? 

Interiorspl

Interiorspl

Here’s what I think; the flexibility of chalkboard paint is awesome.  If you use it on your walls it allows you to be creative and fun; changing up the theme of your bedroom or den with the swipe of an eraser.

Dwell

Dwell

One of my favorite applications is the chalkboard wall in the kitchen.  I love this one because it’s practical – shopping lists, phone messages, weekly dinner menus and calender events; it’s functional and trendy.

Johanna-Vintage

Johanna-Vintage

The same applies for the home office; it’s much harder for your husband to tell you he’s forgotten to pay the water bill when the due date is written on the wall behind his head, right? (Don’t tell my husband I said that).

Inspired By This

Inspired By This

And of course, awesome idea for the kid’s rooms…

Muliccia

Muliccia

Weekday Carnival

Weekday Carnival

So, what are your thoughts on chalkboard paint…fussy or functional?  Would you use it in your home?

Interiorspl

Interiorspl

5 Ways to Incorporate Vintage Pieces In Your Home…

Apartment Living

Apartment Living

There is a delicate balance between adding used vintage pieces in your home and having your living room look like it was transplanted from the staging area at Goodwill.  Balance.  It’s something I’m still trying to master but in the end, adding vintage pieces to your home bring a character and depth that you just can’t find at your local Rooms-to-Go.  It can be tricky but it’s worth trying to figure out – you’ll end up with better quality furniture and you’ll have something cheap and trendy to brag about when your friends stop by.  So, win-win.

Here are 5 Ways to Incorporate Vintage Pieces In Your Home…

#1.  Look for Solid Wood

Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy

If you come across a vintage piece of solid wood furniture, chances are it’s worth refinishing.  If we’ve learned nothing else from HGTV we should at least know this, right?  Paint it, stain it, cover it with wallpaper…the possibilities are endless.  Look for pieces with sleek, classic lines and vintage character – something that will fit in easily with your existing decor.

#2.  Find a Sofa with Good Structure

Babble

Babble

I Love Copper Jewelry

I Love Copper Jewelry

A statement piece like a sofa is an excellent way to incorporate a vintage vibe into your home; the key here is to look for good structure. Weigh the cost of reupholstering and whenever possible, look for a sofa that may just need a good cleaning rather than a complete makeover.  Try pairing a vintage couch with modern throw pillows to pull everything together.

#3.  Look for Vintage Light Fixtures

A Sort o Fairy Tale

A Sort o Fairy Tale

Oak Ridge Revival

I see old lighting fixtures every time I walk into a thrift store and lately I’ve been forcing myself to give them a second look.  I love the contrast of old and new; a rusty vintage light against a clean white wall.  Lighting gives a room so much character! If you’re too conservative to bring in big vintage pieces, try starting with an old lighting fixture…it may catch on!

#4.  Find Statement Pieces

This Next

This Next

Deborah Hall Lifestyle

Esty

Esty

Like a lighting fixture, a simple vintage statement piece like a coat hanger or drying rack can add so much visual interest and depth to a room.  Try adding a fresh coat of spray paint to modernize the piece while still maintaining the vintage framework.

#5.  Look for a Vintage Throw Rug

Spearmint Decor

Spearmint Decor

T&G Interiors

T&G Interiors

This might be the hardest to find at a decent price but there would be no better way to add a little touch of vintage love to your living space than to find a beautifully worn vintage rug.  Even against polished wood furniture, a vintage rug just makes it feel so homey, right?  I need one of these!

5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Weekend…

Ocean Island Living

Ocean Island Living

Saturday and Sunday are the fastest two days of the week.  Why?  Because instead of getting up early and following a routine like we do the rest of the week, these days start later and often include several hours watching America’s Next Top Model reruns while folding laundry.  If you’re still young enough to go out at night than most likely your weekends consist of too much alcohol, Waffle House at 2AM and breakfast at noon.  While there’s nothing wrong with that on occasion, falling into a routine of mundane weekends leaves you feeling like you’ve wasted precious time and uninspired when Monday rolls around again.

Here are 5  ways to revamp your weekends and utilize your two days of freedom.

#1.  Plan a Day Trip or Weekend Get Away

If you live within a few hours of the beach, the mountains or even a state park plan a short trip.  Leave Friday night or early Saturday morning and get away from it all.  Take advantage of sites like Priceline, Expedia and Hotwire to find last-minute hotel deals.  If you can find one for around $60-$90, book it!  Consider what you would spend ordering takeout or making an unnecessary trip to IKEA and it really evens out…and what you end up with is family memories instead of a Vejmon (IKEA speak) coffee table.

#2.  “You”  Time

If you plan on staying local, take some time out for yourself.  Is there a book you’ve been wanting to read or a new recipe you’ve been meaning to try?  Take some time to relax and focus on something that gives your mind a chance to rest.

#3.  Do House Work During the Week

Instead of letting the dishes and laundry pile up throughout the week and then spending hours trying to catch everything up on the weekend, work those chores into the evening hours Monday – Thursday.  Get everyone involved; make it part of the routine so when the weekend rolls around you’re free to do other things.  Here’s a sample schedule I really like!

clutterbug.me

clutterbug.me

#4.  Plan Something for Sunday Night

Even if you love your job and can’t wait to get back to the office Monday morning, Sunday night can be a downer.  If you hate your job than this is especially true.  Plan something for Sunday night; it prolongs your weekend and keeps your mind occupied instead of sitting around the house mulling over Monday.  Whether it’s a long family dinner or a yoga class with friends, end your weekend on a high note and leave thoughts of Monday for Monday.

The Heart of the Sea Home

The Heart of the Sea Home

#5.  Plan Ahead

There’s always room for spontaneity but try planning out your weekend ahead.  Instead of waiting until Saturday morning to make plans for Saturday night, start making those calls mid-week.  Having your plans established early will give you and your family something to look forward to.  Whether it’s a reservation at a restaurant or a play date for your kids get those plans in motion.  Call the babysitter early, get online and grab tickets ahead for that new movie before it sells out.  Make the weekend what it’s supposed to be…a two day vacation!

Let's Lasso the Moon

Let’s Lasso the Moon

Creating a Dining Room Space…Apartment DIY

Reclaiming Your Castle

Reclaiming Your Castle

Last year my husband and I rented out our home and decided to rent an apartment closer to work and to my children’s school.  The location is perfect but the apartment is a bit older and very cookie cutter as apartments go.  Since we’re limited to what we can do on the inside I’ve turned my attention to our furnishings  – lighting up the space and making it feel more like a home.

This weekend’s project:  creating a dining room space.

Reclaiming Your Castle

Reclaiming Your Castle

This is where we started.  I’m big on repurposing so we picked up this lovely dining room set (I say that sarcastically) off of Craigslist for $70.  It came with 6 chairs, a buffet and hutch so the price wasn’t bad.

The major issue with repainting this set was the fact that is was covered in a lacquer coating.  Since we have no outdoor space, sanding or spray painting wasn’t an option which lead me to our local Home Depot to ask for a little advise.

Reclaiming Your Castle

Reclaiming Your Castle

They directed  me towards Kilz Original Oil Based Primer.  It smells like nail polish remover but wow, this stuff will cover just about anything.  It recommends two coats but I found that one was more than enough.  I allowed the primer to dry for about 30 minutes and then applied two coats of white semi-gloss oil-based paint.

Reclaiming Your Castle

Reclaiming Your Castle

I anchored the space with a throw rug (IKEA; $19.99) and created a wide runner with a curtain panel I picked up at our local thrift store, still in the box from Target ($9.99 / originally sold for $24.99).  While I was there I grabbed a set of 8 stoneware mugs ($0.49 a piece) great for juice or coffee in the morning and 4 matching pillows to use as cushions ($1.00 a piece).

Reclaiming Your Castle

Reclaiming Your Castle

Reclaiming Your Castle

Reclaiming Your Castle

I love fresh flowers in the Spring but keeping those on the table can get a little costly.  Baby’s Breath is a great alternative…it’s cheap, lasts forever, and the wispy white flowers are perfect for the season.

Reclaiming Your Castle

Reclaiming Your Castle

Our apartment does have a separate dining room but it’s directly off the front door and has no windows…who wants to eat there!  I split off the buffet table that came with our dining set to be used as an entryway table and it’s also destined for a new coat of paint.

Reclaiming Your Castle

Reclaiming Your Castle

How to Create a Vision Board…Keeping Your Goals in Focus

Lauren Conrad

Lauren Conrad

Most days I have a million different thoughts running through my head; what to make for dinner, what bills need to be paid, Dr.’s appointments, birthday parties, work…there’s no room left for inspiration.  No time to set goals and focus on accomplishing them!

Enter the vision board.  It’s like Pinterest with a little elbow grease.  The purpose of this practice is to set in front of you long-term goals that are easily forgotten in the grind of day-to-day life.  They’re not magic; they don’t make things happen but they remind you that you want to make things happen.  For instance, your creating your vision board and you paste up a picture of a beautiful plate of food; you want to learn to cook.  You pass by this picture everyday and the next time you get an invite or a flyer in the mail for a cooking class your inspired and sign up!  Having a visual reminder of your goals and desires give those goals priority and help you focus your energy on accomplishing them.

Pret-aPortea

Pret-a-Portea

There are lots of techniques for assembling a vision board and several ideas on what the purpose of your vision board should be.  One of best articles I’ve read is ‘What the Heck’s a Vision Board – And How Can it Change Your Life?’ by Martha Beck.  Here are a few things that you’ll definitely need and the basics of putting your board together.

#1.  Get some magazines…lot’s of them!  Tear out any pictures, headlines or captions that speak to you and set them aside.  Have fun with it; don’t focus on collecting anything specifically just go with what you’re passionate about.

#2.  Sort your collection into groups.  If you’ve found yourself gravitating towards words and pictures that promote a healthier lifestyle consider dedicating a portion of your vision board to that goal and so on.

#3.  Get a cork board and start pinning!  Once you’ve determined what you’re passionate about and what your goals are start pinning up your pictures.  With pins and a cork board your vision board can grow and change with your goals.

#4.  Display your board in an obvious place – one that you’ll see often throughout the day.

*If you have a vision board or have any tips for putting one together I would love to hear from you!

Design Trends…India and the Far East

Two Worlds Arts

Two Worlds Arts

If you’re anything like me you’ve been snooping through magazines and hitting up Pinterest for some inspiration on livening up your home for the coming Summer months.  From colors, to materials, to patterns and trends it can really be overwhelming!  

With that in mind, I’ve decided to dedicate Mondays to featuring some of the better home design trends I’ve seen out there.  The goal is to keep your space interesting; not just for entertaining but so you and your family can stay entertained!  Adding a few small trendy pieces around the house keeps your home looking fresh and inspired without breaking the bank.

 INDIA AND THE FAR EAST

Elle Decor did a trend alert on Far East home decor recently and I like this one for a lot of reasons.  Colors from India and the Far East are bold and vibrant (perfect for Summer) and the angles and shapes of this style are visually interesting. 

Take a look at some examples of this current trend; can you work the Far East into your home this season?

Overstock

Overstock

Malibu Creations

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

Suzys Vintage Attic

Houzz

Houzz

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

Joss and Main

Joss and Main

Crafts in India