Monday, November 30, 2009

I can totally make that

Have yourself a merry DIY Day….

Have you ever been in a store this time of year and caught your eye on a simple but beautiful décor idea? You admire the little doodad and think to yourself, “I could totally make that.” I’m hoping this post will be kind of like that.

Let me introduce you to my new kitchen vignette. For the past two years, I’ve pretty much decorated this area the same old boring way, so I was itching to do something new this year. Only I didn’t want to spend any money. Or take that much time. Or even bother making anything. Ok, so I was feeling lazy and when I’m feeling lazy I like to assemble. I think assembling or layering or whatever you want to call it is one of the secrets of stylish decorating on a budget. Somehow, throwing a bunch of random, inexpensive items together is an easy way to create something that looks pretty classy.
Here’s what I had on hand: A glass fish bowl, paper houses, a Christmas tree photo holder (don’t have these? Go here to make some on the fly and on the cheap), and  flour (you could use ivory snow, or white sand, or cotton batting, etc.)

These items made up stage one of my assembly. I threw them all together and made a cute little snow scene. I, however, don’t know when to leave well enough alone and thought that the scene need to have some height, so I started pulling out more random thing from my kitchen cabinets.
I found: A glass bowl with a pedestal, a white dinner plate (don’t have a pedestal bowl? Try a cake stand or a plate stuck to a candle stick with a little poster putty) and a small white dish.

At this point I set the bowl on the serving dish and the plate on the bowl and the glass fish bowl on the plate (and the hole in the log in the bottom of the sea). It was starting to look pretty spiffy, but it needed a little more fluffing.
I dug around some more and found: about ten vintage glass ball ornaments and some boxwood clippings from the bush in our front yard.

I took everything out of the glass pedestal bowl and stuck in a few ornaments, and then I put it all back together again. I set the remaining glass ornaments on the serving dish to form a ring around the pedestal base. Finally, I tucked some boxwood around the edge of the dinner plate and fish bowl base.

It seriously took me longer to write this post than it did to assemble the whole vignette. So, what are you waiting for? Go raid your kitchen cabinets and assemble your own great look, because you can totally make this!
Don’t forget to stop by Tuesday night for the Colorful Blessing Blog Party, right here at the roost. This week we’re celebrating the yellow blessings in our homes!


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Gifting: A Guide

Confession: I love giving presents. I mean, I really love it. I especially love it when you can find just the right thing for someone. That item they never knew they needed or wanted, but the second they rip off the paper they fall in love. Because some people are really hard to buy for and sometimes it can be hard to think of the perfect thing for everyone on your list, here is a little Christmas gift guide from me to you. These items are not very expensive but they are thoughtful and useful.
For the crafter on your list:
- a new xacto knife
- spray paint squeeze trigger
- fresh colored pencils, or sharpie markers
- A really nice package of heavy weight paper in any color
- Several fancy paper punches
- Rolls of twine, jute, and butchers string
- Good quality scissors – they kind she would never justify buying for herself
For the fashionista:
- faux pashmina or other trendy scarf – Wal-Mart and Wisteria have great deals on these
- Really nice tights in several colors – is she’s conservative stick to black, brown, and grey. If she’s a little more trendy try patterns or dark colors like cranberry and plum
- A statement necklace. Modcloth and Lulu*s have some beautiful and affordable pieces
- A set or two of wooden hangers
- A really nice hair brush
For the cook:
- A good quality paring knife – you can never have too many!
- Nice, thick dish towels that match the kitchen – then make him/her get rid of the gross ones lurking in a drawer
- A set of exotic spices or ingredients
- A fun bottle to hold the dish soap
- A set of three nice cutting boards
- Organic/natural counter spray – you can even make this yourself.
For the guys
- Junk food they don’t normally get to eat – My husband gets a can of Easy Cheese and a bunch of Reese’s cups every year, and he loves it!
- A game from their childhood or a remote controlled car/plane/truck
- A kit to make something – a mini solar car, model hot rod, and similar kits have gone over well.
- Fresh equipment for their favorite sport – according to my husband, you can never have too many golf balls.
- A non-fiction book on one of their interests – sports jokes, home improvement guides, Dave Berry, Bill Bryson, etc.
- A coupon for something they love – “A homemade pumpkin pie whenever you want it, even July” was a big hit
- Nails, screws, wire, sandpaper, and other hardware items
For the newly weds
- A collection of your favorite tried and true (not fancy or complex) recipes in a photo album with extra room for adding more.
- Candle sticks – I think everyone forgets to put these on their registries
- A few meaningful ornaments so the tree isn’t too bare.
- A Christmas tradition – an advent wreath or calendar, a copy of The Polar Express and a bell, etc. With a note explaining how the tradition works at your house.
For the person who has everything
- a book of forever stamps
- movie tickets
- bees, chicks, or a share of a cow from Heifer
- a copy of a book that has changed your life, either in print or on CD
- A letter explaining what they mean to you and why you love and respect them
- A standing invitation to dinner at your house, once a month (or whatever) for a year
- A handwritten letter, or cartoon, or doodle, mailed to them once a week for a year
I hope you find these ideas helpful! Please add your own tried and true gift ideas in the comments, we can all use all the help we can get!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Fresh Fashion Friday: Meg Ryan Style

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Brad and I ate two full turkey dinner and saw nearly 30 family members, so we had a lot to be thankful for this year. Speaking of things to be thankful for, I am always thankful for my all time favorite movie, You’ve Got Mail (did you like that transition?). Of course I love the whole book thing, and the love thing, and the Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are adorable thing, but I also love that whole fashion thing Kathleen Kelly has going on. She has the perfect bookish meets stylish look. This week’s outfit is inspired by the grey jumper/white dress shirt combo she wears during the bookstore fight scene, “I have to fight. Fight! Fight! Fight!”

I think it’s fun to add an unexpected element or two, so I tossed on my vintage beaded necklace for a little pop of yellow.

I also add a black ribbon sash because I felt like the outfit needed a little something else.

Now for the breakdown:
- White dress shirt from h&m
- Grey jumper from Ross
- Yellow beads from thrift store
- Black sash from Old Navy
- Black tights from Wal-Mart
- Black flats from h&m

I hope you all have a lovely holiday weekend!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Colorful Blessings - Orange

It’s week two of the Colorful Blessings blog party! This week we’re celebrating our orange blessings.
First up, I’m thankful for clementines.

I love everything about this pint sized fruit. I love that as far as I know this is the only fruit with a person’s names (as opposed to Gwyneth Paltrow’s daughter Apple, the only person I’ve heard of with a fruit’s name). I love that clementines arrive in stores just in time for Christmas. I love that they are a sweet, guilt free snack in a season dripping with fudge and candy sprinkles. And I love, love the way they smell!
I’m thankful for my cheerful retro curtains.

My mom made me this punchy valance from a vintage feedsack. The orange and aqua pattern works perfectly in our cheerful office/craft room.
Finally, I’m thankful for Anne Shirley.

I used to dream of being best friends with Anne of Green Gables. I tore through every book written by L. M. Montgomery and read most books several times over. I’m pretty sure these stories are the reason I majored in creative writing and still hope to pen a children’s book one day.
It’s your turn! I can’t wait to see what orange blessing you have in your own homes. Please add the link your own orange blessings blog post and be sure to include a link to this post in your own, so more people can join in the fun!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Wreath Remix

Twelve Weeks of Christmas

It’s a DIY Day remix! Since it’s practically (almost!) Christmas time, I started thinking about how to change up my little Thanksgiving wreath to give it some holly jolly attitude. ( Note: thanks to her sweet invite, I'm also joining Keelie for her Christmas wreath party)

If you don’t follow my crazy ramblings, go here to learn how to make this pinecone cutie. Tip, you just need pinecones and lots of hot glue.

I knew I wanted to make a new banner for the wreath, but I also wanted to give it some extra wintery sparkle. Enter my beloved white paint and some glitter. As we all know, you can throw glitter everywhere at Christmas time and no one will call you tacky.

I used one of those awesome cheap-o foam brushes to dab white paint on the pinecones. While the paint was still wet, I sprinkled some super fine opal glitter all over the pinecones. If you had some snow text, you could do this all in one step, but I’m all about using whatever’s on hand. I think the big, chunky vintage glitter would look really cute on this project too.

To finish off the wreath, I made a tiny banner from some scrapbook paper and white ribbon. I free handed the letters, but you could also use stickers or die cuts.

I think this tiny wreath adds just the right little something to my retro kitchen.

Happy Christmas crafting!
Don't forget to check back tomorrow for the second Colorful Blessings blog party. Link up with your orange blessings :-)


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fall Rewind

Back in August I set some goals for fall. Since the Christmas season starts this Friday, let's look back and see how I did!
My List:

1.enjoy apples

I didn’t get to go apple picking, but I certainly have eaten plenty of apples this fall. I also made some delicious caramel apple cider and a simple apple center piece.

2. try new recipes

Fall definitely makes me want to cook! I made some yummy pumpkin barsroast potatoes, and baked tilapia.

3. go camping

So the whole camping thing was a fail. I blame this on crazy schedules and many, many rainy weekends in a row. We did manage to meet up with college friends in Williamsburg and visit Maymont.

4. go to the Homegoods grand opening

Brad and I and half of Richmond showed up for the grand opening. We had fun exploring the new store and even came home with a few deals. I can’t wait to see the day after Christmas sales at this store!

5. Create new fall décor

This one went pretty well! I made:
- two different sets of bird art in twig frames because I am ADD creative.
- some fun fish bowl vignettes which also featured birds because I am obsessive in tune to décor trends.
- a campy/retro Halloween banner
- a fun pine cone wreath (stay tuned for a winter update to this wreath later in the week!)
- and my favorite fall project by far turned out to be the faux mercury glass pumpkins

6. celebrate sweater weather by wearing sweaters

Let’s see ... how many of my Fresh Fashion Friday posts have involved sweaters?

7. read new YA books
I’ve only read through a few of our new books, so I have some catching up to do over winter break. It seems I’ve been reading more blog than books lately. However, I did read through an entire book on Friday! If you like thrillers, family dramas, and smart teens, check out If the Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney.

8. See Where the Wild Things Are
Brad and I went to see this opening weekend. I love it! I posted my full review here.
Well, fall turned out to be wonderful here at the roost! Here's hoping for a Christmas season full of just as much fun, creativity, and love! What are your favorite moments from this fall? If you blogged about any of them, please share the link with me :-) I love to see what y'all are up to!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fresh Fashion Friday: That's a Wrap!

Let me introduce you to my new favorite dress,

I picked this up over the weekend while searching the Target clearance racks for a dress for a winter wedding. I came up empty handed on the formal dress front, but this little number just begged to come home with me.

I love that this dress has a little vintage flair. It also doesn’t hurt that swirly skirts are flattering on just about all women.The heels make me feel extra girly.

On to the outfit breakdown:
- Purple wrap dress from Target
- Yellow seed necklace from Brazil
- Brown tights from Wal-Mart
- Tan heels from Payless

Have a lovely weekend!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Colorful Blessing: Red

I am so excited! It’s time for the first Colorful Blessings blog party! This week the color is red.

Since my red kitchen was the inspiration for the whole party idea, I thought I’d share some other places in the roost where red pops up.

I love this throw, not just because it’s beautiful, but also because it was handmade by Brad’s Maw Maw. Maw Maw made this especially for me, back when Brad and I were first dating. It meant so much to me to know that she cared enough about me to make such a sweet Christmas gift.

When Brad and I have friends or family over, we love to play board games. Apples to Apples is one of our favorites. I’m thankful for all the ridiculous laughter we have shared while playing this game! Seriously, strange object have shot out of people's noses due to extreme laughter.

Lastly, I’m thankful for Target and my twin soul, Tracy. She has been my best shopping buddy on many trips, including one just last weekend. Good friends, good deals, cute clothes – all things to be thankful for!
Now it’s your turn – what red blessings do you have around your house? It can be a décor item, a delicious dinner, or any household item.

To join the fun:

1. Add the link to your red blessings blog post (not to your blog in general)
2. Include a link to this post in your own post so more friends can share the fun

I can’t wait to see what y’all have to share. Next week we’ll be sharing our orange blessings, so start thinking!

<3 Hattie

Monday, November 16, 2009


Are y’all ready to have a merry little DIY Day? Since Thanksgiving is so late this year (why didn't I realize this until Saturday?) I couldn’t help but break out a little Christmas project.

Brad and I have never done any kind of Advent calendar, because I’ve always thought of them as being just for kids, but this year I was inspired to create a calendar that focused on the true meaning of the season. I broke the first two chapters of Matthew into 25 chunks, and created little numbered tags for each verse.

Starting on December 1st, Brad and I can read each verse and hang it from a makeshift “tree” I made from a few twigs from the yard.

I decided to use my little glass fish bowl to hold the tags until their days arrive.

Each tag is wrapped in a belly band cut from scrapbook paper.

When the band is removed, the verse is revealed.

I also put numbers on the back of each tag, so that I’ll still know what day it is once the band has been removed.

To create the tags, I simple traced a decorative scrapbook tag onto cardstock, but you could use any shape you like. If you’d like to see the verses I used, I put them in this google doc. Blogger won’t let me upload the word doc with the circle verses and numbers, but if you’re interested, send me an email and I’ll try to get it to you!

Now, do y’all think I should keep my tree natural or spray paint it white or silver?

Merry (early) Christmas!

P.S. Don't forget to check back Tuesday night for my first McLinky Colorful Blessings Party! I'll put the link up around 10:00 pm Eastern Time.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Flaunt What Ya Got: 2

Remember when I showed y’all my free living room update, made possible by arranging throws in a fresh, new way? Well, today I’m back with a free kitchen update, prefect for holiday entertaining.
If you’re like me, you have a ton of bowls, plates, candle sticks, and other miscellaneous kitchen accessories. I took a fresh look at some of these pieces and came up with two new ways to use them.

To create this lovely mood lighting, I simply topped milk glass candle sticks with small condiment bowls. Add tiny tea lights from the Dollar Tree for instant glow.



Simple, free, pretty. What’s not to like? You could tuck greenery and berries around the candle bases for an extra Christmassy look.
To take this idea a step further, create lovely stands by stacking plates, bowls, vases, and candle sticks.

This is an easy way to vary the height on a buffet, for a fun and fancy look.
How have you repurposed kitchen accessories? Please share your ideas!