Tag Archives: decorating

Fall Decorating the Natural Way

As I mentioned in a recent post, I’m wanting to move toward a simpler, less-cluttered life. And for the fall season, I’m thinking about how I can decorate and still keep things simple. Decorating with natural things is appealing to me because after you’re done decorating, you can recycle your natural decorations in a compost pile. Or you may be able to work it into your decorating for the next season (pinecones, for example, work great for both fall and Christmas decorating).

I made the centerpiece shown above with some small pumpkins and dried hydrangeas–they make such a pretty fall combination! I just placed the pumpkins in a shallow wire basket and filled in the empty spaces with the dried hydrangea flowers. This arrangement can work as a centerpiece. Or display it on a coffee table or sideboard.

As you’re doing your fall decorating, you may be doing a little cleaning, too, like cleaning your windows before the cold weather sets in or cleaning your floors. So here are some tips if you’re needing some nature-themed decorating inspiration and simple DIY natural cleaning ideas:

  • Create a welcoming home entrance by decorating your front door with a wreath made with colorful leaves and/or other fall foliage. Pinecones or gumballs from a sweet gum tree make a nice-looking wreath too.
  • You can also use items from nature (pinecones, branches of colorful leaves, gourds, pumpkins, or pots of autumn flowers) to add a natural touch to your decor throughout your home.
  • Display fresh fruit in a bowl or basket. Apples look great in wooden bowls and this makes a great fall table decoration or centerpiece.
  • Candles make everything cozy and beeswax candles are a good choice because they are long-lasting and burn clean. Soy candles are clean-burning, too.
  • Lanterns also add a cozy feel to your decor, whether you use real candles or the battery-powered ones.
  • Using seasonal pillows and throws on chairs and sofas is an easy way to add an autumn feel to the  furniture you already own. You can carry the “natural look” through by using pillows and other accessories made with natural fabrics like burlap, linen, and cotton.
  • Use a burlap or linen table runner in your dining room and decorate with displays of small pumpkins or gourds, or a “bouquet” of colorful branches of leaves.
  • Wicker baskets add a natural, rustic touch and are great for storing odds and ends or for displaying potted plants in.
  • Use fresh seasonal flowers in a vase or potted flowers throughout your home and on your porch for a punch of color.

  • Use dried herbs and fruits from your summer garden in an herbal potpourri mix to add natural fragrance to your home. In the potpourri shown above, I mixed dried orange slices with cinnamon sticks, fresh rosemary, and fresh oregano. I let the herbs dry right in the bowl, and they still have a great fragrance after they’re dried. You can also create a mix of dried citrus peel from oranges and grapefruit (cut in smaller pieces or strips), cinnamon sticks, and/or dried apple and orange slices. Or mix herbs like dried lavender and rosemary (and some eucalyptus if you have it) and display in a small bowl.
  • Another use for dried herbs–if you have a wood-burning fireplace, you can toss dried rosemary and lavender twigs into the fire to create a nice aroma.
  • Before you add any seasonal window decorations, clean the glass with a DIY vinegar and water mixture. Use 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water, or for dirtier windows, use equal parts vinegar and water. Put mixture in a spray bottle and shake to mix.
  • For a natural, light, general cleaner around the house (on things like countertops and tile floors), mix 2 Tablespoons of baking soda in 2 cups of warm water. Add in a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a soft fragrance.
  • Use a linen spray on your bed sheets to add a soft, relaxing fragrance to the bedroom. Just put 1 cup of water (you can use distilled water, too) in a spray bottle and add 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil; shake to mix and then lightly spray on linens. Shake this mixture each time you use it (as you’re getting your home ready for fall, you may also want to turn your mattresses and vacuum both sides, just to keep things fresh).

Hope you are having fun decorating for fall! Do you have any natural decorating tips of your own?

Sharing at Happiness is HomemadeThursday Favorite Things,  Inspire Me Monday.

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Spring Fever

I had to make a quick trip to the mall and ended up staying longer than I intended because I was admiring some pretty Spring and Easter tableware and decor at two of my favorite stores, Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma! Teal, light and bright greens, and nature-inspired neutrals seem to be big color themes for the spring season. These happen to be some of my favorite colors–no wonder I was so drawn to the store displays! 🙂 (Photos shown in this post are from Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma)

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At Pottery Barn, I loved all the teal in the table settings displayed right by the front entrance. The tableware looked great with the natural color and texture of woven place mats, along with some burlap and twine accents–so springy and outdoorsy! The inside store display I saw looked very much like the set-up in the photo above, featured on the Pottery Barn website.

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And I thought these bunny cupcake stands were sweet–they also work great for mini pies and tarts or cookies!

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I also liked these nature-inspired basket fillers

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…perfect for creating your own woodland baskets!

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The teal-green-neutral combination also looked great in other home accessories…

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…like this brightly-patterned pillow.

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I thought this embroidered butterfly pillow had a great spring feel, too.

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And I loved all the glassware in spring colors, especially the teal!

img45cWilliams-Sonoma also had nature-inspired designs in some of their spring tableware

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…and they have a new Botanical Citrus Collection which looks very springy.

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You can always find fun baking accessories there, like this Buttercup Cakelet Pan. How cute is that?

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And I saw these cookies later on their website–some great Easter cookie decorating inspiration!

Do you have Spring Fever like I do? Have you found any inspiring Easter and Spring decorating, entertaining, or gift ideas out there?

I’m linking this to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener.

Decorating Ideas for Next Christmas

It never fails…when Christmas is over, I come across ideas I wish I had seen earlier in the season so I could have tried them out. Well, I’m saving these ideas for next Christmas! Maybe you’ll find something here you’ll want to try next year, too!

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From My Picture-Perfect Life–Top photo: display ornaments in a variety of glass containers or covered plates or stands. Even larger vases work great! Bottom photo: Silver and gold are a great combination–add fullness to a silvery Christmas tree with decorative gold stems.

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From A Fanciful Diversion–a Shabby Chic lantern filled with a collection of snowy, glittery treasures.

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My artistic friend Eileen had a similar idea this Christmas, making such a pretty arrangement, above, on her table!

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From Carpe Diem–Glttery gold ornaments paired with rustic and natural elements–and more lanterns surrounding the bottom of the tree.

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Love this outdoor lantern on a vintage sled–from Self Architecture. Gives any porch a warm and welcoming look!

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A great way to add a touch of Christmas to bedrooms–hang stockings at the foot of the bed and add a Christmas pillow on top! From Passion Decor.

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Top photo: Pinecones go great with the other rustic decor in this Shabby Chic display, from Seda y Nacar. And from the same site, a festive bannister with gifts and greenery.

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What a cozy entryway from Texstil Design!

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Cute little Christmas trees add a nice touch on tables indoors or out. From Jaynes Cozy Corner.

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A glowing, golden vintage village warms up any room. From Old, but gold.

Well, we will sure be prepared for next Christmas, won’t we? 🙂 Have you collected some ideas you are saving for next Christmas?

Shell Decor Ideas

I have always loved seashells and going to the beach! They add such a light summery touch to rooms! But I also like displaying shells year round, to help remind me of summer and the good times I had at the beach. So I keep my eyes open for new ways to do that. I found some ideas at several different sites that I really liked–If you went on a beach vacation this summer and collected some shells, maybe you’ll see some ideas here that will work in your home!

Take a look at the many containers you can display shells in…

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Above, from Pinterest, a large round basket

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Stoneware and pottery ideas from Stone Gable

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Glass container ideas, like this fishbowl, from Coastal Living, with a candle nestled into some white sand, shells, and sea glass…

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Or a rimmed glass cake plate shown on Roses and Rust

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Glass canisters of different shapes and sizes found on Pinterest

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Glass vases, simple or elegant from Pottery Barn and shown on Habitually Chic

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Or crystal goblets and vases, for an elegant look, featured in House & Home

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Simple vintage glass jars seen on Better Homes and Gardens always make great decorative containers…

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As well as pretty bottles, from Country Living, filled with sand and shells from your vacation and labeled if you like, so you’ll remember what beach they’re from!

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Here’s a very creative way to display shells–fill a bird bath and cover with glass for a striking side table, from Completely Coastal.

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And a very practical way to use shells–as a soap dish! From Martha Stewart.

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These shells glued to candle jars are really pretty, shown on homedit.

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Other ways to use shells in decorating…I love this wreath featured on Coastal Style

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And this shell garland from Better Homes and Gardens–the wreath and garland make great decorations year round as well as for Christmas!

That’s a pretty good start for some shell decor tips!

Are you a shell collector? How do you display shells in your home?

IKEA Inspiration

When I was on vacation recently, I had the chance to stop in at one of my favorite stores–IKEA! They have all kinds of home decor and kitchen items, wonderfully designed and so reasonably priced! I can’t walk into an IKEA store without buying anything, so it’s probably good that I don’t live close to one! 🙂 When I do get a chance to shop there, though, it’s a real treat.

After I got back home, I browsed a little more on their website,  IKEA.com. I wish I had seen the tumbler pictured above when I was at the store…I definitely would have bought that! Here are some other great things I found…guess I’ll have to add these to my wish list for my next visit!

A fun, graphic rug…

 

A cool teapot (only $12.99!)…

A nifty serving bowl–I think this was just $2.99…

Colorful potato peelers…

A great chandelier…

A white chairbed…perfect for smaller living spaces…

Cupcake liners…I can always use those!…

And last but not least, ice pop makers…perfect for summer!

Hope you enjoyed this little glimpse of the kinds of things you can find at IKEA!

Do you shop at IKEA? What types of things do you buy there?

Autumn Decorating Inspiration from Pottery Barn

I found some great decorating ideas at the Pottery Barn website. It’s one of my favorite places to go idea-shopping because they always showcase their products in such beautiful ways. Most of these pictures from the site show how you can decorate with natural items (or natural-looking items), and how you can use and arrange containers to showcase these items on your tabletop, mantel, porch, or other areas of your home.

This is one of my favorite ideas–filling hanging jars with acorns and votive candles in glass holders. This idea would look great on a table, too–you could use an old canning jar. Make an arrangement with several filled jars, and you have a great centerpiece!

I also love the idea of using natural foliage in pottery containers or vases. It makes such a beautiful arrangement.

You can also bundle up some pretty fall branches of leaves and berries. If you can’t get them to stand up nicely like the bundle shown above, arrange several smaller bundles and display them in baskets.

Here are other creative ways to fill containers and use other decorative items in your fall displays…

While I was browsing the site, I also saw some autumn plates I liked. I love the fresh mix of these traditional design elements.

Hmm…I just may have to make room in my budget for these! 🙂

Welcoming Autumn

It’s hard to believe fall is already here! I’m glad it is, though…I love the rich colors of autumn–bright orange pumpkins, mums that bloom in rusty reds and vivid purples, and changing leaves in all kinds of brilliant, beautiful colors.

I found lots of wonderfully inspiring autumn decorating ideas to help welcome in the season at BetterHomesandGardens.comsome of which I’m posting here. Hope you find some ideas you can use in your own home!

This beautiful Cornucopia Wreath (pictured above) sounds pretty easy to make…just attach leaves, miniature pumpkins, squashes, and gourds to a foam wreath form using wire and a hot glue gun.

Do you have any bittersweet or Chinese lanterns growing in your fall garden? To make this wreath, just strip the leaves from the bittersweet vines and Chinese lantern stems, then bend and twist the vines into a circle. Wrap the vines circle around a wire wreath form, then tuck in the Chinese lanterns, securing stems and loose pods with dots of hot glue.

This Gourd-and-Vine Wreath is made by attaching colorful long-necked gourds to a simple vine wreath with raffia or wire. Add some colorful berry sprays and a ribbon or raffia bow to finish it off.

Here’s an easy-to-make leaf wreath. Use colorful fresh leaves from your yard or pliable dried ones from your local craft store. Cut a slit in the center of each leaf with small scissors (you can cut several at once). String the leaves onto a wire wreath form until full, and hang on a door or wall with an autumn-color ribbon.

Hanging pinecone bunches make a nice fall door decoration, too. Just hot-glue the flat end of some smaller-sized pinecones around a 3-inch wide plastic foam ball, then tie a bow and hot-glue it onto the ball (you’ll also need enough ribbon to make a loop to hang this on your door… you could loop the ribbon around the center of your bow before you glue it onto the pinecone ball). For an extra-special touch, hang your family monogram from a ribbon, too.

I love this idea of hanging a wreath on the back of a chair with an elegant velvet ribbon!

White pumpkins make a nice arrangement with rustic twigs and pretty mums.

What a nice, welcoming display to have in your front yard…a wheelbarrow filled with pumpkins, gourds, and bittersweet vines!

You can make some pretty potted arrangements with a variety of autumn plants and flowers.

And don’t forget the ornamental Kale…isn’t it beautiful?

Last but not least, here’s a great idea for your entryway…fill a decorative container with pumpkins. gourds, Indian Corn, and mums!

You’ll find these and many other ideas at BetterHomesandGardens.com. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to have to run to the store and get some mums and pumpkins now… 🙂

Decorating with Fall Foliage: Part 2

I have found so many creative Thanksgiving and autumn decorating ideas on the web and posted some of those yesterday. This is a continuation of some of the inspiring things I found. The ideas and photos I’m posting today are from Better Homes and Gardens. You just may get motivated to try out some of these really easy projects for Thanksgiving!

Here are some ideas using a variety of vases and containers (you can click on an image if you’d like to see it larger)…

Row 1: (1) Display pears, apples, or other autumn fruit in a large apothecary jar; (2) Fill vases with branches of colorful leaves and bittersweet berries; (3) For larger open spaces, fill tall vases with long stems of colorful foliage…a great idea for an entry way!

Row 2: (1) Display cattails in several tall glass vases, anchored with nuts or acorns; (2) Display cattails or branches of leaves in a vase filled with birdseed to give them support…tie some raffia around the vase to add to the natural look; (3) Use a butternut squash as a vase by cutting off the top of the squash, scooping out the flesh, and filling with water and colorful autumn flowers.

Row 3: (1) Arrange autumn flowers and berries in glass jars or vases and fill with water…for a pretty centerpiece, line up a variety of these along the middle of your oval or oblong table (or cluster them if your table is round); (2) Arrange small pumpkins in a rustic basket, tie a bow on the handle and use as a centerpiece or decoration in your living room; (3) Put freshly fallen or pressed leaves in small glass vases (old lab beakers are used in this photo)…put around your home or arrange them together as a centerpiece.

Note: an easy way to press leaves is to place them between layers of newspaper, under a heavy stack of books. Let leaves dry for a few days. To enhance the color of the leaves, iron them between pieces of waxed paper–use a cloth in-between the iron and waxed paper to keep wax off the iron.

Hope you get to try some of these out! You’ll find many more ideas at www.bhg.com!

Decorating with Fall Foliage: Part 1

I love the season of autumn, but when it comes to decorating my home, I really don’t have many store-bought fall accessories to work with. I have a wreath for my door and some autumn candle holders, but that’s about it. I really don’t want to buy a lot, though, because then I’d have the problem of storing it…and I just don’t have the space! Besides, I really like using elements from nature when I can, like pretty fall flowers, gourds and pumpkins, apples and pears, and rich, colorful leaves. And when you use natural things, you don’t have to worry about storing them…you can just put them in your compost bin! The other benefit is that many of the natural things you can decorate with are inexpensive or free–you can find pretty leaves, dramatic branches, and acorns or other nuts on a walk in your neighborhood or local park.

I’ve seen so many great natural decorating ideas for Thanksgiving and fall on the websites of some of my favorite magazines, so I thought I’d share some with you. Even though we’re pretty well into fall, you may find a few things you want to try from now through Thanksgiving.

Here are some creative tips (and photos) I found at MarthaSewart.com. I love this autumn planter (pictured above)…just use one of your unused flower planters from summer, and fill with gourds, small pumpkins, Indian corn…and fill in any extra spaces with leaves, moss, or other natural filler.

These gourd vases are another great idea…

I actually still have a few daisies blooming in my garden, so I could use them for this! Just cut the tops off of the pumpkins, squashes, or gourds you want to use and scoop away the inside pulp with a spoon; then fill with fall flowers (mums would work great) and add water…these natural “vases” should be watertight for about a week. Or you can use dried flowers, which won’t need any water.

There was a similar idea to this over at RealSimple.com…for their pumpkin centerpiece, they suggest arranging fresh flowers in a water-filled jar (instead of putting water in the pumpkin itself), and placing the jar inside the pumpkin. That sounds like it would work really well. Here’s their photo…

And another RealSimple idea and photo…use a wooden salad bowl as an autumn “vase.”  Place a shallow glass or plastic container in the wooden bowl, fill with water, and arrange cut carnations, mums, or other autumn flowers in the container. The stems only need to be about 3 or 4 inches long.

The richness of the wooden bowl makes it perfect for a fall centerpiece!

I’ll post more natural fall and Thanksgiving decorating ideas soon…stay tuned for Part 2! 🙂

Linked to Favorite Things Saturday.

Elegant Gilded Pumpkins & Other Ideas

Talk about some wonderful pumpkin decorating…this photo of beautifully gilded pumpkins really caught my attention over at CountryLiving.com. There are paint kits available that you can use to get this look in The Country Living Artisans Collection, or you may be able to improvise with your own materials. Here’s how to create gilded pumpkins in a nutshell and for more information, visit the links above. All photos shown and gilding directions are from CountryLiving.com.

How to get started…

You can use real or faux pumpkins…make sure the surface is clean and dry. Wearing gloves, apply a base coat with a paintbrush to seal the surface. Let dry for 30-60 minutes.

Position stickers (from the kit) on the pumpkin, then apply “sticky size” over the entire surface, including the stickers. Leave until it’s clear and tacky, 10 to 20 minutes.

Apply gold and silver leaf to the pumpkin and smooth with a soft cloth to fill in the gaps.

Carefully pull off stickers using tweezers.

Apply toner with a paintbrush. Wipe away the toner with a soft cloth to get the desired color and effect.

Here are some other great autumn decorating ideas I liked at CountryLiving.com

Decorate terra-cotta pots and gourds with imitation silver and gold leaf.

Carve out small pumpkins and insert votive candles…this is a great idea for decorating your table all autumn long!

Make a Pumpkin Tower, stacking different sizes and colors of pumpkins. This could work nicely in a corner of your front porch or backyard patio. There aren’t any specific instructions for this on the website, but it looks like some stems have been cut down or removed on the lower pumpkins for easier stacking.

There are 29 pumpkin decorating ideas in all, so visit CountryLiving.com to see more!