Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Thrifting My Way to Entertaining

Cooking scares me.  Especially cooking for others: trying to plan out the meal and when things need to go in the oven, attempting to juggle the kitchen while greeting guests and getting them a beverage, AND keeping the food warm once it's done...it's all just terrifying for me.  As a perfectionist I'd rather not do it at all than do it poorly, but I've decided I need to get over that.  I admire hospitable people greatly, and I enjoy putting time and thought into our home.  I long to be hospitable and have the chance to share what I'm passionate about with others.

We're still in the cabin, and likely will be for some time, but I've decided that I will host and entertain in the next house better than our last.  And just like getting some new running shoes helps me get excited about working out, investing in some entertaining pieces has me looking forward to a dinner party.

When I say "invest" you can take that rather lightly.  While I'm constantly frequenting thrift and antique stores, I tend to always look past serving pieces and silverware.  But I've started browsing through those sections, and it's fun to have something new to hunt for.

I found a set of 80 greek key dishes for under $40.  They were all in great condition and I knew they could be a foundational set to mix in with other pieces, depending upon the season or occasion.

I stumbled across 3 wooden boxes filled with this brass and bone Thai silverware the other week.  I spent some time in Thailand while I was in college, so they have some personal meaning to me and at $20 for all 3 boxes, I couldn't pass them up.

I like the mix of the more modern utensil ends with the more intricate work of the buddha.  Along with about 10 sets of utensils and the usual serving pieces, there are quite a few interesting pieces that I've never seen before.

I think collecting serving ware like this will help me get excited about entertaining, and it's also opened up a whole new world of thrifting.

Do you like to entertain?  Any words of wisdom or tips for those of us who are a little overwhelmed by the idea?  

If you want to know a bit more about our life in the cabin, the sweet Shavonda at A Home Full of Color did a little Q&A with me about how things are going here.  


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Halloween Costume Countdown

Sometimes I love stress.  Not the average stress we face, like paying the bills or working through our children's more difficult stages; but the kind where there are deadlines, but the process in general is a good time.  Creative stress.  Halloween costumes are certainly a creative stress.

I tend to start brainstorming several months prior, but we don't often commit until a few weeks before the big night.  I have the best intentions of making both my kids' costumes, but I usually end up buying one and making one.  It allows me to put 100% into one outfit and my son prefers the instant gratification of store-bought anyway.  

Last year was the exception, when I made both of their costumes (in thanks to Xander's love of The Great Pumpkin).  A sheet with some tulle-covered holes was hardly any work though.

Xander's costume for trick-or-treating this year has already arrived via Fed Ex, and I'm sewing away on Milly's.  If she longs to be what half of all little girls long to be this year, I'm going do my best to make hers a bit different.  I've learned felt and fleece are perfect for costume making.  They're cheap, warm on a cool night, don't require hemming, and have some give when you're just making things up as you go.  While I like to follow rules, I've never liked to follow patterns.  Do you have costumes all figured out yet?  It's hard to believe Halloween is almost a week away.  

If you're still looking for some last minute entertaining ideas, Xander's Friday the 13th birthday party was full of frightfully fun food and decor.  

And this post has some quick and easily additions to add some spook to your spaces.  

What costumes are you putting together this year?  


Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Handmade Wedding Invitation

This summer a girl I grew up with reached out asking for some invitation sources for her upcoming wedding, and if I would be able to sit down with her and her mom to brainstorm some ideas for her big day. I knew her mom was an incredible artist and wedding planner, so I wasn't quite sure why they would need me, but I figured it would be fun and agreed to it.  Their main issue at the time was working out the invitations.  I listened to Mary's wants and threw out some thoughts. Her mom came back with, "have you done a lot of wedding invitation design?" which I quickly answered, "never."

But Mary and Libby were confident in my ideas, and a complete joy to work with.  During our discussion it was clear that we were going for what I've been calling "handmade, not homemade." No burlap here.  Mary prefers a simple aesthetic while her mom loves color and detail.  Creating watercolor branches in varying styles and incorporating handwritten elements mixed with a clean font played to both of their tastes.

First I made this laurel medallion with the bride and groom's monogram.  Once we finalized this piece I built off of it to create the invitation suite.

The reception will be in the Comfort's backyard - which is breathtaking - including Libby's new art studio/barn (This space is full of so much life, just like Libby, hence the pop of color for the reception card).  I can't wait to see their vision come to fruition and feel really honored to have been a part of the process.

If you're married, I'd love to hear about your wedding invitations.  How did they reflect your big day?   


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Inspiring Office Furnishings with Plaidfox

I haven't talked about our building process for several weeks now, but mainly because it's been no news or rather disheartening news.  On Friday I dug a hole in the rain to discover that a utility line we were told was a temporary phone line that could be abandoned was actually a working cable line that was marked improperly.  Back to the easement drawing board.

Between all of the home issues and a busy month, I'd taken a break from house planning, but I'm ready to get back at it.  It's what will keep me hopeful and motivated.  Probably the space I'm most excited about is the study.  With great light for photography and lots of storage, it will be the perfect space for me to create.

We plan to do floor to ceiling built-ins along the two interior walls with cabinets on bottom to store fabric and supplies and shelving on top to display books and pretty things.  I want the room to be a place I can make a mess and simply close the doors at the chance of unsuspected visitors, but also be elegant enough for entertaining.

The bones of the house will all lean very traditional, but my love of color and more modern pieces will come out in the furnishings.  The study will boast classic built-ins and crown molding, allowing me to take some risks with clean and colorful furniture and accessories.

While we still have a while before I'll need to be decorating, the planner in me can't help but dream, so I put together some boards to inspire my future work/play space.  Have you heard of PlaidFox yet?  It's a wonderful new retail website that boasts hundreds of beautiful things for your home.   If your in search of something special for your space, this is a great place to start.  It's simple to search and very well-curated.  And if you're not sure what you're looking for, their Style Test is a lot of fun and rather accurate.

To no surprise, I wound up to be Traditionally, Eclectic.  What's your style?


This post is sponsored by PlaidFox.  Thank you for supporting the companies that make The Makerista possible.