Sunday, August 25, 2013

DIY No-Cost Room Redesign

For me, redesigning a room or a corner provides character.  I love the idea of things flowing in a coherent and sometimes opposite manner.  Some would say it's feng shui,  a spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy; others, would say yin and yang, complementary opposites.  Nevertheless, It's the interplay of colors and shapes that energize me. 

 For this post, I will show you how you can add a bit of (visual) flavor just by grouping like items and  putting complementary colors together.

We rented this beautiful home by the ocean during the summer and it has all the elements of modernism: the main colors in and around the house are a vibrant green, yellow and orange.  

  Below are areas that I thought could maximize the look of corners in the rooms: deck table, window seats, kitchen and bedroom.  I didn't buy a single thing, all I did was  heighten colors in the house by rearranging items and mixing some of the harmonious decorative pieces. 

BEFORE- Welcome sign near the door

AFTER - Embellished with decorative items  

BEFORE - Outside deck table and chairs

 AFTER  - Day use

AFTER- Night use

BEFORE - Window seat

I took colorful pillows from different rooms and assembled them around one center pillow  to make a dramatic seating arrangement.  

A little touch of flair is added on the small table by mixing  and matching the colorful plates, thus enhancing the colors of the pillows.

Ta- Da!  A romantic corner to behold.

BEFORE- Chairs facing the fireplace


These green vases (several more are scattered around) were separately displayed. 

BEFORE - Fireplace corner


BEFORE - Whole view of fireplace


 BEFORE- Corner of a kitchen counter


BEFORE - Corner of bedroom dresser


By arranging similar things, it makes for a more interesting room!

See Also...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bridal Shower Tablescape - Garden Tea Party Theme

Here's an intimate  Bridal Shower Garden Tea Party Tablescape  that is elegant, has lots of symbolism and yet is easy on the budget.  These table arrangements are the result of combining the resources of an entire family, turning a typical pot luck gathering into a cohesive design.

The bride wanted something simple in white and yellow.  I've added a shimmering green mesh in the middle of the flower arrangements to break the colors of whiteness on the table and stay within the theme of an outdoor garden tea party.

I was able to create the centerpiece floral arrangements  from azalea flowers and willow tree branches from different people's yards.  The food was made by the relatives of the bride-to-be.  The yellow ribbons surrounding the chairs were made by a relative, while the tablecloth, chair covers, plates and chargers were courtesy of the bride's generous aunts.

I wanted to bring a little bit of the bride's personality to the napkin settings.   The napkins were tied with 3 different shaped leaves to symbolize her personality: the real leaf to indicate her down to earth side, glittery green paper to indicate her jazzy side,  the striped ones to indicate her inner country girl.  The yellow flowers are her favorite color, which match her sunny disposition!

Each lady was provided a hat and we had a contest for the most unusual hat design.  
Homemade desserts, finger sandwiches (not pictured) were served in white platters in a garden setting.

 I added the white picket fences to add flavor to the garden setting.

Utensils were served in a miniature wheelbarrow and the table was partially covered with vinyl boxwood.

I provided these chocolate flavored candles as a favor to attendees, and  which were used during the blessings after lunch and before the presents.

Symbolism of the Blessings: (not pictured)
Blessings with a rope (lifeline)  and candle (lighting her way) 
The candles were given to each attendee and were lit up to start a blessing for the bride to be.

The bride was surrounded by the attendees and I started the handing off of a long rope that went to the bride's mother first, then was given to the groom's mother next, and finally went around the other ladies - each in turn giving advice and prayers.

At the end of the circle, I gave the bride-to-be the symbolic rope to personify the lifeline of people she can depend on if she ever needs any help.  Every single person gave wonderful, meaningful advice and blessings so that there wasn't a dry eye in the circle.

These blessings will forever be etched in time since the bride- to-be's grandfather videotaped the scene!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Floral Arrangements: Match your Flower's Personality

Color helps to spice up life.  I love to be surrounded by vibrant colors - beautiful, distinctive floral designs really brighten my day!   Our grocery store consistently surprises me with different types of flowers for dirt cheap prices, that are just a little old.  

This post is to show how to freshen up your store bought flowers by using a variety of odd-shaped vases that match the personality of the flowers.  A little imagination and they can almost come to life!

These purple plants remind me of hay, so I used my little decorative wheel barrow and added some berries from my yard to create a feel of harvest time.

These yellow flowers look best in a teapot.

This clear vase shows off the corral color of these carnations.

I have this green bowl that I used during St. Patrick's Day and a petal shaped bowl that I thought would highlight this sunflower and by putting all three together created this floating centerpiece. 

These red gerberas work well with a long vase to balance the daintiness of its stem and the elegance of its flower.

These green button pom flowers just look beautiful in a collective.  I wanted to show them off well by using this multiple stem vase.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

This Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake is so easy and inexpensive, you can find the ingredients in your pantry. Decadence for cheap!

My youngest son loves anything with chocolate and his tried-and- true peanut butter! His dessert requirement: "as long as it has chocolate in it".  What a better way to satisfy this young man's appetite than combining his favorites! 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
Beat together butter and sugar. Until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. 

 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter (I use skippy)
4 (1 oz) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
Add peanut butter and melted chocolate into sugar mixture and beat until well blended.

6 eggs
Add eggs into the mixture one at a time.

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup milk
Mix together, flour, baking powder, and baking soda into the mixture: add milk just until combined. 

6 oz semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup)
Stir in the chocolate chips.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease bundt cake pan with butter.
  • Turn batter onto bundt cake pan and spread evenly. Bake for 55-60 minutes. Let cool in pan for at least 20 minutes, then unmold and let cool completely before frosting cake.
  • Use 1/2 of frosting and frost cake all over.  Refrigerate for 10 minutes and frost cake all over again. Sprinkle peanut (if desired),  peeled chocolate or even candies.

Chocolate Frosting (Makes about 1.5 cups)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3T butter
2 cups powdered sugar
6 T milk

You can use microwave to cook the chocolate  chips and butter for 1 to 1/2 minutes or until melted, or on the top range, in low to medium heat, until melted and smooth when stirred.

Beat in powdered sugar and milk.