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Archive for the ‘What Do You Want to Change?’ Category

It’s 24 hours until Thanksgiving…have you set your table yet?

Get yourself over to Boston Mamas to see my elegant and kid-friendly Thanksgiving table, then hit your local craft store for the supplies. It will keep your kids busy and get your table ready for family mayhem. Promise.

ThanksgivingPlacecards

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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Vases

Over on Boston Mamas, my Use-What-You-Own Hanukkah Table Setting is featured. Fun! Central to the design are these pretty dipped vases. They’re super easy to make, customizable for any holiday or event, and usable long after the celebration is over.

Ready to go? Here’s what you need:

  • Protective table covering
  • Plain glass vases (the kind that end up in closets from florist arrangements or in the 50-cent-bin at your local thrift shop)
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Baking sheet or tray
  • Tinfoil
  • Gallon of white latex paint (Please note that you will have nearly all the white paint left, so choose a shade that will work in your house or for some other project later! I used a gallon left over from a bookshelf we painted.)
  • Gallon freezer bag
  • Pint or more of additional colored latex paint (Check the OOPS! rack at your local hardware store for discounted colors that were returned by customers.)

DIYDippedVasesAnimation

  1. Clean your vases thoroughly with soap and water. Dry, then wipe down with rubbing alcohol.
  2. Place a protective covering on your work surface.
  3. Cover a baking sheet or tray with tinfoil.
  4. Dip the vases, bottom-first, into the white paint. Hold each vase in the paint for about 10 seconds, then pull out and let the paint drip off. Set down on tinfoil-covered baking sheet or tray; bottom-down for a clean top edge (as I have done in this example) or top-down for a dripped edge.
  5. Let dry for one hour.
  6. Create a “bucket” with your gallon freezer bag by folding the bottom corners of the bag onto themselves. Secure with tape.
  7. Fill your “bucket” with your second paint.
  8. Dip the vases into the second paint. Swoosh the paint around so you get edges that have some movement, then pull out and let the paint drip off. Set down on a newly-tinfoil-covered baking sheet or tray; again, bottom-down for a clean top edge or top-down for a dripped edge.
  9. Let dry for one hour. Wipe down bottoms if there is a thick layer of wet paint.
  10. Fill with flowers and enjoy!

Please note that the paint WILL COME OFF if these vases are put in a dishwasher or washed by hand with too much vigor. Rinse and dry carefully to make them last!

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THIS?

SalmonSupper

Took SIX MINUTES.

And my kids — okay, one of my two kids — devoured it before I even sat down.

For all you real chefs out there, THIS, in SIX MINUTES, won’t surprise you.

But for me, who can barely get dinner on the table each night, it is HUGE.

Find the recipe at Make More, Buy Less — another place where you can find me (talking less about design-y things and more about, well, pretty much everything else).

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One domestic pursuit I’ve never been able to wrap my head around is gardening. It’s always seemed very complicated to me with its chemistry and logistics. Managing planting and blooming times; planning out a garden to allow for the plants to mature; understanding soil pH; making sure the buggers aren’t over- or under-watered, etc. etc. etc.

Am I overthinking this?

Maybe so.

Maybe if I planted a whole garden full of these beauties I’d be all set.

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According to my emerald-thumbed friends, Hellebores are some of the easiest plants to grow. They’re perennials (so they’ll come back every year), they like shade, and they bloom from late winter to late spring (in the Northeast), so you get to enjoy them for months on the plant, or clipped and set in a bowl.

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Gorgeous, right?

What do you have in your garden? Any easy-to-grow, easy-to-keep-alive plant suggestions for me?

Image and gardening credit: Valerie Schrade

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A few weeks ago I made the long trek down to IKEA to pick up a bookshelf for my younger son’s room. He has about 2,763 books and I wanted to poke my eyes out every time I went into his room because it was such a sty. When I was visiting my mom in North Carolina, we went to a pretty little museum shop in Chapel Hill and I fell in love with their display shelves. Turned out that they were from IKEA’s BESTA media storage line, so I hightailed it down to my local shop as soon as I returned.

I don’t know about you, but every time I go to IKEA I’m sort of blown away by how awesome it is. I’ve been buying IKEA wares for nearly 20 years — from furnishing my first post-collegiate New York City apartment to replacing my most-loved stock pot just a few months ago. Mid-century-inspired furniture, Swedish holiday accessories, live plants (including fiddle leaf fig plants — I scored three the last time I was there!), the design-y P.S. line…I love it all. Here are my five favorites right now:

Five-Favorites-IKEA

1. BESTA Shelf Unit –  Used as a museum store display, intended to hold living room electronics, purchased for my son’s excessive library. I no longer want to poke my eyes out every time I go into his room. 2. SOCKER Vase (set of 2) – got them in the coral and aqua (couldn’t resist). 3. RENS Sheepskin – graces the back of my office chair. 4. UPPTACKA Shopping Bag with Wheels – perfect for flea- or farmers-marketing. 5. EIVOR Throw – super cozy, light, and graphic.

What’s your favorite IKEA item? Tell me below or on the Mudroom Boston Facebook page. You’re a fan, right?

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Looking for pretty, inexpensive, brass drawer pulls?

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Aren’t they fabulous?

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Find them here.

Furniture image by Paige Lewin. Furniture design by Paige Lewin in collaboration with Bill Jones of Fresh Air Millworks.

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On the way to a friend’s house this morning, I received an urgent text from her.

“I have a mantel that needs editing. HELP!”

She was right.

SudMantelBefore

I understand why my friend had a challenging time styling the mantel since it’s very shallow and quite long.

The fishing pole, particularly special to her angler husband, wasn’t going anywhere.

It’s hard to see, but the round vase is a total showstopper. It has these beautiful abstract horses all over it, perfect for my friend who spends a few evenings each week riding, so I knew that needed to stay. Front and center.

HorsesClose

I cleared everything off and we went hunting around her house using the vase as a launching point. When we came back and assessed the options, I found that there was nice collection of pottery and wooden objects.

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Using the vase as the focal point, I created groupings that followed the line of the pole. I weighted the center, and left the right side of the asymmetrical mantel empty, letting it sort of recede visually.

SudMantelAfter

Not bad for 10 minutes and zero dollars.

SudMantelBeforeandAfter

Do you have a 10-minute, use-what-you’ve-got styling that you want to share? Send images to mudroomboston@gmail.com and you might be featured in an upcoming 10-Minute Styling post!

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