The Art of Accessories

Before I started blogging, I really thought I knew how to decorate my home.  I felt confident about my style & I knew how to put it all together.  Once I started blogging, I quickly realized I had a lot to learn!  (I also realized I was clueless as to what my “style” was…but that’s another story!) 

Any who, since summer is quickly coming to an end, I decided to spend some time accessorizing the buffet in the dining room.  I was stumped!  Nearly every dining room buffet in the world is flanked with matching lamps.  Unfortunately, in our haste to get our house built, we opted to skip the meeting on electrical outlet placement (since we were on vacation but wanted progress on the house to continue) & there is nary an outlet in a good location!  We have two outlets on the buffet wall at least two feet away from it.  I spent hours searching the internet for styling ideas.

Here are some things I learned about accessorizing console tables from my searches…

1. Group in odd numbers.  Placing an even number of things is visually boring!

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I found this faux orchid on clearance at Target for $6.14!  The best part is that I will never kill it!


2. Grouping several of the same items together creates a dramatic effect.

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Here, I grouped five candles & candle holders together.  The candle holders are by Better Homes & Gardens for Wal-Mart.


3. Add items of varying shapes & sizes to keep the eye moving.

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Here I grouped together some plates & a tea cup from our wedding china, a cheap vase from Wal-Mart (that I spray painted black), & some salt & pepper shakers that I found in the dollar section at Target.


4. Adding different textures & materials makes it more interesting.  (I didn’t do so well on this one!)

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Thankfully, I found this article from Belle Maison!  Julie does a great job explaining the elements of interior styling.  I’m really happy with how the buffet turned out!

I’m finally starting to figure out the art of styling!  In case you ever find yourself in my situation, here are some other things you can accessorize with that aren’t lamps!  (All images from Designed To Dwell.)

1. Hat boxes

2. Picture frames



3. Plates (either stacked, leaned, or on a plate holder)

4. Silver Platters (from Dollar Tree!)



5. Books

6. Baskets

7. Plants (Fake ones count, right?)



8. Ceramics



9. Candles & Candle Holders



When I’m accessorizing, I also try to use items that are functional & fitting for the space.  I didn’t want to put books on top of the dining room buffet, since I don’t typically read in the dining room.  Using plates & salt & pepper shakers seemed more functional for the space.  I also try to think creatively & use things in different ways.  For instance, instead of placing candles on the holders in the photo above, I put moss covered balls on them!  I also used some adorable white baby shoes as an accessory in the nursery (which you can see a few photos up).

So, what are some other things you like to accessorize with? 

Linking To...


TDC Before and After

Another Shopping Trip

A few weeks ago I was able to leave the big kids with Mark & head out to do a little shopping on my own.  I stopped by one of my favorite spots, Garden Ridge, specifically to check out their mirrors & art work for the dining & living room.  While I was there, I thought I would share a few pictures of what I saw.
I loved this sunburst mirror.  It was 33 inches in diameter & around $80.
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At $60 this next mirror was also a contender for the dining room.  Eventually, I decided it looked too much like a flower that should be in a little girl’s room.
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I really liked these round mirrors too.  I believe they were both around $50.  The price was right, I just wasn’t sure about the size.  They were probably around 24 inches in diameter.
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This black mirror was nice for $60. 
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They had these ornate mirrors in different colors.  I can’t remember how much they were, but nothing I looked at was over $100.
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Any guesses on which mirror I picked out?
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I ended up going with this sunburst mirror!  I like the way the round mirror softens all the rectangular pieces in the room.  The size was great & it adds a bit of fun to this otherwise pretty traditional room.  As a bonus, the finish matches the one on the frames across the room!
Next up, I headed to the art department.  We need to hang something above the new couch.  After watching an episode of Four Houses on TLC, I decided I wanted a large piece of art to hang there.  (One lady was commenting that the only thing on the homeowner’s walls were either family pictures or initials.)  I thought she had a good point, which is what brought me to the art department of Garden Ridge!
I’m thinking about going back for this piece.  I wish I could remember how much it cost.
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I also liked the other three below, but I wanted something with more color I could incorporate into the room, something that was already framed, & my husband said, “no flowers”!
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I had $30 in rewards money from Pier One after purchasing our couch, so I decided to use them before I forgot about them!  Here’s what I ended up getting for the money:
I thought this set of owl measuring cups was too cute to pass up!
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Here’s a picture of the whole family!  I loved the way the colors matched those in most of our downstairs area.
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I also bought this pretty flower candle holder to add to the book shelves in the family room.
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All in all, I felt like I had a pretty successful shopping trip.  Now, to find the time to exchange a couple of things & see if that print is still available!

Rush Hour

Today begins our first full week of school.  Ugh.  I am dreading the morning rush hour to get everyone ready & out the door in time to make the bus.
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Since the start of a new school year always gets me in the mood for organization, I thought I’d share a few ideas that have helped or will hopefully help us get the most out of every day & hopefully cut down on the morning & evening rush hour! 
Have the kids pick out their outfits ahead of time.  I’m hoping to let the kids pick out their outfits every Sunday.  These labels can be printed for free from BHG!   

Pack lunches in the evening so they just need to get tossed from the fridge to the backpack in the morning.  Although my daughter is at home for lunch, I still make her lunch ahead of time too.  I started this last school year & it helped a ton.  Whenever Elie got hungry she would just grab it out of the fridge & eat it.  It was also great to grab for on the go, if we had a meeting or doctor’s appointment that would put us on the road during lunch time.

Upon waking, the kids know they are supposed to make their beds, get dressed, & come downstairs for breakfast.  Since it would take too long for them to go back upstairs to their bathroom to finished getting ready, I added extra hair products & accessories & toothbrushes & toothpaste in our downstairs half bathroom.  I try to fix Elie’s hair while she’s eating breakfast & after the kids put their dishes away they are to wash up & brush their teeth.

While the kids are at school, I am really going to try to stay on top of house cleaning & projects.  I really like this cleaning method & will hopefully be able to stay on top of it, especially since it seems like an easy way to keep your house clean.  I will most likely tweak it to make it fit our lifestyle, but for the most part I hope to follow it as best I can. 
Once the kids get home from school, the second rush hour creeps up on us.  I have the kids walk home from the bus stop, which helps them get some of their pent up energy out from the school day.  Upon entering the house Zeke & Elie are supposed to empty their backpacks for me to look through & put their shoes away.  All homework & paperwork gets taken care of right then & put back in their backpacks.  It is easier for us to have the rule that the kids can’t play until their daily homework is finished.
I’m hoping we can eat dinner every day around 5:30 in the evening.  To make dinner planning easy, I have a five week calendar of meals that we rotate each month.  To make sure we weren’t eating the same thing every day, I gave a theme to each day of the week (Soupy Sunday, Mexican Monday, Tuscan Tuesday, Wednesday’s Chicken, This & That Thursday, Freezer Friday, & Slow Cooker Saturday).  I’ve actually gotten away from using the calendar solely, but when I didn’t have anything in writing we would end up eating the same things every week.
Before I go shopping, I plan out the meals for the week based on any activities we have.  If the kids have dentist appointments at 4:30, it’s probably a good idea to have something cooking in the Crock Pot so it will be ready when we get home.  (This is where I kind of get away from the rigid meal plan.) 
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I also try to cook large portions of ground beef & chicken & then divide & store it in 16 oz. portions.  I just throw the chicken in the crock pot with some water & about 8 hours later (after it’s cooled) I hand shred it & bag it.  I cook the ground beef over the stove, about three pounds at a time.  It really only takes a few minutes longer & saves a TON of time while preparing dinner.  I use the meat for chili, tacos, casseroles, etc.  It only takes me about 10 minutes to cook tacos when the meat is pre-cooked!
When dinner is over, it helps if everyone puts their dishes in the sink.  This is usually my down fall!  First of all, I hate making dinner, but the clean up is even worse!  Once everyone finishes eating, they abandon me to clean up the aftermath!  I’m hoping that even if I’m tired that I can at least clear & wipe the tables & counters & stack all the dishes in the sink.  That way at least I’m not wasting time clearing off a space so the kids have room to eat breakfast!
Before the kids go to bed, I try to have them clean up their toys & get everything ready for the next morning. 
Hopefully, these tips will help keep our days & nights running smoothly & keep rush hour stress-free!
Do you have any tips for handling rush hour?

Transforming Tab Curtains

The dining room has needed window treatments since we moved in.  A few weeks ago, I picked up some Lenda curtains from Ikea for $19.99 per pair.  The curtains were the right color & size, but I wasn’t exactly loving the tabbed top.  Originally, I purchased some curtain hanging clips with the intention of cutting off the tabs & using the clips, but I decided to ditch that idea when I realized I didn’t buy enough clips.  Instead, I decided to transform my tab curtains into rod pocket type curtains & today I’m going to show you how I did it!

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Here is what the curtains looked like before the transformation:

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First, I pinned each tab to the back of the curtains.

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Next, I simply sewed a few stitches in each tab to hold it in place.  Make sure to use a strong thread & knot it a few times to ensure a good hold.

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Finally, hang your curtains by sliding the rod into your newly created pocket & admire the transformation!

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Here’s the finished product (sans steaming)!

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Although this project was pretty simple, hand sewing all those individual stitches was time consuming!  Using a machine would have been much quicker, but I was afraid the stitching would show through the front.  What would you have done?

Linking here:

Working With What You Have link up at emilyaclark.com


TDC Before and After

Out & About

A couple of weeks ago I did some shopping & thought I would share a few brief pictures of my adventures.

The first stop was to Ikea.  We went to purchase some curtains & curtain rods, but you can never go to Ikea   without looking at all the great room displays.  Unfortunately, the childcare was full, so the kids were actually shopping with us this time.  It was hard to take pictures while they were singing, screaming, & running from room to room!

I really liked the Byholma/Marieberg chair.  A pair of these would be great at each end of a dining room table.


I also liked this dining room set up.  I'll call it industrial elegance!


Yep, sadly, those are the only two little pictures I got from Ikea!

I have never bought any furniture from Ikea, but I really do like their textiles & accessories.  It is a fun place to window shop too.  Here are a few more reasons I like to shop at Ikea...


  • FREE Childcare while you shop!
  • Complimentary Diapers (size 4)
  • Great family bathrooms, with a comfortable chair for nursing
  • Activity centers throughout the store to entertain children while you shop
  • Ikea Family Cards 
To get an Ikea Family Card, you fill out a form at the kiosk (located between the childcare & bathrooms at our local store) & your card slides out.  Once mine printed I had a coupon for a free frozen yogurt!  (We used it right away, since our kiddos were sad the childcare was full!)  The card also entitles you to free coffee & tea from the restaurant & each time you swipe your card in store you are entered into a $100 gift card sweepstakes!  The card also gives you special discounts on certain items.  (Nope, I am not being paid to say any of this, I just like how pleasurable Ikea makes their shopping experience!)

My next stop was to Pier One.  I have thirty dollars in rewards after purchasing our sofa & I was hoping to use them on this trip, but time & luck were not on my side!  Here are some things that grabbed my attention...

I thought this basket would be great for storing small toys or bathroom accessories.


I loved the blue glass in this floor lamp, but it was slightly above my $30ish budget!


I really like this woven footstool.  Wonder if I could DIY one out of old t-shirts?


See anything you like?  Do you have any ideas on what I should use my rewards on?

Framing a Window

In our attempts to make our home a little more custom, we have slowly begun the process of framing our windows.  (So far we have four done!  Wahoo!)  Today, I’m going to walk you through the process of adding trim to create a window frame.
The builders added a window sill and a small piece of trim below the window. In our situation, the window sill juts out about an inch into the dry wall.
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First, my husband used a crow bar to remove the trim below the window sill.
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Next, Mark measured the small piece of window sill that juts into the dry wall & drew the measurements on the back of a piece of trim.  He used a jig saw to cut the horizontal lines & a utility knife to cut the vertical line.
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This is what the piece looked like after knocking out the small rectangle.
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Next, Mark checked to make sure the molding fit over the window sill & then marked & cut where the 45 degree angle would go, using a miter saw.  For the mitered angles, measure the inside of the window & that is where you begin your cut.  He then marked the top 45 degree angle on this piece & cut it & then slid it into place.
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After several finishing nails, he was ready to move on to the next piece.  After measuring twice & cutting once, he cut the 45 degree angles for the bottom, top, & side pieces & nailed them into place.
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Finally, Mark caulked the mitered angles & nail holes.  When using caulk, make sure to have a wet cloth handy to immediately wipe off the excess.  You can also fill these gaps & holes with wood filler, but my husband prefers the clean, smooth look of caulk.
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And here is the big picture:
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You’ll probably notice that we chose not to add trim between the two windows.  We did this because the space was too big for just one piece of trim & too small for two pieces.
So, are your windows trimmed out?
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