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House of Earnest | Home | Made | Style – A home decor, DIY, and entertaining blog
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The Art of Collecting


Did you collect things as a child?  I can remember really wanting to start a serious collection (of anything) but never quite being passionate enough to stick with it.  It was such a normal idea though.  Now, I feel that the idea has kind of slipped away as a very antiquated hobby.

Lisa Congdon was an avid collector and even posted a picture each day for a year of her collections.  I got to thinking about the fact that subconsciously, I actually have been a collector all of these years.  I have a very extensive collection of glassware (almost rivaling another Erin) and am seriously on my way to a (bordering on crazy) vase and vessel collection – which maybe still falls in the glassware category.

All of this to say that maybe the difference between hoarding and being a collector is our treatment of the pieces.  Lisa carefully arranged and photographed hers.  I keep my glassware lined up and styled on my bar – bringing it out for many a photography session.  Our respect and admiration for the pieces is the key here.

Which brings me to ask – Do you collect anything? Do you display it? or have it carefully tucked away?


photo credit: glassware | pillows | porcelain | books



Lighting up the Bedroom

bedroom sconces 1

It’s been awhile since I talked about our bedroom renovations after we were nearly finished last spring, but I had a few loose ends that I’ve still been waiting to tie up – mainly our bedside lighting.

The before featured two bedside lamps that were glass, small, very bright, and just weren’t quite liked by Matty. I had really wanted some brass, swing arm sconces that I’d talked about here, but I just had trouble finding some that I liked with a mount that worked on our wall.  Since the wall above our bed is brick covered in drywall (with no studs) something heavy just wouldn’t work.  I decided that a very light fixture capable of being hung by command hooks (or something of the like) was in order and went to Ikea to find it.

bedroom sconce diptych

bedroom sconces 3

bedroom sconce workflow

bedroom sconces 2

This is a totally unauthorized use of Command strips, but instead of fixing the sconce brackets to the wall with screws, I used command strips because the wall behind our bed is actually the chimney from the fireplace downstairs.  Screwing into the chimney just doesn’t sound like an awesome idea to me, so I figured that using these super sticky strips would do the trick.

I really love the way it looks and best of all, I didn’t have to drill crazy holes into our wall.  This would be a great project for those who rent or (like us) those who can’t really drill into the walls because your house is a billion years old!

I love how classic the sconces look above our bed and love that as I sit in bed typing this, these lights are gleaming overhead!

Do you like them?  How do you feel about my original plan versus this one?


Friday Faves 3.29

Friday Faves 3.29


ONE sometimes a little reminder to dream is all you need – Dream Art Print from Hitch Design Studio $16. TWO hedgehog soap dish (how cute!) $12 from West Elm. THREE simple and beautiful, this stool is perfect for those wanting style without going over the top. $119 from CB2. FOUR wooden muddler with pouch is just $14.95 from Crate and Barrel and will come in real handy this summer. FIVE the shape is simple and easy, but the color is so current. Mint Rocking Chair is $199 from CB2. SIX I love that this planter is really neutral but still edgy and stylish. $20 from The Home Depot.


It’s Friday!  How excited are you?  I am so happy to finish the patio this weekend and get to decorating, planting and styling it. Isn’t that the fun part?

These faves clearly reflect my need to get outside and get some sun.  I feel that the the lack of sunshine and spring beauty is a little draining and I need a little bump.  How about you?

Have a FABULOUS Friday!


Spring Wrapped

easter dinner decor table setting

Despite the amount of DIYs I do on a regular basis, there are plenty of readers who also want the simplest way to bring a bit of handmade holiday to their tables.  These twig napkin rings are almost as easy as they come and they add a beautiful touch of nature and whimsy to a spring dinner.

All you need is a pair of wire cutters and one artificial blossoming branch.  Cut each stem off, twist it around a napkin and you’ve created something that brings a new life to your table.

Floral Ring Workflow

twig rings 2

Twig Napkin Diptych

Sometimes it’s the simplest things that can make you whole day (and show your family just how wonderfully resourceful you are).  What do you say?



Fashion (Forward) Florals

house of earnest - fashion florals for home


Mid-scale, multi-color floral prints are everywhere this spring and while you may be embracing them fully in your outfits, outfitting your home with fashion forward florals is easy, chic, and so beautiful. How would you integrate them into your home life?

ONE springtime rug from Lulu & Georgia TWO Mathilde Chair from Anthopologie THREE wrapping paper from Rifle Paper Co. FOUR paper straws FIVE floral quilt from Gypsya SIX storage boxes from Zara Home SEVEN felt bouquets by Muncle Fred Art EIGHT dishtowel by lisa rupp design NINE iphone case by Jagger Edge


An Easter Basket for Grown-Ups

grown up easter 1

Last year, I started putting together the idea of a grown up Easter basket partly because I don’t have kiddos, and partly because everyone loves a little indulgence in the spring, and not always in the form of sugary sweets.

Last year’s basket was a spring cheese and mimosa spread, but this year (maybe it was all of the hard outdoor work I did this weekend) I was itching for something quiet and understated and solitary, but still feminine and pretty.  Some Zonin Prosecco and a Corksicle to keep it cold over the span of a relaxing afternoon eating macaroons and reading a book or catching up on magazines is just what I have in mind.

grown up easter diptych

grown up easter 3

grown up easter 2

grown up easter 4

The best things to include are a mixture of practical, indulgent, and beautiful things that the recipient would not only love to receive but also put to use.  Whether it’s for yourself, a parent, an adult child, or a hostess gift for the lady hosting Easter dinner, I love the idea of encouraging those you love to take a little time to themselves.

What would you include in your grown-up Easter basket?  Some bubble bath? A new tin of tea? That afternoon doesn’t sound bad either!


Heavy Lifting

flagstone patio DIY

We spend the better part of this weekend working on our back patio.  With a winter storm moving in (really?) it was a race to get as much settled as possible before the snow started to fall.  I can’t say that I’ve done that much hard labor in a long time.  Most of my more intense projects are manned by my husband, Matt, while I take care of the stylistic part of things (painting, sanding, cleaning, etc).  In this case, since the puzzle that is a flagstone patio had a lot to do with an eye for fitting the stones together, I really had to be involved.  It was nice to get outside for a bit after a long winter and I learned a lot in the process.

flagstone how-to

patio progress 1

Last weekend, Matt had rented a bobcat to dismantle our previous patio, which I posted photos of on Instagram (@houseofearnest), and dug out the four inch foundation.  Gravel and sand were delivered and spread and my dad (an engineer) came over to help with the all important task of leveling.  Saturday morning we were ready for the exciting part – the flagstone!  I ordered sandstone because it had a very smooth and somewhat sparkly surface while other varieties were a little more rough and matte.

We finished by shoveling more of the sand over top of the stone and sweeping it in all of the cracks.  As more and more settling occurs over the next couple days, we’ll sweep more sand into the cracks to ensure that everything is snug!

I confess, this is just a tiny sneak peek of the finished patio – obviously before any landscaping. I am participating in the Home Depot Patio Style Challenge this year and will debut the finished patio next month for the challenge! Are you excited? I am.

My back, arms, and legs are definitely feeling the effects of a weekend filled with hard work (some of the stones were over 75 pounds!) so I might be a bit slower getting around these next few days, but it’s a good thing that doesn’t affect my typing fingers!

I hope you got some good things done this weekend! Isn’t it so satisfying?


Friday Faves 3.22

Friday Faves 3.22

ONE Land of Nod hampers are simple and sturdy ($79) and the floral liner is one sale for $6! TWO These wooden egg cups double as really cute mini planters.  $29 for a set of four from Wind and Willow Home. THREE Vintage ceramic ‘Spring’ push pins are so cute and remind you of what’s coming.  $12 from shavingkitsupplies on Etsy. FOUR I must have a thing for office supplies this week!  These floral covered tacks keep the office area bright. $8 for a set of 25 from Urban Outfitters. FIVE timeless bentwood, with a modern colorful spin, this bench from Crate in Barrel looks like it would go awesome in an entry or at one side of a dining table, $499. SIX an easy and impactful flower arrangement isn’t hard, especially with a quirky modern bud vase like this one from A+R store $95.

Although I have organization and spring cleaning on my mind, this weekend will be spend outdoors working out our flagstone patio!  The flagstone was delivered today, the foundation is all set and we’re getting things started!

Aside from working on the patio, I am going to try to get a little spring cleaning done so that I can welcome the warmer weather appropriately (maybe that’s why it hasn’t come yet?!).

What is on your agenda this first weekend in spring?


Holiday vs. Everyday

holiday - everday - easter


I can never bring myself to buy something that doesn’t have more than one use.  I’m not sure if it’s a space thing (old homes have no storage) or just an efficiency thing.  Some of my best ideas have come from brainstorming more ways to use something than the intended, or obvious way, and it’s the same when it comes to holiday decor.

I loved these tiny birds nests which were styled up on an Easter table setting at one of my local shops.  I am not a huge fan of decorating for Easter, so I initially wrote them off, but then as I strolled through the store, I got to thinking about other ways to use the little guys.  I took them home and immediately thought that it was a really pretty and spring-esque object to put under my (usually empty) cloches.

How would you style them for Easter or for everyday?



Beginner Blooms: Lesson Two

beginner blooms 1

Here we are with the second in a spring series of flower arranging.  We started just two weeks ago with flowering branches, and will progress today to a flower that is similar to arrange, but offers a couple of extra considerations that will help build a good foundation.

Lilies are similar to branches in that they’re a sturdy, straight stem with multiple branching flowers on each stem.  You don’t need too many stems to make an impactful bouquet, which is great for beginners to play with shape and design.  Start with four stems for this arrangement.  Similar to last week, we’re using a vase that is wider at the bottom, with a smaller opening.  This sphere is a little more difficult to use than the carafe we used in the branches.

beginner blooms lilies 2

beginner blooms workflow - lilies

ONE remember what we learned last week.  Stems should be around 1.5 to 2 times the height of the vase (or width if that is greater).  For these lilies, I started on the longer side and thought they were too spread out and didn’t consume the space well, so I went back and trimmed them down to 1.5.  TWO remove all leaves that will fall below the neck of the case.  This will keep bacteria from growing in your water. THREE using a sharp knife, cut away from your body in one swift motion.  Using scissors on floral stems crushes the plant cells and inhibits the flower from getting enough water.  A knife cut helps the flower live longer by helping it get more water. FOUR arrange like you did with the branches, first in an ‘X’ then go back and make an ‘X’ in the alternate direction.

beginner blooms lilies 3

beginner blooms lilies 1

Look at your arrangement from all angles.  The flowers should be even distance from the center of the arrangement from side to side and to the top.  Make sure that a primary bloom sticks straight up and creates a gradual dome shape to the side flowers.  You don’t want all of the blooms to fall to the sides, creating a hole in the center.

Try it a few times, I might take some trial an error on the lengths of the stems and positioning the flowers, but since you’re only working with four stems, it’s a good place to start practicing!

Let me know how it goes!

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