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Beginner Blooms: Lesson One

flowering branches 1

I’m so glad that you’re joining us today for Beginner Blooms!  We are starting at the very beginning (a very good place to start) with something simple to get your feet wet – flowering branches.  Not only was this designed to start easy, but also flowering branches will be the first to bloom this spring, offering you the ability to use your skills right off the bat.

Let’s dig in!

One of the most important things to consider when arranging any type of floral is the vessel.  I learned that the wrong vase can make an otherwise great assortment of flowers look terrible, so make sure you get just a few good vases that will be good for lots of uses. We’ll go through the types I prefer during the series.  For flowering branches, you’ll need a vase that is wide at the bottom and narrow at the top.  This ensures that the branches don’t all stick straight up with no flow or personality, but also don’t droop out at the sides. We’re looking for a nice in-between.

flowering branches diptych

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flowering branch workflow

ONE cut off the bottoms of the branches as well as any small twigs or leaves that would fall below the top of the vase, this will result in a cleaner looking arrangement. TWO measure your stems.  They should be roughly 1.5 to 2 times the height of the vessel.  My white pitcher is too tall to use with these branches, so I’ll opt for the decanter as a vase. THREE arrange in an ‘X’ formation ensuring that a few of the branches criss cross, while one sticks right up from the middle. FOUR fill your vase using a watering can so that you don’t disturb the arrangement.

That’s it!  You can see the attention paid to the type of vase, size of vase, and preparing the steps for the vase.  All of these things are foundational for helping keep your blooms look clean and polished – but this is just the beginning!  Stick with us as we take the next steps through the spring season to get you arranging beautiful bunches in no time!

Have a LOVELY Wednesday!

 

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Sugar and Spice

sugar and spice - 1

I’m into simple, if you haven’t noticed, and I love simple things that still have some wow factor for gifting or for everyday use.

Infused spirits and drinks have been all the rage this past year, but I’m bringing the trend back to a simpler, giftable item that will impress even the toughest critic.  Infused salts and sugars are so easy, give a ton of room for creative freedom, and look darling in little jars with handwritten labels.

sugar and spice diptych 2

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sugar and spice diptych

It really is just as easy and putting your favorite herbs or flavorings into some sea salt or sugar, closing it tight, and letting it sit for about a week prior to gifting or using.  You can always choose to pluck the flavoring agent back out, but I think they look so pretty nestled in the jars.  I was also thinking about how wonderful some lavender sugar would be (sprinkled on scones?) and some hot chili salt would be so fun as well!  Have a great time coming up with ideas and let me know what you try!

Any flavors that pop in your mind?

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Newness is Springing

DSC_0886 spring newness

 

It’s my first day back in action after spending a week in beautiful Telluride on a ski vacation, and I had an amazing time.  If you follow on Instagram  (@houseofearnest) you saw some peeks of the action and can probably understand why I’m so stoked for spring after all of that snow.

Are you guys ready?  This March, I’m so excited for a few of the changes I have coming up this spring on House of Earnest.  Aside from continuing my regular weekly DIYs, Friday Faves, and home style & party tips, I am planning to integrates some new content.  Between a new take on ‘Splurge & Save’, a ‘Beginner Blooms’ column, and some more styling and decor posts, we have a ton going on and I’m so excited you guys are here to join me for it all!

Now, I know some of you are probably thinking that I’ve lost my marbles because in the midwest, March really doesn’t mean that winter is over, but I’m here to get a jump start on the brights, the blooms, the sweet smells, and everything else that comes along with springtime for our homes and parties – and I sure hope you’re ready to jump in with me!

 

Have a BEAUTIFUL Monday!

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Friday Faves 3.1

Friday faves 3.1 copy

 

ONE white dipped baskets from Wisteria are no longer for sale, but I can’t stop thinking about them.  I think I’ll try my hand at this DIY (even though it’s been done pretty excessively) just because I love them. TWO Robins egg soaps will convince you and your guests that spring is right around the corner.  $24 from Terrain. THREE Nottingham tea cups from Anthropologie are pretty, but not too sweet for a lovely girly lunch – $14 each.  If you read my post yesterday, you’ll know that I’m itching to do something just like that. FOUR I love the simplicity and boldness of this bar cart from Restoration Hardware, $895. FIVE a year after my dip dye spoons, I still love the trend, but this ombre set from Anthropologie is a bit newer, $36.

 

We’re a little slow going around here this morning with Friday Faves, but better late than never, right?

This week, I’ve had serious spring fever, as you can tell from the last few days of posts, so thank goodness it’s March and spring weather is actually in sight.

Speaking of winter, I’ve been relaxing and skiing this week in Colorado with my husband and some friends and although I’m a little over the snow this year, with all of the bright sunshine out here, it’s been fantastic.  Skiing has come back to me even though I haven’t really been for a few years, and it’s been nice having some time off from work. We’re heading back tomorrow with enough time left over in the weekend to settle in and get ready for another work week.

Happy Friday to you all!  Any fun plans this weekend?

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Spring (Party) Fever

jenhuang-wedding-13

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve got a serious case of spring fever.  And what’s worse, I have spring party fever.  It might have been the patio planning, or it might be that I’m spending a week in a very snowy landscape, but I cannot stop thinking about spring.

When I was looking for patio inspiration, I found this styled shoot by Jen Huang for Green Wedding Shoes and just loved the natural, springy vibe. I haven’t had a good party in a few months with all of the traveling I’ve been doing and am getting an itch to throw a little shindig.  Waiting for the patio to be complete and having a nice little spring gathering has gone from being just an idea to being pretty high up on my to-do list.

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Aren’t all of the watercolor pastels mixed with spring brights just melting the snow around your cold winter heart?  They sure are mine!

I am pretty excited about the possibilities for upcoming spring events, especially if we can get this patio done asap!

 

Are you yearning for spring yet?  What makes most excited for the upcoming season?

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It’s a Sunny Day

sunny day vintage

 

 

You guys might notice a little bit of the activity of sponsors that come and go in the side bar, but I wanted to call special attention to one that is a constant source of support and of vintage goodies as well.  Sunny Day Vintage, run by entrepreneur, Sunny, is filled with such sweet finds ranging anywhere from antique labels and glassware to vintage craft supplies like buttons, ribbon, bobbins, and more.

In my DIYs, I’m always talking about picking up a vintage this or antique that and Sunny Day Vintage is the type of store I’m describing.  I love to pick up little baubles and bits that are just plain pretty and these are the things that inspire me most of the time to make the projects that I share with you guys.

Sunny has been such a wonderful sponsor and support for House of Earnest and is active in our community, lending her thoughts on comments and sharing posts on social media.  I am beyond thrilled to have her and Sunny Day Vintage as a H of E sponsor.

To top it all off, through the end of April Sunny is offering 15% off any Sunny Day Vintage purchase for House of Earnest Readers! Enter in coupon code EARNEST at check out to take advantage!

Pop over and say hi to Sunny for me!

 

p.s.  I’m relaxing on vacation right now in sunny Colorado, but will be blogging all week and instagramming up the joint.  Follow @Houseofearnest on instagram to keep up!

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Hand Made: Coiled Rope Bowl

coiled rope bowl - house of earnest

A few weeks ago I saw a coiled rope bowl at some store with a price tag in the triple digits.  I was a little shocked to say the least and took it as a personal challenge to make a simple, sweet bowl of my own.

One trip to the home improvement store and $4.00 later, I had eight feet of rope to try my hand at this project.  All it took was a hot glue gun and a strong grip to complete and I saved over a hundred bucks (not that I wouldn’t have spent it).

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rope bowl workflow

ONE clamp one end of the rope in a tight fold.  TWO glue the fold and let it completely cool as this is the biggest stress point for the rope.  THREE  after establishing a round flat base for the bowl, begin to overlap the rope slightly to form the sides. FOUR for the last coil, flip the bowl around so that you can ensure all glue is hidden beneath the rim.

Rope Bowl Diptych

My version of this rope bowl is quite simple, but just think of the many variations you could make!  I’m actually thinking about buying another (longer) length of rope and making a large, flat bowl for a coffee table centerpiece.  Now that the initial idea is out of my brain, taking it into different directions is so much easier.

What do you guys think?

 

p.s. Don’t make fun of my fake apples!  I am going on vacation starting today and have no fresh food in my house!

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Transformation: Patio Plans

Patio 'Before'

So, I’m going to embarrass myself here for a post and show you my pretty terrible patio.  Dressed up with a nice table and chairs, a colorful umbrella, and some planters, it isn’t quite as noticeable how nondescript, plain, and concrete-y this outdoor space is. In reality, however, with colorful, seasonal accessories stripped off for winter, it’s pretty bad.

This year, that’s all going to change.

We went to a party last fall at a friend’s house who had recently built a new paver patio and I think that was the straw that broke our backs.  While something contemporary like pavers doesn’t quite work with our turn of the century farm house, I knew what would… flagstone.

dining area

 

ONE Flagstones in french vanilla color from MS International, TWO Tarno folding cafe chair from Ikea, THREE rattan french cafe chair from TK Collections. FOUR inspiration patio from Green Wedding Shoes.

This photo really jumped out at me as a feeling we could capture. mostly because I love the idea of keeping a dining area organic, natural and consistent with the age of the house.  I would definitely put the flagstones closer together (wobbly chairs are my nemesis), but love the neutral grey/beige that almost looks like aged wood. Mostly folding cafe chairs with a couple soft rattan chairs are perfect to quickly move into the garage for the very regular midwest summer storms and look darling together.

fire pit seating

 

ONE Hampton Bay ‘Fenton’ seating set from the Home Depot TWO stone fire pit kit also from the Home Depot. THREE Inspiration photo from Dirt Simple

A separate seating area with a firepit is also planned to make an appearance.  In my head, this will also be flagstone (not gravel like in my inspiration picture), but will be a place for us to sit after work, have a glass of wine, and throw the ball for the dog.  We currently do this, we just sit in adirondack chairs placed in the middle of the yard!

The thing that pushed this whole idea forward wasn’t just a case of keeping up with the Jones’s, but the Home Depot has invited me back this spring to participate in another Style Challenge!  If you missed the Holiday Challenge, check it out here, but basically they give me an item to work with, then I have to plan my whole design around that item and submit a post revolving around my decor.

For this Style Challenge, they’re gifting me the Fenton set which I’ll then build my entire firepit area around.

I think it’s going to be a lot of fun and has certainly given me the kick in the buns I need to get going on my patio!  We’ll keep you up to date on how things go, so I hope you’ll join us for the adventure!

 

Have a BRIGHT Monday, guys (spring is right around the corner)!

 

p.s. Want to see more of my patio inspiration?  Check out my Patio board on Pinterest!

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Friday Faves 2.22

nesting bowls, pendant light, sewing kit, desk set, trays, arrow pillow, wood side table, occasional table, faceted wood table

 

ONE Raspberry glass pendant light is a perfect mix of feminine and vintage.  I think it would make the perfect addition to a small space entryway! $42 from BootsNGus. TWO This brass desk set by Futagami is calling my name!  I love that its shine is a little tarnished and it’s angles are reminiscent of a faceted gem. Cost starts at $50 for the small, so they’re not cheap! THREE I originally pinned the image of this Merchant & Mills sewing kit because I love the type and the  packaging, but now I’ve realized that it comes with amazing little treats like scissors, a needle threader and notions galore – not to mention would make a wonderful gift, $75.  FOUR Sweet and unique painted geo nesting bowls can scatter around the house holding everything from nuts to jewelry.  The set of three from Furbish is just $24.  FIVE what’s not to love about a faceted wooden side table? It’s sculptural  fun, and won’t break the bank. $298 from Urban Outfitters. SIX I’m not sure why arrows are cool, but I love that they are.  This simple embroidered pillow would look just as good in a living room or in a little boys bedroom.  $128 from Terrain.

 

I’m not sure if I am happier that it’s Friday, or happier to be back at home.  Either way, this weekend is going to include lots of relaxing, unpacking (and then repacking), and hanging out with some friends that I haven’t seen in a while.  I think I’m leaning toward loving some of the cleaner lines and angular shaped things above partially because my house is such a disaster and these things make me feel quite orderly. I’ve got two giant unpacked suitcases, a few vases of dead flowers, and piles of mail just waiting to be tended to… but maybe I’ll go for happy hour first!

Tell me, what is on your agenda this last week in February?

 

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Splurge and Save: Navy Velvet Sofas

splurge save navy velvet sofa

I love navy velvet sofas and have always wanted one, but I’m just so afraid they’ll go out of fashion (although that seems like a preposterous idea) so I’ve never wanted to purchase a real pricey one.  As absolutely stunning as the Mitchell and Gold sofa is, West Elm also has a style for about half the price.

What do you guys think?  Is this something you’d go all the way on, or save?

 

p.s. I like a little nailhead trip like I used here would be perfect on the West Elm sofa!

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