Monday, March 7, 2016

Spring Planter

We've been having some wonderful, crazy weather in Illinois this year. Yesterday starts 15 days of temps in the upper 50's to upper 60's and I am loving it! Imagine 60's in March.

Sunday I just could not resist taking the old Christmas greens out of my front urns and start decorating for spring. They look gorgeous and I'm going to show you step by step how I did it. Can't take all the credit for the idea...It was a Pinterest post. You can view it on the original website post here.

So here is what my beautiful bare urns look like after I cleansed them out. I left the dirt in so I could use as a base to shove my stems in.

Next I took some very tall pussy willow stems that I ordered from JoAnns and poked them in the middle for height. At first I thought they may be too tall but they worked out perfect in the end. All of my supplies were from JoAnns website.

Then I created the second "layer" using forsythia picks. I used three picks in each urn. I eventually found some real pussy willow stems that I had used last year. They were hiding in my storage shed so I added them to what I already had. Corkscrew willow stems or other delicate wood stems would work well with or without the pussy willows.

I added some Spanish moss to fill the pot. It's starting to look fabulous!

I used a long viney garland and wrapped around the entire base of the urn twice. The vine hangs over the urn slightly. That's it! I was done with both urns in about 15 minutes and they really look nice. Total cost for each urn was around $50 but I will use for a few years. You could change it up by adding some bird and nest picks, fairy picks, even Easter eggs. The possibilities are endless. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cera's Shower

Cozy seating areas just right for some sips and snacks
Handkerchief valance gives the perfect vintage flair to the long windows that surround the tea room.

Just went to the most fabulous shower on Saturday at Letty Mae's Tea Room in Morris, Il. If you haven't been there it is a must stop! It is like stepping back into your auntie's kitchen! This is their new location tucked right in the middle of the block in the downtown area. Great food and cozy atmosphere.
Cera and some of her bridesmaids.

I love, love, LOVE her turquoise shoes!
Cera is getting married in June and is the daughter of a dear friend of mine. We three have been on many vintage adventures and so it was only fitting that her shower be at Letty Mae's.
Vintage apron that I got to take home.
Each guest got to wear a vintage apron that was on the back of their chair. Great touch to get us all in the mood. The tables had sweet little centerpieces, mismatched china and napkins and we were served with the yummiest meal. Our soft drinks came in real glass bottles with a paper straw and if you were lucky you also got a chance to taste their strawberry lemonade served in a mason jar. I might add that the homemade lemon cake was delicious too and we all were served a giant piece.
I love anything served in a glass bottle and the paper straws were a nice touch.
Cera and her bridesmaids looked adorable and her turquoise high heels were to die for. Her face lit up with each gift in genuine joy. It is so refreshing to go to an event like this and truly enjoy the gratitude of this bride to be.
Our yummy lemon cake. Photo courtesy of Letty Mae's.
Relaxed and fun...just what a shower should be.
I can't wait till the wedding and will be sure to share photos. Cera's big day will be grand. She has worked hard to make a lot of the details that will make her wedding a gorgeous vintage venue.

Fresh desserts made from old family recipes.
A delightful step back in time.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Winter Wedding

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There is magic in a winter wedding especially if it is held at the beautiful Starved Rock Lodge and Conference Center in Utica, Illinois. This state park boasts over 2 million visitors a year and it is the #1 attraction in Illinois. I had the honor of staging a wedding at this venue the day after Christmas.
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Devyn and Brad's wedding took place in the Great Hall and it was spectacular. The rustic lodge and interior is constructed of rough hewn Indiana white pine and the massive fireplaces are built with Joliet limestone...THE perfect backdrop to share their wedding vows.
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The isle was wrapped in a garland of long winter greens accented by crystal ice flakes and tied with wine tulle. Rustic tree trunks and branches lined the fireplace. I placed two champagne colored vintage frames and an ice skate above the mantle. The groom proposed to the bride when they were skating. What a great personal touch!

Devyn's colors were wine and champaign. Table centerpieces consisted of tall pine trees wrapped in burlap and tied with sparkling champaign ribbon. I alternated the tables with custom made pine boxes that held white pillar candles and more champaign glitter and globes.

An aged white vintage trunk filled with great old plaid blankets awaited the guests if they decided to sit outside on the lodges back veranda with it's spectacular view. Believe it or not it was the perfect winter evening with unseasonably warm weather for this time of year in Illinois. Wrapping up in a blanket was all that was needed to stay warm and cozy after some time on the dance floor.

Devyn was a delight to work with and made a stunning bride don't you think? Congratulations.

Devyn and her mom on the veranda...lovely ladies
"Francie Skoflanc from A Mess of Things, the decorations were better than I could have dreamed!"

Saturday, December 20, 2014

All around the house...

A peek at the house this Christmas. Keeping it simple. Organizing the boxes and boxes of ornaments and garland since our move. Finding old treasures and adding some new ones. 
Made a little birdie tree for the cats in one of the guest bedrooms. Just love these little glitter "chirpies" with their crooked little beaks and broken wings. A colorful granny square afghan makes a good tree skirt and soft blanket for the kitties to nap. 
This year our tree is an explosion of icicles, feathers and glitter. Managed to cut and fit a 9 1/2 foot Douglas fir in the living room. It shimmers and glistens. Don't you just love to sit in a dark room with just the Christmas tree on. So peaceful.
Hope to have the fireplace working next year but for now the candles will do just fine...
Welcome wreaths with antlers that I bought at Roundtop, Texas last April. 
Great little collection of Tiny Santa cups on Mike's vinyl album cabinet. One might even wink at you!
A stocking made from linen and lace, a bottle brush tree, and a paper mâché snowman that I made finish off the dining room. Little touches here and there.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Honey Yogurt Parfait

Found this wonderful recipe for a fast, nutritious and low calorie treat and wanted to share with you. I usually make this for breakfast but it's also good when you have those cravings at night for something a bit sweet. It's like eating an ice cream sundae! Really it is. You'll end up licking your spoon and not feeling guilty. Here's what you will need:
  • Greek or Icelandic yogurt (I like the Vanilla flavored SIGGI Icelandic yogurt. It has a nicer texture then greek yogurt...creamier and it just tastes better)
  • Blueberries, strawberries, bananas or your favorite fruit ( I freeze a BIG bag of fruit and have it handy)
  • Slivered almonds and walnut pieces (from the health food section)
  • Honey
We sell some of the best honey around at our store from CC Speciality Foods in Plainfield, Illinois. Honey is all about the "floral source" or the flowers that produce the nectar that attracts the bees. The flowers that produce the honey is nearly endless and varied in taste as grapes are to wine. The "Honey Man's" honey is pure/raw, non-pasteurized honey. 

I like Wildflowers of Illinois honey, It produces a rich, sweet taste in the summer and a robust, almost smoky flavor in autumn with the addition of Goldenrod. This is REAL local honey to help with seasonal allergies!
AND for a real kick to your parfait instead of using honey from the jar, try a FLAVORED honey stick. These are great little treats and I also put mine in tea. Lots of our customers buy the sticks for their kids. Just snip the top and enjoy. They come in lots of different flavors like apple, peach, strawberry and peach just to name a few. You can find the sticks here.

The best for tea or a healthy snack.
Now on to making the parfait. I like to use a clear plastic drink cup or pretty glass. It's all in the presentation, right? I put in my fruit, spoon some yogurt on top of that, add nuts and drizzle with honey. A little honey goes a long way. You want to just sweeten that yogurt up a bit. Then, do it again with another layer of fruit, yogurt, nuts and honey! I like to top it off with a big strawberry.

There you have it. A delicious treat that's actually good for you! You can order The Honey Man's honey and honey sticks here They are also on Facebook. Or stop by Avant Garden in Ottawa, Illinois. ENJOY!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


I had the opportunity to stage a vintage wedding for one of the sweetest couples ever. Sometimes you only need an instant to watch two people interact to understand that their connection is incredible. This was the case with Taylor and Logan.

Upper level of the boat club. Hard wood floors. Fireplace. Stunning.
The corner of the fireplace
My gift to the bride and groom. Personalized forks to eat their wedding cake! 
The lovely fireplace. 
Taylor wanted a vintage atmosphere set at their venue which was the historical Ottawa Boat Club in downtown Ottawa, Illinois. This remarkable building was built around the 1930's and is close to my heart. It was where my older son and his wife held their reception.

Taylor decided she wanted to rent our lovely dining chairs for the head table. Vintage china place settings for the bridal party. 
One of the table centerpieces 
These old chairs really made a statement at the head table. Fit for a king and his queen!
More centerpieces
Taylor wanted lace and pearls for her card box. We used an old wicker basket as the base and created this lovely display
Let them eat cake! And that they did. This gluten free strawberry and coconut cake was delicious. Made by friend Joy Ortiz.
Guests were greeted by a cream bicycle tied with white tulle. Of course we added a bicycle basket with more hydrangea's.

I can't tell you how exciting it was to add all the special touches for that day…old hat boxes, dried hydrangea and fresh baby's breath. An old bike tied with tulle at the entrance way. Tons of candles, tarnished silver and old books wrapped with lace.
Part of the fireplace mantel. Old lace, vintage curtains, candles and white milk glass.
Beautiful, inside and out.
Who doesn't love a guy with suspenders?
Old chest painted with Annie Sloan paint. Vintage lace table cloths and a chalkboard banner for gifts! 

Taylor was positively radiant. Her gown was a redo of an older wedding dress. Logan was mighty handsome. Loved the suspenders and bow ties.  And, there was a great group of family and friends that had a lot of love for this bride and groom. So touching.

Best wishes to the Roixs.

And from the bride...
"We LOVED your absolutely stunning decor. You transformed our reception into exactly what I dreamt of & more! Thank you for all your time and hard work, you made our day incredibly special!"