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Quick Idea


Following up on the recent holiday edition of our podcast, we have some ideas for how to engage all 5 senses this season.  The idea comes from Hilary Rose Walker of Our Style Stories. You can listen in to this episode of Style Matters and then check out our suggestions below.  


 from  Domino.com , photography by Michael Wiltbank

from Domino.com, photography by Michael Wiltbank

You can never have enough twinkle lights!  Put them everywhere: around your windows, over your kitchen cabinets, from your ceilings...  OR, if you're more of a minimalist, how about just lighting up a small vase of greenery?  



 from  Domino.com,  photography by Michael Wiltbank

from Domino.com, photography by Michael Wiltbank

Who doesn't love the tradition of baking and sharing cookies this time of year?  Well, if you're more of a cook than a baker, start your own tradition of serving something savory instead.  Or, if you're neither a baker nor a cook, take this time of year as an excuse to splurge on handcrafted, artisanal cheeses, cured meats, olives and other yummy things and go to town on the presentation!  



Using your hands to make things is a wonderful tradition.  We get a lot of satisfaction from making gifts, decorations and food items.  Why not host a popcorn stringing party?  Shake things up from the usual cocktail event or cookie swap and get your friends together for food, drink and something everyone takes home with them to decorate their tree!  (Also, if you'd like the recipe for the delicious chocolate popcorn bark you can serve at your party, click the link in the photo)!



There are certain aromas that immediately transport us to our childhoods and the traditions surrounding this time of year.  Maybe it's latkes cooking on the stove or pine scented candles scattered throughout the house.  Whatever it is, don't underestimate the power of smell to get you in a festive mood.  Half Baked Harvest shows you how to assemble a simple simmer pot of citrus, pine, cranberry and cinnamon.  



 found on  Domino.com , courtesy of  Love Adorned

found on Domino.com, courtesy of Love Adorned

Last but not least are the sounds of the season.  If you've heard one too many carols piped over speakers in every grocery, clothing and gift store, here's a different option.  Start a collection of bells.  You can hang them or just show them off all in one place in your home and every once in awhile, give them a little ring.  Sleigh bells, jingle bells, silver bells.... whatever strikes your fancy.  It's a simple, beautiful and somewhat quiet sound that we could all use right around now.

Floral Frame

For our art-based "Off The Wall" theme this month, I decided to make the frame itself the focal point for our floral arrangement.  Instead of, say, framing a still life painting of flowers, I thought maybe the flowers could be the frame.  

You simply drill holes into the front of your frame for the stems.  (You'll have to be willing to sacrifice it for the cause, so I made sure to use an inexpensive thrift store frame which I spray painted gold for the project).  Since we're in October and the air is crisp with the beginning of Fall, I chose flowers that are at their peak this time of year.  The millet, seeded eucalyptus and the goldenrod  can survive without water and still look good as they dry.  If you'd like to have this arrangement around for several weeks, you could fill the entire frame with these workhorses.   

But to give the frame some punch, I added the saturated colors of dahlias and a single chartreuse hydrangea.  I'd go with this option if you're creating the frame for a special event...a fall wedding, shower or party...because these flowers will only last a day out of water but they sure do look spectacular!  

We hope you're enjoying the beauty of this season and consider making a still life of your own with a floral frame!

xoxo Zandra

P.S.  Be sure to drill on the diagonal so that your stems are going down or across the back of the frame on an angle.  Otherwise, your flowers will be sticking straight out rather than sitting up against the frame.  I also used extra thin floral wire to help hold them upright.  

Monogram Art

I love art books and calendars.  When I was in college, I would tear out pages (gasp!) and hang them in my room after trekking to museums in New York.  The reproductions were little mementos of how I felt when seeing the real thing in person.  I don't hang art posters or calendars anymore but I still have a fondness for incorporating the work of The Masters into my decor.  For this project, I wanted to upgrade my tear sheets and use a reproduction to cover a letter "Z", thinking it would be a nice addition to my typography collection.  

I knew I wanted a woman's face to fill the upper left hand corner of the "Z" and I wanted to love whatever portrait I chose.  Other than that, I had no idea what I would use.  I borrowed a dozen books from my painter friend, Ruth Scotch, and flipped through images by Modigliani, Da Vinci, Hopper...and finally settled on "Lorette With Turban And Yellow Jacket" by Henri Matisse.  (Ultimately my choice had to be based on a reproduction that fit size of the letter!). 

I bought a galvanized metal letter at Michaels (I'm having trouble finding this item on their website but I think they're new so you'll probably have luck if you go to the store in person.  You could also use one of those ubiquitous cardboard letters).  First I traced the front of the letter directly on the image, making sure I placed it right where I wanted it.  I then traced the sides and top of the letter adjacent to the trace lines I made for the front so that when I cut the paper, the image would wrap around the letter.    I then used standard decoupage techniques: apply Mod Podge to the metal; lay paper on top; use a bone folder or the edge of a credit card to push out any air bubbles: let dry and apply one or two coats of Mod Podge on top of the paper to seal.  Ta-da!  You've got one nifty monogram for your mantel!  

xoxo Zandra

Quick Idea: Beachcombing for Desk Accessories

As we head into September, there's that familiar buzz of back-to-school shopping that always gets me in the mood for re-doing my office.  This year, I've kept a couple of the larger shells we've collected on the beach to use for my desk.  

I've simply cut out some pretty floral paper and glued them onto the shells, then added a layer of the same decoupage medium on top.  Using a metalic gold Sharpie, I've labeled them for paperclips, thumbtacks and stamps.

Voila!  A new set of desk accessories to remind you of relaxing summer walks on the beach while getting ready for the rush of September!  



Quick Idea: Rope Lampshade

As much as I enjoy sunshine when I'm at the ocean, I secretly love a rainy day at the beach so I can laze around playing solitaire and reading a good book.  But I also like to get my hands on an easy project while I listen to the rain coming down.  Here's a super quick way to add a little rustic, nautical charm to a side table, perfect for a waterfront cottage.  And you can do it in under an hour!  


Find an old lampshade at a thrift store.  Using an Exact-o knife, cut off all of the fabric or paper and peel it away from the edges.  You can soak it it warm, soapy water if you're having trouble removing it all.  If you'd rather buy a new frame, you can order one online.  We recommend The Lamp Shop.  For about 10 bucks you can get a hexagonal frame like the one we've used here.  

Using jute or other natural twine, tie off one end of your rope and start wrapping it around the frame, vertically.   You'll need a LOT of rope so you might want to buy a new spool before you get started.  If you have a drum shade, you'll probably just use one, long continuous piece of twine.  If you have multiple sides like ours, you might choose to do each side with its own piece, tying off twice per side so that you have little knots around the bottom edge of your shade.  Totally up to you!

xoxo Zandra

DIY: Vintage Swim Rings

When Karen and I were at the Country Living Fair in June, we picked up these little achievement pins which were presumably given out when a swimmer would pass a new level of instruction.  We immediately grabbed them, knowing we couldn't pass up the fantastic colors and graphic design.  Pretty quickly Karen figured out she wanted to make them into rings and they've become a staple accessory for each of us ever since.  You may be able to find some of your own, or some other kind of small pin at an antiques store or boutique.  If not, you might want to grab one from our shop.  We've only made three of them (and Karen and I have dibs on the first two) so you might want to "dive" in and get yours now!


Vintage American Red Cross Swimming Pin Back Button (Zuzu and Olive has a nice collection currently)
20mm Ring Base (Ingredients for Lovely)
Jewelry Pliers
Jewelry Glue


  • Use your pliers to pull the pin back out of your button.
  • In a well ventilated space, add a ring of jewelry glue around the inside perimeter of your ring base.  
  • Set your pin in your ring base and apply a bit of pressure.
  • Allow to dry overnight before wearing.

Herb Garden Markers

As I may have mentioned before, I don't have the greenest of thumbs.  However, one of my favorite things to do each summer is unearth my collection of terra cotta pots from our shed and plant a container herb garden on our back deck.  It creates not only a green oasis for summer days spent lazing with friends and family in the sunshine, but also a garden of herbs fresh for the picking while preparing al fresco meals.  My favorite part is the scent of rosemary, oregano and basil floating in the air and of course plenty of fresh mint on hand for our evening mojitos (follow the link to our recipe for yummy Pear Mojitos)!  

I have a huge array of pot sizes and often plant multiple herbs in one pot.  I find it helpful to label my herbs and their varieties.  Those plastic flags that come with them are handy and informative, but rather unattractive.  Instead, I gather up stones on trips to the beach and create my own markers.  They look right at home nestled between the leaves.  

Happy Gardening!

xoxo Karen June

Here are a few tips on making your own stone garden markers.  

  • Smooth stones tumbled by the sea make a great canvas.
  • I use Speedball Super Pigmented Acrylic Ink and a fine brush for lettering my stones. I like the flow of the ink for creating detailed fonts.  You could also easily use a paint pen or other acrylic paints that you might already have on hand.
  • Sketch out your herb name by pencil first as a guideline.  If you prefer, print out some fonts from your computer and transfer using graphite transfer paper.  
  • To keep your markers water safe, spray a couple of coats of shellac on your stones after the ink has dried.  

DIY: Nail Polish Bangles

Ok, this may be the simplest but most brilliant idea we've had yet.  We know how annoying it is when DIYers tell you something is "soooo simple" and then it's really 42 steps of instruction, requiring multiple trips to Home Depot for supplies no normal person has on hand.  So I promise this one really is easy to do.  Are you ready?  Are you sitting down?  Because this one is going to knock your socks off and we don't want you to faint from amazement.  

You pick up some inexpensive metal bangles (you can get them at thrift stores, Target, Old Navy, places like that...).  Then you tape them upright to your desk, a cutting mat, wherever you like to work.  (We used washi tape because we're obsessed with making e-v-e-r-y-thing pretty.  It induces lots of eyerolling from our friends.  But you can use scotch tape or whatever).  Next, pick out a few colors of nail polish or go buy some colors you wouldn't normally use on your nails.  

Brush the colors onto the bangles in different lengths around the circumference.  Let dry between coats.  Finish with some shellac if you want to really seal it in.  Presto!  You've got the coolest summer bangle set on the block!  (And we feel that bangles are pretty much de rigueur for summer.  So get going).  

See?  I promised it would be amazingly simple and easy to do!  You're welcome.

xoxo Zandra

Decoupage Animal Pins

Karen and I love the part of our job that requires us to come up with fun new projects.  We found these sweet wood cut outs from The Birdhouse Collection in Australia and we wanted to see how they looked if we papered them.  


Pretty awesome, if we don't say so ourselves!  Each animal comes with a pin back so you can wear it as soon as you're finished with the decoupage.  There are many more to choose from when you visit The Birdhouse Collection. (To purchase outside of Australia, visit their Etsy shop.)

Simply trace the cut-out onto the back of your paper.  Cut out and use Mod Podge (or another decoupage medium) to adhere.  Use another two coats on top of the paper, letting the layers dry in-between.  


Don't want to wait  for the materials?  Don't have the time to make one yourself?  You can simply buy any of the four animal pins we've made.  Visit our SHOP to purchase.

Happy Weekend, everyone!

xoxo Zandra

Quick Idea: Moss Covered Globe

You may have seen me holding this globe for last month's photo shoot party.  Since we're exploring "Flora & Fauna" for the month of May, we thought we should share this project in more detail.  It's ridiculously simple.  

Outline a continent using a hot glue gun.  Pull off some moss and start pressing into the hot glue.  Fill in the rest of the continent, a little at a time with the glue, and press the moss into place.  That's it!  

Really, it's cool looking and super easy.  Why wouldn't you make one?  I can't think of a better way to spend some free time.  

Happy Trails!

xoxo Zandra

Photo Figures: The New Family Portrait

Are you tired of the same old, same old when it comes to displaying your family photos? Do you scatter random, uninspired frames around your house that no one really looks at?  Or even worse, you do you have a bunch of mediocre shots that you stick in a frame because you don't have anything better?  And why, oh WHY does your three year old always have his hands in his pants?  Every.  Single.  Time???

Well, you're not alone and there's a simple solution.  Why not simply cut out only the parts of the image you actually like?  The people who are smiling?  The part that's in focus?  Yes, you can!  Pick up a bunch of simple frames (we got ours from Ikea).  Create a mat with some snazzy, on-trend paper, (ours was provided by our creative friends at Smock), and paste those adorable figures right on top!  You now have the beginnings of an honest-to-goodness photography collection.  Just say NO to badly lit, unfocused, poorly composed family photos.  You've got the power.  Now go forth and use those scissors.  

xoxo Zandra 


Little Yellow Couch

We'll send you the kinds of information and inspiration you're craving through relevant and timely newsletters. Don't miss anything new!