Find of the (Almost Every) Week – November 29, 2013. Tadashi & Eileen Fisher

Find of the (Almost Every) Week – November 29, 2013
Tadashi & Eileen Fisher

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I was thrilled to find this gorgeous black layered strapless gown from Tadashi, in perfect condition, at the Goodwill this week. I love it! This dress retailed for around $400. I paid $8. I also scored this lovey grey Merino wool Eileen Fisher sweater, in new condition, and perfect for this time of year! I’ve already worn it a few times. It retailed for around $250. What did I pay? $4. These are the sort of deals I live for! I can’t wait to wear this dress to a holiday party…


What amazing finds have you made? I’d love to hear about it in the Leave a Reply/Comment section.

How I got 5 Flower Arrangements for Thanksgiving out of $38 worth of Grocery Store Flowers. A Fresh DIY Story, Part 2: the Other Four


I love it when the house is full of flowers! I managed to glean 5 vased arrangements from about $38 in grocery store flowers (see the first one and all the details here). One large centerpiece, one medium for the bedroom dresser, one smallish one for the coffee table, and two tiny ones, one for each nightstand. Yesterday I showed you the big centerpiece arrangement I did for the dining room table, and as promised here are the other four.

We’ll start with the medium vase for the bedroom dresser. As I said in yesterday’s post, getting creative is the key. Unusual containers and interesting add-on’s (sticks, fruit, etc.) For the dresser vase, I again went with a more high-style arrangement. I started with a vintage black ceramic vase, more sticks from the backyard, and our old friend, Spanish Moss. Just like the centerpiece, first I taped off the vase, then played with the sticks till I liked the placement and taped them down as well, then tucked in some Spanish Moss. I also wrapped a little moss around the end of the horizontal stick.

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Then it was time for a little green (more of the Seeded Eucalyptus) and the flowers, 3 roses and 3 Gerbera daisies, placed following the height of the stick in a triangle shape. (This is a one-sided arrangement so I could get away with fewer flowers. Because it will be against a wall it only needs to look good from the front.) Yes, that’s a glass of wine in the background. That’s just how I roll.

Done! Now on to the other 3…


The final three are a small one for the coffee table and two tiny ones for the nightstands. Here I picked out a couple unusual containers, including a glass skull shot glass and a simple short drinking glass. The bud vase is part of a pair I snagged for $2 each at a museum sale. First I taped off the larger one, then added the last of the seeded eucalyptus to all three, plus one more small stick to the largest of the three.

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I kept the bud vase simple with a single rose and a touch of Spanish moss tucked in. The tiny shot glass got a single spider mum and a few rose petals in the water for added color. And finally the coffee table arrangement was made up with 2 Gerbera daisies, 3 roses and 3 Spider mums. I kept it low as this fits the space.

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And there you have it! 5 vases of flowers for about $38. Not bad! Here they all are in place:

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Be sure and change the water in your vases as often as possible so they will last longer. Have a wonderful and beautiful Thanksgiving!

(See the Art Magazine Nightstand Project HERE, and the Industrial Coffee Table Project HERE.

The art print on the bedroom wall is by one of my favorite artists, YUMIKO KAYUKAWA

How I got 5 Flower Arrangements for Thanksgiving out of $38 worth of Grocery Store Flowers. A Fresh DIY Story, Part 1: the Centerpiece.


Stretching your flower budget is all about being creative. Unusual containers, found-object add-ons, fruits and vegetables, and my favorite filler, moss. I stopped by the Cherry Creek Whole Foods in Denver on Saturday to grab some freshies and make some pretties for the house for the upcoming Hanukkah/Thanksgiving week. As always, my budget is teeny, so I aimed to stretch it as far as I could while still using quality flowers. I spent about $38, including the pears used in the centerpiece.

A few tips for getting the freshest grocery store flowers: In Colorado at least, Whole Foods has the highest quality selection of flowers, hands down (believe me I know, I was in the floral industry for over a decade), and their prices are not much above wholesale. The best selection in Denver proper is the Cherry Creek store, though the very best is the flagship store in Boulder. I always head right to the floral counter and ask what just came in. Don’t be shy! They are happy to show you. On Saturday spider mums and gerbera daisies in great Fall colors hadn’t even hit the floor yet when I grabbed a bunch of each. I added in a dozen beautiful roses (always feel the heads, you want them to be firm, never squishy) and a bunch of seeded eucalyptus. Then I headed to the produce department for some beautiful pears. Fruits and vegetable make great additions to flower arrangements and they are nice and cheap!

When I got home I foraged for some sticks from the back yard and grabbed a handful of Spanish moss (I always have a bunch of moss on hand), picked out some containers and got busy. Today I’ll show you the big centerpiece I made for the dining room table, then tomorrow you’ll see the other four arrangements.

First things first: Gather your supplies. Vases/containers, flowers, any add-ons (sticks, fruit, moss) a floral knife (a good sharp paring knife will do in a pinch), clear floral tape, floral preservative (grab a few packets of this when you buy your flowers), and today I also needed Floral life Sure-Stik. (These items are all available at most craft stores.)


For the centerpiece I selected a round dark purple glass vase (purchased from the thrift store, of course). When it comes to table centerpieces, you generally want them to be low enough for your guests to see over and to look good all the way around. I decided to go with a more “High-Style” arrangement for Thanksgiving. This means it will be more style/design and less substance, ie: “stuff”. (less stuff means less cash ;-)). Step 1: Tape off the vase. Taping off the vase will hold the flowers in place, which means you need to use fewer greens and filler.


Next comes the foundation, in this case, a nice stick I pilfered from the back yard. I played around with the placement until it looked right.


I held the stick firm to the vase using more clear floral tape. Then it’s time to start filling in with just a touch of greens, in this case, seeded eucalyptus, one of my favorites (it dries nicely too if you’re into that).


Then a little moss to cushion the pears which came next. I also added a few bits of moss to the stick, just wrapping it around to secure it.


Now it’s pear time. This was the most challenging part. I used the Floral Life Sure-Stik, which is crazy sticky and water resistant as well, to secure the pears to the stick and to each other. The pears were so heavy this still was not enough, so I ran a single layer of clear tape low around the three pears to hold them together, and it worked. See the green stick-on stuff? This is where my Spanish moss comes in to cover it up, as well as the tape.

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I love the way the group of pears looks, and it takes up a lot of visual space that would normally have to be filled with (more expensive) flowers. OK now it’s time to add the flowers. I started with three of the roses coming out along the long end of the stick.

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…then I added a group of three red Gerbera daisies at the other end to balance them. It’s all about visual, not literal balance in a high-style arrangement. The big daisies make up for the long roses opposite them. Just play around with the flowers till it looks right. We still have some filling in to do with the mums, 1 more Gerbera and a few more roses for the other side (remember it has to look good from all angles).


Looking good! If there are any little bare spots you can tuck in a little more moss.

And we’re done! Here it is on the table looking pretty as a picture, all bright and funky.

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I only used about half the flowers for this large vase. I’ll show you the other 4 arrangements tomorrow. Remember to change the water in your vases as often as possible, preferably every day, to keep your flowers fresh for as long as possible.

(See how I did the mantle, using stuff leftover from Halloween, HERE.)

Find of the (Almost Every) Week – November 18, 2013, Fall Boots & D&G!

FIND OF THE WEEK – November 18, 2013

Jeannot Black Suede Boots and D&G Sunglasses


I love finding exactly what I’m looking for at Goodwill! I wanted black wedge boots (right on trend for Fall) and I found them! I honestly was not familiar with the Jeannot name, but they look great, fit well and are Italian-made, so I grabbed them. I looked them up when I got home and discovered they retailed for over $450. What did I pay? $12.99. Nice! I also snagged these D&G (Dolce & Gabbana) sunglasses, with case, for $9.99.

I want to hear about your Fab Finds! Tell what you’ve recently snagged in the Leave a Reply/Comment section.



Recycling Halloween into Thanksgiving, Part 2…Outdoor Decor Redo for Zero Dollars


Fall, Part Deux! As I said in the last Thanksgiving post, because I go a bit over the top for Halloween and Xmas, I like to chill things out a bit in between and go for a simpler look. It took me about an hour to “recycle” Halloween into Thanksgiving out front. Here’s what I did:

BEFORE: (Halloween in full force)


I removed everything distinctly Halloween: all the black and orange, along with the crows, lights, spooky eyes, and carved pumpkins. What was left was the faux Fall foliage and “whole” (un-carved) faux pumpkins. I added some silk sunflowers I snagged from the Goodwill a couple years ago, as well as a large dried grapevine wreath separated into 4 pieces.


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The pots out in front were the easiest. The faux Fall leaves (originally from the thrift store) stayed in the pots. I just removed the crows and added a few silk sunflowers. (It’s too cold here already for live outdoor plants, (low of 25 tonight!) so faking it is the best we can do.)

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The two pots on the stoop were much the same, a bit of faux fall leaves wrapped around the top, a faux pumpkin (all the pumpkins are also from the thrift store for a couple bucks apiece) plopped in the middle, (no real pumpkins possible here, the ravenous squirrel army would be munching on them within minutes) and a section of dried grapevine wreath added on top. I purchased the grapevine wreath from the floral wholesaler for about $35, and have been reusing it for many years now. You will be able to find these at most hobby shops as well. With a little care they will last for many many years. (I store mine in the garden shed when not in use.)


Next to the door, the column gets the same leaf-&-pumpkin treatment.


The table on the other side of the door (patiently awaiting a new paint job) is just a pile of dried gourds, also left over from Halloween.

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The far end of the porch got a nice dried flower arrangement. Dried flowers are a great choice for a covered outdoor area, just make sure they don’t get wet. During the year I dry all my old flowers from indoor arrangements so I can do a few of these outside in the Fall. These dried flowers are just stuck right in the dirt in one of the pots from the garden. The old magnolia wreath laying under the pot has seen better days (I’ve had it for about 5 years) and is no longer suitable to hang on the door, but it works great here on the table. Drying your older fresh flowers is easy. Just put a few together, use a rubber band or twist tie around the bottoms of the stems, and hang them upside down in a dry, out of the way spot. Most flowers will dry well, especially those with woody stems like roses and hydrangea. Flowers like carnations and mums, not so much.


And that’s it! A sweet and simple Fall decor design for the front yard that cost zippedy-do-dah dollars. Now I get to relax for a couple weeks, before getting all loco again for Xmas/Hanukkah/New Year’s…


Recycling Halloween into Thanksgiving…A Mantle Decor Redo for Zero Dollars


Halloween is over, sniff sniff. I always wax a touch melancholy packing up the skulls and bats, simultaneously mourning the end of the Season of the Witch while savoring the tiny bit of caramel wedged between my molars from the final mini Milky Way bar. Yesterday I bid a fond frightful farewell to my favorite holiday, and made room for the next one: Thanksgiving. Because I go a little nutsy coo-coo for both Halloween and Christmas, I like to go a bit simpler in between the two for Thanksgiving. (Though admittedly my “going simple” is still over-the-top for most people. I’m like the Liberace of Holiday Decorating 😉 I’m also saving for holiday gifts, so spending cash on decor is a big fat no-no. It’s time to recycle!

Thankfully Halloween and Thanksgiving have a lot of crossover decor: Pumpkins, gourds, fall leaves and the like, so it’s easy to do double-duty with the decorations. I simply saved the whole pumpkins and gourds, reused my silk fall leaves and did a little presto-chango on the mantle.


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I thought an asymmetrical arrangement might be fun this year, well that, and I had only one large pumpkin left that was still solid.* I placed the big guy on the far left, then added one spray of my old faux fall leaves next to it on the right. Next I added some sticks and small branches with dried real fall leaves that I salvaged from my Halloween floral arrangements and from the yard. (That’s a great trick for using “faux” flowers and leaves: work in some real ones for a more authentic look). Then I worked in all the smaller leftover pumpkins and gourds. Nothing special here, I just set them in place on the mantle. As a final touch I tucked in some pheasant feathers (I reuse these for Thanksgiving and Xmas every year. You can find them cheap on Ebay), a few dried seed heads (I’ve been reusing these for about 3 years now) and some Spanish moss (I always have a bag of moss around for plants and flower arrangements. It gives the arrangement a grounded and finished look.). Done! I love that I didn’t spend a dime this year, and it still looks great.

* FYI: I don’t know if this is just a fluke, but I bought three pumpkins the first week of October. One from Whole Foods and two from King Soopers. Both Sooper’s pumpkins had started rotting and had to be tossed. The Whole Foods pumpkin is still solid and looks great.

Next time I’ll show you the rest of the Thanksgiving decor. FOLLOW this blog and you won’t miss a thing!

What decor items do you recycle during the holiday season? Tell me in the Leave a Reply/Comment section.