Merry Brides


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Mini Apple Rose Tarts




  • 1 Pillsbury Pie Crust
  • 3 apples
  • 5 TBSP sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 TBSP sugar
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice


Wash the apples, cut in half and core them. Then slice in very thin slices, slightly smaller than 1/8 inch.


In a saucepan, bring the 4 cups water, sugar and lemon juice to a boil and place the apple slices in.

Boil for 2 minutes, or until the slices soften and you can easily bend them.
Strain apples into colander and let dry on paper towels for a few minutes.

Prepare your work surface by lightly sprinkling it with some flour or just use a silicone mat and lay the pie crust down.


With a pastry cutter (or knife), cut long strips, approximately 1/2 inch wide.


In a bowl mix the zest, sugar and cinnamon and nutmeg. and evenly spread it over the pie crust. 


Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Place apples on the strips, overlapping them so they do not fall out.





Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake for 25 minutes, or until nicely golden.


Enjoy !

**** A special Thank You Catalina Pryor for sharing this delicious tutorial with us. 

Filed under apples recipes fall recipes desserts fall desserts apple desserts apple recipe

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Claire Pettibone Romantique Collection

ADELAIDE  |  Re-embroidered lace with crepe lining and lace straps.

AMOUR  |  Below-the-knee lace dress with sheer back, satin lining and re-embroidered appliqués.

BIANCA  |  Crepe blouson sleeve gown with delicate web net sash and train.

 CASABLANCA  |  Floral lace mini with flowing chiffon panels and re-embroidered lace appliqués.

CLEMENTINE  |  Sequined eyelash lace lined in satin with chiffon sash and train.

ESTELLE  |  Eyelash cotton lace lined in satin with scalloped bodice and sheer back.

GARDENIA  |  Dramatic floral lace with sheer back, satin lining and re-embroidered appliqués.

KASBAH  |  Striped cotton Leaver’s lace lined in crepe with boho sleeves.

LAUREL  |  Rose lace bodice with flowing chiffon sleeves and low back.

LILITH  |  Delicate web net lined in cotton with Leaver’s lace bodice, shirred long sleeves and detachable train.

PATCHOULI  |  Re-embroidered lace lined in crepe with ¾ lace sleeves and scalloped edge neckline.

PHAEDRA  |  Chiffon layered over floral lace with low-back lace bodice adorned with roses.

QUEEN ANNE’S LACE  |  Cotton Leaver’s lace with tulle lined in cotton with satin sash and beaded appliqué.

RHAPSODY  |  Hi-lo layered chiffon and crepe skirt with eyelash lace bodice and flutter sleeve.

ROBYN  |  Toile cotton pencil skirt with lace bodice and tulle overlay with satin sash.

ROSEMARY  |  Floral Chantilly lace mermaid gown with low back and lace shoulder appliqués.

SERAPHINA  |  Chantilly lace layered gown with chiffon flounces, and sheer lace back and bustle.

THYME  |  Toile cotton gown with tulle and Leaver’s lace tiered overlay.

TOPANGA  |  Lace boho gown with delicate web lace sleeves and sheer skirt and train.

YOLANDA  |  Cotton cluny lace lined in satin with satin sash and silk flower.

 Photography: Anton Oparin

Filed under claire pettibone wedding gown Designer Gowns

6 notes


Grooms do make passes at brides who wear glasses.

Well, that’s how the saying goes as far as we’re concerned!

There’s a severe shortage of brides sporting specs, and we want to rectify that!

Whether it’s the fact that they don’t feel as beautiful with glasses on, they don’t want to cover their make-up, or perhaps they’re not sure how to accessorize around their eyewear, many brides opt for contacts on their wedding day.

Meanwhile, we see lots of grooms looking dapper in their specs, (okay, we have a soft spot for Clark Kent!)

While the most important thing about your bridal style is that you’re comfortable in it, you should also feel, and look, like a (super glammed up) version of yourself.

So like our feelings on brides with bangs, we reckon, if gorgeous glasses are part of your every day look, you shouldn’t ditch them on your wedding day just because you think it’s not the norm.

Check out some beautiful bespectacled brides, and read our top tips for rocking eyewear in your wedding dress.


One of the coolest, and easiest ways to make your eyewear and your wedding dress go together is to go a little retro with it.

Pair a cute beehive, winged specs and a vintage style wedding dress, for a look that’s chic, stylized, and utterly gorgeous.


Getting new glasses especially for your wedding is a great way to make you feel special in your specs.

Have fun with your frames and choose a pair that tie in with your wedding, whether that’s white and retro, something a little more modern and slick, or clear frames that allow the rest of your look to sparkle.


Bold lipstick and stylish frames are a match made in heaven, if you’re looking for a red hot vampy wedding day look.

Don’t shy away from making a statement and pucker up with a ruby hue that works well with your frames and your skin tone.


A stiff bun paired with glasses might look a little matronly – you don’t want your groom to this his old teacher is walking down the aisle!

If you want your hair up on your wedding day, keep the texture soft and undone, to contrast the structure of your specs.


Many glasses-wearing brides can feel like their glasses will add a drab look to their ensemble.

Counteract your business-like eyewear with some pretty hair accessories, with lots of pearls and sparkle to brighten your face.


Many dames who sport specs (myself included, sometimes!) feel like they can get away with untamed brows when they have their glasses on – when in fact, their eyewear only draws more attention to the area.

Invest in a professional shaping a month or so before your wedding, to get a good shape, and if you feel confident, treat yourself to a good pair of tweezers and maintain at home. You can always opt for a salon tidy up a week before your wedding if they need a little more work.

Your brows have the ability to change your whole face, so chat to your make-up artist about gels and powders to get the perfect finish on the day itself.


Contouring is a glasses-wearing bride’s best friend.

We’ve all read about how the Kardashians have lead the way in incredible cheek bones and razor sharp jawlines, and while we’re not advising you pile on the make-up à la Kim & Co, using highlighters, bronzers and blushes to your advantage, can slim your face and enhance the shape of your glasses.


If contouring is your best friend, concealer might be your sister! Frames can cast a shadow on your face below your eyes, so you need plenty of eye concealer to work its magic and prevent the appearance of bags or dark circles.

Select a hue that’s a shade or two lighter than your foundation, with light-reflecting pigments – choosing an eye-specific product will give you the right texture you need for this sensitive part of your face.


While we think glasses go great with a bold lipstick, a smokey eye, or lots of eyeliner – when it comes to selecting coloors for your eye make-up, it’s best to keep it natural.

Blues, purples and pinks may look great with your contacts, but when it comes to sporting specs, keep to beiges, soft golds, browns and greens so they don’t jar with your glasses or get lost behind your frames.


This is a controversial one, there is much debate over whether earrings and glasses go together, or if all looks a bit too much. I think they look great, as long as you wear them like you mean it!

If your dress is strapless or has some interesting shoulder detail, draw the eye downward with drops or chandeliers and add lots of sparkle. While studs and pearls look really pretty with some retro or elegantly styled spectacles.


If you feel like your glasses are a little on the heavy side, balance them out with one other statement piece elsewhere.

Whether it’s a flower in your hair, a bright bridal clutch, or a gorgeous pair of heels, catch your guests eyes in more ways than one with a second stand-out accessory.

How cute are these clear frames? Such a gorgeous style that’s perfect for a wedding day!

Let us know what you think of wearing glasses on your wedding day – leave your tips in the comments below.

Filed under glasses accessories style fashion eyeglasses

7 notes

10 Reasons Why You Should Avoid Toxic Perfumes And Colognes


As I walked towards the door in the underground parking garage, a trail of perfume assaulted my nose.  Thanks to the phthalates (aka plastisizers) in the perfume that made the stink linger in a huge drafty parking garage. I arrived at the elevators to see two young women who were the cause and clearly had no idea that what they spray on their body may be disrupting their hormones, promoting allergies and even stimulating the growth of cancer! I got on the elevator with them and just held my breath till the 16th floor.

This is such a pet peeve of mine because these toxic perfumes are SO bad for you. But I thought to myself, it’s not their fault because they probably have NO clue. If only more people knew just how toxic these stinky perfumes are to their bodies.

So I decided to write about it. Can you please do me a favor and pass this along to anyone and everyone you know? I’m really anti-perfume and cologne for so many reasons. Here are some of the reasons why you want to walk fast past the perfume counter at the department store and let your friends know their stink is toxic:

1. Fragrance can mean a cocktail of up to 3,000 different ingredients and most have NOT been tested for safety.

2. Many of these unlisted ingredients are irritants and can trigger allergies (runny nose, watery eyes, itching skin), migraines, and asthma symptoms.

3. Perfumes/colognes can trigger an asthma attack in 3 out of every 4 people.

4. In lab experiments, individual fragrance ingredients have been associated with cancer andneurotoxicity.

Some fragrance ingredients are not even perfuming agents themselves but enhance the performance of perfume itself, which was the reason for the stink lingering in my parking garage.

Such as:

Diethyl phthalate, or DEP, is widely used in cosmetic fragrances for it’s lingering effect. Phthalates are cheap and versatile and used in most of the popular big selling fragrances.

I wonder if Britney Spears made sure her perfume is phthalate free? Probably not. More reasons to ditch your perfume/cologne, phthalates are dangerous to human health because they:

5. Interfere with hormone function.

6. Linked to early puberty in girls.

7. Reduced sperm count in men, and reproductive defects in the developing male fetus (when the mother is exposed during pregnancy).

8 . Associated with obesity and insulin resistance in men.

9. DEP is listed as a Priority and Toxic Pollutant under the U.S. Clean Water Act, based on evidence that it can be toxic to wildlife and the environment.

10.  Evidence suggests that exposure to phthalates may cause liver and kidney failure in young children. 


So you want to smell nice without a toxic cloud of fragrance? Me too. I like to smell nice but I do it naturally with Essential Oils.  

image                                    Tigress Essential Oil Fragrance 

I like essential oils as they are less overpowering than commercial perfumes and the scent lasts longer. Most commercial scents are 90% alcohol, resulting in an intense initial experience followed by a quick and unsatisfying disappearance as the scent evaporates along with the alcohol. Essential oil blends last longer as the oil does not evaporate but rather absorbs into the skin.

If you are not experienced enough to mix your own essential oil fragrances, you can always buy them. One of my favorite sources online is an Etsy shop called Inkling Scents.  Here are a few of my favorites…

image                                     Spynx All Natural Oil Fragrance

image                                      Betwixed Essential Oil Perfume

image                                         Iconic Natural Fragrance 

Essential Oil Perfumes would be great bridesmaid gifts. 


Inkling Scents will even personalize the glass bottlesfor you and give you special presentation pouches and gift cards.

image                                       Tweed And Spice Oil Fragrance 

Filed under essential oils Beauty pefume health bridesmaid gifts natural perfume

14 notes

Detox Baths - A Little Slice of Heaven


I hope y’all had a good weekend! Mine has been hectic. I feel like I’m playing catch up with laundry, housework, organizing, and settling in since we moved into our new home this week. From the beginning of the building process, to the long summer planning our move, it’s been a busy three months and I am ready to actually unpack everything and de-junk our stuff. 

One thing I have enjoyed over the past few crazy months is taking detox baths. Normally, I take a detox bath before bed 2-3 times a week and sleep like a baby. Detox baths are AMAZING for health and wellness. Afterwards you will feel so relaxed. If you don’t take detox baths, then check out my list of 10 reasons to do it and I’m sure you’ll want to hop in the tub tonight! :)

10 Reasons You Should Take Detox Baths

1. Eliminate toxins from the body. {YESSSS!}

2. Reduce inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps.

3. Restore mineral balance in the body.

4. Improve oxygenation of cells. Which can also help you with weight issues.

5. Prevent or ease headaches.

6. Improve sleep. {A detox bath before bed is a fabulous way to wind down!}

7. Ease stress and relaxes. {I need all of this I can get!}

8. Improve heart and circulatory health.

9. Boost immunity because of the detox action!

10. Speed recovery from illness.

A detox bath is a gift I give my body. Taking the time to do it is SO worthwhile!

So, you may be wondering, “How do I do a detox bath?” I’ve gotcha covered…

1)  For a detox bath you can use epsom salts, however, I prefer to use  a special Herbal Detox Soap  and Herbal Detox Bath Powders from the Tamares Mirari line.


I like this detox soap as it is all natural, handmade, and contains Bentonite Clay which is known for it’s ability to absorb and remove toxins, heavy metals, impurities, and chemicals. You can use this soap even if you only have time for a quick shower in the morning.  Simply allow the lather to sit on your skin for 5 minutes to receive the detoxification benefits. Your skin will feel baby soft.

2)  Set the mood for relaxation! Dim the lights or light your favorite candle. Calming music may also help you tune out the distractions of daily life.

3)  Draw a bath with water as hot as you can stand it. The water will need to be hot enough to completely dissolve your ingredients, as well as to make you sweat.


4)  Pour you salts or bath detox powders into the tub. Feel free to add a few drops of essential oils at this time to heighten the spa experience even more.

5)  Soak for about 30-40 minutes to take full advantage of the detox.

NOTE: I recommend you use a loofah to brush away dead skin cells. In addition to sloughing away dry skin, body brushing promotes tighter skin, cell renewal and blood flow. This also helps the lymphatic system release toxins and aids in digestion and kidney function. You’ll also notice a glowy, smooth complexion. 

6) Make sure you drink plenty of water before and after your bath to prevent dehydration. Follow-up your soak with your favorite moisturizer  to lock in moisture.

Get ready to glow!

*** A very special Thank you to Tamares Mirari for allowing us to use their product photos. 

Tamares Mirari is a specialty line offering detox products, such as, Herbal Pain Bath Powders, and Herbal Weight Loss Bath Powders

You can follow them on Facebook.

Filed under natural beauty health herbs

14 notes

DIY Personalized Chalkboard Cork Coasters

What you will need:


Paint one side with of the coaster with black chalkboard paint - let dry.

Paint the other side of the coaster with an accent color - let dry.

Personalize with names using a chalk pen. Note: you can write names with regular chalk but I prefer a chalk pen for a crisper neater appearance. 

That’s it! Instant charm for your next party!

*** A very special thank you to Lia Griffith for sharing this fun tutorial with us

Filed under DIY entertaining chalkboard paint drink coasters coasters party ideas bridal shower wedding reception

5 notes

How To Pick Jewelry To Match Your Gown

image                                         Handmade Pearl Necklace

If you thought finding your wedding dress was fun, you’re in for a real treat — it’s time to accessorize. Just remember the first rule in wedding jewelry: Don’t overdo it. It’s tempting to load up on baubles and bling, but you don’t want all those precious metals to outshine you on the big day. Follow these four simple steps and you’ll look like royalty without looking like you’ve raided the queen’s closet.

Show Your True Colors

Knowing what type of metal will work with your wedding dress’s shade of white is a good way to begin choosing your wedding jewelry.

image                                  Delicate Lace Silver Necklace

White Gown:

Gold embellishments may clash with this bright white hue. I suggest sticking to pearl and silver tones.

Ivory Gown: 

This candlelight shade is a soft, light white, and some versions even have yellow undertones. Adorn yourself with gold jewelry to highlight the creamy tint of the fabric.

image                                      Handmade Disk Gold Bracelet

Diamond-white Gown: 

This barely off-white color works with gold and silver (and rose gold, and pearl — you get the idea).


Pairing your neckline style with the proper adornment can add character to your wedding gown, or even highlight a unique feature.

Sweetheart or Strapless:

For something a little different, skip the necklace, and focus on some great chandelier or hoop earrings instead. 

image                              Handmade Large Gold Hoop Earrings

Wear clear crystal for a sleek look, or punch it up with a hint of color. Try using a meaningful gem like your birthstone, or pick a color from the flowers in your bridal bouquet (but not from the embellishments on your gown — you don’t want to match too much). If you’re going for a flirty, fresh look, include two or three small fresh or silk flowers in your hair to add a soft, organic feel. Vintage elegance more your style? Pay homage to the past with a great Art Deco-style bracelet or some roaring ’20s-inspired feather barrettes.

Note:  If your dress already has vintage flair, you could create an interesting contrast by taking a more modern approach with your wedding jewelry.


Whether you opt for a pendant or choker, this style begs for decolletage decoration.

image                                   Symmetrical Gold Pendant Necklace

A thin chain with a simple pendant is an elegant way to accessorize, while pearls (single - or double-stranded) exude classic charm. If you’re going for the dare-to-be-decadent look, a crystal choker with matching earrings could be the perfect combo.

Halter or Reverse Halter:

 Whether you wear your hair in a sleek bun or loose ponytail, dressing up your tresses is a great way to accessorize a halter gown. Headbands are a great way to add panache to your wedding updo. But if headbands aren’t quite your style, try adding some sparkle to your hair with intricate crystal hairpins. If you’ve got a curly mane, five to seven hairpins is just right, while brides with thinner locks (or short hair) will get the same shine with two or three pins.

Foolproof Wedding Accessories

If deciding on your jewels is proving more difficult than finding the gown, there’s one jewelry duo that’s timeless: Pair diamond (or CZ) drop-earrings with a sophisticated necklace, such as a strand of pearls or a diamond pendant choker (or a tennis bracelet for halter gowns).

Let’s Get Personal

image                                              Gold Branch Earrings    

The most important thing about picking the perfect trinkets for your wedding gown is that they are a reflection of you. If you’re not comfy wearing big chandelier earrings, stick to studs. Love the way you look in a lariat necklace? Go for it! If you’re comfortable in all your accessories, your wedding day ensemble is guaranteed to dazzle.

**** A special Thank You to Peshka Studio Design for allowing us to use their beautiful jewelry photos.

You can see the entire Peshka Jewelry collection here.



Peshka Design Studio is offering all Merry Brides readers a special 10% discount.

Please use Coupon Code: 10OFF

Filed under jewelry gold jewelry wedding jewelry handmade jewelry silver jewelry Peshka

15 notes

DIY: Wedding Welcome Bags

 The Bag

There are lots of container options for a welcome bag – anything from simple kraft paper bags to fancy gift boxes. My personal favorite is a customized canvas tote bag, because it doesn’t take up a lot of room in a suitcase, and it’s something your guests will be able to use again. I have a couple of these from weddings I’ve attended, and I use them at the grocery store on a regular basis – a fun reminder of a fun time!

Tip #1

Ask an artistic friend to create a fun wedding “logo” for you - or use some cool fonts to create your own – and use it to customize your welcome bag or other wedding swag (t-shirts, beer koozies, etc.). 

Tip #2

If you go with a reusable tote bag, don’t feel like you have to fill the whole thing - your guests don’t want to lug a bunch of extra stuff home with them anyway. Or, think bulky-but-cheap: full-size bags of popcorn or boxes of crackers take up space without breaking the bank, and people will likely polish them off while they’re hanging out between wedding weekend events.

The Snacks

Confession: I remember the welcome bag snacks from the past three weddings I attended. Homemade pretzel Hugs (seriously addictive), Garrett Popcorn’s Chicago mix (even more addictive), and chocolate dipped coconut patties. So my snack bias is probably showing, but I think if you’re only going to include one thing in your welcome bag, it should be something edible. Preferably something sweet and something salty. Bonus points for something made locally. For this San Francisco-inspired welcome bag we went with a couple locally made treats (479° Popcorn and Poco Dolce toffee squares) and yogurt-covered pretzels. For the popcorn and pretzels, we bought large bags and repackaged them in smaller glassine and kraft paper bags, then sealed them with a big round customized sticker.

Tip #3

If you plan on packaging things yourself, glassine or cello bags are best for anything remotely greasy (chips, popcorn, cookies); kraft paper will show grease spots, so use it for things like chocolate covered pretzels or hard candies.

Tip #4

Don’t forget something to drink. Bottled water, soda, or sparkling juice are good options. Make sure you’re considering who your guests are before including booze in welcome bags – your college buddies might be excited to find something from a local microbrewery in their bag, but your fiancée’s grandparents might not. Or they might. Use your best judgment.

Welcome Letter & Itinerary

Send your greetings and gratitude in a little welcome note, and make sure to include an itinerary and transportation information – there’s nothing worse than traveling across the country for a wedding, only to realize you’ve left the invitation at home and have no idea what time the ceremony starts or how to get there! Depending on the location of your wedding, as well as how much of the weekend is scheduled, guests might have a little free time to explore the area. Give them a highlights tour with a list of your favorite things to see and do, and places to eat and shop.

Tip #5

Ask your guests to share their photos from the weekend on Instagram, and to make sure and tag them with a custom hashtag – we used #lizzieandjames for our imagined San Francisco couple. You might even set up Eventstagram at your reception to display all the pics!

Tip #6

Consider including the phone number of your wedding planner or a friend or family member who can answer any wedding-related questions. You probably won’t want guests calling you or your fiancé for directions while you’re getting ready to walk down the aisle.

Oops! Kit

Without fail, I forget to pack something important whenever I travel – usually toothpaste. If you want to go above and beyond snacks and a welcome letter, a little “Oops! Kit” is a thoughtful touch for your welcome bags. We used a fabric pen to draw a little red cross on small muslin bags for our kits (a rubber stamp would work well too), then filled them with trial size toiletries we think would be most useful: Kleenex, blister healing Band-Aids, Shout Wipes, Advil, TUMS, and mints.

(Note: Make sure to place a piece of cardboard or other liner inside the muslin bag before painting or stamping, otherwise the ink will bleed through to the other side.)

Tip #7

Drugstores should have travel size items, but they don’t always carry trial sizes. If you’re looking for a mini version of a specific toiletry, is a great resource.

Tip #8

Depending on your wedding destination, you might want to include location-appropriate items that guests will be glad to have, like sunscreen or bug spray.

Fun Extras

If your budget allows, it can be fun to include little tokens of the trip for guests to take home with them. Some ideas:

- souvenirs like a magnet, shot glass, landmark miniature
- postcards for your guests to scrapbook or send
- local treat to take home like a jar of honey, jam, or mustard
- playful, customized things like a deck of cards, beer koozie, temporary tattoo
- mix CD or thumb drive playlist of your favorite songs

Tip #9

If you include anything like local jam or honey, make sure it’s small enough for your guests to pack in a carry-on bag. It would be terrible to have your thoughtful gift get confiscated at airport security!

Tip #10

 Avoid scented candles or soaps; the fragrance can transfer to edibles, making your carefully planned snacks taste like perfume.

 So there you have it! Our tips for building an awesome welcome bag for your out-of-town wedding guests. Did we miss anything? If you’re doing welcome bags for your wedding, what are you including in them?

Filed under gifts welcome bags diy

5 notes

Estate Sales Tips And Tricks For Finding Treasures

image                                  Photo Credit:  Estate

Some of my happiest childhood memories are of going to estate sales with my grandmother. I can still remember the rush of adrenaline when entering a sale as we never really knew what we were going to find. I have seen a lot of crazy stuff at estate sales, but for every crazy thing, I have seen an equally exciting piece of furniture or a nostalgic trigger from my past.

Over the years I have found some fabulous things at estate sales, everything from sterling silver flatware sets, to my all time favorite mahogany desk which is the centerpiece of my husband’s law office. If you have never attended an estate saleyou have no idea how much fun you are missing.

Today I want to share with you some tips to help you find treasures at estate sales. Preparation is the key to success!

1)  Search Online: The best way to prepare is to search online for companies in your city that deal exclusively in estate sales and appraisals. One of the best sites I have stumbled upon is Estate which offers a national directory of estate sales and appraisers for every state. They take out the guess work for you and verify each estate company so you know you are dealing with a reputable people. 

Estate is not just for shoppers, but also for antique sellers and appraisers who own a business.  You can register your estate sale or company name  on their national estate sale registry for internet promotion. They also offer services to help you hire a professional if you want to have an estate sale. 

You can also search your local newspaper classifies and Craigslist to find estate sales in your area. 

2)  Map out your course – plan your trip to hit the best sales first.

3)  Cash is king – most sales won’t take credit cards or checks so stop by the bank before you go.

4)  Don’t bring – large tote bags or purses, they might not be allowed inside.

5)  Do bring – measuring tape, a flashlight (for those dark attics and basements), room measurements and purell!

6)  Arrive early – there will be crowds, there will be a frenzy.  If you want first pick, be prepared!

Note:  Sometimes, numbers are passed out early in the morning so get there extra early, get your number then go out for coffee but make sure you return before the sale begins.  If the sale is first come, first served make sure to plant yourself firmly in line and don’t budge!

7)  Late bird gets the bargain – prices are slashed after the first day (up to 50%) with real bargains during the last couple of hours (perfect for those of us who don’t “need” anything and like junky stuff).

8) Do a fast walk through – go through every room when you arrive to scan for treasures and grab them quickly.  Then go back to poke through boxes and bins for a more thorough search.

9)  Hit the garage, basement and attic – it’s where I head first and where I find my best treasures.

10)  Ask about unmarked items – appliances, draperies, rugs, garden furniture, shelving and swing sets are often for sale if you ask.

11)  Bring post-its marked “sold” – if you find something fabulous that’s too big to carry, slap your post it on it before someone else can buy it while you’re searching for a salesperson!

12)  No prices marked – just gather up your loot and ask for a price (you’ll get a better deal if you’re buying a lot then if you bring up each piece separately).

13)  Bids – sometimes sales allow you to bid on big ticket items that aren’t selling at full price.  You give them your best price and they will call you if it’s accepted.

14)  Check pick up policy – some sales allow you to come back the next day for large items but others insist you remove them right away.

image                                         Vintage Victorian Armoire

15)  Bring muscle – estate sale workers often won’t help you to load your finds so bring help (or just bat your eyes to get other shoppers to help you).

16)  All sales are final – check condition before you buy.

17)  Sign up for email list – (usually by the check out register) add your name so you’ll be the first to know about new sales.

18)  Respect the property and be nice – out of bounds rooms are usually marked off with tape so stay out and be friendly (you’ll probably see them at the next sale).

19) Have fun – you may come out empty handed but you can at least enjoy an inside peek into lots of very cool houses.

No matter what you are looking for you can probably find it eventually at an estate sale. Here are a few fun items recently found on  ”Featured Sales …..

image                                        1937 Jaguar Convertible  

image                                            Antique Model Ships

So now you’re all estate sale savvy and ready to shop right?  I see a great weekend of finds in your future, so let me know if you score some gems!

Filed under estate sales antiques shopping recycling vintage

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How To Decorate With Throw Pillows

image                                   Mr And Mrs Throw Pillow Set

Throw pillows can bring together a room’s color palette and design scheme, providing balance, elegance and visual interest to your home decor. Pillows can soften the look of a heavy leather sofa or add a punch of color to a wingback chair. Changing throw pillows is also an inexpensive and simple way to change the design scheme of a room.  Either purchase new or cover existing ones with new slipcovers, and then throw them anywhere, from your sofa to your bedroom chaise lounge.



For eclectic or modern decor, group accent pillows in sets of odd numbers: use three, five or seven pillows in a room. Using asymmetrical groups is a common interior design rule for nontraditional decor; the room will feel more visually balanced. Vary the pillows’ size and pattern. If you want a more traditional, symmetrical look, use even numbers.

image                                Come Sail Away Accent Pillow Set

Size and shape

Vary the shapes and sizes of throw pillows. Standard pillows measure 18 inches by 18 inches. Add a contrasting shape or size into a pillow grouping for additional interest. Large pillows can make a statement in a room; choose one or two with fringe, tassels and trim for additional character. For example, place an oblong pillow in the center of a couch or a round pillow on a side chair.



Vary your throw pillows’ textures and textiles for a rich yet subtle mix. Use fabrics from plush velvets to smooth silks. Mix and match pillows: pair stripes and plaids together or combine solid and floral designs.

image                                    Orange Chevron Throw Pillow Set


Choose pillow colors by looking at fabric, artwork and other accents in the room. Decide on a common accent color and match the color to a paint swatch. Use the swatch to compare different pillows when browsing online. Pillows do not need to be an exact match. Some slight variation adds natural contrast and interest to the room. Add the accent color in a few other areas, including accessories, lampshades and other items of  and other items of home decor.

image                                        Dark Gray Denim Pillow Set


Put a decorative basket or storage bin in the room for holding accent pillows when they’re not being used. For example, set a wicker basket behind the couch to toss pillows in while entertaining in the living room. Or hide pillows when they’re not needed by keeping them in a plastic bin placed underneath the bed. The storage area keeps pillows fresh and clean.

** A very Special Thank You to Pillow Pairs for allowing us to use their fun pillow photos. 


You can see more Zodiac Sign Pillows here.

Filed under Decor Pillows throw pillows accent pillows

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Cookie Favors: DIY Chocolate Chip Cookies in CD Sleeves - Printable

I love cookie favors! Especially when the cookies are homemade and delicious – like these chocolate chip cookies! I’ve made cookies from this recipe easily more than a dozen times. Everyone loves these soft, delicious cookies and I assure you that you will too! They would be perfect wedding favors and one of the highlights of your cookie table.

Not only am I giving you the recipe, but free downloadable labels for your cookie favors. All you will need to wrap these awesome favors are some white CD Sleevesfull sheet labels for printing out your free labels and scissors (scallop).

Chocolate Chip Cafe Cookies (These are like the big, fat, chewy cookies that you find in cafes – only better!)

Makes 18 big cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Sift flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

Cream together melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended.

Beat in vanilla, egg and egg yolk until light and creamy.

Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon.

Drop the cookies 1/4 cup at a time onto baking sheet. Cookies should be approximately three inches apart.

Bake for 21 minutes on non-stick pans or 15-17 minutes on regular cookie sheet. Cool on baking racks.

Print out your cookie favor labels on adhesive paper.

Cut out labels with scalloping scissors. Adhere to white CD sleeves. Voila! Your fabulous favors are good to go!

Filed under favors chocolate chip cookies recipe wedding favors cookie recipe party favor diy gift wrapping packaging printable

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How To Purchase And Hang Drapes


One of easiest and most economical ways to transform any room is in your house is to simply change your curtains. Fresh draperies can revitalize the furniture and can even make your living room seem larger and more open. Choosing the correct curtains may not be as easy as it seems. So today I thought I would share some curtain information with you to help you to find the perfect draperies and curtains for your space.

Where Do I Start?

Set aside style considerations for a moment; function comes first and will limit your curtain choices, in a good way. If you want treatments that provide privacy or total darkness, you need lined curtains. If you’re OK with light filtering through or if your curtains are simply decorative, unlined will work.

Lining is more expensive but has other advantages: It can shield fabric from sun damage, making curtains last longer. A lining also adds heft, which protects against drafts and helps fabric fall more luxuriously. For maximum durability, light blockage, body, and insulation, you can get curtains with an interlining, too—a layer of flannel-like fabric sewn between the lining and the “face” fabric. This is a common option for custom-made curtains but not widely available in less expensive ready-made panels.

image                                   Luxury Velvet Curtain Fabric


Consider the mood of the room. For a formal space, there’s heavy silk or velvet (a great insulator); both are dry-clean only. More practical (often washable) options include silky rayon blends and cotton sateen. For a casual feel, there are billowy linen (generally dry-clean only) and crinkly crushed velvet. Cotton and cotton blends work with any type of decor and bring a crisp, neat feel, as does seasonless wool or wool blends.


You’ll need to decide if you want the curtains to blend with the decor or to pop. For blending, pick curtains that are the same tone as the wall but a few shades darker, or choose a non-dominant subtle color in the room (a soft shade from the rug, say). A bold color will work like an exclamation point (if you’re looking to add some wow). Also keep in mind that in a space where the sun shines through unlined curtains, the color will infuse the room. Blue can be eerie; pink, cheery. 

Prints and Patterns

A rule of thumb: If you have patterned furniture or bedding (or a very elaborate rug), stick with solid curtains. If you have solid-color furniture or bedding, consider patterned curtains. For a subtle hit of style and energy, go for a small, neutral print, like dots or paisley, which reads like texture from afar. A large, graphic print in a color that relates to the existing decor is daring but can be spectacular.

How Long Should Curtains Be?

                  image                                                            Navy Blue Velvet Curtains

Floor-length is the way to go, unless there’s a radiator or a deep sill in the way. Ready-made panels are available in lengths from 63 to 144 inches. Measure from the floor to where you’ll hang the rod, then round up. You can always have the dry cleaner hem them a bit if needed. You’ll get the most current look if the fabric makes contact with the floor (or sill or radiator). Too-short curtains can seem nerdy and off, like high-waters. Here are two surefire approaches.

1: Just Hitting the Floor or Sill

This look is classic and tailored; it makes sense if you’ll be opening and closing the curtains a lot (they’ll easily fall back into place every time you move them). The fabric should just touch the floor or hover half an inch above. This is also a great approach for café curtains (short panels that cover only the lower portion of a window and hit the sill), which work well in spots like the kitchen and bathroom, where long drapes aren’t practical.

2: Breaking Slightly at the Floor

Panels that extend onto the floor by one to three inches are the most stylish right now. They’re more relaxed than those that graze the floor (left), but they still feel tailored—think of a pair of dress trousers. If you have uneven floors or are worried about precision measuring, this style is more forgiving. In formal rooms, an exaggerated take—six or so inches of fabric pooling on the floor—can look romantic but is also high-maintenance; curtains need refluffing every time you vacuum or the cat lies on them.

How Wide Should Curtains Be?

To ensure that panels look ample and drapey when closed, they should have a combined width that is 2 to 2½ times the width of the window. Exceptions: If you’re hanging curtains just to frame a window and don’t intend to shut them, you can round down to 1½ times the width. Pleated panels have fullness built in, so their width should more or less match the span you’re covering.

Where Should They Be Mounted In Relation to the Window?

Generally, hanging curtain brackets on the wall above and outside the window molding looks best; it allows fabric to fall gracefully. If you have detailed window frames you don’t want to cover, an inside mount (hanging curtains within the frame, as you would with a tension rod) can work. Below are two hanging tricks that decorators love for maximizing windows—you can opt for just one technique or use both on the same window.

1: Hang Above the Frame

To create the illusion of a taller window, mount the rod four to six inches above the window frame—or halfway between the frame and the ceiling molding. (But within reason—don’t go more than eight inches above the frame or it might look awkward.) A track mounted on the ceiling also lengthens windows. Be sure to account for the extra fabric when measuring.

2: Hang Wider Than the Frame

Extending the rod three to six inches beyond the frame on each side makes a window feel grander and allows extra light to stream in when the curtains are open (the fabric hangs against the wall without blocking the glass). You can also use this plan to reveal pretty molding. In this case, you may want to leave as much as 12 inches on either side. Remember to adjust your width measurements for this look.

What About the Top?

The top hem of a curtain, known as the heading, can help define the overall look—casual or formal, feminine or sleek—and also play a part in functionality (allowing the panel to slide easily or not). Here’s a quick rundown of common options.

1: Basic Heading, With Hooks

A traditional flat heading that attaches to the rod via rings stitched into its top hem or, sometimes, drapery hooks (the rings attach to the hooks). With either setup, the curtains move easily.

2: Rod-Pocket Heading

           image                                                             Custom Velvet Curtains

A channel along the top holds the rod and creates a casual, gathered effect. A nice choice for curtains that will stay put, because shimmying the fabric back and forth can be difficult.

3: Pleated Heading

There are many styles, from narrow pencil pleats to wide, flat box pleats. Because they’re structured, these panels read more formal than do other types. Pleated curtains generally operate with drapery hooks and rings.

4: Tab-Top Heading

Flat loops of fabric hang on the rod. This can look relaxed with sheers or buttoned-up with stiffer fabrics. A variation on this theme is tie-tops, with bows instead of flat loops—still casual but more feminine and romantic.

What Type of Rod Should I Use?

Decorative curtain rods should relate to the style of the room. Those that are completely hidden from view can be chosen based on function alone. Here are common options.

1: Classic Rod

An adjustable pole, often featuring ornamental end caps (finials), that attaches to the wall with brackets. Match the metal to other finishes in the room. You can buy a double-rod version if you want to layer with sheers.

2: Return Rod

An adjustable U-shaped rod that screws directly into the wall. Panels wrap around the curved sides, making this a good solution for blocking out light. Also available in a double-rod style for layering.

3: Track Rod

Drapery hooks attach to pulleys inside a track. Can be installed on a wall or the ceiling. Some tracks resemble a rod with finials, concealing all moving parts inside the pole. Curtains glide effortlessly.

4: Tension Rod

The easiest and cheapest but least sturdy option, it adjusts to fit inside a window frame with no hardware. Barebones, it’s meant only for lightweight panels or café curtains.

Do I Need Tiebacks?

                             image                                                               Luxury Tassel Rope Curtain Tieback

If you want to be able to pull curtains to the side for more light or a swoopy, formal look, tiebacks are the answer. They’re also a nice way to showcase a view. Mount a curved metal bracket or a peg (known as a rosette) on the wall about two-thirds of the way down the window. Match the room and the rod for style and finish. There are simple fabric tiebacks and fancy ropes with tassels for a grander effect. More casual: tying a curtain in the center of a window with matching fabric or a wide grosgrain ribbon.

What About Installation?

A handyman can hang curtains for you. Expect to pay $55 to $95 an hour, depending on where you live. Figure about 20 minutes per window for a basic rod with brackets, and 45 minutes per window for a track rod.

If you would rather do it yourself, hanging ready-made curtains is not that difficult. Rods usually come with mounting hardware and instructions.

image                                     Antique Brass Curtain Rings

You may need to buy rings separately. Beyond that, hanging panels involves a stepladder, a tape measure, a pencil, a level, a handheld drill, a screwdriver, and a stud finder. If there are no studs where you’re anchoring brackets, use toggle bolts instead of screws. 

**** Special Thank you to Lushes Curtains for allowing us to use their photos.image

You can see their entire line of custom velvet curtains here. They offer a wide variety of velvet curtain valances, specialty curtains for home theaters, room partitions. and businesses.

Filed under decor curtains home decorating drapes drapery velvet drapes velvet curtains