Merry Brides


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If you consider yourself a novice at working with flowers but you’d like to learn how make a bouquet for your wedding (you can do it!!) there are two tips I can give you:

1) Make your bouquet in a vase first. This will make it much easier for you to manage and will allow you to step back and see how you’re liking it.

2) Choose a big bloom to make up the majority of your bouquet and then just a few smaller bits to bring some life and personality into the equation. Tree peonies, like the ones we used above, are definitely more expensive and harder to get but they are so amazing on their own that you don’t have to do much of anything else to them to make a beautiful bouquet. They will make your job SO much easier!


Filed under diy peony bouquet peony bouquet wedding bouquet peony wedding bouquet diy wedding flowers wedding flowers

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Combining A Bridal And Baby Shower

image                                             Baby Gift Set - Blanket, Ball And Rattle

Q.  My sister is getting married soon and is having a baby a few weeks later so she wants me (the Matron of Honor) to plan a combined bridal / baby shower. Since most of her friends are college students on tight budgets she wants the shower to be a simple “baby blanet and toy shower”.  Have you ever heard of such a thing? What do you think?  Is this party doable?  Any ideas for unique baby gifts?

A. Yes. It is a little out of the ordinary, but putting together a combination bridal and baby shower can definitely be done with style and grace. A combination shower is a nice alternative to having two separate parties very close together. And the bride will be delighted to get to celebrate two happy occasions at once.

Other than the gifts, a combined bridal and baby shower won’t really be all that different than any other shower. Instead of a strong theme décor, decorate with vibrant fresh flowers as it will work equally well for a baby or bridal shower. Some nice finger foods, a white cake, and you are all set.

I like your sister’s idea of hosting a “blanket and toy theme” party. A theme party will clear up some confusion for guests on whether to give bridal or baby gifts. The blanket / toy theme tells the guests the bride wants baby gifts rather than toasters. 

A baby gift does not need to be boring. Etsy shops, such as, Paff Toys  offers some really cute handmade educational toys and blankets.

 Here are a few cute handmade ideas…..

image                                     Personalized Baby Pacifer Holder

    image                                               Baby Soft Development Rattle Ball

image                        Red and White Polka Dot Mushroom Rattle

image                                        Bunny Baby Security Blanket 

                       image                                                                         Turquoise Doe Soft Toy

image                            Red And White Handmade Baby Comforter   

** A Special Thank You to Paff Toys for allowing us to use their photos. You can see more of the Patt Toy line Here.   

Filed under baby shower bridal shower baby toys baby gifts

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A Quick Fix: DIY Dry Shampoo

Simply mix together the ingredients listed in the graphic above, stirring rigorously for about 3-4 minutes. Then, shake directly onto roots, or place in hands and rub into the root area. Brush to blend, distributing it evenly before styling as usual.”

You’ll have great-smelling hair and fabulous volume! It’s a great foundation for some of those amazing vintage, teased styles you’ve been coveting.


  • Use organic ingredients if you can.
  • Add in 2 tablespoons cocoa powder for dark hair.
  • Feel free to substitute in any kind of essential oil you’d like for scent.
  • Crush in any lumps the oil may have created with a pestle or back of a spoon.
  • Vintage glass shakers or squeeze bottles work perfect for storing.

Filed under Hair DIY Beauty DIY Shampoo Natural Beauty Treatments

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A Cupboard Full Of Handmade Ceramics

image                                     Love House Ceramic Candle 

Anyone who knows me well, knows I am addicted to anything handmade. This is especially true in my kitchen. I’m in the process of making and collecting the perfect supply of handmade dishes. Someday soon I’d like to have a cupboard full of only handmade ceramics

For me, it’s all about the connection I feel with that piece of pottery. Sometimes it sticks out right away, and by looks alone we’re instantly connected. Or maybe I have to hold it for a while and realize how great it feels in my hands.

image                                             Set of Ceramic Mugs

Sometimes I find myself reaching to the back of my cupboard for a specific bowl over all of the others, just because it seems like a good match for my mood. A bowl can do that to me. How about you?

image                          Asymmetrical Ceramic Baby Blue Bowl Set

In my reflective moments, I find myself lost in thought when I’m using dishes that have been made by hand. I imagine this piece of pottery as it started out, just a wet lump of clay. And then I usually smile to myself, because I’m just so darn impressed by what clay and people can do!

image                                        Ceramic Bowl And Spoon

image                           Ceramic Kitchen Vessel With Turquoise Glaze

The perfect kitchen cupboard opens wide and offers the eye a small private ceramics gallery, full of mismatched dishes made by all different people, with a story connecting to each piece. 

image                                      Handmade Ceramic Bowls

Functionality and beauty are two non-negotiables on the insides of my kitchen cupboards!

Ceramic dishes would be a cherished gift for a wedding or bridal shower.  Here is a fun ceramic ring dish any bride will love….

image                                                   Ceramic Ring Dish

*** A very special Thank You to Simone Ceramics for allowing us to use their photos. 

You can view the entire Simone Ceramics Collection here

Filed under kitchen decor kitchen handmade ceramics gift ideas

144 notes



Expertly done calligraphy is truly an art-form. So before we begin, truth be told that our few tips on how to fake calligraphy are not going to teach you how to master the art or give you a highly skilled hand.


Before you begin, you’ll need to find a good pen to use. Any pen that has thick ink will work, but it’s all personal preference. Don’t be afraid to test a few different pens out before settling on one. I like to use the Micron 05 pen.

You don’t need to have the nicest handwriting in the world in order to fake calligraphy. If you don’t like your handwriting, just practice! Look up different styles that you like online, and emulate them. No need to copy or trace anyone else’s writing, just use it as inspiration. Note how the letters are formed and how they connect to one another. Research different techniques, find the right pen for you, and waste a lot of paper.


Feel free to use as many loops and swirls as you like. Add them on to the end of your words, or onto your capital letters. Whatever you do, let it flow naturally.

Traditional calligraphy pens give different strokes with varying thicknesses. So, the goal is to create this variation in thickness on your own. In order to do this, draw a line next to the longest stroke of each letter, and just fill the space in with your pen. It can take some time to do multiple letters in this way, but the outcome definitely looks nice! And again, as long as you keep practicing, you’ll find what works best for you. 


Filed under calligraphy DIY calligraphy diy

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Get Hooked On Crochet Jewelry

Like most women, I’m constantly on the hunt for unique accessories, and that especially applies to jewelry. When I browse stores for new jewelry, everything starts to look the same to me. Didn’t I just see that necklace somewhere else? Doesn’t my friend own this bracelet? It’s hard to be one-of-a-kind with mass produced store bought jewelry.

That is why I enjoy shopping online at Etsy where everything is handmade. I recently found some unique crochet jewelry on an Etsy shop called Nakkashe, which would be fun for bridesmaid gifts. Here are a few of my favorite pieces……

image                                             Crochet Red Rose Necklace

image                                     Purple Orchid Crochet Lace Earrings

image                         Red & Black Daisy Crochet Wrap Necklace

image                                       White Crocheted Beaded Choker

               image                                                Crochet Turkish Lace Floral Necklace

** You can see more of the Nakkashe Crotchted Collection here. I love the fact their jewelry arrives in a special gift wrap box. Makes gift giving easy!

image                                            Pink Crochet Hoop Earrings

Filed under crochet jewelry handmade jewelry bridesmaid gifts wedding jewelry

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Cupcakes and macarons are the standard fare of showers, but they’ve been done far too many times. Break away from the tradition and serve your guests with something more unconventional, sophisticated, and easy to eat. We love these dessert shooters ranging from rich chocolate mousse to creamy banana pudding to sweet strawberry shortcake, all completed with a delicate silver spoon. They’re the perfect individual treats for everyone’s tastes! Which dessert shooter is your favorite?




Filed under desserts wedding desserts

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How to Address Wedding Invitations

You may have finalized the guest list, but that doesn’t mean your wedding work is done. (But you’re so close!) Sending the invitations sounds like a hassle-free to-do (off to the calligrapher they go!), but now’s not the time to slack-off. You need to make sure those formal invitations are addressed properly.

Married Couple


In this case, it is proper to use Mr. and Mrs. Dean Wooley. Spell out the husband’s first name. If you decide to include the husband’s middle name, it should be spelled out, not abbreviated as an initial.

Single Female


In the case of a single female guest, it is proper to use Ms. if she is over age 16 or 18. If she is younger, than Miss is the acceptable choice.

Hyphenated Last Name


In the case of a wife who has chosen to hyphenate her last name, then she should be addressed using Ms. (Mrs. is also acceptable) + her first name + maiden name + married name: Mr. David Crosby and Ms. Lynn Carter-Crosby.

Unmarried Couple Living Together


The word “and” was once used to represent a marriage, a union. This rule no longer applies. In the case of a couple who is living together, address the male first, followed by the female: Mr. Luke Davis and Ms. Mary Carter.

Divorced Female Who Kept Her Married Name


After a divorce, a woman might keep her married name. In this instance, it is okay to use Mrs. or Ms. to address the guest and use her first name (spelled out). It is often best to find out what she prefers to go by.

Same Sex Couple


In this case, it is totally acceptable to put either guest first. If you can’t decide, address them in alphabetical order.



Traditionally, a widow retains her husband’s name until she remarries. Some widows prefer to use their own first name as well. In this case, it is best to ask what she prefers. Mrs. John Dunlop or Mrs. Jane Dunlop would be acceptable.

Divorced Female Who Uses Her Maiden Name


After a divorce, a woman often stops using her husband’s last name. Addressing her by either Ms. or Mrs. is acceptable.

Married Couple, Both Doctors


In the case of married doctors and the wife has taken her husband’s last name, it is proper to use: The Doctors. Another acceptable option: Drs. Barbara and John Kline.

Wife is a Doctor


If her husband is not a “doctor,” address invitations to Dr. Linda Smith and Mr. Mark Smith. Her name comes first because her professional title “outranks” his social title.

Married Doctors With Different Last Names


If both guests are doctors, but she has chosen to keep her last name, it is appropriate to address her first and with both full names: Doctor Maura Lydel and Doctor John Morris.

Wife is a Commissioned Officer


If her husband is not a “Captain,” address invitations to Captain Sara Trace and Mr. Jake Trace. Her name comes first because her professional title “outranks” his social title.

Husband is a Retired Commissioned Officer


In this case, it is important to recognize the husband’s position or ranking: Colonel and Mrs. Kurt Shaw.

Husband is a Non-Commissioned Officer or Enlisted Man


Husband is a Judge


In this case it is appropriate to recognize a title, such as a judge: The Honorable Judd Walter and Mrs. Walter.

Wife is the Judge


If her husband is not a judge, address invitations to the Honorable Ann Lewis and Mr. John Lewis. Her name comes first because her professional title “outranks” his social title.

Filed under wedding invitations addressing wedding invitations etiquette wedding etiquette Invitations

8 notes

Vintage Dictionary Art

 image                                                         Red Kiss Pop Art

Something I’ve been seeing quite a bit of lately is what I like to call vintage dictionary art.  People are taking vintage pages from dictionaries, and printing an image on the vintage paper.  I’ve even gone as far as buying some art pages off Etsy myself.

I think dictionary art would make great wedding or bridesmaid gifts as it’s fun and very affordable. Here are some of my favorite pieces from Whisker Prints……

image                                           Love You To the Moon Dictionary Art

image                                        Incredible Life Inspirational Quote

image                                            Love Quote Peas And Carrots

image                                               Romance Comedy Pop Art

image                                     Fell In Love With You Dictionary Art

Filed under vintage art dictionary art bridesmaid gifts wedding gifts home decor vintage art decor

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How To Decorate With Throw Pillows

image                                                   Paris 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 accent pillows or cover existing ones with new slipcovers, and then throw them anywhere, from your sofa to your bedroom chaise lounge.

Decorating With Throw Pillows:


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                                    Madame/Monsieur 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                                      Red Lipstick Kiss 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 home decor.

image                              Give A Girl The Right Shoes 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 the Bella Bella Shoppe for allowing us to use their fun pillow photos.

You can see more of the Bella Bella Collection here.

Filed under home decor throw pillows pillows decor home accents gift ideas etsy

56 notes

Chocolate Cupcakes With Creamy Nutella Frosting




  • 1 cup (240ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (64g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 and 1/3 cups (167g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups (240g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 3/4 cup (222g) Nutella
  • 3-4 Tablespoons (45-60ml) heavy cream*
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • salt to taste
  • decorative candies (optional)


Make the cupcakes: 

Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Line 14 muffin cups with liners.

Over high heat, bowl the water in a small saucepan. Pour the unsweetened cocoa powder into a medium sized bowl and mix with boiling water until smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature by placing in the refrigerator as you prepare the other ingredients.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric hand or stand mixer, cream the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract. Slowly add the flour mixture and beat only until *just* combined. In a steady stream, add the cooled cocoa mixture and stir until smooth.

Fill each muffin tin 3/4 of the way full with batter. Bake for 16-19 minutes, keeping an eye on them to avoid even the slightest burning (which will lend dry cupcakes). My cupcakes took 17 minutes and a toothpick inserted in the middle came out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool before frosting.

Make the frosting: 

Beat softened butter on medium speed with an electric or stand mixer. Beat for 2-3 minutes until smooth and creamy. You want a very creamy base before adding anything else.

Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and continue to beat on medium speed. The mixture will be fairly thick. Add the Nutella and continue to beat on medium speed. Add 3 Tablespoons of heavy cream and the vanilla extract.

If the frosting is too thick, add more heavy cream (1 Tablespoon measurements at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar (1/4 cup measurements at a time). Taste the frosting and add salt to cut the sweetness. I added about 1/4 teaspoon of salt to mine.

Frost cooled cupcakes with frosting and decorate with candies as desired. Cupcakes taste best the day of or 1 day after they are made. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

*Replacing the heavy cream in the frosting with milk or half-and-half will result in a less creamy consistency.

Recipe source:

Filed under recipe nutella chocolate cupcakes nutella frosting frosting chocolate cupcakes chocolate recipe nutella recipe

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A Beacon of Light


Today I am excited to tell you about a new computer lamp I just purchased on Amazon. I think this lamp would be a fun gift for anyone in your bridal party. It is perfect for everyone from students to late night computer geeks.  image

I will be honest I originally purchased this lamp for my niece Jada to study at night but I fell in love with it and decided to keep it myself. Now I have to order Jada a new lamp.

The natural light of this lamp is what I love the most about it. I had other computer lamps, but somehow they were always hurting my eyes and it was hard to read with them. The quality of light this lamp offers is tremendous. You can read at night for many hours and you won’t feel any kind of eye discomfort. 

I also like the minimalist design of the light as it makes it portable and very easy to use.  A light tap activates the light. You can set the brightness to four different levels for your comfort. It even has a 60 minute timer so if you leave the room or fall asleep the light goes off automatically to save energy.

Don’t let the small size of this lamp fool it as it packs a powerful punch.and offers 360 degrees of flexibility in any direction to illuminate any area.

This lamp would be a perfect gift for yourself or the hard to buy person in your bridal party who seems to have everything. 

You can purchase this lamp on Amazon. I know some of you may be weary of buying online, but Amazon is a reputable store and my experience with them was great. My lamp arrived quickly in a cardboard box encased in Styrofoam. The lamp parts were embedded in the protective layer and were easy to access. I couldn’t be happier with my online purchase! 

Filed under computer accessories lights lamps bridal party gifts gift ideas computer lamp gifts

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Backyard Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Ideas

With all of the attention on the actual wedding day, side events like the Rehearsal Dinner can often fall by the wayside. However, a rehearsal dinner can be as memorable as the wedding, as it is a time to gather attentively with those people you are closest to. With the whirlwind of a wedding, you may feel as though you didn’t get to see much of those special people. Here are some simple ways to pay attention to the details of your rehearsal dinner.


The Surface:

The wedding tables are going to be all decked out in linens, centerpieces, and place settings, so don’t get too carried away with this table. Choose a simple canvas for your table setting, such as a wooden picnic table. Simple is better and, this way, your space won’t feel overwhelming.


The Colors:

Choosing a neutral palate means you get to have more fun playing with color! Chose to decorate with pops of summer colors—duck’s egg blue, coral, toasty orange, and pinks! 

To pull it all together, you can paint mismatched chairs in your wedding colors, which will give an eclectic, yet cohesive feel.



Don’t overload your table! Personally I like to use a table runner, instead of using a tablecloth, which can oftentimes take away from a simple, rustic look. I love exposed wood! You can stack place settings to save space.


The Centerpiece:

You can’t go wrong with flowers—they’re a fresh way to boast the season and add some color. I like to cluster up-cycled jars, and fill them with flowers.


To create a cozy ambiance for an evening party string tiny lights in trees and bushes. Use plenty of votive candles.


                                     Etched Leaf Mood Votive Holders


Keeping the menu simple, yummy and easy enough to eat while mingling is the key to good backyard style food. BBQ foods are always a good menu idea but if they are not your style then don’t be afraid to think more traditional about your food choices. Comfort foods such as Macaroni and Cheese are always popular choices.


Just because the dinner may be in a backyard does not mean it has to be informal.

To add interest to your food displays serve food in unique bowls.

image                                              Antiqued Gold Bowls.

Ice Cream is always a favorite at a summer party. Serve simple desserts - cookies, brownies, and cupcakes on fun trays, such as this RelativityTray from Home Concepts.


Drink Stations

Getting creative with drink displays is a fun way to add some backyard feel to a party. Large galvanized tubs are always a good option and can be easily refilled and by adding some ice you so know your drinks will stay cool.


Thinking outside the box and getting creative with your displays is a good way to put your own “stamp” on the event like choosing a canoe, hallowed out tree stump or wheelbarrow.


Relaxation / Hang Out Area

To encourage your guests to stay and mingle after their done eating set up cozy seating areas. 


For evening parties create a cozy atmosphere with a bon fire or with a Table Top Fireplace, such as this one from Home Concepts.image

Summer evenings can sometimes be chilly so you could provide a few throw blankets to warm your guests. Comfortable guests are more likely to stay longer.

.       image                                                   Dobbly Weave Throw Blanket

Store the blankets in a large basket and place a piece of wood on top and voila, you have storage and an extra table for your guests to use.

          image                                                           Large Metal Basket

Coffee Bar


After your guests eat you can serve coffee and dessert.

Coffee bars are great way to help your guests relax after a large meal and to sober up any guests who may have been drinking.

You could also offer hot water and teabags for the non-coffee drinkers.

Most of all, just remember to relax and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be a casual evening with your family and best friends before the wedding. These are the most important people in your life, so there is no need to stress yourself out trying to be perfect. Go with the flow and have fun!

** For more information on any of the products featured in this blog please visit Home Concepts - where modern home decor comes to life!

Filed under Rehearsal dinner summer entertaining backyard rehearsal dinner backyard party summer party Home Concepts

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DIY Glitter Vases / Jars

Glitter glass jars are perfect for parties, weddings or just to add a touch of sparkle to your dining room table. 

These would also look adorable holding makeup brushes on a vanity or keeping pens and pencils neat and tidy on your desk. Glitter! Seriously, who doesn’t just love glitter?

Supplies -

  • Glass containers (preferably with smooth, straight sides)
  • Glitter (I used Martha Stewart Crafts glitter in Wintermint and Bronze from Michaels)
  • Foam brush
  • Painter’s tape
  • Mod Podge

Apply a thin and even coat of Mod Podge to the interior walls of the vase. Next up, dump in a generous amount of glitter and roll the vase in your hands, tap the sides to get the glitter to evenly coat the Mod Podge.

Then just let the vase dry. It takes a few hours, depending on how thick you apply the Mod Podge. Any excess glitter can just be scooped up and put back in the original container for reuse. If you miss any spots on the vase, simply apply a second coat using the same technique using a thin layer of Mod Podge, then applying glitter and swirling to coat.


The second version, is a glitter-dipped look. First up, mark off your jar with a piece of painter’s tape. How much of the surface you want to be covered in glitter will determine where to put the tape. I went about 2/3 of the way up. Then cover the area below the tape with Mod Podge using a foam brush.

Next up, coat the outside of the vase with glitter. You’ll get a big mess with this one so make sure you have kraft paper or something similar covering your workspace. Then simply fold the paper up like a funnel and sift the excess glitter back into the jar when you’re done. Once the glitter/glue combination is dry, apply an additional thin coat of Mod Podge on the outside of the glass (or spray with a spray sealant being sure to protect the area not coated with glitter from getting sprayed) to lock the glitter in place!


** Special Thank You to The Sweetest Occasion for this fun tutorial

Filed under glitter DIY Glass DIY decorating glitter jars