Category Archives: Trendy Steals

Taste Without Waste: June Easy-Prep Meal Plan 

Y’all, I. Waste. So. Much. Food. Anyone with me? I see a cool recipe, buy all new ingredients to make it, and then I’m left with all the random ingredients that didn’t get used up in the recipe. Or I run to the grocery store and hangrily impulse buy. Or I make a ton of one thing to save time in meal prepping and then get so tired of eating the same thing over and over. Guess where those extras end up far too often? You guessed it. The trash. 

In light of that (and really hoping I’m not the only one who does this) I want to share a food-planning series on the blog. I know this is so different than anything I’ve done before. But the way I see it, it’s just another way to live life thriftily without sacrificing trend…or taste in this case. Taste without waste. 

Once a month you’ll see a budget-friendly, meal planning guide that provides my family of four (me, hubby, toddler, and almost 1 year old) five days of relatively whole-food meals and snacks with little to no waste. You know if your family will need more or less food so feel free to adjust or make substitutions accordingly.

This week was busy. I needed a realistically time-efficient yet relatively healthy and budget friendly meal plan in place before we found ourselves eating junk food and spending way too much money eating out. I grabbed $150 and had time for one grocery stop…so off to Costco I went. 


MY SHOPPING LIST w/Costco price breakdown (cost and inventory may vary store to store and are subject to change at any time)

  • Meat: 
  1. Rotisserie Chicken ($4.99), 
  2. 2-2 1/2 lbs Pollo Asada ($3.49 a lb),
  3. Organic Ground Beef ($19.99 for a pack of 3 but you’ll only need one or two packs this week. Freeze the rest) 
  4. Organic Chicken Meatballs ($13.89 and these are amazing! Simple ingredients, super easy, and delicious!)
  5. 60 count carton of eggs ($3.89)
    • Fruit: 
    1. 2 lbs Organic Strawberries ($5.99),
    2. 2 lbs blueberries ($6.99),
    3. 3.5 lbs of dates ($7.99),
    4. 8 bananas ($1.39)
    • Veggies: 
    1. 3 lb Broccoli ($4.49),
    2. 2.25 lb Asparagus ($5.99), 
    3. 12 Bell Peppers (2 packs of 6 counts at $6.99 each),
    4. Squash and Zuchinni Organic Pack (4 of each in one pack for $5.99),
    5. Organic Cauliflower Rice (2 pack for $3.89)
    •  Misc.: 
    1. 2.2 lbs Organic Quinoa Pasta ($7.99 and you won’t use it all),
    2. 2.5 lb Bag of Organic Tortilla Chips ($4.39),
    3. 32 Oz Mango Salsa ($5.99),
    4. 2 lbs Sharp Cheddar Cheese ($4.99 & likely won’t use it all)
    5. Organic String Cheese ($7.89 for 24 count and we have leftovers after the week)
    6. 22 oz Pesto ($7.99 & likely won’t use it all)

    TOTAL: $145.68 pre-tax (and that includes food you can use in later weeks).

    It’s important for me to note:

    1. You can definitely meal prep cheaper or healthier. But remember my focus was a balance of budget-friendly, healthier, AND easy to make with little to no waste.
    2. This is just what I came up with mixing and matching flavors but the options are endless. See these more as suggestions rather than hard and fast combos. Don’t like mango salsa? Pick up tomato salsa. Don’t like a ton of chicken? Try pork. Don’t like pesto? Try marinara. The options are truly endless. 
    3. Make food in bulk to save time. My hope is to provide you with some ideas on how to use the same ingredient in easy yet different ways. You’ll find you don’t need almost any recipes to make these meals. Most of them are reheating leftovers! 

    MEAL PLAN: 

    • Breakfast: 
    1. 2-3 eggs however you like your eggs (perhaps an omelette with optional cheddar cheese and/or leftover veggies?) AND side of fruit
    2. Bowl of mixed fruit (for those day as you aren’t super hungry). TIP: Dates are super awesome because they’re delicious and filling! 
    • Lunch: Leftovers from dinner are always easy to plan on. I’m including ideas below to mix up the leftovers and keep the flavors interesting. These all use leftovers from dinner meals and involve little or no additional cooking other than warming up.
    1. Chicken meatballs (I do 2-3 per person) over leftover veggies, warmed, topped with pesto or mango salsa, side of fruit,and a cheese stick. Here is a packed lunch shot of what this could look like: 
    2. Leftover veggies and pollo asada, chopped and warmed up, over chips, and topped with cheddar cheese and/or mango salsa.
    3. Veggie Frittata(eggs (I do 2 a person) and leftover veggies cooked together as an open faced omelette) side of fruit, cheese stick.
    4. Leftover veggies over cauliflower rice, warmed, and topped with mango salsa (a veggie “rice” bowl)
    5. Quinoa Pasta, leftover veggies, mixed with pesto, and side of fruit. 
    • Dinner: 
    1. Rotisserie chicken leg or breast   per person, served over roasted peppers, broccoli and asparagus, freshly roasted or warmed up, topped with mango salsa. NOTE: This first night is when I roast half of all the veggies so I can get them done in one shot.
    2. 2 cups Quinoa Pasta, 2 fresh and cubed Zuchinni, and 12 fresh and chopped Asparagus, all boiled together in water for 4 mins, drained, then mixed with 1/2 cup Pesto and topped with warmed chicken meatballs. Feel free to add more or less pesto to your liking. Slivered almonds or crushed walnuts make a nice addition if you have them on hand.
    3. Sliced Rotisserie chicken breasts (makes 2 sliced up breasts) and leftover roasted veggies, warmed, and topped with pesto or mango salsa. TIP: If you’re tired of veggies then sub fruit instead for a lighter, sweeter alternative. NOTE: This is a great time to try to empty the fridge of leftover veggies and the rotisserie chicken before they go bad (2-3 days refrigerated) and also to make room for the freshly roasted veggies you’ll roast for dinner 4 below.
    4. Hamburger patties (season with salt, pepper, garlic, and chili powder and cook to your preference, each pack of meat makes 6-8 patties), topped with roasted bell peppers, served over roasted squash and broccoli. (Feel free to add cheese, asparagus, and any condiments you may have on hand to the meat if that’s your preference). NOTE: this is when I roast all the remaining veggies.
    5. Pollo Asada, leftover roasted veggies, warmed, over optional roasted cauliflower rice. I love roasted cauliflower rice but skipped it this time due to time.
    • Snacks: fruit, cheese, chips and salsa are all great snacks.

    All uncooked meat is cooked on the grill or stovetop until cooked all the way through. 


    All veggies were washed and roasted (bell peppers and squash were sliced before roasting). Heat oven to 425 degrees, drizzle veggies with oil (I used avocado oil), and roast for 12-15 minutes or until they reach your desired doneness (I like to cook my bell peppers for a lot longer…25 mins or so). Salt to your liking (I tend to like more). It’s that easy! You can make veggies in bulk for a few days this way. They basically cook themselves!


    TIP: Roast half of all the veggies with dinner 1 and roast the rest of the veggies with dinner 3 or 4 to cut down on prep and cook time. Then you just have to warm up leftover veggies for the meals in between.

    TIP: The grill is another great way to cook veggies and meat to add delicious flavor and avoid heating up the house on hot, summer days.

    Any tips or takeaways after the first week? I’m glad you asked. I did find a few thoughts helped me stay on track. 

    1. Do all these flavors compliment each other? Basically, can I use every ingredient in different ways to ensure I use everything up but don’t get bored? I found sauces were a great way to add variety to the flavor profiles. Keeping the rest of the food in complimenting profiles.

    2. Is it in season? This helps the budget tremendously when shopping veggies and fruits.

    3. Can I easily prep and cook it in bulk? Because this week if it was going to take more than nominal time I realistically was not going to make it.

    What meals can you come up with that use these same ingredients? What substitutions did you come up with to add a whole new flavor? Let me know in comment below. I’d love some new ideas! 

    And, as always, if you like what you  read then I’d love to have you follow me! You’ll get notices of all the latest blog posts on how you can save money without sacrificing trend. 

    Tagged , , , , , , , ,

    Americana Themed Party Decor on a Budget

    11722120_10153505240071672_3090114973966614293_oY’all…you like that southern slang right? But seriously, I am inspired by some dear, southern friends today on the blog. I recently had the opportunity to decorate for a one year anniversary celebration of the youth leader and his wife at our church. Not only was I excited to celebrate all they had done at the church, but I was also excited to celebrate them becoming our good friends over the past year. Now, these two are Georgia peaches so I definitely wanted the party to have a Georgia country vibe. I took that into an Americana feel (I mean I was still feeling very patriotic after the Fourth of July) and ran with it. I had a budget of $100 and a lot of ideas running through my head. I can’t wait to share what I came up with you!

    Without further ado, here is what I hope you can use as inspiration for an Americana themed party complete with DIY “how to”s and money saving tips for your own party no matter the decor you decide on.

    imageFirst, I started by creating a ton of rag garlands in our party colors. I used some affordable material in our red, white, and blue color scheme to create my own DIY, budget friendly, country rag garlands. It cost me about $18 to make them all.

    To make the garland, I purchased one yard of four different patterns (about $16). I then cut my material into one inch strips. Taking each strip, I folded each one in half with the pattern facing me and placed the folded edge about 2 inches above a long piece of twine (from Dollar Tree) like so: image Be sure the twine is the length you want your garland to be. Then I simply wrapped the two loose ends of my folded, one inch strip around the back of the twine and through the folded edge above the twine like so:

    imageimageimagePull from the bottom of the strip to tighten and start with your next strip. I bunched some strips really close together on some garland strands and left them about 6 inches apart on others to give the different garland strands some variety. I hung some on borrowed pallets (donated to our youth group for free by a local home improvement store) and others above the food tables to add a real country, summer feel.

    11264855_10153505240066672_2074573162746211750_nNext, I made banners with words on them by cutting small triangles out of material, using paint and stencils (you can use whatever you please to match your party) to add the letters, and gluing those triangles onto twine (again from the dollar tree). So easy! I splurged on this material because I loved the striped pattern. All in all, it cost about $14 to make all my word banners but you could easily do it for about $5.

    image

    imageI used plastic table clothes (from the Dollar Tree) covered by a thin, natural linen material (from Wal Mart for $2 a yard). I love cloth tablecloths but needed the ones for this party to feel more rustic. The natural linen was perfect and so affordable! I added two rolls of burlap about 4″ wide purchased from the Dollar Tree down the center as a runner, fresh flowers from a friend’s garden in mason jars (from Dollar Tree and old ones I already had), and some homemade wood cuts to finish off that rustic feel. Cost me about $24 for two food tables, a cake table, and a punch station.

    imageFor the card area I hung twine from a pallet and added clothespins to hang all the cards from. I love displaying cards like this. It really makes the one or ones we are celebrating feel so loved when they see all their cards up front and center. Clothespins were $2 and the rest (twine and pallet) were from left over supplies.

    imageTo add height to the food table, in addition to large wood cuts (homemade so they were free), I also made my own tiered server for $3! Simple glue the bottom of martini glass to the top of one plate and the top of the martini glass to the bottom of another plate. So simple and yet it adds some great height to any table! I got my plates and martini glass from the dollar tree.

    11745404_10153505240061672_1268914120188250075_nFor the drink station I used an old spool to display the punch and cups. I found this spool in our church attic. It had been used for electrical cord. I added in a pallet, a circular plastic tablecloth (from dollar tree), a burlap tablecloth (just a yard of burlap from wal mart for $3) and fresh flowers from my friend’s garden to create a whole new station to add to the decor feel.

    imageAdd in a few flags and checkered paper from the dollar store and you have a completed Americana themed party. I also purchased plates, forks, cups, serving trays, and napkins from the Dollar Tree which added to my expense list but with what I saved by making all of the party decor I was able to easily get those supplies and still come in under budget.

    What do you think? Let me know what ideas you were able to use for your next party and don’t forget to check back soon for more DIY ideas…on a budget of course. Next up will be a DIY door hanger. And, as always, if you enjoy what you are reading then feel free to follow my blog to get all my latest decorating and money-saving ideas and tips.

    Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Add a metallic accent to any room with this quick, easy, and budget friendly DIY idea

    wpid-20150330_101013.jpgOur family room has been 50 shades of brown since we moved in. All of our lounge furniture and decor just somehow ended up being brown, beige, greige, or white. All of it.

    In an effort to get the room redecorated in time for spring, I decided to work on adding in some color and texture…on a budget of course. Some of the textural ideas I had I already blogged about, like my $2 DIY jute bowl or my easy burlap frame. Once I got some texture into the room I turned my eye towards pops of color.

    The idea I am blogging about today came to me out of a desperate need for metallic accents. One way to add texture and color is to use metallics. But how could I do it on a budget? Reusing what I already had was one way to save money. Our family room already had a lot of glass from old candles that had long since been used up and old dollar tree glass and knick knack items that could really use an upgrade. So I had a lot of stuff I could re-purpose but I also needed to do it quickly (I have a toddler so nap time is about my average project duration these days). Spray paint was the clear answer. That seems to be my go to whenever I need a color quick and am on a tight budget. You already saw how I was able to transform some old Dollar Tree frames into Lilly Pulitzer inspired frames in this post so my love for spray paint comes as no surprise. But that being said I wanted to share what all I was able to transform with a $4 can of spray paint

    You will need:

    Old trinkets and glass containers (try dollar tree if you don’t already have these).

    Gold spray paint (or color of your choice)

    You need to:

    1. Spray anything you want gold. Obvious right?

    Really, this blog is to give you ideas and inspiration based off of what I was able to transform. So, here are some of my ideas on what you can paint to give your decor a little face lift.

    1. Old candle jars. Spray paint them and display them empty or place an arrangement inside. No need to take the candle out unless you want to. I just placed the floral arrangement right on top of the old candle.

    wpid-wp-1428522517390.jpg
    image

    2. Glass vases. Again, some of these I displayed alone and others I added flowers to. For this first one I wanted an ombre type look. To achieve that I began by spraying about 6 inches from the glass and moved further out from the glass as I sprayed in upward motions.

    wpid-20150330_101107.jpg
    image

    3. Wood letters. This W was $1.49 at a craft store. A little paint and it takes on a whole new look.

    wpid-20150330_101411.jpg

    4. Knick knacks. I got these from yard sales or thrift stores. I always keep my eye out for fun shapes that would look great with a new coat of paint. To get the two toned leaf pictured below I simply places it upside down and sprayed only the bottom portions of it. I like the surprise gold you get along the edges of the leaf.
    image

    image

    image

    I even spray painted a trash can from the Dollar Tree!

    wpid-wp-1428521314383.jpgWhat do you think? Let me know how your accent pieces turn out and don’t forget to check back soon for more DIY ideas…on a budget of course. I will be sharing how to make the floral arrangements pictured in this post from Dollar Tree florals soon. And, as always, if you enjoy what you are reading then feel free to follow my blog to get all my latest decorating and money-saving ideas and tips.

    Tagged , , , , , , , ,

    DIY Faux Bird’s Nest…perfect for your home decor or next party theme.

    wpid-wp-1424986403666.jpgI am in the process of helping create some “woodsy” decor for an upcoming baby shower. One of the projects on my “to do” list was create a bird’s nest out of some supplies supplied to me by my MIL. I managed to come up with a rather quick and easy way to create a bird’s nest on a budget and wanted to share that DIY with you today.

    To get started you will need:

    1. A foam wreath 7.8in wide x 1.9in.

    2. Spanish Moss

    3. Natural Moss or preserved moss and/or leaves

    4. Hot glue gun with glue

    5. Small paper plate (big enough to cover the hole in your foam wreath but not bigger than your foam wreath).

    6. Decor for your nest. I used a bird, eggs, and burlap flower.

    To make your wreath, you will need to:

    1. Cut your foam wreath down the middle. You want it to be about 1 inch tall when laying flat. Cutting the foam was a slow process for me. The foam is very delicate and breaks easily. The key is go slow and apply as little pressure as possible.

    wpid-20150226_160440.jpg

    wpid-wp-1424986425700.jpg2. Next, you want to carefully stretch out your Spanish moss to make a moderately thick rope about the length it would take to go around your wreath. You can make one long rope or two or three shorter ropes. I made three shorter ropes like the one pictured. I found that easier to glue on that one big rope.

    wpid-wp-1424986468222.jpg3. Glue your moss rope(s) directly onto the smooth side of your wreath (so the cut side  becomes the bottom of your nest). Generously drizzle glue on the top of the wreath and push and hold your moss rope onto the wreath over the glue. Don’t get stuck trying to make it perfect. As long as it sticks that’s all that matters. Once glue has dried, pull at your moss to get it to fold over the outer edges and attach around the outer edges with a dallop of glue as well. don’t worry about the inside just yet. We will get to that.

    Here’s a picture of the moss glued to the top:

    wpid-wp-1424986501777.jpgHere’s a picture of the moss being stretched and glued to the outer sides:

    wpid-wp-1424986535495.jpg4. Now fill in those areas needing more coverage using your filler moss which can be anything from the left over spanish moss scraps to natural moss, preserved moss, and/or preserved leaves. I mixed a few of these together to get my filler moss. Just dallop some glue on the bare area on the wreath and push on a pinch of the filler moss. Using different moss in different colors adds texture and interest to your nest and really gives it a real life look. Here’s a picture of my spanish moss scraps mixed with my greener preserved moss.

    wpid-20150226_124303.jpg

    wpid-20150226_124122.jpg5. Now we finish off the inside of the nest. Glue the bottom of your paper plate to the bottom of the nest. This allows you to apply a bit more of the spanish moss, natural moss, preserved moss/leaves to the center of the wreath, fill it in, and complete that real nest look.

    Here’s a picture of the plate attached to the bottom of the nest:

    wpid-20150226_124103.jpgAnd here’s a picture of me filling in the center of the top of the nest after the plate had been attached to the bottom:

    wpid-wp-1424987290217.jpg6. Now it is time to add your wreath decor. For mine, I attached a bird, eggs, and a little burlap flower, but your options are endless. You could put some simple robin blue eggs for a country chic look or even use foil covered eggs to hold your candy during the Easter season. Let your imagination run wild and personal preferences play into this.

    wpid-20150226_123744.jpgWhat do you think? Don’t forget to share what ideas you come up with to decorate your own DIY nest. Check back soon for more DIY ideas…on a budget of course. And, as always, if you enjoy what you are reading then feel free to follow my blog to get all my latest decorating and money-saving ideas and tips.

    And here are a few pics of how the nests were used at the recent baby shower. It’s a girl!

    20150228_122225 20150228_122631

    Tagged , , , , , ,

    Baby C’s Room Reveal: Yellow, birds, and gray elephant herds

    Room Collage

    When Baby Charis was born she was quite a surprise. Coming 11 weeks early, I had nothing but a can of paint in the middle of an empty room that was the would-be nursery. Shortly after baby C’s arrival the grandparents quickly moved into action to execute everything I had dreamed of the nursery being. Gray, accents of yellow, elephants, and a whimsical feel were my design words. My mom was the brains behind the operation and quickly had everyone in motion working on the details of little C’s room.I just love it!

    My favorite part of the room is the baby mobile. My mom enlisted the help of my sisters and brother-in-law to cut out and put together this DIY mobile to replicate one I had fallen in love with from here. This was a surprise my mom brought while I was still in the hospital. Such a sweet surprise.

    Another one of my favorites is the tree mural with Baby C’s name spelled out. My mom was able to free hand the trunk of the tree with white paint and then use stencils for the leaves. For the name detail, my mom spray painted some wood letters and added a little yellow bow to each before hanging them from the “branches”.

    To fill in some of the details, my mom, mother-in-law, and I hit the thrift stores to find the details. We scored the bird house stand for $7. That stand became the inspiration for adding in the birds which I thought filled the whimsical portion of my dream nursery.

    We used inexpensive, paper and wood frames spray painted white for the picture bunch above the changing table and little wood cutouts for added bird and bird house details on the walls.

    20140731_123914

    The furniture was all bought at a great deal as well. The crib is from target and was a gift from my in-laws, the changing table was from a local furniture store for half off, the glider is from amazon for under $100, and the table and shelf were given to us by family.

    20140731_12383120140731_123731

    I couldn’t help but add in some pink accents. The rest of the blanks were filled in with gifts from friends and family.

    I am in love with what everyone was able to pull together and am so grateful for all the hard work that went into preparing little C’s nursery. Hope you’re able to find some inspiration from Little C’s nursery for your little one!

    Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

    Co-Blog: Hankies for your Happy Tears

    A recent pinterest post depicting a basket of hankies provided for wedding guests gave me the idea of folding the hankies into flowers and using them for both decorations and favors for the guests for an upcoming wedding but this could be fun for any party such as a graduation or special anniversary party where sentiment and tears will be flowing.

    Materials:
    1. Hankies: The hankies can be easily made or bought (I did both). If you choose to buy them, Wal-Mart (in the Men’s Department) has hankies, 6 for $3.00 and 13 for $5.00. If you choose to make them, I found 100% cotton muslin for $1.99 per yard at Wal Mart as well.
    2. Trim: the trim I used for my Hankies were blue lace and peach yarn but you can use almost anything. The reaso I chose lace and yarn is because I found a wadded ball of blue lace at the Swap Meet for $8.00 that turned out to be 180 yards of lace (a lot more lace than I needed for this project). And the yarn seemed a natural and inexpensive fit to the lace.

    How to Make:

    The Hankies: If you choose to make your hankies – Cut out your preferred sized Hankie out of the cotton muslin I mentioned above. Your hankies they will need some type of hemming. I used my serger to edge the material for the blue hankies, but either a sewing machine zigzag stitch or a hand sewn blanket stitch will work well.

    The Flowers:

    White Flower: For my white flowers I used a men’s 17” hankie. I folded the hankie in half then fan folded it (see picture above). Hold tightly in the middle of the hankie and separate the top layers. Then folded up the end to add more fullness to the bloom. The flower should look somewhat like a carnation. I temporarily secured the flower with a rubber band so I could easily tie it with a piece of twine.

    Blue Flower: I started with an 8” square of muslin and 1 ½ yards of 2 ½ “ blue lace. Using a protractor to make a 45 degree angle and a straight edge (bottom edge should be 8”), I made a pattern for the trim and cut four pieces (See picture above). Next, I sewed the corners together with wrong sides together, pressed open the seams and sewed the trim to the 8” square. To fold, I held the four corners together, and then tucked in the centers with the corners. While holding the four corners and centers together, I temporarily secured the flower in place with a twisty tie and then tied it with a piece of twine.

    Peach Flowers: I used a small sharp crochet hook to single crochet two rows around the edge of the hankie (See picture above). I made two rose buds from one hankie by rolling the top and bottom edges. To fold: begin to roll the edge, once the center is made slowly begin to fold over the edge. Roll a bud on both the top and the bottom and fold together in the middle. I secured these with twisty ties and thin peach ribbon. I also made a full bloom. To fold this flower, start with a diagonal fold. Do not match the corners; leave them off center, then roll the hankie same way as the rose buds. Fold up the bottom edge to add fullness to the flower.

    Finishing Touches: The flowers were placed in a ball canning jar decorated with a burlap bow. To hang the jar from the chairs, I used blue rope I found at the swat meet for $2.00. The final touch was a tag to let the guest know the hankies are for their convenience, “The Hankies are Here for your Happy Tears”.

    We plan to have bouquets of hankies for your tears laid out on tables as well as hanging from the back of chairs similar to this picture:

    Let me know how your Hankies turn out and what fun ways you find to display them!

    Co-Blog: DIY Wedding Program and Fan in One – Wedding Series

    A few months back, I blogged about my wedding programs that doubled as fans for our guests. Here’s a quick link to that blog: https://trendythrifting.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/diy-wedding-programs-with-a-twist/

    A few readers asked me to post a picture of the back of the programs. So, I emailed my mom to shoot over a picture of the programs. She did one better, she took multiple pictures and included her own version of how to make these. So, for those of you who waited so patiently…here, finally, is a picture of back of the program and my Mom’s “How To”:

    Here’s what I did:

    1. For these programs I started with blank wood cut outs I found at Michael’s (which gave me five bases for $1). I loved the shapes and thought they would make a solid, sturdy base.

    2. I hand painted the bases because it was the color I really wanted, but to save a lot of labor, I would recommend spray painting them.

    3. The handles were made from wide Popsicle sticks (which I did spray paint). I used two sticks applied with hot glue for each program, one on each side.

    4. The picture and program were printed out on matt photo paper and applied with a good quality glue stick.

    5. For embellishments I added an initial, leaves and a bird with stamps. Other decorative elements were feathers, ribbon and a few crystals.

    Happy crafting and let us know how your programs turn out!

    DIY Party Decor: Fun and Easy


    Last night, I helped throw a suprise 30th birthday party. What a great time! Today and over the next few weekends I plan to blog about the different DIY decorations we made for the party. From pom poms strung with twine to mason jars used as food tags to a DIY cupcake tower, most of these decorations take less than an hour and only a few items to make. It was so much fun! The picture above is just a snapshot into how it all turned out. Let me know how your party decor comes out!

    Chalkboard Table

    I love it when I stay at a friend’s house and in “my” room there is a fun place for me to leave the hostess a little note. Some have chalkboards, some have dry erase boards, some have a little notepad and the list goes on. It’s so fun to create a little note thanking your hostess for the great time and leaving it in your room for your hostess to find as a little surprise. You feel like you get to leave a little bit of you when you leave. With that in mind, I wanted to create a place for my guests to be able to leave a little bit of themselves everytime they come. I wanted them to be able to do it in a unique way. Since we are renting right now, painting the wall with chalkboard paint is not an option (although I cannot wait to try that out, framed with an old antique frame painted in a pop color). I had to think of something else. Then it hit me. I had been planning to repaint some old IKEA tables that I picked up off of Craigslist black to match my guestroom. What if I painted the tops of those tables with chalkboard paint? How cute would that be? Here’s how they came out:

    It is super easy and makes any room instantly more fun! Here’s what I did:

    I spray painted my brown IKEA tables with a black, flat paint. I did two coats, giving each coat a few hours to dry.

    Then, using painter’s tape, I taped around the edges of the table leaving some of the tape exposed at the top of the table as shown here:


    This will make sure your chalk paint stays only on the top of your table.

    I painted the top with three coats of chalkboard paint, giving each coat a few hours to dry. After I finished the last coat, I left the table outside overnight to make sure the paint fumes were completely gone.

    I had previously scored some Christmas bulbs from Wal Mart a few weeks after Christmas, 48 of them for under $4! I filled up an old glass bowl with some of these bulbs and placed it in the center of my table. To top it off, I added a little ribbon bow to a piece of chalk to “dress it up” and laid it on the table next to my welcome note. Now, everytime a guest stays over they can have at it drawing and writing, leaving a little piece of themselves each time they come. At some point, I will probably fill the bowl with chalk dressed in ribbon but I could not find the chalk that I wanted. Hopefully I can find it soon!

    Another idea would be to do this for a kid’s room. How cute would this be in pink? Maybe hot glue some scrunched tulle to the sides of the table to make it look like a tutu! The options are endless. Let me know what you come up with!