Impromptu Pirate Tablescape

Here I go again with the “Impromptu” birthday party, but it happened again!

My niece had her birthday dinner at a restaurant last weekend. It was a family dinner that was planned by her parents and they asked me to put something quick and simple together for the table.

Since Johnny Depp put on his “Jack Sparrow” costume, this birthday girl has been “all in” for pirates….So, you guessed it. I put together a very quick pirate themed party. It was 95% done from stuff I found at the 99 Cent Only Store. The rest came from Trader Joes.

The inspiration for this table was a great pirate birthday banner that I had seen on one of my previous trips to the 99 Cent Only store. The colors were great: turquoise and red, with black and white stripes. How fun! I think I mentioned that I am a sucker for stripes….especially black and white stripes! My plan was to just drape it across the length of the table. The table cloth at the restaurant was white, so this banner really “popped”.20160304_190322

I purchased large turquoise paper plates to act as added color contrast against the stark white table cloth. I made favors out of red and white striped paper bags. They were filled with trail mix bars from Trader Joes, fruit stripe gum, assorted chocolate and Jolly Roger candy. I folded the top of the paper bags and sealed the bags with Life Saver candy. Add matching pirate (Argh!) napkins and we had a fun little table!

I bought a ready made cake at Trader Joes. Add the presents and we had all the makings of a great birthday party!

We rang in her 28th birthday with a bang!

Michelle bday table




Complete with “Pirate Booty”





Impromptu Birthday Party!

I was invited to a restaurant to have lunch with a few girlfriends. Here’s the thing….I knew this was a birthday lunch. We weren’t supposed to make this a “birthday party” but……come on…. its someone’s birthday! It’s the one day a year that it’s absolutely ok to celebrate our friend’s special day! In this day and age, I say, we need to do as much celebrating as we can!

So I went to work. If I do say so myself, I was able to pull off a semi-spectacular birthday table in very short order….

Luckily, I have lots of fabric that I keep on hand for quick table covers. Sounds weird, I know, but it’s my thing. A while ago, I found this celebratory fabric and just had to get it. I usually purchase 2 yards for a table cover and cut the edges with pinking shears to create a decorative finish. Sometimes I hem the fabric, but I didn’t have the time. I’ll hem it later.

You can see for yourself that this fabric is colorful and fun. We were on the patio at a Mexican restaurant, so it was perfect for this birthday table. All I had to do is drape it over the table and it was ready to go!

The centerpiece was our dessert. A cake was too much for our little group, so I went to Trader Joes and purchased the carrot cake cupcakes. They are a scrumptious treat. I had some candy hearts in my baking bin, so I decorated each cupcake with the candy hearts, set them in cupcake liners and put them on a cake stand and brought them to the restaurant. There were paper horns and curling ribbon to complete the look. Simple centerpiece. tcn bday

We had to have little party favors….I went to a grocery store and purchased 4 large cookies with sprinkles. The sprinkles looked like polka dots! I put the cookies in plastic food bags, folded at the top and closed the bags with some cute stickers. I added a happy birthday message that I printed from my computer. Party favors….check!tcn bday 2

I got to the restaurant a few minutes early to set the table. I used a large round doily as I would a place mat and for extra contrast I set the cookie on a red and white polka dot napkin.

It was a delightful and delicious lunch. Best of all the birthday girl was happy that we made her day memorable. A win win situation.

She is a very special person and absolutely worth the extra effort!





Red Chair Redo

I have embarked on a few projects for  my office to give it some “punch”. If men can have a cave, why can’t I have my own spot that is decorated just for me? This is my personal place where I work, create and dream. This room is an all-girl zone.

I like lots of color, but my favorite is red. I seriously gravitate to the color combinations of red, black and white. I adore stripes, ginghams, polka dots and toile. Those motifs always catch my eye.

I recently rescued a couple of chairs from a thrift store for $4 each.  Structurally they were in good shape – but the wood was rough and the paint really needed help. I  saw the potential so  I brought them home to sand, prime and paint candy apple red.Red chaire redo 10

This is a very simple process, but it is messy so you need a few things to make the job easy.You will need:Red chair redo 8

  • Paint:  I used Rustoleum Candy Apple Red
  • Primer: I used Krylon Maxx Primer
  • Gloves – polka dot, of course!
  • Drop cloth – I used a plastic table cloth from the dollar store
  • Sanding sponge – these are so much easier than sandpaper. Get at any hardware store.
  • Clear coat spray. I wanted my chairs very shiny so I sprayed them with a top coat. A clear coat also protects the finish….think manicure.

We have had such beautiful weather, so I took my rescued chairs outside and cleaned and dusted them off. I roughed  them up with the sandpaper sponge. These sponges really are terrific product. It saves your hands (if you are not wearing gloves) and can get in little crevices that sandpaper can’t. I took down all the rough spots on these very worn chairs to make them smooth enough to prime coat. After sanding, make sure you clean off all the dust the sanding creates. You want them clean and smooth for paint.

Red chair redo 6

Now the fun begins…..Start painting with the primer. I held the paint can about 5 inches away from the chair and sprayed away till the chair was covered. If you decide to do this be careful…don’t spray too close to the chair, the paint might drip! Then let it air dry. Checking the primer after 30 minutes is key and check for any missed spots. If you missed some spots, spray again with primer. Each chair took about 1.5 cans of primer. Even just primed in white there is a vast improvement!

When the primer is dry, bring out your paint can and start spraying. Same as above. Again, check after 30 minutes dry time for any spots that you may have missed. I guarantee you missed a few! Go back and paint some more. Each chair took 1.5 cans of the Candy Apple Red.

This was a fast project from start to finish. I probably could have finished them in 1 day, but I spread it out over 2 days to make this a great weekend project. I primed one day and painted the next. I made some cute pillows and tied a bow around the finished chairs for fun.Red chair redo 1

Now I have extra seating if I need it, and some very perky chairs that have gotten a new lease on life with the face lift they just received from this quick project!

Red chair redo 2

Very girlie, Indeed!

Baby Gift Idea

A lovely group of ladies that I know have this great tradition of meeting for breakfast every Friday morning at 7:30 am. They’ve been meeting like this for years. A friend close to this group had just given birth to a little boy, and these generous ladies decided to give their friend a very creative and generous gift, and I was honored to be asked to wrap it for the new little guy. They had all the contents for the gift, they just needed me to finish it off to create the presentation. Well, excuse me….but that’s the best part!

The ingredients: A purchased shadow box from a frame store (see picture at right) and several gift cards. 20160401_205739_resizedIt was up to me to put it all together. Happily they know my work, so they let me do my thing.

So I set upon making envelopes from card stock for the gift cards. I lean toward vintage and retro images, so I went to my library of vintage paper. I cut out two little baby boy images, cut some blue and white rick rack, scrap gingham card stock, polka dot ribbon, a few tiny  baby rattles and a big blue ribbon that I found at a gift store. My glue gun and I went to work and created something I think is really special.

This really is a great idea! It’s a terrific alternative to a gift basket. This would also ship well. You would need to bubble wrap it, of course, but it would ship easily in a flat box. Here is the finished shadow box of goodies. Close the lid….and done!20160402_223551_resized

The new mommy can open the gift box, use all the goodies and then she has the perfect place to put new pictures and mementos of her new little prince. Enjoy, little boy!



Bunnies Abound!

20160326_140400I Normally  I would not do another blog post on a subject that has already been covered, but I just have to share this. I have a friend and client who had a HUGE table to set for Easter brunch. This table is 12 feet by 12 feet. It. Is. Huge. She always does an incredible job ordering flowers for her home, but this table is so large, it needed something more. I mentioned my idea from last week’s post about the ceramic bunnies – essentially tying the floral arrangements and the bunnies together for a forest effect. She liked the idea, so we went to work!

Well. I must say this table was a masterpiece! She ordered her 3 floral arrangements from Flowerman in Pasadena. The main floral arrangement was a basket with a bunny in the center. It was adorable. It was beautiful. It was the focal point and inspiration for the entire table. The other 2 arrangements, were lovely, as well, but we added some little egg “picks” and inserted them into the arrangements to add some Easter fun!20160326_140237

I wanted to continue the woodland theme created with this bunny basket. In order to do that she ordered 2 bunches of greenery so that it could be placed around the table in free handed form. We used leather leaf fern. The stems on the fern were long, so we cut them down and placed them on the table – making sure that no stems were visible. We added various sized paper mache eggs nestled  around the table top, and finished with the bunnies. I cannot stress enough that the greenery really completed this table. It filled in the spaces that needed “just a little something extra”. It is an inexpensive idea that really added the polish for this idea……Add the jelly beans and malted milk eggs strewn around ….a delish delight to behold!

The four families that gathered to celebrate this Easter meal had a lovely table to view  while they talked and ate among the forest creatures!

I am positive that the hostess received many a compliment on the table she created for her guests to enjoy on this marvelous and joyous day!

Easy Easter Tablescape

I set my table for Easter a little early this year because I wanted to share it with you!

Bunnies and chicks abound with this year’s table design, and it was so simple to do. Always a plus!

I have a collection of ceramic bunnies, eggs and chicks, so this year I decided that instead of putting them in various spots around the house, I gathered them up to place them on the table top. I was careful to space them randomly… you would find critters in a field playing.

IMG_2034I chose to weave a garland of greenery around the bunnies, but you could also use the Easter grass that you find at the store, as well. If your table is not complete without flowers, by all means add the flowers! It’s all up to you!

After I was happy with my placement, I scattered jelly beans and chocolate eggs all around my bunnies and chicks….Yum, jelly beans and chocolate. I do adore dessert first!

I also made my Easter cards from stuff I collected from the Dollar Store (I told you that I liked that place, right?) A little card stock, scrap ribbon, a glue gun, a stamp and ink…..and… cute cards! All made with scraps of what I had on hand. The animals were little felt premade forms purchased last year from – yep, you guessed it – the Dollar Store. I just knew I would use those little guys one day!IMG_1328

The inside was just another piece of scrap paper that I stamped with an Easter stamp and ink. Easy, inexpensive….and adorable!

Just Ducky!

IMG_1351I hope you all have a wonderful, safe and Happy Easter!

Enjoy your day!

Spring Wreath


I woke up this morning to a glorious sunny day. Don’t get me wrong, the weather in Southern California is wonderful, but I’m still waiting for the big storms we were supposed to see this winter….It’s a fashion thing. I happen to adore coats, sweaters and gloves.

So in celebration of this early spring, I decided to make a wreath for my bathroom. There was a spot on the wall that seemed like it needed cheering up. I’ve had an idea for a yellow and white wreath for a while now. I just needed to sit down and make it. Honestly, I’ve been collecting the silk flowers since last fall when all the summer stuff goes on sale, so I already had everything that I needed. I used an 18 inch grapevine wreath. I purchased a white hydrangea bush with at least 5 cluster flowers, a yellow hydrangea bush with at least 5 cluster flowers, small yellow orchids, small daisies, and small assorted items for texture. I had some cute yellow butterflies, so I used them, as well. It took about 2 hours to complete, but I think it turned out great! 20150719_201842

I think the key to a pretty wreath is making it full. Do not be stingy with your flower placement. Let the flowers be a bit free form….not “placed” in position. I always cut my flowers with wire cutters and position them in the grapevine before I secure with hot glue (I REALLY like my glue gun). I place the big flowers first then I add around them for interest. I used rick rack for a bit of fun, then best of all, I made a beautiful bow to top it all off.

I think it turned out great!

The wall seems a bit happier now….






Leap Year Party Idea

This past weekend I helped my friend, Michele, with a Leap Year Party she was planning for her boyfriend. He is a “Leaper” or as we know them, a Leap Year Baby. While I was doing research for Leap Year décor, all I could find was frog related stuff. That simply would not do. This gentleman had very specific ideas of what he wanted and I was put “on the case” to make sure his ideas came alive!

He wanted the colors to be black, blue, white and silver….not froggy green! We decided to do candles in glass vases layered with colored sand. We also decided to  frame idioms with the word “Leap” in them….Leap for Joy, Leap on the Bandwagon, Leap of Faith….you get the idea. Well, it turned out great! Each table was adorned with a black table cloth, a framed “Leap” idiom and gorgeous pillar candles in vases layered with colored “sand”.

We had so many tables to decorate, the sand idea was getting a bit pricey, so I used a technique that I will definitely be using again! Instead of using colored sand I used table salt and colored it with food dye.

Leap Year CandlesI went to Smart and Final and purchased 25 pounds of table salt for under $5. I had the blue food color, so I put the big bag of table salt  in the car and drove to Michele’s house and got to work making our fabulous colored “sand”…NOTE: Make sure you buy table salt. Any other kind of salt will be too coarse….You will need bowls to mix your salt, food color, plastic spoons and a funnel to pour the salt into your container for the layering. Mix your salt 1 to 2 cups at a time. It’s just easier that way…trust me. Each color gets a different bowl. Pour your salt into your bowl and add your food color and start mixing. Add the color until you get the hue you want. Then layer your colors…. Use the funnel. We started with blue, added some regular salt for the white, we had some glitter so we added that. They all were different and really beautiful! Be careful when you move your layered pieces. The salt/sand will move, so just be careful.

This was so easy and inexpensive, I will definitely do this again…..

The birthday boy was very happy with the décor…phew!

I must add that the caterer Michele used was the BEST! The Spot Gourmet in Glendale, CA.

The presentation and the food was divine!The Spot Gourmet








Happy Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is coming! It is my favorite day of the year. It is an opportunity for me to tell the important people in my life how much they are loved. A card, a telephone call (yes, a call, not a text), a simple little gift of appreciation to the people on my “I love you” list.

This year I’m going give goodies to the wonderful firefighters at the fire station that I live near. I have a basket that I painted red. I lined the basket with red gingham fabric and filled the basket with store bought muffins, “Red Hots” candy, red and white M & M candies, chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies and biscotti. It’s a happy basket meant to thank some great people for risking their lives to help so many people! I hope they will enjoy all the goodies!IMG_1864

 I’m wrapping up some yummy carbonated flavored water in bandanas for my Pilates clients. . Adorable and useful!….When the water is gone, they will have a bandana to use for something else! 20150213_083016

I may spoil the surprise, but my gal pals will be getting darling heart pins. IMG_1281

I purchased ½ yard of black velvet fabric. I sewed a little pillow and pinned the heart to the pillow (the ½ yard of fabric will make 8 pillows). Then I wrapped it all up in cellophane, added a bow, and ta-dah! A. Great. Gift. These could also be party favors for a Valentine party!

These are just a few simple ideas to make your Valentines Day a very happy day!

And of course….Wear red!