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How To Hang String Lights + The Garden At Night

how to hang string lights

One of the best additions to our Garden Makeover were these string lights from Ballard Designs.  The lights cast a beautiful ambiance at night and make the space useable after dark – a BIG plus for a weary Mommy & Daddy that want to sit and talk after the kids are down.  We purchased this type of lighting from a different company at a previous home of ours, and we were not impressed with the quality at all.  I ordered these from Ballard (after several friends recommended them), and when I received them, I was very happy with the product.  They seem much more heavy duty than our old ones, and apt to withstand the cold and rain.

In all honesty, I was a little intimidated about hanging the lights, so I thought I would offer some tips we learned along the way to help those of you who may share the same sentiment.

how to hang string lights

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DIY Acrylic Hardware For Kitchens + Baths & More

diy acrylic hardware

Without a doubt, one of my most popular projects has been my DIY Acrylic Curtain Rods.  (some people say lucite, some say acrylic – potatuh, potatah)  So imagine my feelings one night when I am searching for hardware for our Master Bath renovation, and I come upon an image of this.

brass pipe clip

Do you see what I see?  I instantly thought “I CAN MAKE SOMETHING WITH THIS!”  Originally, I was thinking I could put brass rods through these to make some killer hardware, but then I pondered acrylic.  It would definitely be cheaper, and since the pipe clips are a little more bulky and industrial looking, perhaps that would be the perfect combination of mechanical and sophisticated.

This is a rather convoluted story, but follow me on the struggle for an idea to come to fruition…

So the next day, I called up my local plumbing supply searching for brass pipe clips.  They did not have them, never heard of them.  I called several others…nothing.  No one seemed to have ever heard of pipe clips; rather, pipe clips that were brass (aka pretty).  Finally, I got my answer after calling yet another plumbing supply store (and after he laughed at me when I told him I was looking for brass pipe clips).  After sending him the picture, he said, “Oh, these are probably European.  In the UK and countries over there, they care about stuff like this.  You will never find these here.” (WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU AMERICA?!  : )  )

Therefore, I did what I always do when I cannot find something in the States, I go to Ebay UK.  My first set of clips I ordered from this seller.  They were very nice and easy to work with.  Sadly, in the midst of all of our home renovations, the pipe clips got lost.  By the time I went back to order, my Ebay UK seller was out of the ones I needed.  I had to find another source.  Then I found Supreme Plumb.  On their site, they tell you they will not ship internationally, but they will.  Just email them.

Note:  When I am shipping items internationally, I always request Expedited Shipping.  It is worth the extra few dollars, and trust me, Standard Shipping from other countries these past couple of years has been a nightmare.  I bought some art for a client last year, and it was stuck in customs for MONTHS.

Just FYI, if you prefer a silver look rather than a gold, pipe clips come in chrome, too.

chrome pipe clip

The new pipe clips arrived, and I was ready to get started.

Here is what you need…

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Tea Party Baby Shower Favors

tea party favor

Today I wanted to show you how I made the adorable tags featured on the Vintage Tea Party Baby Shower post.   Party favors (for adults) can be kind of tricky…you want to give something nice/useful for not a lot of money.

Because we had the tea party theme in place, we wanted to keep that in mind when doing the favors.  A parting gift with a tea bag was an obvious choice, but I wanted to be a bit more creative.   When I saw these bath tea bags, I thought “we’re getting somewhere!”  Basically, inside of each package, there is a teabag filled with herbs that you simply place into your bath.  Very nice!

Melanie’s Apothecary Bath Tea

One packet of bath tea went into these pink teapot muslin bags along with some loose, fragrant lavender.  (you can typically find this at health food stores and farmers markets)

Pink Teapot Muslin Bags From OnTheWingsPaperie

Since our Guest of Honor, Kelly Kay, is a creator of beautiful paper herself, I wanted to make something really special for her party favor tags.

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DIY Gold Leafed Shelves

diy gold leafed shelves

Hello hello!

I’ve taken a bit of a break this last month from blogging.  Unplanned.  Just with client work, and family, and flu season, and holidays, etc., the blog has gotten pushed to the side for a time.  I do appreciate your emails and messages, and I do try to respond to all of them, though I am not quite caught up yet.  So thanks for being here, I’m excited to show you what I have been working on.

I have written about my Guest Room/Office Makeover a couple of times – the first post talked about how the color palette and trim was inspired, and the second post was how the paint and trim came to be, quite a feat!

But my beautiful new space would not be what it is without my dear friend, Jen.  You may know her from her really great blog, IHeartOrganizing, or her shop where she sells her practical and pretty products to help make your life more orderly.

jen and grace

We met at the BHG Stylemaker Event the year before last and hit it off.  It was funny too because after reading her blog all of this time, I had thought before that “we could be friends”.  This past year at BHG Stylemakers, we were roommates and stayed a couple of days extra to pal around together.  It was so fun and truly one of my most enjoyable trips to NYC ever.

I had told her before about this cough, rather hoarder looking “storage room” of mine (basically the “receiver” of projects around our house – i.e. “the bathroom is getting redone, so throw everything in here room”), and we both said, “wouldn’t it be neat to collaborate?”  It sounded awesome, but I was skeptical it could ever really happen.  We live at basically opposite ends of the country and both have businesses to run and families to raise.  But she hopped on a plane, and we did it together.


image via IHeartOrganizing

The above photo is courtesy of Jen and showcases what we had to go through.  This is the previous state of the closet.  Yes, it had gotten so bad, I would literally throw things in here “that belonged” and shut the door, thinking I would get around to organizing it “later”.  Anyone else have any “later” spaces?

Much to my surprise, Jen did not run away screaming.  She stayed with me for days, going through this mess, sorting it and putting it away, long into the night(s).  This is true friendship.  Love you, Jen.

jen grace kids

Jen wrote about this makeover, especially focusing on the organizational aspects of it here and here.  There are TONS of good, practical ideas here, so check it out.

Now onto the shelves…

I bought a pair of these Stairway shelves from CB2 when they were having a major sale a couple of months ago.


I bought the gray instead of the white because at the time, they were cheaper and in stock!  The white was backordered, although if I had gotten the white, I could have skipped the lacquering of the shelves since the shelves would have already been lacquered white.

I knew I wanted/needed two large shelving units on either side of my desk for storage and prettiness (and Edith Wharton’s design philosophies – see this inspiration post), but the room is not huge so I needed to be mindful of scale.  We have nine foot ceilings in our home, so I knew it would be a good idea to take advantage of height.  These CB2 shelves are eight feet tall, which is giant for this type of off-the-shelf piece, so it was a good choice.

The shelving supports were pretty non descript before.  Gray. Metal.

shelving supports before

I spray painted them gold before I gold leafed them just to ensure they would be gold even if I missed a tiny spot.

spray paint

I could have stopped here, but I am so glad I didn’t.  The gold leaf gives so much dimension to these shelves.

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