Tablescape Thursday 2 Ways

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This week I visited a floral wholesaler and got so much decorating inspiration. I’ve been really interested in the “copper,” trend so I got a new copper colored mercury glass vase.

I decided to do up a few tablescapes of how I would do a rustic-elegant look for a simple dinner and a special-occasion dinner. I had so much fun with it, especially arranging the flowers. After taking photos of the special-occasion setting, I paired it back and it was nice to eat a regular Thursday dinner on a done up table. It was worth the little bit of extra clean up time as it really felt like we had a special experience. It’s just fun to have something different to look at on the dinner table.  I’m inspired now to do up a nice tablescape one night a week. I like to do meatless Mondays…now I’m going to add “Tablescape Thursday!”

 

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Simple dinner tablescape

I got these wood chargers from Homesense recently and love them, my plates are a bit too big for them but I think just seeing the edge still works nicely. My dinnerware is “Baroque,” from Wedgwood and I just love their shape, they look pretty without chargers! The wood slice napkin rings are from Indigo and are a great staple for the fall. I like how my simple stripe runner, wood slice coasters and agate rock make the table a rustic theme.

 

New copper colored vase
New copper colored vase

I love my simple arrangement of cream roses, peach hypericum and boxwood. They go so well with the copper vase, I am finding that the copper color adds so much warmth and works well with browns, pinks and creams.

 

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Special occasion dinner tablescape

For this tablescape I added the extra plates, cutlery and glassware you would have for more than one course. I added gem cut candle holders. The pink mercury glass candle holders are from my wedding! I put out place cards and the grey m&j “initial,” coasters I got from Anthropologie in the summer. I have such a big collection of coasters (mostly from Anthropologie) and I need to be stopped! I justify their purchase by just buying two and then mixing and matching…but who am I kidding I’m a coaster fanatic! I like to use them when I can in place settings as so many of them are so beautiful and its a way to use them more than just on the coffee table.

 

Looking back I can remember so many old family photographs having copper accents in them, from light fixtures to kitchen items. I sure wish I had a few of those items today. I think I’m going to buy more copper items when I’m out & about, the color gives such a warmth to a table. Its a color that I would use from summer through to winter and I’m already dreaming up all the different ways I can decorate with it! I had fun setting up these tablescapes and can’t wait to continue with “Tablescape Thursday!”

I hope you are inspired to use copper in your tablescapes!

Lv, Julie ♥

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Flowers In The House

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I really believe nothing replaces the beauty of fresh flowers in a home. Since I can remember I have always been obsessed with flowers. I haven’t met too many flowers I didn’t like. I could even get behind a bird of paradise in the right setting. I can remember growing up always picking wild black-eyed susans and daises at the cottage, and roses from my grandma’s garden. I’d put them in a little vase and set them out for dinner. I spent 15 years working in flower shops throughout high school and university. I got to see so many varieties of flowers, greenery and plants. I saw them in all colors and grade levels. These years made me appreciate flowers in so many ways. I was so excited when the delivery truck would arrive and I could see what was ordered. I always was interested when something unique came in that I had not seen before.

When I was 15 I got my first part time job at a flower shop. I worked at many throughout the years including the floral department of a large grocery store (where I met my future husband). I remember at one shop there was a man that would come in every week and spend $50 on flowers. He said “my wife and I don’t drink or go out too much, instead every week we buy fresh flowers.” That always stuck with me. He was making the claim that they loved having fresh flowers in the house as part of their lifestyle but also that he had made sure to budget or justify the cost in some way. I knew that one day when I had a steady job I would love to have fresh flowers in the house too. Its just an investment in an instant “perk-me-up.”

Since being with my husband he always gives me flowers on my birthday, valentines and our anniversary.  Every now and then he has brought home a bunch of flowers “just because.” Those are the best ones! Yes I am lucky! He knows I have loved flowers all of my life that it will put an instant smile on my face-especially if I’ve had a hard day.

I start by putting them in a tall vase and then after a few days cut them down short and put them in a few smaller vases. You have to have fun with it, I usually pick flowers based on what looks the freshest but always consider the time of year. Nothing replaces red roses at Christmas with pine, cedar or fir greenery. In the summer, mixed colorful bunches with a sunflower or two are vibrant enough to compete with the lush gardening happening everywhere outside. In the fall using burnt colors and dried grasses, branches and berries create a nice rustic look. Other times of the year I like to do a monochromatic look, buying a dozen of the best looking roses always works. I always get cost effective flowers at the grocery store but for special occasions nothing beats the quality found at your local flower shop or those found at higher-end grocery stores.

I have a little tradition to take a photo of any of the flowers I buy or receive, its fun to have a memory of all of them to look back on! These are some of my favorites!

 

Birthday Flowers on Vacation
Birthday Flowers on Vacation

We went to Europe for our Honeymoon and happened to be in Austria on my birthday. That was a birthday to remember for sure! These flowers are some of the most special I’ve ever had because my husband surprised me and left the hotel, went across the street to a little mall and bought a vase and roses. It was thoughtful to keep up the tradition of flowers on my birthday even when we were away from home. And… yes I do thank every day I have such an amazing husband!

 

First Wedding Anniversary
First Wedding Anniversary

This year on our first wedding anniversary we went to dinner at a local resort. My husband had just had a work conference there and discovered they had this tiny private dining room. Since our anniversary was on a Tuesday we were able to book it. I thought it would be fun to take the first tier of our wedding cake so we could have something nice to look at on the table and have a piece after our dinner. With this idea in mind I decided to be a bit bold. I thought I could really have that feel of our wedding if I cut some flowers and put them in a vase from my wedding. I put aside the strange feeling of bringing all these things into the restaurant and went with it. I’m so happy I put in that extra effort, it made for a more memorable evening. I really personalized that little room!

 

Christmas Table Arrangement
Christmas Table Arrangement

I remember making this arrangement, It was a modern take on the classic “long & low,” arrangement we always made at the flower shop for table centerpieces at Christmas.

 

After our wedding we took home so many beautiful flowers. We decided not to go on our honeymoon until 3 weeks later so it was nice to enjoy them all. I have never had so many gorgeous flowers in my house all at once. I knew I would probably never have this chance again so I made a point to set them up and make a special dinner so that we could have some nice photos and a nice memory. On the last photo I put out our wedding table number and vow books and it was like we had another little wedding dinner afterwards. I just thrive on finding opportunities in life to enhance a moment and take memory making to the next level.

It was fun to share my love of having fresh flowers at home. I took a walk down memory lane while writing this and really reflected on how flowers can make a special time in your life all the more beautiful.

Lv, Julie ♥

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Bridal Shower Flashback

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Its fall and I can’t help but reminisce about the fun my mom and I had throwing my sister-in-law a bridal shower. It was the fall of 2013 and I had recently discovered Pinterest. I had fallen in love with the sharing site for all things creative! We really embraced fall for the theme, a time of year that lends itself well to party planning.

The season allows you to bring in beautiful natural elements such as acorns, apples, pumpkins, gourds and colorful fall leaves. There’s so much you can be creative with yet you have a solid direction with color. Figuring out colors any other time of the year and then going to the store and actually finding what you need can be tricky. Decorating for fall can be as easy as going to a park to gather acorns, branches, grasses and berries to craft with. Finding great décor items might mean taking a fun road trip to a local farm or farmers market. Most stores are full of decorating options starting as early as the end of August right through to the middle of November, so you really have a good chance to gather items and ideas. I can’t wait until I host a fall gathering again so I can get (f)all crafty again!

 

Bride's Chair & Fall Decor
Bride’s Chair & Fall Decor

On the chair in this photo is a bouquet holder that florists use when making cascading wedding bouquets. A tradition at many bridal showers was to make a funny hat with all the bows and ribbons from opened gifts.  To be different I thought to make a bow bouquet! We used it as an accessory to model our fashions in our “toilet-paper-bride,” game.

 

Coffee Table Decor
Coffee Table Decor

Here is a little tablescape for the coffee table. The wreath was inspired by a similar one I found on Pinterest by Amy at LivingLocurto. I had made a few for myself and one for my mom’s front door and ended up using it as a centerpiece. Little acorn dishes with fall colored M&M’s, candles and pottery coasters completed the look.

 

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Doily Garland
Doily Garland

I saw this doily garland in a Martha Stewart Wedding magazine in all white and added gold doilies to give it some fall shimmer. I used smaller versions in different vignettes throughout the party.

 

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Shower Game Table

I loved this shower game station. My mom’s home decor worked so well with the theme. I really liked how the lamp and stone sculpture fit in, and we found a quilted mat in a drawer (this was most likely grandma’s!) that fit the color theme so well. The bowl of apples was an easy fall touch of color. The mason jar of sharpened pencils was fun. I remember the  mason jar trend was just starting and I was excited to incorporate them!

 

Fruit Punch!
Fruit Punch

I loved this little punch station! It’s great when you are in a home where you can use existing furniture as dedicated stations. This was my grandma’s washbasin stand from the farmhouse where she grew up. At some point my mom must have realized that the punch bowl fit perfectly into the opening and it could be used for a refreshment station. My grandma would be proud! Punch is something that you don’t see as often anymore. I think it is a must at a shower-partly because it looks so beautiful! There is something so pretty about the look of a bowl of floating fruit, glistening ice cubes and colorful juice!

 

Caramel Apple Cupcakes
Caramel Apple Cupcakes

I have searched high and low for this cupcake recipe, I want to tell my 2013 year old self to make sure to save good recipes but I can’t. These were a hit. They were apple cupcakes with a maple syrup cream cheese icing (I think!) crossed with the topping of this recipe from Pinterest by Alyssa at The Recipe Critic. They looked like candy apples and (not shown in this photo) I tied cinnamon sticks with raffia for decoration on the top of the stand.

 

Sweet Acorns
Gracious Rain “Sweet Acorns”

These “sweet acorns,” were from a recipe on Pinterest by Launi at GraciousRain . They were incredibly easy and quick but made such a huge impression!

 

Fall Veggie Tray
Fall Veggie Tray

A good veggie tray is a must at any event!  I used an acorn squash cut in half as a bowl for the dip! So cute!

 

It was fun to reflect back on this special bridal shower. I can’t wait for my next chance to host a party, the fun is definitely in the details!

Lv, Julie ♥

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Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

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At the beginning of most every week you will find me in the kitchen making this salad. It makes a great lunch on the go or side at dinner. I started making this recipe when a nutritionist I was talking to advised me to have more protein throughout the day. At the time I was going through a phase where I was not that into meat, I wasn’t a vegetarian but was having meat only a few times a week. That phase is behind me and I grew to love this salad as a staple. Quinoa is well known for its health benefits. It’s actually a seed and is incredibly high in protein. It is also gluten-free and high in fiber and iron. I’ve tried serving different quinoa recipes as a hot side but prefer quinoa as a cold salad. This salad is so fresh and full of flavour, but is better on day two when all of the flavours come to life!

 

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Ingredients:

2 cups chicken stock
1 cup dry quinoa
3 diced red bell peppers
1 cup thinly sliced green onion (white & green parts)
1/4 cup sliced pimento stuffed green olives
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I use almost 3/4 of a cup because I love lemon juice!)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup or whole package of chopped fresh basil

Directions:

1. Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in quinoa and reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. The liquid should be absorbed and the quinoa should be tender, if not cook for 1-2 minutes more or I often take the pot off the stove, set aside and cover for 10 minutes. Make sure to take the lid off the quinoa and cool completely before transferring to a large serving bowl.

2. Whisk the oil, garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, lemon zest and lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside.

3. Add the red pepper, green onions, olives, feta and freshly ground pepper (to taste) to the cooled quinoa. Pour the dressing over the quinoa mixture and toss 25-30 times (yes I count my tosses! I have found this makes all the difference in the world for a perfectly mixed salad!) Garnish with fresh basil & serve!

This is a great go-to quinoa salad. I happen to like acidic tasting dishes, hold back some of the lemon zest and juice if that is not your thing. This salad lasts 2-3 days, make sure to hold back the basil and add daily so it doesn’t get soggy!

Hope you like this recipe!

Lv, Julie ♥

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