In honor of Valentine’s Day this year, I broke out some of my vintage dishes and invited some friends over for a last minute Galentine’s tea party. We all know you don’t really need a reason to get together with your girls, but who doesn’t love a theme?
Follow along for my tips and you’ll be throwing a tea party in no time!
Everything was all about mix and match. I had camomile flowers left over from last week that I mixed with my Valentine’s flowers I got over the weekend.
Because I’m constantly thrifting, all of my plates and cups and silver pieces are just a bit different. I tied it all together with matching gold teaspoons, gold flatware, and pink linen napkins that I made one morning last week.
To make the party as simple as possible, I picked up pastries including these amazing heart shaped, chocolate dipped cookies at my local bakery. I also stocked the fridge with lots of champagne. Of course we also had tea! I served Prince of Wales, mint, and a blend from Laduree (a French pastry shop.)
I used a piece of lace I had left over from a project as a runner and mixed up chairs from around the house for an Alice in Wonderland vibe. I had my guests pick records that we played throughout the party.
Along with pastries, I served tea sandwiches. Because what is a tea party without tea sandwiches!?! I made butter and cucumber sandwiches, salmon with cream cheese and dill sandwiches, and turkey and cheese sandwiches. I think cucumber sandwiches are extremely overlooked and underrated. Last year, I had an obsession where I ate probably 3 cucumber sandwiches a week for at least a month.
I also served a veggie tray and radishes with butter and sea salt. I loved having the veggies, even though it’s not “traditional” for tea time.
I sent my girls home with these sweet treats because don’t they just remind you of being a kid!?
I hope you guys enjoyed seeing photos from my party! When you throw your own, just remember to keep it simple and keep it about hanging with your girls!
Last week, I had a wine and crafts night with my friend Susie and we made homemade magnolia wreaths! They were no match for the Southern California sun and completely wilted in just a few days.
So I’ve rounded up some great holiday wreaths that don’t cost a fortune and won’t be dying on you anytime soon! Get ready to deck the halls, y’all!
I love this led wreath that’s currently on sale at West Elm. Now, I’m part barracuda, so if sparkly isn’t your thing, keep reading!
I’m a sucker for anything with wood that looks vintage, and I love how Christmassythis wreath feels. And how cute are those tiny mittens!?
I’m loving the gold accents in this magnolia wreath from Pottery Barn (don’t they just nail holiday decor!?) Don’t worry, it is a really good fake, so you can use it for years to come!
My parents new place has one of those glass insert doors, and I️ think this triple wreath would be stunning if you have a glass door. Even better is that it’s from Kohl’s and on sale (!) and my mom is obsessed with using Kohl’s cash for discounts. (Hi, Mom!)
I love this boxwood wreath because boxwood is in for any time of year. Even better? It’s on sale for $40!
Don’t like the red and green look? Decorating for another December holiday? This white wreath feels elegant and vintage at the same time… and it’s 50% off!
Not into wreaths but want a little holiday flair? I’m loving the blend of wood, ribbon, berries, and pinecones going on with this snowflake door hanger.
I love decorating my house for every holiday. Even more so because here in LA we generally have two seasons- warm and sunny and hot and sunny.
Easter is one of my favorites (okay, every holiday is my favorite!) because I love using all the springtime colors. You know what DOESN’T go with springtime colors? Red! I have these red pillows on my couch that are ultra comfy, but pretty much only work at Christmas.
Instead of changing out my pillows or buying expensive covers at a store, I decided to go with a cheaper solution and make some Easter-y, springy pillow covers. My first thought was to use burlap, but I wasn’t feeling any of the weaves I saw at the craft store. Canvas was on sale, so I got some for $6 and headed home.
YES, I MADE OVER MY PILLOWS FOR $6! I had all of the materials at home, so you may spend a little more, but if you’re an avid rehabber, you’re really only paying for the fabric itself.
Here’s what you need for this project:
Fabric paint and a paint brush
Liquid stitch (or a needle and thread or your sewing machine. Depending on the fabric you choose, you may need a heavy duty needle.)
Fabric scissors (well, you don’t really need them, but why would you do that to yourself?!)
Your first step would usually be to wash your fabric, but since I’m only going to be using these pillows for about a month and I’m super lazy, I skipped this step. I just ironed the major creases out of the fabric so that I would be able to get a good, straight cut. I put my pillow on top of the fabric to measure what I’d need and cut out my three pieces. To put the pillows together, I used this tutorial from Amy at Homey Oh My since I’ve only ever made pillows using my machine or by hand.
After cutting out fabric pieces came the fun part- painting! Using pencil (couldn’t find my fabric pen or chalk), I lightly traced a bunny form that I had on hand. If you’re good at drawing, you could totally sketch something out. Then I painted over and filled in my outline with white fabric paint. Easy!
I let my bunny dry overnight then got to gluing. This is where you really want to pay attention to Amy’s tutorial!
Here’s where I made a mistake– when you’re sewing and pinning fabric, it is easy to see if you put a piece on backwards. When you’re gluing, make sure you check before you apply the glue! I put the back pieces on backwards, which ended up being okay because I like a rustic look. But if I was sewing, it would have been easy to just rip out the seam.
I let the cover dry for the day, then flipped it inside out and stuffed the red pillow inside. Voila! A whole new look!
I absolutely love banners, especially homemade banners. Today I’m going to tell you how I used cheap gift wrapping supplies to make a custom birthday banner, and how you can easily make one, too.
I was walking through the $1 section at Target and found this collection of items and decided they would make for a fun project.
When I got home, I gathered a couple more things from around the house and got to work.
First, I arranged the gift tags to see how many I would need, then simply wrote the message in Sharpie. How easy is that?! The gift tags were $1 for a pack of 8. I got 16 brown tags and 8 white tags, which was way more than I needed. Don’t worry if you mess up on the lettering, just keep writing. If I stop to fix or redo a letter in the middle, I always start obsessing over every little mistake and end up messing up a lot more. I looked through the letters at the end and replaced the ones that looked really bad (this is why it is good to buy extra tags!)
After the message was done, I set out to add a little sparkle. The glitter bags came in packs of two, but they were only glittery on one side (rats!) I cut the bags open and drew templates to cut out on the back. That way, I could play with the sizes before committing to the cut and wasting paper. I chose hearts (but you could do any shape, stars would also be cool.) I used double stick tape to attach them to the gift tags. Glue would also work well if you have that around the house instead.
I used the clothes pins to attach the gift tags to some twine I already had at home. At first, I wasn’t sure about what kind of spacing I wanted or if I wanted it to be one or two layers. My solution was to wait to cut the twine until all of the tags were attached so I could assess how it would hang (and not waste twine!)
I just taped the banner to the mirror, but it could easily be hung by tying knots in the twine and hanging them on command hooks if you want it to look a little fancier. I chose the mirror because my boyfriend was coming home after dark, and that area of my place reflects light well at that time of day, calling attention to the banner and reflecting light on the glitter hearts.
What an easy and fun way to craft your way into a festive environment! The best part? You can create extra tags for each family member or friend and customize the banner for each occasion!
I recently got a new bed and have been wanting to get new side tables (night stands, whatever you like to call them) and a console for under the window. Looking online, I just wasn’t finding a side tables I liked and decided to create my own out of old suitcases. They make the perfect side table, really. They’re sturdy, have stood up to the test of time, and provide storage.
I checked out some options online and found this for inspiration:
I started looking at vintage stores around town for suitcases to stack and use as a table. The cheapest one I found in a store was $80, talked down from $100. Some suitcases even went up to $250 each.
Well, if you know me, you know that won’t do.
I decided to brave the heat and check out the famous Rose Bowl Flea Market. Armed with a hat, an umbrella and TONS of water, I set out early, fearing the heat wave we’ve been experiencing in LA.
It was SO worth it! There was so much good stuff this month. I got way more than enough for my side table and even walked away with a new toolbox for my Craftsman collection!
The toolbox was a last minute purchase. We were carrying the suitcases out and stopped at a favorite stand that usually has awesome cameras, typewriters and adding machines. My boyfriend spotted it first, kind of hiding in the corner.
I was standing at the edge guarding my suitcases. He kept calling for me to come over to see the toolbox, and the second I would start walking away, people would pick up the suitcases and begin enquiring about them. It was actually quite funny.
Just to give you an idea of how we looked with all of these suitcases so you can understand my struggle protecting my purchases:
Here’s the final result:
I am obsessed! A unique, customized side table for only $85. That’s a steal compared to the boring table going for $899 at Pottery Barn.
My laptop has had the same boring clear case since I got it. I figured it was time for an upgrade, but didn’t want to pay for a whole new shell when I have a perfectly good one. I’m about to tell you how I completely changed the look of my old case for under $5!
First, I went to Paper Source and picked up this wrapping paper. It is a map of Paris Monuments.
Next, I put my clear case over the map to see which parts I wanted to use. I knew I wanted Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower.
After I positioned the cases, I used my craft blade to cut out the pieces I would be using. If you don’t have a craft blade, you can just trace the shape in pencil then cut it out.
After I cut out the pieces, I applied Modge Podge to the back (I attached the paper to the outside of my case) and then simply put it on the case.
I used a tool from Modge Podge to smooth out the paper from the center in order to avoid bubbling. It’s kinda like a mini-crafty-squeegee.
I let the case dry overnight (because I got distracted… You really only need to wait about an hour.)
Then I realized I wanted the grippy part on the bottom of the case exposed so my laptop wouldn’t slide around. I carefully cut around the area with my craft blade. Next time, I would do it before actually attaching the paper because I couldn’t get it quite perfect.
Finally, I applied a couple of coats of Modge Podge to the exterior of the paper, waiting a couple of hours in between coats.
I love it! I think it looks more like a cute little notebook or journal than a laptop! And the best part is that you can totally transform your old case with whatever you like for just a few bucks!
If you don’t have Modge Podge sitting around, it costs between $5-$10 and you can just get a cheapy brush to apply the glue and use a credit card to smooth out the bubbles.
I got the idea for making hand stamped napkins because I’ve been seeing a lot of fabrics with geometric patterns lately, and everything I’ve been liking has been out of my budget.
Like any good rehabber, that just means a DIY project is on the horizon.
I found this article from Apartment Therapy on how to make the napkins. I got half a yard of linen from the local fabric store. Then I washed the linen to pre-shrink. After that, I got to cutting. The only difference from the tutorial is that I couldn’t get my linen to rip (it was 100% so I don’t know why) so I ended up cutting it and then just fraying the edges myself.
I remembered an article about using fruit and veggie stamps from Parents magazine. I cut a triangle out of a potato and got to working.
I got two colors of fabric paint and mixed them to the grey that I wanted. Then painted it onto the potato for even distribution. A couple of times, I dropped the brush or the potato or moved it around a bit, so there are imperfections. I think that just adds character.
I wanted to play with the patterns and ended up making all of the napkins different.
I think they ended up pretty good, don’t you?
*note: be sure to put something under the fabric you are stamping. You don’t want the paint to bleed through and stain your work surface!
Recently a friend gave me a couple of things for helping her pick out some new furniture pieces for her house.
Among them was this side table.
It was in awful condition– it was super scratched up and had even been stored outside for awhile. Not necessarily the shape or style I would normally choose, I decided to jazz it up with a bright electric blue paint and a fun knob from Anthropologie.
I’m saying this cost about $10 because the knob was $7 and I didn’t even use half a can of paint or primer. It was a totally simple fix, so before you throw away that piece that’s been bugging you, try painting it and giving it a new life!
I’ve heard about mixing up vinegar and water to clean mirrors and windows. I grew up using a vinegar soak to keep new bikinis bright. Recently, I learned that there’s a whole community online talking about the ways you can use vinegar and other natural ingredients in household cleaning.
I guess I have hard water because my sinks have gotten this gunk from limescale that won’t come off with regular cleaners. I was googling what to do about it, and I came across vinegar. Articles said to soak a cloth in vinegar and let it sit on the spots for a few hours. On some sinks, I had more luck than others.
In the bathroom, I poured the vinegar on, scrubbed a little with an old toothbrush, and then poured a little more on and let it sit for about half an hour before the white stuff just scrubbed right off. It felt like a miracle!
The kitchen was a different story. I probably should have tested a small spot first, because the vinegar wasn’t working so well. One site suggested putting a ziplock over the vinegar soaked cloth, so I tried that and left it on for a few hours. It ATE AWAY at the finish and seemed to corrode part of the faucet. Yes, the green limescale came off of the sink, but so did some of the finish. My boyfriend came over and was excited because he thinks the sink looks a lot better, but I’m voting for a new fixture.
Anyway, I would say that the best thing to do is to scrub with the vinegar and to leave it on for only a little while. I wouldn’t do the whole vinegar soaked cloth thing again. It seemed like a lot more work, and not really worth the risk of corroding the sink.
Recently, I was lucky enough to meet and then sit down with Shane Brown of Big Daddy’s Antiques (THE Big Daddy!)
I’ve loved BD’s for quite some time, I love to go to their massive store off Jefferson and just get lost. They always have creative, fun, and funky pieces (antiques and custom made!) that will take your rooms up a notch and make your space special. In the store, we started talking, and Shane told me about how he got interested in buying and selling furniture, and I knew I had to interview him.
We talked about the business and how he got started, the find that got away, and he even gave me some tips for negotiating prices!
RR:What’s your biggest source of inspiration?
Shane: Walking in here. There’s nothing more inspiring than moving stuff around and combining different things and having it sell in the next day or 20 minutes even.
I also look at a lot of magazines for inspiration.
It’s interesting because (Big Daddy’s) hits every outlet. My creative outlet, my business outlet, and I think that’s why I still have a lot of passion for it. Other than that, the business is really fun and every day is different– I can go to the San Francisco store. I can go buying in the south of France or somewhere else. Its just fun!
RR: How did you get started?
Shane: I decorated a girlfriend’s house, and when it ended, I was selling off the pieces, and the buyers were telling me I had a great eye. I guess that’s why I’m still in business—I have a good eye.
When I first started, I was schlepping stuff to the Rose Bowl at 4 AM in a $800 van I bought from my uncle. I’d be praying that it would make it to Rose Bowl so I could make money to feed myself and buy more stuff.
RR:What do you look for in a piece?
Shane: Patina and character. What’s going on at the time influences it. How I’m feeling, what people are buying. It evolves constantly. I’m not buying the same kind of stuff I was buying 20 years ago. Thank God!
Also, I think what I look for has evolved with the amount of money I can spend. I had a good eye in the beginning, but I didn’t always have the money to back my eye. My eye is ALWAYS better than my pocketbook.
RR:How has your style evolved?
Shane: I’m moving away from the look Restoration Hardware has started doing now. (Author note: he’s been doing it for about 10 years already!) I’m going toward a more minimalistic, contemporary look with my twist on it. That might be some leather…(the twist) will come organically within the next year. I’m looking for the next thing– “what are we doing, what we should be doing?”
RR:A lot of rehabbers dream of having shops. How did you go from buying and selling pieces to having a brick and mortar establishment?
Shane: People couldn’t always come to markets, or they would call me and want to see stuff during the week. I heard that enough, so I finally opened here in LA. I was doing markets up in San Francisco, and I started hearing that enough. I would set up my area like a store, and people would ask where the store was, and I had some people come down to LA to see the store, and I realized it was time to open a store in San Francisco.
RR:Most memorable buy(s)?
Shane: When I was first getting started, I bought some paintings for $5 each, they sold for $1300 each.
I bought a Louis Vuitton trunk for $600. I still own that, and it is now probably worth $15,000.
RR: Has there been a “find that got away”?
Shane: A sterling silver trophy. The price was fine, he just wasn’t negotiating with me. Someone else bought it about twelve steps later.
When I was younger, there were a lot of things I had to let go because I just didn’t have the cash to buy them. Now, I usually just buy something if I think its great!
RR:Where do you find this amazing stuff?
Shane: People text me photos all day. I have two containers coming in that I bought off photos.
Also, I find a lot of stuff in Europe. I do major buying trips about 6 times a year.
RR:What’s the best part of the job?
Shane: I meet the most interesting people. You meet the whole spectrum of society. I might meet a broke artist making really cool things, or a billionaire collecting odd and interesting things.
Like yesterday, I wasn’t planning on going downtown, but I went and met this amazing artist from Portugal who is doing all of these murals on the sides of buildings that are crazy and a client of ours took me down there. I’ve flown on a customer’s private plane to go install a rock from Bali. That’s the best thing—meeting really interesting people.
Also, I’m living exactly the dream I created in my head as a child. I mean, to the wife, to the kids, to the business, to multiple homes… everything I wanted as a kid. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew that I wanted to travel, have a healthy family, and I wanted to have a fun, interesting lifestyle. And, I think I’ve done it!
RR:Have you had any “what was I thinking” moments?
Shane: I’ve been married for a long time now, so I don’t really have any of those!
In business—I’ve been pretty lucky. The hardest thing, really, has been the employees. “Why did I hire that particular person?”
What I’ve created– I don’t look back at things I’ve created negatively. I saw some photos recently from when I first started and said, “wow! look how far I’ve come!”
RR: What are your design pet peeves?
Shane: Dead plants, plants in cheap container or the black plastic container. If you’re sitting in a multi-million dollar home and have really cheap pottery because you’re too cheap to buy nice pottery, it really irks me.
Also, lamps without lampshades drive me crazy.
RR:Do you have any negotiating tips?
Shane: The best way to the best price is to be nice. Show that you love a piece, don’t knock it down and point out the flaws. Have respect for the seller, be honest if something is above what you can pay but you really love it. Put a package together and buy multiple pieces. Ask for the seller’s “friendliest price.”
RR:Any parting words?
Shane: We’ve become a throw away society. They aren’t as interested in quality because they don’t expect it to last. People used to pay $20,000 to decorate their living room and expect it to last 30 years. Now people just buy mid-priced things and expect to throw them away. I’m trying to teach my little girls that is not all about looks, it is about what’s on the inside that counts.
My note: This also applies to quality furniture. It’s about finding the good bones and quality pieces that will last. This is the kind of stuff Shane is attracted to and sells in the store.
Another note: We had a wonderful long interview. In some instances, word order has been modified for flow.
I loved talking to Shane and learning about how Big Daddy’s became what it is today. It was so much fun to hear his stories and learn about the business. After more than 20 years, he is still passionate and excited about the work that he does. Talk about a dream job!
Visit Big Daddy’s or Georgia Brown for your last minute Christmas needs or if you just want something really special. You won’t leave disappointed (or empty handed!)
Big Daddy’s LA Location: 3334 La Cienega Place, LA, CA 90016
Big Daddy’s San Francisco Location: 1550 17th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
Georgia Brown Aspen: 217 Galena St, Aspen, CO 81611