Easter is right around the corner and many of you will be entertaining family and guests in your home. I thought it would be fun to share my tips with you on creating a beautiful centerpiece for your Easter table using things you can cut from your yard. First you will need to gather some beauties from your yard.
These are the tools we've gathered for today's lesson. you will need a good spade, empty pots, scissors, and potting mix. Dad likes to use a mix of Black Kow, potting soil, and garden humus (compost).
When starting plants from seeds, Dad likes to use peat pellets to fill his seed trays. These pellets come full of nutrients, are easy to use, and cut down on the mess of using loose soil. They hold their moisture a little better than the soil and makes it easier to for you to keep your seeds damp. If you don't have peat pellets, it is fine to use your potting soil mix to fill the trays.
If you are using the pellets, just drop one in each slot, water thouroughly, and watch them expand. They will grow to fill the hole. If you are using the potting soil, just go ahead and dampen the soil with water.
When the peat pellets have expanded, just push on them with your finger and spread them out a little.
Be sure to go ahead and label the slots for your seeds or you will have a hard time knowing what is what when they start to sprout!
Take your tiny seeds and lay them on top of each slot in the tray, according to how you labeled them. Push the seeds down a little just so they won't wash to the side when you water. Each type of seed requires a different depth so be sure to read the back of your seed packet for helpful tips. Keep the seeds moist for the next few weeks and watch your little seeds sprout into small plants! When they grow their second set of leaves it will be time to move them to a bigger pot or time to plant them in the ground.
Now we will move on to the opposite stage of plant life, when it has become pot-bound and too big for it's container. Dad's beautiful herb garden has outgrown its pot so it is time to split these plants up and give them a little breathing room.
Go ahead and prep an empty pot (or two) by filling it two thirds of the way with your potting mix.
After removing the pot-bound clump from it's original pot, you can begin to gently pull apart the different kinds of plants. If you are working with one large plant that has become pot-bound, you can go ahead and gently pull at it to create some seperation.
When you have decided where to divide, you need to cut through the roots with a knife or with your garden shears.
You will need to loosen up the soil and the roots before moving to the new pot.
Decide which plants go in which pots and begin the potting process. Set your new, smaller plants on top of the soil you have prepped, and begin filling in around the sides and the top with more soil.
We had enough herbs to turn one pot into three! They will be so much happier now that they have some growing room!
Repotting is inevitable for all pot plants. Don't be afraid to split them up and spread them out. It is a great oppurtunity for you to expand your garden or to bless friends by sharing your bounty. I love to swap plants with friends! Dad's little herbs were so plentiful, he was a sweetie and shared a couple of the new pots he created with me. What a blessing to step out to my side porch when I am cooking and snip some fresh herbs to use in my favorite recipes. Not only are they delicious, but I am reminding of my sweet Dad everytime!
If you're thinking about starting a few seeds of your own this Spring, check out our terracotta starter pots we just added to the store! These small, handmade pots vary in size but are full of character and are perfect for your garden.
We hope these little tips are helpful to you if you are just branching out and starting a garden of your own. If you love caring for plants, be sure to check out this month's curated collection. It has just what you need to care for your favorite house plants!
You'll find many beautiful things for your home and garden so be sure to look around while you are here. Happy gardening y'all!
Who doesn't love an iced sugar cookie? And the prettier it is, the better! Sugar cookies are a staple around here, so we are always looking for fun and creative ways to decorate them!
While dreaming up our Valentine's Day treats for our brick-and-mortar location, I was inspired by the marbling trend. I thought that if you could do it with paint and dye, why couldn't you do it with royal icing? I thought I'd give it a shot and share my tips and tricks with you!
Start with your favorite sugar cookie recipe. Make sure that it is a sturdy cookie-not a crumbly one! This will be important when you start to ice the cookies. If you don't have a favorite of your own, you can find our favorite sugar cookie recipe in our Recipe Archive! Roll, cut out, and bake your cookies. I chose a heart-shaped cookie cutter for Valentine's Day! Our sugar cookie recipe will make about 25 heart cookies per batch. Let them cool completely before icing.
Whip up your favorite royal icing recipe and separate it into two bowls. Choose two colors that you want to use and dye each bowl of icing using gel food coloring. I chose pink and white! If you choose to use a color other than white, just make sure that it blends with the other color you choose. (Examples: pink and purple, pink and red, blue and purple, orange and red, orange and yellow)
Take a spoon and zig zag the lighter color icing in the bowl with the darker color. Then take a toothpick and drag it going in the opposite direction to give the icing the marble effect.
Take the cookie and dip it face down in the icing. Make sure that you are holding the cookie as flat as possible to ensure an even coating of icing. Also, make sure that your finger tips don't get in the way! When you pull the cookie out of the icing, allow the excess to drip into the bowl. You can even give the cookie a little shake to get some of the extra icing off. Flip the cookie quickly to reveal your beautiful pattern! Each cookie will be unique--which is what makes this so fun!
I don't like the icing to run off the edge of my cookies, so while the icing is still wet I will wipe the sides if needed. If you need to fill in certain areas that didn't get an even coating of icing, you an do this with a toothpick while the icing is still wet. You can even do the marble technique on the cookie if you decide it needs a little extra color in one spot! Just drop a dab of icing and swirl it with your toothpick. I always let my cookies dry overnight to be sure that the icing has hardened completely.
If you love the idea of gifting special sugar cookies this Valentine's Day, we've put together a must-have kit for you! Our Valentine's Day Cookie Kit includes just what you'll need to put together 6 cute cookie boxes.
6 Cookie Boxes
6 Valentine's Day Gift Tags
Red and White Yarn
Valentine's Day Sprinkles
Heart-Shaped Cookie Cutter
The Southern Mercantile Sugar Cookie Recipe Card
We hope you enjoyed this how-to and we hope you'll give it a try! We'd love for you to tag us on Instagram or Facebook to share your Valentine's Day treats with us!
In one of my recent posts, Brunch Favorites, I shared my love for breakfast food with you. You should also know by now that I love to bake! Today I am going to take my love for breakfast and baking one step further and show you how to dress up your cupcakes and muffins!
This bakery-style dressing will make your muffins stand out in a crowd, and add a little fancy to even your store-bought mixes!
It adds a little something special to your cupcakes too. You won't regret taking this extra step to show off your baked goodies!
Now, here's the plan. Gather together parchment paper, (I like the unbleached, kraft color) scissors, and your pans.
*When making muffins, you want to get your batter into the oven as quick as possible so that they will rise correctly. When making cupcakes, you don't have to rush as much!
First, place your square over the muffin cup until it is right in the middle, leaving the same amount of paper hanging over each side.
Use your finger tips to press the paper into the cup, making sure that the edges are remaining even on each side.
You will see how the paper starts to bunch up where it overlaps, that is good!
Use your fingers to press and create a fold where that happens. You will want to be sure to crease these areas really well.
Now that your square fits down into the cup, and your folds are creased, you can start filling them one by one! Filling the cups once you have the wrapper like you want it is a bit tricky, so if you have someone to help you, it will make it go by much quicker!
You want to be sure that the folds are creased really good to prevent batter from seeping behind the fold. If this happens, your liner will not look as pretty once the muffins are baked. The trick to this is practice! Having an extra hand helps, but it will just take practice to crease and fill the cups neatly!
I hope you enjoyed this simple tip on dressing up your cupcakes and muffins! Practice makes perfect--so practice on your family before your next party!
In the last Beech Street Bungalow blog, The Exterior, I mentioned that we were planning to build planters for our front porch! I knew it would be a fun project, and that it would add a little something special to our porch area. What we didn't realize was how much work we were in for!
Here is a look at what we were dealing with...
If you look at the pictures above, you will notice a patch of brick that obviously looks filled in. We decided to remove this brick (since it was not original) and thought we could build planters to fill in the space where the brick was removed.
After the brick was removed, we were faced with the challenge of building planters that fit the space, and that were also functional. I knew without a doubt that Phillip could build beautiful planters that flowed with the rest of the house--it was the inside of the planters that had us stumped! We wanted these planters to last, so we wanted to make sure that the planters had a way to drain and that inside of the planters were protected from the damp conditions.
I searched for what seemed like hours trying to find a tutorial online. What I knew was that the water needed to be able to drain, and that the wet soil didn't need to be in direct contact with the wood...I just couldn't find anyone to tell me how to make it happen!
We started by building the outside of the planters to fit the openings. We purposefully built them wide enough to hang over the edge of the porch to provide a space for them to drain. We also built them bottomless--our design will keep us from having to fill the entire box with soil. (Which will save us money and still look great! :)
This tutorial will only work for planters that are located on the edge of a porch, so that there is a place for them to drain. Like I said before, this will work for window boxes too since they can drain right into your flower beds.
The first step in creating this "V" shape is to cut braces that will hold a piece of plywood in place. We measured and cut the braces for the smaller side of the "V" at a 45 degree angle.
The second step was to cut the braces for the longer side of the "V".
Next, we measured and cut pieces of plywood to attach to the braces and give us a platform that would become the bottom of the planter. Once we had one side of the "V" in place, it was time to cover it and protect the wood from water damage.
Phillip chose to use tar paper (the material used in roofing) to line the planters. He felt like it was our most durable and waterproof option. We carefully lined the planters using nails and a small staple gun. I brought the paper up high enough on the sides to protect the planter, but low enough that it wouldn't be noticed once it was filled with plants.
We added the second piece of plywood and covered it too.
Once the "V" was in place, there was a two inch gap where the water could drain. Because of this gap, we used screen to line the bottom. We knew that the screen wouldn't be enough to keep the soil from washing out, but it would create a draining bottom for the planter.
.e decided to use a material called Weed-X to line the planters, keeping the soil in when watered! This material should do the trick. Water passes through, but soil won't! We gently laid this material along the inside of the planter, stapling it to secure it to the sides.
*You may be wondering why we couldn't skip the screen step, and the answer is because of the weight of the soil and plants. We needed a sturdy, yet drainable, bottom for the planter.
Now we are ready for the fun part! It is still hot (really hot) here in South Georgia, so we are going to wait a little while before we plant. Keep an eye out though, I'll have a little help from my friends choosing the perfect plants to complement our porch! If you have any ideas yourself (preferably hard to kill plants :), leave a comment below! I'll take all the help I can get.
I hope this tutorial was helpful for those who are looking to do a similar project. It is always fun for me to share tips we have picked up along the way!
Check out more Beech Street Bungalow renovation stories here!
If you are not feeling ready to take on large container gardening, check out our selection of smaller pots in the store. Perfect for smaller gardening projects on your porch or patio!
I've been making flower crowns for years. Most of my practice came from our wedding business, for all of the sweet little flower girls. You won't be surprised by the fact that my Dad, Terry, taught me how to make these beautiful creations. For the last year I have been making flower crowns and head pieces out of silk flowers to sell in our online store and in our Etsy shop. It has been such a joy to send these pieces all over the country (and even Australia) to be used for weddings, graduation pictures, and even a Halloween costume! Last summer I got to make a very special head piece for our sweet Katelyn to wear on her wedding day!
I realized that some of you crafty Southern Merc followers might be interested in making your own flower crowns for your wedding or for special photos so I decided to share my crown making tips with you.
I started with a floral bush (several different kinds of flowers and greenery all on one stem) but you can start with whatever kinds of flowers you like.
If you prefer a more floral look you can gather whatever stems suit your fancy.
You will need a piece or two of wire, wire snips, and floral tape. For a full flower crown, it takes two pieces of wire, for a head piece, just one. For a head piece, just cut your wire to the size of the piece that you want. Your fist step will be to dismantle your stems. Even if you are using single stems and not a mixed bunch like this one, you will still need to trim each one shorter and separate the leaves from the flowers. I also go ahead and group all of my like pieces together in little piles.
To get started, I wrap my wires together with the floral tape, totally covering them. I then fold each end around my finger to create a loop, and tape it to itself. This will be where you attach your ribbon at the end.
You are going to work from one end to the next, attaching small pieces of greenery and flowers, taping as you go. If you have never worked with floral tape, you will want to practice first on an extra piece of wire. This tape has to be pulled and stretched a little as you work or it won't stick to itself. I usually start with greenery. I choose something spriggy that will lay down over my loop and hide it.
You can see in this picture how I start to layer up the different pieces.
I start to develop a little pattern with my greenery so the crown turns out even. I don't worry as much about evenly spacing the flowers, or in this case succulents.
I only had three succulents to work with so I chose to put two and on side and one on the other. I didn't put one in the middle because it was sticking out a little funny.
Just keep working at it.
When I get to the end, I sometimes end up with an awkward spot that is hard to tape so I break out the hot glue gun. Just choose a pretty piece to finish it off and glue it to the crown, tucking the stem under the other greenery and flowers.
Lastly, you'll add your ribbon. I just tie it in a small, tight knot. I leave the tails long so they can be adjusted. Better to trim after you have fixed your hair then to have ribbons that are too short!
I hope this inspires you to try this yourself! If your first one is ugly, don't be discouraged. You just have to give your hands some practice with the tape and figure out what flowers and greenery work best for the crown you are making.
If you are not up for the challenge but would love to have a flower crown or head piece at your wedding or in family photos, don't worry, we've got you covered! You can check out a few of these beauties that we have listed in the store!
We all love the idea of keeping little pot plants around the house and on the porch, especially this time of year. Many folks have trouble keeping their little green beauties alive and become discouraged. Succulents are truly the easiest little plants to grow, whether or not you have a green thumb! Find a spot where they get enough light, don't over water, and you'll have happy little campers! They basically like to be ignored, which is perfect for me. My Dad and I have had pretty good luck over the last year with our succulent collections so I thought I would have him share some tips with you on keeping your succulents happy and rooting all the babies you will grow!
This is my Dad, affectionately known around town as Mr. Crain. He taught elementary school for 27 years, is super creative, and happens to have a very green thumb. He can grow anything! I have tried to pick up tips from him over the years and, even though my little yard is looking pretty good, I am nowhere near his master gardener status! He's also a pretty funny guy, so funny that he has his own hashtag you can follow on Instagram!
Your first step in starting a succulent collection is, of course, purchasing your first succulent! Once your little succulent is home and happy, it will hopefully start to grow! If it is not growing, it is probably not getting enough light. I haven't had much luck with inside plants so my succulents live on my side porch where they get a good amount of afternoon sun. Tara's succulents are thriving in a bright laundry room window. You may have to try them in a couple different spots but you will know when they are happy because they will grow fast! Remember, it is very important to not over water your succulents so let them dry out before watering them. You will really only need to water them once a week and when you do, don't drown them!
When your succulents start growing it will be time to start trimming them. Your mother plant will start growing little babies around it or start shooting them off of its stem. Don't worry that you will be hurting your plant. Trimming your succulents from time to time makes them grow even more!
You'll want to save all of your cuttings because you can root anything you trim off of a succulent, even just one petal. When you cut your succulents it is good to let them sit out a few days before putting them in dirt. The ends will dry out a little and they might even go ahead and sprout roots!
Dad likes to start our cuttings out in little peat pots. This just makes it easier to keep all of your little babies together so you can tend to them like a little nursery before potting them in larger containers. You can even plant your cuttings in larger pots, leaving them in the peat pots, as they will disintegrate, but we like to re-use ours. If you don't have peat pots you can just go ahead and plant your cuttings in a regular pot. The potting soil you use is also an important element. Dad uses a mixture of Black Kow, potting soil, and garden humus (compost).
After filling your peat pots with your soil mixture, just stick your cuttings or petals in the dirt. Water them and leave them. You will want to water them a few times a week as they are getting started. Let them sit in the peat pots several weeks before transplanting them to other pots, to give them time to root.
When it's time to move your little jewels to larger containers, you will need: more of your soil mixture, small rocks and pebbles, and your favorite interesting containers. In addition to your favorite ceramic pots, get creative and repurpose vintage containers, cups and dishes into vessels for your succulents. We think they look super cute planted in anything! If you choose a container that does not drain, you will need to put small rocks in the bottom so that the water can drain inside the pot. (If your container has a drain hole, you can skip this step.)
Next you will cover your rocks with your potting soil mixture. The size of your container will determine how much soil you need to add. If your container is small you won't need much. The soil you transfer from the peat pot will help to fill it up. Lastly you remove your cuttings from the peat pots, making sure you bring new roots and growth with you, and place them in your chosen container.
Don't be afraid to mix different varieties all in one container. This will add interest and each variety will show different characteristics as they grow. When they start to get too big you can always re-pot again!
We like to top our little pots off with small pebbles. This helps keep your soil packed down and makes it look a little more finished and special.
Dad and I hope these tips have been helpful and that you feel empowered to start your own succulent family! Once you have them going you can have them growing all over the house! If you want to use them in a room that doesn't get great light, just leave them in there for a week or two and then put them back outside. They also make beautiful and thoughtful gifts for special friends and relatives.
If you need a cute new pot we've got your covered! Check out these new items in our store. Happy potting y'all!
Most everyone enjoys the beauty of having fresh flowers in the home, but few of us actually keep them around on a regular basis. While picking up a beautifully crafted flower arrangement from your local florist on a weekly basis would support a local small business and be easiest, it might not fit into your weekly budget or your busy schedule! All of us buy groceries and most grocery stores sell fresh flowers. If you find yourself drooling over the flowers in the grocery store as you push your cart to the produce section, then this blog is for you! Pick out your favorite mix and put them in your cart because you can turn those awkward grocery store bundles into a beautiful bouquet like this in just a few quick steps!
Many people make the mistake of bringing flowers home, removing the plastic, and dropping them straight in a vase (that may or may not be the right size) without any trimming or arranging. While the actual blooms are very pretty, the arrangement will look very awkward and well, like you bought them at the grocery store.
One of the problems with store bought bouquets is that they usually don't include much greenery. To me, greenery is the most import key to creating a lush and beautiful arrangement. To get started you will need: a bundle of store bought flowers, your favorite vase, clippers (or your kitchen shears if you don't have yard clippers), and greenery cut from your yard.
For this tutorial, I intentionally chose some random greenery from my yard. Don't stress over what you are cutting. If you think it looks pretty and has a nice shape, then use it! I am using stems of camellia, azalea, and an unidentified branch from a tree, just because I liked it!
*Note, if you live in an apartment with no access to fresh greens, there is still hope for you to liven up your arrangement! Look at the grocery, to see if they have any bundles that have greenery, of if they have greenery you can buy to add to your preferred bundle. If that is not an option, then choose a vase with a smaller neck, so that your flowers will not be too loose when arranging them.
Start your arrangement by adding your greenery to your vase. Before I start to put my stems in my vase, I trim the leaves off of the bottoms of the stems, so that no leaves will be plunged into the water. Clean stems help to keep your arrangement from getting murky water. I started with the azalea first and then added in the camellia. You will need to trim the stems so that the leaves start at the top of the vase. I use the side of the table or counter that I am working on, to help me decide how much to trim off of the stem.
Spin your vase as you fill in so that you can green the arrangement evenly on all sides. I saved my shorter, unidentified pieces of greenery to fill any holes at the end.
Next, separate all of the main flowers from the mix, leaving the filler flowers aside. This bundle had lilies, mini hydrangeas and roses.
As with the greenery, you will need to remove the leaves from the bottoms of the stems, so that there are no leaves in your water.
I like to start with my boldest flowers first and then add in smaller ones. The lilies aren't open yet but when they do open, they will be big and bright. I started with a taller stem in the middle, and then added one a little shorter on each side. Again, using the side of the table to help me decide how much to cut off of my stem.
Next I will add the mini hydrangeas. I don't want any of these to be quite as tall as my tallest lily. I add one to the center of the arrangement and then the other three, spread evenly around the sides.
Next, the roses. I have a nice little spot in the middle so I add one in right beside the tallest lily. Then add in the others, evenly around the sides.
You can start to see a pattern here. Build each layer, starting with the center, working out around the sides of the arrangement.
Next I will add the "filler" flowers. These little daisies will be just what this arrangement needs to brighten it and add interest. Daisies often have flowers that grow too low down the stem, so don't feel bad when you have to remove a few of their dainty blooms. I added my first stem to the center and then worked around the sides.
I wanted to show a picture of my "trash" pile so you would know that I did have to remove quite a bit of foliage and low growing blooms from the stems. I don't want you to be afraid that you are trimming too much!
Lastly, I used the unidentified greenery to fill in little holes around the bottom of the arrangement, to make it look nice and full.
And ta-da! Just like that you have turned your awkward grocery store flowers into a colorful masterpiece!
If you decide to try your hand at this at home, we'd love to see your finished product! Tag us on Facebook or Instagram so we can see your handy work. I hope you've found this helpful, and that you feel empowered to go forth and arrange flowers without fear or hesitation!
I love hosting parties. Birthday parties, Christmas parties, wedding and baby showers … I do not discriminate! If it is worth celebrating then I am ready to party! I thought I would share with you one of the parties that I hosted recently and let you in on a few of my tips for throwing a successful gathering. This past October, Jorjanne and I hosted a wedding shower for our gal Tara. Tara and Phillip are getting married in March and we couldn’t wait to celebrate this precious couple! An evening in October was chosen as the date and invitations were ordered!
The Importance of Nice Invitations
I cannot stress enough the importance of a beautiful invitation. This sets the tone for your entire event.
I found these particular invites on Minted, and knew the minute that I saw them that they had Tara’s name written all over them! They perfectly summed up the feel of the evening I was planning and were also a nod to Tara’s personal taste and style. When your guests receive a beautiful invitation in the mail, it immediately makes them want to be a part of the event. I know that costs are sometimes an issue when deciding whether or not to send invitations. There are many creative things you can print on your own computer if ordering custom invitations are just not in your party budget.
I know it has become trendy to send evites or Facebook invites. I also know that some of you will disagree with me on this point but let me make it very clear how I feel about this issue. I do not think eviting or any other kind of impersonal electronic invitation is appropriate for showers, weddings, and other formal events. I know these mediums of social interaction have their place in the world, such as kids’ birthday parties, community events and casual get-togethers, but using them as an invitation to a meaningful event in one’s life is just tacky.
The Guest List
Your party budget will usually dictate what size party you plan. I tend to like smaller get-togethers but as our little circle grows the list keeps getting bigger! When planning your guest list, keep in mind the comfort of your party-goers. You want folks to feel comfortable with each other. If you invite a hodge-podge of people with no connection, you are setting yourself up for an uncomfortable evening. Jorj and I decided to invite our Fourth and Cherry family as well as Tara’s and Phillip’s immediate families. You can see from the pictures that we had a great turn-out! (Our Fourth and Cherry family is always growing!)
I live in a tiny 980-square-foot house, but I am blessed to own a beautiful building with a nice big Café dining room! When I entertain, I usually do it at The Café! If you are planning a large party, consider renting a venue. If this is in the budget, it will make things a lot easier on you (the hostess). You will not have to worry about set-up and clean-up, and you will have help! If it is a smaller party or if you have a large home, then by all means have your get-together at your house! I think inviting people into your home is such a gracious way to make folks feel loved and included. It is so personal! People don’t open their homes up to guests much these days and if you do, you will see, it goes a long way to make your guests feel important. It is also so much fun to get to use all your pretty things!
Choosing the Menu
Whether you are planning heavy hors d’oeuvres or a meal, you want to make sure that it is something that the guests of honor like! In this case, after much discussion with Tara and Phillip, we decided on traditional southern fare of pot roast cooked with carrots, potatoes, green beans and Vidalia onions. We served this up with warm yeast rolls and sweet tea, of course! I have found that simple meals like this are always a crowd pleaser and you (the hostess) don’t have to spend hours and hours in the kitchen preparing high maintenance, frou-frou food that no one wants to eat.
For Dessert we served my dad’s famous bread pudding along with red velvet cupcakes and amaretto sour cupcakes. All three were a big hit! Click this link to find the recipe we used for the amaretto sour cupcakes. http://buicupcakes.com/2014/02/16/amaretto-sour-cupcakes/
We also decided to serve beer and wine and one signature cocktail. Tara’s drink of choice is the amaretto sour, and we thought it appropriate to welcome our guests for the evening with a specialty cocktail. I would like to add that every good, southern hostess knows that providing a little cocktail goes a long way in helping your guests relax and enjoy each other’s company!
The Decorations (My Favorite Part!)
Decorating for an event is just one of my favorite things to do! For this party, I drew inspiration from the color palette that Tara has chosen for her wedding. Blush, Ivory and Navy set the tone for the evening! I also wanted the party to have a vintage feel as Tara, Jorjanne and I are all lovers of all things vintage! I spent a month scouring EBay for vintage pink damask napkins.
It took me no time to order enough for the party. This might seem costly but it really wasn’t. If you keep your eyes open and are a savvy shopper there are deals to be had! I ordered ivory polka dot lace to cover the tables, which was completely beautiful with just a touch of whimsy! A very sweet friend let me borrow miss-matched tea glasses and mixed flatware for the occasion. Since the napkins, glasses and silverware were all an eclectic mix, I opted for plain white plates. Didn’t want to go too overboard with the mixing and matching! If mixing patterned china is more your style, then think about using the same napkin and tea glass on all tables. Having a little continuity helps ground your tablescape and helps make sure the guests see what you want them to see.
I ordered white and green hydrangeas from my local flower provider and cut all other greenery and florals from my dad’s and my yards. Using what you find right in your own back yard will not only stretch your budget, but I think it just looks prettier and more genuine. What better way to make things feel personal than to collect your floral embellishments from your own back yard! The arrangements for this party were displayed in clear hobnail jars. Perfection!
I wanted the hydrangeas to have a pink tint. Floral spray paint can be purchased from your local floral provider or craft store. If you don’t use too heavy a hand, your tinted flowers may be prettier than the real thing! Helpful Hint: I didn’t have any floral paint so I used regular, pale pink spray paint. Worked like a charm, just be careful not to over-do it!
I am not one to like to play games or to feel the need to provide entertainment. If you get the right folks together, they provide their own entertainment! For this party, we had a short cocktail time while folks arrived and got comfortable. This was followed by a buffet dinner and dessert. When the bride and groom had finished eating we moved right along to opening presents! Your guests really appreciate it if you keep the evening moving!
You can see from the pictures that we had a great time celebrating the upcoming marriage of Tara and Phillip! I hope my little tips were helpful. I am sure we will be talking more about entertaining in the future!
Some of my favorite entertaining items are available for purchase at The Southern Mercantile! Click HERE to head to the store!
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I have owned a retail store for the past 11 years and Christmas, of course, is our booming time of year! We go all out! This year, my team of elves and I decorated 7 large trees for the store and countless table top trees. Over the years I feel I have perfected my tree decorating methods and wanted to share them with you! I like a Christmas tree to be very full and to have lots of layers. Whether your tree is fresh or faux, follow these simple steps and you’ll have your tree looking as fabulous as the ones you drool over in magazines!
Step 1: Lights
My Dad (to whom we lovingly refer as "The Wizard") would tell you that this step is the most important one. He has a 10ft tall faux Frasier Fir that he puts over 1100 lights on every year. You have to put your sunglasses on just to enter his home through the front door. I am not as patient as he is, though I do believe you need a well-lit tree. If you have a pre-lit tree, then just plug in and you are ready to roll, unless of course some of your lights won’t come on! If you are putting your own lights on your tree then start at the bottom of the tree at the back and begin to work your way around. You also want to run the lights up and down the branches as you work your way around so that your tree has lights in the center as well as the outer branches. Remember you should have no more than 3 strands of lights connecting to each other. If you have a large tree you may need to run an extension cord up the center of the trunk to start a new strand of lights. If you end up with extra lights at the top of the tree you can run them down the center of the tree to help illuminate it from the inside out.
Step 2: The Topper
Many would save the topper until last but I like to put it on before I do anything else. If you choose to use a classic simple topper then this will not take you long. If you like to have a bow at the top of your tree, it is good to put it on first so you can place the tails where you want them without having to worry about bumping your ornaments. I like to put unusual things in the tops of my trees. You will see from the sample pictures that the sky is the limit! From wooden reindeer to chandeliers, we are willing to try anything!
If you choose something like a chandelier that lights up, you will need to run a separate extension cord up the middle of your tree to the top to plug the topper in. Do not plug this item in to your lights! If you choose to use a bird’s nest, or bird cage, wooden cut out, etc. you will need to affix it to the top of the tree with a little floral wire. If you will wrap the wire with floral tape first it will not damage or scrape your decorative items and will be easier to work with. Sometimes I also like to add large branches, or stems of berries in the top of the tree. These will usually secure themselves in the braches but if you have trouble, just grab your trusty floral wire.
Step 3: Garland
If you are using any type garland or ribbon around the tree, now is the time to do it! You want to wrap the tree before you fill it with stems and ornaments. With paper or stiff garland you want to tuck it in at certain points to create a billowy effect. If you are using beaded or glass garland, you want to drape it loosely so it doesn’t look too tightly wound on the tree.
Step 4: Stems
I love to add glittery stems or berries of some sort. I even love to add picks of pine and different greenery. You can see in the sample pictures that I added butterfly picks to the garden tree. This really adds some depth and interest to your tree and helps to create a nice full look. I usually have a higher concentration of picks at the top and then intersperse them through the tree all the way to the bottom.
Step 5: Large Ornaments
I like to put on all the larger ornaments first. Be sure to work your way from the inside of the tree outward. You don’t want all of your ornaments dangling on the end of the branches and have emptiness in the middle. The larger ornaments are great for filling the spaces between the branches on the inside of the tree. Concentrate most of your large ornaments in the middle and the bottom of the tree. Sometimes they can be a little overwhelming at the top.
Step 6: Small Ornaments and
Finish the tree by decking it out with the rest of your ornaments. If you have any ornaments that clip (i.e. flowers, birds, candles etc.) clip those on the outer tips of the braches very last. Don’t be afraid that you are using too many ornaments. It is my opinion that less is not more when it comes to your Christmas tree!
Step 7: Tree Skirt
Last but not least, add the tree skirt. If you have a premade tree skirt that you love, go for it. If not, don’t be afraid to use an old quilt or yardage of fabric that matches your décor. I have even used table cloths before! Just find something that really goes with the personality of your tree and your room.
I hope this little tutorial was helpful! Try out these tips and post your pics to The Southern Mercantile Facebook page. We’d love to see your handiwork! https://www.facebook.com/thesouthernmercantile
If you like some of the items you have seen in the pictures, head on over to the store page and treat yourself to some new Christmas Décor! http://www.southernmercantile.com/store/c7/Seasonal.html