Easy Easter Flower Arrangements

It’s almost time to break out the Reece’s peanut butter eggsJelly Belly Beans and Peeps! That’s right. Easter is a just a hop, skip, and a jump away. Ever wonder how some of the traditions, like dyed eggs and the Easter Bunny, started? This interesting article from Real Simple helps shed light on some of the folklore, such as the term Easter itself. Some claim the word derives from Eostre, a goddess of spring and fertility. I never knew that.

Okay, so other than treating myself to a bit of extra candy this time of year, I enjoy decorating the house with spring flowers. And when I say enjoy, I really mean L.O.V.E. Not many things brighten my day like a bundle of fresh, spring flowers from the garden – other than my sweet family and fuzzy bunnies.

Here are a few simple, yet beautiful arrangements to try on your Easter table this year.

Eggs Three Ways 

Easter arrangement with egg planters

I made this grouping of planters out of hollowed out egg shells and other items I found around the house. Keep reading to see how I pulled it together.

{1} Egg Cups

Check this out, I bought a set of egg cups at a flea market several years ago and have always found interesting ways to use them – outside of holding poached eggs, which I have never made. Here’s one of my faves: make egg planters.

Egg cups

Hollow out an egg (just crack the egg on the pointy end, drain the egg through the small hole at the top, and scramble for breakfast), let the egg shell dry, then fill it with soil and add your plant. Now it’s a mini flower pot! It might sound a bit fussy, but it really isn’t. Pinkie promise. And it will look so cute on your table.

{2} Nest Egg

For idea number two, display an egg planter on something unique that you have around the house.

Nest egg Easter flower arrangement

This adorable nest is actually a candle holder my SIL gave me one year. I filled it with a piece of moss and nestled my egg planter inside.

Tip: Look around your house for inspiration and get creative with how you display things!

{3} Egg on a Pedestal

Egg planter on a candlestick

I spray painted a clear candlestick holder from Dollar Tree with white gloss paint to give it a cohesive look with my egg cups. Then I used the holder as a makeshift egg cup! It adds height to my overall grouping. I actually used all three of the ideas I just shared on my table this year. I created multiple groupings and arranged them down the center of the table on a burlap runner.

{Bonus} Egg Cup Vases

I couldn’t help myself. I had to give you at least one more idea for jazzing up your egg cups. It’s not that often we get these things out of our cabinets.

Fill a hollowed out egg with water and tuck in a few dainty blossoms like lily of the valley, lilacs, and violas. Several of these would be gorgeous lining the center of your table. You could add a few tealight candles and sprinkle some jelly beans between each of the vases to give it an added Easter touch.

Moving on to other fun types of planters and arrangements…

Moss Pot and Pansies

I love the look of moss. It adds such a woodsy feel to any pot of flowers. This one uses a combination of ferns, English ivy, pansies, and violas. I’m actually going to be making a moss-covered pot later this week, so check back for the DIY instructions.

Rustic Hydrangeas

Isn’t this charming? For this rustic look, cut 30 to 40 twigs to the height of a glass vase. Hot-glue them to its surface and finish with some twine tied in a bow. The flowers featured are Queen Ann’s lace and white hydrangea blossoms. This would be gorgeous as a centerpiece or on an entryway table.

Daffodil Delight

This is probably the easiest way to Easter-up your table. Snip several bunches of daffodils from your yard – or the yard of your very kind neighbor who who will let you have some in exchange for Peeps. Arrange several vases in the center of your table. Egg cups work, too! Be sure the vases are varying heights, but all the same color so the look is more of a “collection.” Then fill each vase with as many daffs as you can stuff in there. Remember not to mix them with other flowers.

Carrots and Daisies

Why, yes. This arrangement just screams Easter – in a lovely kind of way. Find yourself some big, juicy carrots with their tops still on and stand them upright in a vase with a bit of water. Add a fresh bunch of Shasta daisies (mums would work, too) for an instant arrangement. I totally love this. I could wash the carrots and feed them to Rosie the rabbit after Easter!

I hope some of these ideas inspired you to try some fresh flowers on your Easter table this year. Let me know which one you like best or if you have another favorite bouquet to share. I’d love to see it.

As always, wishing you the best day, yet!

-Kate

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Friday Wrap: Spring Break!

Spring is in full swing around here. Soccer officially started, more flowers are emerging in the garden, our first wave of storms just passed through town, and this week was spring break!

For this year’s break, we took a short trip to Kansas City and then drove on to Lincoln, Nebraska to visit family. Before we knew it were were pulling back into our driveway. It went entirely too fast. That’s a sure sign of a good time, though, right? Here are some of the highlights of the week.

{ONE} Sporting KC Soccer

Sporting KC Soccer Game

Look at that cute cheering section. And when did Evan get so tall?!

We attended our first Sporting KC soccer game! The kids love the sport, including my biggest kid (Brandon), so everyone was excited. Even though it was a tie game, the experience won us over. We’ll do that again.

{TWO} Bunny Cards

Cards from PaintedBliss

Cute cards from Painted Bliss

While we were in Nebraska, one of my incredibly thoughtful nieces, Mallory, gave me these hand-painted cards. Aren’t they precious? Not quite as precious as Mallory’s triplets, though. They definitely take the cake. I loved my snuggle time with those sweet babies!!!

{THREE} Homemade Dog Treats

Once we got home, we had the pleasure of dog sitting Mr. Frito, who belongs to one of my other nieces. (I have a big family – and I love them all.) Frito is THE most relaxed dog around. I even taught him yoga (proof below). I decided to spoil him a bit and make homemade doggie treats. I think they turned out okay. Frito gave them two paws up as far as I could tell.

Frito

{FOUR} Origami Tulips

With Easter on its way, the girls and I decided to get crafty. Avery bought an Origami book and decided to make paper tulips. They turned out so cute, I put them in vases. I’m thinking anyone could do this for a longer-lasting centerpiece for your Easter table. Or you could make a flower for each person’s place setting. Tissue paper flowers would be gorgeous, too.

{FIVE} Pretty Egg Planters

Speaking of centerpieces, look at this beautiful display using egg shells as planters that contain little succulents and violets. I’ll be doing this project later today.

I’ll post more flower arrangement ideas for Easter on Monday. Be sure to stop back. In the meantime, check out the other great blogs through Five on Friday with April, DarciChristina, and Natasha.

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Cheers to a wonderful weekend, my friends!

-Kate

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Happiness Friday

Happy Friday, sweet friends! And I do mean happy. Today’s post is all about happiness. Here’s why…

{ONE} International Day of Happiness: It’s today! Go make a connection and brighten another person’s day! You can also visit the official site and download your free happiness pack.

{TWO} Instagram Feeds: This is a terrific list of 10 happy Instagram feeds. Follow them today and feel your happiness bloom.

{THREE} First Day of Spring: Welcome, sweet season of warmth, budding flowers, and well, allergies. Just as Olaf said in the movie Frozen, “Some people are worth melting for,” I think flowers are worth sneezing for. Fresh flowers make me happy. Just bring on the Zyrtec and we’re G-to-G. In celebration of the day, be sure to check out the Google doodle.

{FOUR} Bunnies!! You know I love me some cute bunnies. We’ve had two pet rabbits in our lives so far. Molly McBunny was our first, and we had her for close to 12 years! She was a dear. Now we have Rosie, and she’s just as loving and expressive. Rabbits are truly the best pets to have, IMO. Here’s a link to a great resource if you’re thinking of adopting a rabbit. In the meantime, here’s your daily dose of cuteness to bring a smile to your face.

{FIVE} Gratitude: I read that more than 11,000 scientific studies show that developing a gratitude habit helps you feel happier, sleep better, be more creative and feel less stressed. Um, sign me up. Let’s be thankful for the day – and each other. I am certainly grateful you’re here. To kick things off, try this 52-week gratitude challenge. It’s full of beautiful ideas.

Cheers to the happiest day, yet! Be sure to check out all of the wonderful blogs through Five on Friday.

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-Kate

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DIY Candlestick Projects (That Organize Your Space)

If you want a stylish way to organize some small spaces in your home, here are five solid projects to consider.

{ONE} Your sink

Gather your hand soap, dish soap, counter spray, and other sink stuff in one easy place. By elevating a tray or dish on a candlestick, it’s easy to reach your things – and they stay out of the wet zone. #winning

{TWO} Your photos

This is one of the most creative and inexpensive ways to gather and arrange your favorite photos. Take an inexpensive candlestick, wine cork and paper clip and voilà, you have a beautiful photo holder. And who doesn’t love a project that requires a cork or two? Cheers!

{THREE} Your coffee and tea

In most kitchens, counter space is highly valued property. By elevating a few items, like sweeteners and k-cups, you create more space along with a beautiful display.

{FOUR} Your jewelry

This organization project includes a variety of glassware, such as cups and vases. I’m thinking you could add candlesticks to this list and use it to stack and store your bracelets.

Tip: Cover your glass items with white gloss spray paint to give it the look of milk glass.

{FIVE} Your bathroom essentials

This project combines mason jars with candlesticks to make lovely apothecary jars for your bathroom. The key is to use varying heights of candlesticks to create a nice grouping. You could easily take inexpensive glass candlesticks and spray them with metallic spray paint.

I think I’m going to try the photo project later today. I’ll be sure to take pictures and let you know how it goes. We’ll see if it makes it on my “Friday Faves” list tomorrow. Here’s hoping!

Which of these projects sounds like something you’ll try? Be sure to take pics and tag me (@Katejandersen) on Instagram so I can see your great work.

-Kate

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Hello, friends! I wanted to wish you a proper Irish blessing on this special day. There are many special sayings shared on St. Patrick’s day, and the one pictured above is my favorite Gaelic prayer.

I’ve always been a fan of St. Patrick’s day, and not just for the shamrocks, green beer, parades and pinching of any non-green wearing friends. That’s certainly fun, and I enjoy partaking in a pint of Guinness when I can, but the holiday feels deeply personal to me. In addition to attending St. Patrick’s school from kindergarten through 8th grade (no joke), I have deep Irish roots.

My maiden name is Clark, and my great great grandfather stowed away on a ship from Ireland. Legend has it he got into a fight with is school teacher and was frightened to face his family. So he headed for America to start a new life.

Clark Coat of Arms

This is the Clark family coat of arms in Ireland. Try looking up your own family’s coat of arms. It’s a great way to feel connected to your lineage.

For me, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day is a way to honor my heritage, as well as the patron saint and apostle of Ireland who was said to have driven all of the snakes out of the country.

Whether you’re Irish or not, I hope you find some fun in the day and enjoy learning about a beautiful culture.

Be sure to raise a glass and say “Sláinte” (pronounced SLAN-cha), which is the Irish word for “health” to celebrate. Your friends will surely be impressed.

I’ll leave you with another great Irish saying, because you indulged me while I talked about my heritage – and you’re still reading.

“May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.”

-Kate

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Trend Alert: SXSW 2015 Is in Full Swing

sxsw-interactive-logoIf you’re in the communications field, you’re probably well aware of the annual SXSW festival in Austin, TX. What started as a music festival in the 80s has grown to include wildly popular film and interactive sessions. In fact, SXSW Interactive has become a massive conference where the world watches to see what’s next in tech.

Companies like Twitter, Foursquare and Waze launched at SXSW Interactive.

Needless to say, there’s immense anticipation and a constant trend watch around this time of year. According to the official event site, “The 2015 event features five days of compelling presentations and panels from the brightest minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders and an unbeatable lineup of special programs showcasing the best new websites, video games and startup ideas the community has to offer.”

SXSW

Here’s a snapshot of the entrance to the tradeshow floor. Always tons of excitement and people from all over the world.

It’s all pretty fascinating. I love it because I work for a communications firm (and have a little blog). So I try to stay tuned in to what’s on the horizon for all of us in terms of the way we communicate. That’s really what’s at the core of all of this…communications.

Everyone is looking for the magic pill (or device) that fosters the most real and honest connections with a generation that’s mentally overloaded.

Ironically, the more tech that’s introduced to society, the more essential the need to simplify. We need gadgets to organize our gadgets. There’s no going back at this point, though. So onward we march, learn, play and create!

The 2015 SXSW Interactive festival began yesterday, and it goes through Monday. I had the pleasure of attending in person last year, which is where I met Mindy Kaling and Seth Meyers. #starstruck

Mindy Kaling

This was a super fun moment meeting Mindy – aka Kelly Kapoor or more recently Dr. Mindy Lahiri

This year I’ll be attending via my social channels – and notes from my colleagues who headed down yesterday. Twitter is already exploding with news about this year’s conference.

Follow #SXSW2015 on Twitter for more news as it happens this weekend into Monday.

Who knows, maybe you’ll catch and act on a trend that will land you a session in next year’s event?  Here’s to having a tech-savvy day no matter what field you’re in!

-Kate

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Friday Wrap!

It’s Friday already?! I say we get right to it with the list of five faves of the week.

{ONE} Friday the 13th

superstitious

Am I the only one who still misses The Office? I loved that show.

It’s officially Friday the 13th! We won’t have another one until November, so here’s hoping tons of luck falls your way on this rare day. In the spirit of the “holiday,” here’s a fun quiz to see how superstitious you really are.

{TWO} Surprises in the Garden

DaffodilsSo this happened yesterday…I went out to check the mail and spied these sweet daffodils BLOOMING in the garden. I can’t wait for their friends to wake up and grow already. Not many things scream spring more than a bunch of freshly cut daffodils on your windowsill.

Quick tip: Daffodils release sap that’s harmful to other flowers, so they’re best kept to themselves in arrangements. If you’d like to mix them with other flowers, be sure to place cut stems in a vase of cool water overnight to help release some of the harmful substance.

{THREE} Rain Boots

Rain BootsWe’ve had lots of rain in the forecast lately. In fact, it’s raining as I write this. So the twins and I went shopping for new boots. Now we’re officially ready for some puddle jumping! We shopped at a local store, but I noticed Zulily has some really cute styles right now if you want to order online.

{FOUR} Stitch Fix

Stitch Fix

The box included five items, plus this handy style sheet that helps you see how to mix things up.

Okay, I might be late to the party on this one, but I had my first Stitch Fix box arrive this week. I was super impressed and especially liked the blouses they sent. It all came with a personal note from my stylist, who talked about the weather in my area, as well as how the outfits she pulled together would be perfect for my job at the PR agency. It was a home run on personalization. I didn’t keep everything because the sizes were a bit off, but overall I’d give it two thumbs up. I’m really excited to see how my next styling goes!

{FIVE} Spice Rack Makeover

Spice Rack

I glued an old wine glass between two Lazy Susan’s to make this spice rack. The entire thing spins!

I’ve been on a cooking kick lately, which means I’ve been digging in my spice rack more than usual. My cabinet was jam-packed with jars, and it was hard to read labels. That made things super frustrating, so I decided to get creative.

I took two small Lazy Suzan’s (that I bought from Walmart) and stacked them. I glued an old wine glass to the center using E6000 adhesive and created this two-layered spice rack. It’s so much easier to find things – and it made more room in my cabinet. Now I can shove more stuff inside!

That’s a wrap. I hope you’ve had a stellar week. I’d love to hear about it. Be sure and checkout all of the amazing blogs (amazeblogs) via Five on Friday, which is sponsored by none other than April, DarciChristina, and Natasha.

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Cheers to Friday!

-Kate

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A Simple Gallery Wall

Gallery Wall Full ShotHey, friends. Here’s a project that’s been on my wish list for quite some time, and I finally got to it this past week. (happiness!) I thought it would be fun to show and tell you about a few tips I learned along the way.

Now, I think the reason it took me so long to get to this is because it seemed like such a huge deal – requiring holes in walls. I promise, organizing and arranging all of your favorite pictures on a wall is much easier than it looks.

Here’s how it went down…

{1st} Frames

flea market picture framesI decided to start with the frames and hit up several stores looking for good deals. Flea markets are perfect for this kind of shopping. The color of frame really doesn’t matter. There’s spray paint to fix that situation to make them any color you’d like.

{2nd} Butcher Paper

Butcher PaperOnce I had frames of various sizes, I cut butcher paper to fit the size of each frame. Then I taped the pieces to the wall so I could play and move them around to make different arrangements – without making millions of holes. Here’s a fantastic resource for different ways to arrange your pictures (sample below). This was also a good way to tell if I needed to buy more frames or find fun objects to fill some spaces.

Sample Gallery Wall Arrangements

{3rd} Mixed Media

Gallery Wall Initial

Here’s a closeup of a few odds & ends I included in my gallery. Also notice the interesting shapes on some of the frames. That can help add interest to your collection, as well.

Gallery Wall Small Touches

I love how this distressed wooden flower coordinates with the framed fabric.

I decided to make room in my arrangement for a few odds and ends to add interest. Sentimental objects, like an initial letter “A” that was sitting on a bookshelf, made perfect additions to the wall. I also shopped for pretty pieces of fabric in coordinating patterns to add pops of color here and there. (The pictures are a little misleading because I actually hung these items while there was still just butcher paper on the wall. I forgot to snap pics at that stage.)

{4th} Photos

Walgreens Photo OrderNow for the pictures! Based on my arrangement, I was able to make a list of how many (and what size) pictures were needed. I combed through my phone and computer, decided on the top pics, and ordered prints online. Walgreen’s photo lab was easiest for me because there’s a store close to my house. I was able to order and pick up pictures within hours. Pretty slick. Once I got the pictures home, I put them directly into their assigned frames.

{5th} Lipstick, Hammer & Nails

Hanging Picture Tip with Lipstick

Left: Paper is still on the wall; Right: I’m making a lipstick mark on the picture frame hardware.

Yes, I just said lipstick. With the butcher paper still on the wall, my mixed media items now in tact, and all of my pictures in their frames, I took an old tube of lipstick (the one that was way too bright and scared my children) and marked the back of my frame where the nail needed to go.

Hanging Picture Tip with Lipstick MarkI pushed the frame against the butcher paper so I left a mark directly on the paper. That told me exactly where to place the nail.

Hanging Picture Tip

Left: I nailed through the paper – just enough to make a small hole; Right: I removed the paper and nail to reveal the perfect spot.

As you can see, I tapped the nail right through the paper, removed it all from the wall and then nailed for real so I could hang the picture already.

That’s it! I repeated the process until all of my pictures were hung in the hallway with care.

How simple is that? Hopefully you’re saying, “Yes, super simple, Kate. Thanks for being so awesome and sharing that with me!” Okay, maybe not, but hopefully it eased your mind a teensy bit about tackling your next gallery project. Have fun and be sure to share pictures of your pictures.

Wishing you the best.

-Kate

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A 28-Day Writing Plan

pencilHere’s a post for my writer friends out there. Yes, that’s you. I recently stumbled upon this 28-day writing plan by Paul Furiga and decided to give it a whirl. I was lured by the encouraging intro which stated:

“Writing doesn’t have to be hard – not for you, and not for the people who will read what you write.”

Amen. I’m in the choir this guy is preaching to. Writing doesn’t have to be hard, but sometimes it is. Especially when the inner critic rears its ugly head or the right words go hiding in the dark alleys of your mind. There have been times I’d rather clean my bathroom than sit and write an assignment. Yet, I still love writing. I’m a walking contradiction. So I decided to partake in this writing exercise to see what will happen. It’s free. In fact, the investment is only a few minutes a day for 28 days – a mere blip on the radar of my existence. It might even be half a blip if all goes well.

I’m not very far into the plan (week one), but it’s been enlightening. I’ve tossed the critics to the side and delved into the reasons I need to write. Other than the obvious motives of needing to write for work and the income, I’m discovering that writing is a powerful release for me. It’s something that has to happen – like a sneeze.

It’s not always good writing, but it always feels good to write.

I wonder if it’s how bees feel about flying? They’re not exactly the most graceful beings in the air, and I imagine it’s pretty hard work carrying their weight with such small wings. But they have wings, and so they fly. I have ideas, and so I write.

I imagine you have ideas, too? Let’s get them out of our hearts and heads and onto paper. Let’s take someone on an adventure, share a helpful tip, or leave a quiet legacy.

Week two of the writing plan is about “get in shape” exercises. The author says, “Success in any physical endeavor requires consistent discipline in executing the training plan. The same is true for writing.” Perhaps you’ll slip into your writing gear (whatever that looks like?) and join me!

Be sure to share some of your experiences. Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram by tagging me @Katejandersen or using #CreativeTipTues.

Have a creative day and write on!

-Kate

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Friday Wrap: Birthday Week!

Monday marked another birthday in the books. It was a celebratory day complete with a crepe paper fort, flowers, Starbucks, coffee cake, a new mug, love notes from the kids, antique cookie cutters, a hand-knitted wrap, Kung Pao scallops and a piece of fresh cheesecake! I’m feeling full just recapping the list. I also felt the Facebook love from family and friends near and far. Birthdays are one of the best reasons to have a Facebook account. I tell ya. Talk about feeling overwhelmed and blessed by such kindness.

The week was jam packed with goodness. It’s hard to narrow, but here’s my list of five faves.

{ONE} Birthday Flowers

birthday flowersMy husband knows me so well. He brought home a bundle of fresh tulips to celebrate my special day. My sister also sent me a beautiful bouquet of stargazer lilies and spray roses. The smell is intoxicating. I have to say, all of this has given me a touch of spring fever – even during the bitter week of snow and ice. I’m feeling ready for some sunshine.

Quick tip: To extend the life of cut flowers, which I definitely want to do with these beauties, sprinkle a dash of baking soda in the water!

{TWO} Lemon Water

Birthdays are kinda like New Year’s Part Two when it comes to resolutions. I know it’s only been a few months since we rang in 2015, but this is a good time for me to check in and make adjustments. I’ve fizzled a bit on the “drink more water” kick, so I’m getting back in step – and adding lemon! I recently read sipping lemon water right when you wake up is one of the best ways to start the day.

Apparently it helps wake up your body and gives you a feeling of fullness so you don’t overeat at breakfast. Sounds good to me!

{THREE} Gallery Wall

gallery wallWith so much snow, it was another week of indoor projects. One of which was a gallery wall in the stairwell. This has been on the to-do list for quite some time, so it was fun to finally give it some attention. I’ll share a more detailed post next week. In the meantime, I wanted to share this quick tip.

Cut butcher paper to fit the size of your frames. Tape the paper on the wall to see what the arrangement will look like. You can easily tape and move your “frames” around without making millions of holes in the wall – like I usually do!

{FOUR} Fixer Upper Fave

Another benefit to being stuck indoors has been catching up on my favorite shows, like Fixer Upper. I simply adore Chip and Joanna Gaines. If you’re like me, you’ve seen every episode multiple times. One of my favorites (which I watched again yesterday) was the house with the garden atrium. So amazing. I would seriously give anything for them to come to my house and fix ‘er up with some farmhouse charm. If you haven’t shopped at JoJo’s store, Magnolia Homes, it’s worth a look. I’ve noticed several items in her store that she’s used in her designs on TV.

{FIVE} #WomenIRL

WomenIRLEnding on a funny note…if you haven’t been following this hashtag on Instagram, do it now. This is just one of the awesome pics on this feed, which was started by Real Simple magazine. I had trouble picking one to share because there are so many good ones. There’s so much honesty, hilarity and humility. Either search #WomenIRL or follow @WomenIRL.

Here’s to a wonderful weekend, my friends! I’m linking up with Five on Friday again today with April, DarciChristina, and Natasha. Be sure to check them out!

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