A Haunting Centerpiece :: Skull Floral Arrangement

 

skull floral arrangement

halloween floral arrangement

Hi everyone! I’m Nicole, Annette’s blog manager and friend, and I’m back to bring you a haunting centerpiece for your Halloween table: a skull floral arrangement. In case you don’t know, my absolute favorite holiday is Halloween. Last year, I dressed my mantle for the occasion, and this year, I decided to add a little spook to my table.

One of the things I’ve learned from Annette is to always be looking for vessels that can be used for flowers, food, and more. When I stumbled upon this black skull candy jar at Target, my creative wheels started turning. Take the lid off and voila – the perfect vase (I loved this one, too).

Imagine my excitement when I found seasonal fall flowers in bold, jewel tones including ones that look strikingly similar to brains! I think they’re spot-on.

skull floral arrangement

halloween centerpiece

When it comes to flower arranging, I use floral bricks to keep my flowers in place and fresh. Cut them down to size for your vessel, and follow the directions on the packaging. Make sure you allow your bricks to submerge completely in the water on their own (instead of pressing them down). Then, just have fun arranging the colors and mixing in different textures. I think greenery would have really added another dimension to this particular arrangement, so just use what you have – even if it’s from your yard!

Whatever you use, this easy DIY skull floral arrangement centerpiece will certainly add the right amount of eerie fun to your Halloween holiday table. Happy Halloween!

xo, Nicole

photos via: Nicole Letts

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Easy DIY Chalkboard Menu Vase

DIY chalkboard menu

October marks the third year my book Picture Perfect Parties (Rizzoli NY) has been on bookshelves. I run into people all the time that tell me they cook from my book regularly, or they threw one of the parties in the book with great success. This makes me extremely happy. To know that I have inspired people to live a better, more stylish life is a gift like no other. I am always humbled and touched with these wonderful personal stories, so thank you to everyone from the bottom of my heart for sharing your experiences with my book.

One of my favorite decor hacks is this one. I love chalkboard paint and recycling; this project has it all.

This fall centerpiece is definitely an easy fix to get your table in the autumn spirit.  One of the parties in my cookbook, Picture Perfect Parties Rizzoli NY, is all about Sunday Supper. Sunday Supper is a staple at the Josephs; people that gather on Sundays include our family and our friends. The entire point of Sunday Supper is to hangout, enjoy comfort foods, and wrap-up the weekend. So give it a whirl! You’ll love this tradition as much as we do.

This DIY is perfect for Sunday supper, and it would be perfect for Thanksgiving. You will use this great addition to your tablescape again and again.

The step-by-step instructions are simple, and the items needed you probably already have on hand, and if you don’t, are easy to find. I love the texture that chalk adds to the vase. Be sure to add vibrant flowers to really make everything pop.

Have fun creating the menu vase DIY, and don’t stress if it doesn’t turn out perfectly; that’s part of the fun! BTW this is a great craft project to do with the kids, get them involved because they will be so proud when you unveil your table scape to friends. Happy Sunday Supper everyone.

Menu Vase DIY

You will need:
– Painter’s tarp
– 1 (8-inch) terra-cotta pot
– 1 chan chalkboard spray paint
– chalk
– Glass vase, slightly shorter than the terra-cotta pot
– 3 dozen fresh mums, dahlias, or other festive flower

To make:

1. Spread the tarp on a work surface in a well-ventilated space.
2. Spray the terra-cotta pot with the chalkboard paint, using 2 coats to cover, and allowing it to dry between coats.
3. Let the paint dry completely.
4. Write your menu on the pot with chalk.
5. Place a glass vase half-filled with water inside the menu pot.
6. Arrange the flowers in the glass vase and use the menu pot as a centerpiece of your table.

For this and more fun crafts run out and buy my book Picture Perfect Parties Rizzoli NY

Photo Credit: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

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A Nutty Valentine’s Day treat

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Hi Everyone! I’m Nicole, Annette’s blog manager. When Annette asked me to share a Valentine’s Day post with you, I couldn’t wait to get started. Over the years, Valentine’s Day has become one of my favorite holidays.

Whether you’re celebrating with a significant other, your best friends, your children, or your coworkers, it’s a day to stop and remember the good and loving people around you.

My husband and I live in a quaint little neighborhood in Atlanta, and we happen to have some of the best neighbors around. They get packages off of our porch if we’re not home, smile and ask about what we’re up to, and make it a point to always look out for us. As a street, we take care of each other; I love the camaraderie!

I decided I wanted to give a little token of appreciation to each of my neighbors (a nutty Valentine’s Day treat!), and I knew the first place to look was Minted. Minted is an online marketplace for independent artists and designers, and a vibrant playground for paper lovers like me.

You can find everything from photo backdrops to home decor at Minted, but this time of year, I love looking through their Valentine’s Day cards. Of course, Minted has a large selection of photo cards, postcards, and greeting cards, but did you know that Minted also has classroom valentines?

I’ve always enjoyed how cheeky and funny kids’ classroom cards can be, so I knew I would find exactly what I was looking for…and I did! Minted kindly sent me a set of these Nuts Classroom Valentine’s Day cards for the neighbors’ treats. With Minted’s easy to use personalization options, I was able to change the color, select my own wording, add a scalloped edge, and include an adorably nutty background. So cute!

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Once my Valentine’s arrived (within a week!), I picked up some cute food-safe pails** from my local craft store along with Valentine’s Day crafting supplies. I used scrapbooking stickers and ric-rac washi tape to decorate each pail before filling it with Annette’s Big Game Snack Mix from her book, Picture Perfect Parties.

Her snack mix packs a punch and includes a lot of flavors that meld so well together. Plus, who doesn’t love snack mix? Annette’s mix is incredibly easy to toss together and requires no extra work other than picking up the ingredients from your local grocery store. I love that I didn’t have to dirty any dishes, pots, or pans and just could just mix everything together. Her recipes are great like that!

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I can’t wait to leave each of these pails on my neighbors porches as a fun little Valentine’s Day surprise. Let me know if you find any other cute uses for classroom Valentine’s beyond the classroom. Minted has a great selection, and I’m excited to hear your ideas! Thanks for having me, Annette!

xo, Nicole

Thanks to Minted for sending me the classroom valentines seen here in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.

**Be sure to read the labels to get food safe containers for any food crafting.

Photos: Nicole Letts

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Tabletop {Masterclass} at Summerill and Bishop New School in London

S&B School

When Summerhill and Bishop asked me to come teach their first ever Masterclass at their new school in London last week, I was honored and thrilled. Summerill and Bishop is located in the most gorgeous neighborhood at 100 Portland Road near Notting Hill. If you’re in London, make a point of stopping by and if time allows, take a class.

S&B School

Okay so here’s the scoop:

When I arrived the day before my class, the school was, well, quite frankly a construction site. A beautiful space with patina walls, large industrial lighting but not quite finished. Talk about down to the wire…

However, once I met the amazing staff at S&B School, I knew everything would be in place and ready to roll by Thursday night at 6:30pm…and I was right.

Eliza and Marcelo made sure everything would be in place; what an amazing team!

S&B School S&B School

After an early morning trip to the New Covent Garden Flower Market for my floral craft project, we were ready to go. Btw, the wholesale flower market was a highlight and not unlike any other flower wholesaler. It was filled with beauty and very funny snarky vendors, but here in London they have adorable English accents.

S&B School

Summerhill and Bishop, quite honestly, has one of the most comprehensive selections of handmade linens I have ever seen, and every other chic thing you would need for your table. And yes, as you can only imagine, I went nuts. Let’s say that there will be some very very pretty props for my next workshop in Italy. The selection of tabletop is beautiful, chic, and approachable. Fair to say if I lived in London, it would be my go-to prop shop. The good news is I can order online and ship everything. Don’t you just love that?

S&B School

Thursday night, the school was filled with nibbles, wine, lovely ladies, and lots of lively banter about setting your table for the upcoming holidays. I talked about how to be prepared, basics of organization, how to produce your party like a pro, and how to create a beautiful flower arrangement in an unlikely vessel, like a juice glass. With our juice glasses in hand, we crafted a votive and vase project using seed paper and raffia. We filled the vase with a beautiful floral arrangement, and even made a place card and take home gift for guests. These are just a few clever solutions for the table using a simple juice glass. You all know that’s the way I like to do it!

S&B School

Punch holes with a hole puncher in a belly band of seed paper that is wrapped around the juice glass tied with raffia. This craft project is the perfect votive holder and vase to parade down the middle of your holiday table. Easy to make and so impressive.

S&B School S&B School

Everyone was so enthusiastic about making a floral arrangement, plus they got to take it home at the end of class. We finished up the class by making my no bake dessert: a Raspberry Cannoli in a glass using the same small juice glass we made our votive vase project with. Unlikely vessels with brilliant results. My basic juice glass project 3 ways was a big hit.

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As you know, in my cookbook Picture Perfect Parties, I have tons of easy and brilliant craft ideas plus delicious recipes to make all your parties unique and special with that personal touch.

Thank you to everyone  at the S&B School; you all were so delightful, and I feel like we are a family. Thank you for making me feel so welcome in your home.  A special THANK YOU to Seb for coming-up with this brilliant way of connecting creatively. My prediction is that this school will be a HUGE success. Seb, Thanks for letting me be the first.  xx until next time…

S&B School

A bit about the School:

The S&B School:

The school is run by the charismatic chef, Marcelo de Campos.

Marcelo is West London’s best kept secret, and the man behind some of the most exclusive dinner parties and events in town, and he’s bringing his know-how exclusively to us here at School.  Having worked in some of the best kitchens in the world—from Gordon Ramsay’s, to Claus Meyer’s (of Noma fame), to the hallowed halls of Claridges, to some of the most exclusive private London residences—he’s not only a chef, but a trained expert in l’art de recevoir. And, with his Brazilian roots, he brings a sense of fun and warmth to everything he touches.

Sign up for the S&B School newsletter here:

All classes require booking, with a maximum of 12 people per class. We offer a range of class times, listed below:

Tuesdays
10:00 – 11:30 am
1:30 – 3:00 pm

Thursdays
10:00 – 11:30 am
1:30 – 3:00 pm
6:30 – 8:30 pm

Prices from £70 per class

Please contact school@summerillandbishop.com or call +44 (0) 20 0001 3415 for more information on classes.

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DIY Monday :: Up-cycled Cross Trivet

onderzetters-in-plusvorm You know I love an up-cycled DIY project. I love the look of these up-cycled cross trivets; they’re so chic and simple, and they make your table look really cool. I made these particular trivets with yoga mats, and the project couldn’t be any easier. They make great hostess gifts, too. Tie a few together with pretty twine and add a tag that says “You’re hot.” I love it!

Up-cycled Cross Trivets

Materials: Colored yoga mat ,sharp scissors, pencil

To Make: Make a template of a cross 12”x12” 4” thick at the cross, with a pencil trace the cross on the mat, and cut the cross trivet out with a sharp scissors.

Have fun and happy DIY Monday! xx

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