Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Fall Mantel

Since today is the last day of November, I wanted to share my fall mantel before we all move on to Christmas.

Most of this decor is there year around. Starting on the left, there's a wire candle holder from Home Goods and a metal whale made from discarded oil barrels that came from Simple Pleasures in Charlestown, RI. On the right side is a beautiful shell that was a gift from a friend, an old fishing creel that I got years ago at Brimfield, and a vase from Home Goods that I filled with beach stones and some dried grasses. The print is from Pottery Barn.  For fall I added the three white pumpkins, a garland of off-white berries and this string of shell lights. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Free Nautical Chart Prints

Nautical charts make great decor and gifts. In addition to framing them to display on a wall, they can be used as wallpaper, decoupaged on furniture, or even used as gift wrap. You can create a large framed nautical chart showing your favorite piece of coast line for very little money. In fact, the chart itself is free online from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Here's how to get your own nautical chart.

1. Go to Click the tab “Paper Charts (RNC & PDF).”

 2. Click on the map to select the area you’re interested in and zoom in. You’ll begin to see an overlay of rectangular shapes. Each shape represents of different chart. Highlight the one you want which will make the outline turn yellow.

3.  Now look at the bottom right side of the page. You’ll see a list of the charts for that area in the gray boxes.

4. Click on the one you want (usually you’ll want the first one listed), then click “PDF” and download your chart.

 5. To print, go to Staples Copy Center and upload your pdf. You can get a 48” x 36” engineering print in color for about $12 or a 36" x 24" for $9.Then you can either pick it up at the store in a few hours or have it mailed to you.

6. Now you'll need a frame. I find Ikea to be a good source of reasonably priced frames. For example, the 24" x 36" Gunnabo frame from Ikea costs $19.99.

Here's how it looks all put together. This 24" x 36" framed chart cost a total of $29 (printing $9 & frame $20).

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I finally got around to pulling together my centerpiece for the tomorrow. It was easy and almost free.

I started by laying down this runner from Pottery Barn.Then I found an oval wooden bowl at Home Goods. I purchased 3 small white pumpkins and a bag of Spanish moss at Michael's. I also had a few stalks of wheat. The rest I found around my yard.

 To give the pumpkins some height. I placed each one on a small plastic  container about an inch high. Then I added a layer of moss to cover the plastic containers and to provide a base for the rest of the material.

Next I went out in the yard to see what I could find. I clipped some branches with colorful leaves and vines with with small purple berries and yellow leaves. There were a few hydrangeas left and some rose hips. I also took some cuttings from the ornamental grasses.

Finally, I arranged the clippings around the pumpkins, tucking the stems into the moss. 

I'm going place some small votive candles and a  more white pumpkins  on the runner. Have a wonderful day tomorrow!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Coastal Gift Guide

Wondering what to get your coastal-loving friends or family for Christmas? I pulled together some ideas to get you started. The price range runs the gamut from stocking stuffers to big splurges.  I think you'll find something for everyone on your list!

Let's start with some things for entertaining:

Set of 4 Highball Glasses $32
A friend gave me a set of these glasses for Christmas last year. They're really lovely with the etched scallop shells. A nice coastal touch without going overboard.

 Nautical Picnic Basket $289
Who wouldn't love a beautiful picnic basket like this?  Picture going to the beach around sunset with a nice bottle of wine, a loaf of crusty french bread, a selection of cheeses, fresh fruit. Yeah. Sign me up.

Set of 4 Embroidered Reef Napkins $39
Aren't these pretty? I love the designs and the soft blue color. They would look so pretty with white ironstone dishes.
 Whale Cutting Board $35 (on sale)
 This really makes me smile. It would be great for serving cheese and crackers.

Ideas for homebodies:
 Cable Knit Throw $55 (on sale)
Wouldn't it be nice to cozy up on the couch with one of these and a good book on a cold dreary day? The cable knit reminds me of a fisherman sweater.

 Whale Book Ends $79
And these would be perfect for arranging the those good reads. 

 Bamboo Hurricane $70
I just love the texture of this candle holder. Kind of reminds me of a sea urchin.It would make a great centerpiece.

 Decorative Sea Fan Glass Bowl $57
I think this would look so pretty on a coffee table. Very elegant.

Getting personal:
 Tocca Candle in Montauk $38
This candle is amazing. Amazing. If you've tried Tocca candles before (I started with Stella), you know that they are incredible. You will understand why paying $38 for a candle is so worth it. Now, you have to try the Montauk scent. It smells like fresh salt air--only better. The Montauk scent is getting harder to find, so jump on it. My husband gave me one last year. Love. It.

 Sea Salt Soap $7
 Looking for a stocking stuffer? This soap really smells wonderful. Really fresh and clean.

Spreading cheer:

 Coastal Evergreen Christmas Wreath $45
I give a few of these as gifts every year. Last year I also gifted myself. It's really lush and fragrant and it looks stunning. And you can have it delivered to anyone in the U.S. for free.

Set of 3 Glass Seashell Ornaments $20 (on sale)
Pretty ornaments always make nice gifts. I love that these are real glass and the jute hanger is a nice touch. Perfect for anyone who has a coastal Christmas tree.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Building a Backyard Firepit

One of my goals for this year was to build a firepit in the backyard. For years we've had a succession of portable firepits. They lasted a few seasons, then rusted out. Now that we have a big yard, I thought it was time to upgrade to something a bit more substantial. We talked to a landscaper about building one for us. Then we got the estimate. Yowza! My next thought was, "How hard can this be? I'll do it myself." And you know what? I did! All by myself. And it wasn't that hard.

After tossing around a few ideas (e.g. buy a bunch of stone and wing it), I decided to purchase this kit from Home Depot. I also ordered these Mexican beach pebbles. Since I wisely concluded that trying to transport hundreds of pounds of rock in my station wagon wasn't a great idea, I had the materials delivered for an additional $60. Well worth it. The materials arrived stacked on a pallet and the driver very nicely dropped it off as close as possible to where I planned to build the firepit.

Since I was not building this on a hard surface, I needed to remove the sod and level the ground first. This was the hardest part. Lesson learned: find a relatively level spot to start with. Mine was not. I did the best I could and kept checking with a level, but I'm not going to lie--it's not perfect.

The actual building could not have been simpler (actually, it would have been simpler if the ground was perfectly level...). You place the first row of stones in a circle 48" in diameter. Then the second row of stones is staggered so that the seams don't match up. The cap stones are placed last and they should align with the stones in the second row.

Once I got done I spent the next several hours tweaking it--i.e. adjusting all the stones so they were just right. Finally my daughter came out of the house and told me to stop obsessing and just get on with it. Good advice.

The next step is to use construction adhesive to hold it all together. I started by removing one capstone and the stone below it. I then applied adhesive to the exposed top of the two stones in the first row. Next I replaced the stone from the second row and then applied adhesive to the top of this stone. Finally, I replaced the capstone. I repeated this with all the stones.

To complete the project, I filled the ring with stones I had collected on the beach to depth of about 2". There is a metal ring that fits inside the stone to protect the stones from the heat of the fire. It comes in 2 pieces. I just had to fit them together and then insert screws to hold the pieces in place. I then placed the metal ring on top of the beach stones. There was about a 3" gap between the metal ring and the stone of the firepit. I had planned to fill this gap with the Mexican beach pebbles which are a pretty dark gray, but I didn't have nearly enough. So I used some less pretty random stones to fill in except for the last 2" and then topped it off with the Mexican beach pebbles.

Here it is all done!

We have really enjoyed using it and now that the weather is cooler, I expect we'll be using it even more.  I added some wool throws to make it cozier on chilly evenings.


Wouldn't it be great to top off Thanksgiving dinner with a few s'mores?

Here's the breakdown on costs:
30 in. Fossil Limestone Fire Pit Kit from Home Depot--$451 (+$60 delivery)
2 0.4 cubic ft bags of Mexican Beach Pebbles--$34
Construction adhesive & caulk gun--$8
Beach stones--free
Highwood synthetic wood Adirondack chairs in Nantucket Blue from Overstock--$270 each.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Latest Find: Something for the Bar Cart

Hello all,
Work has been so busy lately, that I haven't had much time to blog. I'll try to catch up a bit.

So a couple of weeks ago, I got to spend the day with my best friend, D. We decided to do what we love to do best--hit the antique/thrift/vintage stores! D lives within a short drive to some amazing places. Among our favorites are the Wrentham Country Store in Wrentham, MA and WinSmith Mill Market in Norwood, MA. You should definitely check them out if you're in that neck of the woods.

Anyway, I was looking for something to use to set up a bar when we have everyone over for Thanksgiving. D spotted this vintage Coca Cola crate and told me to check it out. It was just what I was looking for (and only $25)!

Check out the chippy paint...

And the metal strapping on the corners.

The compartments are just the right size.

And it's got these cute hand holds on the sides.

Here's what it looks like all decked out.

There's plenty of room for liquor bottles, mixers, a cocktail shaker, and bar tools. I usually set up the beverage station on the porch when we have parties. I'll add an ice bucket and glasses. I have an old copper washtub that I keep nearby, filled with ice to chill wine, beer, and soft drinks. Time to get the party started!

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