Archive of ‘At Home’ category

Simple Entertaining: Overnight Guests

During the holiday season, many of us find ourselves entertaining guests overnight. Whether it be relatives who have traveled in order to stay with you, or a friend passing through looking for a place simply to rest their head, here are a few simple tips that can help you make their stay more comfortable.

  • One easy thing you can do that will have your guests wanting to return is to make their sleep more comfortable. You may not have the same budget as a luxury hotel, but investing in a couple extra pillows and a really comfortable blanket will leave guests in a sweet slumber. By leaving an extra blanket in their room, your guests can fell just as warm and snugly as they desire.
  • If you are one of those households that have 3 remotes just to turn on the TV, Satellite, Tivo, etc. your guests will most likely be completely lost and intimated to turn anything on. If your guests’ room has a TV, confusing alarm clock, or other complicated electronics…putting together a simple electronics “manual” would be very thoughtful. You can do as little as type a few instruction up and leave it in their room or as much as putting together a small “how-to” binder (like pictured here). This tip is also good for babysitters and house sitters!
  • If your guests will be staying a long period of time, putting together a quick schedule might be helpful. Let them know when you are busy working (and/or attending other obligations) and when you will be home. This will enable them to feel comfortable making their own plans. You can even put together a little “suggestion” list of things for them to do or places to visit if they are not familiar with your area.
  • Make a guests truly feel welcomed by putting together a small care kit for them. Include some sample sized toiletries, extra tooth brush, aspirin, and anything you know they love. For example, a special tea they drink or their favorite coffee creamer for the mornings.

These are just a few simple and thoughtful ideas to help you be a fabulous hostess to your overnight guests. Making them feel comfortable is key…. and of course enjoy their company!

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Simple Holiday Decor: Winter Berry Wreath!


Guest Post

Emily from My Little Window Shoppe shares her simple and creative tips for making an impressive holiday wreath. She proves that it doesn’t take a lot to make something fabulous!

Hello Thoughtfully Simple readers! This is my favorite Winter Berry wreath! I have it at home proudly displayed and since I thought it was so pretty, I took a few pictures of it and put it up on the front page of Little Window Shoppe a week ago. Since posting it up, I have had a lot of questions about it! So, due to popular demand, I wanted to write a quick tutorial with easy steps on how to make your own gorgeous wreath this year.

Supplies
  • An old or new grapevine wreath base (size = your choice). You can buy these at Michaels for about $3 – $6. Mine also has extra dried twigs included in it, in fact you could dry your own twigs and make a base out of it…just secure it together with floral wire.
  • A bunch of your favorite freshly picked Red Winter Berry Stems – (the artificial stems are also found at various craft stores).
  • Floral Wire – to secure everything in place and to make a hanger for your wreath.
  • Scissors and/or a wire cutter
  • (Extra) Ribbon – if you want to add a ribbon to your wreath.

Simple Steps

Once you have your grapevine/twig base and your Winter Berry stems, start weaving them into the base and secure them with floral wire. If you can’t keep it in place with just the wire, you can also use hot glue (I like to avoid glue if at all possible on this project, but it can definitely help hold it all together if nothing else is working).

Finally, once the stems are intertwined and secured, you can use your floral wire to make a hanger for your wreath or to attach a pretty bow. This is a fun and easy little project for the holidays and will help you to save a lot of money too! Many of pre-made berry wreaths are selling for about $20 to $40 (depending on the size). So, have fun and keep your cash this season.

Author Bio
Emily {Little Window Shoppe Founder and Editor-in-Chief}

We were so thrilled that Emily was interested in guest posting with us! She’s the kind of girl who reads every inch of the Pottery Barn magazine the day it comes in the mail just to glean ideas from each and every page {we love that}! Her site My Little Window Shoppe was created from a true passion. Emily explains:

“I especially love to window shop when it’s “shoppetique” style (”Shoppetique” ~ my own little combination of shoppes and boutiques). To me, there’s something so cheery and personal about shoppes that I find absolutely beautiful. I quite enjoy the eclectic feel and seem to find artistic creativity in every nook and cranny.”

Want to know more about Emily? Check out her daily blog and also read “20 Fun Facts” about her!

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How to Style it Right with Photos

Do you love photos in your home? I know I do- but like so many, I am just not confident about my display choices. Thank goodness I know someone who is a “photo-guru” if you will. Jill at Cool Photo Ideas has given us the how-to when it comes to displaying our cherished photos or prized art pieces in our homes.

Jill says,

IT’S ALL IN THE PLANNING

“Give thought to the space you want to liven up. Once you have an area picked out then you can measure the area and get a general idea of sizes of pictures you may want to incorporate. Generally speaking anything smaller than an 8″ x 10″ tends to get lost on a large wall, so be sure to think those things through!”

Oh and this is my favorite tip:

STICK IT TO ME

“Once you know your sizes, lay your frames (or if you don’t have frames yet, you can get a general measurement by taking the size of the image and add about 4″ for the width of the frame. So if you would like to hang an 8″ x 10″ image, trace out a 12″ x 14″ frame) on a roll of kraft paper and trace around them. Cut each frame out separately. You now have “frames” that you can hang on the wall with blue painters tape (which will not peal paint off your wall), to gauge where you will hang your final framed images.”

STAY IN THE LINES

“Keep moving your paper frames around until you love the look! Be sure to allow approximately 2″ between your frames. Then you can finish up your project with ease by simply hanging your frames over the paper spots as shown. The sample shows a great way to create a display, buy drawing an ‘imaginary’ line and then working above and below the line to create an organized look. Perfect for the beginner!”

Love this design tip from Cool Photo Ideas? There are many more where this came from! Check out:

STAGGERING IMAGES & SYMMETRICAL DISPLAYS

Jill knows how to solve your “fear of putting holes in the wall only to find you hate the way the portraits look when they are hung.” Cool Photo Ideas is full of solutions.

This fabulous e-zine is filled with ideas, sources, articles, contests and more – all photo related of course!

Tell me, what area of your home would you like to decorate with photos? Come on, everyone has that empty wall…..

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Spice It Up!

If your spice cabinet looks anything like mine, it is a black hole of little jars with little organization. Despite my organizing efforts, my spice cabinet never seems to stay tidy– and of course the chaos eventually got the best of me. Because rather than using what I had already, I was in the habit of purchasing whatever spice I needed for a particular recipe. The outcome, unneeded purchases at the grocery store and more clutter to the spice cabinet.

So, as I realized there was no need to have 4 jars of “ground cumin” on hand, I began to get organized. My tip for today is to spice up your spice cabinet!

What I did: I set aside a few minutes and took inventory of everything actually in the spice cabinet. Write down each spice (making sure to note the amount of each you have on hand). Then, simply type up your list and tape to the inside of the spice cabinet door.

Next time you are making out your shopping list you will simply have to open up the cabinet and check to see if you already have “dried mustard,” preventing any unnecessary strolls down the spice aisle.

Also try purchasing spice racks and shelves to keep everything visible! These are from The Container Store and are under $10.00

What are your spice-organizing-ideas?

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Green Cleaning Made SIMPLE!

Household Cleaners

Who knew your Granny was a “green” cleaner all along? If we take a step back in time, I bet we don’t remember our grandparents storing 8 bottles of random household cleaners under their kitchen sinks, now do we? In fact, past generations knew a thing or two about using green and affordable cleaners around the house (and they actually did get the job done).

Make cleaning in an environmentally safe way simple by breaking out the old household supplies. My favorite cleaner, baking soda!

Next time you need to get one of these jobs done, put down the green can and pick up the baking soda:

-Scrub out your sink- just sprinkle, scrub, rejoice!

- Greasy dinner dishes? Sprinkle a bit of baking soda on the bottom of your dishwasher and the greasy grime will be cut in the first wash cycle, before your detergent even starts it’s thing. For cast iron pans that don’t go in the dishwasher, sprinkle with baking soda and give them a quick scrub.

-Smelly sponge?? Sprinkle a tsp of baking soda after a heavy use and simply rinse it out.

-White sneakers not so white anymore? Simply make a paste of baking soda and water and scrub, now that’s simple!

What are your secret uses for Baking Soda? How are you trying to live a bit greener?

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