Fall Coffee Station & Decoration

I have a terrible habit of welcoming people into my home and then forgetting to offer them a drink.  It’s either a mental block or early dementia but it’s ridiculous!  So, I created a permanent drink station on my kitchen island and then tweak the decorating details with each new season.

Beautiful beverage station on her counter top decorated for Fall

I’m not joking when I say, I could literally serve a five-course meal to guests and completely forget about offering a beverage to them.  Thankfully, my husband and now even my daughter are quick to make this most basic gesture of hospitality.  Because of those two, no one leaves here parched.  However, my side-kicks aren’t always around when I have company in the kitchen.

That said, I created this very obvious drink station smack in the center of the kitchen to act as a visual reminder.  Literally, it’s a visual aid for me.  If I still fail to inquire about what my guest would prefer to drink, the drink station picks up the slack by becoming a conversation piece.  Once the conversation starts, a light turns on and my mental block is hurdled long enough for me to say, “what can I get you to drink?”

Beautiful beverage station on her counter top

It’s silly, but I get caught up in the many details of hostessing and forget the most basic of all needs and one of life’s most simple comforts – water (or coffee, or what-have-you).  After all, everyone is more comfortable making small talk while holding a cup of something liquid and then taking a sip during the conversation pauses.

Enough about my hostessing faux pas and let’s get on to the details.  Here’s my countertop display.  I splurged on the Pottery Barn galvanized stand after seeing this beautiful display from Stone Gable years ago.  My seasonal “fillings” are usually something inexpensive and/or whatever I have on hand.

coffee or tea fall drink station

Speaking of inexpensive “fillings”, part of my Dollar Store Decor fall mantel shelves include a little banner I printed on fake leaves (this tutorial coming soon per your reader request!).  The $1 package of leaves came with so many, I had more than enough for scattering around the bottom of each tier wherever I found a blank space.  They are surprisingly noticeable and festive at the same time!

Dollar Store Decor on Fall drink station

My goal of this station is to have everything one would want for coffee or tea, except the creamer.  I keep that in the refrigerator for obvious reasons.

The bottom tier, in front, holds a sugar bowl of organic sugar, which has an off-white color tinge that adds to my rustic Fall colors.  There is also a little shaker of cinnamon for the deluxe coffee drinkers.  Stir spoons rest inside the creamer pitcher.  Finally, behind those few essentials is a mason jar filled with candy corn for added Fall flare.

fall drink vignette

My favorite embellishments are the “gimme some sugar” spoons that rest inside the creamer jar.

gimme some sugar spoons for drink station

I mean, how cute are these?!!  I may stash a few away for this year’s stocking stuffers!  I also have my eye on the “just brew it” spoon for stirring our french press coffee every morning.  AND, they’re on sale right now… honey are you reading this ginormous gift hint I’m sharing?!! ;)

gimme some sugar tea spoons

The mugs I’ve had for years and years and years.  I bring them out each Fall for a little seasonal color change.  I don’t usually keep different colors of dishes according to the season; that involves a little more effort than I care to devote to plates and mugs.  However, these happen to be an original set of mugs from our early marriage years, so I decided to put them on display since they match the autumn theme.

fall mugs

On the back side of the stand holds more mason jars, each filled with a different variety of tea.  Obviously, the coffee pot or my french press doesn’t fit on the stand.  They’re off to the side, where you can’t see them in this picture.

indivdiually wrapped tea bags in glass jars

I picked up a few galvanized jars from the dollar spot at Target for my tea canisters.

galvanized lids mix well with other metal colors on this fall drink stand

You’ll notice I didn’t have trouble mixing metal types.  Galvanized or gold (seen in the background above), it doesn’t matter.  In fact, I’m reading and seeing trends of metal mixing all over the decor world.  I’m all for this concept!  I like to think that using what I have is on par with style; but even if it isn’t, I would still display out of gratitude.  So, don’t be afraid of metal and texture mixing my friends!

drink station

Finally, I used a $1 glitter leaf from the Dollar Tree as a “topper” to my drink station.  It ties the theme together lovely without a huge investment.

fall drink station using Dollar Store Decor

It was shorter than I wanted, so I hot glued it to an upside down plastic ice-cream cup (shown below). Then I hid the yellow cup with a few flowers tucked around the base.

hot glue and an upside down plastic cup boost this piece of fall decor on a beverage station

prop hiding on a fall drink stand

Hiding the details makes it all the more pretty without any cost investment (faux flowers I already had too).

fall drink station using Dollar Store Decor

Finally, I put a bowl of fresh fruit on the side mostly because I couldn’t find any place better in my kitchen, but I’ve grown to like this addition.  It’s on the bottom tier and is at the perfect height for my six-year-old to be reminded of healthy alternatives for snack time. :)

brilliant idea to use fresh fruit on coffee or tea bar

So, whatcha think?  Anyone can make a drink station out of anything, if inclined.  We have friends that dedicated an entire drink zone in their kitchen/dining room that is more than inviting.  It’s all about using the space you have and filling it with things you love or need.  In my case, I love coffee & tea but also need a reminder to offer a beverage to company.  Win, win!  Making things useful and beautiful, this time to improve my hospitality skills. :)

Speaking of coffee (read that as Starbucks)…

DON’T FORGET TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY IN HONOR OF MY RECENT BIRTHDAY!  CLICK HERE TO READ ALL ABOUT THE ENTRY DETAILS.

Happy Birthday Starbucks Giveaway from UsefulBeautifulHome.com

 

Starbucks Gift Card Giveaway from the Birthday Girl!

October is birthday month around here.  I count 6 people in our family that have birthdays in October, and 3 of them are in my immediate household – my hubby, my girlie, and me.  Now that’s cause for celebration and you’re included!

Happy Birthday Starbucks Giveaway from UsefulBeautifulHome.com

In honor of my birthday, which I celebrated yesterday (Oct. 23rd), I’m giving away a Starbucks gift card to one UBH reader.  This is my gift to you, no sponsorship or promotional strings attached.  I decided on a Starbucks card because it’s my personal fave to receive and I am the birthday girl for at least another week. ;)

Joking aside, it’s just a little way to say thank you for supporting me by following along, commenting, pinning, linking back, and love!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Everyone is welcome to enter the random drawing above, it’s really easy to follow the directions but let me know if you have trouble.  Be sure to include as many options as you can for the best odds of winning!

Oh, and in case you’re wondering… I’m turning 28… for the eighth time. ;)

 

Dollar Store Decor – $2 Leaf “Wreath”

It’s Fall, y’all!  Yessir, my calendar says that today marks the official beginning of Autumn!

I have the decorating bug but have one small problem… our garage contains the last remains of moving boxes that have yet to be unpacked, most of which is my seasonal decor.  Somewhere in that mini mountain awaits my front door Fall wreath but I have no desire to tackle outdoor boxes in 90 degree Florida heat.  So, I decided to make a replacement; a new front door Leaf “Wreath” that only cost me 2 bucks yet adds the perfect welcoming touch.  Small problem fixed in a festive way!

Dollar Store Decor - $2 Door Leaf Wreath

I picked up an orange felt leaf from The Dollar Tree and a roll of their wire-edged leaf patterned ribbon.  I forgot to snap a “before picture, so I’m using these below that I took with my cell phone in the store (enter apology for terrible quality photos but I had to have a visual for ya).  You can see the felt leaf-shaped placemat thingy on the left and the ribbon I used for this project on the right.

Use these $1 items to create a welcoming front door Leaf Wreath

First, let’s talk about the bow.  Keeping the print facing out, I did a simple loop back and forth a few times with one long piece until it looked about right, nothing overly technical.  It took a couple attempts until I found the right length that seemed size-appropriate to the leaf.  Again, more apologies for the photo quality, this was done at night when my Little was asleep (after bedtime is the best DIY time, am I right?).  I promise better pictures are coming, keep reading! ;)

$2 Front Door Leaf Wreath-1

Here’s where things get even easier, I cut the excess ribbon and cinched my bow together with masking tape.  I know, it’s not Etsy quality, but it works just fine. ;)

$2 Front Door Leaf Wreath-3

I ended up using the entire roll of ribbon, because I looped another piece around the center to hide the masking tape and give my bow tails.  This takes a little extra manipulation to get the knot hidden on the backside of the bow while keeping the pattern side on the tails facing forward, but it is possible.

$2 Front Door Leaf Wreath-4

I trimmed the bottom of my ribbon by folding it in half (print side facing out).

$2 Front Door Leaf Wreath-5

And then cut on a diagonal up towards the bow, like this…

$2 Front Door Leaf Wreath-6

So that the ends looked a little more like this…

$2 Front Door Leaf Wreath-7

Before I attached the bow to the leaf, I slid a piece of yarn (but any ribbon/thread/string would work) through the knot on the back, see pic below.  This will ultimately create a “hook” for hanging your Leaf Wreath on the door.

$2 Front Door Leaf Wreath-8

Now, grab your felt leaf and slide both ends of the yarn through one of the top slits in the leaf pattern as shown below.

$2 Front Door Leaf Wreath-9

Stick with me here; next, you will bring the yarn back to the front side by going over the stem and letting the yarn rest closely on either side of the stem (below shows how I did this, but is pictured from the front side).  You can see my yarn threads through the top slit to the backside of the leaf then comes up over the stem again to the frontside.

$2 Front Door Leaf Wreath-10

Now, taking both pieces together, push them right through the middle of what you did in the first yarn step.  Below I pulled my bow back to better show a visual, but you’ll want to keep this nice and tight after threading through to the back.

$2 Front Door Leaf Wreath-11

Okay, so we just made a secure loop starting with the bow and looping around the leaf top.  Now all you do is knot the two yarn pieces together being careful to leave yourself enough room as a “hook” for wherever you plan to hang this.  I knotted it several times and then trimmed the excess.  As long as the tied yarn pieces remain shorter than the stem, it doesn’t matter what your knot looks like because it should stay hidden.

$2 Front Door Leaf Wreath-13

My leaf wreath is for the front door, so the bow needed more support than a piece of yarn.  I didn’t really want the bow flopping every time we open & close the front door.  So, I used a glue gun to adhere the bow’s center right onto the felt leaf.

It’s not necessary to glue all the loops of the bow to the leaf, just the center knotted piece is good enough, assuming you use a good sized glob of hot glue.

$2 Front Door Leaf Wreath-12

You could stop here and have a welcoming piece of fall decor to hang wherever you want.  It should look like this…

$2 Front Door Leaf Wreath-14

BUT, I thought it seemed a little too plain.  So, I grabbed regular glue from my daughter’s art stash, a mini paintbrush, and burnt-orange glitter used on my last project (CLICK HERE for that tutorial).

$2 Front Door Leaf Wreath-15

Using the glue, outline around the edge of the leaf.

$2 Front Door Leaf Wreath-16

Then, use the paintbrush to flatted the glue down because I didn’t like the raised “puffy paint” style (or don’t, it’s your style preference and your leaf).

$2 Front Door Leaf Wreath-17

Cover with glitter and let dry!

$2 Front Door Leaf Wreath-19

Don’t forget to bling the stem.

$2 Front Door Leaf Wreath-18

And just like that, our original plain felt leaf is transformed to a welcoming Leaf Wreath.

$2 Front Door Leaf Wreath-24

Some glitter ended up clinging to the felt even without glue, but I left it because it looks purposeful, a happy accident so to speak.  If you don’t like it, you can always shake it off once the glued spots are completely dry.

$2 Front Door Leaf Wreath-23

I can’t show it hanging on my front door yet, because I’m scheduled in October to show my front porch.  However, this gives you a sneak peak and shows how simple and inexpensive Fall decorating can be.

$2 Front Door Leaf Wreath-21

Sometimes I have trouble separating myself from the commercialism of social media and all the pricy ways to decorate for each season.  BUT, when I can add something this cheerful and eye-catching for only TWO DOLLARS; well then, that’s a bargain I can handle and a creative outlet for my DIY side.

So, whether you want a fresh update from last year’s decorations or you can’t find your seasonal items buried in moving boxes (haha) this Leaf “Wreath” is sure to get you in the mood for Fall!

$2 Front Door Leaf Wreath-22

Oh, and below is a Pin-able reminder for coming back later to this DIY project because I know how busy everyone gets this time of year!

Dollar Store Decor - DIY $2 Leaf Wreath

 

 

 

Homework/Homeschool Caddy Organization

This past Saturday, I wrote about homeschool organization, thinking no one would be interested.

Use a caddy and things around the house to organize your homeschool table

However, I was surprised to read a fairly good amount of comments from those wanting more on the subject.  I was also happy to get feedback from a few readers who do not homeschool, yet they still found this post inspiring to create a homework caddy for their kiddos.

Jelly jar crayons, so simple and easy for kids to use during homeschool!

If you’re looking for a simple homeschool (or homework) organization tid-bit, then click HERE to read what I shared on Saturday at I’m an Organizing Junkie.

Be sure to let your voice be heard if you do (or don’t) want to read more in the future by writing in the “comments” section below the post.  I love your written feedback, it’s the only way for me to gauge what you’re thinking.  Otherwise, I’m just talking to myself… nothing new there, haha!

Organized homeschool caddy, use what you already have!

I’m off to edit pictures for tomorrow’s UBH post.  I have a cheap & easy fall DIY “wreath” to share that I think you’ll love!

Happy start-the-week-off-new Monday! :)

 

Organized Art Cart

My little girl officially started her first year of school.  Entering Kindergarten means I don’t anticipate she’ll bring home algebra equations in her backpack anytime soon.  So you can imagine, we don’t need a homework station… yet.  However, we do need an Art Cart designed to keep all her favorite crafting & art supplies organized and accessible.

Art Cart - The perfect way to organize ALL art supplies in ONE place!

I created our original Art Cart a couple years ago because my daughter has always been interested in crafting and coloring (read about it HERE).  Recently, I upgraded it to a more inclusive cart for her growing skills and growing collections of supplies.

Art Cart Organization 101

Not only does she love to create art on a daily basis, but I will also be “hybrid homeschooling” her this year.  That means she attends a “traditional” school setting for part of the week and the other days she’ll stay home to learn with me.  Learning - especially at her age - should be fun, creative, and colorful.  So, it’s important to have all our early learning art supplies in one easily accessible location to enhance our homeschool days.

The best Art Cart for little children's art supplies

I did a very thorough review of several carts and finally landed on THIS one.  Experience tells me we need a cart with wheels so it could travel from storage to the desk or kitchen table and back again with ease.  The wheels on this cart swivel every direction VERY EASILY, which is helpful considering the way children “drive” rolling devices. ;)  Even better, I can lock the front two wheels in place if I want to keep it stationary.

Swivel wheels make this art cart user friendly for small children

Aside from the obvious aspect of organizing all the glue, paper, & crayons; we also needed a place to stash unfinished art projects.  The top of this cart has plenty of room to use for that purpose.  Often times she likes to make masterpieces at the kitchen table while I’m cooking a meal.  Undoubtedly, she’ll have to stop the project so we can clear the table to eat.  This designated “holding space” keeps my little Picaso satisfied knowing she can come back later to finish.

Use the top for keep unfinished art projects for later

One last thing about the exterior of this cart, I reused an old gift bag to act as a mini garbage receptacle.  Throwing away scraps and trash pieces along the way helps to shorten clean-up time afterwards.

Washitape a trash container on the side for easy clean-up during art projects

Other than a few containers I purchased from a dollar store, I used what I had around the house if items within the drawers needed to be separated.  For example, a small muffin tin keeps all those tiny embellishment pieces from scattering whenever the wind blows.  Of course, if the tin gets removed from the drawer and dropped… well, you know how that goes. ;)

A $1 muffin tin organizes kids craft embellishments inside the art cart

Speaking of things inside the drawers, here’s how I organize our art supplies…

The first drawer contains crayons, crayons, and only crayons – which is very intentional.  If we don’t want to use the whole ‘kit and caboodle’, it’s easy for me to pull out one single drawer and put it wherever little hands are coloring.

Removable drawers are perfect for organizing young kids' art supplies

The second drawer holds other coloring utensils like markers, colored pencils, etc.  I separated those items with plastic bins from a dollar store.

Drawer 2a

The third drawer contains stamps and stickers, excellent means for building dexterity.

Drawer 3

The fourth drawer confines glue, embellishments, and tape.   Art isn’t art in our household without sticky goo and tiny flecks of sparkle.  Glue and scissors get their own dedicated bins and all those itty-bitty embellishments find their way into the previously mentioned muffin tin.

Drawer 4

Fifth in line, a drawer full of paper, all shapes and sizes.  From colorful construction paper to paper plates, we keep it together in this drawer.

Drawer 7

The sixth drawer keeps coloring books together, because nothing passes time better than a good ol’ fashion coloring book!

Drawer 6

The seventh drawer holds activity books (the kind that are more focused on education and learning).

Drawer 8

In the last drawer, I keep Do-a-Dot art.  We love this form of painting and skill building!

Drawer 9

As for the finished artwork that she considers “keepers”, I wrote about how I organize them HERE and offer a free printable too!  It’s my relief system when I’m overrun by colored pages and glittery glue drawings.

Create an Art Book to organize your child's take-home papers

Finally, I labeled each drawer with a small piece of washitape.  My daughter can’t read yet; in fact, she has the drawer contents memorized by now anyways.  So the labels aren’t for her, more for friends and babysitters with whom we share our art supplies.  The way I see it, a good label never hurts when trying to keeping things tidy. :)

Washitape labels are quick, easy, and able to be rearranged as necessary

That’s the way we “roll” (hee hee) when it comes to organizing our arts & crafts.  I hope all of you with budding artists find this useful!

Organize your children's art supplies in this cheerful Art Cart!