DIY Birch Candles

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Thanks to Pinterest inspiration, the hubs recently made several of these amazing birch candles for decor at my recent company holiday party.  We used a couple of trees from our property that had died but hadn’t come down yet.  He cut them at various lengths and used a special drill bit to carve the hole at the top for the candles.  He did burn through several drill bits to get the whole lot done but other than that he said they were relatively simple to make.

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We grouped them in trios at the party inside of white wicker wreathes as centerpieces on the tables which drew compliments from employees and the venue staff who said they were nicer than anything they ever offer!  Now that the party is over I’m using some of them on our dining room table with a faux evergreen wreath I picked up for a few bucks at the Dollar Zone.

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It looked pretty good, but a little plain so I added some pine cones and feathers to give it a finished look.  It works with my classic rustic Christmas decor and will transition into the new year afterwards without lifting a finger, which is exactly what I need these days.

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We’re less than a week from Christmas and I’m finally getting the house decorated, but it’s better late than never.  I’ll share more of my holiday decor next week, including how I used more of these beauties on the mantel, so stay tuned! 🙂

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Builder Décor

Hi everyone! Thanks for your patience while I took a little break to get back on schedule after the craziness of the last few weeks. The DB&DT household is doing well and we have several new projects to share. The first is some fun décor I thought up for an event my employer puts on each year for home builders.

Last year I started the tradition of using typical construction materials for décor with flowers planted in small paint cans on the tables. The event is a bit more casual than the corporate events I typically do for the bank, so this was a nice fit for this particular group. The guests loved them and many took one home, which made cleanup easier!

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I also used paint sticks and a clamp to create plant holders to decorate the bar. I had a few left over so I used them to create a quick sign on the door prize entry box, which used paint swatches as the entry tickets!

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The event is a fancied up crab feed, so I thought we’d have a little fun with some subtle crab themed items such as this crab apple idea I found online and the caterer did a great job re-creating.

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We also ordered a special construction themed cake from a local bakery, which was a big hit with both guests and staff.

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All of these little touches were great conversation starters, which is just what we want at this event, so I took it up a notch this year. I originally planned to create something like this with gutters, but the local hardware stores only sell white gutters and that wasn’t the look I was going for. Instead, I swapped the gutters for a mosaic stone 12”x12” tile, which we cut in half to create a long runner for the tables.

Tile

Luckily, the design of the tile had a straight line through the center of it, so cutting was pretty easy and the mesh on the back kept each half together, making set up quick.

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A few candles and some bulb shades meant for light fixtures completed the look.  This simple layout not only got lots of compliments from both our company’s staff and guests, but from the venue’s staff and owner as well!

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I used another light fixture part on the cocktail tables near the bar. These shades for pendant lights had a pretty nautical feel and fit right over a small candle on a plate for instant ambiance!

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We used the same paint swatches for the door prize tickets again this year, but instead of the paint stick sign we created a blueprint theme sign to tie in with the invitations we’d used.

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It’s a fun event to plan and attend, especially with the opportunity to use unique décor. I’ve already got a few ideas saved on Pinterest for next year and will be on the lookout for more between now and then!

My Fancy New Candles

I love candles. They create instant ambience, making a room feel cozy and romantic. But they can also be dangerous. Especially in the hands of someone like me who tends to forget about them. Long ago the decision was made that real flame candles aren’t allowed in our home because I’d left them burning overnight or unattended too many times and it was a safety issue.

I switched to using wax melts with lighted warmers, which doubled as nightlights around our house. It was a good compromise, but I still missed the flickering glow of candles in my décor so I purchased both votive and pillar sized flameless candles. Although they were safe and filled the need, it just wasn’t the same as a real flame. But safety was the priority so I accepted the trade-off and moved on.

Then last year a family friend introduced me to Luminara at a dinner party while we were visiting Portland. Thanks to new patented technology, this company had created a real flame-effect candle! It was so convincing that I would have never guessed it wasn’t real if she hadn’t told me. They were seriously amazing. Click here to see how real they look!

As soon as we got home I researched them online and soon discovered they were also insanely expensive and not readily available at local retailers. So I continued using my ho-hum flameless candles – begrudgingly. That is until I spotted them in the Bed Bath & Beyond flyer recently! They were still a little pricey at $30-$35 each, but with a coupon I could get them for around $25 each which is a little more reasonable. I decided to buy one each pay period so I could spread out the cost (and use coupons for each) so it’s not a huge hit to my budget all at once. Kohls also carries them, but only online.

So far I’ve bought two and I’m so happy with them. Just look at the difference. Here’s my old flameless candle in my Valentine’s Day centerpiece and here’s the same centerpiece with the new Luminara candle for St. Patty’s Day.

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I chose to use the built-in self-timer which comes on at the same time every day and turns off automatically 5 hours later. Now that’s safety and convenience! It’s so relaxing to come home and see flickering candles. And I can go to bed with them on without a care. It’s perfect. They also offer a remote which can be purchased separately. I’ll use that option when I replace the candles around the tub in our master bathroom since I won’t use or see those as much.

There is one downside to these new beauties. They are wider than my previous flameless candles, so they don’t fit in everything the old candles do. I’d originally planned to sell all my old candles once I replaced them, but I might have to keep a few for pieces like this that the Luminara pillars won’t fit. They do make a smaller votive size Luminara, but it isn’t available locally yet so I’m on the hunt to find an online retailer who not only has them but won’t charge twice the item price for shipping to Alaska.  So if anyone needs an idea for my birthday – there you go! 🙂

Showing a Little Love

With Valentines Day just around the corner I thought I’d share my seasonal decorations.  I kept things pretty simple, using what I already had, including multiple items I use as props for my photography mini sessions – as always, striving for items in my life to be efficient and pull double duty.

In the entry way I dressed up the large mirror with a burlap banner and added some pink, red and gold items to the entry table.

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And next to the front door is my little holiday tree decked out with both red and clear glass hearts, Valentines themed ornaments and topped with cupids.

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The TV stand got a little attention with flowers and hearts in an apothecary jar, paired with votives.

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I also used a cute little heart cut out votive holder I found at a thrift store last year on the side table with some pretty purple and pink faux tulips in a mason jar.  Unfortunately, during Stoli’s early days with us he decided that was his primary target of destruction, so the tulips are no more.  I’ve since bought some cheap grocery store live flowers, which have lasted pretty well and still compliment the little votive.  Somehow I didn’t take a picture of that, so maybe I’ll post one on Facebook later.

The mantel was the perfect spot for a heart garland and some pillar candles.  I normally put the heart wreath on the door but I like it here better.

Mantel

The dining room got the left overs.  Some new felt filigree hearts on the lamps, and a rose petal filled basket that holds an XOXO piece I found in the dollar section at Target.  Same as the LOVE piece on the mantel.

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I really love how the heart looks on the lamp when it’s all lit up at night.  And it’s pretty during the day too.

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Lastly I put my “Love you more” pillow on the bench near the entry, just to give it a little something. 🙂

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So that’s it.  Sweet and simple, just like I said.  What did you do for Valentines Day decor?  Did you DIY something special, or work some bargain finds into a great display?  I want to hear about it!