How to Build a Tabletop Terrarium

How to Build a Tabletop Terrarium

Whenever Spring comes around, I automatically want to fill the house with green plants. They make a space feel alive and as I mentioned when I put together my kitchen window plant (which is still going strong), I love the idea of bringing the outdoors inside. I have a tray on top of my coffee table where I put the remotes and photo/coffee table books so they’re tidy, and usually have a candle sitting on top. I decided to build a happy little tabletop terrarium (Bob Ross fan here) to take the place of the candle, but knew it had to be small because of where I was putting it. I have been seeing a lot of terrariums lately, and there are so many possibilities with how you set this up that you can really customize to fit your taste. Here’s the few easy steps it takes to build a tabletop terrarium no matter what jar you decide on.

First, you’ll need a container. I found my container at Home Goods which actually had a tag as being from their terrarium line, but you can really use any kind of clear glass container to house your little garden. I picked up my jar just yesterday which motivated me to get started ASAP, and here’s everything I used for my DIY tabletop terrarium.

How to Build a Tabletop Terrarium Supplies

I was worried I would make a mess because of the soil, so I went outside to put together the terrarium. I started by putting a layer of rocks or pebbles at the bottom of the jar to help with drainage, which I found at Lowe’s. You could probably use fish tank rocks if you prefer too. I thought the pebbles were pretty, so I put a little more than what was probably needed, filling about an inch or two in my jar. I specifically went a little pebble happy because I didn’t want them to get lost when I added everything else, which they almost did. If you’re like me and want to see the pebbles more in your bottom layer for aesthetic appeal and not just function, I recommend going a little heavier.

How to Build a Tabletop Terrarium 3

Next, you’ll want to add a layer of activated charcoal. This helps filter the air and keep it fresh in a closed environment, since I planned on closing the lid to my terrarium when finished. I just did a light layer to where you couldn’t see the pebbles anymore, about a 1/2 inch or so. I surprisingly couldn’t find this at Lowe’s, but the nice cashier recommended I try a pet store since activated charcoal is often used for fish filters. She was correct! I found it at Petsmart for about $6.

After the charcoal, I added a very thin layer of moss. I just wanted a little bit to prevent the soil from falling into any cracks below. Next, you’ll add your soil and put in plants as desired.

How to Build a Tabletop Terrarium 4I used a variety of succulents, including a cactus, so that I would have different heights and textures. I think ferns would have been pretty too, but succulents are supposedly very hard to kill and do no require a lot of attention or watering. In fact, they can die by over-watering them because they are desert plants and like dry, hot places. I purchased a water bottle which I’ll use to lightly spray my garden every few weeks. They also like sunlight, so put them in a spot where they can see the sun….I’m hoping my coffee table is sunny enough.

How to Build a Tabletop Terrarium 5I actually wanted to go lighter on the soil layer so everything sat a little lower, but I wasn’t able to because of the size of the root base the plants had. Maybe that’s something you’ll want to consider when selecting your plants, container, and determining the thickness of your layers..

I found a few bigger rocks outside in my yard (free!) and placed them on top for decoration, along with a little more moss.

Finally, add the top and you’re done!

How to Build a Tabletop Terrarium 6

How to DIY a Terrarium

How to DIY a Terrarium 2So here’s my final mini garden.

Do you like the idea of bringing the outdoors inside? How are you embracing Spring?


Custom Artwork for a Baby Girl’s Nursery

I have a lovely client who is an orthodontist and owns her own practice in College Park. When she opened the space, I painted 2 large paintings that still hang in her dental chair rooms. I was honored when she reached out to me again to complete another piece for her baby daughter’s nursery, and I had to share the painting and the gorgeous room she put together. I think it’s the prettiest nursery I’ve ever seen!

baby girl gray and pink custom nursery room artowrk style trials

She is an avid reader, and always has wonderful visions for the paintings. This one was a quote by Mary Oliver, and I think it is SO PERFECT for a baby or kid’s room. She wanted it to match the paint colors in the room, so she told me what she was working with and I coordinated. She also had a vision of a chalkboard look with various fonts, so I sketched up a draft in a few versions and let her decide. Here were the options:

Option 1 sketch

Option 1

Option 2 sketch

Option 2

Option 3 sketch

Option 3

Option 4 sketch

Option 4

And the winner was……….dunnn dunnnn dunnnnnnnnnnnnn…… #3! Here it is complete, size 24 X 36!

mary oliver quote painting baby room style trials

custom painting baby room style trials

Close up shot

Now, look at how cute it is in her beautiful nursery! I love her nursery color scheme of gray, pale pink and blue-green.

baby room quote artwork

baby girl gray and pink custom nursery room artowrk style trials

In case you were wondering, the paint colors she used in her baby girl’s nursery are all Benjamin Moore in colors BM Palladium Blue, BM Touch of Pink, and BM Hearthstone.

What do you think of the painting? Isn’t the color scheme she used adorable?!


True Blood Party Recap & Halloween Party Ideas!

Halloween party ideas style trials blood splatter cake

Yesterday was the season finale of True Blood (maybe you followed along at #RIPTrueBlood and #TrueToTheEnd ). After watching the series since the beginning, I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to throw a themed watch party and say farewell in style! These ideas would work for any Halloween party too and were super easy to pull together. Whether you’re wanting to throw a spooky party or specifically vampire or blood theme, these ideas would work great!

food and drink party ideas halloween

style trials halloween food ideas true blood finale watch party #riptrueblood I obviously stuck with a red theme for food. Red Terra Chips and Coke cans were as easy as just buying and putting them out, and I also made up an easy and tasty treat of Ritz crackers, cream cheese, and pomegranate seeds. Sweet peppers laid around ranch dressing also added visual and yumminess appeal. Sticking with the Cajun theme of the show, Hubby made a delicious Bon Temps, Louisiana style gumbo and cornbread! And of course any red juice would do for the True Blood, but we used V8 fruit juice and put it in a carafe. The color was perfect. If I had more time I would have printed off a True Blood label to add to it. If that’s something you’d like to do, you can get a free printable True Blood label here, courtesy of PixelWorlds. And of course there was…dun, dun dunnnn….the cake….

diy splatter cake halloween party

diy blood splatter red velvet cake halloween party

I’m not really a baker, so I was quite proud of my blood splatter cake! It had to be red velvet of course, and I used traditional cream cheese frosting. To make the blood splatters I simply mixed the below as a starting point and adjusted for color and consistency as needed:


Blood Splatter Recipe

(courtesy of Yum and Yummer’s Slaughter Cake)

  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp red food coloring
  • 1 or 2 drops of green food coloring (this will darken the red and make it look more realistic)
  • 1 tsp chocolate sauce
  • 1 tbsp water (or add more if too thick, it will splatter better)

 Before splattering, take the cake to a location that will not be a problem to get messy because you will end up getting food coloring everywhere which is difficult to remove and stains. Possibly outside on top of a protective covering somewhere.  I found this looks best when you have the cake on the platter it will be served on, so you can add drips to the platter too. You can use something like a basting brush to dip into the “blood,” and let it drip/splatter across the white frosting. I also added faux flowers (pre-washed) and splattered blood on those too.

Look how cool it looks when you cut into it!

red velvet splatter cake slaughter cake

diy splatter tablecloth and halloween decor

A lot of the decorations were bought at a local Dollar Store, and I was pleasantly surprised that they had Halloween decorations out already! I picked up some rubber spiders, rat, mouse, bat and utensils, and also bought a plain white plastic table cloth for $1. I used this tablecloth to create a bloody backdrop with watered down acrylic red paint. For an added effect, I mixed a tad of green to give it a more realistic deep blood red color (similar to the cake splatters), and also added a few bloody hand prints. I set the tablecloth outside when splattering so I wouldn’t get paint all over the house, although I somehow still managed to get red paint on my curtains. UGH! I tried a few methods but found the best blood splatter effect I got was by whipping the watery paint at the canvas and also simply holding the paint brush up high and letting it drip.

diy bloody table cloth halloween party

true blood vampire party decorationsI am sooo reusing that rat for Halloween time….or a practical joke. Lol.

dress the part

 Last, I’m a sucker for playing dress up. I actually had this Merlotte’s Sookie True Blood costume from a previous Halloween costume, so I had no excuse not to dress the part as hostess! If you want to really go all out, let guests know to dress up too!

true blood sookie costume party style trials

 Have you ever thrown a watch party for a popular TV show? What idea would you reuse for a Halloween party? Leave me a comment below!

 

 


Bench Makeover & How to Calculate Fabric Yardage

My friend just moved into her new home, and is having a lot of fun making it her own. She luckily received some hand-me-down furniture (we all know how expensive it can be to furnish a new space), and wanted help revamping this bench for her guestroom! It had a really sturdy base, but the upholstered top was dirty and outdated. This fix took LESS THAN 1 HOUR – including going to the store and buying fabric! Here’s how we did it, including how to calculate fabric yardage. 

Style Trials Bench makeover no-sew hgtv chevron fabric - How to Recover an Upholstered Bench

We proceeded to Jo-Ann Fabrics (which is 2 minutes from my house), and immediately started looking at their upholstery designer fabrics. I like to pair larger organic prints such as paisley or florals with hardlines such as stripes or a mini print. We fell in love with this grey HGTV chevron fabric which is part of the HGTV designer fabric collection. It offset her paisley bedspread and green walls quite nice, and is a trendy print that would immediately bring this bench back to life!

Grey chevron and printed paisley fabric Style Trials

Figuring out the yardage was pretty easy, so I’m going to quickly walk you through a little math lesson. Luckily I have an interior design degree and worked with custom fabric treatments (i.e. windows coverings, pillows, etc), but I know this can be the hardest part and potentially a costly mistake. Using these tips on how to calculate fabric yardage will hopefully help!

How to Calculate Fabric Yardage

First, we measured the area being recovered. This bench was only 45″ wide and the fabric bolt was 55″ wide, so we didn’t have to worry about seams or railroading (turning the bolt sideways) the fabric. 55 inches minus 45 inches = 10″ total of allowance (or 5″ per side) to wrap around the back of the bench and staple – perfect! Next I had to figure out the depth so I could determine how much fabric I needed cut from the bolt.

The bench was about 16″ deep, and I wanted to allow an extra 4″-5″ on either side for staple-gun allowance. 16 inches + 5 inches (allowance top) + 5 inches (allowance bottom) = 26″ total. That’s what I based my overall yardage on, since the 55″ width of the bolted fabric is a standard that stays the same as they simply unroll the bolt for how much fabric you need.

From here, you take the amount in inches (in this case 26″), and ALWAYS divide by 36 to convert inches into yardage of fabric needed. That gave me 0.72 yards of fabric needed. I typically round up to the nearest 1/4 yard because it doesn’t hurt to get just a little extra fabric in case your calculations are off. You can judge this yourself based on how much seam allowance you included and how far off from the next 1/4 yard you are. We ordered 0.75 or 3/4 of a yard.

How to Recover an Upholstered Bench No-Sew Technique

  1. We started by unscrewing the top of the upholstered bench from the base using a drill.
  2. We decided the new chevron fabric was thick enough that we could simply recover the bench over the existing fabric, that way we didn’t damage the padding or loose it’s shape. If you can do this, it makes the entire process SO much easier.
  3. We laid the face of the chevron fabric down so it was facing the ground. Then we put the board on top, front side down. Because this is a geometric print with a repeat, I wanted to measure to make sure it was evenly spaced out on the fabric. I measured the center of the board (where the purple pen is shown below) and lined it up with the center of a chevron point like this. I also eyeballed where I wanted it to hit on the sides. style trials Measuring fabric to recover seat - How to Calculate Fabric YardageIf you’re not sure, you can always wrap the fabric around the board with your hands and look at it real quick to make sure you like how it’s placed. It’s always better to double check!
  4. Next, we proceeded with stapling the fabric around all 4 sides before proceeding to the corners. Make sure to read my tutorial from when I recovered my kitchen chairs on exactly how to do this, and how to fold the corners which can be the trickiest part.Staple nosew recover fabric tutorial diy - How to Calculate Fabric Yardage
  5. From there, simply drill the seat back on the benchtop and you’re done!

Before & After Pics:

Before and After Bench Seat Recovered - How to Recover an Upholstered BenchStyle Trials Bench Recover Before And After - How to Recover an Upholstered Bench

Style Trials Bench Makeover After Grey Chevron Print

Not too shabby for less than an hours worth of work, huh? She plans to eventually stain the piece darker and add new hardware, but at least now it looks fresh and part of this century! 🙂

What do you think of the finished piece and have you tried doing anything like this before? If so, let me know below…I’d love to see your before and after pictures!

 


Master Bedroom Makeover 1: New Bed, Bedding, and Mattress

When we moved into our first home, we knew right away we wanted to buy new Master bedroom furniture. We only had the hubby’s bed and dressers from college, and wanted to re-purpose those in our first guest room. We also had hopes of getting a new mattress and upgrading to a King Bed. Knowing me, this was a long process because I wanted to get it right and not just settle….and that meant figuring out exactly what it was I did want. I’m happy to say our Master is now my favorite room in our house! This will be broken up into a few posts, and I’m going to focus this on our first step. The actual bed makeover.

Master King Bed Makeover Skyline Upholstered Barbara Barry poetical style trials

 I knew I wanted a serene, hotel feel to the Master, and was literally stalking my favorite home decor website Joss & Main everyday. If you haven’t heard of Joss & Main, they have discounted high quality designer furniture and accessories, but it’s a flash sale site. That means their products are only on sale for a few days. I first spotted this awesome upholstered bed there, but didn’t purchase right away because they have a no-return policy. Instead, we actually bought the mattress first.

We got our mattress at Denver Mattress Company, part of Furniture Row. They had a bunch of designer mattresses ranging from Sealy to TEMPUR-Pedic, and a variety of styles ranging from inner-spring to memory foam. We shopped around layed around and found our perfect match – the Serta iComfort!

style trials icomfort serta mattress master bedroom

Photo Credit: www.mattress-inquirer.com

Here’s why we chose the iComfort® Sleep System by Serta®:

  • Made with revolutionary Cool Action™ Gel Memory Foam – the world’s first memory foam infused with the support and cooling touch of Serta’s MicroSupport® gel.
  • Gel memory foam is designed to provide enhanced cooling comfort and more support where you need it for a cool, comfortable and supportive sleep experience.
  •  Serta offered a variety of iComfort models, and we went with iComfort Savant comfort level (in the middle, not too soft but not too hard)

I’m not going to pretend this mattress wasn’t expensive, but we figured a good mattress is an investment we should make and can last up to 20 years. After all, a human spends 1/3 of their life sleeping! Isn’t that crazy when you think about it?! We did upgrade to the King size, but opted out of the adjustable bed frame for now.

Next came the upholstered bed.

style trials skyline upholsetered bed with nail head

I seriously am in LOVE with this Skyline upholstered bed I found at Joss & Main , and it was a steal at around $700 for a King size bed (not just the headboard). Although Joss & Main is a flash sale site, I found that it’s not unusual for many items to be repeated throughout a month. My bed kept coming up, but I kept getting cold feet because I knew I couldn’t return it. I finally realized that Joss & Main is owned by Wayfair, and I could read customer reviews on my products there.

This Skyline bed got rav reviews, so I finally pulled the plug and purchased the Talc color. I admit I was still worried it may be a little too light in color, but it’s actually a really nice light linen color with tan cross-hatched fibers throughout. From a distance, it actually takes on a slightly light grey tone. I was also worried about getting the King size as I thought it may overpower the room, but found that because this bed is lower to the ground than our old Queen bed, it actually made the room look larger! I also love how the nail heads in this bed are individually placed, rather than a cheap trim that’s all attached.

Next came the bedding.

Master King Bed Makeover Skyline Upholstered Barbara Barry poetical style trials 2

I looked high and low for a pattern I liked. Seriously, I looked at Macy’s, West Elm, ZGallarie, Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, Ross and Marshalls, Kohl’s, and Bed Bath & Beyond. I fell in love with this serene Barbara Barry Poetical duvet at BBB. It was light, neutral, had interest because of the pattern, and was dark enough to contrast with the upholstered bed. Since I live in Florida but like a little weight in a comforter, I filled it with Macy’s Hotel Collection Primaloft All Season Comforter.  I preferred down alternative not only for the price, but also because I wanted to be able to wash it. It’s worked out great so far.

To go along with my bedding, I wanted to add a little “glam” with silky tones and a hint of color. I found the perfect quilt or coverlet also at Bed Bath & Beyond, which happened to also be by Barbara Barry and actually called Glamour! Haha, perfect!

Style Trials Bed Makeover Barbara Barry glamour quilt coverlet

I think this definitely adds a little interest to the combo, and makes the bed more luxurious. I also purchased 2 matching accent pillows. Master King Bed Makeover Skyline Upholstered Barbara Barry poetical style trials 3

Here’s a shot of the room BEFORE, then after the bed was added but everything else was still the same. I had some big plans for the windows, dressers, nightstands, lamps, etc. There’s been SO much more done since then, so you’ll have to make sure to subscribe to Style Trials (and click the verification link in the email it sends you) so you don’t miss the full view!

BEFORE:

style trials bedroom before makeover

AFTER:

Master King Bed Makeover Skyline Upholstered Barbara Barry poetical style trials

Big improvement, huh?

What is your Master Bedroom style? I’d also love to hear your thoughts on the first phase of this makeover – leave me a comment below!


Yard Sale Coffee Table Makeover

Furnishing my house has been a task due to my indecisive nature, but I found I’m able pull the trigger much quicker if I think I’m getting a heck of a deal. Then in true Tim Gunn style, I simply “make it work.”

I was itching to try my first furniture DIY makeover project, but really had no clue what it would be. I scoured thrift stores and resale stores, but anything I liked was too pricey in my opinion for a first attempt. Then I went to a few yard sales, and hit the jackpot! I found a gem that’s the perfect size for my living room, but definitely needed tlc. I was able to negotiate her down to $10…not bad! If I hated it, I would toss it, and for $10 I figured it was worth a shot. Unfortunately I can’t seem to find the full shot “before” pic,” but you’ll get a sense in the pics below.

Here’s the tools I started with:

Style Trials DIY Table Makeover Tools

  • Sanding sponge (medium grit) to get in the crevices and oddly shaped areas
  • Epoxy Putty
  • Painters tape
  • Electric sander (not pictured) with fine grit – oddly enough, I found this too at a yard sale a few weeks ago!
  • Flat latex paint (if you want it shinier and easy to wipe, get something with a sheen instead. Eggshell, Semi-gloss, or Gloss)
  • Paint sponges

BEFORE

Style Trials Coffee Table Makeover Before

You can see how beat up the wood was, especially in the molding on the legs. Also, there’s a metal piece at the foot of each leg (which I kinda liked), but I hated the matching fake drawer pull that was on the side of the table. I simply unscrewed the drawer pull with a screwdriver…easy peasy. Since I was keeping the metal legs, I taped them off so I wouldn’t accidentally paint or sand them. Then used the putty to fill in the drawer pull holes and “remold” the missing chunks on the legs.

Style Trials Coffee Table Makeover Putty

Style Trials Coffee Makeover wood epoxy

As the epoxy was drying, I took my electric sander and sanded down the finish on the entire piece, plus smoothed out any nicks. Once the epoxy was dry (about an hour dry time), I sanded down those areas too, and used the sanding sponge to get in the small molding crevices. I tried my best not to sand the entire thing too much, because I wanted to keep as much of the dark stain as possible. You can see here the natural wood color poking through, but I knew the darker finish would show up better during the distressing stage.

Style Trials Coffee Table Sanded

Next, you want to prep to paint by getting off all the dust caused from sanding. Either wipe with a clean damp sponge, or you could try my trick. Blow that sucker off with a leaf blower! Worked like a charm.

From there, I went straight into painting. I probably should’ve primed it first since I wasn’t using chalk paint (which doesn’t require primer), but I’m not gonna lie…I didn’t. I felt like this piece didn’t need it because it had a marble top, and the top is what would get the most wear and tear. Also, this wasn’t going in a highly trafficked area, but if your piece is then you should probably use a primer first.

Style Trials Prime and Paint Furniture

Clark + Kensington flat paint in color Harbor Lane

Let me tell  you, I was really excited about the paint because I got it for FREE! Every few months or so, Ace Hardware has a “Find Your Soul Paint” event where you literally get a free quart of paint of your choice…no purchase necessary! I post these types of deals on Style Trials Facebook and Twitter pages,  but you could also follow Ace Hardware  just to make sure you don’t miss it.

I went with Clark + Kensington flat paint in color Harbor Lane. It’s a really pretty pale blue. It dried super quick, so by the time I was done with the first coat I was able to immediately paint the second. The paint sponges helped to get into the little areas without being streaky.

Now, I could have left it just like that, but I wanted a distressed look. Sometimes I think distressing actually makes a piece look more expensive, plus painted distressed furniture is really on trend right now.

Style Trials Distressing Furniture

My living room is still a work in progress, so I quickly styled this for the after photo.

AFTER

Style Trials Living Room Coffee Table Makeover 2

Style Trials Living Room Coffee Table Makeover

I’m thinking not bad for $10! What do you think? Have you given a piece of furniture a makeover?


Garden Goodie Pot – Fun Gift Idea for a Gardener!

Spring and Summer are the PERFECT times to get crafty in the garden, and my newly found “green thumb” has been itching to make an appearance. Unfortunately, we’re still in our condo so we don’t technically have a yard. To get my fix, my hubby and I planted some potted herbs on our porch which actually just started sprouting! Some pretty fine looking sprouts if I do say so myself! 🙂


Well inspiration couldn’t have come at a better time. One of my best friends, Katie, was having a birthday party and recently started gardening. So I decided a garden “goodie pot” would be the ideal gift! That’s my take on a goodie bag, but instead of a bag you put everything in a pot planter! That way she can use the pot to plant something in. Inside the pot, I wanted to put some really cute gardening tools and fun things that would also be functional, yet girlie and adorable (of course). Target’s gardening section is really great, and that’s where I picked everything up. Plus, I love going to Target because it’s an excuse to checkout their $1 section!

Here’s what I picked up to put in the garden goodie pot, but you can really pick whatever you want for this type of gift.

  • Basic Plant Pot (I hand-painted the peacock feather!)
  • The cutest floral print gardening tool kit EVER
  • Matching floral print gardening apron
  • Plaid gardening gloves
  • And a gnome of course. Which was later dropped on the ground, glued back together, then named Henry.

You can see that when it came to putting everything together, the pot itself just wasn’t cutting it for me. It was too plain. Besides, I like to add a personal DIY touch to my gifts to make them more special, so I decided to paint the pot with one of Katie’s favorite motifs…a peacock feather! The pot I painted on was plastic, but this could work on plastic, metal or clay pots. I used acrylic paint. If you’re artistic, then I’d suggest definitely adding the touch of personalizing the pot. Of course it doesn’t have to be a peacock feather, it can be anything you want!

If you don’t like free-hand painting, then stencils would work. And at the very least, if you don’t have an artistic bone in your body you can always buy a fancier pot for the base of your gift. Just make sure it’s big enough to fit everything in like this. I also stuffed some pretty tissue paper in the bottom of the pot (because it was so big) so that everything stuck out of it a little more.

You can see how much joy a thoughtful DIY gift like this can bring. Katie loved it!

Here’s a few other inspiration pics of fun painted plant pots! You can personalize it for the person you’re giving it to like I did for Katie, or simply make it pretty and colorful.

Photo Credit: http://www.modishblog.com

Photo Credit: http://mysweetshack.blogspot.com

Photo Credit: http://staceyembracingchange.blogspot.com

Photo Credits: SchwidleShop on Etsy

Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m feeling inspired to paint my own terracotta pots on my porch. Maybe that will be my weekend project!

How do you like to personalize gifts?


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