DIY on a Dime: Tobacco Leaf and Leopard Pumpkins


DIY on a Dime: Glam Tobacco Leaf and Leopard Pumpkins

Quick and Easy Dollar Store Decor

Hi loves! I hope you all enjoyed last week’s DIY on a Dime Fall Wreath. If you’ve been following along, you know that i recently installed some wainscoting in my dining room this summer. So, I’ve been working on a few projects in an effort to get it ready for the holiday season. You all know how much I love my pink and navy, and color overall. Every Fall, I struggle with incorporating decor that I really like, that doesn’t clash with my main color scheme. I’ve seen a few bloggers do some chinoiserie pumpkins and thought that was cute, but I need a little more glam. Soooooo…..I opted for some tobacco leaf and leopard!!! I’m so happy with how they came out! I jazzed them up with some gold stems and pheasant feathers and I think they’re going to look amazing once I do my actual tablescape.

Here’s a little info on the tobacco leaf print…

Mottahedeh Tobacco Leaf Dinnerware Collection  Image:  Williams Sonoma

Mottahedeh Tobacco Leaf Dinnerware Collection

Image: Williams Sonoma

The tobacco leaf print is likely from the 18th Century, during the Qianlong period of the Qing dynasty. According to a 1989 article by the New York Times, the tobacco leaf china was created for export to Portuguese and Brazilian markets. I love the bright and rich colors fo the china, showing a phoenix resting on a tobacco leaf of a nicotiana flower. Although now replicas of the Chinese porcelain plates, replicas by Mottahedeh Fine Dinnerware will set you back an easy $600. As you can imagine, finding a tobacco leaf pumpkin is nearly impossible or too costly. Here’s a Tobacco leaf pumpkin for almost $150!

tobacco leaf pumpkin.jpeg

Then, there’s leopard print. I LOVE leopard print. Leopard print has become so popular, particular in home design and textiles, that it’s viewed as a neutral. The same goes for fashion. You can wear leopard print shoes, or a coat with any color and you’ll look great. I wanted to make some mini leopard print pumpkins to go with the tobacco leaf and mellow the table out, so it won’t be too much color, if that’s possible. Keep in mind, that whatever design you choose will be sitting on the table with the rest of your tablescape. Also, I couldn’t find any cute leopard print pumpkins anywhere. So, that’s when you just make your own!

Time: 1 Hour | Cost: Under $25.00

What You’ll Need:

This project is very simple and can be completed with your babes as n arts and crafts project!


Step One: Paint Stems and Pumpkins

The pumpkins I picked up at the dollar store were a very bright orange. So, I decided to use some leftover white spray paint that I had from a previous project. I put them in the sun and allowed them to air dry for approximately 1 - 2 hours, before getting started.

Next, remove the stems from the pumpkins. These foam pumpkins from the dollar store hold the stem in place with a toothpick, so very easy to remove and place back on. The smaller plastic pumpkin had plug for stem. Then, I spray painted the pumpkin stems a metallic gold.


Step Two: Cover with Mod Podge

Next, I completely covered the entire pumpkins with Mod Podge. You should only do one pumpkin at a time. Using the smaller foam brush, generously put the paste all over the pumpkin.


Step Three: Cover with Napkin

Then, using the larger or medium sized foam brush, you’ll place the center of your napkin at the center of the pumpkin. Using the brush, press down gently and have napkin cover the entire pumpkin. As an option, you can use your scissors and cut excess paper.


I then put a quarter size drop of Mod Podge at the center of the pumpkin where the stem should be. I glued four pheasant feathers at the center, and then reinserted the stem.


Step Four: Allow to Dry

Now, let your pumpkins dry for a couple of hours before you set them out on your festive holiday table. Let me know if you end up doing this easy project!


DIY on a Dime: Pink and Navy Fall Wreath for Less


DIY on a Dime: Fall Wreath for Less

Your $200 Fall Wreath for Under $40

Happy Fall! For those of you who have been following, you know that my the main floor of my home is loaded down in grey, navy, and pink. Every holiday season, I’m ready to whip out the Fall and Winter decor, but traditional colors, like red, orange and yellow clash with my decor. Not only that, but I’m obsessed with so many talented artisans on Etsy, who have great seasonal decor; BUT, they are way out of my price range. Your average autumn wreath will set you back an easy $200.00 or more. I can think of a million other things I can easily spend that much money on, and a wreath just isn’t it. Naturally, I thought, I can definitely make some of these myself, for much less.

Sure enough, I stopped by Michael’s and picked up these products, and was able to make my wreath in about an hour (and under $40 thanks to their ongoing sales and coupons).

What You’ll Need:

  • wreath

  • navy gingham ribbon

  • pink solid ribbon

  • magenta velvet pumpkins

  • navy pom poms

  • faux berries

  • magenta hydrangea

  • navy peony

  • twine


Step One: Cut Branches from Berry Bushes

Your faux berry bush comes as one large wired stem, with several branches. Cut the branches from the main plastic stem, separating them individually.


Step Two: Begin forming your Bundle

After cutting each branch from the plastic stem, begin arranging your florals. I started with one magenta and one blue berry stem each, then adding the navy pom poms. Continue adding to your bundle. You will need three bundles of your cut stems.


Step Three: Place Bundles on Wreath

Once you bundle your branches, apply them to the desired place on the wreath. I placed my first bundle at the top part of the wreath, with the florals facing to the right. Next, I attached the branches to the wreath with twine.


Step Four: Ensure All Bundles are Fastened

After fastening one bundle of branches to the top of the wreath, I attached two bundles to the left side of the wreath, like below.


Step Five: Add Ribbons

Take the larger ribbon (solid pink) and tie a bow over the twine, in both places.


Step Six: Add Large Florals

Cut the head of the flower from the long stem, leaving about 0.25 - 0.5 an inch of stem. Next, place stem in between vines of the wreath, so it holds in place.


Go ahead and hang it up (and get to decorating that front porch!).


Southern Charm: Charleston Coastal Home Must Haves


Southern Charm: Charleston Coastal Home Must Haves

10 tips to make your home feel like Charleston charm.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, when I travel, I love to capture historical architecture of the homes in the area. Besides amazing food, Charleston is known for it’s beautiful homes, dating back to the revolution. Similar to my hometown of Baltimore, Charleston has federal or Georgian homes, dating back to the 1700s, and its famous 1800s single family carriage homes, where the piazzas are intentionally built on the side to allow airflow from the Charleston harbor.

As I toured the homes South of Broad, I noticed that so many homes had the same elements, giving it that “Charleston charm.” If you’re a fan of HGTV’s Good Bones like me, you know that this season, Mina Starsiak Hawk built her forever home, which replicated a Charleston single family carriage home with large piazzas accompanied with blue porch ceilings, iron fencing, and traditional and modern decor elements. I love how she pieced everything together, using lots of color, but still giving all the southern feels.

You guys know how much I love coastal decor, and often dream of a lake or beach home. Charleston coastal decor is different from nautical in the sense that you’re adding MORE color than your traditional navies and whites, and you’re adding lots of tropical accents like pineapples and palmettos.

Here’s a quick top 10 list of things you can do to make your home feel like it’s South of Broad, and belongs in Southern Living!


Step One: Bright Pastel Exterior Color

Every home in downtown Charleston and South of Broad were painted in beautiful pastel colors that exemplified the gorgeous sunsets overlooking Charleston’s beaches. If you’re going for a the look of a Charleston home, you’ve got to get the color right. Think soft whites, pinks, yellows, blues and greens.

Check out these gorgeous coastal exterior colors, from Sherwin Williams.


Step Two: Perfect Piazzas

Single family carriage homes have large piazzas for entertaining. Think multiple seating areas, with different purposes, like rocking chairs, sofas, and swing benches. The ceilings of the piazzas are painted a light blue to mimic Charleston’s blue skies and the Atlantic Ocean.

Create the perfect piazzas with these options:


Step Three: Daring Front Doors

Charleston home owners are all about curb appeal, and their front doors get a lot of attention. Yes, you can do a bright color exterior paint on your front door, but you know what simple accent stood out on almost every one? Door knockers! So many homes had brass door knockers, and while some were traditional colonial style, many had their lucky pineapple knockers. I also saw a lot of lion brass door knockers. It is said that lions represented the British empire of King “Lionheart” Richard during the 1600s; and, three golden lions represent the coat of arms for the British monarch today. So, it’s possible that many of the shipping merchants that emigrated from England chose this symbol as a reminder of their previous colonies.

Check out these eye catching door knockers:


Step Four: Pineapple Finials

According to Charleston natives, the pineapple is kind of a big deal. It’s become a part of their culture and represents southern hospitality. After sea captains would return from their voyages, they would place a pineapple on top of a stick, in front of their home, indicating that the home was open to visitors. Thus, when you take a trip to downtown Charleston or the French Quarter, you’ll find tons of homes with pineapple finials atop a gate post or a courtyard fountain.

You can find pineapple exterior finials here:


Step Five: Gas Lanterns

Did you know that Baltimore was the first U.S. city to have gas lanterns, after London and Paris? The United States began using gas lighting around 1816 and quickly found its way to Charleston streets. When you do a home tour South of Broad, almost every home has exterior gas lanterns. Gas lanterns are a low country staple, much like pineapple finials and blue porch ceilings.


Find traditional oil lamps here:


Step Six: Ornate Iron Gate

During the 1800s, wealthy shipping merchants living in downtown Charleston insisted on having cast iron for their courtyard gates and garden entrances. Like many of the craftsmanship you’ll find in these historical colonial homes, slaves built these ornate fixtures that still stand today.

There are many blacksmiths in Charleston today, that specialize in iron fencing. Here are some options available online, or that can at least get your creative juices flowing so you can show them to your local fencing company:


Step Seven: Window Box Treatments

Summer may be over in the northeast, but I still needed to share these gorgeous window box planters. As you can see, homeowners plant gorgeous and colorful florals, like petunias, to compliment their pastel exterior paint choices.

Easy to order window boxes here:


Step Eight: Traditional Elements

If you subscribe to Southern Living or Charleston Magazine, then you know many Charlestonians incorporate traditional decor design into their homes. Think cherry wood and gold ornate hardware and fixtures.


If you like traditional style, then you’ll love these:


Step Nine: Tropical Accents

But, Charleston homes are not all traditional. If you prefer transitional style like me, incorporate color and tropical accents that will brighten up your space and give it that true coastal vibe. This is going to be more pineapples, palmettos, beachy art prints, with coral and ocean tones.


Get beach vibes all day, here:


Step Ten: Chinoiserie Madness

Lastly, your Charleston home replica will need some chinoiserie vases. Chinoiserie ginger jars are generally a staple for traditional styled homes; however, they’ve become more and more popular over the years, often incorporated in transitional rooms. If you visit Charleston and follow my tour guide, be sure to stop at the Charleston Historic Foundation and get your shopping on. They have tons of chinoiserie vases, ginger jars and china.


Check out some of my chinoiserie favorites here:


DIY on a Dime: Wainscoting My Dining Room Feature Wall


DIY on a Dime

Wainscoting My Dining Room Feature Wall

I finally added some wainscoting to my dining room feature wall. I’ve imagined adding moulding to this wall ever since I moved in and never did. Surprisingly, this project was very inexpensive and only took a few hours.

Even though I only use my dining room when I have guests over, and my seller flipped the home with an open concept in mind, I wanted to add the moulding so that the space is more defined. Also, adding wainscoting always makes the room feel a little more traditional and luxurious. Since my home decor style is technically transitional, the wainscoting still blends in nicely.


Project Time: 1 Day | Cost: Under $200.00 approx.

What You’ll Need:

Step One: Clean Surface

First, using TSP Cleaner diluted with warm water, clean surface of area with cloth.

Step Two: Measure

Using your pencil and a tape measurer or level, measure 32 inches from the floor (for your average 8 ft. tall wall). Experts generally place chair rails at the bottom 1/3 of the wall. Thus, if your wall is taller than 8 ft. tall, then multiply that number (in inches) by 0.33. For example, if your wall is 10 ft. tall, multiply 120 by 0.33, which would place your chair rail at 39.5 inches. Mark where you intend to install the chair rail with your pencil.


Next, using your measuring tape, measure the width of your wall. Then, cut your chair rail to size with the hand saw.


Step Three: Apply to Wall

I then applied Gorilla Glue to the back of the chair rail. Next, place chair rail in the appropriate place marked by the pencil. Use your level to ensure that the chair rail is leveled evenly against the wall. Then, using finishing nails, nail the chair rail to the wall, starting in the center.


Step Four: Paint Chair Rail and Wall

First, using the paint roller and cover, I painted the chair moulding area (wall below chair rail) with white paint. I painted two coats on the wall. Then, using the paint brush, I painted the chair rail. I started the project in the morning; thus, I was able to apply the second coat later in the afternoon. Granted, professionals tell you to wait at least one day in between coats. But this s such a small area, I didn’t see the need to wait that long.


Step Five: Measure Placement of Picture Frames

Once the area is dry, using your pen and measuring tape, determine placement of picture frame moulding. I placed my picture frames one inch from the bottom of the chair rail. Since my wall is 120 inches wide, I subtracted the combined width of the three picture frames (120 - 50 = 70 inches). Then I divided that number by the number of total spaces in between the picture frames. For example, from left to right, I have:

wall <—space —> picture frame —> space —> picture frame —> space —> picture frame —>space —> wall

Thus, 70 inches divided by 4 (spaces) = 17.5. I then measured 17.5 inches for each space. I used my pencil to mark placement and make sure the placement of picture frames looked even before install. To see if they lined up evenly, I affixed them to the wall with Blue Painter’s Tape before nailing.


Step Six: Apply Picture Frames to Wall

Similar to the chair rail, apply Gorilla Glue to back of picture frame moulding and place in marked location on wall. Make sure that the picture frame is leveled. Then, hammer finishing nails to fix to wall. Repeat step for all picture frames.

**Note: If you need to cut your picture frame moulding, the Ekena Millwork picture frames are very easy to saw through with the hand saw. Simply use your measuring tape and pencil to mark where the picture frame should be cut.


Step Seven: Paint Picture Frames

After the picture frames are installed, paint over them with the same white paint previously used, this time painting over moulding with a paint brush.

Allow time to dry and use paint brush and paint for touch ups.


The most difficult thing about this project was the math for measuring, quite honestly. You can knock this project out quickly, depending on how many walls you’re applying wainscoting. I’m so happy with how this came out. What do you think? Does the wainscoting give the space some depth? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Bringing the Chesapeake Indoors: Nautical Home Decor in 8 Easy Steps


Bringing the Chesapeake Indoors

Nautical Home Decor in 8 Easy Steps

I’ve spent my entire life living on the East Coast, from Jersey down to Florida. But, Maryland is probably the closest that I’ve lived to water, in terms of mileage. Since moving to Baltimore, I noticed that Marylanders take tons of pride, living on the Chesapeake. When I went to Saint Michaels and Tilghman Island, so many homes were painted different shades of blue to replicate the Atlantic Ocean, with bright yellow, coral and red doors. Even the rooms at the Wylder Hotel and common areas, maintained the blue and white nautical theme. As time goes on and I think about the next place I liked to relocate, I know that I want to be close to water (near someone’s lake or beach), and I want to incorporate beach and nautical elements into my next home.

But how?!?

Let’s talk about which design elements can give any home a nautical vibe!


Step One: Blue or White Exterior

Numerous homes in Saint Michaels were painted different shades of blue, often with white trim.

Sherwin Williams offers a selection of preselected blues, whites and tans in their Northern Shores and Seaports collection. My favorite is Storm Cloud, which speaks for itself, offering a beautiful grey undertone. Another one of my favorites, Comfort Gray, is more of a sea green and both are complimented with Alabaster.


Step Two: Choose a Bright Colored Front Door

Another thing I loved about the homes in Saint Michaels is that so many of them painted their entry doors a bright and bold color. I suppose this made me excited given I painted my front door this past Spring in a gorgeous Benjamin Moore Dutch Tulip. For those that painted their home a neutral cool blue, generally chose a warm toned door with reds, corals or yellows.


But, for those that opted a cool color instead, mostly chose teal frond doors.


Try Benjamin Moore’s Aura Grand Entrance , in a high gloss finish, to replicate these gorgeous entries.

BM Dutch Tulip | BM Coral Gables | BM Hawthorne Yellow | BM St. Lucia Teal


Step Three: White, Gray or Blue Interior Walls

Another mental note while checking out homes and interior studios in the local area, designers chose classic white walls, calming grays or deep navy paints.


Step Four: Woven Natural Fiber Rug

At least one of your rooms should have a woven rug, made out of natural fibers, pulling beige and tan tones of beach sand, with the roping texture of boat dock lines.


Step Five: White Bedding

Think classic, crisp minimalism, with simple white bedding to compliment your cool blue and natural tones.


Step Six: A Blue Sofa

With a natural fabric woven rug, you’ll want a blue sofa as your main focal point in the living room. Dress the space up with a gorgeous painting of the Atlantic right above.


Step Seven: Accessorize with the Ocean

Every decor store had blue and white ginger jars, rattan stools, and coral accessories. Dress up your side tables, coffee tables and mantles with the beach elements.


Step Eight: Maritime Lighting

Lastly, it’s easy to forget to pay attention to the lighting hardware style. I noticed that in addition to the “fisherman” wall sconces, a popular decor option was a brass gooseneck or barn style wall sconce.


DIY On a Dime: Summer Nights Citronella Candle


Summer Nights Citronella Candle

Make Your Own Luxury Candle

A few weeks ago, I attended a candle making workshop by a local candle maker and it was so much fun. I saved the instructions but had yet to actually make one. Now, Pepper and I sit outside every morning while I drink my coffee. We also sometimes sit outside when I come home from work, or on the weekends when I’m enjoying a new book. It never fails, but I am always feeling attacked by every mosquito in all of Baltimore.

Fed up, I went online searching for a citronella candle I would actually like. I enjoy using essential oils. They help me sleep and make my home smell fresh, so I’d like to think that I’m familiar with a lot of scents and what I like (or do not like). Well, every candle I found was either too boring (e.g., citronella only) or too expensive.

Of course I wanted the expensive one at Nordstrom; but who feels like paying that kind of money for an outdoor candle, that you’ll have to buy again after you’ve burned it all? Sigh. Then I stared at the ingredients for a moment and thought, well, I can totally make that. And I did….so I thought I’d share!

Now granted, collecting the tools may seem like too much money at first, and you’re better off buying the $100+ candle. Well, not really; because a $10 bag of 3lb soy wax is going to last you a few more candles for sure; and, there’s nothing wrong with having the below oils tucked away in your cabinet (I spray Eucalyptus and Lavender oils on my sheets to help me sleep). So, you’re getting much more use out of the list below than one expensive candle.

Prep Time: 1 Hour | Curating Time: 1 - 2 Days

What You’ll Need


Step One: Prepare Your Candle Container

Preheat your oven to 150ºF — 170ºF, or the lowest temperature setting for your oven. Heating your container ensures that the wax adheres to the glass or ceramic and will reduce sinkholes.

Step Two: Melt the Wax

Pour 1 — 2 inches of water into a medium pot or saucepan. Bring water to a boil. Once water is boiling, pour wax into pouring pot and place metal pouring pot in the boiling water.

Use metal stirrer to continue mixing wax until thoroughly melted.

As you can see from the pictures further down below, I ended up using both the metal pouring pot from the candle kit, and an old measuring cup that I don’t use anymore, since all three cups of melted wax couldn’t fit into the pouring pot at the same time.


Step Three: Add Essential Oils

Using thermometer, check temperature of melted wax. You want the wax to reach between 170ºF and 180ºF. Once the melted wax reaches the desired temperature, add your essential oils. For the 3 cups of wax for the ceramic planter that I used, I measured the following:

  • 30 drops of Citronella

  • 10 drops of Coriander

  • 10 drops of Thyme

  • 15 drops of Eucalyptus

  • 15 drops of Peppermint

  • 10 drops of Lemon

  • 5 drops of Vetiver

Using metal stirrer again, mix fragrances into melted wax thoroughly.

Remove the wax from the boiler and continue stirring for approximately 2 — 3 minutes, stirring slowly to reduce air bubbles.


Step Four: Wick Your Container

Remove the container from the oven and place on an even work area or counter. Using the wick sticker from your candle making kit, secure the cotton wick to the bottom of the container.


Step Five: Pour the Wax Mixture

When the wax has cooled to 125ºF, slowly pour the wax into the container. Do not pour beyond the widest part of the jar (pour close to the center of the jar, where the wick is placed). Depending on the width of your container, you can use the wick holders in your candle making kit. The ceramic planter I purchased from Lowe’s was a little wide, so I used chopstics to secure the wick in place.


Allow the candles to cool completely and trim the wick to 1/4 inch.

Because I’m extra, I also added a few lavender seed buds I had leftover from my Himalayan bath salts.


I’m sooo happy with how it turned out. Now, every afternoon and evening, I light the candle as Pep and I sit on my front porch and i can honestly say that the bugs have stayed away.

Anything to reduce bug bites! I hope you like this fun crafty DIY project!


Buttered New England Lobster on Cheddar Bay Biscuits Sliders


Cheddar Bay Biscuit Lobster Sliders

Your Easy Seafood Option for this Fourth of July

Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 25 Minutes

What You’ll Need:

Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits Mix

North Atlantic Lobster Tail

1 / 2 Cup of Ghee Butter

1 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

1 Teaspoon of Pepper

Splash of Lemon

1/4 Cup of Fresh Parsley


First, follow the recommended instructions for the Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit mix.


Next, place lobster tails in oven and allow to bake in oven at same time as Cheddar Bay biscuits (approximately 15-20 minutes).


When lobster tails are cooked, remove meat and place in bowl. Mix melted ghee butter, fresh parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well.


Place lobster mix in between biscuit halves, making sliders. Reheat in oven on 250 degrees for five minutes. Serve warm.


Shop This Post:

Sweater: J. Crew Factory | Shorts: old, similar here | Lips: MAC Cosmetics Ruby Woo | Lipliner: MAC Cosmetics Kiss Me Quick | French Bistro Chairs: Frontgate Paris Bistro Collection in Capri Blue | Bistro Table: Wayfair Vivian Metal Bistro Table | Flag Toothpicks: Amazon | Maryland Crab Napkins: Caspari


My Favorite Target Finds for Fourth of July!


My Favorite Finds for 4th of July

All Your Red, White and Blue Options at Target


I recently did a Target run and there were still a bunch of Vineyard Vines for Target finds. I noticed that some of my favorite Target brands also had some really gorgeous Summer pieces, including Magnolia’s Hearth & Hand, Threshold and Opalhouse. Lots of rattan, rope materials, and blues giving me all the nautical vibes and wishing I had a little beach cottage. I listed all of my faves for your convenience. AND….a lot of the Vineyard Vines pieces are 30% off and some of the other brands are 5-15% off! You still have time to pick up some amazing stuff before the dinner parties and BBQs next weekend! Happy Shopping!