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3 Chic Plant Projects to Make + Give

The holidays are coming around the corner, and I am on a mission to make them as stress-free and simply beautiful this year as possible. One of my favorite ways to keep the holidays feeling less hectic and more harmonious is by choosing to forgo the big shopping malls in favor of thoughtfully handmade gifts for my loved ones, and simple decorations inspired by nature. These 3 beautiful plant projects are at the very top of my to-make-and-give list this year.

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Gardenista

1. Potted amaryllis bulb. My sweet mother in-law plants about a dozen amaryllis bulbs in little pots each winter, so she always has something on hand to bring as a hostess gift to parties. This is so simple, and makes a wonderfully heartfelt gift for literally anyone on your list. When you’re ready to gift one, tuck a few sprigs of greenery inside the pot, wrap it in ribbon or garden twine, and affix a simple gift tag.

2. Simple fresh cedar branch wreath. I love that this project uses an embroidery hoop (widely available at craft stores) as a base instead of the more expected wreath form. And the side-swooped greenery and ultra-fine wire of lights makes this wreath look fresh and modern. Hang one on your wall above the bar cart, suspend in front of a mirror, or, of course, place one on the door.

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3. DIY jasmine kokedama. Kokedama is a planting technique that hails from Japan, and is simply a plant with the root ball covered in moss…which allows you to forgo a pot! This DIY kokedama project is gorgeous, and thanks to the fragrant jasmine, smells delicious, to boot.

Bonus idea: botanical art. And while I wouldn’t say that a green thumb is required for any of these projects (really!), if gardening is not your cup of tea, why not pick up a few botanical art prints, instead? Botanical art can please even those with fussy tastes, and it brings a welcome dose of greenery to the winter home.

botanical art
Art shopping guide: (clockwise from top left) Audubon’s Vireo; Woodland Ferns VI; Woodland Ferns VII; Crimson Botanical IV.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

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Marble Mania: Marble in the Home

Marble as a home decor trend has only continued to gain steam in recent years, and it’s now showing up on everything from floors and walls to smaller accessories. The perfect blend of classic and current, you really can’t beat including a bit of marble (or marble pattern!) in your home.

Some innovative designers are taking marbling to new levels – like the technicolor-marbled wood flooring shown above. Wow, right!?

Marble
Images (clockwise from top left): The Blondilocks, Only Deco Love, Domino, Martha Stewart via Elements of Style.

Who doesn’t love the look of classic Carrara marble in the kitchen? Whether you use a small slab as a cheese board (or prop for your foodie photos) or go full-on marble with a waterfall counter, marble is a look that will never be out of fashion.

But what if wall-to-wall marble is a little…out of the budget? Enter the new marble contact papers and wall coverings! Use these realistic (and really affordable) finds to cover a small side table, backsplash, or an entire accent wall.

Marble Mania
And of course, an easy and high-impact way to add a splash of marble style to your home is with a marbled rug – go for colorful marbling for a playful look, or choose elegant charcoal if you’re going for cool, modern, and chic.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®

 

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Create a Comfy Dining Room Your Guests Won’t Want to Leave

The dining room may play second fiddle to the kitchen table for much of the year, but from Thanksgiving through the new year, it’s the place to be. Think of your dining room as the backdrop that makes all of your most memorable holiday meals possible. From rich wall colors to soft lighting and conversation-sparking details, here’s how to get your dining room in tip-top shape in time for the holidays.

Dining Room1

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Paint colors: If you’re thinking of repainting your dining room, consider going bold with rich red, sophisticated smoky gray, or a bitter chocolate. These fully-saturated hues have a jewel box feeling that is just right for creating a convivial dinner-party atmosphere.

Art: Including some conversation-sparking artwork in the dining room is a wonderful way to get mingling guests chatting. Hang a unique painting, create a salon-style gallery wall of quirky photographs and small prints, or set an interesting sculpture or artistic object on the credenza.

Cozy Dining Room

Warmth: Whether you use a crackling fire in the fireplace, sheepskins draped over the chairs, a cozy rug, or an abundance of twinkling candlelight (or all of the above!), creating a feeling of warmth and comfort is the best way to encourage guests to linger at the table.

Cozy Table Setting

Table settings: The final details to attend to are how you choose to set the table, from linens to place settings to flowers or foliage. I love setting the table the day before a big holiday gathering, as this relieves so much last-moment stress on the big day…plus you get to enjoy the beauty of your handiwork just a bit longer! If you are just beginning to collect items for your table, I’ve found a classic linen tablecloth to be the most versatile. Dress up your everyday white dinnerware with a special set of colorful salad or dessert plates, and go for something low and organic as a centerpiece, like a piece of driftwood draped in tiny twinkle lights and berry branches, or a display of fall gourds and fruit. As a finishing touch, include something special at each place: a tiny jar of homemade jam, a delicate sprig of herbs tied with twine.

Choosing a rug: The dining room is a tricky place for a rug, because it is quite likely it will get more than its fair share of crumbs and spills! The key is to look for a flat weave (deep pile is incredibly hard to keep clean) in a deep color. You can skip the rug, but there’s nothing like having a cozy rug to warm up the dining room in the depths of winter! If you want to save wear-and-tear (and cut down on cleaning), consider leaving the rug out for fall and winter, and rolling it up and storing it for the spring and summer months.

Dining Room Rugs

Rugs Shopping Guide (clockwise from top left): Safavieh Tunisia rug in dark brown; Nourison 2000 rug in lavender; Loloi Rugs Anastasia rug in slate; Loloi Rugs Anastasia rug in granite.

Photo Credits: Domino

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

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Savoring the seasons: Autumn

The leaves are changing brilliant shades of red and orange, the air is crisp, and the markets are bursting with pumpkins, apples, and gourds: fall has arrived! Read on for easy, natural decorating ideas using fall leaves, fresh produce, and farm-stand flowers, plus some simple pleasures to savor like sipping hot apple cider by a crackling fire…

Savor FallPhotos: Country Living

A quick stop at your favorite market or produce stand is all you really need to decorate your home for the season. Fill a few tall glass vases with cut branches of crab apple or Japanese Maple, hang a leafy wreath on your front door, and lay out a stack of cozy woolen blankets from your stash. And of course, what would fall be without pumpkins? Try a fresh twist this year with a few no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas – use stencils and craft paint to apply your house numbers or state silhouette; or coat dried leaves with Mod Podge for an elegant nature-inspired look.

heirloom-pumpkins-fall-decor-1Photo: 100 Layer Cake

And speaking of pumpkins, there are so many gorgeous and unusual heirloom varieties out there, if you usually just run to the grocery store for your Jack O’ Lantern pumpkins, why not try something a bit different this year? Search locally for a farm or u-pick pumpkin patch, and you’re likely to encounter more types of pumpkins than you knew existed! And heirloom pumpkins are so lovely on their own, there’s no need to carve or paint them.

FallPhoto: Food 52

While you’re out collecting gorgeous pumpkins, don’t forget to put apples on your list! Picking apples at an orchard has become one of our favorite fall traditions, and coming home is even sweeter when you have a basket full of apples to crunch…and bake into your favorite apple-y treats.

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Fall GamesTop photo: Kristen Perers for Remodelista; bottom photo: We Are the Rhoads for Kinfolk, via A Cup of Jo

After a crisp fall day full of adventures, there’s nothing better than cozying up at home under some toasty blankets beside a crackling fire and playing games or having a movie night with popcorn and apple cider.

Cozy up your home for fall with warm, wooly rugs in rich, earthy tones. Here are a few of my favorite fall picks:

fall rugs

Rug Shopping Guide (clockwise from top left): Rugs Direct Gallery Yama Istanbul Kilim; Orion Rugs Kilim Patches; Rugs Direct Gallery Ottoman Kilim; Safavieh Striped Kilim.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®

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