Busy Ladies' Holiday Decor Guide~Halloween Mantle

This weekend was my youngest son's (Max's) birthday. I only had a short amount of time to prepare for the party due to our hectic schedule. I went with a Halloween theme to kill two birds with one stone. This time of year is always busy for us, but the fact that my design business is booming and my three kids are getting older and more involved in extra circular activities makes every season a "crazy time of year" for us.  

I know what you're thinking, I'm preaching to the choir. Everyone I talk to has the same story. We are all down right busy. Yet, we still want to enjoy the pleasures in life. Like decorating. So many people have said to me, "I wish I could decorate for the holidays like you do, but I just don't have the time". As a matter of fact, someone just said that to me this morning and it inspired me to start a new series titled, "The Busy Ladies' Holiday Decor Guide".  

Throughout this series, I'm going to share quick, simple holiday decorating ideas.  I'm not going to pretend that all of the holiday projects I do in my home should be considered quick and easy. Some projects are a little more elaborate and time consuming due to the nature of my occupation. But, some holiday decor displays at The Yellow Cape Cod (like this Halloween mantle) are put together in a matter of minutes, just before guests arrive. The Busy Girl's Series will be dedicated to projects such as this. 

Here are my tips for creating an impressive Halloween themed mantle in just a few minutes…

Keep Main Everyday Mantle Styling Neutral

The main everyday decor I use over the mantle is a great base for adding seasonal accents. A simple black mirror, pair of chunky candlesticks and the silhouettes of our kids set a neutral backdrop.  It looks great all on it's own for everyday, but with just a few small additions this mantle styling can be transitioned from season to season quickly. 

Add A Seasonal Accent Color 

By adding a spicy orange accent color the look became very Halloween-esque. I introduced orange with three things; a toss pillow, a simple pre-made orange wreath (HomeGoods) and orange mats to frame our silhouettes. One trick that I use to make switching up the silhouette mats fast and easy, is to store different color mats right inside the frames. I have several mats painted in different accent colors tucked inside the frames. As the seasons change, all I do is flip them over, and swap the mat for whatever color meets my needs. 

Spell It Out With A Banner

Cute banners, like this trick or treat banner (HomeGoods) are a great way to give your mantle a theme, quick. HomeGoods always has a great selection of holiday banners, or if you would like something handmade, check out Etsy. Storing a banner for each holiday right in the living room (in an end table drawer or a cute storage basket) will eliminate the need to dig through storage boxes when it comes time to decorate.

Bigger is Better & Less is More

Using just a few large scaled items to decorate your mantle as opposed to a lot of little things can speed up the process. It means less fussing around with the arrangement. Not to mention I like the dramatic look of large decor items. To finish off display, I added a giant spider that I found at a thrift store a few years ago, and a few black birds from the dollar store. I use these items year after year, they are fun elements that the kids enjoy. 

In just a few minutes my mantle was ready for the Halloween season. 
Stay tuned for more posts in "The Busy Ladies' Holiday Decor Guide".  This year, my holiday calendar already looks busy, I'll be doing a lot of quick, simple projects that I can't wait to share with you! 

For information on my affordable online design service please click here.
All photos credit to Sarah Macklem of The Yellow Cape Cod. 

Pre-Made Wreath Becomes A Gorgeous, Large Scale Centerpiece

If you are hosting a holiday dinner this year and want to set a beautiful, impressive table, but your short on time, this post is for you.  This is the easiest centerpiece ever, and it gets a lot of attention.  It's large in scale, colorful, smells delicious and sets a festive mood.  The other major benefit to this centerpiece is that it will last the entire season and can be used year after year.  I have shared this project in the past, but it makes an appearance every fall.  This is a great alternative to the fresh flower centerpiece I shared the other day.  

The biggest plus, is that anyone can put this together in less than 5 seconds.  Even those of us who don't consider ourselves crafty, this project is (for lack of a better term) 100% fool proof.  Actually, I hate to even refer to it as a "project" because all it required were three simple things…

A beautiful, large scale fall pre-made wreath... 

A clear glass canister from the kitchen...

And a yummy fall scented candle (unscented works too)…

All you need to do is lay the wreath on the table, place the jar inside the hole in the wreath and stick the candle inside the jar.  Voila...

Okay, I lied.  There were actually four things used in this project.  After I initially assembled the centerpiece I decided I wanted my candle to stand up higher so I set the jar on top of a can of tuna. 

This particular wreath is from Sams Club.  I like to shop there for pre-made holiday decor items because they are typically larger in scale.  Since Sams Club sells commercial grade products, they are usually bigger than decor items made for residential use.  I have also found some beautiful pre-made wreaths this year at Michael's and Hobby Lobby if you don't have a Sams Club nearby.  

Thanks for stopping by.  Back to work!

For information on my affordable online design service please click here.
All photos credit to Sarah Macklem of The Yellow Cape Cod. 

High Impact, 5 Minute Fall Centerpiece In a Tote~Tutorial

Now that things have settled down (a little) I'm excited to share some of the fun "projects" I've been working on. To start, I spent a weekend in Davisburg, Michigan for The Makers and Doers Festival (formally called A Weekend In The Country).  I held a series of live workshops, including one dedicated to creating simple, budget friendly, fall centerpieces.  Each centerpiece was made of produce/flowers from the grocery store, clippings from the yard and things most of us already have laying around the house. 

My "Five Minute Fall Centerpiece-in-a-Tote", was the most popular among the attendees. It's very easy to put together and makes a big statement.  Especially if you make two.  Using grocery store flowers and a basket or tote you already have around the house makes it inexpensive enough that even making a pair is still easy on the wallet. Since it was such a hit at the festival, I thought I'd share the tutorial here as well.  

What you will need:
-A small, inexpensive vase
-An attractive storage tote or basket (my striped storage tote came from Hobby Lobby)
 -A dinner plate 
-A large bouquet (or two small bouquets) of grocery store flowers 
-Curly willow branches or branches from your backyard
-A handful of plastic grocery bags

The simple steps:
1. The first step is to place the dinner plate in the bottom of the basket or tote.  This provides a nice sturdy, level base for the centerpiece and will also catch any incidental water drips.

2.  Next, fill your vase with water (and any vitamins included in your flower bouquet).  Then place inside the tote, resting it on top of the dinner plate.  

3. To help keep the vase from tipping over and to keep the tote looking full and plump, plastic grocery bags tucked in around the vase will do the trick. 

4. The next step is to add your flowers.  I simply unwrap the flowers, trim them to the height of my vase and set them into the vase.  If you would like to take the bouquet and re-arrange the flowers, you could, but most of the time I find it's not necessary.  Sometimes, if the bouquet is on the small side I will use two bouquets.   

5.  The last step is to add a little height to the arrangement.  I used curly willow branches that I found in my grocery store floral dept.  These can be used over and over again.  If you can't find curly willow branches at your grocery store, branches from a tree or bush in your backyard could work also.  

What makes this arrangement such a high impact element is the size and height of the arrangement, the eye-catching, black and white stripes and the interesting texture of the canvas tote.  If you don't have a canvas tote, you could use woven basket (like I did with this centerpiece).  Baskets are also a great way to create an eye-catching piece, and most of us have one available. 

Taking advantage of the grocery store floral department is a convenient and budget friendly way to incorporate fresh flowers in your home. Whether your entertaining, decorating for the seasons or just need a little visual pick-me-up.  Last year, I made a large fall centerpiece using a similar approach with flowers from the front yard (click here for details).  

Better get back to the design studio.  Thanks for stopping by!

For information on my affordable online design service please click here.
All photos credit to Sarah Macklem of The Yellow Cape Cod, unless otherwise marked. 

Better Homes and Gardens, Nate Berkus, NYC and Me

Hi there.  I've missed you guys.  It's been a little crazy around here.  Crazy in a good way.  I can't wait to share all the exciting things that have been going on.  First, let me start with an adventure I went on 10 days ago.  Here is a little teaser...

Photo courtesy of © Avi Gerver Photography

 I hopped on a plane and flew to NYC for the Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Stylemaker Event.  I was invited along with 69 other bloggers to attend an exclusive all-day workshop at the BHG New York offices with the BHG team of editors ending with a fabulous party.

I landed in NYC and took a crazy cab ride into Manhattan to my hotel where I hooked up with my friend and roommate, Laura Trevey.   

After exploring the city, we met up with a fun group of bloggers for dinner.  We had a great time getting to know each other and talking shop.  


The next day we woke up and headed to the Meredith (BHG) offices.  We spent the day hanging on to the words and advice of the BHG editorial team, enjoying some pretty amazing food and getting to know fellow bloggers.   

(A huge thank you to Minted for creating a gorgeous piece of customized art for every blogger in attendance using photos found on our Instagram Feeds). 

From there we went to a private Stylemaker session. Well, as private as something can be in a room full of bloggers…ha!

Photos courtesy of © Avi Gerver Photography

The session was hosted by Nate Berkus and panel of Stylemakers from the September issue of BHG; Gaby Dalkin of What's Gaby CookingGen Sohr Pencil + Paper Creative Development and Susan Feldman the Co-Founder of One Kings Lane.

Photos courtesy of © Avi Gerver Photography

It was so much fun hearing what they each had to say about personal style.  I snapped the photo below just after Nate discussed the hot button topic of painting wood…he agrees that it's okay.  By the way, you know how Nate appears to be this sweet, down to earth, charming, like-able guy on TV?  Well guess what?  He is. 


After the stylemaker discussion we headed over to the top of the Gansevoort Park Hotel where the party took place.  

Photos courtesy of © Avi Gerver Photography

Also joining us was one of my very favorite HGTV personalities; Designer and Host Monica Pedersen and the uber inspiring BHG Editor-in-Chief; Gayle Butler.

Photos courtesy of © Avi Gerver Photography

The food was fabulous, drinks were incredible…

Photos courtesy of © Avi Gerver Photography

 and the guest list was pretty darn cool.  

(The gorgeous Monica Pedersen, myself, and dapper Peter Julian from Scalamandre).

Did I mention how charming Nate is?

Photos courtesy of © Avi Gerver Photography

Oh my gosh, how could I almost forget to tell you about the furniture!  This chic living room set up overlooking the city was styled by Pier One.    

Photos courtesy of © Avi Gerver Photography

The furniture provided swanky and comfortable conversation area as well as a gorgeous backdrop for pictures.  Below is the Lee Jeans chick (who seemed kinda quiet), myself and my best girl Stacey who had the opportunity to participate in the BHG Makeover Challenge .

Photos courtesy of © Avi Gerver Photography

Speaking of pictures, the photo booth was very entertaining…

(myself, Sue, Elizabeth, and Laura)

(Kim, Cyndy, myself and Beth)

Thank you, Better Homes and Gardens for the hospitality!  Thank you Lee, Pier 1 Imports, Vanity Fair, Oh Snap Smile and all the other sponsors for the fantastic swag.  You guys know how to throw a party.  To see more photos from this event, please click here. 

 I learned so much from this experience. It was so much more than an exciting trip to the city, a fun day at the BHG offices and a party with awesome people.  It was an incredible, priceless learning experience. I'm always looking for ways to improve my blog content to make it a better experience for my visitors (you).  Because without you, this blog would not exist and that trip would never have been possible.  So, thank you. 

Back to work!  I currently have a few openings for new online design projects and after this trip, I'm feeling pretty inspired!

For information on my affordable online design service please click here.

Fall Decorating~And A Winner of the Makers and Doers Festival Tickets!

I'm home!  The trip to NYC for the Better Homes and Gardens Stylemaker Event was amazing!  I can't wait to share the details.  I made it back to Detroit just in time to attend the kids sporting events, do a little fall decorating around the yellow cape cod and to select a winner for The Free Passes To The Makers and Doers Festival… 

The randomly selected winners of a pair of passes are:  
Christianne {Christine@ Beautyforashes.blogspot.com}
Melissa Liles Peterson

*Congratulations! Please email me at theyellowcapecod@yahoo.com to claim your tickets.

  This week I'll be preparing for the live workshops I'm hosting at this festival {click here for more info}.  I'm so excited to share my tips on decorating your Christmas tree like a pro and simple (but gorgeous) fall and Christmas decor projects.  While I'm busy working on my presentations, I thought it would be fun to look back at last years fall decor...

Welcome to The Yellow Cape Cod Fall Home Tour!  If you are visiting from Laura's home or Jeanne's home you'll agree that they are tough acts to follow.  

 I thought I'd start where all our special guests are greeted, on the front porch…

 Preparing the outside of our home for fall is all about cornstalks, pumpkins and mums.

I use this wreath every year on the front door.  It is made from flowers used at our wedding back in 1999.  

  We celebrate our anniversary in the fall, so having it out every year reminds us of that special day.  {Click here to see a post I wrote about our fall wedding in the country}. 

On the inside, it's more about transitioning our home from a lazy summer hangout into a hub that's ready for school, sports, busy schedules and the best part...company.  

{Dining Room}

I'm grateful that right now, my online design business is the busiest it has ever been.   This year I won't have as much time to devote to seasonal decor as I've had in the past.   So I kept it simple.

{Chalk Tag Place Card and Thrift Store Place Setting}

When Laura from Finding Home invited me on this home tour, I set aside one weekend to knock out our fall decor (by the way, I had the opportunity to meet Laura this summer.  She is just as sweet and beautiful as she is talented).   I approached our decorating in a way that can easily morph from fall into halloween straight through Thanksgiving.  I concentrated on the areas that we use most for entertaining; the entry, the dining room, and powder room.

Here are tutorials for some of these quick and easy fall projects, my no-sew reversible table runner, and simple fall centerpiece, were simple and inexpensive projects that get a lot of attention from our guests.

{Click here for a tutorial on this Simple Fall Centerpiece With Yard Clippings and Grocery Store Flowers}

If you happened to see my article in this years Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Ideas Magazine {pinch me I still can't believe that happened}, I confessed to being an early decorator.   "Obscenely early" I think I called it.  By the end of November, it will be all out Christmas up in here. 

{Thrift Store Praying Hands}

 But for now, it's warm colors, spicy candles, pumpkins, fall flowers and praying hands.
While out an a thrifting adventure earlier this year, I picked up this praying hand figure.  Every Thanksgiving scene should have praying hands, right? 

If this isn't your first time visiting my blog, you already know that I love to shop thrift stores for holiday decor and entertaining pieces. 

{Dessert Table}

Mixing and matching dishes and serving pieces to create a new look on every occasion is a slight obsession of mine.  Collecting pieces at thrift stores allows me to do this affordably. 

My buffet (a thrifted dresser that I gave a new life with black paint) is usually our holiday dessert table.  It's officially ready for some apple pies if anyone would like to bring one over.   

I prepared our foyer for fall by placing a gigantic clock over the front door.
No more excuses for missing the bus. 

{Pier 1 Grandiose Clock}

In the powder room, I incorporated some pretty orange towels and hydrangea from the front yard.

{Powder Room Shelves}

I recently painted this room (Garden Gate by Sherwin Williams) and installed these floating shelves during a quick powder room makeover a few weeks ago. 

As Halloween approaches,  these pretty fall decorations get freaky with just a few tweaks. {Here is a Halloween post with some of our scary decor}.

I saved my favorite fall decoration for last, this tree in our front yard.  Each fall it turns vibrant orange for about two weeks.  It hasn't happened yet, I snapped this photo last fall while waiting for the school bus.  

Thank you for visiting.   I'd like to say thank you,  Finding Home for asking me to join this amazing tour with 16 awesome bloggers and ending with Better Homes and Gardens.

Here is the next stop…

Or, to go back to the beginning of the tour…


Thanks for stopping by!  I hope to see some of you at the Makers and Doers Festival this weekend in Davisburg, Michigan.  I'll be there hosting my Holiday decor sessions at 10:30 and 12:30 on Saturday and at 11:30 on Sunday!  

For information on my affordable online design service please click here.

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