Archive for the ‘Interior Decorating’ Category

This is the same plant stand from March. It is repurposed as a Christmas server. 

The Christmas dishes came from Big Lots when it first opened in Mullens, West Virginia.

The Christmas glasses came from Big Lots when it first opened in Mullens, West Virginia.

Backside of table

The Christmas stem ware came from McDonald’s in Lester Square, Crab Orchard, West Virginia…many moons ago. The Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus salt and pepper shaker came from an antique shop in Boonville, NC. in 2001.

This is the same coffee mug basket used in March. The Christmas Sugar bowl and creamer came from Big Lots when it first opened in Mullens, West Virginia. A small, clear glass bowl holds the floating candle.

For the best peanut butter cup tassies, chocolate coconut balls and chocolate crunch bar, I depend on my daughter Jami Harris, Elkin, NC. For the best carrot cake you have ever tasted, (1/2 inch thick cream cheese icing) I depend on my sister Cricket Hale, at Marty’s Third Base in Mullens, WV.  Hmm…think I will keep her cute Christmas plate.

I buy twin sheets to use for table cloths. I like the ends draping to the floor with the table legs peeking out in the front and back. When I want it fully draped, I use two twin sheets and cover the legs. For a nice contrast, use different colored sheets. I could’ve used white, red (hard to find) or a black sheet (or any color) underneath or over the green sheet depending on the look I’m aiming for. I can buy two twin sheets for much less than I can buy one tablecloth.

We don’t have to spend a lot of money on seasonal dinner ware. It’s cheap, so let’s have fun with it…Imagine That!


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The backside of the table:

Try putting coffee in a large commercial type pump pot. It’s more convenient than lifting, pouring, and replacing a pot on the warmer. Put cups on a wire basket with a similar design. Make napkins, jellies, and mini loaf wheat bread, easily accessible to guests as they make their way around the serving table.

Use the fruit cups from your dinnerware set (or small bowls) as floating candle holders. Place on a vanity tray with salt and pepper shakers.

Place sugar and cream, with stir sticks, and another floating candle on the top rack of the mug basket.

The base of the Southern Living Beverage Server has a space that is perfect for adding color.

Fruit is a good choice for the base, but flowers would be nice as well. View from back of the table.

View of fruit base from front.

Notice the top of the Beverage Server is inverted, providing a perfect container for individual water flavorings, such as raspberry, lemonade, tea and punch. Since the Beverage Server is elevated, the base of a cheese server positions the glass closer to the spout.

Don’t fret…if plates are too large to fit in the plate holder, flip it upside down and use it as a plate stand. Just look what an opportunity it provides underneath for more fruit or flowers. The possiblitilities are endless. Imagine that!

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by Aggi Stevenson

From this…                                                            To this!

Big Lots planter folds for easy storage. At $12.99 each, they are cheap enough to buy several and spray paint them in designer colors to meet every occasion.

Opening the plant stand provides four serving levels.  The rest of the table is filled with various containers/holders. A beautiful wire two tier basket from Ross, a vanity tray from Southern Living, a napkin holder and plate holder from Costco. Notice the same turned leg on the metal pieces even though they were purchased at different places, the style is similar. More on those later. For now we are focusing on the plant stand transformation.

The shortest item is placed on the highest level. The glasses are Luminarc Prism cut glasses from Costco that reflect light and are perfect for formal or every day entertaining.  The middle glass is filled with water and holds two floating tea candles. The cut design in the surrounding glasses, turned upside down, bounces the light around the top of the server.  Note: When the glasses are removed from the top shelf, the candle holder left in the middle may become a little unstable unless it is sitting just right on the middle wire. To guard against tipping, the middle glass needs a larger base or more support. A clear plate or anything of your choosing should be placed underneath the glasses.

The Southern Living Savannah Beverage Server, the tallest item, is placed on the left level to balance the height of the server when loaded. This level also provides room to fill glasses from the spout.  Bread plates and bowls are loaded onto the remaining two levels.  The bread plates are placed between the clear glass pieces to break up the glass. The arrangement wouldn’t be as pretty if the glass was on one side and the serving pieces on the other.

This is a bare bones arrangement without flowers or any other embellishments.  Want more ideas on how to further decorate your walk-around serving table?  It’s coming soon…

A cheap plant stand becomes an elegant server…Imagine that!



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by Aggi Stevenson

Let’s rethink the ugly traditional bathroom tissue roll holders. They lack any resemblance of character.  They’re just there. Functional? You bet. Interesting? Not so much.

When your guests enter your powder room, give them ideas they may use in their own powder room. Like mounting a beautiful iron shelf  low on the wall, making a perfect Powder Room Butler.

The shelf also affords space for moist towelettes. I prefer the bigger, thicker, softer, facial towelettes. They are especially nice to have close by for children. It would be easy to just sit the tissue on the shelf, but why not make it special by placing the tissue in an interesting container?  I placed a fancy glass container in the bath with the crystal chandelier.

 In the old world style bath, I placed a piece of chocolate pottery on the shelf to hold (or hide) the bathroom tissue.  Get creative choosing containers to fit your style.

 I put matching shelves in the bathrooms on the lower level for continuity.

Now… Go have fun.

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by Aggi Stevenson

Interior Decorating

Little Brown Jugs

We have been talking about the correct size centerpiece for the table when we are entertaining. If we have to lean to see the person across from us, the centerpiece is too large.  The centerpiece becomes a nuisance and no matter how beautiful it is our guests will hate it. They will feel as though we have built a wall down the middle of the table.

Wouldn’t it be better to have a centerpiece that is actually a conversation piece? Wouldn’t it be better to hear “I would have never thought of that?”  A centerpiece can literally be anything. Anyone can put a vase of flowers on the table…yawn.

In a previous article I mentioned making a centerpiece from a collection of  little brown jugs. You can use any collection you may have. It takes at least three to be considered a collection.

 We had 28 people for dinner. The formal dining room table had a centerpiece made from a collection of little brown jugs. I put them in a wire basket and placed them in the middle of the table. I  inserted just a few flowers in the neck of the jugs filled with water.


 The water made the jugs more reflective. I placed tea candles around the base of the jugs.  A beautiful amber glow was visible from every angle. The light of the candles illuminated the jugs enough to see the stems through the glass, adding more interest.

The centerpiece made from a collection of little brown jugs was unexpected in a formal dining room. Just what I needed to tone down the formality. The comments were great. The best thing about it is that it was free. It is easy to make a centerpiece from just about anything. 

Note: I couldn’t get my original picture to upload. I had to go to my attic and try to re-create the October centerpiece. I had purple Dyanthus mini carnations in the jugs. (they won’t be back until spring) For this picture I had to use fake flowers and they look like fake flowers. Never a good idea. You will have to use your imagination on this one. 

Now go have fun.  Make your own centerpiece!

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by Aggi Stevenson

Yesterday we discussed how to make your ten minute flower arrangement (featured the day before) become even more dramatic by setting it in front of a strategically placed mirror.

Today I will show you how to make cheap and beautiful art for your home from the same ten minute flower arrangement.


I covered my kitchen island with an old table cloth and set my ten minute flower arrangement on it. I like to mix the old with the new. I then placed a Gregg Shorthand text book by John R. Greeg with 1893 as the first copyright date and laid current reading glasses on the book. I added an antique leather sheath with a broken pair of scissors and a letter opener on the cloth. I climbed onto my kitchen step stool and shot the picture from a higher angle than eye level with my digital camera. I put my camera card in my computer, printed the picture out and framed it. Walla…instant art!


This is the companion print with a very worn Bible lying near by. Again the old with the new. If you are going to make a series of prints, the theme needs to be consistent.



This print is the third of a series of four. I could have hung all four prints together in the same, similar, or mis-matched frames. I chose to use a rustic wall hanging that is designed to hold candles in the rings. Who says you have to use an item only for what it was intended? I put the other two prints in contemporary frames and simply leaned them against the traditional rustic wall hanging. In this picture I left the shorthand book but added a cup of coffee in a white milk glass cup from the 50’s.


This print is the ten minute flower arrangement with the same tattered Bible. The Bible has the same pair of current reading glasses that was on the shorthand book in the first print. You are only limited by your own imagination. Why not have art that means something special to you?

Now go have fun. Create your own artwork!

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White Walls: Yes or No?

by Aggi Stevenson

One Minute Decorating Tip

What do you really love? Then do that!

White walls can give a room a cold, sterile atmosphere. Most of the time there is a stark contrast between the walls and artwork, furniture, floors and drapes. Most people think white is the easiest color to deal with because they don’t consider white a color. In reality it is very difficult. Those with no decorating ability at all will opt for white paint because they can’t decide on a color or are afraid to try color.

Those people that are stuck with white walls because they are renting are always trying to find ways to cover the walls in color without using paint, like fabric or lattice etc.

Don’t be afraid to try color. It is just paint…it is not permanent. You can always change it if  you don’t like it. However, I strongly suggest you live with the color at least a week before changing it. Paint color looks differently different times of the day. You may just take a liking to it. Color to me is like draping a room in a warm blanket. Color tolerates a little clutter better than white. It blends in with the colors in your furniture, artwork and floors.

That being said, white done right can be beautiful. Using different tones of white in your room will make the room appear to have color in it. When I think of a white room, I think of a modern sleek room with black and white furnishings, glass and chrome or brushed nickel accents, with a monotone rug to ground everything. Shiny surfaces like glass or acrylic tables, lamps, chandeliers and floors are needed to bounce light around the room. Clutter will defeat the purpose and artwork should be kept to a minimum. One large piece of artwork on a white wall is better than several small pieces, unless the small pieces are grouped together to visually appear as one large piece. Some people choose to use artwork for splashes of color in a white space while others prefer black and white only. Instead of a cold stark room, with a little planning, it can be serene and inviting.

Personally, the only white walls in my home are the fifth wall in every room, the ceiling. I used to be so anti-white I even painted my ceilings any color but white. I am back to white ceilings and wordwork now. When I stop loving it, I will change it.

Many people are afraid to try things because they worry what others will think. Get that out of your mind. They don’t live in your space, you do!

Now go have fun. Decorate with the colors you love!

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