Monogram Laurel Wreath for French Garden Tablescape

In April of 2007, I spent three weeks on vacation in Paris and it was the most amazing experience of my life. A year earlier, a girlfriend of mine had quit her job and moved there to live the artist dream to study the masters and paint. Luckily, I was able to stay with her in a small apartment before her Visa expired. For a small town girl like me, going to Paris was literally living a dream — going up the Eiffel tower, visiting the Louvre and shopping the flea markets.

Since I do not have any plans to go back to Paris anytime soon, I was inspired to bring back the look and feel of my time spent there through a French inspired garden tablescape. I put together a style board showcasing some of my favourite things — monogrammed wreath laurel, marble busts, manicured gardens and grand architecture.

French Garden TablescapePulling together decorative props that I already had in the house, I was able to create the look and feel of a French garden through my tablescape below. You may recognize a few things like the brass candlesticks, gold chargers, flatware and glassware from the Easter tablescape I created a few months ago. Its all about using the things you already love and have in your home, but by just adding a few different elements, like the black metal orb and lady bust (I love her!) it makes things fresh and tells a whole new story.

The only thing missing is that I wished to have used a table runner. I have been looking for the perfect one for quite some time now with no luck. But sometimes finding those things you love for your home take time. Just like everything else in life, you just need to have patience and faith that one day, the table runner of my dreams will find me.

french garden tablescapeFor the French inspired garden tablescape, I really wanted to create something special for each of my friends/guests. For each dinner place setting, it features the initial letter of each guest’s name, surrounded by laurel leaves and topped with a modern black and white striped bow. It looks so classy and elegant, and best of all, it was easy and super simple to create. Also, by using greenery it was very economical and a great alternative to flowers, which yes are beautiful, but can be very expensive. And since the greenery will be out of water, its freshness with last up to only about 1 – 2 days.

french garden tablescape monogram laurelMaterials & Tools
• 3 inch gold glitter letters (available at Michaels)
• 7/8″ black and white striped ribbon
• 24 gauge floral wire
• Sprigs of greenery
• Scissors

french garden tablescape The following instructions are for one individual laurel wreath place setting.

Step 1
Cut two sprigs of greenery approximately 8″ long each. Unwind a strand of floral wire, measure and cut approximately 10″ of wire. Starting at the bottom of the sprig, wind the wire gently around the stem and continue working all the way up. Cut the wire and hide the end behind the leaves.

Step 2
Gently curve each sprig in a horseshoe shape. At this point, you may use another small piece of wire to join the sprigs at the point where they intersect.

Step 3
Next, time to make the bow. It can be a tricky thing to explain, yet alone master, so here are instructions via Martha Stewart. To be honest, my original plan was to tie the bow directly with the greenery, but after a few unsuccessful tries to make the bow look ‘just right’, I decided to ‘cheat’ and just rest the bow on top of the laurel wreath.

Step 4
In the example shown, I selected the letter ‘B’ for my friend Barb. Fold the linen napkin, lay the gold letter in the middle, assemble the laurel wreath around it and lay the striped ribbon on top. Voila, it’s done!

06_Paige Smith_French Garden_MG_0290french garden tablescapeI hope you have enjoyed learning about how to make your own laurel wreath. Please leave a reply in the comments below. I would love to hear from you! And just for fun, I have compiled a few sources of where to find the pieces you need to create your own French inspired garden tablescape.

french garden tablescape1 Glass GobletsAmazon.ca2 Gold ChargerAmazon.ca3 French BustAmazon.ca4 Metal OrbAmazon.ca5Moss BallAmazon.ca6 RibbonCreative Bag


Mini Easter Egg Topiary

I absolutely love this time of year when I can decorate for Easter with my favourite things — like eggs and especially bunnies! I have always loved the look of topiary trees and have seen them before made with large eggs on Pinterest. I already had a collection of mini eggs and the cast iron urns, so I was so happy to finally put everything together to make my own topiary this year.

07_Paige Smith_Easter Topiary_MG_9641I purchased the mini eggs previously at Homesense and the urns were a thrift find at the flea market a few years ago, but I am sure that a vase would work just as well. This is a super easy craft idea to do as all it really requires is gluing and tucking things into place. The only unfortunate thing is that I did not have enough mini eggs to make two topiaries like I had planned. Now like a real Easter egg hunt, I need to look for about a dozen more mini eggs.

01_Paige Smith_Easter Topiary_MG_9344Materials & Tools
• 6 inch tall Styrofoam Cone
• Mini urn or vase (fits base of cone)
• Green moss
• 38 mini plastic decorative/craft eggs
• Hot glue sticks
• Hot glue gun

02_Paige Smith_Easter Topiary_MG_927403_Paige Smith_Easter Topiary_MG_927104_Paige Smith_Easter Topiary_MG_9242Step 1
Plug in your glue gun to heat it up. Once it is hot, start gluing each mini egg to the styrofoam cone with about the same distance between each one. No need to get out the ruler here, just whatever looks good visually to your eye.

05_Paige Smith_Easter Topiary_MG_9427Step 2
Once all of the eggs are glued to the cone, take small pieces of the green moss and tuck into the open spaces between each of the mini eggs on the topiary. I just used my fingers to push them into place and hot glued a few pieces of the moss here and there to adhere to the cone.

06_Paige Smith_Easter Topiary_MG_9445Step 3
After the moss is tucked around all of the eggs, place the cone on top of the urn or vase. TA DA! Now your decoration is finished and ready to display. Happy Easter!

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‘Mom to Be’ Chair Banner Décor for Baby Shower

If you are planning to host a baby shower, here is a beautiful and easy decor idea to dress up the party and make the ‘Mom to Be’ feel extra special as the guest of honour. Now, typically the banner would be displayed on the back of her chair at a baby shower, but I have styled and photographed it on the front to illustrate this craft. All of the supplies featured here are easy to find at your local craft store. Or you may all ready have these supplies at home — a selection of pretty card stock and bits and bobs — so its easy to start crafting!

03_Paige Smith_Baby Shower_Mom to Be Chair Banner DecorMaterials
• Various crafting card stock in complimentary colours and patterns
• Alphabet letters (glitter is optional)
• Foam adhesive circles
• Seam binding or ribbon
• Bits and bobs like bows and buttons

01_Paige Smith_Baby Shower_Mom to Be Chair Banner DecorTools
• X-acto knife and blade
• Ruler
• Hole punch
• White glue (I prefer a brand called Weldbond)

04_Paige Smith_Baby Shower_Mom to Be Chair Banner DecorStep 1
Measure and cut out six rectangular cards in card stock of your choice that are 2 3/4″ wide x 5″ tall. You can use alternating paper designs for variety. Cut a small notch at the bottom of each card.

Step 2
With the hole punch, create 2 holes at the top of each card on both the right and left side.

Step 3
Arrange each letter of ‘Mom to Be’ on a separate card. You can either use glue to attach the letters to the cards. Or as I prefer, to use small foam adhesive circles that give dimension to the letters.

Step 4
At the bottom of each card, glue on the trims and buttons of your choice.

Step 5
Thread the seam binding through all of the holes in the cards to hang the banner.

05_Paige Smith_Baby Shower_Mom to Be Chair Banner Decor06_Paige Smith_Baby Shower_Mom to Be Chair Banner Decor02_Paige Smith_Baby Shower_Mom to Be Chair Banner DecorLook….my cat Jasper photo bombed my picture! He was very interested in playing with the balloons and kept sneaking back into my shot. LOL


Rosanna’s Tablescape Contest

The winners for Rosanna’s Tablescape Contest have now all been announced. I did not place in the top 3 but was lucky to receive the only Honourable Mention and $50 gift card. Thank you Rosanna! Looking forward to picking out something special on I truly loved creating this tablescape and can’t wait to celebrate Easter in a few weeks! Here was my submission:

“My inspiration of an Easter-theme table for my girlfriends to celebrate Easter with a weekend brunch features our favorite furry animal — bunny rabbits! An image of a bunny is featured on the gallery wall, linen napkins at each place setting and a life-sized rabbit figurine makes a whimsical visit to our table. Each guest is treated to a vanilla strawberry cupcake, which is displayed under a glass dome and elevated on a Rosanna Décor Bon Bon Hue Mini Pedestal stand. Decorated Easter eggs are sprinkled around the table for a final special touch.”

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Family Reunion

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Chairish Mix n Chic Style Challenge

A little while ago, the good people at Chairish reached out to me and asked if I would like to participate in their exclusive Mix n Chic Style Challenge. To be honest, I had never heard of Chairish before, which is an exclusive, curator approved, online marketplace for vintage and used furniture. Well, hello, nice to meet you! I quickly said ‘yes’ and I am really excited that they thought I was a good fit to take on their blogger challenge. Plus, they have the most amazing furniture and decorative pieces to choose from, it was so much fun pulling the style board together. The hardest part was making up my mind!

So what is the Mix n Chic Challenge? The challenge is to mix and match Shabby Chic into a room of my choice featuring items from Chairish. I chose the French settee as the foundation of my design in which to build everything else around it. Funny enough, the timing of this blogger challenge has been perfect because I have been wanting to figure out how to decorate the sitting area space just adjacent to our kitchen. There is already a linen covered settee in the area and I keep having this vision of creating a gallery wall above it with all of my vintage pictures and treasures.

Chairish_Blogger Challenge

1 – Vintage French Settee with New Linen Upholstery
I absolutely adore this settee as its a bit more curvy than the one I currently have. It is key that it is upholstered in a neutral linen colour because it makes it easy to swap in and out throw pillows from season to season — which is a big deal for me. I would rather spend a few dollars to buy some new pillows than fork out bigger bucks because I am ‘tired’ of a large investment piece. And believe me, us designer people can get tired of things pretty quickly.

2 – Shabby Chic Beachy Lamps
Wow! Check out these vibrant and bold indigo blue lamp shades. Now I must admit I have done a switch-a-roo here, as I swapped out the original rattan bases for the other mid-century white ones that I liked better (see below). But this is the great thing about vintage lamps. If it comes with shades or a base not to your liking, it is so easy to swap out either of them and it changes the look instantly. In fact, I love the contrast of the mid-century look with the beach-inspired lamp shades. I think they look amazing together!

3 – White Mid-Century Table Lamp
I am usually not attracted to mid-century pieces, but I just love the graphic pattern and visual weight of this lamp. White is such a great neutral that it can be mixed and matched with anything of different styles.

4 – Gold Wash Leaf Ash Tray
Eeks! I picked this out and then realized later, ‘Oh my goodness, it’s a bloody ashtray!’ No smokers in this house, but I figure ‘why not’. It brings a touch of nature and the perfect little place to keep things, like a set of keys.

5 – Decorative Piece of Coral
My fiancé loves to scuba dive so this is a small memento to remind him of his many trips and bring the sea a bit closer to him everyday.

6 – French Country Round Butler Accent Table
I know it’s a sin to be ‘too matchy-matchy’ but I really love how the blue of these tables ties in with the lampshades as well as the Paris sign. I love the overall balance that is achieved with the matching side tables and lamps. And with the central focus of the round mirror in the middle of the wall, it really makes my inner Libra a very happy and balanced girl.

7 – Hierarchy Accent Pillow
I love crowns and I love hearts, so this pillow is the cutest thing ever! I am a very picky colour person and red must be one of the colours I do not like at all. But in this small dose, it adds a bit of ‘pop’ and is a symbol of my love for my sweetie.

8 – Postal De La Tour Designer Pillows (Pair)
One of my very first jobs during college was at a stamp & coin shop. I never collected stamps or coins as a kid, but I definitely grew to appreciate it. I love being surrounded by things that have meaning to me. To some people, objects are just things, but to me they are a reflection and reminder of who I am.

9 – Painted Round Wood Mirror
I own a very similar round mirror currently sitting in storage. Now that I have done this style board, I definitely need to get it out and up on my wall.

10 – Ozark Folk Art Antique Tin Letter ‘S’
I love that these have been made with vintage ceiling tin tiles. The rusty colour of the letters tie in beautifully with the brown wood frame of the settee.

11 – Milk Glass Decorative Plate
I collect vintage fine bone china saucers so instead of a milk glass plate, I would hang up a plate of fine china with beautiful satin ribbon for some romantic charm.

12 – French Porcelain Enamel Street Sign
Many years ago I was lucky enough to spend 3 weeks in Paris visiting a girlfriend. This charming sign is the perfect reminder of my time walking the streets of Paris.

13 – Large Retro Light Up Marquee Ampersand Sign
How cool is this? Great for adding some sparkle and ambience.

14 – Ozark Folk Art Antique Tin Letter ‘R’

15 – Large White Concrete Deer Wall Mount
When I was a kid, I always thought it was creepy to have heads of dead things on the wall. Funny how tastes can change and deer heads have become a design decor staple. At least I can sleep at night knowing that this guy is made of concrete and was never alive in the first place.

16 – Nuvolette Wallpaper – Cole and Son
I have been crushing on this wallpaper design for a while now. I thought it was just a phase and then I would be wanting something else, but it has definitely stuck with me and still on my ‘love/want’ list. The name of this wallpaper design is called ‘Nuvolette’ and it is a smaller version of Cole & Son’s existing Nuvole design. It comes in three colour ways but my favourite is still the black and white version which is so striking like a stormy sky at sea.

A big thank you goes out to Chairish for this wonderful opportunity to create a Mix n Chic style board. In fact, this has been my very first blogger challenge and the first time I have created a style board with furniture and home decor accessories. I loved every minute of it and can’t wait to start creating my gallery wall/seating area in real life!


Au Lit Fine Linens

At the end of April, I went through the process of applying for a senior graphic design position with a bedding company called Au Lit Fine Linens. The role was to manage the brand online, in print and everything in-store as well. I absolutely adore the brand which is so elegant and beautiful with a French sophistication and was thrilled for the opportunity. As part of the interview process, I was asked to design a print ad, create a blog post and photograph my bed to showcase my skills and abilities for the position. It was so much fun and the following images are the results of my effort — styling and photography.

Before and AfterLuckily, I really love my bed with the tufted upholstery headboard, so this was an easy assignment to do. I have always wanted to put up wallpaper to create an accent wall in my bedroom, so this was my chance to see what ‘Petal Pusher’ by Oh Joy would look like. Fantastic! And yes, that is my baby stuffed bunny.

The idea behind the blog post was featuring Au Lit products, such as a new embroidery pattern. In this case, I used my own shams and duvet with a ‘Laurel’ pattern for illustrative purposes. By promoting new products, it is an opportunity to inspire customers on how to create their own bedscape, just like they would see in the store. Just by swapping out pillows and accessories, it showed how the pattern was so versatile integrating into so many different looks.

Although I was told I was ‘far and away our top candidate’, the company ultimately decided to outsource the role to a branding & marketing agency. I must be honest and say that I was really sad for missing out on this dream-job opportunity. I do wish the owner of Au Lit Fine Linens much success and I appreciate that they will keep me top of mind for freelance work in the future.

Treasure Hunting in Munich

At this time last year, I was in Munich, Germany, visiting a good friend of mine. It was just before Easter and it was such a delight to see all of the stores decorated with bunnies and colourful eggs. So now this year, Easter here in Canada is reminding me of my time in Germany.

Of course wherever I go, I just love checking out the local flea markets. Although I had to venture out on my own that day and I don’t speak one word of German, I managed to find the flea market at Olympia Park and purchase a few finds.

Paige Smith_Fleamarket_IMG_1974This outside flea market is on the parking lot grounds of a sport stadium and it was row upon row of merchants selling stuff out of their vehicle. Generally, there has never been a flea market I did not like, but I must say that my first impression of this flea market seemed ‘trashy’. Luckily, as I went deeper into the market, things got better and I found a few treasures that caught my eye.

Paige Smith_Fleamarket_IMG_1970These huge gold candle holders might seem a bit over-the-top on their own, but I could envision them transformed with a new coat of spray paint in a trendy colour. Or even black to take them to being classy and elegant. But alas, they were GIANT and looked like they weighed a ton so they definitely did not come home with me.

Paige Smith_Fleamarket_IMG_1971
Everywhere I went, I saw tons and tons of mounted animal skulls. Seeing the sheer amount of so many seemed a bit creepy at first. But they eventually grew on me and I packed a little guy with me in my suitcase (not shown here).
Paige Smith_Fleamarket_IMG_1972Paige Smith_Fleamarket_IMG_1977Paige Smith_Fleamarket_IMG_1995
 Later that day, I stumbled across an antique store in the heart of Munich. Everything in this store seemed like it was hundreds of years old, and it most likely was. I also got the feeling that everything was worth a gazillion dollars which was a sharp contrast from being at the flea market. I instantly fell in love with this dresser of drawers and the tassels hanging from the giant keys. I think it would be the perfect statement piece in any room of the house. I have yet to see anything close to this in Canada. But when I do, it will be a glorious day!

My Favourite Flea Market Find

I was asked by my friend Janine of  Uppercase Magazine to share the most memorable or meaningful thing that I have found while scavenging. Thanks for thinking of me — I am the perfect person to ask this question!

Paige Smith_Uppercase_MG_0815But then I quickly realized how hard it was going to be! For someone who has ‘scavenged’ at flea markets all over the world and I am fortunate to have found so many meaningful things on my travels — how do I just pick one thing? For a collector (and hoarder) like me, it was a tough assignment. Is it going to be my stuffed toy bunny from Paris? Or the celestial prints from New York? After much debate, I submitted the following…

Paige Smith_Uppercase_MG_9412In 1998, I worked in Stockholm for three months. At the Loppmarknaden located in Vårberg, I discovered a large black folio titled ‘Kasvisto’. I had no idea what the title meant until I opened it and found a collection of pressed flowers and plants from the 1950’s. It reminded me of when I was a little girl and how much I loved collecting pretty flowers from the garden and pressing them in between large stacks of phone books. I was so happy to bring the folio home with me and is a dear reminder of my time in Sweden.

Paige Smith_Uppercase_MG_0840Have you heard of Uppercase Magazine? It is a magazine for the creative and curious which was founded in 2009 by publisher, editor and designer Janine Vangool. It has been so inspiring for me to see this publication take flight from day one. And it is really impressive that Janine ‘wears pretty much every hat imaginable’ to make each issue happen. If you have the chance, pick one up if you can — it will truly inspire you to create and spark the courage to live your creative life to the fullest!
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Available in Chapters/Indigo stores across Canada and many other independent locations here in Toronto including: Good Egg, Kid IcarusSwipe Books and Type Books.

Xmas Treasure in Dubai

It was such a pleasant surprise when I was contacted by a picture editor from a magazine called Emirates Woman located in Dubai. The magazine was doing a feature on festive christmas wrappings and she asked permission to use an image from a previous post called X-mas Treasures.
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