Setting a holiday dinner party table.

This post is sponsored by Staples.

One of my favorite shows on tv is House Hunters.  If you haven’t seen it, the premise is a buyer(s) looks at three houses for sale and buys one at the end. It’s always interesting to listen the prospective buyer’s comments.  9 times out of 10 they talk about what a great entertaining space the living room or dining room would be.  When the Mr. and I were house hunting we said the same thing.  The funny thing is we are so not the entertaining type.  Family life has consumed us.  We’re all concerned about making a comfortable space for our guests that we have over once or twice a year.  I’m curious, how often do you people host a party?

 Even though we’re not the “let’s throw a party” type we do we try and make it special when we actually host guests.
Luckily Staples approached me and asked if I’d like to participate in their holiday hack challenge called #HandmadeHolidays with some items of my choosing from their store .
I was a little skeptical…décor it up from an office supply store? Hmmm?
However, after doing some shopping at their store I could have gone a hundred different directions on making something cool for the holidays.
So I decided to throw our once-a-year party…Staples style!


The first thing I did was cover the table with brown Kraft paper.  Not only does it look cool but it makes a perfect disposable table runner.



Kraft paper is the best supply EVER! I use it for table runners, art paper for my kids, wrapping paper and décor.   I even put it down on the floor as a protector if I have workers in the house doing maintenance.  It’s just so versatile.
If you’re going to use it to wrap presents I would recommend a 40# weight. 30# works but can be just a tad thin for my liking.

Next up: DIY place cards.

pine cone place card

Staples carries these very chic jumbo gold paper clips.
Using my glue gun I attached them to some pine cones I picked up in my yard (feel free to come get some, I’ve got about 500).
Next, I found these cool stencil letters from Staples which were perfect for designating the first letter of the name for where everyone was supposed to sit.


Some of the pine cones sat lop-sided so I put a little dab of hot glue down right under the pine cone then they sat perfectly. You can also put them in a small glass tea-light holder.

For the center pieces I used these mini trees.  The containers weren’t very pretty.  No worries, more Kraft paper to the rescue!

Faux brown bag container

1. Put a large Ziploc baggie around the container so the moisture doesn’t leak.
2. Wrap Kraft paper around the container and tie it up with twine. You can leave it like this however, it took up too much space on the table with the paper wings sticking out.
3. Roll the paper “wings” down and under to mimic the look of a rolled down paper bag.

The holidays about giving.  A special gift left at your guests table setting doubles as table décor.

PicMonkey Collage


I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. I can’t stand gift bags, they are so impersonal. No one wraps presents anymore.
Julie Andrews was right on when she sung, “Brown paper packages tied up with string…these are a few of my favorite things.” Mine too sis-tah!

1. I used my favorite Kraft paper to wrap up the gift.
2. I found this Bordette at Staples which teachers often use on their classroom bulletin boards.
3. I cut the scalloped edge off to make a present wrapping accessory.
4. In addition to Kraft paper being one of the most versatile materials ever I will also say that brown twine ranks up there too. I use it for everything.
5. I cut a little sprig of this whatever-bush-it-is from my front yard to garnish my gift and table with.


Another one of my secrets for adding flowers to a table on the cheap…

Bud vase
You can often find grocery store flowers that are really inexpensive. By breaking them up and putting them in small bud vases you can make several small arrangements.



I’m also sold on desert being something de-lish but simple. I found these glass cups of chocolate mousse at a wharehouse grocery store.

I put them at each place setting with dinner…that way people could indulge when they were ready. Plus it wasn’t something major I had to make a big production of after the meal.


Party went off without a hitch.
If you don’t have a Staples store close to where you are you can always order from their online store.

Feeling furniture restless.

At this point you’ve probably guessed that I change up my rooms.
A lot.
I’m starting to wonder if there may be some underlying physcological something-or-other about needing to constantly change up one’s space?
Until I’m clinically diagnosed I’ll be moving more of my furniture around.

The Mr. and I have been loving our new bedroom.
(Our youngest loves it too…I find him in my bed every morning).

I scored these night stands at a yard sale for $10.00 each.  I then painted them Rustoleum’s Hunter Green.


Although I love them I decided to see how well a couple of end tables would look that I got from The Company Store a few months ago.


I never intended them to go in our bedroom but they actually feel better visually.


The room is 1970′s small. The green night stands are great but they were stuffed in there.
The wire stands give the space just a little more breathing room.

For now, they’re working for me.
Don’t hold me to that next month.

See the full room reveal here.

Photos by: Allison Bills Photography

*I received these tables from The Company Store to review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

Room updates with Lulu and Georgia

Thank you everyone for your kind comments about our lovely new bedroom makeover. We are loving the new room although pretty much anything would have been an upgrade compared to what it looked like previously.  One of the reasons it takes me SO LONG to pull a room together is I don’t have an unlimited budget.  I guess could be tempted to spend my boys college fund but then I remember I’m a grown up and have to be responsible.
The reality is I have to collect and DIY things over time.  One of the things I’ve missed having is a bench at the foot of the bed.
The fab online store Lulu and Georgia sent their Lovisa Bench to incorporate in to our home.
They have also been so gracious to extend a 20% discount to my loyal readers (use code 4MEN1LADY20).


I also got their Acrylic Sheepskin to add some softness.


I have always admired and wanted this classic bench.


It’s been 95% perfect…the other 5% is my own fault.
Got up in the middle of the night and walked right in to the thing, except if felt more like I was doing wind sprints and ran in to the thing.
My shin was crying.
Then the next night, same stinkin’ thing!  I’m usually not that slow at learning lessons, except if it’s at 2:36am.
First thing the next morning it got moved.
Now it’s here:


…and I love it even more.



While I was photographing, this little man comes through, clueless that I’m taking pictures, totally in his own world with his Kendama.  (I didn’t stop him).  Have your kids gotten in to this latest craze? He’s Kendama-ing first thing out of bed and last thing before bed.


I could fill every corner of my house with Lulu and Georgia goods.
Don’t forget to use code 4MEN1LADY20 when you click over to Lulu and Georgia for your 20% discount.

*I received the Lulu and Georgia bench and throw to review.  All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.*