Are you searching for a last-minute decor idea for your table or tree this Christmas?? Come on by and check out this super easy one that will have your home looking (and smelling) fantastic in just minutes!!

A gorgeous set of orange pomanders

A gorgeous set of orange pomanders

If you haven’t heard of orange pomanders before be assured they are amazing and you’ll love them! I remember seeing them and hearing about them from my Grandma and her friends. I’ve seen gorgeous photos of them all over the web and have always wanted to make some. So this year we decided to give them a try! And they were so easy and fun for the whole family to make!!

The joy of creating!

The joy of creating!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Oranges (clementines, tangerines, etc.)
Whole cloves

orange and cloves

Optional:
Toothpicks or other sharp tool
3 Tbs. ground cinnamon
3 Tbs. ground cloves
3 Tbs. ground nutmeg
3 Tbs. ground ginger
3 Tbs. orris root powder (dried and ground root of certain iris’ used as a fixative)  Although I have a couple sitting in my office that are a couple of years old and had no fixative used and they still smell great!

Directions:
1. Pick out orange with good solid rind. I picked up a bag of Cuties the other day and not only were they delicious but just the right size for little hands.
2. Decide what pattern or design you’d like to make. You can draw it on beforehand or just ‘wing it’ and see where your imagination takes you! (Anyone else like the idea of planning when it comes to crafty projects – but secretly you’d rather just see what happens?) :) If you are going to hang it sometimes it’s easier to attach the ribbon or thread before you start placing the cloves.

Hole poked with toothpick pre-clove

Hole poked with toothpick pre-clove

3. If your orange rind isn’t too tough you can simply push them through the rind by hand in whatever design you like. If it’s too tough or your little ones need some help you can use a toothpick or other piercing device to make a small hole so that the clove pushes in more easily.

Tiny hand pushing in clove

Tiny hand pushing in clove

(or if your kids are anything like my helper, they may just enjoy playing with the toothpicks!)

Concentrating hard on her craft!

Concentrating hard on her craft!

Be careful as the whole cloves can be very sharp. My fingers have built up a tolerance from all of the cloves that we use here in the shop though. Here are a few examples of some designs that the tiniest Spice Grove and I came up with!

4. Step back and enjoy your work!
5. Let the orange dry for 2-3 weeks in a dry place. A sunny window is the perfect place! If you want you can let it dry in a delicious spice mix of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and orris root powder. The mix will add an even more delicious smell to your beautiful orange. If you do this last step, just turn the orange in the spice mix every day or so, so that it gets coated evenly. (Sadly I don’t have any photos of this last step as I was too anxious to get this post done and share it with you!

Pomander display in a deep vase

Pomander display in a deep vase

Have fun with it and get creative! Remember there is no wrong way to make these! They will look (and smell) gorgeous in a simple bowl on your holiday table or hanging on your tree! The beauty is they will last for years!! If you’re really prepared you could have these made up early and give them as gifts for the Holidays. I’d love to see photos if anyone tries these out!

Our smiley face and toothpick pomander!  He may just be my favorite!

Our smiley face and toothpick pomander! He may just be my favorite!

I know there are only 6 days until Christmas – but I wish you peace and joy this wonder filled week before Christmas! Take time to enjoy and see the little miracles!

Blessings friends,

CharlotteCharlotte

As we count down to moving day – my time is getting more and more scarce. But I wanted to keep the blog going strong so we are going to ‘recycle’ an older DIY candle post that is perfect for Autumn!! I always seem to have at least a few of these tiny pumpkins on hand this time of year and you have to see their amazing transformation!

Pumpkin Spice Candles

Pumpkin Spice Candles

With only 5 easy steps you can make delicious spiced pumpkin candles out of those adorable tiny pumpkins that you have! Just click HERE to see our Scented Pumpkin Candle post. Have fun and let us know if you try this one out!!

Pumpkin Spice Candles

Now back to packing for me!! But make sure to tune in next week for an amazing opportunity to be an angel to some deserving military families this Veteran’s Day!!

Blessings to you friends, and happy candle making!

CharlotteCharlotte

Coming next week!!
We are so excited to add a new ‘branch’ to our Spice Grove Designs forest!!
What will it be?
Tune in next week for the big launch!!

The New Branch

You won’t want to miss the HUGE giveaway that’s coming next week too!! We will even have 3 huge winners so you’ll have 3 chances to win!! Yay – we only have to keep the secret for one more week!!

Have a great week friends and we will see you back here for the BIG reveal!!

Blessings,
Charlotte
Charlotte

In keeping with our series theme of “using what you have,” welcome to our autumn DIY post! I hope you’ll enjoy these easy and low-cost ideas for freshening up your Fall table! Read on to see our 5 simple table centerpieces!

1. Use what is in your yard. Since we live in the desert our yard is mainly rock with a few cactus and other desert plants. Our girls are constantly bringing me rocks to add to their collections so one day we decided to see how they would look as a centerpiece.

Rocks
Using the rocks and a few pinecones that I’ve collected over the years we were able to make a simple and rustic centerpiece that was FREE and took only about 2 minutes. (More if you are having fun looking at the rocks with your little ones!!)
Rocks and Pinecones
2. Nature provides us with so much beauty, why not use some of it inside your home? Whether you have a herb garden with some fragrant lavender, some mini pumpkins or beautiful branches lying around your home don’t be afraid to use them!! Get creative and see where your imagination takes you!
LavenderPumpkins or flowersBranches
3. Now as much as I love the branches and pinecones, the desert doesn’t provide many of these naturally so I have taken to using what grows naturally here.
Prickly pear
I found these amazing prickly pear fruit in our front yard and just simply arranged them in this large cylindrical vase. Again, super quick, easy and FREE!! (Important note!!! Make sure you are wearing thick gloves to handle these little guys as they have amazingly small little needles on them!!)

Prickly pearPrickly Pear
4. Another sweet idea is to take a peek into your spice cabinet and see what whole spices you have available!

SpicesThen take the lovely seeds and berries and let them arrange themselves into whatever container or bowl you have available. Now you have a beautiful and fragrant centerpiece that evokes the scents of Fall all found in your own kitchen for FREE! (My favorite Fall scents to use are probably, cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice, star anise, and rose hips for a splash of Autumn color!) Buying these in bulk or online will save you money if you want to purchase more than just a little bit!
Pinecones and Spice BallsRosemary and cranberriesCloseup pinecones and spice balls
Besides the spices, I also love using some coffee beans or natural herbs from our garden in various vases!!

5. The last idea features one of our rustic spiced candle wreaths. I love that they have four different uses! (candle wreath, napkin holder, flower holder or vase decor) I’ll show you how I used the wreath in a vase decor and flower holder here.
IMG_0079closeup of vase with candle wreath
Now since we don’t have abundant flowers here in the desert I just used some tiny little ‘weeds’ that the girls are always bringing in. They are just the perfect size for the tiny votive candle holder and the yellow looks so pretty with the Fall hued candle wreath!
I also made a tiny centerpiece with just the wreath and the flowers. I know it won’t last long but we loved the understated look of this one. (our household thrives on simplicity and creativity!)
Candle wreath with flowers
I truly hope that some of these easy tips and ideas will spark your imagination and let you come up with some new Autumn decor for your own table! I’d love to see pictures if you do!

Autumn Blessings to you friends,

Charlotte
Charlotte

A big ‘Welcome’ to Fall and all of it’s amazing colors, scents and weather!! I can’t think of anything I don’t like about Autumn! So here are some of my favorite inspiring quotes and photos of this lovely Season!
Welcome Autumn“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
Albert Camus
Fall Colors
“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
Pumpkin quotes
“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.” [Indian Summer]
William Cullen Bryant

Fall Hiking

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.” [Notebook, Oct. 10, 1842]
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The American Notebooks
Autumn log
“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.”
Jim Bishop

Spiced Fall Mini Wreath

I hope that you are enjoying your first week of Fall and that these words and photos have brought a smile to your face!! Have a wonderful week friends! Let us know what your favorite thing about Fall is in the comments below!!

Blessings,
Charlotte
Charlotte

Welcome to the new blog series titled ‘Use What You Have!’

Use What You Have

I am so excited to share a special collection of all things inspirational for your Heart and Home! This new weekly/bi-weekly series will feature so many wonderful ideas you won’t want to miss a moment! Just some of the ideas I have planned for you are:

~Gorgeous DIY Home Decor Ideas using things you ALREADY have!

~Easy, Healthy Recipes using what is ALREADY in your pantry!

~Inspirational stories and thoughts to uplift your spirit!

~FREE tutorials! (These will make your Holiday parties so special!)

~Amazing guests!

~Festive Holiday ideas and Gift Guides!

~And MORE!!!! (giveaways too!!)

I’m so thankful for all of you and that you took the time to stop by! Do you have a recipe or awesome DIY you’d like to share with us? Just contact us here!! (or leave a comment below)

Have a beautiful day friends!
Blessings to you,

 

Charlotte
Charlotte

A gorgeous rose in Mom's garden

A gorgeous rose in Mom’s garden

Mother’s Day.
What does that mean to you?

Flowers, chocolate, a meal out, a Hallmark card, a nap (my personal favorite?)

Or is it a job description? Taxi driver, short order cook, nurse, laundry service, counselor, nightmare comforter, supporter, cheerleader?

While ‘thank-you’ will never ever be enough to voice our appreciation for all our Mom’s do for us….here’s my feeble attempt at doing just that! I hope you enjoy!

Here are some of my favorite things my Mom taught me that still ring true today, whether in my family life or in business.

~ Have more faith than fear.
My Mom, while not perfect, really tried/try’s to walk her journey of Faith out. I don’t remember any morning growing up that didn’t start with her doing a devotion and talking to God. This was regardless of good or bad times our family was having. How this still inspires and challenges me. Taking a step of Faith, knowing that someone is there to catch you is never a bad idea……even if you fall you’ve learned something you’d never otherwise learned!

Mom and I enjoying Nature

Mom and I enjoying nature!

~ Appreciate Nature and all of Creation.
I credit my Mom with the sense of wonder I have for Nature. Whether we were up to our elbows in plaster of paris taking a tracking sample, or hiking in the mountains or camping under the stars, she always approached the outdoors with a passion and reverence that has rubbed off on both of her children. My love of flowers and growing things stems from my Grandmother’s love of her rose garden and the memories of my Mom fighting the big fat tomato caterpillar worms in our large vegetable garden. How wonderful these dirt filled memories are! (I still catch myself singing an old girl scout song to my girls that Mom us kids used to sing while hiking……)

~ Show kindness, no matter how small it may seem.
My Mom was always the first to reach out when someone was hurting. Whether it was baking a casserole or driving kids where they needed to go she was always willing to help out. She taught us to think of others first. Even when we didn’t have much we learned to give first!

~ Hold tight to your family, through good and bad.
These are the folks that will be there through good, bad and otherwise. No one has the perfect family of course, but we all have the people with us to teach us the lessons we need to learn. The folks that know us at our best and our worst and still love us anyway!

~ Learn how to do it on your own.
My Mom was great at encouraging us to try things on our own – to make mistakes while thinking for ourselves. With trial and error came creativity, thinking out of the box, and learning to deal with failure and success.

~ Follow your dreams, they will lead to an amazing life!
My parents both encouraged us to follow dreams that fueled our passions. Now that I’m a Mom too, I can only imagine how it tugged at my Mom’s heart when I announced that I had decided on being a music major in college, yet she rarely voiced her concerns, but let me find out what chasing that dream meant.

Another rose from Mom's garden

Another rose from Mom’s garden

I have been truly blessed with an amazing Mother and I’m thankful for everyday that I can learn from her wisdom and bravery. She has no idea how strong she is, but I’ll always pray she knows how very beloved she is……

I love you Mom…..and I pray that I can pass on these lessons to our girls as they grow up….

Our girls in my beloved Aspen trees....

Our girls in my beloved Aspen trees….

Wishing you all a beautiful Mother’s Day,
Charlotte
Charlotte

Ranunculus

Welcome to our DIY tutorial for how to make a beautiful and one of a kind ‘recycled garden!’

Here we’ll go through our easy steps of how we created a stunning garden in no time and with minimal expense!

Step 1

Decide what ‘look’ you are going for and find pieces/containers that match your style and plants you’ll be planting. Here we were looking for pieces that worked together, but had an old -time feel to them. (I let my girls pick some of the pieces out so it’s a bit more eclectic than I had envisioned! :) But I love how it turned out! We even found the ‘Reduce, Recycle, Reuse’ sign at a thrift store and added that to the garden!

Check all your local thrift stores and see what treasures jump out at you! Don’t forget to check Craigslist or your local Freecycle page for other local finds. (If you haven’t used Freecycle before I recommend checking it out! I’ve found some amazing ‘junk’ on there and I love being connected with others who also try to recycle things!)

Step 2

If your containers don’t have holes or a way for the water to drain out the bottom, make sure and drill holes in the bottom of the piece so the moisture has a place to go. (Holes about dime or penny size are good.)

We used a drill and dremel to accomplish this as we had a mix of metal and wood containers to drill. My sweet Hubby was so kind to help us with this task!

Step 3

Fill your container with good soil. I used an organic, non GMO soil made locally since we are growing edible yummies in the garden and it makes me so happy knowing we’ll have healthy, ‘good for us’ food in a bit!


Step 4

Plant your seeds or plants in your new beautiful gardens! We cheated this year and bought many of our plants already blooming or started since I was a bit late with this project this year! (Mental note….start in Feb. in the desert as the heat will be on us by late May!) But we did pick out some veggie seeds that will be going into the wooden munition boxes this week so I’ll have pictures of that soon!

Pictured below are some of the flowers that the girls and I chose. The gorgeous footlocker features sweet snapdragons, a geranium, 2 kinds of lavender and my favorite little ranunculus. The tall metal trash can is filled to the brim with a petunia and sweet little viola’s and johnny jump up’s. The vintage suitcase that I fell in love with now holds a strawberry patch on one side and a herb garden on the other! (Can you smell the delicious lemon thyme and pineapple sage from there??) The file cabinets and various recycled pots hold broccoli, yellow and orange peppers, sweet peas, tomatoes, and cucumbers. (Yum!) My youngest just loves the orange marigolds so we mixed those in with the rest of the pansies, violas and johnny jump up’s that we had left. The colander holds 2 adorable marigolds that were so easy and fun to plant. (Note of warning – don’t forget to water this one daily as the water drains so very well!!) One of my favorites was the up-cycled letter holder my Mother in law so sweetly gave me! (Hopefully she won’t mind this use of it!!) We put some ice plants and sweet little lobelia in there and it is just bursting with happiness!

The charm of these types of ‘container’ gardens is that you can make it meet your exact design preferences. If you love rustic designs, you can easily pick out/find older rustic looking containers to plant your garden in. Find old wooden signs and make your own planters from that. How about an old rusty tire rim? (Filled at the bottom of course so your dirt doesn’t escape.) Love the Victorian period?? Find some old teapots or china to use as planters. Or simply go ‘treasure’ hunting and see where your heart leads you!

Our cost so far has been – $60 for the planters. (This would have only been $30 but I found the wooden crates later on and just fell in love with them! The tops of the boxes we took off and they will be used for photo props for Spice Grove Designs!) The plants, seeds and soil cost around $150, but would have only been about $60 if I only had to buy seeds and soil instead of the established plants.

I was so thankful to get to do this with my girls not just to teach them about growing their own food and flowers, but to show them how creative we can be with reusing things!!

Little Gardeners

My amazing helpers!

I hope you enjoyed a walk through our recycled garden and we’d love to see pictures of your gardens! Let us know what you think! How are you recycling things in your garden?

As always, blessings to you friends,and happy gardening!Charlotte

PS. For some more inspiration from someone who is an actual gardener, make sure and check out our last post from our friend Emily at Fleuropean and the amazing difference she is making with her flowers!

Our happy Ranuculus!

Our happy Ranuculus!

Hellebores Headband from Fleuropean

Hellebores Headband from Fleuropean

As you know, we just love Nature and all the beauty found in her here at Spice Grove Designs! Two of the most important things that the business was founded on are sharing the beauty of Nature with others and helping others by giving back! That’s why I was so very excited to meet Emily from Fleuropean!! Not only does she make the most amazingly natural flower arrangements and bouquets, but her heart for others is inspiring! Her graciousness in ‘giving back’ has inspired thousands all over the globe to make others’ lives a bit brighter! Well, I could go on and on……. A big welcome to Emily and Fleuropean!……..(See if you can spot the strawberries, pears and blackberries in her beautiful bouquets!)

Hellebores Buttonhole

Hellebores Buttonhole

1.Please tell us a bit about yourself and your business.

Hi there! My name is Emily. Thanks so much, Charlotte, for the opportunity to share my passion for flowers with you and your followers. How fun!

I’m an ex-pat (originally from California) who uprooted everything shortly after graduating college to move abroad and start a new life with my (now) Dutch husband. About 5 years ago, we bought a rural farm nestled among the rolling hillsides of Belgium. Lucky for me, it came with grassland… some of which I chose to turn into my own little floral paradise.

What started with one flower border quickly grew throughout the years to a decent-sized cutting garden full of roses, dahlias, sweet peas, larkspur, clematis, annuals, and perennials. I enjoy challenging myself each year by trying out new flowers, starting lots of plants from seed, and experimenting with unique varieties. From gardening, a passion for flower arranging and floristry grew. Now, here I am, still working hard in the garden and enjoying using the fruits of my labor in bridal bouquets, birthday bouquets and seasonal arrangements.

2.What makes your business different from other floral shops/gardens?

The thing that makes Fleuropean most unique, I think, is my dedication to remaining personally involved in all aspects of my business. Especially here in Belgium, it’s hard to find a florist who grows their own flowers and strives to create natural-looking, freshly-picked arrangements. Without a little elbow grease, my business wouldn’t be what it is today.

3.What brings you joy/encouragement in your life and in creating your arrangements?

Being able to work in the garden, get my hands dirty, and then see the beauty that nature and I are able to create together… that’s what gives me most pleasure. Working in harmony with Mother Nature gives me never-ending inspiration, encouragement, and joy.

Pear Bouquet

Pear Bouquet

4.Can you tell us more about the lonely bouquets program that you started?

The Lonely Bouquet project grew (literally) straight from my garden. Faced with a surplus of flowers and the dreaded task of deadheading spent blooms, I looked for a way to use the excess flowers in a positive and productive way. After a bit of trial and error, I figured out a fun way to share the fun of flowers with locals… leaving little bouquets of fresh-cut flowers with “take me” tags attached scattered around local villages and cities.

Hoping to get lots of others involved, I created an “International Lonely Bouquet Day” and invited anyone to join in. Before I knew it, there were over 1,000 people all over the world who had signed up to participate. The Lonely Bouquet community has continued to grow since, and we’re already planning our second annual International Lonely Bouquet day for Sunday, June 29th, 2014. Woo-hoo! Maybe some of you guys want to join in as well? :)

5.If you had to choose just one of your arrangements as your favorite you’ve created/made, which one would it be?

Gosh… that’s such a tricky question. I guess my favorite arrangement would be the first of my “fruits and flowers” series, featuring pale pinks and strawberries.

6.What does a day in your garden look like?

Although it varies throughout the seasons, a day in my garden always starts out with a coffee in bed. :)

After I’ve had my fill of coffee and sweets, I head outside to take a peek at what needs to be done. The springtime garden is all about working the soil, spreading compost, starting seeds, and weeding. During the summer and autumn, garden work mostly consists of weeding, deadheading, and flower cutting before heading back inside to condition the flowers and arrange them into bouquets.


7.Where can our readers find you?

Other than my website, I’m most active on facebook. You can also always feel free to shoot me an e-mail at emily@fleuropean.com. I love hearing from fellow flower lovers and interacting with readers! (Make sure you check out the Lonely Bouquet Project on Facebook too for uplifting stories of flowers worldwide!)

Ombre Bouquet from Fleuropean

Ombre Bouquet from Fleuropean

I am truly blessed to have found such a wonderful friend in Emily and am so happy to be able to share her passion for flowers with you!! Let us know if you will be taking part in International Lonely Bouquet Day or just making someone’s day brighter today! Let’s all make a difference! (And someday, I will have to come have coffee with you and see your garden firsthand Emily!!)

Blessings to you friends,
Charlotte
Charlotte

PS. Make sure to tune in next week for a glimpse at how Emily inspired us to start our own garden!! (Be ready for some recycled beauties!)

ocotillo birds with Thoreau quote

As signs of Spring seem to be peeking out all over in the desert, I wanted to share with you a glimpse of our amazing views! We have 4 huge Ocotillo plants in back of our home and I was struck the other night at sunset with how much the budding blossoms look just like birds from a distance. Aren’t they amazing!?!

backyard birds

A close up of our ‘Ocotillo bird.’

backyard birds, ocotillo in bloom

The ‘flock’ at sunrise.

Perspective is everything isn’t it? Who knew the delight I’d find in some blooming cacti in the backyard? Here’s the important part though……I never would have seen this, or noticed had I not stopped for a second to really see!

From birds to the smallest details in life, so much of our outlook depends on how we perceive each situation we are given. Here’s hoping that you find inspiration and joy in the smallest parts of your vision today!!

sunrise ocotillo birds

Sunset as the 'flock' goes to sleep

Sunset as the ‘flock’ goes to sleep

Take a moment and stop to ‘see’ what you ‘see!!’ You just might find a flock of birds waiting for you!!

Blessings to you friends,
Charlotte

Charlotte

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