Made in Oregon

I’m in Portland for the next week or so, visiting family and friends, and generally getting my hipster on.

Looking for suggestions of bars/restaurants/stores during the visit.

So far we have tried to get into Tasty ‘n Sons and successfully ate at Doug Fir at East Burn (loved it). I haven’t hit up shopping yet and I’m just chomping at the bit to find new things to hoard. So please, any and all suggestions are helpful. For instance, is there any flea market here at all? I’ll hit up The Good Mod, Stars Antique Mall, the Hollywood district and the Pearl, Hawthorne, but any new indie stores that I should check out would be great.

Oh, and I’ll drool at clothes at Frances May, per usual. Still seriously regretting not buying the Suno Floral jumper that I tried on last year. Sadly the $800 price tag was about $700 more than I wanted to pay, but if I had a penny for every time I’ve thought about that jumper I would have 500 pennies, which would make the price come down to $795, which is starting to sound just WAY more affordable.

Also, any fun nighttime activities — dancing, shows, performance venues we should know about?

Follow me on twitter, em_henderson and instagram emhenderson (I know, I know) in case you are a voyeur like me. Expect my usual obsession with this city and me screaming, “Why don’t I live here?”

And to all a good night

Wishing all of you and yours the merriest of days.

Here’s a video from our holiday dinner party  we had a while ago. It’s never too soon to relive some fun.

Video by Kasandra Baruch. Thank you soooo much!

Don’t forget that you have ’til New Year’s Eve to enter the mantel styling contest to win a dope ass vintage brass trunk side table. We have 122 entries already, and some are pretty awesome. All you have to do is upload a photo of your mantel. That’s it. Then people vote and I pick = five winners total.

Off to pack for my trip — Portland, I’m looking at you.

Ten Last-Minute Gifts You Can Buy [For Me, Orlando] at the Hardware Store

Dear Santa and Emily,

Christmas is, like, right now. Which means it’s time for frenetic last-minute gift buying. Are you stumped on where to find a present for me? I know I’m hard to buy for, but you really needn’t look to far to find the perfect present. One of my favorite places to shop is Koontz Hardware in West Hollywood. They have EVERYTHING there, stacked from floor level all the way up to the ceiling. It’s one of those old-timey hardware stores that has a little bit of everything, from toasters to tool bags. Koontz is so glamorous that you can even spot Academy Award winning actress Halle Berry there, looking for an extension cord. She’s pictured here exiting Koontz:

Now onto the gifts. The first thing that pops into my mind when I think of hardware store gifts is a fiddle-leaf fig tree. Yes, they are ubiquitous these days, but they are so pretty. And who wouldn’t want to get a gorgeous plant for Christmas?

 

Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree, $16.98

And then one day the fiddle leaf fig will grow big and tall like this and your friend will thank you:

Now, this next one is a very specific gift that would make a great host gift, but only for a very specific type of person. And by “specific type of person” I mean me. I love to clean and I love cleaning supplies that smell good. Like these beauties from Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day. It seems weird to give cleaning supplies as a gift, but if you put these in an attractive container (like a vintage galvanized bucket), cleaning nerds like me will get a big kick out of getting them as a gift.

Meyer’s Clean Day Products, $3.99 – $7.99

Also, glamorous cleaning supplies are the gift keeps on giving, every time you clean your sparkling bathroom:

Also fun for cleaning nerd are the adorable dish scrubbers from Boston Warehouse:

Octopus Dish Scrubber, $7.99

Bee Glass Scrub Brush, $7.99

Do you have a friend who owns a dresser with ugly hardware but you’re too scared to tell him/her? Well, a nice way of doing this is to buy them new drawer pulls that look like lion heads. I love these:

Classic Accent Brass Drawer Pull, $1.98

And look how glamorous they look on this chest of drawers:

For a cute stocking stuffer, try these brass swivel hooks. They’re actually designed to rope horses or tie down a sailboat (I think), but Emily likes to use them as key rings.

Brass Swivel Hook (Keychain), $3.21

There are often a variety at the hardware store, or you could rush-ship these from Etsy.

Brass Swivel Hook Keychain, $5

For the analog cook in your life, grab this magnetic timer. When it’s not telling you the pie is done, it serves as a colorful magnet for your fridge.

Magnetic Kitchen Timer, $17

Who wouldn’t want to receive a bonsai tree as a gift? I love these three, all available at Home Depot.

Fukien Tea Bonsai, $33.97

Maple Forest Bonsai, $79.95

Green Mound Juniper Bonsai, $32.97

I know you think it would be boring to get a toaster for Christmas. But you’re wrong. I’ve been obsessed with this toaster forever and I want it. And you can find them at glamorous hardware stores everywhere. They totally cost a million dollars but they’re worth it.

Dualit Toaster, $259

I have this bag. And I bought it at Koontz. This bag makes a great briefcase or computer bag. And, GASP, it can also serve as a tool bag. Perfect for the rustic guy in your life who wants to feel cool even if he’s just going to his boring corporate job.

Klein Tool Bag, $85

After a few years it will look like this. Like fine cheese or Meryl Streep, it gets better with age.

 

If I ever buy a mixer for Emily, I think it will be this one. I feel like she must have had something to do with this specific color of berry pink.

Kitchen Aid Mixer in Raspberry Pink, $399.99 

For the tech geek in your life, this power strip will provide hours of entertainment. I have it, and I find myself staring at it fondly, asking it questions, and wondering if it will finally take me to prom this year.

Kikkerland Electroman Power Stip, $14.99

Another lovely plant to give is the maidenhair fern. Emily and I aren’t good at keeping these things alive. They like to dry up and die, resenting us for not watering them enough.

 

Maiden Hair Fern, $13.58

You can also put them in a giant cloche. And then you can pretend you’re in “Beauty and the Beast” and that when the last leaf falls off you will be alone forever.

So, there you have it. Ten gifts you can get at the hardware store. I’ll take one of each.

Thanks!

Orlando

Read more posts by Orlando at Hommemaker

Mantel Styling contest Update

You are welcome, lucky reader. I mean, I’m pretty much the Mother Theresa of vintage furniture. The Santa Clause of Antiques. Or maybe Brian’s holding the phone, with his finger on the “Hoarders” producer speed dial number … Regardless, I’m giving this amazing trunk away to the winner of my facebook mantel styling contest.  Read all the details on my Holiday Mantel Styling Post.

You know who else has a lot of great pieces who is awesome? This chick:

 

I mean, look at her stuff. Isn’t it neat? Wouldn’t you think her collections complete? NO, Ariel, it’s never complete. Keep collecting until stupid Eric buys you some real estate on Beverly and La Brea and you can finally open that store you’ve always wanted to.

I’m on day four at Disneyworld, obviously. But many of you do know my affinity for the brilliance that is “The Little Mermaid.” I wish I could say that my friends Scott, Orlando and Corbett don’t all know the lyrics of that song and don’t sing it all the time. But we do, and we do.

AHEM.

I am very excited about all the mantels that have been submitted already for the mantel styling contest. Some of them are pretty awesome and I’ve already gotten a few really good ideas. It’s weird that sometimes as a designer you overthink things and you don’t see really great, really simple ideas that are kind of genius. So I decided to post some of those ideas right here, right now, to try to entice even MORE of you to join and if not, at least participate by voting for your favorite.

Plus, aren’t just curious about seeing inside strangers’ houses? Don’t let your inner voyeur down. I know that THOUSANDS of people read this blog a day and only hundreds have voted. Come now. VOTE.  I’d be the worst politician. My speeches would consist of me just saying, “C’mon. Just vote guys, other people are. C’mon!” But seriously, c’mon …

Here are some good simple ideas that I’m liking:

 

Ornaments on top of glass bottles. I haven’t done that before and it’s a pretty great simple idea. So cute and totally makes sense. It’s like little baby heads on the top of some short/fat or tall/skinny bottles. The effect is pretty great for how inexpensive it is. (By Shauna Mallloux)

It’s just paper, cotton, a retro style garland, and a vintage frame. This mantel is extremely inexpensive and yet totally great. I love so much about it. (By Melissa Lee and her blog is RestockVintage)

I’m not sure if these are paper cutouts, but if they are, then that is a very simple way to adorn a mantel. You could make these from projections of classic silhouettes. Simple mirror, simple black and white color palette, some glitter and you are good to go. (From Doreen Cagno from Hymnes and Versus)

This one has the fabric strips as the garland and the idea of it — instead of garland — is great and I might steal it. OOh, with cute vintage fabric mixed with metallics? Done. (By Jana Roach)

Another very simple idea with a branch/mobile. The rest of the pieces look purchased, but the overall composition and color palette are cohesive and really well done. (By Alice Patterson)

There are a ton more that I love that are up (around 67 with ten days left to go), but what I loved about these were how simple and inexpensive they are for how great they look. What they all have in common are simple color palettes and really balanced composition.

Also Centsational Girl (Kate Riley) is setting the bar high:

Nice job, guys. And AGAIN, these aren’t necessarily the winners or even my favorites, just really good ideas that I wanted to share and give you people that are all scared to enter or too lazy to click a sneak peek into what the challenge is.

To read all the details on the challenge (aka what the five winners win, and HOW you win, deadlines (Dec 31st) etc.) click HERE.

And to enter or to view others and vote, click HERE. Oh and yes, in order to vote you have to “like” me on facebook. It’s just part of the promo contest policies. But it’s not that hard and you can always “unlike” me after you vote. No emails, nothing annoying, I swear.

How to make a fresh flower wreath

Perfect for the holidays, or really just any time you want to spoil yourself in flowers. I made this wreath for my holiday party a couple weeks ago and now it’s time to break it down for you.

I made this for my Christmas dinner party (and to shoot it, duh). My main goals were for it to be a focal point in the room that feels wild and festive, not terribly “holiday,” but not too wedding either. I’m not a florist, but I’m a serious lover of all flowers (like, ALL), and after ten years of styling them on sets and making arrangements, I felt confidant that I could pull this off, even though I’ve never made one before.

So I went to the wholesale flower market, which most large cities have, that are open to the public in the last hour or so of selling. Some are strict about it and won’t let you in unless you have “a badge,” some aren’t. In LA, if you park above the flower market in the above ground three-story building and take the escalator to the main floor you can actually bypass where they ask you for your wholesale badge (enter on Maple, between 7th – 8th streets). Once I tried to sneak into the Portland wholesale mart and was totally unsuccessful. The reason I come here instead of a florist is because of price (it’s about 1/3 of the price of florists, understandably because florists have to mark things up to stay in business), but mostly because of the variety. A lot of florists order the same thing over and over, and while they change things up within the season, they don’t have the time to really go down and pick out what is super beautiful right now. If you live in LA, go to Moe’s (it’s a fortune, but great flowers) or even better, go to the flower market at Sunset Junction that is right next to Intelligentsia (and shares the building with Cafe Stella). It has AMAZING flowers — the weird ones that most standard florists don’t have.

 

So I loaded up my cart. What you are seeing up there is around $280 worth of flowers. Obviously I didn’t put all in the wreath and used a lot in arrangements all over the house. If I wasn’t shooting it, I wouldn’t have spent so much, but I wanted to invest in the project for the blog and splurge a bit. Besides I can write it off (see the rationalization happening?).

Here’s what I bought for the wreath:

1. Ferns. Some wild and some more traditional. Bostons, maiden hairs, and some really dark bushy guys that stayed alive for a long time. These were the “filler” and these brought the winter vibe. Ask the florists for some that are heartier (not like maiden hairs that are so fragile).

2. Garden Roses. Now garden roses are different from regular roses because they aren’t mass produced and instead they have way more petals, way more color variation, and they have multiple heads on them, as well as some closed buds, some open buds, making them all look more organic and real. Often regular roses look so fake and generic, but garden roses look just so natural. (They are on the two middle shelves in the pic.)  If you don’t have the option of garden roses, then try to get some roses that are open and some still closed. If they are all the same amount of open or close they’ll look generic. Ask the florists for any really open roses. They might have in the back, and often they do and will sell for around $1 a piece.

3. Peonies. Obvs. But the main reason I bought them was for scale. I didn’t want a bunch of small flowers mixed in with the ferns or they would get lost. I needed some large hits of color and pop, and peonies were the only flowers big enough to hold this 27″ wreath.

4. Random greenery. I don’t know what it is called but the greenery on the top shelf to the right is cheap and their tips looked like buds so they were easy to fill vertical space.

5. White mums. Normally I’m not the biggest mum fan, but these white mums were soooo petal-y and full and reminded me of huge big polka dots … plus, they were inexpensive.

What you don’t want to buy:

1. Flowers that are very vertical and skinny. These don’t take up any surface area and will get lost or you’ll need a crazy amount of them to fill out the wreath.

2. Flowers that are really small, like daisies, wilf flowers, etc. Unless you want to do the same flower over and over and make it really uniform (or a pattern), then the small ones will get busy and dinky and expensive.

I bought a 27″ floral wreath form from one of the wholesale stores downtown. Moskatels sells them for around $25. This is made of oasis (the green stuff that soaks up water) so it will keep the wreath alive for a while. I soaked it for five minutes in the shower before starting and that made the wreath last for three to four days. The ferns lasted longer, just the flowers didn’t make it. (I think you could take it down and re-water it to help it last longer.)

I think this size was the perfect statement size and any smaller would have been a pretty big waste of time and money. So just go big.

That is my fantasy bathtub, by the way. Just overflowing with flowers.

I started up top with a cluster of flowers and started shoving the buds with a five-inch stem into the sponge-y wreath form, pretty randomly. Later, I filled in with the ferns. You definitely don’t want things to be perfectly spaced or measured out because it will look fake. These are flowers, let them be organic.

Make sure you don’t cut off the leaves of the peonies or roses near the bud. You want those to make them look more real by leaving some of the leaves in there. (Or cut the leaves off separately and shove them into the wreath.)

Don’t put the same two flowers next to each other, and don’t put anything in a line. Keep it looking “cluster-y” and random for the most organic look. Make sure to fill the outside and inside as well, and don’t go sparingly if you are going for the wild look. If you want a simple look get one flower and use it over and over again so the whole wreath is filled with it, but for a look like this make sure to add enough to make it really look like a statement.

I knew I didn’t want it symmetrical, so I did one cluster around 11 o’clock (if the wreath was a clock) and one cluster 4/5 o’clock. This kept it balanced, without looking too forced.

 

That’s my assistant Bearcat. She helps me by chewing on the leaves and then throwing them up and often I step on that puke in the morning on the way to make coffee. It’s a real treat. But she is VERY good at sitting next to me and looking at me oh so adorably. She gives me encouragement by thinking, “Mom, you are really good at moving things around the house and giving me so many boxes to sit in.” And that kind of support just can’t be bought.

I kept going and going, adding and adding, making sure it looked full, random and organic. If I had to do it again, I would do it pretty much the same, except probably even more ferns. And if you are on more of a budget (again, this probably cost me around $120 or so, with the form being around $25), I would do just wild ferns, but mix in different ones of different shades so it looks organic and handmade. Often I feel like real greenery equally distributed can look artificial.

Three clusters. Two would be too few or symmetrical. Four would feel too full and even. Three is perfect.

Photo by David Tsay

And there you have it. My fresh flower holiday wreath. I promise you this was way easier than it looks. I just shoved flowers into a wreath form and kept going ’til I had no more room to shove.

Any questions?