Category: Home-artsy

Dollar Tree Valentine’s Day gifts for $3 per kid

Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post. This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. The ideas and opinions expressed in this post are completely my own. 


When my daughter was little, I couldn’t help but choose some sweet little gift to surprise her for Valentine’s Day, usually accompanied by a Valentine card and a few Reese’s Peanut Butter Hearts. (If she needed help eating those – and she usually did – I was standing by ready to assist.) Because as every mom knows, Valentine’s Day is not just for lovers – it’s also for kids. In fact, I’m kind of surprised we haven’t come up with a heart-shaped stocking for St. Valentine to pop in and fill.

With only one child, it was easy for me to do this each year without feeling guilty. For those with multiple kids, though, it can easily become a tradition that’s too expensive to carry on. This is where Dollar Tree comes in!  This store seriously has some of the cutest budget-friendly decor for any holiday – including Valentine’s Day! And for $1 per item, you can build a little treasure-trove for each child for as much or as little as you like. I challenged myself to create an inexpensive Valentine’s day gift from Dollar Tree at $5 or under. I came in under! Here’s my gift suggestion, at just $3:

Bear Mug Gift | Hazel & Verdie's

Yep, that’s right – a bear, a mug, and some fun little heart-shaped beads, all for $3! Let’s take a quick peek at the elements.

Dollar Tree Valentine Mug | Hazel and Verdie

Dollar Tree has a very nice selection of Valentine’s Day Mugs. I liked this one for kids, because it’s well-suited for some hearty soup or sweet hot cocoa.

Dollar Tree Plush Bear | Hazel & Verdie's

There’s also a range of choices in Valentine’s Day plush toys, including bears, puppies, monkeys, and other furry friends.

Dollar Tree Heart Beads | Hazel & Verdie's

These plastic heart-shaped beads add a bit of bling to the whole package. At four strands for a dollar, you can get a lot of mileage from one or two packages.

Of course, you can adapt this “filled mug” idea for kids of most any age, boys or girls, simply by switching out the toys for a myriad of other $1 items. But I’ll be honest, I don’t know how you could walk past that little bear and not plop him into your cart… he’s silky soft and irresistibly cute!

More soon,








3 top tips for getting organized in 2017, plus one bonus tip!

It’s that sad, cold week between Christmas and New Year’s, and you know what means:

  • The women’s magazines at the grocery store have ceased featuring “65 Fabulous Cookie Recipes” and switched over to “Lose 65 Ugly Holiday Pounds Fast!”
  • Every child between the ages of 2 and 23 has had at least one post-Christmas behavioral meltdown.
  • You are being encouraged to “get organized,” or more optimistically, to “conquer clutter.”

So given all the post- holiday hubbub, I thought you would appreciate a few more tips on getting organized for the new year. Let’s take a look around my house right now to see how my top 3 organizing tips are working out!

Tip 1: Maximize Available Flat Surfaces 

Here we have the largest “available flat surfaces” in our tiny 2nd bedroom. We use this room for the litter box station, Greg’s computer room, my dressing room, and craft supply storage. Organizational experts will claim that this room has too many functions but hey, it’s only like 7×7 feet so it’s honestly too small to be an actual bedroom. You can see that I have stacked items (albeit somewhat precariously) on every inch of surface so as to make the most of this prime storage real estate. These surfaces are my “I’ll put it here so I don’t forget where I put it” spaces.

Get Organized! | Hazel and Verdie

Get Organized! | Hazel and Verdie


Tip 2: Keep ‘Like Items’ Together

This is the “closet” in our larger bedroom (which is 12×9 – hey room for a bed!). This is the top shelf, which I obviously cannot reach because I’m only 5’2″ – but these are all bedding items so it illustrates the principle perfectly.

Get Organized! | Hazel and Verdie

Same for the floor of the same closet – see? All bedding! Except for the um… amplifier… which gets used on Karaoke Fridays out in the living room. There are also some shoes, an air freshener and a zippered travel tote bag here… not technically bedding, but I’ll sleep with them if that will make you feel better about this tip.

Get Organized! | Hazel and Verdie


Tip 3: Don’t Be Afraid to Store Stuff in Unexpected Places

I’ve actually heard of people who store extra spoons in their night stand, because they have sooo much tableware and very little night standy stuff. I mean, a drawer is a drawer, right?  In my house, this principle manifests itself as a major furniture painting project stashed in the living room. In my defense, it is cold here in Iowa at this time of year so doing the project outside is just not an option. Dishes on the ottoman? Don’t judge. They are going into the antique cabinet as soon as I move the furniture painting project out of the way. That blue box is actually a storage tote/tub. It’s going to be for Christmas decorations, but I am not ready to take those down yet. But I do have their storage tub standing by for when the day finally comes. It does triple-duty here as a decorative accent, flat surface, and tripping hazard.

Get Organized! | Hazel and Verdie


And finally, a bonus Tip 4: Do NOT Listen to Me

I can spend all day playing Keep Toss or Donate with my stuff, but it does no good. I can GET organized, but I can’t STAY that way. I have been known to actually throw away really important things in the spirit of “getting organized.” I mean it. The car title. My now-ex-husband’s wallet. The IRS Refund Check.

Come to think of it, you shouldn’t be taking advice from me on this topic at all… ever. The sad part is, I’m much better at getting organized than I am at losing 65 ugly pounds, so this was really my best bet as far as contributing to your annual Fresh Start. You. Are. Welcome!

More soon,




A new Autumn palette

I love Fall. I love the cooler weather, the anticipation of back-to-school (yes even at my age I still get excited about the promise and potential of fresh school supplies!), and the traditional Fall colors of deep reds, golds, and bright yellows.

Fall leaves | Hazel & Verdie
But last year, I fell in love with a very different Fall palette, inspired by the silvery blue of Blue Moon pumpkins and the soft faded green of my curb-picked dried hydrangeas.

Fall 2015 Colors | Hazel & Verdie
My new Fall palette was also inspired by this simple but heart-stopping photo by Courtney at French Country Cottage:

Photo by and from French Country Cottage:
Photo by and from French Country Cottage:

I swear I returned to that photo again and again, just captivated by the colors and the apparent effortlessness of the assembled elements.

I was able to acquire a silvery blue pumpkin of my own for a small display on my front porch, but it was late in the season by the time this happened and I didn’t event attempt something like Courtney’s sweet little centerpiece.

This year, I’m again captivated by one of Courtney’s images – this time, her beautiful wreath that features, of all things, faded peonies and artichokes.

Autumn wreath and photo by French Country Cottage -
Autumn wreath and photo by French Country Cottage –

This piece offers up unexpected – but completely Autumnal – colors, and challenges me to upend my attachment to red, brown, yellow and gold, and embrace a new softer palette not of traditional Autumn but rather of Faded Summer:  sage, coral, pale butter yellow, and silvery blue. Courtney’s designs and color palettes – and indeed so much of the Fall decorating inspiration I found last year on Pinterest and elsewhere… make me realize: it’s not just the muted hue of a new pumpkin variety that has me excited for Fall. It’s that all muted tones in nature can work together to create real anticipation for the drying flowers, crisp leaves, and dormant sticks and strands in the garden.

Welcome Fall! And Courtney, if you’re reading this, THANK YOU for continuing to create and showcase beauty each and every day at one of my all-time favorite blogs, French Country Cottage!

More soon,

Hazel & Verdie's






Cottage cookbook storage

I’ve been on a mission to find some cottagey storage to hold my cookbooks, and recently came upon this little cutie at the Valley Junction Antique Jamboree here in West Des Moines. She was, of course, a tad over-priced – especially given that, upon close inspection, every leg was loose and there were some obvious places where the top had been filled/repaired (poorly) around the edge.

Hazel and Verdie: Cookbook Storage Cabinet
But still, she had a lot going for her, including the pretty legs, dual doors, and also perfect height for her intended spot in the kitchen. So I haggled a bit and got her for a much better price. I did not even have to pay extra for the few tiny spiders I found on the underside. Which is good, because if there’s one thing I never pay for… it’s spiders.

Hazel and Verdie: Cookbook Storage Cabinet


I am not a professional furniture painter by any stretch… I know enough to follow the grain (mostly), tape off the glass, and gob it on to create that “this thing’s been painted so many times over the years I lost count” look that is sooo critical in a cottage piece. (That IS critical, right? If it’s not, I’ve been doing a lot of gobbing for no reason. And that is worse than paying for spiders.)

Hazel and Verdie: Cookbook Storage Cabinet


And, although I do plan to try both chalk paint and mineral paint on upcoming projects, for this project I stuck with good old latex house paint – a used half-gallon I picked up for $3 at my local Habitat for Humanity Re-Store.

Hazel and Verdie: Cookbook Storage Cabinet
Here she is completed and sitting in her intended spot. I think she looks adorable!

Hazel and Verdie: Cookbook Storage Cabinet
I also sprayed the original hardware with a pretty aqua blue. It looks okay, but as you can see it doesn’t even really fit. On second thought, perhaps that is NOT the original hardware. It is simply the hardware that was on the piece when I bought it. Anyway, I think I will be trading that out for some smaller knobs. Maybe glass or frosted pink.

Hazel and Verdie: Cookbook Storage Cabinet
Here she is with a soft bit of scented drawer liner inside, loaded with cookbooks and sporting some Autumn-themed pretties on top.

Hazel and Verdie: Cookbook Storage Cabinet

Hazel & Verdie: Cottage Cookbook storage


Hazel and Verdie: Cookbook Storage Cabinet


Hazel and Verdie: Cookbook Storage Cabinet
All set for cookbook storage duty in my cottage kitchen!

Hazel and Verdie: Cookbook Storage Cabinet

More soon,






Fabulous curb-find: dining table and chairs

Update: I’m linking my sweet little table and chairs to Kathy’s “Return to Loveliness” party at her blog, A Delightsome Life… because it definitely returned to loveliness after its makeover! Please stop by Kathy’s blog for more lovely posts!

One of our luckiest recent curb finds was a dining table and four chairs, which was sitting out in the parking lot of the apartment complex a few weeks before we moved out. What was odd about it, was that it was set up with the chairs all around it – as if it was waiting for a family of four to come along and sit down to an outdoor dinner! We drove past it a few times – the chair cushions were completely awful – but finally I couldn’t resist. Due to some odd twists, we didn’t really have a dining set for our new place, and I loved the light colors and “open” feel of the framing on the set. I thought it had sort of a garden/patio/bistro feel, perfect for what I envisioned in our open-concept kitchen/dining room.

We used a few wooden “place-holder” chairs for a few weeks immediately following the move, then I got to work recovering the seats on the found set. I’ve completed two so far, using 2″ foam, a linen under-lining, and some checked upholstery fabric in pretty garden colors.

Here’s one of the chairs “before” – seriously needing an upholstery intervention:




Turns out, those brown covers are not original to the chairs – they were covers put on by a previous owner to cover the awfulness of the actual original cushions:




Just gross, any way you look at it. Here are a few pictures from the re-do. This was a very simple project, basically just wrapping each piece of new foam like a Christmas present. My only goals were to get the pattern straight, keep the corners nice/not bunchy, and keep things looking tidy on the underside too.




And here is one of the chairs completely finished.




I think they are pretty cute in their new garden-y colors! And, for now, the set looks great in our kitchen/living room, keeping things light and airy without adding too much bulk to the room.




I might… someday… try building a new harvest-style top for the table. But first things first: there are still two more chairs to cover.

More soon!