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The House That HomeGoods Built

January 17, 2016

All Images
Jennifer Hagler Photography

By Buffy York


The subject matter of today’s post began a few weeks before school started when we had a massive yard sale.  Our kiddos did an extensive playroom clean out and we made a nice little profit on their discarded toys (we had Legos…Star Wars Legos).  We decided to take the proceeds and start the transformation from playroom to Teen Room.  When Tim and I got married over 4 years ago the playroom was already filled with discarded furniture, a wall of bookshelves and a rolling rack full of years of dance costumes.  I added more furniture and a wall of plastic bins containing Legos, toy construction equipment, monster trucks, Transformers, cars from “Cars” and “Thomas the Train” engines.  Once all of that was either sold or stored in the attic we brought the room into the current century by replacing our 700-pound Magnavox “Smart” tube television with a flat screen and had the room painted.  We’re cutting edge like that.  (side note:  We moved our television armoire into another room and placed plastic bins and drawers inside and it became Alice’s craft closet…those suckers have no resale value.)

Next I started casing my favorite discount stores for items that were cool enough for the Teen Room but would not bust our meager budget.  I started at HomeGoods looking for a piece of furniture to go under the television.  HomeGoods is not for the indecisive or impatient.  If you see something you like, you better buy it.  It won’t be there the next time you pop in.  If you don’t see what you are looking for, remember there is always next time.  Since HG is owned by TJMaxx, the whole “never the same place twice” thing is in full swing here.  I live in Birmingham so I shop at the HomeGoods in Hoover.  If you are in Atlanta you have some great options but the mother load is in Alpharetta.  On my first shopping trip of “Mission Teen Room” I scored the rug. (I was in my HomeGoods yesterday and they have a great rug selection right now)  I then started frequenting HG weekly and over multiple trips I snatched up the side tables, hashtag pillows, a framed print, floor and table lamps, the acrylic “&” and gold sphere, and 2 months later I finally found the mirrored television console.

Knowing that HomeGoods is not the only game in town, I found the jute poufs at Target.  The acrylic chairs in our “selfie” station (the room between the girls’ bedrooms and the teen room) came from Amazon, and the huge wall mirror is from Southeastern Salvage. The small framed print is actually a Hallmark Signature Card framed in a white frame we had laying around.  There were a few splurges.  The console lamps are a pair I have had for years and updated them with new lampshades custom made from Village Firefly.  We recovered the chairs, but recovering the sofa was not in the budget so I had pillows made with fabrics from Lewis and Sheron in Atlanta and bought the zip code pillow off of Etsy.  The new pillows cover up lots of living that has happened on our sofa.

Since HomeGoods doesn’t have an online source I have hooked you up with similar items from the Teen Room below.  I think you can tell from most of the prices, if you have the time and patience, it is worth it to stalk your local HomeGoods for the best deals.


Grocery Store Flowers 2.0

October 13, 2015

Grocery Store Flowers on The Style Gathering www.thestylegathering.com
Grocery Store Flowers on The Style Gathering www.thestylegathering.com

Put flowers in water as soon as you get them home. Fill buckets with tepid water, add floral preservative, and then add flowers.

Grocery Store Flowers on The Style Gathering www.thestylegathering.com

Using unexpected containers as vases adds interest to floral arrangements.

Grocery Store Flowers on The Style Gathering www.thestylegathering.com

Using sage or antique hydrangeas as the base flower elimates the need for a frog or oasis to keep flowers in place.

Grocery Store Flowers on The Style Gathering www.thestylegathering.com

Andrea uses Sedum from her own yard to create a beautiful arrangement.

Grocery Store Flowers on The Style Gathering www.thestylegathering.com
Grocery Store Flowers on The Style Gathering www.thestylegathering.com

Mix in different textures for a monochromatic arrangement that's interesting to look at.

Grocery Store Flowers on The Style Gathering www.thestylegathering.com
Grocery Store Flowers on The Style Gathering www.thestylegathering.com

Deconstruct wilting arrangments and use flowers that still look good to create dainty groupings of flowers.

Grocery Store Flowers on The Style Gathering www.thestylegathering.com
Grocery Store Flowers on The Style Gathering www.thestylegathering.com
Grocery Store Flowers on The Style Gathering www.thestylegathering.com

All Images
Jennifer Hagler Photography

By Buffy York


At the end of the summer I volunteered at the Kappa House in Tuscaloosa during Rush where I met Andrea Hawkins who was also volunteering.  Where my talents are in the moving furniture around and tidying up in between Rush parties arena, Andrea’s talents are legit. She works with a floral designer in Birmingham and was in charge of all of the floral arrangements for the rush parties.  Considering the fact that the Kappa’s are in a “swing house” while their new house is being built, Andrea’s talents shined as she transformed a small old house into a beautiful sea of flowers, some cascading down the staircase while others were perched on top of pedestals. Andrea and I hit it off and I told her I always wanted to do a blog post on making beautiful and sophisticated arrangements from flowers you can buy at the grocery store so we set our plans in motion.

Here in Birmingham we are lucky because the Western Supermarket in Mountain Brook and Whole Foods both have an unbelievable floral department and yesterday Trader Joe’s opened in Birmingham and wow, their flower game is strong. However, Publix does a great job and most grocery store floral departments and Costco will order flowers for you if you give them enough lead-time.  In addition to purchased flowers Andrea also cut greenery from her yard to complete the arrangements.  Since it was late summer she used hosta leaves, sedum and dusty miller to fill in, but this time of year you can use fall leaves, rosemary or other herbs and sedum has now turned a rusty color making it perfect for a fall arrangement. She suggests just cruising your yard and see what looks good right now.

Our goal with these arrangements was to get the most bang for our buck and show that once an arrangement starts to wilt, it is okay to pick out the flowers that are still going strong and create smaller designs to use around the house for maximum enjoyment. Andrea spent a total of $52 and bought orange spray roses, pale apricot roses, Gerber daisies, sage hydrangeas and Hypericum berries.  To create the original designs she used the hydrangeas to take up the entire mercury glass container, and used them like an oasis to place flowers and keep them from moving around. Since one hydrangea took up the entire vase less flowers could be used and still make a dramatic statement.  We loved the way lining these three arrangements down the table looked and thought they would be great for a luncheon or dinner party.

To create the smaller variations of the original work Andrea rounded up crystal and silver (this time of year copper Moscow mule cups would be a beautiful color) from her house and started deconstructing the arrangements.  It is a total bummer when flowers start to fade, but since it doesn’t all happen at once, using the flowers that are still in their prime in a wine or coupe glass or in a Jefferson cup, and placing them around the house…by the kitchen sink, on your bedside table or in a guest bathroom…gives you more bang for your buck.  I also love how simple this hydrangea and Gerber daisy grouping is in the silver goblets and baby cups.  How perfect would these be for a baby shower?

Basic Tips for Arranging Flowers
Put flowers in water as soon as you get them home. Fill buckets with tepid water, add floral preservative, and then add flowers.

At an angle, cut an inch off the stems using a sharp knife or shears, especially if the flowers will sit a while before being arranged. The fresh cut will help the stems absorb water better.

Warm water helps tightly closed flower heads, such as roses, to open fully. Leave them in water for a day or two before using them.

Recut stems just before adding them to the arrangement. Strip off any leaves that fall below the water line.

Add large, heavy flowers first turning the arrangement as you work to ensure even placement on all sides. Fill in with smaller, airier blooms, and leave enough space between the stems so individual flowers have room to shine. Include flowers with various shapes and stem lengths.

Mix in different textures for a monochromatic arrangement that’s interesting to look at.

Keep flowers away from sunlight and heating vents. Recut stems and add water often.


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