Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Pineapples & Polka Dots' 5 Most Popular Posts of 2015

Hi, friends!

I wanted to take a minute to look back on all of the posts from the blog's first year.  I have enjoyed seeing other bloggers share their top 5 or 10, too, so I thought I'd share, too! (See that? I'm practicing my preschool skills even on vacation ;) )

Continue Reading...

Monday, December 28, 2015

Happy Birthday to Pineapples & Polka Dots!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! We spent the morning and most of the afternoon at my parents' with my family, and then headed to Rich's sister's for the evening to celebrate with them.  It was so lovely- we know we're lucky to be able to see both of our families on the same day.

My mom's decor is always so pretty.  We don't have a mantle, so I live vicariously through hers. :) 

Before it's way past Christmas, I wanted to share this year's card.  We've sent a photo card for the last few years, and this year was no different.  Of course, we are obsessed dog parents who include Lucy in our card:

I also wanted to share the chalkboards Rich made for both his sister and mine.  I drew on them before wrapping them up, and was so excited when both sisters loved them!  I love giving homemade or DIY gifts, and this was something both of our sisters had really wanted.  You can see my post about building a chalkboard here

This week, we are feeling so fortunate to have time off to connect with family and friends and recharge a bit.  And, of course, to enjoy our home decorated for Christmas for a few final days!  I can't stop taking photos of this guy...

In terms of plans, we tend to be low-key New Year's Eve celebrators, so we'll be hanging out at home with my sister and her boyfriend.  I love a cozy NYE with yummy food and drinks, games and movies and the ball dropping on TV.  We don't live in an area with lots of places to go out, so this works out well. :)  

Anyway, on another note, today is Pineapples & Polka Dots' 1st birthday! A year ago, on an evening during Christmas break, I made the decision to start blogging again.  As I shared in my first post, I blogged about planning our wedding and really enjoyed it, and had been thinking about getting back into it for a while.  I finally decided to go for it, and have really enjoyed this year!

I haven't posted as regularly each month as I had originally hoped, so big thanks to those who have been reading all along!! I've tried to share the projects I've done, some seasonal home decor, and some of the fun adventures of our 2015.  It's been fun to share with all of you, and connect with people also through Instagram, too! (IG ~ pineapplesandpolkadotsblog . Also, linked to the right -->)

For 2016, I'm working on some winter decor updates (such as a felt and grapevine wreath to replace the boxwood I had up for Christmas, but has since dried out and is ready to go).  I LOVE Christmas decor, but I'll be ready to de-clutter a bit and put it all away soon.  I've said before, it's probably good that our tree is real, since leaving it up forever is not a choice.

I hope your holiday was wonderful!  Tell me- how do you celebrate New Year's Eve? When do you put away your Christmas decor?  I'd love you to share in the comments below!

As always, thank you for reading! :)

PS: in case you missed them, check out my posts about our Christmas decor here and here
Continue Reading...

Thursday, December 24, 2015

All Spruced Up: Our Dining Room Christmas Decor

Hi there!

On the topic of Christmas decor, I wanted to share our dining room, too.  This room always gets an updated table centerpiece and chalkboard, and I decorate the hutch base that was my grandparents'.

Continue Reading...

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Decking the Halls: Our Living Room Christmas Decor

Hi everyone,

I hope you're having a great week! Our home is all decked out for Christmas, and we're just about done with shopping, though wrapping and baking are a different story.

Continue Reading...

Friday, December 4, 2015

Our Thanksgiving Weekend

Hi there!

Sorry this is so behind schedule, but if you live in the states, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We had such a wonderful weekend filled with cooking, family, shopping, and decorating for Christmas!

Continue Reading...

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

That Time We Decided to Host Thanksgiving...


So, this year, we decided to host Thanksgiving for the first time, for both of our families.  I have the day before Thanksgiving off, which hasn't ever happened before, so I figured it was a good year to give it a go!  We'll have both of our parents, and our siblings, along with their families/significant others, and an extended family member or two.   Last year, we "hosted".  By "hosted", I mean that my parents' power was out for a couple of days due to a snowstorm (ours was out on Thanksgiving, but back on the next day), so they brought over the whole Thanksgiving meal and we did it here.  I didn't do any planning, though, and it was just my immediate family, so this will be much bigger. 

This is last year's table, it was an impromptu gathering here, so I had no plan for decor. We made it work, though. I gathered some pumpkins and set them on top of some birch coasters that Rich made. We spread out the table cloth that my Grammy hand-sewed (though we didn't have time to iron it in the frantic getting power back morning!) We also brought out my grandparents' fine china and other grandparents' real silver. It's so special to have their furniture and dishes in our dining room.  

We're working on figuring out logistics like chairs, tables, dishes... you know, the basics. ;) Our dining room table was my grandparents', and seats 6, so we'll need an additional table and chairs.  We're discussing bringing the deck table and chairs inside, is that weird? Anyone have a good solution?

We'll be cooking two smaller turkeys, veggies, pies, potatoes, etc., and hoping to cover all of the bases from both of the families!  Some people are bringing things, too, which is helpful. 

We have my grandparents' nice china, which we'll use in conjunction with my teal Fiestaware, so that we have enough (each set has 8 place settings).  It will be eclectic, but whatever. :) It will be nice to bring out my nice dishes- we've only used them once! 

I'm really looking forward to decorating for Christmas, but I'm waiting until after Thanksgiving for sure.  Once that's over, though, look out! I've picked up a few pretty decor items from Michaels and Target, and am in the process of crafting a few other things.  We had very little handmade or sentimental holiday decor when we first moved in together (like most people, I assume?), so over time I am working on phasing out some of the more generic stuff and replacing it with things I've made and/or really love. I can't wait to get working! 

Pictured below: copper ceramic houses, wooden deer, and bottle brush trees from Michaels, marble tree, dollar spot finds, and calendar tree from Target : 

So, any Thanksgiving hosting advice? I'd love to hear!! 
Continue Reading...

Monday, November 9, 2015

Thanksgiving Decor: Felt Leaves Garland

We're firm believers of decorating for Christmas after Thanksgiving in our house.  No judgment on anyone who's already decked the halls, because I've seen some seriously beautiful holiday decor already, it's just our preference.  Also, we get a real tree, so it would be a pretty legit fire hazard by the time Christmas rolled around if we got one now.
Continue Reading...

Monday, October 26, 2015

Fabric Flower Autumn Wreath

Hi everyone,

Gosh, it's been a while! I hope you're all enjoying a beautiful October, as we are here in New Hampshire!

The leaves have been changing for a handful of weeks now, and the colors have been so beautiful!

Continue Reading...

Monday, October 5, 2015

Simple DIY Organization: Recycled Tissue Boxes Made Storage Bins

Hi there!

Have you ever written a post or shared an idea that you thought, "maybe this is just too simple to even share?" That's totally me today, but I'll share anyway.  Just know that I know this is crazy simple and nothing super exciting. 

When we moved into our house, I was looking for an easy way to get organized.  We live in an area where places like dollar stores are over a 1/2 hour away (which isn't that bad, but it's not all that convenient, either).  Running into a store to grab storage bins and baskets just wasn't an easy option.   This left me getting creative, instead.  I ended up trying to use things that we already had to organize our linen closets and pantry, and came up with this ridiculously-simple-yet-super-handy idea.

I like to choose the cute tissue boxes, just because if it's going to sit out on our counters, I want to like the way it looks.  I ended up using a leftover polka-dot box to make a storage bin one day, and have used this idea tons of times since then.  

Here's what you do:

Use scissors to cut 4 slits in the top of the box, from the oval opening in the top, to each corner. 

Next, remove the plastic that is underneath.

Fold each side down, and secure with tape. 


I told you, this is silly easy.  Almost too ridiculous to share, but I'm going for it. 

I use these bins to hold items that need to stand on our shelf, so they don't get knocked over. 

I also use them to organize small items like travel size toothpaste and shampoo, chapstick, mini hand sanitizers, etc. in plastic drawers.  This just helps keep things from rolling around and getting totally disorganized, and keeps items sorted. 

Another recycled storage bin that we use are clementine crates.  They aren't the prettiest, but with wire shelves in our pantry, things like salad dressing bottles and spice containers, tip over easily. All. the. time.  Also, they work well to corral bagged baking supplies.  I may paint them someday, but for now, they're serving the purpose, and are housed behind a closed door anyway.  

I like that these ideas are recycled, so reducing waste, free, and simple.  Also, I almost always have an empty box lying around, so they're easy to grab when needed.

Okay, so share your silly simple DIY organization ideas! 
Continue Reading...

Friday, October 2, 2015

Wrap it Up! A Yarn-Wrapped Fall Floral Wreath

Hi, friends!

You might have gathered by now that I'm all about a DIY wreath.  When we moved into our house, we had very few seasonal (or other) decorations, with the exception of specific Christmas items.  We have more room in our home for decor in general, and I really became excited to create a beautiful space that made me happy.

It was very difficult for me to feel good about our space before, since it felt dark and cramped, and not "us".  I don't think it ever felt as much like home as things feel in our house, where we have enough space for everything to have a place and can make changes to fit our style. Also, in fairness to my creative genes, Rich and I were planning our wedding for the majority of the time we lived in our apartment, so I didn't have much time/money/energy left over for home decor.

Continue Reading...

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Inching Into Autumn: Some Simple Fall Decor, a Fall Chalkboard, and Fall Flowers

Hi everyone!

Being the first week of fall, I thought I'd share a bit of what I'm doing to ease into fall decor.  I tend to, almost exclusively, decorate for the season as opposed to a particular holiday.  This means that I'll start swapping some really summery elements out for more transitional items, and incorporate things like pumpkins more in October, since they'll stay out through Thanksgiving.  I like to change things over time, and play around with different items and arrangement, as opposed to changing everything on one day.

Continue Reading...

Sunday, September 13, 2015

How's It Going? Back to School, Savoring Summer, and Touches of Fall

Hi everyone! It's been a busy few weeks for us. We are officially back to school, and if you're a teacher, you know how zany those first few weeks are! I feel like my to-do lists are never ending, know what I mean? I'm totally hanging onto the last days of summer, which isn't hard when the temperatures are in the 90s, like they were last week.
Our vegetable garden is really winding down. I picked what will probably be the last of the green and purple beans, and some tomatoes, as well.

Continue Reading...

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Pop of Color! Company C Area Rugs

This summer, I was so excited to win a 2'x3' area rug from Company C! If you're not local to New England, Company C is a home design and decor company, with a bright, cheery, and colorful palette and feel. I have always loved the company's style, and especially love their rugs. I have a few small rugs all around our home, so I was so excited to win this one through a contest on their Instagram page!

Continue Reading...

Monday, August 17, 2015

New Beginnings! An Apartment-Warming Gift for my Sister

I can't believe I'm even writing this, but my baby sister has a new place of her own! She moved into an adorable new apartment, and I couldn't be more excited for her new adventure. I knew as soon as we heard that she was moving out that I would want to put together a "apartment-warming" gift for her to get her started with some pretty, but functional touches in her new home.

Continue Reading...

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Dog-Friendly Freeport (and Portland) Maine: Our Quick Summer Getaway

Hi, friends! I hope each of you had a lovely weekend!
Things have been busy, as always, around here. What about you? We have finished teaching summer school, and decided to squeeze in a quick vacation before we had to start thinking about heading back to school.

Continue Reading...

Friday, August 7, 2015

Chalk it Up! DIY Hanging Chalkboard

It's taken me forever to write this post, but I can't wait to share this project with you guys! Earlier this year, I was swooning over chalkboards on Pinterest and Instagram, and mentioned it to Rich. Thankfully, I have an amazing husband who loves a good project, and he made it happen for me right away!

Continue Reading...

Friday, July 31, 2015

Seashell Mason Jar

Hey everyone, happy Saturday! I wanted to share a super quick summer decor project from a few weeks ago. I had been wanting to add some more summery touches to our home, but without having to go out and buy new things. I'm always a fan to shopping my house first, both to save money and because I live 30 minutes or more from any craft or home decor type stores. I know- tragic, right??
I've had this bag of beach shells kicking around, and have been looking for a way to display them. They were given to my by my aunt and uncle who, at the time, lived in Florida. In case there's any confusion out there, we don't have most of these types of beautiful, colorful, and detailed shells at the beach in NH. I didn't want to turn them into anything permanent, since I have a limited quantity, and hadn't seen anything I really loved enough to take the plunge.

I ended up grabbing one of these mason jars and got to work on arranging the shells inside. I tried to include lots of textures and colors, and also different shapes. I'd suggest adding the small ones in at the end, since they fill in the gaps.

I kept out a few of the larger shells to put on the shelf around the jar, too.

This is such a simple project, I feel silly even sharing it, but I am so glad to have a way to display the shells that I love, and liked that this gave me the push I needed to just use them for something pretty. I might find a project that's more permanent in the future, but for now, this was just what I needed! It's summery, pretty, and easy.

Another super simple, but super summery love of mine are sunflowers! I picked up these beauties for my mom yesterday, as it was her birthday. I think I'll be picking some up for my dining room table the next time I'm at the store!

I've been loving collecting (mostly) windflowers in mason jars, too. We have lots of different types of flowers around our yard, and along the driveway, so it's fun to see what pops up or blooms each week!

What's your favorite easy summer decor project? What do you do with the shells you collect? Any suggestions for things to make?

So, what are your weekend plans? We've been enjoying the cooler weather, finally, and have been able to get outside more! Enjoy!

Continue Reading...

Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer Bucket List: What We've Done, and What We're Hoping to Do!

Happy Sunday! I hope you've all had a great weekend! Ours was filled with family, cookouts, campfires, relaxing, and getting some items crossed off of my to do list.

First off, one thing I look forward to, NERD ALERT, is buying a new planner. I couldn't live without a paper planner. In fact, the one year I tried to go digital, and use my iPad and iPhone to keep track of everything, I ended up with my life covered in sticky notes. While I love sticky notes as much as the next girl, it was a pretty unorganized system. I went back to using a paper planner quickly, and haven't looked back. I love all of the beautiful options out there, but I have typically used a relatively inexpensive planner in years past, and they've worked out just fine.

Once I start filling it in a bit, I'll share my system with you all. Exciting stuff, I know! ;) If you're a planner lover, though, you totally understand. I can't be alone here, right? I grabbed this one, along with this amazing hot pink and gold polka dot clipboard/notebook, and and so excited about getting organized all over again! I'm a teacher, so I live in a summer to summer calendar year when it comes to planners.
Another thing I love to do during the summer is go hiking, which we've already done a bit of. I am looking forward to some more hikes, which are in the works. You can read about our adventure here.
One thing we've done every summer is take a vacation of some kind. We haven't ever done anything really big, but we enjoy taking a small trip each summer to get away and explore somewhere new (or revisit somewhere we adore!). Before we were dog parents, we had more flexibility, but since we've had Lucy, we have always tried to include her in our adventures. For the past two summers, we've rented a camp a few hours away with some friends and also my sister and her boyfriend. We have loved renting a home with a kitchen, real bathroom, laundry, etc, and more privacy than a campground, and it's worked out to be very inexpensive! This year, we aren't doing that, but we are talking about planning a mini getaway.
I had heard about the idea of dog-friendly hotels from a friend, and also a couple of blogs. I had no idea they even existed! We're talking about choosing one and taking off for a couple of days, to find great places to walk around, maybe some hiking, dog-friendly restaurants, and maybe the beach! I'll be sure to let you know how it goes. In the meantime, this girl is pretty pumped about the idea!
Another thing we love to do during the summer is kayak. We haven't been yet this summer (how is this even possible!?) but we always make a point to go a few times. We live so close to so many great spots, and it is such a peaceful way to spend an evening.
This summer is the first summer that I'm back into blogging, too, so a big project on my list is to keep on keeping on over here! I am so thankful to be back in the blogging world (I blogged about planning our wedding, but then didn't keep up afterward), and am loving all of the time I have to get creative and share with all of you.
Speaking of creativity, I have a handful of projects I want to do, too! I am currently working on ideas for making a big clock for our dining room... Stay tuned for that! I also have a button monogram project up my sleeve, and maybe a few other things, too. Summer is so busy, that I haven't gotten crafty with it for a while, but I definitely have some things planned!
Okay, so so far, this is a pretty uneventful bucket list. One thing I DO want to do, that's a bit out of my comfort zone is try paddle boarding. We live pretty close to a lake, and there is a place nearby that rents them. I have always been curious about them, and really want to give it a try!
What's on your summer bucket list? Have you crossed anything fun off yet? Let me know in the comments below!
Continue Reading...