Steal these summertime party ideas

I’m a sucker for boutique bakeshops. For weeks, Cuppins, a concept bakery/giftshop in Lausanne summoned me from the cobblestone streets below. Though I had never been inside, I could see wooden swings holding collections of pastel bottles and sweet furnishings with feminine lines in the windows. It looked like an Alice in Wonderland fantasy land. I gave in to my craving–and my curiosity–this week and took a peek inside.

Cupcake cases at Cuppins

A display case of candy-colored confections greeted me at the door. Tiered cakestands and dessert domes practically screamed, “Eat Me.” Tables with paint-dipped bases and legs decorated the cafe space and flowers placed in vintage bottles sat on wooden swings in the windows. Colorful bakeware, tea sets and other gift-giving trinkets took up every other available surface.

Dip-dyed furnishings

The sweets, the colors, the presentation began turning the wheels in my head. I imagined the perfect setting for a baby or bridal shower, a girls-only brunch, a mother-and-daughter afternoon tea or a party for the kids.

Vases in window

Here, all the decorative trimmings for a delicate Wonderland fete, whatever the cause for celebration.

Cuppins party

* You don’t have to commit to paint-dipped furniture for an afternoon fete (though I think it’s fabulous!) Instead, wrap chair legs and table bases with stripes of colorful masking tape.
* You could comb Etsy for a wooden swing, or you could take instruction from the creative geniuses on one of my favorite blogs A Beautiful Mess, and make your own. Hang them from trees in the yard and use them in place of trays for showing off–and displaying your own sweet treats.
* To merchandise loose compacts in a salon I redid, I made tiered stands using inexpensive platters (check thrift stores or the clearance aisles of stores like TJMaxx, Marshall’s or Home Goods) and large, flat-topped candleholders. (For larger plates, you should definitely use candlesticks suited for pillar candles as taper holders can shatter under the weight of a filled plate.) Apply epoxy that’s intended for glass and ceramics according to the package instructions and let dry 24 hours before using. I’d display a collection of pretty bottles and blooms on these cakestands for something unexpected.

Cakestand Step 1Cakestand DIY

Freshen your decor for summer without spending a dime

I’ve been living in Lausanne for a month and a half, and I already feel the need to redecorate. Since we’re only here for eight months, I’m not willing to put any money into the apartment, seeing that I won’t be able to bring much back with me. I decided to freshen up the existing decor with things I brought with me.

Scarves

I have scarves, sarongs and pashminas, loads of them. I picked three gauzy, fringed numbers, all with a similar salmon-y pink color–one striped, one solid and another with an ethnic print on it–to wrap these lime green pillows on the couch.

Green pillows

Scarf pillows

For all three of these pillows, I placed the square green pillow in the middle of the scarf, sarong or pashmina, then followed these same steps for each one.

Wrapping the pillow in a scarf

I wrapped the pillow like a present, folding in either side widthwise.

More wrapping of the scarf

Then I folded the long sides of the scarf around the pillow so that they overlap at the center of the pillow.

That's a wrap

I knotted this one at the back. The striped version is knotted in the front, and the ethnic print is knotted in the front as well, but I tucked the ends in to hide the fringe and make it more about the large-scale design. To summerize the brown leather modular sofa, I used my lightweight gray scarf as a throw under my refashioned pillows.

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My scarf decorating didn’t stop in the living room. This is my very boring dining table.

kitchen table

Nothing says summer like a crisp red, white and blue palette, so I set a patriotic table with an elegant spin.

Bracelets and tea towels

These red-and-white tea towels came with the apartment. I used a few gold bangles I packed as napkin rings and my favorite royal blue-and-white striped scarf serves as the tablecloth for this summer soiree setup.

A patriotic table

The last room in desperate need of a refresh? The loo. It’s white tile and lacks any storage. Luckily, I brought my collection of pretty floral toiletry bags and double-sided adhesive squares (I brought pictures from home and knew I couldn’t hang anything on the walls).

toiletry bags

Now these colorful cases corral the things I need to keep handy by the sink–hair ties, a comb and cotton facial pads–and add a pop of vivid print to the bathroom.

Bathroom storage

Make a simple, inexpensive window treatment

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a project I had done. I made a pelmut box to hide vertical blind hardware that we couldn’t remove in a client’s rental.

A neutral and bright living space

And I promised you the how-to instructions. Truth be told, I lost the pictures of this project somewhere in our move. Luckily, my mom wanted to make a pelmut box for her laundry room, so I walked her through the steps, and she took photos. Thanks, Mom. You’re the best!

* You will need one piece of large foam-core board. You can get it at Michael’s or Target. I think the thicker stuff works better for this because it makes a more substantial final product.
* Quilter’s batting (the kind you can roll out)
* Hot glue
* 1 piece of poster board
* 2 small 1.5-inch L brackets
* 2 small flat straight brackets
* 5/8 yards of fabric (home decor fabric that is at least 54 inches wide)

Supplies for pelmut box

Instructions 1 for Pelmut Box

1. Decide the length, width and depth that you desire for the pelmut box. This one is 44 inches long, 5 inches wide and 4 inches deep. Mark measurements on the foam-core board. Remember to add at least one inch to the length of your window for a bit of overhang. And measure for the two sides (how far you want it to come out from the window).
2. Cut the foam-core board using a utility knife.
3. Because my mom’s pelmut box needed to be 44 inches long and foam-core board is typically 30 inches long, we needed to add a 14-inch piece.
4. Hot glue the seam.
5. Add two flat brackets for additional support and glue in place.

Pelmut Box instructions 2

6. Hot glue the sides at the seams.
7. Cut the batting to cover the entire pelmut structure.
8. Wrap all sides and hot glue in place.

Pelmut instructions 3

9. Cut the fabric to size (enough to wrap the entire pelmut box), wrap and adhere with hot glue.
10. Cut the posterboard to cover the back of the pelmut box (you want to hide the unfinished edges), three pieces all together–one for the length and one for each side. The pieces should be slightly smaller than the pelmut box frame. Wrap the posterboard pieces in fabric and secure with hot glue. Then glue each of the pieces to the pelmut box frame, unfinished edge to unfinished edge.
11. Measure the length of your completed pelmut box, then hang L brackets on the wall, ensuring the brackets are level.

Pelmut box 022

Finally, glue your pelmut box to the L brackets you just hung. And voila.

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