Month: September 2017

Top 5 Tuesday: Favorite Farm Party Decor

I consider myself both crafty and thrifty, so when planning a party, I try to DIY as much of the décor myself as possible.  I will admit, I’ve had a few epic fails along the way, but lots of success too.  Most of my best parties have always included some DIY décor mixed in with great store-bought finds.

So for today’s Top 5 Tuesday post, I’m sharing my top 5 must have store-bought items to add to your farm-themed party décor!


1. Cow print balloons


2. Barn door props party accessory


3. Floracraft straw bales


4. Inflatable farm animals


5. Farm animals photo prop kit


All of these items can be found on Amazon and will make a great addition to your farm-themed celebration.


Potting Bench Turned Indoor/Outdoor Bar Cart

This past summer I was on the hunt for the perfect bar cart. I wanted to find one that I could use both indoors as a drink station for get-togethers, and outdoors while the fam and I were lounging at the pool.

I didn’t find a lot of options during any of my hunting sprees, and the two bar carts I did find at Homegoods and TJ Maxx cost more than I was willing to pay.

Then lo and behold, while browsing on Amazon one afternoon, I stumbled across this potting bench that I thought, with a little TLC, would make a great indoor/outdoor bar cart:

I  loved the shelving space the bench offered.  The top shelf could hold cups and glasses and the bottom shelves could hold drinks, extra cups, or display party décor.  The drawer was fully functioning and could hold napkins, straws, a bottle opener, and drink stirrers.  The hollowed sink looked like the perfect place to store ice.  And the price was right too.  I was sold!

I knew immediately that I wanted to stain the bench a darker color and that the hardware needed to be upgraded, but those were both really simple fixes I knew I could take on.

Once the bench arrived from Amazon, it took my hubby all of about an hour to put it together.  Here was the finished model:

As I mentioned, the hardware left much to be desired, but a quick trip to Lowes solved that problem.  I bought a sturdier, classic looking pull and ditched the side hooks altogether.

Here is the stain I used, also purchased from Lowes:

It was easy to apply and dried in about 24 hours, though it’s probably best to let it dry for a full 48-72 hours because the paint is somewhat tacky the first couple of days.  If you plan to leave the cart outside, you should apply some type of sealant to protect the wood in the elements, but I have no intentions of leaving mine outside so I skipped that step.

After staining the wood and applying my new pull, my bar cart was ready for action!

It turned out great!

And I love dressing it up for different occasions.  Here’s what it looked like on the 4th of July:

I plan on adding caster wheels to it at some point to make it easier to move around, but otherwise, I think it’s perfect as it!



2017 Fall Bucket List

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, fall officially begins on September 22nd this year.  Since that’s right around the corner, I thought it was a great time to post my family’s 2017 Fall Bucket List.

Since having children, me and Mr. Effortless have always made it a priority to plan fun activities with the kids, but I find that writing them down helps us to commit to hitting everything on the list.  So without further ado…

2017 Fall Bucket List

1.  Paint/carve pumpkins

2.  Attend a fall festival

3.  Take photos in a pumpkin patch

4.  Host a Halloween-themed movie night

5.  Enter the kids into a Halloween costume contest

6.  Bake pumpkin bread

7.  Attend a football game

8.  Make pumpkin chili

9.  Bake a homemade pie

10. Decorate the porch for fall



Farm Party Series: Menu and Food Labels

After I had decided to go with a farm-themed party to celebrate the twins’ third birthday, next up on the agenda was to plan the menu.  There were so many cute and catchy food names to go with the theme.  It took me a bit to narrow down my list, but here’s what I’ve ultimately decided for my kids’ party:

Pigs in a Blanket

Farm-raised Turkey Sandwich Ring

Farm-fresh Eggs (Deviled Eggs)

Fresh-picked Berries

Chicken Feed (Chex Mix)

Cupcakes (with farm animal faces)

Mud Cups (Chocolate pudding with crushed cookies)

Cow Tales Candy

Just in case you’re planning a farm-themed party, here are a few other options that I thought were really cute and deserve mentioning: Chicken Nuggets, Hay Bales (Rice Krispy Treats), Hay Stacks (Pretzel sticks), Pig’s Tail Pasta (Pasta Salad made with corkscrew pasta), and Tractor Tires (Oreo cookies).

I like to design labels for the food and dessert tables that coordinate with my theme.  It’s a simple process.  I create a template in Microsoft Word using the insert shapes feature.  I insert a 6×4 inch rectangle to fit within my frames (these frames were purchased at Ikea).   Next, I find a background pattern that I like and use it to frame my label.  For this party, I went with a simple cow print pattern.  I insert another rectangle within the first one and then I choose an appropriate font to type the food names.  Last, I find a couple of free clip art pictures that match my theme and place them accordingly.  Here is the finished product:






Double-Sided Fall Pillow


I’m Denise.

And I have an obsession with decorative throw pillows.

“Hi Denise!” (I hear my fellow pillow lovers chant.)

I love the way a beautifully patterned pillow can really dress up a couch or chair.  Or how a grouping of pillows completes a room.

As I’m sure many other pillow lovers have faced, there came a time when Mr. Effortless began questioning why we needed to have so many pillows.  SIGH.  He just didn’t understand.

But the fiscally responsible side of me did agree with him that these pillows were not cheap and were costing us a small fortune.  So to remedy this, I starting shopping online for pillow covers instead.  I discovered that I could purchase pillow covers that cost anywhere from $2.00 – $8.00 a pop (this usually meant a 6-week out delivery date because the goods had to be shipped from China, but alas, beggars—or the fiscally responsible—can’t be choosy right?!).

I vowed to never buy pillows in-store again.

Confession:  This vow might have lasted for all of about 6 months.

But not all hope is lost on me.  While I do still purchase pillows from the store from time to time, I am much more selective about what I bring home.  It’s got to have a design that:

(1) I really love;

(2) really compliments my current décor (and not something that makes me feel the need to buy all new accessories, furniture, and more pillows—cause’ Mr. Effortless aint’ having that!); and

(3) I can use more than one season.

And that’s why I’m so happy to be sharing this fantastic pillow find.

This beautiful pillow goes from this classy “Fall Sweet Fall” design:


to this trendy buffalo check print which I absolutely adore:

Two prints for the price of one??!!  Major score!

This pillow is currently selling for $19.99 at Kirkland stores but I bought it with a 20% off coupon.  At the time of this post, it’s currently sold out online, but available in select stores.  Please check the Kirkland’s website to find out if it’s available at a store near year.

And don’t forget to tell the Mr. Effortless in your life what a great deal you got!

Farm Party Series: DIY Barn Backdrop

My twins will be turning 3 next month and I’ve decided on a farm-themed birthday party.  The first thing I started scouring the internet for was ideas on how to make a barn backdrop for the food table.  My food and dessert tables are always the focal point of my get-togethers, so I felt that once I figured out how to create the backdrop, I would be on my way to designing a fabulous party!

As always, Pinterest came through for me!  I discovered Catie Ward’s blog, Wife of a Traveling Husband, and she had a tutorial titled “Building a Barn Backdrop” that was exactly what I was looking for.

I was able to take this red tri-fold foam board purchased at Michaels with a 50% off coupon:

and turn it into this beautiful barn:

And the best part about it was that the only thing I had to purchase from the store to make it was the foam board.  I already had 12×12 black card stock (I used 3 pieces), measuring tape, white duck tape, scissors, a pencil, and glue at home.

Please see Catie’s blog for detailed instructions.  Here are my cliff notes:

-Using measuring tape, a pencil, and scissors, measure, mark, and then cut the foam board sides at an angle to create the roof line.

-Cut the black cardstock into equally sized strips and glue them along the top of the barn’s roof line.

-Glue one black sheet of paper onto the top of the barn (I trimmed down the 12×12 sheet) – this will be the chicken coop.

-Using white duct tape, outline the barn doors and go around the chicken coop.

That’s it!

It was so easy to make and only took me about 30 minutes from start to finish.  Definitely effortless!



Fall Tablescape

Despite living in sunny Florida, fall is one of my favorite seasons. I love placing pumpkins throughout the house, lighting yummy fall-scented candles like Pumpkin Cupcake and Vanilla Pumpkin Marshmallow (they smell oh so good!), baking up tasty pumpkin-inspired treats, taking the kids to fall festivals, and brainstorming Halloween costumes. And of course, you can’t forget about Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday!

Confession: By the evening of September 1st, I had put out all of my fall décor. I know that some would ask, what’s the rush, but I feel like the latter part of the year goes by so fast that I try to enjoy my seasonal décor for as long as possible. I don’t do much decorating for Halloween, so that gives me all of September, October, and November to enjoy all things fall.

The first place I decorated was the dining room.

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Welcome to Effortless!

Hi!  I’m Denise, a huge believer in living your best life, effortlessly.  I’m a wife, mommy to two-year old twins, full-time professional, and lover of home décor, fabulous DIY-themed parties, and holiday celebrations. I will be posting about my adventures in motherhood, how I decorate our home, and how me and my family celebrate special occasions.  I hope that these posts will inspire you to create a beautiful life with the ones you love.