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DIY | Pretty Fall Leaves Wreath

Wednesday, October 16


The Fall wreath I created two years ago popped up in my photos over the weekend and upon seeing it and remembering how much I loved it, I was inspired to create another one this year. 

I especially loved the simplicity of it and that's the vibe I'm trying to create on my front porch this year - with hopes of setting the stage for calm + cozy during a month that historically tends to be associated with chaos for our family. (three birthdays, Thanksgiving and prepping for Christmas makes for a crazy November). 

We, (Ella, myself, and a friend of hers), collected beautiful leaves together over the weekend and then yesterday I grabbed my glue gun and created this beauty.

The leaves were gorgeous on their own and I could've left the wreath alone. However, I  really wanted to add a softer element to it and remembered I had some leftover dried florals I had picked up at Fresh Market earlier this month.  I added the plumes and love how it turned out.







It's simple.
It's natural.
It's beautiful.
And it does a fantastic job representing fall in all of its splendor.

I sure hope you'll try this fun, easy, pretty fall wreath.
It took me longer to collect the leaves than it did to put it all together.


PS - Let's stay cozy + connected in-between posts...find me on Instagram for daily inspiration. 
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MATERIAL NEEDED:
1 - grapevine wreath - here's one similar to mine 
     but don't shy away from local craft stores - take advantage of their 40 + 50% off coupons.
1 - glue gun w/glue sticks - similar to mine...simple + tiny
Armful of Fall leaves - quantity really depends on the size of the your leaves + wreath
Dried Fall Florals - I used something like this reed grass
Ribbon, Twine, fishing line, or a wreath hanger - for hanging. I used THIS. 

INSTRUCTIONS
Heat up your glue gun.
Lay your grapevine wreath on a flat surface.
Place larger leaves on wreath to determine placement before gluing. 
Start hot gluing the leaves to the wreath.
Use smaller leaves to fill in any gaps - securing with glue.
Cut the reed grass stems until you've got maybe 1-2 inches of the stem to work with.
Tuck dried florals into the wreath, stem side first, along the outside and inside of wreath.
Use grapevines to continue tucking dried plumes into the wreath to your liking.
No need for gluing if they are tucked well in the grapevines - and will allow you to reuse them.
Use ribbon, twine, fishing line or a wreath hanger to display.

NOTES + TIPS
1. Face your leaves up, down, and sideways to create more character and dimension.

2. Be sure to allow some of the leaves to lay on the inner and outer sides of the wreath to add more
   interest. 

3. Stand your wreath up (or better yet, hang it on something), after you've got most of the leaves glued on. This will provide you with a better view of what it will look like when it's actually hanging and will help with placement of the remaining leaves. 

4. When gathering leaves, don't shy away from the "imperfect" ones. The rips, holes, curls and discoloration adds to the authenticity of your fall wreath.

5. I used raw muslin to hang my wreath by using three flat tacks to secure it at the very top of my door. Tacks cannot be seen and door still closes. Yay!

6. Although it may have been easier to start with the dried fall florals since they are the largest element of the wreath, starting with the leaves allowed me to fill in where necessary and avoid getting hot glue on the dried florals I'm hoping to reuse. 

• • • • •


KEEPING IT REAL
I was super busy with a Harry Potter Classroom transformation last week. (you can see it in my Instagram stories "HP Reveal" saved in my Insta highlights). 

So...I didn't get my Ranch Dressing or Taco Mix Recipes posted yet. Those are coming - and then so is the Chicken Ranch Tacos recipe! Although I'm seriously tempted to skip all of them and get straight to the pies! #pieismyfavorite

RECIPE | Slow Cooker Pot Roast (Whole30 approved)

Friday, October 4


Hello delicious, clean-eating, easiest pot roast recipe on the planet.
Yep! Looking for a super easy, healthy, comfort meal that will more than likely end up on your weekly dinner plan?

I'm sharing my family's favorite today and hope you'll try it!
I've made the recipe over and over in my favorite slow cooker and have perfected the seasoning and scaled down the prep and ended up with this fantastic, family-friendly and even whole30 approved slow cooker pot roast!

No browning the meat.
No peeling carrots or potatoes.
And no store-bought beef stock or broth.

Just pure, deliciousness using only 3 ingredients, (aside from spices), and soooo easy to prepare.

Enjoy the images and then grab the recipe at the bottom of the post!!





I sure hope you'll try this!
And as always, if you do, please come back and share your results with me!

Enjoy!!

PS - Let's stay cozy + connected in-between posts...find me on Instagram.
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• • • • •




Easy Slow Cooker Pot Roast (Whole30 approved)

Yield: 6-8
Author:
prep time: 10 Mcook time: total time: 10 M
Hello delicious, clean-eating, easiest pot roast recipe on the planet. Looking for a super easy, healthy, comfort meal that will more than likely end up on your weekly dinner plan? Only 3 main ingredients, aside from spices, and hardly any prep work!

ingredients:

Ingredients
  • 4 red potatoes, unpeeled, cut in half and quartered
  • 3 cups carrots, unpeeled, washed and cut into 1-inch pieces (see notes)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 - 3lb boneless pot roast (see notes)
  • 2 TBSP fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 2 cups water

instructions:

How to cook Easy Slow Cooker Pot Roast (Whole30 approved)

Instructions
  1. Place carrots and potatoes in 6 qt. slow cooker.
  2. Mix all spices in small bowl.
  3. Sprinkle spice mix on all sides of the pot roast,  being sure to rub in the spices as you go.
  4. Place pot roast on top of carrots and potatoes.
  5. Slowly pour 2 cups water over vegetables and meat...being sure not to completely rinse the spices off of the pot roast.
  6. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  7. Shred meat in crock pot or remove meat and slice it for serving. (see notes)

NOTES:

My favorite non-leeching slow cooker for even healthier eating: https://amzn.to/2IoZJUt Pot Roast - use your choice of chuck, top blade, brisket, round, - I've even used pork shoulder. Depending on which meat you choose, you can shred it when it's done cooking or slice it for serving. (as shown in recipe image) Carrots - I use the long carrots as they tend to be sweeter. You can of course use the pre-cut mini carrots for convenience.
Calories
392.84
Fat (grams)
12.39
Sat. Fat (grams)
4.55
Carbs (grams)
46.92
Fiber (grams)
6.11
Net carbs
40.81
Sugar (grams)
5.87
Protein (grams)
21.99
Sodium (milligrams)
2647.09
Cholesterol (grams)
54.31
Please note: These nutritional values are based on information contained in a large database. They may or may not be accurate reflections of the ingredients listed here.
slow cooker, pot roast, whole30, easy weeknight meal, family friendly, fast, easy, healthy, clean eating
Created using The Recipes Generator
KEEPING IT REAL
I am leaving to head out of town but just HAD to post this recipe for everyone who's been waiting on it! The next recipe coming soon - voted for on my Instagram feed - is Easy Chicken Ranch Tacos! Stay tuned!

FIELD TRIP FRIDAY | Declaration + Co.

Wednesday, October 2


Let me introduce you to Declaration + Co. - the cutest little local shoppe I explored for field trip Friday last week.

If you're local to St. Augustine you're going to want to make some time to get lost in the details of this adorable retail store filled with thoughtful gifts, deliciously fragrant hand-poured candles, pretty clothing, lovely jewelry pieces, and so many more treasures.

The best part is, just walking into this charming uptown St. Augustine store itself is a gift...with inspiring words and encouragement tucked into unexpected places just waiting to be found in the coziest of corners.

I'll let the images do the speaking but I highly encourage you to take some time to find out more
about the story behind Declaration + Co. and how Lara, the creative mind behind this annually re-envisioned "gift concierge", pours her heart and energy into exceeding the expectations of her customers every time they step inside.






You can feel the heart and energy of this whimsical brick and mortar as soon as you walk through the door. Here are some pretty little things I went home with...





And just when I didn't think it could get any better...
as I was leaving the store, I was given a surprise goodie bag from Lara, filled with these fun little tidbits. 



I'm telling you what...this little storefront is a gem.
I'm thrilled to have been able to spend some time there last week and look forward to checking out their Jacksonville location as well. (that's right!! They have 2 locations)!

And did I tell you they offer creative make + take classes in what they call the "Homeroom"? Sign me up!!

I hope you feel as inspired from this blog post as I did during my visit to Declaration + Co.
If you need more convincing, here's a fun Instagram video I created during my visit:
Declaration + Co. Field Trip Friday video. - you may have to open the Instagram app for sound?

Love you friends!!

PS - Let's stay cozy + connected in-between posts...find me on Instagram.
Subscribe here to have new blog posts delivered right to your inbox.

KEEPING IT REAL
I also bought a shirt from Declaration + Co. but didn't take a picture of it before I wore it. lol
I LOVE it and will point it out in stories the next time I have it on.

AND...if you want to see something embarrassing I did yesterday at Ella's school yesterday, check out my "Oops!" highlight bubble on Instagram.



BOOK | Travel Home by Julie Goebel + Caitlin Flemming

Wednesday, September 25

• • • • •
Affiliate links are included in just about every blog post I share here on Pen + Paper Flowers.
These links allow me to easily share with you the same or similar items and tools 
I use for recipes, crafts, or projects...while also earning a little commission. 
So THANK YOU for your clicks! 
They cost you absolutley nothing and yet each click supports my small business 
and allows me to continue sharing fun ideas + creative content with you. Yay!
• • • • •

I've got a beautiful new book to share with you today my friends. 
The pages are filled with intrigue, curiosities and stunning imagery related to global home inspiration.

"A road map for bringing far-flung design ideas back home, Travel Home shows us how we can curate gorgeous interiors that reflect our favorite places, experiences, and traditions."  


I received the newly released Travel Home book yesterday and look forward to diving deeper into the pages filled with interviews, essays, and tips from twenty different global design leaders. I just couldn't keep the book from you as I continued to oooh and ahhh with each turn of a book page. I'll let a few images I took of the book's interior lull you into interior design bliss.









"For globetrotters and armchair travelers alike, Travel Home revels in the intersection of travel and design, revealing how we can take inspiration from the beauty we experience in the world and authentically incorporate this into the spaces where we live and work."

I hope you were inspired looking through the images and reading some excerpts from the Travel Home book -  or at the very least, stirred in you some curiousity to see more. 

If you have to have this beautiful coffee table book in your life, GRAB "TRAVEL HOME" HERE!
And don't forget...it'd make a beautiful gift too! 

Find out more about the two authors:






PS - Let's stay cozy + connected in-between posts...find me on Instagram.
Subscribe here to have new blog posts delivered right to your inbox.

KEEPING IT REAL
I clearly have a book obsession.
Maybe it's more like a "pretty" book obsession. *wink*

RECIPE | Mediterranean Tortellini Salad - BEST EVER!!

Monday, September 23


I've been putting my newly organized spice jars and pantry door shelving system to work by getting back to consistently cooking and creating some family favorites on the regular for my people. They love when that happens. *wink*

If you've been looking for the perfect tortellini pasta salad recipe, you can stop now.
I've got you covered.

This one is full of flavor, savory and really packs a punch when it comes to hitting all of the marks for a dish that is satisfying yet slightly sophisticated.

This recipe is hands-down my absolute favorite and has been for the last...oh...7 years or so.

If you've been around the blog awhile...it may look familiar...
which it should because I posted the recipe back in 2012.

BUT...since that post, I've made a few tweaks to it that I think make it absolute perfection.
And trust me when I say, this dish is so delicious it'll quickly become your favorite go-to recipe
when you are looking to impress your guests or feed a crowd.

So...sit back...enjoy a few pics of this delicious pasta salad and then add it to your "must try" list!!
Everyone I've ever made it for LOVES it and always asks for the recipe.








I'm so happy to share this delicious recipe with you...and hope you'll try it!

Just promise me you won't show up with it at the next potluck if you know I'll be in attendance because I will more than likely show up with this pasta too! But then again, that would mean more pasta for everyone so I guess that's actually a really good thing! Ha!!

Enjoy my friends!!

PS - Let's stay cozy + connected in-between posts...find me on Instagram.
Subscribe here to have new blog posts delivered right to your inbox.

• • • • •




The BEST Mediterranean Tortellini Salad EVER!

Yield: 6-8
Author:
prep time: 20 Mcook time: 9 Mtotal time: 29 M
Absolutely the best tortellini pasta salad you will ever make. Double the recipe to feed a crowd. (be sure to keep some for yourself before you bring it to your next potluck because trust me, there won't be any left).

ingredients:

  • 1 - 20oz. pkg three cheese tortellini, fresh
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup light tasting olive oil
  • 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano, dried
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme, dried
  • 1/4 tsp. basil, dried
  • 1-3 garlic cloves, minced (depending on your taste)
  • 1 - 13oz. jar marinated baby artichokes, drained and quartered
  • 3/4 cup scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, freshly grated

instructions:

How to cook The BEST Mediterranean Tortellini Salad EVER!

  1. Cook pasta following package instructions.
  2. Drain and rinse under cold water.
  3. Allow pasta to sit in colander to drain until recipe calls for it to be added.
  4. Whisk mayo and next 9 ingredients together in small bowl until well blended. Set dressing aside.
  5. Add artichokes, scallions, sun-dried tomatoes and olives to an oversized bowl.
  6. Pour 3/4 of dressing over the top and mix with large wooden spoon until evenly distributed. Add pasta to mixture. Top with parmesan. Toss to blend. 
  7. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. 
  8. Serve cold with freshly grated parmesan as a garnish.  

NOTES:

Can be made 1 day ahead if stored in airtight container and refrigerated. Double this recipe to feed a crowd. It'll go fast.
Calories
423.81
Fat (grams)
30.65
Sat. Fat (grams)
6.50
Carbs (grams)
29.25
Fiber (grams)
3.99
Net carbs
25.26
Sugar (grams)
1.82
Protein (grams)
9.87
Sodium (milligrams)
572.32
Cholesterol (grams)
31.89
Please note: These nutritional values are based on information contained in a large database. They may or may not be accurate reflections of the ingredients listed here.
Tortellini Salad, Mediterranean Pasta Salad, Marinated Baby Artichoke Hearts, Tortellini, Three Cheese Tortellini, Pasta
Salad, Pasta, Potluck
Mediterranean
Created using The Recipes Generator

KEEPiNG iT REAL
I took a vote on my Instagram feed about which recipe I should post first out of two very different but delicious recipe options I shared. The two options were this pasta salad or a pot roast recipe.
The pasta dish won - but only by two votes. You know what that means, right?
Pot Roast recipe coming next week. Yay!!

KITCHEN | Pantry Door Spice Jars + Shelves DIY

Tuesday, September 17

"The secret to a happy life is being inspired by the simple things!"

- jessica lyn kirkland

• • • • •

Affiliate links are included in just about every blog post I share here on Pen + Paper Flowers.
These links allow me to easily share with you the same or similar items and tools 
I use for recipes, crafts, or projects...while also earning a little commission. 
So THANK YOU for your clicks! 
They cost you absolutley nothing and yet each click supports my small business 
and allows me to continue sharing fun ideas + creative content with you. Yay!

• • • • •

THE STORY

If you follow me on Instagram, a few months back, you got to see the behind-the-scenes of my process of figuring out what to do with my less-than-desirable spice cupboard. It was a disaster; Not functional at all - unless you consider spice jars falling on your head when reaching for things "functional"! Ha!! (not kidding)

The first step I started with was repackaging all of my spices so things would be organized and uniform and PRETTY...because yes..."pretty" is important - especially for me because you guys know I'm in the kitchen ALL of the time cooking or baking. 


I chose square glass seasoning jars and LOVE them. They are simple, clean and stack beautifully side-by-side.

I decided to handwrite the names of the seasonings directly onto the jars using this pen.
It's so easy and fast. 
BUT...if you cringe at the thought of handwriting the names, the set of square jars I used actually comes with adorable, chalkboard labels! There are some pre-printed labels in the set with common spices and then there are blank ones with a chalkboard marker to write your own. AND...the set comes with a cute, pink silicone funnel with a wide dispenser to make filling the jars easy. (see my tips about filling your jars at the end of this post). 

After my jars looked pretty and organized, it was then time to decide how to store them.
I originally thought I'd just stick them back up in the cupboard.
I tried them that way with the addition of this spice jar riser. 
I did NOT love it for the mere reason I just have too many spices and felt it was cumbersome finding and reaching for the jars with as often as I cook.

So...I continued brainstorming storage solution ideas that would be cute and functional...and EASY!! 

IDEA ONE - Antique Cabinet
I tossed around the idea of finding a pretty piece of antique furniture specifically for spice storage; something that would'n't take up a lot of space since it would be on a wall in my kitchen. 

IDEA TWO - Wall Shelving
Then I decided shelving on the wall, photo ledges specifically, at the recommendation of some of my interior design friends and creatives on Instagram, might be a more streamlined option considering it is also connected to our long hallway. 

In the end, I realized for our particular situation and the layout of our home, putting something on the wall, (furniture or otherwise), would just add a cluttered-vibe to the area. I was craving an organized, clean vibe.

Soooo...this is what happened instead ----->


I found some shelving NOT intended for spice jars that just so happened to be PERFECT, and utilized the empty space on the interior of our pantry door! 

Guys!!!! I could not be more happy with how it turned out!


My kitchen has a significantly smaller pantry than the one in our last home so it's been an ongoing challenge trying to figure out the perfect storage solutions for all of my baking and cooking essentials...and let's be honest...all of the "non-essentials" too. *wink*

I could not be more happy with deciding on a storage solution that keeps my spices beautifully organized but also hidden with the close of my pantry door. Although the original ideas of using a beautiful piece of furniture as a spice cabinet or creating a visual masterpiece with the brilliant use of photo ledges are still wonderful ideas...THIS...this right here was exactly what my heart, (and kitchen), needed. 

I don't often feel that way when a project is finished. I usually start making notes with what I wish I would have done differently, etc. But NOT with this project. I love it. 100%.


And just in case you are wondering, I can fit 10 spice jars per shelf - so I currently have 30 spices hanging on my pantry door. 

These are all of my current cooking spices.

My baking spices, however, are currently stored in the same glass jars, nice and neat in one of my kitchen drawers. However, I'm thinking I may need to add another shelf or two to keep all of my spices in one place. 

My only hesitation with adding more shelves to the door is that I'm considering adding a few hooks to hang some beautiful linen + cotton kitchen torchons! (new word I learned from THIS BOOK)! I'm thinking hooks screwed directly into the door beneath the bottom shelf OR attached to the bottom shelf. If I do that though...there won't be any room for additional shelves. I'll let you know what I decide. 

Friends...I hope you've been inspired to dive into doing some spice organization of your own. If you have any questions about this project I'm here to help! Simply leave a comment.
If you try this "Pantry Door Spice Jar + Shelves DIY...
PLEASE let me know. I want to cheer you on and celebrate the accomplishment with you.


PS - Let's stay cozy + connected in-between posts...find me on Instagram.
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• • • • •

SOURCES + TIPS BELOW

SOURCES


SPICE JAR TIPS
1. Clean them. Make sure you run your jars through a dishwasher or wash by hand with hot, soapy water before filling with spices. (ensures they are 100% clean and sanitary). 

2. Use a funnel. If you use the spice jar set I chose, it comes with a silicone funnel. I tried the silicone one but decided to use a metal funnel I already had since it doesn't catch any spice residue on the sides like the silicone funnel tends to do. BUT...if you don't have a metal funnel, the silicone funnel works great...just be sure to start with your fine, less fragrant powdered spices first and THEN the leafy spices - just to help prevent mixing. And I also suggest really banging off of the funnel into a trash can or sink between spices to help clean it out. (you don't want to rinse it off each time - moisture doesn't mix well with spices). *wink*

3. Paint pen. If you use the paint pen I used to handwrite your seasonings on your glass jars, the paint does not smudge or come off with everyday use. And yet, you can easily change or fix mistakes made during the labeling process by scrubbing with warm, soapy water. Yay!

SHELVING TIPS
1. They will fit together - I promise. It may seem, during the assembly process, pieces just aren't going to fit together. On occasion it even seemed impossible to me. But trust me...they do. You just have to use a little muscle and push them together. Promise.

2. Average quality. The shelving is mass produced - not the superior quality you'd find with custom shelving. BUT...they are a great price and are perfect for the interior of a pantry door. No complaints from me.

3. Spacing. Make sure when spacing your shelves you allow room for pulling jars out and putting them back in. Thankfully, I thought about that and didn't make the mistake of putting them too close together. (Mine ended up to be 3" apart - measuring from the bottom of one shelf to the top of the other. OR 9.5" from bottom to bottom if that's more helpful).

4. Level. There's a cute, mini level that comes with the shelving to ensure your shelves are straight when you put them together. You'll love it. I kept it for future projects.

• • • • •


KEEPiNG iT REAL
I assembled.
I measured.
I used a screw driver.
I made sure things were level.
I drilled. (never used one before and figured it out)
And guys!!! I conquered this project!
All. By. Myself. 

If I can do it - you can too!!

I literally smile every time I open that pantry door.
It looks beautiful, and cooking is so much more enjoyable with things nice and organized now. 
Yep! I even alphabetized them too!
I hope you love it!!
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