Antique market finds that make a house a home

One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is to go to local antique markets to see what one of a kind finds are just waiting to be picked up! There are some large markets near where I live that happen usually once a month, but also many smaller shops that are open most days of the week!

I love finding old things that can be used in a new way, and always with a rustic, antique style.

One thing I always keep an eye out for are ceramic pottery crocks and ceramic whiskey jugs. I don’t know why but I just think they add a unique rustic look, and the crocks are great for storage! Here is an old butter churn that my mom found at an antique shop. It looks great in our living room and provides extra hidden storage!Another fun thing to look for are scales. I think they add a fun country look and work especially well in the kitchen!Wooden coke crates and trunks are also really fun finds that add a lot of character. They can be used for so many things! We use them for everything. Stay tuned for a “new uses for old things” post on all those handy solutions for vintage coke crates. PS – the reclaimed wood custom wedding sign can be purchased at my etsy shop! Check out the cool things my husband already had on the wall of our house before we got married! An awesome antique washboard and a vintage phone! And lastly, MASON JARS. You know I always look for those.

The really good ones – the actual old vintage ones and the pretty blue ones can only be found at antique markets or thrift stores.
Hopefully this inspires you to keep an eye out for some fun home decor when you are out at local antique stores! Happy hunting!

DIY Mason Jar Bridesmaid Gift

When you are thinking of asking your bridesmaids to be in your wedding, this can be a great opportunity to do something that matches the theme and vibe you want to achieve with your wedding. It can start to get the ball rolling in your creative process, and can become a unique personalized gift for your bridesmaids!

So when I was thinking of what to do for my girls, I immediately thought of … you guessed it… Mason Jars 🙂

I wanted it to be simple, but personal, and I knew our wedding would be more rustic and have mason jars in the decor, so this is what I came up with.

I started with collecting different mason jars and then printed pictures with each girl and placed them in the mason jar as a kind of picture holder.Then I wrote a note to each girl telling them why they were important to me and why I wanted them to be a part of this journey with me. I placed this in the jar behind the picture.

I thought it would be fun to make the card lead them to open up something else that “popped the question”.  So, I had some natural fabric at home and I cut this into small strips (about an inch wide, but a rough cut) and I used my letter stamps to stamp out the message to each girl.
See how it looks all rolled stretched out?
Then I rolled it up into a ball, tied it together with some twine and put it in the bottom of the mason jar.And just for fun, I topped it off with tying twine around the top of the jar, and painted the lid with chalkboard paint so I could write each girl’s name.
It was really fun to create something for my bridesmaids and I was glad I did something that fit our wedding theme.  And the mason jars can be reused for vases!

I hope this helps to get the creative juices flowing when thinking of fun ways to ask your bridesmaids to be in your wedding. This can also be done for any type of gift too – and stay tuned for a post on a Mason Jar Shower Gift idea!

Creative Guestbook ideas – got mail?

Instead of a traditional Guestbook where your guests sign their name, why not make the Guestbook signing into an activity for your guests and have them actually write notes to the bride and groom? It can help to pass time between ceremony and reception and provides a really fun and special activity for the bride and groom to look back and remember their wedding day.

There are many ways to do this, see some ideas that inspired me below. I liked the idea of a “wishing wall” or a time capsule to open for years later in your marriage.

Photo above from greenweddingshoes.com.  Photo below from ruffledblog.com.

 Sticking with the idea to have something to open after the wedding, we decided to use an old mailbox and have our guests write little love letters to the bride and groom. I found a simple old white mailbox at an antique market and used that for the guests to leave us a note.Once you decide what you want to use to catch all the notes, you can then decide what kind of cards and envelopes you want to use. We used Kraft paper envelopes and cards to fit our theme. It becomes fun then to think of your “Guestbook” table as part of the decor for your wedding and you can be really creative! We used an old coke crate with 2 sides where we held notecards and envelopes and then mason jars to hold the pens.

The important thing to make sure you provide instructions so your guests know what to do. We used a chalkboard for this, which also added to the decor. (photo credit to Bethany Cissel Photography!)

You can have so much fun with it! We even used an old typewriter (thanks Gail!) to add to the vintage look of the table. What could also be fun is actually using the type writer to have the guests “sign in”.

Use every opportunity in your wedding to do something creative and unique, and don’t feel stuck in what things are “should” be like. There are so many fun ideas out there! Use your wedding decor and activities to show your personality as a couple.  It will make your entire day feel more comfortable and personal for you and your guests.

Fun uses for chalkboard paint: Mason Jar Herb Garden

I love chalkboard paint.  It’s so easy to use, comes in many different forms, and can make a simple label on an item, add a personalized touch to a gift, or kid proof a room by painting it on a wall.  I have used this paint for many things, but today I want to show you a quick and easy way to label using chalk board paint.  In this case, my mason jar herb garden.

Here are the supplies:

Then you just paint a simple strip of chalkboard paint on the jar using the foam brush.  I like it to be rough on the edges so I just free hand it, but if you want it to have perfect lines, you can use tape around the borders.

Let it dry and “voila”!  You have a space to write a label!  Mine took a few hours to dry, but it depends on the paint you use.  You can lightly touch it to test beforehand.

Then then use a stick of chalk to write whatever label you want on the jar!

And the final product?

**Note, in my images I painted the chalkboard paint after I had potted the herbs, but you can also start with empty jars, paint the labels, let it dry and then pot the plants.**

And how to pot the herbs??

All you need to pot the herbs are mason jars (I used wide mouth medium sized jars), some potting soil, and any small sized herb plants that can be found at home depot, walmart, etc.

Put a little soil in the bottom of the mason jar, unwrap the herbs, tear a little soil off the bottom and then put it on top of the soil.  Then dampen the soil with water and you’re done!

The herbs grow best in direct sunlight, and I only water mine once a week.  Don’t flood them with water either, just make the top damp. They are pretty low maintenance, add a lot of color to your kitchen, and it’s awesome to cook with fresh herbs!

Happy painting!  and planting!!

280 fence pickets = one busy weekend!

There IS a reason why I haven’t posted in a few days, and it is NOT because I am not thinking of you my fellow readers!  But we have embarked on a rather large DIY home improvement project – building a fence around our backyard.

While I am not the brains behind this operation, I am a pretty good helper and am learning as I go.  And since I am not the brains, I will not be the best to explain to you exactly what we are doing, but I thought you might want to see a little bit of what is currently going on in our home.  And though this blog has not really been Home Improvement inspired lately, why not show you what I’m learning!

Soo… here goes the first DIY home improvement post from loveinamasonjar!

Eventually our back yard plans will include a deck and garage, but for now we are settling on a fence.  The past few weekends we have been working on the frame of the fence, which I will post about in more detail later; but included in that process was a trip to a steel yard to get 20 foot stretches of steel, Matt welding to make custom  fittings to adhere the steel to the concrete posts, and my first time mixing concrete and using a drill!

But THIS weekend, we got all the wood to start hanging the fence.  And I thought you just might want to see what 280 pickets of fencing looks like in the back of a truck!

Yes, it was a large load!

So yesterday, with the help of our awesome neighbor Greg (check out his blog here), we began to hang the fencing in the back of our property.  We started with the back section because we will eventually take it down since we hope to have a garage in the future.  On this section we used wood as the frame instead of the steel that we used for the side of our yard AND we didn’t pre paint the wood because hopefully it won’t need to be up for too long.

And this is what the process looked like!

Below is a side view. You can see the steel framing here, as well as our framing for the door.
And here is a close up of what the side framing looks like with the steel posts that we will work on later.
Unfortunately, I don’t have many photos of the actual process of hanging the back fence but here’s a summary: Matt used a string attached to a nail with a level on it that spanned across the length of the fence to make sure he hung the wood at an even line. Then he used a nail gun to place the wood into the framing, and we checked each picket with a level to make sure it was hanging flat against the other. Then he used self-tapping screws (which means you don’t have to pre-drill – check out how much I’m learning!) to secure the wood in place on top and bottom of each panel. He had also made a chalk line to make sure those screws were in an even line too.

The process yesterday went pretty quick because we just did wood framing to wood pickets and we don’t care as much about the quality of this part of the fence since it will eventually be torn down. But all in all now, it looks pretty good and I like having a bit more privacy! Here’s a view from the alley.

I’ll keep you updated on the rest of the fence progress, but wanted to just give you a quick overview of what we’ve been up to lately!

What weekend projects are keeping you busy lately?

DIY wedding bouquets – hydrangeas and burlap

You CAN make your own wedding bouquets – We did! If you’re like me and shocked to hear how expensive wedding bouquets can be, then keep reading!

Doing your own bouquets is totally do-able, inexpensive, and a ton of fun! A great activity to do with your bridal party the weekend of the wedding! All you need is a place to purchase flowers like a local flower market, a few friends or family who are willing to go to the market with you, and awesome bridesmaids who are up for a wedding weekend activity!

We have a local flower market here in LA (and one in Orange County) for those Southern CA readers, but if you are elsewhere, I’d research what is nearby to you. We decided to go to the LA Flower Market and I was fortunate enough to have my mom, my mother in law, and a friend who is an expert at flowers to come with me. This was especially helpful because we actually did all our own flowers (another post on that later) so we had to get a lot of flowers.

Before you venture out though, make sure you have an idea of what you want – even if it’s just for bouquets. Think about what your colors are, what the girls are wearing, how many are in the bridal party, and any certain kind of flowers you have your eye on. Some things to note: flowers that are in season at the time of your wedding will be less expensive, so keep that in mind when choosing.  Also, the best selection of flowers is available earlier in the morning, so that is the best time to go.  Markets may only be open to those with a florist license for certain hours of the morning, but they then open up to the public. It will also probably cost a few dollars to get in, so make sure you call first to know what the fee is and when the public can enter the facility. And don’t forget cash! I’m no expert really, but want to pass on what I learned!

We had our wedding on a Saturday, so we decided to get the flowers on Thursday morning and store them in buckets of water until we were ready to assemble on Friday night. Our wedding was outdoors and in the fall, so I was looking for fall colors with a natural look. This is what we ended up getting for the bouquets:

Using bigger bundles of flowers like hydrangeas and peonies gives the bouquets more body and doesn’t require as many flowers for each bouquet. If you get some smaller greenery as well, that helps to add some texture and body.  Think about how many bridesmaids you have and about how many bunches of each flower you would want in each bouquet when deciding quantity.

Here is my cute niece Georgia helping me unload our trunk of flowers 🙂

Once unloaded, we placed all the bundles in large galvanized bins and buckets full of water and they kept just fine until the next day when we cut and assembled them.

Then, after the rehearsal dinner on Friday night, we pulled out the flowers, laid newspaper out on tables and my bridesmaids each made their own bouquet!

When you are ready to assemble, make sure you have plenty of scissors to cut the flowers stems to the right length to hold, and floral wire and floral tape to secure the flowers together. You also might want to add something to wrap around the bottom and cover up the floral tape to match the decor of your wedding like ribbon or material.  We wrapped burlap around the bottom and then added some twine to keep it all together. Here are some pictures of the event (courtesy of Bethany Cissel Photography)
 We then stored the bouquets overnight in mason jars with cute little tags for the names.
And here is the final product!  Thanks Bethany Cissel Photography! Turned out pretty good, don’t you think? Looking back now, I’m so glad we did our bouquets ourselves. It was really fun to go to the Flower Market with my mom and mother in law and be able to see and pick out all the flowers. And it was a great memory putting together our bouquets with my bridesmaids! We didn’t really know what we were doing, but I think it all worked out pretty well! It may seem like a stressful undertaking, but really, if you have help, it makes for more great memories rather than added stress. And it saves a ton of money! Of course, you have to have helpful family and friends to make it work, but I’m so thankful that I do!

New uses for old things: 1 – Rake

I thought I’d start a new series on “new uses for old things” since we have used so many old things in our house that double as decor and for practical uses as well. When you have a smaller house all spaces are important!

So, with that, we have ended up with a rake in our kitchen. Yes…a rusty old rake… in our kitchen.


I had seen a rake head used for other things in the past (to hold necklaces, craft supplies, etc.) so whenever I was at an antique market I kept my eye out for one thinking it might come in handy one day.  Actually, the day Matt and I got engaged is the day that I finally found this rake at an antique farm in Big Bear so it’s kinda special to us!

So when we began making our house a home, we noticed we have this space above our stove that needed something, but it had to be something that was practical, not just decorative.  And then we remembered the rake!  What a cool look it had sitting there above our stove… but what to fill it with??  Why – kitchen utensils of course.

We previously had all those lovely kitchen utensils stuffed in a drawer and not so easily accessible.  But it turns out – they all had holes in the top, in case you do want to hang them!  And since we have a ton of utensils and not a lot of drawers or counter space, we thought it was a perfect solution to hang some of them.  Check it out!

A great way to save space and add to the decor of your home.  I love how old antique things add so much character.

And here is a full shot of them hanging over the stove – exactly where you need the utensils anyway!  So easy to just grab one a stir a pot or flip a burger.

What old things have you used in new ways?  Stay tuned for more in the series of new uses for old things from this end of the screen!

DIY Hand stamped wedding invitations

Thinking about doing DIY wedding invitations?  There are so many awesome ideas out there (you could spend days and days finding inspiration on pinterest) but let me tell you about what we did for our Rustic Country Wedding.  Inexpensive, a fun afternoon project, and awesome unique results.

First make sure you know what kind of vibe your wedding will have.  The style, decor, time of year, and of course your personalities.  Invitations (or save the dates) are the first look into what your wedding will be like to the guests. Here are some words we stuck to when planning our wedding:

Rustic, handmade, kraft paper, cowboy boots, burlap, type writer font, country…

So I began the search for ideas, and knew we would want to do a few things:

1) I love the look of a custom stamp for the text instead of printing.  Especially if you’re not that skilled at graphic design, etc.

2) I LOVE kraft paper.  I use it all the time, so naturally I thought of that for our invitations

3) We wanted to do something with a rustic element (burlap, wood, twine, etc)

So I started to look for paper options and when I saw these envelopes at paper source (one of my favorite stores) I knew that’s what we would want to go with.

I love the string and button closure, it really adds to the character.  I was curious as to if it would cost more at the post office, and so I brought one in a checked (always a good idea before starting), and while it did require at 64 cent stamp, we figured it was worth it.

So then we had to decide what paper to use and how to make it fit in the envelope, since it is a unique size.  I found a GREAT site: Paper and More that is inexpensive, sends samples for super cheap, had great turn around time, AND cuts paper if you need for certain size envelopes. AWESOME!  After a few trials, we found a recycled white fiber paper that was a great contrast with the paper bag envelopes.

We purchased a ream of it without cutting service and cut ourselves, but I would recommend using the cutting service to save time  next time.  We had help in the cutting so it worked for us, but since it’s not that much more, it’s a pretty cool option.

So we had the paper, invitation size and envelopes, next was to decide the text.  I had purchased a self inking return address stamp for a friend on etsy awhile back so I immediately thought that shop.  Sure enough, they do custom stamps, even large ones for invitations – yay for StampOutOnline – check them out on etsy! So I worked with them on a design they had, figured out the sizing, Matt and I wrote the text, and Bam!  We had an invitation!

We also made an RSVP stamp that matched the invitation to fit 4bar size paper (typical RSVP sizing) and bought the matching paper bag 4bar cards and envelopes from papersource to complete the look. ps – they have a bulk discount!

Here’s the stamp pre-stamping party… Pretty cool right?

Once I had all the supplies I played with designs, and we decided to go with the style on the left.

Then it was time to have an invitation stamping and assembling party! Matt hand stamped each invitation and RSVP card… and we made about 240 of them…He’s pretty awesome 🙂

Here are some shots of the event…


And here is the final look!!

What do you think? We thought they turned out pretty cool! I think the entire stamp and assembling party took about 4 hours… I don’t remember exactly, but we made a ton of fun of it. It was just Matt and I, with some help from his roommate and mom to help assemble and tie all that twine. Our hands hurt by the end, but it was worth it!

I addressed all the envelopes that night while watching a movie, and we topped it off with a custom stamp we had made from Zazzle.com


It was a fun project, didn’t take that much time, was inexpensive, and the end result was pretty awesome! We were so happy with them, and I think our guests enjoyed them too!

Wooden fruit crates turned desk DIY

So my husband and I have a tiny old craftsman bungalow that we (let’s be honest… he- ) is restoring. I love the old style and the wood floors and built ins – it’s so fun to decorate a house that has so much character.

But it is hard to find furniture that doesn’t look to big and fits with the style of the house. Most furniture looks too modern or takes up too much precious space. So, when we decided we wanted a desk, it was quite a challenge to find something (and not spend a fortune). That’s when we remembered we had these old citrus crates in our backyard that might be useful. So we decided to make a desk out of them.

You will soon learn with more posts, that my husband is quite talented and if I have an idea, he can pretty much make it happen. So when we pulled the crates in, we set up different formations in the living room, played with dimensions for the space and once we decided on something, he got to work!

He had to cut one of the crates so we were able to put a chair underneath, but we still wanted to keep a little storage space, so he chopped it and then reattached the bottom pieces to make a shelf. Then he used wood glue, a nail gun, and some clamps to adhere the crates together.

We started with 3 crates like this:

And we ended up with a desk!

In order to make the desk slightly taller, we placed it on top of 2 smaller size crates of equal size. Eventually we (I mean he…) will build feet, but this works great for now!

I first had some files and the printer sitting in either side, but then I decided I wanted more storage and I kind of wanted each side to look uniform. So, since I did have a few more crates, I decided to see what I could do!

As the picture shows, each side has a smaller 7 up crate standing on its side to make a sort of shelf, and a coke crate on top for additional storage. One coke crate has 2 slots so I keep cards and envelopes there, and the other coke crate has dividers in it, so I keep small sized mason jars in the slots with office and craft supplies.

Total crate count… 9!

Maybe a lot, but at least now we have a great unique desk and it’s awfully inspiring to sit at it and write to you!