bird seed hearts for valentine's day

Valentine's Day has never really been that big of a deal in our house, but now that we have littles, it's become one of my favorite holidays to celebrate with the kids.  After all, what could be better than celebrating love?  This is Lydia's first year in preschool, so when it came to Valentine's for her classmates, the learning curve was a little steep.  I wanted to do something other than give out candy and when I saw heart shaped bird seed feeders on Pinterest, I thought it was perfect, since we already had about 300 pounds of seed in the garage (we like to feed our birds). 

The first recipe I tried called for corn syrup and flour and did not turn out well at all. I couldn't get the bird seed to stay together, so I ended up coming up with my own thing and they turned out great!  After having made panna cotta for years, I knew that unflavored gelatin would harden enough to get the bird seed to stay together and they were so, SO cute! Lydia even helped mix everything together and then poke the holes with a chopstick!  Here is the recipe and the steps for how I did it:

What you'll need:

4 cups bird seed

3 packages unflavored gelatin

1 cup cold water, divided in half

chopstick (or pencil, to poke a hole in the top for string)

baker's twine or ribbon

heart-shaped cookie cutter

How to make:

1.  Sprinkle three packets of gelatin over 1/2 cup very cold water in a mixing bowl.  Let sit for ten minutes until it firms up.

2.  In a sauce pan, heat another 1/2 cup of water until it comes to a boil.  Add the gelatin mixture and mix until it dissolves.

3.  Add gelatin mixture to a large bowl of the bird seed and mix well.

4.  Let the bird seed mixture firm up and cool off a little before making your hearts. (I stuck ours in the fridge for a half hour).

5.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place your cookie cutter on top.  Spoon the mixture inside and gently push down to make sure it's really packed in. 

6.  With a chopstick or pencil, poke a hole in the top, then carefully remove the cookie cutter.

7.  Once you've finished all your hearts, I put the baking sheet in the fridge to let them firm up overnight.  The next morning, I used a paring knife to cut away the excess birdseed around the hearts and then tied ribbon through and put them in bags with Valentine's tags.  So easy and SO CUTE!!

Definitely chill the mixture before trying to fill the cookie cutters with it; it's so much easier to handle and it doesn't get all over the place!  Also, you can poke the chopstick in again the next morning if it didn't go all the way through when it was in the cutter.  These turned out so stinking cute, that I would definitely consider doing them for favors or even on a rainy day (we love to spread peanut butter on pinecones and roll them in peanut butter, too!).  Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day!


lydia's window treatment details

Lydia's room is, by far, the happiest in our whole house and, even though I feel a little bit guilyy that I focus so much on her room when Luca still doesn't technically have fully complete quarters of his own, I love that every time I post a shot of her sweet little space or her gorgeous new (vintage) bed that I get a ton of love from you guys!  Every time I post a picture, in fact, the most-asked questions I get are about her curtain panels (with the antique wooden mermaid coming in a close second), so I thought I'd do a blog post with all the details right here for anyone that was interested!  

Curtain Fabric.  Did I make her curtains myself? As much as I would love to take credit for them, the answer is no.  They are custom made, double-lined panels that another designer friend made and gave me as a gift when I was pregnant with Lydia. The fabric is Warsaw Linen in flax with a four inch border on the inside of each panel in coral, all from Gray Line Linen in New York.  I cannot say enough about this company.  The price and color selection is amazing and the customer service cannot be beat; I ordered my fabric at 6 in the evening on a Friday and it was on my porch Monday morning!  The linen is gorgeous and on the heavier side but I still ended up having a double liner sewn in just to give it that extra weight and oomph.  They hang so beautifully!

Curtain rods + finials.  I like to splurge on my curtains and scrimp on my hardware; the rods are actually 1.5 inch unfinished wooden dowel rods from Lowe's that I had cut there and then painted to match her crib (the paint color is Ralph Lauren Champagne Toast).  The finials are Allen and Roth, also from Lowe's, that I painted and screwed into the ends.  I wrote a post all about it here.

Lamp.  I found this gourd lamp at Hobby Lobby when I was pregnant with Lydia, but it had a dark brown wooden base, so I used a gold leaf pen and painted over it!

Wall + ceiling color.  The walls are Benjamin Moore white and the ceiling is Benjamin Moore Teacup Rose.  It's the perfect way to brighten up an all-white room and the ceiling makes the whole room glow at night when the lamp is on - so, so cozy!

Striped pillows.  The coral and pink striped pillows were also custom made; the fabric is actually a discontinued P. Kaufman stripe that I found in a local fabric shop years ago.  I haven't been able to find it online since!


a few things on my radar for spring

I'm walking around like a zombie the last few days, partly because Luca is still not sleeping well but also because the hubby and I have not been able to get the littles to bed fast enough so we can make a cocktail and binge watch as many episodes as possible of Breaking Bad.  I have no idea how we went this long without watching the show, but we are hooked!  So, besides whether Walter is going to get busted or not, I've also got some pretties on my mind lately - in the form of rattan, tortoise and, of course, blue and white goodness.  Perfect for spring(or any other time of the year, really).  Here are a few things giving me heart palpitations lately:

Bamboo serveware / South Seas Coffee Table / Lumbar pillow / Ginger jar / Print / Double old fashioneds

These bamboo serving pieces would be a beautiful addition to my new flatware.

Serena and Lily just made my dreams come true with this rattan coffee table - proof that style and kid-friendly can go hand in hand!

Still on the hunt for a topiary that I can't kill.

Would love a pair of these blue and white lumbar pillows for my living room.

You can never have too many blue and white ginger jars; love the print on this one!

Love this ship print for a powder room or child's room!

My husband gave me a set of these gold-rimmed tortoise double old fashioneds for our anniversary and I'm completely obsessed! 

What are you loving lately?



where to find my water hyacinth baskets + a lookalike that's on sale!

Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend; the highlight of mine was finally getting to see the Greatest Showman and it was absolutely AMAZING!  I couldn't download the soundtrack fast enough; if you haven't seen it already, I highly, HIGHLY recommend!  

If you follow me over on Instagram, you've probably seen a pic or two (or three or four, actually) of oversize round water hyacinth baskets in practically every corner of my home.  I promise, I'm not moving one basket all over my house, I really have hoarded that many! I've gotten so many questions as to where I found them the answer is HomeGoods!  I found two a few years ago (I believe the smaller one was $29 and the larger one was $40 back then) and immediately snatched them up because they were dead ringers for much pricier versions at Pottery Barn and One Kings Lane.  I always kept an eye out for more whenever I was in the store but never found any until a few weeks before Christmas when I landed on three of the larger ones and they were on clearance for $30 a piece!  Of course, I took all three because, let's face it, they are an important necessity when you have littles; you should have seen me trying to get all three of them, plus Lydia and Luca, to the front to checkout!

If you have a HomeGoods near you, you've got to check it out!  I've seen so many since I bought mine but they were $49 (not sure why the ones I found were on clearance) but that is still such a steal for a great quality, oversize basket.  And if you don't score at HomeGoods, then I've got another dupe for you...the Cameron Water Hyacinth Baskets from World Market are just as beautiful, come in two different sizes and are currently on sale! 

Happy Monday!  (And Happy Shopping!)


my 5 favorite basics for a beautifully set table

Thank you all for entering Tuesday's giveaway!  And thank you once again to Lauren Marttila for offering up one of her gorgeous prints for us!  Marcie Newman is the lucky winner of "Lineup"!  Are giveaways something you guys would like to see more of?  If so, leave a comment below! 

Switching gears here for a minute to share some of my favorite basics for setting a beautiful table. My house is completely upended on a daily basis with toys, books, sippy cups, princess dresses and now matchbox cars and various construction vehicles all over the place, so the one thing I try to do as often as possible to offset all the disorganization is to set a beautiful table for dinner.  If you guys follow me on Instagram (@BungalowBlue) you've seen me post pictures of a fully dressed table for sushi and leftovers.  It's just something so simple that makes me so happy and at the end of the day, that's all that matters, right?

Over the years, I've accumulated quite a few entertaining pieces that that make it super easy to not only set a beautiful table for company but to also elevate your every day place setting to something extra special.  When you have beautiful basics to start with, it makes it so much easier to mix it up and swap out beautiful linens and fresh flowers.  Here are five of my must-have basics that I use every day and that can be easily dressed up for special occasions:

1.  Simple white dinner plates.  I think white looks so fresh against rattan or seagrass and the OCD side of me loves how food looks against a blank canvas.  It's also super easy to swap out patterened salad plates when you want to add a little pop of color, too!

2.  Woven placemats and chargers.  Wicker, rattan, water hyacinth....give me all the texture!  I used to think my table didn't look complete without fresh flowers but now I think it just looks like it's missing something without the warmth and interest that texture brings.  I rotate between my Soare placemats from Ikea ($4 a pop!) and my Artesia Honey Rattan Chargers from Crate and Barrel

3.  Statement flatware.  I ordered some stunning bamboo handled flatware from Australian retailer Harold's Finishing Touches right before Christmas and I'm completely OBSESSED with them.  With the conversion rate, it ended up costing a little more for eight place settings that ONE from Juliska, and that included shipping to get them here in a week! It takes a little more effort at cleanup to hand wash them because you obviously can't stick them in the dishwasher but it makes me so, SO happy to use them so often and they are a killer conversation piece (everyone always comments!)

 4.  Versatile glassware.  These French wine glasses are one of my favorite purchases for entertaining.  I use them for wine, water or holding small arrangements of flowers.  I love their shape and they look amazing paired with my woven tumblers for a little more of a casual feel.

5.  Fresh flowers.  You don't need to spend a fortune on arrangements; two hydrangea stems in a woven vessel (I got the one above at HomeGoods!) is so simple and adds a beautiful breath of fresh air, plus they will last for weeks on your table!

What are some of your favorite essentials for setting a beautiful table?