Monthly Archives: February 2013

How-To: Make Place Card Holders For Your Next Dinner Party

Decorating, DIY, Parties and tagged , , | | | 2 Replies

Did you fall in love with the place card holders featured in our garden party tablescape? You’re not alone. We’ve already received several requests from readers for directions on how to create them.



They’re perfect for weddings, dinner parties or other gatherings where a place card is needed. Karen Ondracek of General Taxonomy has all of the details for her DIY.




  • Small wooden blocks (toy blocks worked well – I chose them in the spirit of reuse. You can buy small wooden blocks at craft and hobby shops.)
  • Vintage clip on earrings and/or vintage pins. Larger brooches & pins can be used to make holders for menus, welcome signs, etc.
  • Spray paint (Needed only if you wish to alter the color of your blocks or jewelery. You may wish to use a spray primer as well.)
  • Masking tape (Needed only if you are spray painting and wish to retain some original colors.)
  • Hot glue gun & hot glue sticks


Step 1:

Spray paint the wooden blocks to coordinate with your color scheme. I chose white. If you have wooden blocks that look great as found, skip this step.


Step 2:


Spray paint vintage jewelry to coordinate with your color scheme. Mask off any jewels or other areas that you want to retain their original appearance. I spray painted gold tone, brass and pearl elements of my jewelry silver. If all your jewelry looks great as found, skip this step.


Tip: Try a few drops of eucalyptus oil mixed with a bit of hand lotion to remove any spray paint you might accidentally get on your skin, then wash with soap and water. Unless, of course, you are allergic or sensitive to eucalyptus.


Step 3:

Use hot glue to attach earrings and pins to woodblocks as shown.


For pins you want to create a narrow slot between the pin back and the block for the card. For large pins, you may need more than one block.


With the variety of jewelry styles & spray paints out there, these DIY place cards could work in many a tablescape. Have fun!

Thanks Karen! Make sure to check out her shop General Taxonomy for more arty and vintage goodness!

A Visit to Highclere Castle (Also Known as Downton Abbey)

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If you love Downton Abbey, chances are good that you are a major fan of the Crawley family’s incredible home. (Truth be told, the Pottery Barn editors tune in equally for the home decor inspiration as much as we do for the plot twists and Lady Grantham one-liners.)

The series is filmed on location at  Highclere Castle, the home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, who are friends with Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey. In fact, Fellowes had Highclere Castle in mind as he wrote the series. We can imagine why — the castle is absolutely stunning.


While Downton Abbey fans are happily ensconced in the third season, it will end all too soon, leaving us longing for more tales of Downton and its family. For those of us looking to fill that gap until Season 4, we’d love to suggest the book Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey, written by the 8th Countess of Carnarvon. The book explores the life and adventures of her predecessor, Lady Almina, the 5th Countess. Lady Almina’s life story is fascinating, and she was known for her generosity. This generosity extended to her decision to convert Highclere Castle into a Hospital in September 1914 (sounds like the television series, doesn’t it?) as well as funding her husband’s archeological pursuits: he discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun with Howard Carter.


Highclere Castle has been Carnarvon family’s home since 1679. Designed by leading Victorian architect Sir Charles Barry, the home is filled with incredible furniture, paintings, tapestries and sculpture.


And while a vist to the castle is exciting enough, the idea of getting married at Highclere Castle has us positively thrilled. The saloon, pictured below, which lies in the heart of Highclere Castle, is licensed for civil ceremonies Brides can prepare for their wedding in a bedroom in Highclere Castle.  Imagine walking down the aisle from the gallery above the guests and then down the oak staircase (as Lady Edith and Lady Mary did in the series).



For those of us not planning a wedding, a simple visit to the castle is thrilling enough. You can visit the House and Grounds  during the Easter  holiday and in the summer. It’s also open during bank holidays as well as open for certain special events. Pre-booked tickets for the summer opening will be available starting this month.



All photos used by permission and copyright Highclere Enterprises LLP 2013


Outdoor Tablescape Inspiration: A Garden Party For Your Favorite Girlfriends

Entertaining, Parties and tagged , , , | | | 7 Replies

The spring and summer seasons are perfect for celebrating the important people in your life, so why not throw a garden party for your favorite girlfriends? We also thought it would be a great time to try out Pottery Barn’s Caroline Dinnerware in a less formal setting.

We teamed up with Diva Pyari of Linea Carta and artist Karen Ondracek of General Taxonomy to throw a fun garden party, perfect for reuniting with friends over refreshing drinks and an English picnic-inspired menu. (Special thanks as well to Tom Tomkinson Weddings for photographing the entire affair.) We hope our outdoor tablescape inspires one of your own as well!


To try something similar, move your party to a lush lawn — it doesn’t have to be at your home, either. Try a regional nature preserve or a neighborhood park if you don’t have a lawn of your own. And while our folding chairs and teak table were sturdy and easily transportable, there’s no need to go to such measures. A picnic table in a grove can be just as good of a staging surface for your gathering.


To create an elegant yet relaxed and artful look to this table,  Pottery Barn’s new Caroline Dinnerware was the perfect choice. We love these dishes’ mix of vintage elegance and handmade appeal, thanks to the silver banding and organic, uneven rims. We layered the dishes over kraft paper runners, which were arranged horizontally over the PB Classic Linen Tablecloth.



Karen Ondracek created the place card holders using vintage clip-on earrings (we’ll have her DIY for them on the blog on Friday).



Diva Pyari’s Tiny Heart Linen Napkins added a pop of pattern to each setting, while heirloom silver set off the banding on the Caroline dishes nicely. Pyari also handpainted the garland around each dish in place of a charger.

For flowers, we chose a mix of hot pink spray roses, mixed with wax flowers and displayed in small vintage vases. We also took advantage of our California climate, sourcing additional florals and botanicals from our home gardens. Clustered together, these mini arrangements created a gorgeous focal point for the table.



Diva also created the hand-calligraphied table menu, displayed on one of Karen’s place card holders. If you’re inspired to try something similar, Diva offers starter calligraphy kits for sale in her shop.



Chances are good that you’ll need extra room for your drinks station, as we did. We hung tassel garland from The Flair Exchange above an antique wooden ironing board, which we decked out with a cake stand, silver tray, vintage glassware and bottles of  favorite cocktails. Bouquets of florals rounded out our drinks station. Diva made hand-lettered drinks tags for the bottles as well — this is a great way to add a special touch to your drinks station.


However you deck out your table, we hope that you choose to share your garden party with good friends. There’s nothing quite like a good meal, enjoyed in the outdoors and shared with some of your favorite people in the world.

All photos courtesy Tom Tomkinson Weddings

Special thanks to April, Magnolia, Diva and Dani for modeling!

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Stay Connected and Inspired With Pottery Barn

Decorating, Decorating Inspiration, Inspiration | | | 1 Reply

We’re always excited to inspire you with fresh ideas, sneak peeks of new Pottery Barn products, reader home tours and much more on the blog. But the blog is far from the only source of decorating inspiration Pottery Barn has to offer. Keep reading to learn where you can find more inspiration online with Pottery Barn.

Here’s where you can find more inspiration:








We also want to encourage you to submit photos of your home and garden to Inside & Out. We’ve made it easy: just fill out this form and we’ll get back to you about featuring your home on the blog.

Our Customers Show Off Their Beautiful Homes on Instagram

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We’re big Instagram fans, and are always happy to find images from Pottery Barn customers and fans posted through Instagram.  If you’re an Instagram fan, too, we’d love it if you followed Pottery Barn on Instagram. Want to share your Pottery Barn favorite finds? Tag your posts with #pbstyle and you might just see your Instagram photo on our blog! Here are a few Pottery Barn Instagram photos from our customers that are wowing us this week.

Instagram user lakristen shared this beautiful photo of her kitchen, with the hashtag #itshappyhere. We’d have to agree!


Instagram user a_baybay_y wrote, “Dying over my new bedding.” We love the monogram style she chose — see our full selection of monogram options here.


Instagram user ablissfulnest set this gorgeous table using our Emma Dinnerware and Tava Round Charger. So lovely!


Instagram user meglafuria told it to us straight: “I have a throw pillow addiction.” (It’s safe to say you’re among friends, Meg!)  

Instagram user maggiewplim draped her favorite jewelry over the Reindeer Jewelry Stand. We love how chic it looks.  


We’d love to see how you’re decorating with your Pottery Barn finds. Just tag your Instagram photos with #potterybarn or #pbstyle.

Stylish Ways to Hang Black and White Photography

Decorating, How-To | | | 1 Reply

  • Stylish ways to show off your favorite black and white photography. — Centsational Girl
  • We love this idea: make your own all-natural and customized room  scents. — Folk Magazine
  • Try this project today: make your own dip-dyed towels. — Sweet Paul Magazine
  • Stumped for a Valentine’s Day gift to give? Get inspired with these ideas. — Country Living
  • Follow these 5 steps to create a beautiful front yard. — Sunset Magazine
  • Great tips to customize your rental apartment. — CasaSugar
  • Tour this beautiful California craftsman-style home. — Apartment Therapy
  • DIY a pom-pom bouquet for Valentine’s Day decor. — Eclectically Vintage


Pinterest Board of the Week: Creative Decorating and Entertaining Tips For Valentine’s Day

Decorating, Decorating Inspiration, Inspiration | | | 2 Replies

Guilty as charged: we can’t stop pinning. This week, we’re excited about our board Be Our Valentine, which features recipes, decor and inspirational decorating ideas for this most romantic of holidays. This Valentine’s Day Pinterest board is inspiring us to bake, decorate and celebrate February 14th in all its sweet and romantic glory.



We’re sharing dozens of fun ideas on the Pinterest board Be Our Valentine, including these four Pins.

From top left, clockwise:

  1. This heart garland, from a New York wedding featured on Style Me Pretty, is inspiring us to start decorating our chair backs as well as our table tops. The delicate, mini garland is a perfect decorating gesture for an intimate Valentine’s Day dinner.
  2. Used for berries, custards, mini pies or cakes, these oven-save Heart Dessert Dishes provide a sweet way to round out your Valentine’s Day dinner for two.
  3. Speaking of sweet, these scripted love letters and heart cookies from the talented baker, blogger and photographer Rosie Alyea at are absolutely gorgeous. She notes, “I can see these making for fabulous event favours, gifts for loved ones and friends, dessert table details and more.” We couldn’t agree more! You can learn how to make them at Rosie’s site, Sweetapolita.
  4. We’re imaging these DIY Yarn Letters, featured on Beyond Wonderland, as a great addition to a Valentine’s Day-themed mantel or entry console table. They’d also be a fun way to decorate at a Valentine’s Day party.

Are you baking, decorating or otherwise celebrating  in a creative way this Valentine’s Day? Share your ideas with us in the comments, or let us know what you’re pinning, too!:  Make sure to also check out our Valentine’s Day Pinterest board Be Our Valentine.

MarLa and Sager’s Family Roots-Inspired Southern Wedding

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We”re excited to provide inspiration for our readers and registered couples with our series of wedding posts, and today we’re featuring the beautiful, heartfelt wedding of MarLa and Sager, photographed by White Rabbit Studios. The couple were married in Alabama at a small church, with the reception just a couple blocks away at Limestone Bay Trading Company. After you read our interview with MarLa, be sure to click through the entire slideshow. The photos  of MarLa walking down the aisle may just move you to happy tears — we certainly found ourselves reaching for a hankie.

Can you tell us about you and your husband?

“Sager grew up in New Hope, MS. I grew up in Alexandria, AL. He went to University of Alabama and obtained a BS degree in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics. He was a member of the Blount Scholar program and member of Sigma Pi Fraternity. I went to Jacksonville State University and obtained a BS degree in Computer Information Systems with a minor in Business. I was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority and a member of the Marching Ballerinas (the dance team for the Marching Southerners). Sager is a senior developer at IBM. I am a software programmer/analyst as a contractor for the Army. We met in Huntsville, AL at work in January 2009 and we started dating in February 2010.”

How did you get engaged?

“We were celebrating Sager’s birthday in Florence, AL. On our way back home, we stopped at Joe Wheeler State Park to enjoy the scenery. Sager suggested we take a walk on a pier to watch the sunset. As we were taking in the view and each other’s company, Sager asked me if I loved him and would I love him forever. Of course, I said ‘Yes!’ He then, simultaneously, knelt on one knee and reached into his pocket. He was so nervous and I was in shock. I kept asking ‘Is this the moment? Is this our moment of our proposal?’ I was crying happy tears. We both were overwhelmed and sat on the pier with our legs dangling off, just letting the moment soak in. Sager shared his many ideas of how to propose and where. I liked them, so when we got into the Huntsville and Madison area, we drove to our work (where we first met), we drove to the restaurant of our first official date, we drove to his first apartment where we had our first kiss, we drove to Big Spring Park where we had our first unofficial date, we drove by the jewelry store where he purchased the ring (we never looked at rings together and he picked it out all on his own!)…each place Sager asked me to marry him. Each place I said ‘Yes.'”

The church where you were married is absolutely lovely. How did you choose this church?

“We wanted an outdoor wedding originally, but we struggled with the location and having to plan for inclement weather. We had both been to Mooresville several times and loved the quaintness of the historic town. The church was built in 1839. It is a one room building with no a/c or heating, but does have electricity! So we fell in love with the primitive church! It offered so much rustic charm that was befitting our wedding. What we wanted was a place than was natural and simple, and that is where we ended up. It was perfect.”

Where did you hold the reception?

“The reception was held at Limestone Bay Trading Company. It is a restaurant for breakfast and lunch and an event venue in the evenings. It is located in Mooresville, AL, about two blocks from the church. Our guests walked from the church to the reception, sipping from glass coke bottles on their walk. Dee Green is a one shop stop! She owns the venue, does the food, has a lady that does the wedding cake, is the florist, she does it all and she goes over and beyond! Limestone Bay Trading Company is a former General Store. It is so eclectic! Not much decoration is needed!”


What was your inspiration for the feel and look for the wedding?

“We wanted the wedding and reception to represent us and who we are. We wanted the reception to be like a family get-together, like those we attended growing up. My family would get together sometimes in the summer, and the men would play horseshoes; we would make homemade ice cream; everybody would bring a dish of southern ‘comfort’ food. We didn’t want it to be too fancy with crystal stemware, hors d’oeuvre, and place settings so involved that most people would have trouble knowing which fork to use! We wanted it to be comfortable, good, Southern food, with natural elements.”


What was most important to you when planning the wedding?

“The most important thing to us when planning the wedding was that the rehearsal dinner, wedding, and reception (all events) reflected us, our love, and our commitment to each other. The church is small so we had only our siblings stand with us (Sager’s two brothers were his best men, my sister was my maid of honor). Since I have so many close girlfriends they were honorary bridesmaids. They walked in with my sister but sat in a pew designated for them. They wore mismatched bridesmaid dresses, all coordinating but not matching in color or style. The dress and color fit each of the girl’s personality. I gave them colors to stay within (grey, brown, and green).”



What details really stood out at the wedding?

“Our save the dates, wedding invitations and programs were printed on wood from Night Owl Paper Goods in Birmingham, AL and personally designed by Sager’s brother, Jacob! Our unity ceremony was a tree that my mom got from our land in Alexandria. Sager had a mason jar of water from the lake where he grew up and a mason jar of soil from the land upon which he grew up. I had a mason jar of water from the pond where I grew up and a mason jar of soil from the land where I grew up. The music was a solo, acoustic violin played by a close friend of my family. We had hymns, a Scottish waltz, and an English country dance song to list a few. No vocalists were used. The violin sounded so authentic with the time period of when the church was built. The ring bearer, son of the violinist, carried my dad’s Bible. My dad passed away in 2007 and I wanted to honor him. I carried a handkerchief with the type of tobacco he smoked in his pipe to help calm my nerves that day.”


How did your personal values or interests as a couple affect the look and feel of your wedding?

“We both love folksy rock, and we love southern traditions, so we included both in the wedding and reception. We included our favorite foods and drinks and the reception (personally selected all food and drinks); we hand-made a lot of the decorations; Sager worked on the wedding just as much as I did – we wanted every decision and detail to truly reflect us and who we are! We wanted our friends and family to feel special and know how much we appreciate each and everyone and their support as we become husband and wife and the support to come in our relationship.”


What fun details did your guests really enjoy and respond to?

“They seemed to enjoy the s’mores pit, the southern food, the historic town, Coca-Colas in glass bottles served leaving the church on their way to the reception, the music in the ceremony, the groom’s table (Sager’s mom made desserts that he grew up eating and they were served in old tin boxes), rocking chairs at the reception, quilt squares for guests to write messages for us to make a quilt. The fresh, green flora throughout our venues and the town of Mooresville really made everything feel natural and looked beautiful.”


Did you have a live band or a DJ? How did you make this decision and make the music work at the wedding?

“We had a DJ that played vinyl records. If he didn’t have a song on vinyl, he would play a digital copy. We wanted the music of the reception to fit the venue, so we didn’t pick a DJ with a disco ball or colored lights. We didn’t have any hip hop or typical dance songs played at the reception. We like folksy rock artists like Iron and Wine, The Civil Wars, Band of Horses, Mumford and Sons, The Head and the Heart, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, etc.”

What do you think is important to splurge on? What about where you can save money?

“We think couples should research and pay a little more for the quality of the venue, the photographer/videographer, and/or a graphic designer for custom invitations/paper and website. We think do-it-yourself projects help save money and give the wedding/reception more of the couple’s personality. Have your family and friends use their talents to help with the details. Our violinist was a close friend of the family; one of Sager’s brothers is a graphic designer, so he helped with the website, save the dates, rehearsal dinner invites, wedding invitations, and programs. My mom has a great eye for decorating so she helped tremendously! Sager’s mom is a fantastic baker so her making of the goodies for his groom’s table was delicious and sentimental. My friend coordinates things really well, and she was our day-of wedding coordinator. Of course, we showed our appreciation for all they did for us either with money or a gift.”

What advice do you have for other couples planning their wedding?

“While planning, still take time to reflect on your relationship and why you are planning, planning, planning! We had an 8 month engagement, so it was short and busy! Three months prior to the wedding was my birthday so we took a long weekend trip to New Orleans to get away from wedding-planning. We highly recommend having an engagement session with the same photographer/videographer as the wedding. We learned their shooting style and were way more comfortable on the day of the wedding. We felt somewhat awkward during the engagement shoot at first, but all that awkwardness was gone on the wedding day…we were so comfortable around them!”

What advice do you have for couples that are establishing a registry?

“Take an assessment of what you have and what you need. Add items in different price ranges, for all friends and family to afford.”

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For more information about MarLa and Sager, check out their wedding website. The “Our Story” tab was written by Sager about the couple up until the moment of proposal acceptance!

All photos courtesy White Rabbit Studios