Tag Archives: lanterns

A Lantern to Light the Way–Bringing Old World Charm Into Your Home

Some beautiful gifts.

I love the look of lanterns. They’re one of my favorite aesthetics. I don’t own nearly enough of them, and I think we know the solution to that, don’t we? I love it when the Universe gives you a reason to go shopping.

Most of the lanterns I do have are gifts from my son. He’s been gifting me with one every Christmas for a few years. Those are the colorful ones you see in the picture. You can also see I have a few more out on my balcony (one that I ‘weathered’ by simply leaving it outside all the time). There’s an old world, mystical charm to lanterns that I just adore. Sometimes I burn candles in them, but regardless, I just really like their look, lit up or not.

I see lanterns in bargain stores and second hand stores all the time, so they can definitely be a cheap bit of decor. I’ll let you know when I acquire more! My only caution is that, if you get cheap ones, make sure the materials they’re made out of are safe to burn candles inside, if you intend to do so. No one wants a melted lantern.

Lanterns bring a bit of old fashioned charm into your house. There are many different styles, from rustic to Eastern to modern, depending on what sort of look you’re going for. If you like to use candles, they provide another outlet for burning them. Outdoor lanterns are another great way to brighten up your outside space.

Lanterns can be seasonal items too, such as in fall and around Christmastime. Or even on summer nights! They make great cheap decoration that adds to the ambiance of your holiday and seasonal decorating. Again, make sure they’re safe before burning candles inside them.

Now, I’m off to go bargain hunt some lanterns! I’ll be sure to take pictures.

Items Featured In Pictures

All items are listed, to the best of my memory, where I bought them, and their approximate price at the time of purchase. Relevant links to retailers or specific items are included where possible. Please note: I am not paid by any retailer, organization, or product to promote anything on this blog. This is for informational purposes only.

  • White lantern – Dollar General ~$5
  • Tall light blue lantern – Marc’s (Cleveland discount store) ~$6
  • Colorful lanterns – These were all gifts from my son, but I believe he got them on Amazon


My Kitchen is Full of Butterflies–Make Your Kitchen Dreamy On a Budget

Things are aflutter in my kitchen.

A lot of home decor blogs focus often and generously on kitchens. They’re a place where the household tends to come together regularly. They’re also one of the most available rooms as far as decorating goes–they’re full of hooks, surfaces, open areas, and nooks and crannies in which to place decor on and in. People like to make their kitchen look straight out of Better Homes & Gardens and they’re quite proud of it.

Unfortunately, I can’t keep up with the Joneses in that department.

I live in an apartment, and I don’t have a very big kitchen. It merely has everything it needs to be functional, which is fine by me (I’m a simple woman and easily pleased by just having a roomy refrigerator). I’m also not overly enthusiastic about cooking, so it’s not overflowing with cookware. You won’t find any magazine-perfect kitchens on this blog, I apologize! But you will get to see how I’ve made it pretty and magical in its own way.

Case in point: it’s full of butterflies! Grab a net!

I have two rooms which you could call ‘themed,’ that being my kitchen and bathroom. The bathroom is ocean themed, which you’ll see in another post later this week. I didn’t actually plan for the kitchen to be butterfly themed, it just evolved that way. I’ve always liked the butterfly aesthetic and somehow they all ended up flitting into my kitchen.

The shelf above my sink. It makes washing dishes more festive!

I must point out that several of the butterfly items I have on the shelf above my sink are actually outdoor items. The big pink butterfly is a solar powered light that I used to have on my balcony and it eventually fizzled out. The butterfly/lamp combo on the left is also meant to be hung outdoors but I never put it out there. I buck the system. No one can tell me where to put my butterflies. Call the interior decorating police!

I’ve never been one to put decor items where they’re meant to be. I put stuff where I want it and will enjoy it the most.

And don’t you just love my Okie Dokie Arti-chokie sign? Peak humor, isn’t it?

Lovely, but at what price?

I also have a huge, antique, roll top desk in my kitchen that I use as a sort of hutch/place to put my small appliances. I got it for free when a neighbor moved out and didn’t want to take it with them. It’s unholy bulky and heavy. I got it a long time ago and since then I’ve moved twice. As a result, I’ve lost multiple friends who foolishly offered to help me move and lifted it. It’s beautiful but monstrous. Also starting to fall apart in its old age, so I eventually have to figure out how to get rid of it. Perhaps I’ll lose a few more friends.

It also wasn’t always in my kitchen. At various times I used it as a TV stand, and then just as a decorative piece that I put other decor on, before I eventually moved it to the kitchen. I found out quickly it’s not an object you should attempt to move by yourself, and thus I had to keep sacrificing others.

Now, moving on: one of my staunch decorating philosophies, very wise and very simple, is: just put lights everywhere. It’s one of the easiest ways to decorate and make things look classy, and if not classy, at least like an enchanted forest. Perhaps a classy enchanted forest. I have a rope light on top my cabinets. Nothing complicated and no installation, it just sits up there and you can’t even tell because the cupboard top is recessed. It almost looks like a permanent light.

Lights make easy (and cheap) decor. Plug them in, or put batteries in, drape them over something, and you’re good to go. They add ambiance and a little sparkle. I’ve never been fond of a dark house. It’s always twilight in my house, but without the vampires.

My kitchen has no windows, so this brightens things up a bit too.

I leave the rope light on all the time and it makes for a good nightlight when you get up for water in the middle of the night. No need to turn bright lights on and burn your retinas out. Did I say get up for water? More often, in my case, it’s the cat hollering for food at some insane and still-dark hour. The lights help her avoid disaster as I’m still wobbly from sleep and she is compelled to weave around my ankles. If it was dark in the kitchen, she might have learned her lesson long ago.

I’m sticking with the butterflies for now, though I may change themes in the future. I even have a butterfly on my outer apartment door–which opens into my kitchen, so I suppose that counts, right? Maybe I’ll switch up eventually but for now, I like having butterflies.

Items Featured In Pictures

All items are listed, to the best of my memory, where I bought them, and their approximate price at the time of purchase. Relevant links to retailers or specific items are included where possible. Please note: I am not paid by any retailer, organization, or product to promote anything on this blog. This is for informational purposes only.

Guess which one of these I got at the dollar store?
  • Butterfly candle holder – Seventh Avenue ~$40
  • Milk bottle candle – Dollar General ~$2
  • Pink butterfly solar light – Target ~$15
  • Tin lantern (with the ladybug/flower) – Dollar General ~$1
  • Crystal w/flowers – Gift from my son
  • Okie Dokie Arti-chokie sign – Dollar General ~$1
  • Pink vase – Dollar General ~$3
  • Pink metal flower (actually a door decoration) – Dollar General ~$2
  • Solar butterfly w/lantern – Marc’s (Cleveland discount store) ~$5
  • Butterfly paperweight – Dollar General ~$1
  • Glass jar – Dollar General ~$2
  • Over-sink shelf – Yard Sale ~$2
  • Metal butterfly wall decor (used to light up, but the bulbs are burnt out) – Seventh Avenue ~$50
  • Metal butterfly wall decor (above stove) – Dollar General ~$2
  • Various tins/hot chocolate jar – Fortum & Mason (department store in London) – Gift from a friend
  • Japanese Coke bottle – Gift from a friend
  • Butterfly dangles/chimes – Dollar General ~$1 each
  • Roll top desk – Gift from neighbor
  • Everything on top the desk is not decor, of course, but if you have any questions please ask. There are a few candle holders hiding in there, I got them for under five dollars at Target. However, the drawers next to the desk were $15 at Dollar General.
  • Tablecloth – Dollar General ~$2
  • Jar wall decor – Dollar General ~$1
  • Butterfly floor mat – Dollar General ~$5
  • Cat – Priceless
  • Butterfly door decor – Dollar General ~$3
  • Rope light – Amazon ~$20


Pretty Your Outdoor Space For Less–When It Comes To the Outside, Don’t Go Outside Your Budget!

Do you have an outdoor space? A patio, deck, balcony, terrace, porch, veranda, yard, garden, a little patch of dirt, or just any kind of outer space you can call your own (maybe it’s even in outer space)? Since it’s summertime (at least in the northern hemisphere) let’s talk about how to make it nice on the cheap.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a yard or garden, and I haven’t in many years, so I can’t help much in that area. There are some great gardening and yard blogs out there though. They’re much more knowledgeable!

And trust me, you don’t want me telling you how to take care of plants. Most of the plants that have met me have returned to the earth quickly.

Sprucing up your outdoor space is just as important as decorating your indoor space. It’s the first impression your visitors get and clues them in immediately to your tastes and personality. And realistically, it’s also your only personal space that most people will ever see. Why not show off a little?

Gazing into my crystal ball tells me…I will buy more decor in the future! Special tip: secure items with clear weather stripping. The ball never budges in wind or a storm, as I have the ball weather stripped to the base and the base weather stripped to the chair. Easy to remove later on, too!

Strangers passing by will probably never see the inside of your home. That’s no reason to let them just walk on by without getting a little taste of your style. Personally, when I’m out walking I love to see people’s outside decor. I find it charming and even inspirational. Humans like to see pretty stuff!

I live in an apartment complex, and every apartment has a balcony (apart from the below-ground units). My balcony is one of the bigger ones since I live in a two bedroom apartment. The balcony itself is cozy, but big enough to allow for a little couch and my signature need to clutter every space I inhabit with STUFF. It faces a busy, noisy street and elevated train tracks, which I’m sure is not everyone’s ideal living situation, but for me I love it because I crave the bustle of city living and people watching. And boy, are there people to watch. It’s high enough up to maintain my privacy and still peer down on everyone like a nosy gargoyle.

A little birdie told me…that you got that fake ivy for cheap! Special tip: secure items to railings with color camouflaged zip ties. All items attached to my railings are done so with black zip ties.

My neighbors and passers-by routinely tell me how nice my balcony looks. Which is, of course, an ego stroke, but like a child with no filter on my mouth, instead of replying “yes, thank you, I bought this designer patio couch for a million dollars!” I spout self-deprecating stuff like “ha, joke’s on you, most of these plants are fake!” or, “Fool, I got this for two dollars at a yard sale!” I really need to learn to put on airs.

I won’t pay a bunch of money to show off, though. I don’t think anyone should have to, and you can still have a nice, comforting space that reflects your personality. All it takes is a keen sense of your own style and keeping an eye out for bargains when you shop!

It’s a bit funny that on my side of the building, there seems to be a silent competition amongst my neighbors to see who can create the most dramatic balcony. This tells me I’m in good company, but also if we keep adding lights to one-up each other, there will be a tragic accident when the planes on the approach path to the airport over our building get confused and think we’re a runway. Or, we’ll end up with a 737 parked in our lot and we’ll be fighting over which one of us actually signaled them in.

Just big enough for me and the cat. The cushion covers, of course, are waterproof and can be removed and washed.

The most expensive thing on my balcony is an outdoor couch I bought from Amazon. It’s surprisingly comfortable and regrettably teal–not because I dislike teal, but because I wish it had been available in pink. I had to assemble it myself, which was definitely not a good time. However, I’m pleased it hasn’t entirely collapsed into pieces while sitting on it and put me on the floor…yet. I’ll collect my engineering degree next week, thank you.

I also have a festive rainbow umbrella, which is a holdover from when I lived on a different side of the building and got a lot of sun. The sun on this side isn’t direct, but I still enjoy using it for the aesthetic. I can pretend I’m on the beach! You know, a beach with a major street and trains running through it.

Decorative items don’t have to be practical or even useful in order for you to enjoy them. Sometimes pretty things serve only one purpose: to make you happy when you see them. Form and function are important, but just having something around for the sake of seeing it is okay, too!

Fake plants, fake light, real weathering!

The rest of my decor is fake plants (and a few real ones thrown in because I’m trying, I really am), metal garden stakes, a few cute outdoor items, and a lantern that I’ve ‘weathered’ myself simply by leaving it outside and never bringing it in (which is what weathering actually is, right? Funny how fake ‘weathering’ is more the norm). And of course lights. Lots of lights.

Despite my surroundings, my decor has made my balcony surprisingly insular and private. I enjoy spending time on it, and I’m trying to spend as much time as I can, since summer only lasts about 15 seconds here and then it’s freezing rain again. You have to act fast or you won’t even see the sun. It’s a fun game we play every year (it’s not fun)!

Here is a breakdown of the items in the pictures–check out the gallery below for even more! As always, if you see something I didn’t list and want to know more about it, just ask.

Items Featured In Pictures

All items are listed, to the best of my memory, where I bought them, and their approximate price at the time of purchase. Relevant links to retailers or specific items are included where possible. Please note: I am not paid by any retailer, organization, or product to promote anything on this blog. This is for informational purposes only.

The night is bright, thanks to AA batteries.