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My friends at Bloomist put me up to the challenge of setting the table with natural elements from their beautiful shop. Truth be told, it was kind of tough because I don't usually set the table in any formal manner and I'm not a fan of themes. I am a big fan of Nature though so with Spring and Easter in mind I started with a few basics that nod in their direction. Our own backyard eggs, a few dried botanicals with a beautiful vessel and some moss from Bloomist. From there I gathered things from around the house; our place settings and a throw blanket for a tablecloth. I putzed around until I found two ideas to share with you, both casual; a neutral setting and a setting for those who are fans of spring colors.


Here is look one...


Dried Yarrow | Natural Reindeer Moss | European Recycled Glass Jar


A simple setting with blush, sage, and ochre accents. The dried Yarrow is the real star of this look but personally I love the nod to nature the Natural Reindeer Moss adds. I used it to nest our eggs in those little bowls and in the European Recycled Glass Jar surrounding the candle. It's also a beautiful option for your plants if you want to cover the dirt.


Dinner Plate | Salad Plate | Gray Bowl | Blush Napkin | Silverware Set


In the background you can see our EcoFaux Magnolia Campbellii Branches also from Bloomist which tie in nicely with the blush accents here. We used one of each branch size to create this look.



Look two is all about the neutrals. I kept the light gray base and played off the silvery sage of the dried banksia arrangement. Bloomist carries both the Dried Banksia Foliage in bunches and a set of 3 Dried Natural Banksia flowers which you've seen me use so many times before. I used both in this arrangement. The moss felt right at home in this color palette so it stayed as well.


Wabi Sabi Vessel | Dried Banksia Branches | Dried Natural Banskia


I love this subtle look because food has a chance to be the real star in this scene. We kept the dishes but grounded them with a pop of black bowls. I also added my Tunisian Clay Beads for a little extra texture. When you are playing with neutrals, texture is always a good thing.


Tunisian Clay Beads | Wabi Sabi Vessel | Natural Reindeer Moss | Black Bowl | Linen Napkin


The vase is the Wabi Sabi Vessel. Bloomist carries two sizes, each one is unique. They are crafted from matte white porcelain clay by potter Wiem Ben Azouz. These are sculptural pieces not meant to hold water but perfect to display alone as art pieces or use with your dried or ecofaux botanicals.



Jake likes the colorful option, I like the neutral. Luckily both settings were quick and easy to pull together. I'd love to hear which you prefer!


If you are interested in any of these pieces feel free to use my Bloomist codes. "UNDECORATED15" will save you 15% on your entire purchase, "UNDECORATED25" will save you $25 off of a purchase of $100 or more.


XO,

Meg



I promised you some info on this cork wall after Hazel's room reveal. Let me start with an apology for the lack of photos. We had a few other projects going on the same day and I had no idea you would all be so interested in this one! I'm going to do my best to explain how we put this cork board together. It was an easy project, that only took an hour or so and came in around $85.


PROJECT LIST

Cork Sheet 4' x 8' 6mm thick - $53

Rubber Cement - gallon - $8

Thin plywood or paneling 4' x 8' - $10

Paint Roller - $3

Plastic Paint Tray - .50¢

Razor Knife

Tarp

Rolling Pin

Trim - $10


The first thing we did was determine the size of the cork board that would work best for this wall. Initially I wanted to cover the whole wall but cork is more expensive than I thought. If you want to cover an entire wall you could use this same method and skip the trim.


I found this 4 x 8 roll of cork and the reviews were iffy but the price was right. I took a chance and it worked out great. When it arrived we rolled it out for a few hours and put books on the ends to flatten it out. One end was crumbly as the reviews said it might be but it was also 6" longer than the 8' it was supposed to be so it worked out.



While it was flattening out we measured and marked out the area where we wanted it. I just eyed up a good height and centered it on the wall. Then we marked out all of our studs above and below it's destined place on the wall.


We had previously purchased a 4' x 8' sheet of birch panel which is similar to a thin plywood. (Any thin wood sheeting would work, it's only meant to protect the wall.) Jake held it up and I leveled it and then secured it to the wall with screws along the studs. We probably used 40 screws. We hit every stud on the top and bottom and every other stud on a few rows in between.


The birch panel was a step I almost got lazy on and skipped. It would have been easier to just glue the cork to the wall. I'm glad I didn't though because if we ever want to remove it we can just peel off the cork, remove the panel and fill the screw holes. If I had glued it to the wall it would have ruined the drywall.



For the next step you will definitely need two people. First OPEN ALL THE WINDOWS! The rubber cement smells TERRIBLE so use a mask. Hazel slept in our room the night we did this and I left her windows open and shut her bedroom door for the night and it was cleared out by morning. I ordered two small cans of the rubber cement because of a tutorial I read but I wished I had more because we just barely had enough. If you do this project in this size I would spring for the gallon to make sure you have good contact. It's very sticky so use a tarp to protect your floors!


We trimmed the crumbly bits off of the cork with a razor knife while it was still on the floor. You want to put a layer of rubber cement on the cork and the birch panel. I poured it out in a paint tray and rolled it on the cork and panel with a semi smooth nap roller just like paint. Then Jake and I picked it up together and lined it up at the top and smoothed it down the birch panel. I used a rolling pin to make sure it made good contact everywhere.



Like I mentioned earlier the cork was bigger than the panel. We waited an hour or so and then trimmed off the excess with the razor knife.


Unfortunately I didn't take any photos of us trimming it out. We chose the same trim we used on the baseboards and windows in a 1 1/2" width. We cut the trim to size and used our nail gun to attach it to the wall. You can do this step without fancy tools! If you have a saw and a measuring tape and a hammer, you can do this!!




That's it. So far it's held up great. The only hard part of the project was dealing with the rubber cement smell for a few hours.


I got Hazel a few cute tacks (I'll link you to below) and jammed those right in all over the place to make sure the cork was keeping good contact while it dried.


Here are some easy links to the things I purchased online for this project. The clip push pins are really great because she can hang art and photos without putting holes in them!


Send me photos on Instagram if you make your own cork wall! I would love to see! If you have any source questions about Hazel's room you can probably find them right here.


XO, Meg



*image courtesy of Pinterest



Last week we kicked off our first Wellness Wednesday on my Instagram stories. The topic was Fragrance- a silent killer in my personal opinion and one that is grossly overlooked.


Specifically we talked about Fragrance in our personal care items. Shampoos, cosmetics... anything we are putting on our skin or spraying around ourselves.


Here are a few notes from that conversation-


*The term fragrance is an umbrella term that covers over 80,000 toxic chemicals that can be hiding in our personal care items. Chemicals such a phthalates, octoxynols and nonoxynols. Phthalates are potent hormone disruptors linked to reproductive system birth defects in baby boys. Octoxynols and nonoxynols break down into persistent hormone disruptors, as well.


*Of those 80,00 chemicals the US has banned a mere 11 of them. Canada has regulations on over 650 of them and the European Health Commission has restricted over 1300 of them.


*These chemicals have not been fully tested in the US. WE ARE THE GUNIEA PIGS.


*Government regulations for cosmetics haven't been updated since 1930.


*Manufacturers aren't required to disclose specific fragrance ingredients because fragrances fall into a loop hole. Instead, you'll find the word parfum, perfume or fragrance because fragrances are considered a "trade secret". What this means is that manufacturers can legally hide 1000's of toxic chemicals in the products we use in that one little word.


*Red Flags- any product that has a warning label such as do not ingest, discontinue if rash occurs, or has an age limit on it.


Resources for safe products-


First of all, bookmark the EWG website and download the EWG's Healthy Living app to your phone. The website will help you search for safe products before you buy anything and the app will help you find clean products in the store with the apps scanner. On this app you'll find the toxicity rated anywhere from EWG verified (the best) up to a rating level of 10 (the worst). Best case scenario we are looking for the EWG stamp otherwise we are looking for the color green and as low a number as possible.


Think Dirty is another app I have on my phone that makes it easy to look up a product at home when I'm making my list before I hit the store or buy online and they also have a handy scanner so you can look things up on the spot. You can scan any product that they support and it will give you the run down of what that product is made of. There are three sections that it gives you. The dirty meter, ingredients, and cleaner options. The dirty meter outlines 3 major areas of concern. Carcinogenicity, Developmental and Reproductive Toxicity, and Allergencity and Immunotoxicity. We are looking for a green color and a low rating. It will give you a 0-10 score, with 0 being the cleanest and 10 being the most toxic to your body. I like this app especially because after scanning a product you can check the ingredients and right next to ingredients is "Our Picks" which will list a few safer options. You can also make lists on list app for quick reference later on.


Often you won't be able to find a product on either of these apps and that can be frustrating. Both apps will ask you to take a few photos of the product if they don't have it in their database so that they can evaluate it. Take a second and send in your info. The only way these apps can become more helpful is if we help them out a little.


Here a few articles I found if you are interested in the difference between the two apps-


https://calmerme.com/skin-deep-think-dirty-apps-for-health/

https://www.greenandgrowing.org/ins-and-outs-of-think-dirty-app/


Another resource I turn to and trust...


just.ingredients on Instagram. Karalynne Call is a certified nutritionist who shares toxin filled products in our home from food to product and she shares the products that you can replace them with all in a quick swipe. She's a great one follow.


What else can we do-


Use your sense of smell and common sense. If your hairspray smells like pineapple but there is no pineapple listed in the ingredients and you find the word parfum or fragrance you can safely assume those are toxic chemicals you are smelling. Look for products that have the scents listed individually. For example- peppermint derived from Pure Essential Oils. In the moment with no apps to rely on these are always a better and safer alternative.


Ignore words like Green, Fresh, and Natural. These words ARE NOT regulated by the FDA. In most cases they are a gimmick to draw you in and make you feel like you are buying something clean. They are also generally more expensive for no reason other than that pretty packaging.


Use your common sense. If a product contains shimmer, color and has a scent but the ingredients don't reflect those things it's clearly toxic until proven otherwise. Choose the most boring option, the plain chapstick with no flavor will be your best bet until you have time to research.


What do those ratings mean-


I went through my house this week and researched every product we use on our skin. The shower, our bathroom drawers and counters, our bedrooms and the lotions and chapsticks next to the kitchen sink, every spot I could think of that gets hit up regularly. Truth be told I didn't find many products that rated very high most of which I owe to my daughter's allergies and the things we no longer use in our house because of them. I did find a few gifted items and a few that slipped by me. I fell for Philosophy's Pure Grace shampoo & body wash for our bathroom remodel because the bottle was pretty and it was expensive and I think I just assumed it was a good brand because it's expensive and has the word Pure in the product name. Maybe they have some cleaner products but this one in particular is 5 on EWG. That rating was especially high for allergies and immunotoxicity. Meaning the ingredients are scientifically linked to chemicals that are known to cause harm to the immune system, a class of health problems that manifest as allergic reactions or an impaired capacity to fight disease and repair damaged tissue in the body. NOT exactly what I want to slather on my body let alone my kids who are busy fighting off those rampant school germs.


The gifted items I found included a bag full of Bath & Body products that all rated extremely high, those that I could find on my go-to apps were 8s and 9s with the major concerns being developmental and reproductive toxicity. Ingredients linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity are a broad class of health effects that range from infertility and reproductive organ cancers to birth defects and developmental delays in children. Again NOT something I want my children or yours using!


Look- things slip by us, we make mistakes because we aren't privy to the harmful products available to us on our everyday shelves. I'm sharing in the hope that we can find ways to fix them together.


What we are doing in our home-


I'm currently working on replacing anything in our home that is rated over a 5. As I said, I went through all of our personal care products and checked the ratings. Anything that I found over a rating of 5 on the EWG and Think Dirty was put into a bag and placed in our garage. I made a list of those products and decided whether or not we actually needed products of their kin and diligently researched the items I deemed necessary on both of the apps/websites I listed above. I placed a few orders for products that we need immediately and I'll share them with you here next week.


Going back to my decor roots there is something to be said about minimizing everything. How many products do we actually need. Is it more affordable to buy cleaner, more expensive products if we minimize the products we are using? That's a personal choice we can make.


Don't throw toxic chemicals away!


I think its also important to note that the products that went in that bag that had a high toxicity level shouldn't just be thrown in your trash can. Especially as we dive deeper and get into harmful cleaning chemicals.


Check Waste Management's website to find a local pick up or drop off location near you.


TerraCycle is another great website for recycling just about everything you didn't think could be recycled.


Next week I'll share the products we have slowly been replacing our toxic products with and a list I am complying of all of your recommendations.


XO, Meg