DIY Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks & Our Thanksgiving Table

Plaid Thanksgiving Table | Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks, Glitter Gold Pumpkins, Brown, Black, Tan Plaid Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

I spotted this brown plaid at the fabric store in the men’s wear department (or was it the flannel aisle?) and fell in love.

We are expecting family today and tomorrow and things will become cra-zy around here very soon, so while I had a few moments I set out my ideas for our Thanksgiving table.

Plaid Thanksgiving Table | Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks, Glitter Gold Pumpkins, Brown, Black, Tan Plaid Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

Plaid Thanksgiving Table | Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks, Glitter Gold Pumpkins, Brown, Black, Tan Plaid Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

A day later and I’ve already decided to spare the plaid to turkey drippings and butter for another project (one of my handmade Christmas gifts – stay tuned) and plan to reset with something else on Thursday – ha! – but I love it because it looks so pretty with our white dishware, gold leaves, a few eucalyptus branches and the new wooden candlesticks (made from bedposts!).

Plaid Thanksgiving Table | Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks, Glitter Gold Pumpkins, Brown, Black, Tan Plaid Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

I also used several of the marbled pumpkins that we had made around Halloween and spray painted them gold + glitter gold (I ended up trying a couple of glitter spray paints and liked Krylon best). PS if you skip the gold base you’ll see the orange/white/marbled paint through the glitter.

I also have plans to add the colorful little milk art place cards that Liv made once we figure out who’s sitting where and who else we’re adding to the final table.

Plaid Thanksgiving Table | Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks, Glitter Gold Pumpkins, Brown, Black, Tan Plaid Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

Plaid Thanksgiving Table | Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks, Glitter Gold Pumpkins, Brown, Black, Tan Plaid Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

All you thrifters and garage salers out there, THIS is a really fun project and one with so many possibilities. Believe it or not, these chunks of wood used to be a bedpost (and how many awesomely shaped bedposts can be found at garage sales?).

Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks | Thanksgiving | PepperDesignBlog.com

To turn them into candlesticks:

1. Cut bedpost into cubes and prep for drilling candle holes.

Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks | Thanksgiving | PepperDesignBlog.com

2. With a ruler or measuring tape, find the center of the wooden blocks by drawing an ‘X’ (in hindsight these Xs should be smaller because we’ll be erasing them a little further down…

Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks | Thanksgiving | PepperDesignBlog.com

3. Measure the diameter of your candlesticks (mine are from Ikea that I shortened by a few inches with a knife) and using a paddle drill bit, carefully sink a 1-1.5″ hole into the block.

DIY Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks | Thanksgiving | PepperDesignBlog.com

4. Sand away any of the penciled X that’s still visible.

Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks | Thanksgiving | PepperDesignBlog.com

DIY Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks | Thanksgiving | PepperDesignBlog.com

I love, love how they turned out.

Plaid Thanksgiving Table | Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks, Glitter Gold Pumpkins, Brown, Black, Tan Plaid Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

Plaid Thanksgiving Table | Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks, Glitter Gold Pumpkins, Brown, Black, Tan Plaid Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

I’ve been using these odd bedpost blocks as risers for various outdoor parties during the summer and think that they would be great for so many different handmade projects (kid’s building blocks, topped with a cool stone for bookends…). After figuring this project out, I’m beginning to look at scrap pieces of wood, or already milled wood like the cool legs on an old coffee table, in a whole new way.

Plaid Thanksgiving Table | Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks, Glitter Gold Pumpkins, Brown, Black, Tan Plaid Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

And then there are the gold pumpkins. I can’t get enough of the vegetable this year. At least my little collection has been playing some serious double duty around the house over the last two months :).

Plaid Thanksgiving Table | Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks, Glitter Gold Pumpkins, Brown, Black, Tan Plaid Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

These would make great place cards with a little tag and twine for the stem.

Isn’t that plaid great? It’s the perfect base for a cozy table.

Plaid Thanksgiving Table | Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks, Glitter Gold Pumpkins, Brown, Black, Tan Plaid Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

Fabric shops make for the best places to score inexpensive yardage for long table runners and even cloth napkins. I’m off to save this plaid but I have a few backups in mind…. I’m especially looking forward to hosting Thanksgiving in our home this year!

More Thanksgiving ideas including this prep tip (for family and friends!) and these downloadable place cards and ‘grateful for’ notes.

What Does It Mean to Feel Balanced

I’d love to continue my series on thoughts of a working mom (is that the official name? that might be a work in progress, too) because I know that the support that I receive and read out there in the greater web world on what it means to be a ‘good’ mom and a ‘good’ (happy!) employee/employer/entrepreneur have been invaluable to me. Today – thoughts on a pie chart idea that makes us feel whole.

My Time - A Pie Chart Break Down | PepperDesignBlog.com

There are so many great articles out there about ‘balance’, ‘juggling’ and that overall idea of what it means to be a whole person. I’ve been thinking a lot on the topic lately because it’s not an easy one to digest. I think women in general especially struggle with feeding the whole person because we are givers by nature.

I think I’ve finally, after years of struggling with identifying what makes me thrive as a human being, recognized that I am happiest when I’m contributing to many different ‘buckets’ of priorities. If ever I dedicate too much of myself to one slice of the pie over another, I find myself a little edgy and unsatisfied with how my days are going or life in general (you know that feeling… as if something big is missing but you just can’t put your finger on it).

It’s when my time is flexibly allocated to those different areas that I feel most whole, most happy, most like the version of myself that I want to be. It’s that ‘ahhhhhh, this is what the rhythm of life is all about’ feeling.

Passion Quote | Fabienne Fredrickson

The big pie slices are easy – work and family. These are two things that I enjoy (family, immensely, obviously) and that there is no ignoring (compartmentalizing, now that’s a whole nother story). The little slices, well I have to work hard at remembering to include those. Those are the easiest to overlook, push aside or give up on altogether because they don’t always feel necessary. We all have different passions, different areas of our lives that inspire us and lead us. When I think about my pie chart, I know that making time for things like ‘being creative’ or ‘Saturday morning hikes’ will make me feel complete, make me feel whole. Another example: I’ve been working with a tech startup for about a year now and it is a few of the most fulfilling hours of my week to watch their little seed sprout and grow. Had I said no and not dedicated a small sliver of my pie to being an ‘entrepreneur’, I may have missed out on one of my greatest joys.

When we ignore what others will think, say or do (in general, the ‘legitimacy’ with which we dedicate hours of our time), we are working towards our own authenticity.

Liv & Taylor Ocean, Aquarium | PepperDesignBlog.com

The above pie chart doesn’t really even come close to tackling the priority of any of those items (clearly family is way more important than being active), but, I always have to admit at the end of a long week, that unless I am feeding each of those buckets above, I’m feeling less like myself.

I have come to terms (and now embrace) something else that struck me as a bit off when first approaching the idea of whole: many of my pie slices are drastically subdivided, completely cut off from one another (maybe for my own sanity or maybe because the nature of the pie slice calls for it). Separating those buckets of priorities out doesn’t always feel very organic. Previously I’ve mentioned how crazy it is that family really isn’t a topic in the workplace, and while I sometimes get to be artistic in that environment (as a marketing director), it is this blog that gets me to really put on my ‘creative pie slice’ hat: painting with the girls, making paper flowers, fabric tents or cheese boards, baking with Liv. Ah, that makes me so happy! and it’s totally alright with me if my colleagues don’t see this site or if certain friends don’t understand why I dig my day job.

One last read for everyone who wants to continue this conversation – check out this series on balancing work/life/motherhood by Joanna over at Cup of Jo. I commiserated with so many of these stories. What funny thing do many of them have in common? Regular bedtimes are at 2am! Sometimes you really do just need more hours in the day. :-)

Stepping back though with that ‘forest through the trees’ sort of imagery on what feeling whole means in life to me right now (and what I hope it will mean to me when I’m near finished with it), makes me recognize that I would rather work until 2am every night than leave any of my slices – whether they change, grow or condense – completely empty. It’s a lofty goal but so much is on the line.

PS a full-time schedule, it takes a village, finding little moments in busy days (and holding on to them tight!). Beautiful quote artwork featured above.

Site Redesign: Part 1, Hosting

Tech Tips: Website Redesign | Part 1, Choosing a Hosting Provider | PepperDesignBlog.com

Guys! The site has gone through a major redesign and I’ve lived to tell the tale on the opposite side (woot). I thought I’d take a moment and break down the key steps in giving this blog a major once-over for chronicling purposes, and just in case you’re considering something along the same lines yourself (if you’re a blogger or website developer).

The very first step in creating (or redesigning) a site is to choose a reputable host. A hosting company is your gateway to your site’s control panel, email, database, etc – basically access to a server where your entire site (and all of its images, content and so on) is stored and recalled for internet viewing purposes. Big companies might have their own server(s), but us little guys can share a server with 10-200 or so other little guys to split the costs of storing and maintenance. After having built a lot of websites, my favorite host is BlueHost (I have also used HostGator which is great but requires a separate login for billing and the cpanel, and that always drove me a little nutty :)).

Tech Tips: Website Redesign | Bluehost | PepperDesignBlog.com

As a WordPress user (wordpress.org and not wordpress.com), I value the ability to be able to host my own blog theme (more on that to come), my own domain (I own: pepperdesignblog.com and pepper-blog.com, both lead to here) and to customize, customize, customize as I see fit.

WordPress.org makes that happen! And BlueHost is one of my favorite hosting sites to store my websites on because they make installing WP, accessing your site and – most importantly – contacting customer service via chat, a cinch.

Choosing a plan: I know that Bluehost specifically offers several plans for several different sizes of websites. Their Starter plan at $3.95/month (that’s the usual discount that they offer pretty frequently) will be perfect for most sites. I’m actually on the Plus plan ($6.95/month) and they also offer a WordPress specific plan (~$20+/month), but that’s more for those that host multiple WordPress sites and that need A LOT of bandwidth.

How to set up a new site or transfer your existing site: the hosting site usually makes this pretty seamless. Here’s an article from Bluehost that discusses migration (and using a plugin called MigrateWP) in more detail. Bluehost also offers a feature for $99 where they’ll transfer everything (parked domains, email addresses, the entire database) for you.

Signup add-ons: as you go through the process of registering with a new hosting provider, you’ll probably be asked if you’d like a few additional add-ons such as an automated database back up and domain privacy protection. I think that having a regular backup of my site delivered to my inbox is invaluable (though there are other solutions out there other than through your hosting provider, like BackupBuddy) so I say ‘yes’ to this one. Domain Privacy Protection is at your discretion – it basically means that if someone uses the WhoIs.com directory, they’ll see your name next to the registered owner. I don’t mind that so much. I don’t use SiteLock Domain Security or Search Engine Jumpstart (or any of the add-on SEO services).

Some issues you may run into with hosting: if you have an especially large site and you are registered for a relatively low hosting plan (say, 30GB a month), you might be taking up too much room on your server (remember, you’re sharing it with a bunch of other websites) and then your host will ‘throttle’ your website. CPU throttling happens automatically, usually, and is a preemptive measure on the part of a hosting site to keep your account from dominating too much time on a shared server. What happens during throttling? The site becomes slower, the images take a while longer to load, it’s slightly harder for viewers to access your blog. Culprits can include: poorly coded PHP scripts, certain extra large themes and plugins (if your a WP user, you probably know what that means), queries that are not optimized. Yep, that’s all the fun stuff you get to deal with when you host your own site. BUT it’s so worth it and usually you won’t run into issues such as this (and then there’s the help desk or sources like Codeable), especially if you use an awesome WP theme as the frame for your blog (more on that up next!). One of the big reasons I started a site redesign was to optimize the back end of my site which was getting huge and causing throttling.

I hope this was helpful! Up next is choosing a new theme… a lot of thought and research went into that one while I was thinking about the functionality I was looking for in the new Pepper site, so I look forward to spilling the beans on my tips for sorting through the many, many different options.

PS if you’re on a tech tip kick, you can find a few more right over here.

PPS this is not a sponsored post (just a helpful one), but I am an affiliate member of the Bluehost program so by sharing the links above I do earn a small commission if you register with their services.

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