Rustic Autumn Tablescape DIY

Post, video and photos by Rain San Martin

Join me as I make a Rustic Autumn Tablescape. Using natural elements found out-doors, the table setting will be made in the vintage homemaking spirit. This will be for a simple gathering of four, yet can be adapted for more. The meals dishes will be served buffet style in the kitchen or on our dinning room built-in cabinet.

To make my rustic autumn centerpiece I started with a short trip to my front yard. I used my branch trimmer, (here’s a similar item: -affiliate link) to cut a few festive branches from an American Highbush Cranberry, which is not to be mistaken with the traditional cranberry, yet can apparently be cooked with sugar and turned into a jelly. I love the decorative seasonal properties. The branches I bent into 3-4 inch circles, then tied with a small amount of twine. Narrow branches are most pliable when freshly cut, as they will dry when aged. A small brown plate with scattered leaves served as a base for the centerpiece. Finally I placed an orange pillar candle into the center of the of American Highbush Cranberry ring (here’s a similar unscented candle -affiliate link).

Fill out the table. I had a roll of burlap which I cut to match the size of the wooden table. Next I added wine hued leaf place mats by Better Homes and Gardens. Then I used my everyday dinnerware set from Target (International Kenya 16pc Dinnerware Set in Brown). I did not feature any napkins, yet you could wrap matching napkins and silverware with twine or keep open.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Paper Clutter Management

Post and Video by Rain San Martin

Welcome to the Parlor! One of my key motives for writing a blog and having a YouTube channel is accountability.  When one researches a subject, takes action steps, then shares what they have learned, big changes can happen. I have seen a gradual improvement in the order and management of the home over these last few years. Flylady is know for her wise statement: “Progress not perfection.” Marla Cilley has always emphasized the importance of staying on top of paper-clutter. By the way I just preordered her latest book:  The CHAOS Cure: Clean Your House and Calm Your Soul in 15 Minutes (affiliate link). I still have boxes I need to work through in the basement from years past, yet I’m making headway.

Here’s how I manage my paper-clutter:

*Sort incoming mail as soon as it comes in. Immediately place junk mail in recycling. Put bills to pay or paperwork to process in “inbox”.

*Once bills are paid place them into an extra large manila envelope. 10 x 13 (affiliate link) is the perfect size as it allows for breathing room.   Label each envelope with two months and the year. For example: Bills / Important Papers 2018 Nov/Dec. 

*Shred papers with sensitive information. Here’s a link to the nearly identical model I have: Fellows Powershred 7C (affiliate link)

*Reduce incoming mail. Remove yourself from mailing lists, pay bills online and so forth.*Store Memorabilia into the same sized 10 x 13 clasp envelopes. Place the name of the person and the year on each envelope.  Each family member should be given a wooden crate (more vintage style) or plastic bin. Place the memorabilia envelopes into the bin. Over time you may have to purchase more containers or reduce these papers. Have an enchanting week,Rain San Martin


Vintage Gothic Accessories

2018-11-02 1280 x 720 Vintage Gothic Acce

Post and video by Rain San Martin

Accessories have the amazing ability to define a wardrobe style. Without them my wardrobe would have a dark and romantic look, yet with them it is more clear that I am going for a Gothic Steampunk / Antique Gothic or Romantic Gothic style.

The core of my jewelry comes from Etsy. I especially love the hand assembled cameo’s, set in antique brass. I do have a brass pocket watch (affiliate link) from Amazon however. Thin scarves or lace trim are my go-to for sashes and belts. A Victorian Gothic corset or Medieval Waist cincher may be worn over my top or dress. Flowing black crochet or lace sweaters give instance warmth and mystique. A long velvet cloak is nice for a chilly evening out.

I keep my shoe selection at a minimum. About a half dozen pairs, that’s it! When you make your color scheme simple, and stick with a specific look, you will find that there is no need for dozens of shoes and hand bags. This is one of the reasons I love the “Gothic” look. Eighty percent of my wardrobe is black.  Personally, I may pair the Raven Black with a rich autumn palate of Branch Brown, Burlap Taupe, Wine or a dash of Pumpkin Orange. I stick to the color scheme year-round!

Only keep the accessories you truly love and use! Donate or toss anything else. This is in keeping with a simple minimalist wardrobe. If you love frilly clothing, then that is what you should keep in your closet. There is no rule that states that being a minimalist means you must dress in plain fashion styles!