Home Improvement

Home Improvement

Weekend Reading 9.23.22 | Centsational Style

I’m at a family reunion this weekend on the Colorado River enjoying the company of my extended family but sweltering in the 100+ degree heat. Thankfully we have A/C and the river to cool off in when we go on floats together and I’m hanging out with cousins I haven’t seen in a decade, it’s a lot of fun.

There’s this magical moment at night when the sun sets and the bats fly out into the pink sky while we listen to the sounds of the river and watch the day disappear. Everyone is celebrating the first official week of fall but it still feels like summer here!

Favorite links from the week:

This modernized grand estate in Northern England.

This renovated farmhouse in Connecticut.

This impressive DIY plaster fireplace surround.

Dos and don’ts for installing a countersplash.

Ceramics explained: the difference between stoneware, porcelain, and earthenware.

How some celebrities might look if they were still alive today.

22 suggestions on how to stop shopping impulsively.

Five tips for making friends in a new city.

Building an Alzheimer’s resistant brain.

Funny: this small town does not want to be in your romantic comedy.

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Home Improvement

DIY Sculpted Branch Candelabra | Centsational Style

As I’ve mentioned several times, my latest passion is sculpting with clay. My eight week ceramics class has inspired my new found hobby so getting my hands on clay to form it into shapes is a bit of an obsession in the moment.

I wanted to create a candelabra for future holiday table settings, one that was simple yet organic in its form. I used a branch as the base and sculpted the form with air dry clay.


Grapevine branches are $40 or more so instead I purchased a pair of small bird perches and attached them together with hot glue. Using existing branches as the base saved me the stress of sculpting a branch on my own.

The branches were wrapped in clay and sculpted inch by inch to create the random organic structure.


Supplies: 2.2 lb modeling clay; rolling pin; thick curvy branch; water; ¾” copper cap fittings (to hold candles); white spray paint; hot glue; taper candles.

The project is quite simple, but will take an hour of your time. Locate a thick branch with some movement. Cut air dry clay into long strips and thin it out with a rolling pin. Use those strips in pieces to wrap around the branches. Sharper corners or edges need an extra layer of clay.

Once the branch is wrapped in clay use your fingers to form it around the edges of the branch. To create a smooth surface, dip your fingers in a small amount of water and work the moisture around the surface of the clay. It took me about 45 minutes to fully sculpt the elongated branch so be patient with it and enjoy the process, it feels good! Reserve a few ounces of clay wrapped in plastic for patching if necessary.

Allow the branch to dry a full 24 hours in a warm dry place. Once it’s fully dry you may observe a few cracks where the clay shrunk down as the moisture evaporated. Fill any cracks with remaining clay, smooth like before, and allow to dry.

The taper candle caps are copper fittings found in the plumbing department at a home improvement store (see link above). I spray painted them white and secured them to the sculpted branch with hot glue. I also used the level on my phone with the candle in the cap fitting to make sure they would burn straight!


All that effort will give you the most unique candelabra for your holiday tablescapes!






If you’d like to make your centerpiece stand out even more, below are some sources for unique taper candles in some really beautiful colors.

fancy tapers / beeswax dipped

hand dipped pastels / swirl tapers

gradient set

twisted tapers / square tapers

bright pastels 


 earthy colors / custom colors


fancy tapers – multiple colors

soft pastel tapers

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Home Improvement

Weekend Reading 9.18.22 | Centsational Style

Weekend Reading 9.18.22

By Kate Riley September 18, 2022

Rainy day greetings from Northern California. We’ve had 24 hours of rain and everyone here is breathing a sigh of relief, the moisture deters wildfires so everyone is grateful for the rain!

While it drizzles outside, I’m painting some cabinets today. I have a fun decorative DIY project to share inspired by my new passion for working with clay. Look for that this week!

Favorite links from the week:

This charming cottage surf retreat.

This hilltop new build modern farmhouse.

This elegant English style getaway in Nova Scotia.

This transitional Tudor home in Virginia.

The definition of the Japanese philosophy of hodo hodo in design.

This jalapeno cheese ball in the shape of a pumpkin is perfect for fall game days.

How to upcycle an old candle.

Five Home Depot cost saving tips.

A month of one pot dinners.

Have you ever considered a private travel club? Some affordable options here.

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Home Improvement

Ceramicists to Bookmark | Centsational Style

I’m in week six of my eight week hand building ceramics class at a local studio and I’m very inspired by what I’ve learned. I’ve studied different kinds of clay, different methods for construction, as well as the kiln and glazing processes. I have a new appreciation for the medium and how much time and talent goes into making functional and sculptural pottery. My next class will be all about how to throw on the wheel, I’m excited to learn that technique.

Lately I’ve discovered some skilled artists that I wanted to introduce you to, ones you may not be aware of. Take a peek at their portfolios and online shops and consider them as sources for gifts for this upcoming holiday season. Each has their own unique style, I’m sure you’ll want to bookmark/pin a few favorites.

Gina Zycher Ceramics



Paula Casella



Tamara Bryan Pottery


Lisa Flemming Ceramics




Sunshine Cobb




Oksana Berda



Hana Karim


Cote Garcia


Mammoth & Minnow


Virginia Sin


If you know of or shop from any skilled ceramic artists please share them in the comments, I’m always looking to discover new sources and inspiration!


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Home Improvement

DIY: Faux Stone Accent Table

Sometimes when I’m walking the aisles of home improvement stores I get creative ideas like these basket plant stands or these table leg candlesticks. Once more it happened.

I was in the garden department and spotted some curved resin planters and thought if I put two together they’d form a nice base for an accent table. It took plastic bonder and joint compound to unite them, and here is the final result:


I bought all my supplies at Lowe’s including two 15” planter bases with the same circumference on top (I used these ones). In addition, here’s what you’ll need to recreate: two 24” wood circles; joint compound; 2” plastic putty knife; plastic bonder; wood glue; coarse sanding wedge; Krylon river rock spray paint.


To make the top, first, glue the two 24” tops with wood glue and set heavy books on top so they stay put and bond together. Allow to dry about 2 hours. Coat the wood circle sides and top with two thin layers of joint compound. It’s helpful to do this on a prop of some kind. Sand between coats and after second coat dries sand again to create a mostly smooth surface. I left mine imperfectly smooth on top because I liked the texture.


before sanding:

after sanding:


Once dry, mark the underside of the wood circles with the location of the pedestal in the center for attaching in the future.


To attach the planters together use a bonding glue designed for plastic (see link above). Allow to dry a few hours then use more joint compound to make any seams disappear. This took a few applications, sanding between coats. It helps to spread the joint compound up beyond the seam a couple of inches to achieve a final smooth look.

Once the joint compound is sanded and smooth, coat the top and pedestal with spray paint. I chose River Rock by Valspar to mimic a stone hue.

Use additional plastic bonding glue to bond and unite the top to the pedestal. Allow to dry, then use for display!


I’ll post a video on Instagram Reels to show the process. I like how the table turned out, the pedestal is certainly unique! I’m inspired to use my remaining joint compound to create texture on future decorative projects.:)

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Home Improvement

Weekend Reading 9.11.22 | Centsational Style

This week I finished up the Autumn Art Collection and next month I’ll be starting on another for the Christmas season. I love being creative in different ways from art to pottery to fabric design and DIY projects. Creativity is a major source of joy in my life and it’s so nice to have a space to share it with all of you!

I’m working on even more projects this week, a piece of furniture and a decorative idea for holiday tablescapes. Meanwhile behind the scenes I’m picking out new carpet for the family home and painting spaces that need updating. We’ve put a lot of maintenance on the back burner and the time has come to make the necessary upgrades. I’ll share them as they happen. 🙂

Favorite links from the week:

Lovely contrast, textures, and wood tones in this Arizona home tour.

So many elegant details in this home renovation.

Chic and cheap: this burl wood dresser makeover is impressive.

This light and bright A frame cabin transformation.

Cheerful color and pattern completely transformed this small balcony.

What happens with the monarchy’s money on the Queen’s passing.

100 women who distance walk solo.

The rule of three in conversation.

A helpful mantra to strengthen your marriage/partnership.

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Home Improvement

Simple Fall DIY Projects Using Real Leaves

September is here which means the trees will be giving us abundant leaves very soon. Bringing them indoors and decorating with them creates a cozy atmosphere in your home.

I’m always drawn to projects that are simple and lovely. Below are a collection of creative DIY projects you can complete in a short amount of time using nature’s resource: autumn leaves. For many of these you could substitute faux leaves, but if you can find the real thing for free, use them!

spray painted copper leaves

better homes & gardens

glitter leaf garland

sixth street design school

photo display

leaves streamer



threaded leaves

this mother


light strand

 autumn leaves bowl

pressed framed leaves

  so much better with age

leaf stamped napkins


all things g&d


wax preserved leaves

martha stewart

get artistic



mantel garland


metallic clay leaf dishes

 best ideas for kids

window display


and two from my archives…

leaf luminaries

and leaf embellished pumpkins

have a lovely weekend !


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Home Improvement

Autumn Art Print Collection | Centsational Style

September greetings! Today I’m sharing the new art prints I added to my Etsy shop as a fall collection!
I was in major creativity mode last week as I painted, edited, printed, and framed all of these autumn beauties! I was inspired by seasonal fall leaves, classic still life paintings, and modern pastel hues.

Below are all of the digital art prints now available in my Etsy shop and great news, they’re all on sale!

I created these three painted still life art prints for the collection.


Still Pears



Apple Study


Painted Pumpkin




This trio is inspired by fall leaves in red and gold hues.


Golden Leaves




Autumn Walk


Watercolor Leaves




This pumpkin medley was inspired by modern pastel hues and the pastel medium.


Pastel Pumpkins


Casper Pumpkins


Pretty Pumpkins

Also available in the shop…


Autumn Abstract


Fields of Gold


Fig Study



and finally one of my favorite quotes in a typographic print

Let Things Go


The Fall Collection is for sale in my Etsy shop and right now every print is 30% off!

All prints are digital downloads which makes them very affordable for switching your seasonal art!

Each listing also includes a handy PDF with a list of where to print digital art.

Let me know which one is your favorite!

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Home Improvement

Weekend Reading 9.4.22 | Centsational Style

I spent extra hours at my local pottery studio this week, working on creating vessels by hand using molds and templates. It’s a quiet community space to work in and I’m so happy to have discovered it! I’m learning all about glazing and different colorization techniques, it’s been a lovely experience being enrolled in a two month course.

Yesterday Matt and I spent a whole day decluttering the family home here in California and coming up with plans for updating different spaces. Already it feels fresher but there is a lot more work to do. We miss our daughter’s presence but there is also a calm feeling in our home because it’s a little quieter. These are the adjustments that occur when a nest empties but I’m glad it’s happening slowly, not overnight.

Favorite links from the week:

Calm and lovely neutrals were used throughout this home. More images here.

Find an inspiring use of patterns and beautiful cabinetry in this full scale remodel.

What a fun Florida vibe captured in this Naples escape.

If you like wood paneling, you’ll be inspired by this cozy California coastal home.

This is a creative bathroom tile installation.

This rainbow runner makes a happy staircase! DIY install here.

A photographer found this rare rainbow inside ice caves.

Feel like a drive? Check out these 20 USA fall foliage trips.

It’s not just diet and exercise. Optimism leads to longevity.

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Home Improvement

Fall Wallpapers for Your Tech (Free Downloads)

Hello September! It’s time for new seasonal wallpapers for your desktop, laptop, tablets, and phones! Below find five new styles I created, all free downloads, available in four formats.

The 16×9 ratio works for most desktop monitors, and the 16×10 ratios fits laptop screens. Links to tablet and phone wallpapers are included, find the links below each design. Just click on them and you can download the .jpg file and set it as wallpaper on your computer, tablet, or cellphone.

Wheat Field  |  sketched lines form a golden field

wheat field 16×9 for desktop  |  wheat field 16×10 for laptop

wheat field 3×4 for tablet  |  wheat field 9×16 for cell phone


Autumn Abstract  |  soft seasonal hues in a random pattern

autumn abstract 16×9 for desktop  |  autumn abstract 16×10 for laptop

autumn abstract 3×4 for tablet  |  autumn abstract 9×16 for cell phone


Gold Leaves  |  foil leaves on a white background

gold leaves 16×9 for desktop  | gold leaves 16×10 for laptop

gold leaves 3×4 for tablet  |  gold leaves 9x16for cell phone


Forest Walk   |   Impressionist view of a forest in autumn

forest walk 16×9 for desktop  |  forest walk 16×10 for laptop

forest walk 3×4 for tablet  |  forest walk 9x16for cell phone


Pale Pumpkins  |  watercolor pumpkins in a pile

pale pumpkins 16×9 for desktop  |  pale pumpkins for 16×10 laptop

pale pumpkins 3×4 for tablet  |  pale pumpkins 9×16 for cell phone

*for personal use only

Have a great three day weekend!

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