diy: paper plate holders

Isn’t it fun to have friends over dinner? I think so. What’s not always fun is cleaning up afterwards, when the food has started to fuse to every dish you own. It’s usually then that I wish I’d used paper plates. I know they’re not the best option economically and environmentally, but sometimes it’s just nice to have a quick clean up. For more casual gatherings, the ease of paper plates can’t be beat. Here’s a quick, easy way to make them prettier and sturdier!


what you need:

spray paint. I chose gold, but you can use any color(s).

wicker paper plate holders. I got mine at a thrift store for 10 cents a piece.

paper plates.

a drop cloth or something to spray paint on.


what you do:

1. Quickly wipe off the wicker plate holders. Remove any lose dust. Or you could wash them. Just make sure they’re completely dry before you paint them.

2. Set up your drop cloth or your spot to spray paint. Lay out your paper plate holders.

3. Give each holder a thin coat of spray paint, letting the paint dry between coats. Then flip them over and spray the other side. Get them nice and completely covered in paint, spraying from different angles, all around.

4. Once they’re completely dry, stick your paper plates in the holders and have a party!


At 10 cents a pop, you could make a set to specifically match a certain party theme. Or use one to give your neighbor a plate of cookies. They’d be perfect at a picnic. As I was spraying mine gold, I even thought they’d be cute at an outdoor wedding. Or a bridal or baby shower. Lots of possibilities!


Now, admittedly, there’s nothing wrong with these before the gold spray paint. They’d be cute even left natural. But I do like the little bit of sparkle the gold adds.

As I was spraying, I realized that the gold spray paint was really easy to work with. It’s not far from the original color (I wasn’t spraying them red), so even though I didn’t get it in every nook and cranny, it’s almost impossible to tell. You’d probably need to be more thorough if you were going a completely different color.


My paper plates are from the dollar store. A real dollar store. Where everything is $1 (or sometimes less). Some dollar stores around here aren’t true dollar stores. Trick tricky.

I wrapped black plastic silverware with a white napkin and tied twine around it.


And then a certain little boy wanted to join in on the fun! I was using his little table, after all.


I draped some fun wrapping paper over his little table to take pictures.


Is he not the cutest little guy you’ve seen?!


Just hanging out in jammies and big fluffy vests. It’s cold!


And then he said, “Mommy. I wuv-a have a sammich on dis petty pate! Peas!” (I’d love to have a sandwich on this pretty plate. Please!) So I made him a sammich.

Ah, paper plate holders. What do you think? Would you use them?

© Rice Designs 2012-2013


diy: rock place cards

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m here today to share a quick diy project to add some charm to your Thanksgiving table. My main contribution to our family’s Thanksgiving is to decorate the table. It’s a self-appointed job that began last year (or maybe it was the year before) and is something I have fun with. For the most part, I use things I already have, which is true for this project. Even with just 6 people (plus Gabriel) it’s still kind of nice to have place cards. I think they add a nice, personal touch to the table. And they’re fun to make.

Last year I used wine corks. This year I’m using rocks. If you have a few moments to spare and want to add a little something to your table tomorrow, here you go!


River Rocks (1 per person)

Paint (I used gold spray paint)

Paper/Calligraphy Pen


1. Paint your rocks. I used gold spray paint. But you could use craft paint and a brush, and any color you wanted.

2. Write the names. I cut strips of card stock and wrote each person’s name with a calligraphy pen.

3. When your rocks are dry, put the name cards on each rock and then wrap it with twine, tying the twine in a knot on the front.

And there you have it. Simple, easy, quick and cheap place cards for your Thanksgiving table…. or anytime you want to add a little charm to your meal! Have a wonderful time with family and friends!

weddings on the brain!

No, not my own wedding. My dear husband and I celebrated our fourth anniversary in June. I love being married to him! The wedding that’s on my brain is that of one of my dearest, closest, bestest (is that a word) friends, Erin. She is, literally, the only person I keep in touch with from high school. That sounds sad. It’s not. She’s such a sweet friend to me and has been so encouraging and supportive and generous to me through our years of friendship. And THIS weekend is her WEDDING! I am beyond thrilled for her (and Josh, too)! And so very honored to be part of the day (and pretty excited about the gorgeous dress I get to wear, thank you very much)! I’ve been crafting and creating some fun things for her day. I don’t want to share them until after the wedding, but I thought I’d share some inspiration I’ve been looking at. I really did love planning my own wedding (the flowers were only slightly stressful, right Meg?!) I love weddings in general. So here are some inspirational wedding pictures. Perhaps you’re not planning a wedding right now and think these pictures might be irrelevant to you. I don’t think so! There are so many fun ideas you can take from these pictures for your own home or to give as a gift! Perhaps you are planning a wedding, and maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed (I understand and blame Pinterest)… I would love to help you. I’ll be posting pictures of my creations for Erin’s wedding next week. And maybe I’ll share some pictures from my own wedding, too. After all, planning my wedding was really when my love of all things handmade blossomed. I would love to help you plan and bring some handmade love into your wedding day. Don’t be shy and send me an email if you’d like to chat about things! {ricedesignblog at gmail dot com).


I love these rustic Mr. and Mrs. signs. I love old, reclaimed wood like that.

At Home: Make a welcome sign to hang on your front door. Put a child’s name on it in a nursery. Get a long piece of wood and paint the alphabet to hang on the nursery wall. Planning a party? Paint the menu on a board. Want to make it reusable? Make part of the board into a chalkboard!

Here’s a picture of Gabe’s room after a little makeover a couple months ago. See the alphabet on the wall? Just an old board and some white paint! Gabe loves his letters. There are lots of possibilities with cool old pieces of wood!


Can you tell I’m into chair decor? I love that wreath (in the shape of a letter, how fun!) and the fabric tied around the chair. Even the embroidered saying is kinda cute.

At Home: A wreath is always something you can use at home or give as a gift. You could get fake greens from the craft store and make similar wreath quite easily, I think. Maybe you’re hosting a birthday dinner. Dress up the birthday girl/boy’s chair with a fabric sash!


Love the moss around the chalkboard!

At Home: A moss chalkboard would be cute anywhere!


A unique alternative to the traditional cake topper. It could also go on top of a cupcake tower. I may be partial to cupcake towers. It’s what we had at our wedding. Cupcakes and cheesecake. Yum!

At Home: You can write anything in wire!

These are baby gifts I made a dear friend and my sweet cousin. Twine and yarn wrapped wire.


I REALLY love this. Little burlap envelopes to hold silverware (or plasticware). So charming. Put them together in a couple baskets by the food. What a charming display that would be.

At Home: I know what I’m doing the next time we have friends over for dinner!

Source Uknown

I just LOVE this. You might overlook baby’s breath, but I think it’s simply beautiful. Yes, it can be done very wrong. But this is a great example of it done very right. And as a plus, it’s inexpensive! You could save money and be able to make a big statement using baby’s breath like this. You could make bouquets of baby’s breath for the bridesmaids/flower girl, too. A large bouquet of baby’s breath for the bride would even be beautiful, I think. Baby’s breath everywhere at the wedding!

At Home: Do the same thing! Put a large vase of baby’s breath, well, anywhere. It’s just lovely. You can buy it at the grocery store, too. Don’t see it out? Ask. Lots of times they have bouquets of baby’s breath in the back.

I hope you’re feeling inspired! If you’re planning your wedding, please remember I’d love to chat with you!

happy fourth! (and a recipe)

Happy Fourth of July! I hope everyone has a great day… and stays cool. I heard on the news that this will be one of the hottest fourths in history. Wow! But not hard to believe. I’ll be back tomorrow with some more original RICE ideas, but in the meantime I thought I’d share a delicious summer recipe from a REAL SIMPLE magazine. It’s our new favorite meal. So easy, so delicious and so cheap!

chicken, squash, and chickpea salad with tahini dressing

one medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds) peeled, seeded and cut into one inches pieces. *squash is kinda tricky to work with- slippery and hard to cut. be careful!*

4 TBS olive oil

kosher salt and black pepper

two 6 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts *trimmed and pounded thin. I use the bottom of a glass cup to pound my chicken*

1/3 c tahini (sesame seed paste) *I buy mine at Martin’s or our natural food store*

2 TBS fresh lemon juice *you can cheat and use lemon juice from a bottle*

1 tsp dried oregano

12 oz romaine hearts, cut into strips *I use a spinach and arugula. You can use any lettuce you like or have!*

one 15.5 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 cup pita chips, broken *I skip these*

2 TBS chopped fresh chives

1. Heat oven to 425. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the butternut squash with 2 TBS olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Roast, tossing once, for 25-30 minutes, or until squash is tender. *If you don’t want to heat up the house with the oven, you could always try grilling the squash in one of those nifty grill baskets*

2. The original recipe says to roast the chicken breasts. I prefer browned chicken in a frying pan. So I used about 1 TBS of olive oil. Put it in a frying pan. Let it get nice and hot. Then add the chicken breasts. The key to browned chicken is (thanks Mom) a hot pan and dry meat. Then leave it alone. I flipped the chicken once to brown the other side and finish cooking. Sprinkle each side with a little salt and pepper while cooking. Let cool slightly and slice thinly. It took maybe 20ish minutes to cook the meat.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, oregano, 1 TBS oil, 1/3 c water, 1/4 each of salt and pepper. Divide the lettuce (of your choice) among the plates. Top with squash, chicken, chickpeas, pita chips (if you want them) and chives. Serve with dressing.

*If the dressing is too thick, add water until it’s the consistency you want. Tahini is rather thick, so it does take a little water to get a good consistency. I also added a splash of tamari (gluten free soy sauce) because tahini and tamari is one of my favorite combos!*

According to REAL SIMPLE, this costs less than $2.25 a serving! It’s so tasty and looks so nice on the plate.


get the look.

I was walking through Walmart this morning (if you have to go to Walmart, early morning is the best time because there are the fewest people… or late at night, but who am I kidding, I’m ready for bed before most people have eaten dinner)… anyway, I was walking through Walmart and spotted these cute little vases. They’d be perfect to make your own place cards, as shown here. At 97 cents a piece, they could even be used as wedding favors. I imagine having a table full of an assortment of small vases, filled with various blooms or grasses, tied with some twine, with white tags hanging from them. You could write guests’ names and table numbers on the tags, or you could simply write a small note of thanks and the wedding date. Or use them at your next dinner party and your guests can take them home. Or save them and use them again and again. Lots of possibilities.

In our Walmart, they are back behind the fabric section, with fake flowers and other glass vases. Of course, you can also scour thrift stores for vases, which would be my preference. Who doesn’t love a good thrift hunt? But adding some of these into a thrifted mix would work, too!

Speaking of thrifting, coming up I’ll be sharing some of my thrifting finds and tips!

Thanks for coming by!

rice is born!

The first post! It’s been a long time coming and I’m so glad it’s finally here. We’re still a serious work in progress and will be changing greatly over the next days and weeks. But sometimes you just have to go for it. So here it goes. Perhaps you’re wondering what you’ll find here. You’re not alone. I’m wondering a bit, too! You’ll find projects I’m working on. Recipes I like. Articles that encourage me. Images that inspire me. Things I’d like to try. Things I’d like to make. Tours of our ever changing home. And perhaps, if you’re lucky, a few pictures of the cutest, sweetest two year old you’ll ever see. I hope you come by often. You can expect regular posts. At the least, once a day. Maybe, hopefully, more. But please be patient as we get things rolling. I would love to hear from you. I’d love to hear what you think, what you like, what you’d like to see, or just to introduce yourself. We can live simply, creatively, together!

And because a post isn’t complete without a picture, here you go. You don’t need a big event to have a fun dinner party. And you don’t need to spend tons of money or time. Saturday night we had some family over and I used it as an excuse to get crafty.

A simple download made these lovely menus. Perched on top of light gray napkins tied with twine, in front of place cards, this menu was a fun way to decorate the table and let our family know what they’d be eating!

To make your own menu (or table number, invitation, RSVP card etc) click here!

Preparing for ten people (half of them being children 4 and under) around the table, I decided to make place cards. My tip: use what you have! I rounded up my old, small glass vases, wrapped them with some twine, filled them with some airy grasses and twirly things and finished them with white tags, where I wrote each name. White tags like this can be found at Walmart. I use them frequently as gift tags and now place cards!

Are you hosting a party for the fourth? Having friends for dinner this weekend? Use it as an excuse to get crafty! Have a blessed day and be inspired!