My Favorite Must Haves

We all have must-haves in our lives that make life easier, at least a little bit. Today, I am sharing with you my must haves for home decor, entertaining, the kitchen and crafts/DIY.

Decorative Serving Trays in the Living Room

We all have must haves in our lives that make our lives easier. Today, I am sharing with you my must-haves for home decor, entertaining, the kitchen and crafts/DIY.

I am so incredibly grateful to have the job that I do. I love sharing my home. I love sharing my entertaining ideas. I love sharing the recipes that I make and create, and I love sharing all of my fun crafts and DIYs!

It makes me so happy when I hear back from you that you tried a recipe or made a DIY. I love it when I hear that I have inspired you to entertain or to freshen up an area of your home with new decor ideas that I shared with you.

I try to share as much as I can so that you can create along with me. 

I thought it would be fun to share with you some must have items that I love and can’t live without.

Sharing My Favorite Must Haves

Home Decor Must-Haves

Home decor is something that literally just makes me so happy. I have shopped at vintage flea markets for over twenty years and have found some incredible treasures along the way. One of my favorite things is to mix vintage and new together. I am sharing some of my new must-haves with you today!

Apothecary Jars I am maybe just a little bit obsessed with apothecary jars. They are such a simple and beautiful way to display decor items like scrabble tiles and vintage Christmas ornaments. I also love to fill them with everyday items like laundry pods and dryer sheets (in the laundry room) or cotton balls and q-tips (in the bathroom). 

Faux Peonies I love to have fresh flowers in the house, but it gets really expensive and they don’t last as long as I would like. Faux flowers have come a long way and are really beautiful. I have bought a lot of faux flowers. Roses, tulips, hydrangeas, and ranunculus are all really beautiful. I love faux greenery like eucalyptus and lamb’s ear. Hands down, my favorite is faux peonies and they come in so many gorgeous colors.

Hammered Copper Bowl I chose pink as an accent color for my home at the beginning of 2021. I started adding pink throughout my home and accidentally discovered how incredibly amazing pink and copper look together. This hammered copper bowl is my absolute favorite copper piece. 

Crocks, but not the kind you wear on your feet! I found my first crock at the Rose Bowl Swap Meet years ago. Now, I look for them every time I go to a vintage flea market. Recently, I found vintage inspired crocks on Amazon. Can you believe it? They are beautiful and at such a great price!

Entertaining Must Haves

I absolutely love to entertain. Whether it is a dinner on the back porch with my family or a wedding in our backyard, I love it! We have been hosting a Christmas party at our home for 30 years. I cook for a month. I decorate every room in the house and we have about 200 guests throughout the evening. Over the years, I have discovered some true must-haves for entertaining.

Mercury Glass Candlesticks give any table a magical sparkle. Mercury glass is another thing that I scour vintage markets for. Mercury glass is really special. I especially love the etched mercury glass. I love the ribbed texture on these candlesticks. I used them to set the table for our first Dinner with Friends.

Wallace Antique Baroque Silverware I use my sterling silver everyday. I don’t save it for special occasions. Many sterling patterns have stainless steel alternatives. Antique Baroque is my pattern and I love it as much today as I did the day I picked it out!

Polka Dot Water Glasses These glasses are so much fun. I love to set a table with them, even formal tables! A bit of whimsy turns any event into a fun one!

White Lace Linen Napkins A lace edged napkin elevates any table. I have stacks and stacks of linen napkins, but these lace edged ones are one of my most favorite. 

Water Hyacinth Braided Placemats I love these placemats and use them so often. I use them for table settings both indoors and outdoors. I have had them for years and they have worn beautifully.

Kitchen Must Haves

I spend a lot of time in my kitchen. I love to cook and lately have been having so much fun creating recipes. Since we changed up our diet and are now gluten-free and dairy-free, it’s been fun to see how I can adapt existing recipes, remove the gluten and dairy and add some additional health benefits.

Here are some of my must-haves for the kitchen. I had planned to share just a few, but it is so hard to choose, so I am sharing a few more than a few.

Ninja Foodi Air Fryer is an appliance that I recently discovered and now can’t live without. The one I have has 6 different settings, air-fry, bake, broil, roast, reheat and dehydrate. I finally threw out our 20+ year old microwave and don’t even miss it!

Borsari Seasoning this seasoning is absolutely amazing. No matter what you put it on, it takes it from OK to spectacular! Pasta, chicken, avocado toast, oh my gosh, simply amazing!

Lamp on Kitchen Island A few years ago, I added a lamp to our kitchen island and now I can’t believe I ever lived without it. The island is where I do all of the prep and chopping. Before I had the lamp on the island, I don’t know how I didn’t lose a finger!

Enameled Bread Box This enameled bread box has been on my counter for years. I love how it looks and that it also functional! I keep gluten free bread in the refrigerator, but I stash crackers and snacks in the bread box now.

Ratio Cookbook This book really changed how I cook. I always wondered how the chefs on the cooking competion shows knew how to make anything they were asked to make, without a recipe, especially baked goods. Once you understand the ratios behind recipes, you can cook anything.

Crafting Must Haves

Crafts and DIY are my passion. I have been a creator since I was a small child. It started with Christmas. I would hand-make gifts for everyone in my family. I taught myself how to read a pattern and sew and even made my own wedding dress! I worked professionally as an artist for many years and also taught painting. I think it is safe to say that creating is part of my DNA. I love to create and definitely have some must-haves that I want to share with you.

Brother Sewing Machine I love to make free stitch embroidery pillows. You don’t need a fancy machine to do free stitch embroidery, just a regular machine will do. This one is at such a great price. If you have been thinking about getting a sewing machine, this is one to try. It is an Amazon favorite with over 14,000 positive reviews!

Decorative Rubber Paint Roller I bought some antique decorative paint rollers a couple of years ago at a vintage swap meet. They were made of wood with carved decoration. I was excited to try them. Unfortunately, the result was not what I had hoped. The antique rollers were difficult to worj with and the paint was not uniformly applied. I started hunting on the internet to see if there were any other applicators similar to the antique ones. I was so excited to find ones made of rubber which delivers the paint beautifully onto the surface that you are applying it to. I have made dishtowels, napkins, table runners, gosh, so many wonderful items with this roller.

Crepe Paper Flowers: The Beginners Guide to Making and Arranging Beautiful Blooms by Lea Griffith I discovered this book by Lea Griffith a few years ago. Lea Griffith provides patterns and wonderful directions to make absolutely beautiful crepe paper flowers. When my son got married two years ago, I made hundreds of crepe paper flowers for the rehearsal dinner.

Cricut Maker I love this machine. I have made so many incredible projects with this machine. I recently held a dinner for 12 friends who had all helped me make my Waco AirBnB a reality. I made glass plates with a personal message for everyone who attended and used my Cricut Maker machine to make them. There are so many incredible projects you can make with this, the sky’s the limit.

Amazon Handmade

art in our waco airbnb home

Amazon recently launched something new. Amazon Handmade is similar to Etsy. There are several categories. Gifts, jewelry, home & kitchen, they even have a wedding category. I have had fun checking this out and have found some really great items!

Amazon Customer Most Loved Items

The Carriage House Dinner Party

Amazon sent me an email and I thought I would share it with you. Maybe you got this email also. It is all about Amazon Customer Most Loved Home Items. These are the top items, by category, that are bought my Amazon customers.

I love to check out what Amazon’s most popular items are. There are some great items at amazing prices, like this handwoven runner.

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My Favorite Must Haves

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  1. If I’m on Amazon and want to look at your shop, how do I find it? So far I’ve only followed your links to get to a particular item. Thanks for the help!

  2. Such a great post, thank you for all the helpful info! If you ever get north of LA today and tomorrow Sisters Gifts & Home in Los Alamos is having their Vintage Market with many vendors! You would love it! My sisters and I live an hour north of it and are driving down tomorrow, can’t wait as you’ve given me so many ideas for my home, now I’m on the hunt for some treasures!! Have a great day!

  3. Hi Leslie
    I thought I saw a while back that you were going to show how to get or make that adorable green spice rack in your kitchen. Did I just dream that, or did I actually miss this, or perhaps that is still in the works. Well, which is it? Please let me know, because every time I see your kitchen my eye is immediately drawn to that green spice shelf, rack or whatever you call it. I’m anxiously waiting for your answer.

    1. I bought this spice rack from a Martha Stewart about 20 years ago, unfortunately. I apologize. Maybe eventually I can do a DIY spice rack!

  4. Hi Leslie,
    I painted glasses with polka dots! Loved how they turned out. Unfortunately, I started losing some dots after several washes in the dishwasher on the upper rack. I did bake them as you described after painting. Any ideas as to what happened? Could the paint application possibly have been too heavy? If so, should I bake them longer?Thanks for any insights. I want to try again!

  5. Love your decorating style and the fact that you use your sterling every day! Do you put it in the dishwasher? I use mine a lot but don’t want to lose the patina by putting it in the dishwasher. Thanks!

    1. I have used mine and put it in the dishwasher for 20 years! But I am not sure if that holds true to the kind of sterling you have, so move forward with caution! Haha, hope this helps!

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