Summer Wreath Tutorial


If you are a frequent DIY’r you likely have a craft box and a collection of cut artificial flowers and some old wreaths.  For this project I started with a plain boxwood wreath as a base, boxwood is a season less greenery that works in creations from Easter to Christmas when you add the appropriate accents.

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If you have an old grapevine wreath you can make your own base by cutting up a garland or bush and gluing it into the gaps of the vine.  For front door wreaths I recommend using a hot glue gun or a glue pot with high temperature glue, the heat of summer can melt the glue a bit if used on the front door, damaging the structural integrity of your wreath.  As you begin to contemplate what you want to create, keep the basic principles of floral design in mind:

  • Focal Points
  • Proportion
  • Scale
  • Balance
  • Rhythm
  • Harmony
  • UnityIMG_0273

A good set of wire cutters, not the wimpy needle nose pliers, are key to cutting up the stems to usable lengths for a wreath.  There are many different styles to consider when designing a wreath.  This particular style is all about depth, long and short pieces at different lengths and at different angles (rhythm & harmony).  I like to start by cutting and placing the longest elements first; usually a contrasting greenery, twigs or small filler flowers. Next, I move to the shortest pics and flowers, then everything in between (scale & balance), although you can do it in any order.

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This wreath went from the original base dimensions of 18″ in diameter and 5″ deep for the boxwood base, to the final dimensions with the accent greens and floral to 28″ diameter and 12″ deep from base to tip of accent greens.  All the flowers and greens in this design are positioned in a counter-clockwise pattern but at different degrees (balance, unity)

My door doesn’t have a nail on it, I have no problem with putting one in my old door but I often have people tell me they don’t want to damage theirs, so I have an alternative.  I like to use a wide ribbon without a bow, it’s simple but you get the added texture of a fabric and the line down the door to catch the eye.

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Measure how long you want the wreath to hang down off the top, double it and add 2-3″, then cut.  Staple-gunning the cut parts to the top of the door is one one way to keep the surface pristine.

I wire the pieces together but stagger the layers so both parts of the ribbon don’t have to fit in the door jam.

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The yellow daisies  really “pop” in contrast to the green base, always important for maximum curb appeal!

4th of July Picnic Decor

Americana is fun, colorful, and appropriate year round.  This time of year, in the month of July, we tend to take the Americana outdoors with picnics, parties, fireworks, and many other summer activities.   When I saw the red, white, and blue rubber ball in the Tai Pan Trading in Sandy Utah, I thought “this could make the perfect centerpiece for a picnic!”  The ball was on sale for under $3 and of good quality!

I found a few containers of appropriate size, I ended up selecting a square one.  The round ball in a square container leaves gaps in the corners, those gaps would act as placeholders for sparklers.  If you don’t want children to have access to sparklers, a simple round pot will hold the ball in a topiary form until it’s time to take it off to play.

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Filling the container with sand, dirt or gravel will keep the tablecloth in place as well as prop up the sparklers.


How about a blanket to sit on in the grass? This one is perfect for watching fireworks on.  Under $20, with a sherpa backing, it makes a practical addition to the celebrations’ decor.

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I couldn’t help myself, I lit a few of the sparklers in the container, not recommended.


Welcome to TPT, Make Yourself at Home

Thanks for visiting the TPT Home Blog! We are just getting started but we plan to bring you ideas, inspiration, and a bit of whimsy in the months to come.  The holidays are just around the corner and if you know TPT, you know we go all out and you won’t want to miss a thing!  Visit our online store TPT Deals, or our websites TPT Home and Tai Pan Trading for more information and to sign up for our mailing list, giving you access to our latest coupons, promotions, and special offers.

Print or show this page on your smart phone to redeem this coupon in our stores, just a little thank you for visiting!

There are multiple sales and promotions going on at TPT, just a heads up, this offer is only good on regular priced items and cannot be combined with other coupons, offers, or promotions. 


Sunday Dinner, Spaghetti with Chicken, Spinach & Ricotta Dumplings

By Maren Anderson

Sunday is my favorite day, I’m quite sure I’m not alone in this.  There is something sweet and heartwarming about the idea of celebrating this day with friends and family, eating and cooking together.   I recently read a quote on the Country Living website, that personifies how I feel about Sunday Dinner.”The tradition of the Sunday feast accomplishes more than just feeding us,” writes Chef John Besh. “It nurtures us.” Even the cleaning up can be fun with the right attitude.  With this in mind, once a month I’d like to post some easy made-from-scratch meals that won’t break your budget or keep you slaving in the kitchen.  All dinnerware and serving pieces from Tai Pan Trading and TPT Home. Enjoy!


Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

with Chicken 

This is a quick delicious spaghetti sauce…so much better than anything premade.

  1. In a Dutch Oven size pan put in 2 T. of olive oil and grate in 2-3 cloves of garlic and ¼ C. chopped onion… or 2 T. onion powder and 1-2 tsp. garlic powder, and stir fry to release the flavor to the oil .
  1. Add 2 large cans of tomatoes. I usually use petite diced but sometimes whole tomatoes.  The petite diced are less juicy.  Add 1-2 tsps. sugar.
  1. Grate in 1 carrot (about ½ C.) and one stalk of celery and 3 T. dried basil or 1/3 -1/2 C. chopped fresh. Simmer for 20 minutes.  With an immersion blender  blend to your desired consistency.  I like it just a little coarse chunky.   Add ¼- ½ C. whipping cream for a special sauce. (optional).  (If the sauce is too thick add a little water)
  2. This makes a large batch but can be easily halved or frozen.

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For the Chicken:

  1. If you want to use boneless chicken thighs remove the excess fat and cut in two. This much sauce will take 4 lbs. and serve about 8 adults.   Toss the thighs with a little olive oil and some generous sprinkles of garlic powder, salt and pepper.   Put under the broiler until they start to brown on the top.  Remove from the oven and pour the liquid and chicken into the spaghetti sauce and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.  Serve over spaghetti.
  1. If you want to use chicken breasts cut your breasts into 3 or 4 pieces and pound until about ¾ inch thick. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Put 1 T. olive oil and 1 T. butter into a large nonstick frying pan and brown them quickly on each side and put them into the sauce and simmer for 20-30 chicken

Making a Cream Sauce Topping:

I often make this in a large casserole for a dinner party and cover it with a cream sauce and bake it.  (Don’t add the cream to the tomato sauce if you are going to do this.)

For the sauce:  Put 1 C. cream and 2 C. of milk into a sauce pan.  Add ½  C. of flour, ¼ tsp. pepper and ½ tsp. salt.  Cook and stir until thick and bubbly and add ¼ C. Parmesan cheese.  Pour the spaghetti sauce with the chicken into a large casserole dish and dob on the cream sauce.  Sprinkle with more Parmesan  cheese and bake until bubbly hot.  Serve with spaghetti.

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Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings

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These are quite easy and delicious with homemade spaghetti sauce or served as a side dish.

  1. You will need about 8 cups of spinach lightly packed into a 4 cup measuring cup twice. Wash and steam for 3 minutes drain and cool until you can handle.  Chop somewhat small and hand squeeze as much water as you can out.  When you are finished you will have about 2/3 C.
  1. In a mixing bowl stir together:

1 ½ C. whole milk ricotta cheese

1 egg and 1 egg yolk

¾ C. Parmesan Cheese

¾ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

A pinch of nutmeg if desired

1 C. flour

  1. Add the spinach to the cheese mixture and stir well. Roll out onto a floured surface and cover with flour.  Cut into 4 pieces.  You will need another ½ C. of flour or so added gradually to Roll each piece into a rope about 1 ½ inch thick.  Cut into 6-12 pieces.  (the smaller balls if you want to add to soup.)   Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the pieces in batches.  Boil 4 minutes for the smaller and 5 for the larger.  Remove with a slotted spoon and add to a bowl.
  2. They can be added to a soup, served with spaghetti sauce, served as a side dish with some browned butter and parmesan cheese  or they can be fried a little in a couple of Tablespoons of garlic butter.

Add a simple salad and an herb bread as appetizers and sides to complete the meal, as well as the color combination.

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DIY Artificial Succulent Arrangement


 By Maren Anderson

Making an artificial succulent arrangement can be one of the easiest designs to succeed at for a novice.  By learning just a few tricks you can make an awe inspiring feature for your home.

What you will need for this design:

  • Dry Foam
  • Knife
  • Wire Cutters
  • Floral Wire or Paddle Wire
  • Hot Glue Pan or Hot Glue Gun
  • Moss
  • Assortment of Artificial Succulents

TPT Home in Costa Mesa, California  always has a unique selection of these succulents.  Tai Pan Trading along the wasatch front also has a large selection, including a few designs already made up for sale featured in the online store TPT Deals.

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It isn’t necessary to have the foam cubes fit your container exactly, you can use left over scraps to wedge into the sides to get a tight and secure setting for your arrangement.  Glue the parts together and lay a heavy layer of moss across the top.  I like to wedge the moss in along the sides with a knife.IMG_0109 moss rocks     IMG_0114

Artificial moss rocks are my favorite additions to succulent arrangements.  The succulents can be a little expensive, the moss rocks add an additional texture as well as minimize the number of succulents you have to purchase to fill the container.  These rocks are foam filled, use old floral stems to poke in the foam with a bit of glue.  These rocks are now SUPER secure, and you can get them to sit on the edge of the container or layer them on top of each other.

  IMG_0116 rock3   layered rocks

The moss used to cover the foam in the container can be used as a design element.  Get a nice thick mass of moss, fold a floral wire around it and twist the wire together.  The wire can then be inserted into the foam, add a bit of hot glue for a secure design.

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Your arrangement should look like a landscape of peaks and valleys.  Stick the stems of the succulents into the foam at varying angels, with some elements sticking out, some secured closely to the container.

suc anglessuc rocks

Some succulent pics have thin enough stems to stick through the foam rocks, dimension is key to creating a pleasing design and layers provide a natural organic feeling.

There is no wrong way to design, if you have a vision express it!
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In Bloom By Maren Anderson

My Yard is in full bloom.  A few of my early spring flowers are faded, but the roses, peonies, and hydrangeas are looking fresh and bright.  As I wandered Tai Pan Trading, AKA TPT Home, this week, I had these blooms in mind.  In the kitchen area I noticed many different bottles and glass oil and vinegar dispensers that were 1$-3$.  It seemed using these as vases would be both economical as well as a great way to feature individual flowers.  I mixed in a few antique inspired bud vases as well as some recycled glass cups to round out the assortment.



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 I like putting some of my favorite bud vases in bowls with balls and shells for a pop of fresh color and organic accent on a table.  Several of the vases are available for online ordering thru TPT Deals.

Hanging vases have always been a favorite of mine.  I love these vintage-looking metal and glass hanging vessels, they can hold fresh flowers or candles.  Attaching them with ribbon from a chandelier provides an alternative centerpiece with spunk and spice.

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TPT Home and Tai Pan Trading inventory is constantly changing, but there is always something to inspire individual design and give you a unique way to feature your garden blooms.

DIY Wrapping Paper Bunting

Everybody has leftover wrapping paper, right?  Scraps and cut pieces that aren’t useful can become fun, colorful bunting.  This project requires few supplies and can be put together in a very short time

  • Triangle Pattern; make this with cardstock, cardboard, or anything with some weight to it.
  • Hole Punch
  • Scizzors
  • Wrapping Paper or Craft Paper
  • Jute Rope, Ribbon, or String

TPT Home and Tai Pan Trading carry a line of Gift Wrap called Stone Wrap, it has amazing texture and works great for this project.The unique properties of Stone Wrap will inspire creativity; the soft and smooth texture feels luxurious, and doesn’t tear and fold like traditional paper wraps.

Treeless Gift Wrap is made from 75% Limestone – 25% Polyethylene. The limestone is a bi-product of mining which would normally be discarded. Instead it is salvaged and made into this material without water or bleach and is waterproof as well as recyclable. It has a high quality matte finish, smooth surface and the ease of folding and cutting are unlike any other. Made in USA from imported material. Wide 30″X 10’ rolls are printed on both sides for maximum design opportunities!

Once the triangles are cut it is easy to design a color pattern, punch the holes in the wrap, and string the jute, twine, or ribbon.