Thursday, December 5, 2013

Set the Scene: Christmas Mantel

Some Christmas decorating has been going down around here, and from the photo you can probably tell that what I really need this year is some more work with the camera. But what I am asking for is more along the lines of something from Kate Spade! But that is off the subject. I have fallen in love with honeycomb. I think it started with the huge balls that Carly and I found for Halloween. There is just something nostalgic and fun and happy about them! So I found a few and tacked them up to look like large ornaments on the wall. This is phase one as I just can't stop messing with things. More to come...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Set the Scene: If we were hosting Thanksgiving

This year we will be spending Thanksgiving at my sister & brother-in-laws place. And the menu is sounding a little relaxed and fun. Turkey pot pies, roasted veggies and salads. But I was getting a view of what our table would look like if we were hosting. And frankly it's been too long since I pulled the "good stuff" out of cupboards! 

So I went ahead and set a table. I like a mix of natural and sparkle, just like the mantle and went from there. The "placemats" are actually fun papers from my favorite paper place Spruce. I have tablecloths but they really aren't my thing. The place settings are just some paper tags, gold twine and rosemary. I did the initial by placing a letter sticker on the tag, painting lightly over it, then peeled the sticker off! 

Then I just scattered some filler paper that I will show soon how to make (I use it all the time!), pumpkins, the pinecones from the pinecone garden (yes, I took it apart), white pumpkins, and some rosemary that grows like crazy in the yard. 

It made me realize that we need to host a dinner soon to get all this fun stuff out and use it. The only reason to have it is to use it. The girls may find themselves eating takeout pizza on it and drinking root beer out of crystal! But it will be worth it! Are you hosting this year? 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Field Trip: Theo Chocolate Factory Tour

This past Veteran's Day Steve planned a family activity that made us all happy. A tour of the Theo Chocolate factory. It's something that he has been wanting to do for a long time. As a Plant manager of a peanut butter plant, and a major chocolate lover, this field trip worked for him on so many levels. And well, us girls loved the chocolate. 

I love a factory tour. It makes me remember the little films they would show on Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, or the show Unwrapped. And this one was pretty cool. They do everything, from roasting the beans to preparing  the add-in's like coconut and nuts. And there is a special room where they enrobe caramels and other special chocolates. I wanted to just park myself there and make friends but we had to move on. 

I did mention the samples right? They are not stingy. And then there is a store at the end of the tour where we spent plenty of time picking out treats including seasonal ones. We may have to make one more visit before Christmas, as someone who will remain nameless has already scarfed them up (Steve!). And we will be sure to value these chocolates a lot more after seeing what goes into them. Are you a chocolate lover? I encourage you to check out a tour here. Reservations are highly recommended. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Set The Scene: Christmas Advent

I know, it feels early to be talking Christmas. But there are just some things that take planning, and an Advent calendar is one of them. My lovely friend Carly has re-stocked her Etsy shop with her clip frames that I love year round for use as inspiration boards & photo boards. But at Christmas time they are perfect for Advent, especially with her free PDF forms.

I've set up a little corner in our kitchen with the frame and the related activities. Of course it looks colorful and crazy, a bit like our family. Activities include watching our favorite movies, paying for the coffees of people behind us in line, eating holiday chocolate, etc. It was a good exercise with the family deciding what to include!

Here is the overall look of it which makes me happy and very excited about the Christmas season. You should go and check out Carly's set-ups which are very elegant and lovely, much like her. You will find them here, along with her PDF's and the link to her store! I invite you to check it out! 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Make it: Pinecone Garland

My daughter Samantha and I are what you would call impatient crafters. We are the type that are a bit down and dirty. If we can't have quick results, as in pretty right away we aren't really interested. So, this craft was for us.

 A group of pinecones, some gold & silver paint for some gilding, some twine, a bit of hardware in the way of little o-ring thingies, and we were in business. I like the combination of earthy and gilded. They easily compliment the pumpkins and the rest of the mantle. And I think they will be re-imagined as gift toppers at Christmas! Bonus! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Set the Scene: Thanksgiving Mantle

I realized I had yet to share our Thanksgiving mantle. It's a bit quiet, but I have to say it's the calm before the storm of Christmas and all that decorating. I like a mix of the found and what I have around the house to make things easy. So I dragged out a bunch of our pumpkins, books, random glass pieces and voila! 

And working at a vinyl company made it easy to make a centerpiece. The "gather" is something that we have been shipping out to the companies that we supply with vinyl and I knew that it would look lovely on a platter. As it's vinyl it's not permanent as I will need that platter in the future! You can find our products at the suppliers listed on our website, Decorating Your Life. I honestly made things as easy as possible since things are about to get busy and fun with Christmas coming! 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Deep Thoughts: Face Fear (or Happy Halloween)

I've been thinking a lot about fear lately. About facing it. About what it holds me back from. And I decided that it was time that I decided fear is something like that thrill you get when you ride a roller coaster. And that I need more of that adrenaline in my life. More of those "I'm alive" moments. 

I felt that way when I traveled alone to freutcamp this past weekend. And I felt that way when I stepped into the tesla ball the other night. It was scary, and thrilling, and really made me feel so alive! And there really is no better feeling that that rush. And it makes me want more, the more I get it. 

So, I decided to do something really silly. Really put myself out there. I love the Justin Timberlake skits on SNL. The ones where he dances around in a crazy suit and sings. They make me laugh like crazy. And we just happened to have a french fry outfit laying around waiting. Waiting for me to dance around in it, and possibly post a picture on instagram. And then maybe, just maybe, get over the fear of being made fun of, and post a video. I humbly give you my version of Justin. Enjoy. And let me know what fear you have faced recently. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Deep Thoughts: Just Jump

Today I picked up business cards for my blog and things just got real people. The reason that I need them is that I won a spot in Freutcamp put on by the lovely Leah Bergman of freutcake blog. When I found out that I won a spot I was ecstatic! It's a blogger's bootcamp that will help with networking, photo-shop, and working with sponsors. 

Now that the time is approaching I am getting so nervous. I feel like I will be the newest of the newbies. That I won't have anything to add. That I will be so out of my element. That I won't be wearing the right clothes, say the right things.

And so I started to tell myself the things I would tell my girls. That it's important to do things that scare you. That you should try things, even if they feel out of reach. 

So, I will buck up and go. And from what I know of Leah it will be a lovely time. And I am looking forward to meeting some amazing people, and learning things that I will be using here. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Make It: Floral Headpiece

Have you heard Lana Del Rey's Summertime Sadness? My oldest daughter is a fan, and though I tried to hold out since I think she is a bit  annoying I find it playing in my head now and again. And especially now that summer is officially over, and we are fully into Fall.  Don't get me wrong, I love Fall. But I am one of those people that needs the sun. I tend to be found on the couch in my jambes, covered in a blanket, engrossed in a book. All the time. So I have to force myself to do stuff. 

So what better thing to do than make floral headpieces? It's appropriate if one of my girls wants to wear it for Halloween. And it was so easy we couldn't believe it! We just gathered our supplies. 

We used covered florist wire, wire cutters, a glue gun, and fake flowers. I found a gold mine of flowers at the thrift store which gave us a lot to work with. 

Then it was just cutting the heads off the flowers after measuring the wire to our heads and gluing them tightly to the frame.  We based it on a tutorial found on Inspired to Share. Once we let the hot glue dry we were in business! 

Here is Kate doing her serious Lana Del Ray impression. 

Here is Sam in her sweet little daisy wreath. 

And the whole thing led to a lot of this. Which is good for the soul. So if you come to the house don't be surprised if you come around the corner and find me in my floral headpiece singing Lana Del Ray. I'm just having a moment mourning summer. But I'll be okay. Soon the girls and I will be doing another craft or baking, giggling along the way. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Make it: Scary Straws

There are a lot of benefits of once working at a scrapbooking store. One is the amazing, creative an inspiring friends I made there. Another is a never ending craft supply that comes in handy when I want to make something. Case in point, scary straws. 

I kind of have a thing for cute straws so they were available. Then the bats are old embellishments from my working days in the store. The spring was one of the various metals that I have stored in my supplies because, you never know when you will need a spring, right? 

I basically wrapped the spring around the straw, cutting it in half for two. Then I just bent it into shape. A little glue on the back of the bat, and voila! We are in business. 

So spooky, right? It was quick and easy to make. And made that ButterBeer all the more enjoyable! Cheers!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Make it: ButterBeer & scary straws

So last week I talked a bit about our little family social with Butterscotch Beer for the girls and  "real" beer for the adults. As we had some of the Butterscotch left over Samantha and I decided to make a couple of ButterBeers a la Harry Potter. Of course that called for a little bit of staging, and some special straws! 

All we had to do is dig up some props that made us think of Harry Potter...books, old letters and the like. Then the straws which I will talk about later. And then just some scoops of ice cream in a glass, a pour over, and voila! We had to work quickly with all that foam. 

Samantha was more than willing to help with the "clean-up" after! Now we are off to watch a Harry Potter marathon in preparation for Halloween. Do you have any shows you watch to get you in the holiday mood?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Daily Uniform: J.Crew Inspired

I am so inspired by J.Crew. The make up, the hair, the styling. And of course the clothes. And much to my husband's relief, we live about 2 hours from the closest one. So that keeps me from shopping there all the time, as much as possible. It does however, have me trying some tricks of my own. Like looking for items that I can infuse with the J.Crew flair. 

So I gave myself a shopping list and a challenge. To find certain items that I have found in one of the last J.Crew catalogs in a thrift, consignment, or other source. Just for fun, and to see if I could do it! And since I am spending some time in Palm Springs this could be a perfect time for this! My list is as follows:
A varsity or bomber jacket, brown leather belt, baseball tee, and a baseball hat like above to DIY. And the best part? I may have gotten a head start! 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Food Magic: Scary Drinks & Snacks

When Friday hit last week I was ready. As in really ready. We had had a pretty emotional week at work, which is saying a lot in a workplace of all women and one High School guy when he isn't in school. Was it a full moon? I am prepared to blame it on that.

Whatever it was, Friday afternoon called for some spooky snacks and drinks. So, we pulled out Elysian The Great Pumpkin for the parents, and some Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer (non-alcoholic of course!) for the girls. Let's just say I pretended to LOVE beer when my husband and I were dating, so me being into beer again is a win in his mind. And a relaxing evening is a win in mine!
We had these funny little chips with our drinks and they made us laugh! Pumpkins, ghosts & bats, oh my! Do you do anything to celebrate the weekend? I think something like this may become a weekend occurrence. Wouldn't that make my husband happy?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Make it: Bubble Gum Garland

So when I shared my Halloween mantle you may have noticed the fun multi-colored garland. It was inspired by a DIY that I found on the lovely & talented Kelly Lanza's blog Studio DIY. I found a fun gumball swizzle stick on her instagram feed that I made for my husband's birthday celebrations and it made me gumball crazy. When I found Halloween colors they were perfect to make this garland! I found it to be easy. Just pierce your gumballs (I used an old Making Memories paper piercer that I have on hand), and then feed your line thru. I used a rustic twine. Then just make sure to knot on both sides to hold your gumballs in place. And voila. These could be done in any colors for any type of d├ęcor. I'm already looking for Christmas colors for my Holiday mantle!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Set the Scene: Halloween Mantle

 I have a love/hate relationship with Halloween. I hate the scary, the bloody, the icky parts of it. I love the sugar, the dress up, and of course the decorating! So, I am greeting October 1st with a Halloween mantle, dressed up in some vintage, and vintage look goodness. What do you think?

My friend Carly and I had a fun Inspiration day a while back and ended up at the very inspiring store Common Folk where I picked up these amazing crepe paper globes. I am in love. It's not always easy to fill this massive mantle and these did the trick.
Round it out with some fun vintage items that I keep in my prop closet (yes, I have one of those, don't you?) and voila! We are ready for Halloween! The multi-colored garland is a fun DIY that I will share soon! Happy October!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Field Trip: Trophy Cupcakes & Parties! book signing at the Book Larder

This past Thursday I had the pleasure of attending a talk & book signing of the Trophy Cupcakes & Parties! book by the lovely and talented Jennifer Shea. My sweet and sugar addicted friend Carly was my date for the night and we had a wonderful evening.

Jennifer is a lovely speaker and hearing about her road to where she is now is super inspiring and motivating! You learn that seemingly unrelated events in your life really do have a role in your success. Meeting her best friend from junior high , the owner of My Trick Pony and then of course eating cupcakes were really just the icing on the cake. I look forward to continued success for her, and more cupcakes for us!