Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Oh La La...Room Inspiration

Inspiration Board from ProjectNursery.com

I just figured out the moment I fell in love with ProjectNursery.com. It was when I saw this inspiration board a few months ago. LOVE IT. I just ran across this again, and realized that it must have been in the back of my mind while dreaming of Kate's "big girl" room because I awhile ago, I bought two fabulous wall hangings that are in mirrored frames, with pink/grey/black/white Paris paintings in them...and they have been waiting for this moment......

BIG news....Kate is out of her crib and momma is ready to decorate! Two room makeovers in my house at once.....sounds like fun to me! Let me know if you see anything that would work in her new room!

When Husbands Help....

This is what happens when your husband tries to be helpful and do the dishes.....with the new environmentally-friendly DISH SOAP we bought. Obviously, it wasn't friendly in this environment! After the cleanup, I tried to explain the difference between DISH SOAP and DISHWASHER DETERGENT, but the look on his face told me it didn't sink in. Isn't he sweet for trying, though?!
FYI....if this ever happens to you, stop the cycle, drain it, pour a massive amount of vinegar (or a few cups if you follow directions) in the bottom of the dishwasher, add a "layer" of table salt and turn on a regular cycle. After a couple minutes, check it. If it continues to make excessive suds, add more vinegar and salt!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Organizing: Leave It To Sheri

It's that time of the year for starting fresh, getting organized
and cleaning house!
I have a friend, Sheri who I say is "well-connected". She seems to know everyone. We met randomly when I was in college at ASU, when I was selling some handmade cards at a school boutique (the mom of the family I babysat for organized the boutique and Sheri was a friend of hers) and she bought them all! She hired me several years in a row to come to her annual "Valentini" party and lead her guests (all women) in making valentines for their kids and husbands. What fun! I was paid (well) to craft, eat and hang out with the society ladies of Paradise Valley. Fab. By the way, the guests of this annual party also enjoyed massages, psychic readings, a martini bar with a hot bartender and amazing catered food! Really Fab.
Maybe I should start hosting a Valentine's Party?

Anyway, Sheri and I have remained friends all these years and she recently helped me locate a bunch of furniture and accessories to borrow/purchase for staging a home I own (which I now happen to live in!). As a thank you, I offered to create her logo & business card design for her new company, "Leave It to Sheri". She is a professional organizer and is busy as can be!

You can contact her for rates/availability at leaveittosheri@yahoo.com

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Fabulous Christmas Present - The TomKat Studio/Craft Room Makeover!

My fantastic husband came up with a great idea for my Christmas gift this year! Since I am working more from home now with the kids, I have more time for all my fun stuff - crafting, invitations, etc. We have a den in our house that is currently not being used. It's decorated (sort of...see photo below), but not functioning as anything.

My fabulous gift is a budget to turn the den into an actual "TomKat Studio"! To start it off, he & the kids gave me a gift certificate to Ikea! Yippee! It is going to be a super fun project and I am looking for ideas!

I currently have a huge armoire in our guest room that I LOVE from Ballard Designs (bought it used last year for $500, still sells for $1900...see below, photo from Ballard's website) It houses my big good printer, and all sorts of paper and crafting supplies. I plan on moving this armoire to the den, and moving a small black desk from the den to the guest room.

This is an office from Pottery Barn that I had saved in my "idea binder" that makes me sway toward using green, black and white! The den is also on the same side of the house with the master bedroom, which also has green accents. I might be so bold and add wallpaper to one wall? Something like damask or swirls or something might be fun. I've never wallpapered before, (only removed!) so any advice would be welcome!

Here are my goals so far:
1. A large table/desk for the middle of the room for work space (and comfy chair)

2. Storage shelves/baskets

3. Jars and goodies to hold all the little crafty items

4. Closet organization

5. Fancy lighting

6. A way to display projects/invitations

7. A small kids table/chairs, so my little ones can play too

I can't wait to get started! Any ideas?! Please share! I'm off to study my IKEA catalog!


My husband got creative and made me a certificate for the project, isn't that sweet?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bye Bye Christmas!

It is a sad day when the Christmas decor comes down. When I woke up this morning, my husband declared it "take-down" and cleaning day, and when he gets motivated for activities such as this, I go with it. Thousands of lights, two Christmas trees, and five hours later, we're done....inside and out! Everything looks clean and organized but that Christmas glow is gone. Oh well, it gets me in the organizing mood for the new year. Above is a photo taken in my garage...bins, bins and more bins! Even though I have mild OCD, don't worry....my entire garage doesn't look like this, although I wish it did!

Hope everyone had a great Christmas!
PS. If anyone needs help organzing their home, I will be writing a post soon about a friend of mine, Sheri who has an organizing business. While the real estate market remains at its present state, I am also available for hire......

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Story Book!

Last week, while I was reading a book to my 3 1/2 year old son before bed, an idea popped into my head for a great gift for my mother-in-law (the kids call her GiGi for Grandma). Christmas Eve is super special to Gigi (and all of us) because she loves having us all under her roof for the night. We have been spending Christmas Eve night there since my husband & I started dating. Traditions have been created, and every year it just gets more and more fun! I decided to make her a photo story book about Christmas Eve and our traditions. It as my first time making a photo book (surprise!), so I wasn't sure how much flexibility there would be with the layout, etc. Once I got going though, it all flowed and worked out perfectly.
It is titled "Christmas Eve at GiGi's" and is written in the voice of my son. In the book, he introduces all of the family members that come to Gigi's and also explains our traditions. I used photos from past Christmas Eves, along with our family photos and our inlaws family photos from this year. My husband says that I will be the "hero" this year for gift giving. I'm expecting a lot of tears from Gigi!

We're off to Gigi's now, so everyone have a wonderful Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I Won a Project Nursery Giveaway!

I am starting to follow more blogs, but one that I have followed for a few months is Project Nursery. I love getting a daily dose of fabulous baby/kid decor and products. They often do great giveaways, and I actually won one recently! It was for a package of products from Stampin' Up, which is a stamp/scrapbook/paper company (fitting for me, isn't it?). Although I don't scrapbook (surprising, I know...it's a long story), I love to use scrapbooking products to make cards/tags/invitations, you name it. Included in the package that I received, was a Christmas scrapbook kit with coordinating papers, borders, fabulous stickers with sayings, shapes, etc. Add some double-stick tape, pop dots and ribbon, and TA-DA....my Christmas gift tags for this year! Thank you to Project Nursery and Stampin' Up for a great giveaway!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Double Duty - Holiday Card/Baby Announcement!

About a week ago, a little angel was brought into the world by my best friend, Kristi! Marley Ava arrived two days late, and perfect as can be! I took a few quick photos at the hospital, which ended up being good enough to use for a quick Christmas Card/Baby Announcement combo. Kristi will be the envy of all new moms getting these out within 10 days of giving birth! Impressive! I'm glad I could be of assistance! The adorable photo of Kaylee was shot by Live.Love.Photography before the Hansens became a family of four! Congratulations my dear!

Sometimes, I try to be a florist, too....

I dabble in flower arranging....which means, that I can pick up a few dozen roses at Costco and turn them into a "Martha-like" cluster arrangement! I did get a little brave last month and offered to do my friend Amanda's wedding flowers (two bouquets, boutonniere & some vase arrangements), and incorporated more than Costco roses. However, that will have to be another post....a long one. This is more my style....a quick bouquet of roses in a simple vase with a pretty bow and customized note! Since it's winter, Costco includes two stems of pine needles, so I cut those up and made a "skirt" at the base of the arrangement. I made this for my very best friend, Kristi who just gave birth to a baby girl. She loved it!

Cost: $15/roses, $4/Ikea vase (I keep these on hand!), ribbon/paper/ink = under $20. Just curious...what do you think an arrangement like this would cost at a florist?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Speaking of Peyten....Bruning Holiday Card!

This is a last minute holiday card that I designed for the Bruning family! Siobhan was too busy planning the gingerbread girl party, that she didn't get to these until the last minute! Luckily, I love this stuff so I came up with a few quick designs to have printed at Costco (one-hour!) Anyone need to get a REALLY last minute card in the mail? It could be done if you email me right now!

I am loving the combo of blue/red, so here was the other option:

Gingerbread Girl Invitation!

Do you have a little one with a birthday in December? There are so many cute ideas that tie in with the holidays! My friend, Siobhan enlisted me to design the invitations for her daughter, Peyten's first birthday party this month! She went with a gingerbread girl theme and everything turned out adorable! On the invite, the gingerbread girls were individually cut out and "popped" off the paper. I incorporated a photo of her daughter, which is one of my favorite things to do for birthday party invitations, especially when the guest of honor is as adorable as Peyten!

The kids activities included a visit from Santa, decorating gingerbread men cookies, and coloring pages with the gingerbread girl artwork (my idea!) The favor bags were adorable gingerbread houses, and came with stickers so the kids could decorate their gingerbread bags! Good thing she didn't ask me to make the gingerbread cookies.....once a season is enough for me!

Super cute and super fun!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Holiday Card Design!

We had amazing family photos taken this year by Jennifer Radack at O Grace Photography! I designed a card that would incorporate eight of these photos! I used the blue bar to play off the blue background in most of the photos, and some bright contrasting colors for the greeting. Next year, I will be offering custom designed holiday cards, so keep me in mind!

Photo Frame Stocking Holders

I have been looking for stocking holders for our stockings since we are now in a house with a huge beautiful stone fireplace! I came across some on Etsy that were adorable, but super expensive. I wasn't ready to spend $250 for 4 stocking holders. I showed them to my best friend, Kristi and she confirmed that I could easily tackle the project myself. First stop, Michael's for the frames (a whopping $1.00 each) & paint. Second stop, Home Depot where I picked up a piece of wood for $3.00, and had it cut into 8 pieces (enough for 8 bases). My mom threw in her two cents on the project, and suggested that I use an L bracket to attach the frame to the base, rather than nails as I had planned (genius!). I found the black hooks at Target for about $1/each.

I started by sanding the bases and frames, then painted the base coats and let dry. Next, I painted the circles freehand. Afterthought....if you're a perfectionist like me, you should use a round lotion bottle to draw circles before painting. After everything dried, I sanded the edges to give it that "distressed" look, and used brown ink to "age" the edges as well. I let the ink dry, put on a clear top coat and then attached the frames to the bases, and the screwed in the hooks! Voila!

This is my favorite one....with me and Tommy kissing! :)

Too Many Christmas Cards? Here's an Idea!

So, we have a huge 12' Christmas tree in our family room, and this year I planned on making new bows for it, but never got to it. It looks a little empty. Enter...tons of Christmas cards that have been pouring in this week. My little wire photo holder is overloaded. I really thought that a lot of people we foregoing cards this year, with the economy/cost of postage, but I was wrong. They were either just cutting it close, or waiting until they received mine so they would have our new address! :)

Christmas cards, meet Christmas tree! Two problems solved!

Here are a few of my favorites this year....so far!

Hadvab's: Thuy made these herself (of course), with adorable photos taken by her sister, Tina who just started a photography company - LiveLove Photography. (I designed the logo!)

Tamburrelli's.....love the card, but really love the adorable kids! Look at sweet Lexi in the top middle photo, is that a Guess Kids ad or what!? These photos were taken by the same photographer we used this year, O Grace Photography! Fabulous!

Live. Love. Photography

Creative Thinking: I recently designed a logo for my good friend, Tina's new photography company. We brainstormed on names for the company, came up with a long list, and played with logos for a few. "Liv" was always something she came back to, because her daughter's name is Olivia. One of the other ones we liked was White Daisy Photography. Luckily, she chose Live. Love., as our friend and expert wedding videographer, Taryn from Serendipity Videography informed us that daisies aren't the best flower to be associated with if you are in the wedding business! (cheap, perhaps!?) And I thought "daisy" was cute! Tina took up photography last year, and has quickly picked up an "eye" for shooting and a talent for editing!

Her website and blog are now live! Check them out:

Gingerbread Men - 4 Day Project?

Jeez, who knew how complicated it is to bake 50 gingerbread men! I try not to cook, but I do love to bake. My mom decided she wanted to make custom gingerbread cookies to attach to Christmas gifts this year, and she did a trial run and brought some to my purse party. They were so delicious, I decided I wanted to make them for my neighbors and the Divas Christmas Party so I enlisted her help and we did it. Day 1: Made dough. Easy enough, refrigerate overnight. Day 2: Rough day. Rolling, flour everywhere, baking...Repeat. Repeat. Keep repeating. At this point, I decided this wasn't worth the effort. Day 3: Icing! This is the fun part. At first, being the perfectionist I am, I hated the ones I was doing. 25 cookies later....I was pretty proud of the results. Day 4: Bag, label & tie. Very important touches that really finished them off! :)

Today, my mom called and said to turn on Paula Deen, that she was about to decorate gingerbread men. I called her back afterwards and we laughed about how bad they looked! Ours are way better!

Email me if you would like the recipe or Publisher layout for the labels!

My New Creative Blog!

Now that I am home more (as we all know, the real estate market is awful!), I've had more time to get my creative projects going! My passion for paper, invitations, crafting, photography, decorating, kids activities, gift wrapping, holiday decor, etc is alive and well and I thought it would be fun to share my projects on a blog! So here it goes! Hope you enjoy it!