Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Last Person to Join Facebook

Apparently, I'm the last person in the world to join Facebook. (Well, actually not....Kristi & Vicki aren't on it YET, until they read this post!) Since I blog for real estate and my TomKat Studio blog (and soon Project Nursery), I consider myself quite familiar with "social networking". Well, apparently I was NOT, until yesterday. Is it impressive if I have 60+ friends on my first day? Am I cool or is this normal? I found some old cheerleading photos on there, my childhood best friend in New York, long lost cousins, all sorts of random people. People are coming out of the wood work....and finding me! I have mixed feelings about people knowing where I am and what I'm doing at any given moment, but hey, does anyone really care?

This could get a bit interesting. I mean the photo option alone has me puzzled. What do I post? Homes? Kids? My creative projects? Mix it all together in one place? Mixing all my contacts together in one place? Interesting, but makes sense. So now I write about my blog on my facebook page, and I blog about facebook on my blog, and this all could get a little complicated. I guess I'll figure it out, but in the mean time I'm LOVING it! As if I'm not glued to my computer enough! My 3 year old will have to go to daddy's computer and "write on my wall" to get my attention!

Okay, gotta go join Flickr now. Next thing you know, I'll be on Twitter. Craziness!

Anyone on those yet?

Friday, January 30, 2009

"Ultra-Crafty Party Planner Extraordinaire!"

What a compliment! I'm jumping up and down with excitement! Melisa from Project Nursery has asked me to become a contributor for their fabulous blog! She has been following all my projects at TheTomKatStudio, and she has dubbed me their "Ultra-Crafty Party Planner Extraordinaire"! Why, thank you! I'm so excited for this opportunity!

In case you aren't familiar with Project Nursery, it is a really great blog on all things kids & baby, with a focus on decorating, including baby rooms and family-friendly living. It was the first "creative" blog that I started following, and is still one of my favorites. Since I started following it a few months ago, their hits have gone from 10,000/month to over 100,000/month!

They are always looking for fresh, fabulous nurseries to feature so my first quest is to find a few! Email me if you have a fabulous nursery (don't be shy!) or know someone who does!

{image via project nursery -}

Boutique: Chicky Bella Birthday Bash!

My favorite local baby/kid boutique, Chicky Bella is celebrating it's 2nd birthday tomorrow! They are offering great promotions, discounts and even giving away a coveted Petunia Pickle Bottom Touring Tote (as well as other prizes!) I'm happy that Lisa, the owner has kept the store up and running, when so many boutiques are going out of business! Congrats, Lisa!

Chicky Bella is located in the Gilbert Town Center, south of Warner, off Gilbert Road. They carry a great selection of baby, kids & maternity items! I just bought an adorable children's apron there for a birthday gift, and it was a hit!

You can also visit the Chicky Bella online store at!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cool Website: Pandora - Internet Radio

My husband told me to go to and type in a music artist that I like. I typed in Natasha Bedingfield (my favorite song is "Angel" right now) and this amazing system then created an automatic playlist of artists/songs that I would like. If you don't like a song it plays, just select the "thumbs down" button and it will remove from the list and move to the next selection. If you love a song it plays, mark it with a "thumbs up" and it will factor that song into the mix. It constantly updates based on your preferences. You can read more about it on the site, but basically the guys at Pandora have analyzed the musical attributes of thousands of songs, therefore enabling them to provide customized playlists.'s FREE!

I have been listening to my first playlist while playing on the internet for two hours now, and I only nixed one song! I love it!
It's kind of fun to have great music going while you're blogging away! :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Birthday Party: Our Little Cupcake!

Now that I am in party-planning mode again for my daughter's upcoming 2nd birthday, I thought it would be fun to write about her 1st birthday party, which was themed "Our Little Cupcake"...

I made the invitations with scrapbook paper and then inserted them into vellum envelopes so the address would show through. (I'm sure the post office loved it!) Her photo and the little heart on top of the cupcake "popped" off the invite, and I hand cut all of the pieces to create the cupcakes. I even put some glitter sprinkles on the cupcakes....but hey, it was my baby girl's first birthday, I had to go all out!

My mom made it her mission to make the perfect "big" cupcake for Kate's main cake. I had found a cupcake cake pan, but it was just too small, so my mom practiced several cakes, and ended up using a throw-away foil pan to create it! My mom took cake decorating classes when my brother & I were young, and I've always loved looking back at pictures of the amazing cakes she made us when we were kids. I've love to take a class one day, as well. We also made a variety of cupcakes in different sizes and flavors! I am a cake plate fanatic, so it was fun to pull them all out for one event!

My sister-in-law, Nicollette always gives my kids the poshest presents. A few weeks before the party, she told me that she had Kate's attire all taken care of for the party. Most people would say that I couldn't handle that with my OCD, because I have to handle every little detail. However, I completely trust her and I couldn't have asked for something better! I was more than estastic over the outfit! She bought her an aqua Kaiya Eve tutu (frills galore!), along with a custom bling tank made by Pouty Pants with a cupcake with Kate's name in it (look closely!) This outfit was incredible and too perfect for her cupcake day!

I made coordinating decorations with the same fonts/colors that I used for the invitations. I am lucky that her birthday follows Valentine's Day, and I found perfect cupcake plates, napkins and placemats at Target. Also from Target, the little pink satin purses for favors and the heart tablecloth. I filled the purses with lollipops, cupcake notes & the princess cell phones from the Disney store, and made custom name tags for each guest.

I also set up a cupcake decorating station for the kids to decorate their own cupcakes. It was a huge mess, but lots of fun!

This year's theme?!? LOLLIPOPS!! Send me your ideas!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Eye Candy: Blu Domain - Websites for Creative Professionals

Awhile back, my friend, Taryn told me about an amazing website company called Bludomain, which she used to launch her videography company. They offer beautiful, simple website templates, mainly intended for photographers at a very affordable price ($100-$400 setup, plus $100/year for hosting). After exploring their site a few times over the last few months (most recently to help my other friend, Vicki select one for her new photography business), I think these templates could be used for so many businesses, not just photographers. Images evoke such feeling, that if you have a product or service that you can show by using engaging photography, these template sites could work for you. Bludomain shows a couple examples of the types of businesses that could use their templates, including a florist. You can also add music to your site, which can really set the tone and help sell your product or service. These sites are easily customizable to show pricing, information, hours if it is a retail business, etc. They even offer a shopping cart, if you are selling a product. You have control of backend of the website, so you have the ability to make changes whenever you feel the need.

One concern is that they are flash based (photo slideshows), which do not offer much in terms of search engine optimization (being found on the internet). Search engines (google) cannot read images or videos (yet!). One way to combat this is to also create and use a blog in conjunction with your beautiful Bludomain site, where you are constantly updating and adding content about your business and industry and linking back to your main website. This is obviously a very popular company, as they are launching hundreds of new clients a month! Check them out here!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Projects: Claim to Frame

For about a year, I have been making these frames for gifts. Baby showers, birthday parties, Mother's Day, etc. (The one above is in my living room ;) I use a wood frame, scrapbook paper, silk flowers & swarovski rhinestones. I only use this square 12x12 size, because I'm consistent like that (some call it OCD). I love the balance of the square shape, and that the wide frame allows the details of the frame to be noticed. I've been thinking about maybe making a bunch and trying to sell them to boutiques, or maybe selling them on Etsy.....we'll see, I'm not ready to commit to anything yet. I showed my best friend, Kristi how to make them (quite easy) and we made 3 adorable ones for the wall in her new baby's room. (photo to come soon) Maybe we'll make them together and get something going....

This is one that I made for my friend, Katy for a baby shower gift....

My favorite part of this project is selecting the paper and flower to go with it. You should see my closet in the new craft room....I have a drawer full of flowers, I can't help myself sometimes. I usually tend toward the paper that already looks "distressed" and I stick with feminine patterns. More photos of recent ones to the meantime....

Any suggestions? Ideas? Would you buy these? What do you think an appropriate retail price would be?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Love is in the air!

Is it me or did the stores start stocking Valentine's Day goodies before Christmas? I am a big fan of Valentine's Day, all the hearts and sweets and love going around. It's the romantic in me, what can I say? Perhaps it's the fact that I met my husband on love day....many, many years ago!
It's a great time to really think about and appreciate the love you have in your life, not only from your significant other, but also from friends and family. Write your husband/wife a love letter, make a valentine card for your child, send a long lost friend an email....what better time than now?
Whoa....I better stop...I am starting sound like a chain email.

{image from martha stewart}

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Decorating: The TomKat Studio Update #2

Last week, I was able to have a "free-day" for myself, which is truly a luxury. I finally got to go spend some serious time at IKEA and ended up spending my gift card in it's entirety. I found some great items for the room! Desk, chandelier, desk lamp, desk organizers, candles.......

I assembled the desk, which if you can believe it, EACH leg had 15 wood slats to construct. I opened the first box and just sat on the floor laughing. Even though it looked intimidating, it really wasn't too bad. I have been using it for a few days now, and I LOVE it. It was a steal at $100 (it's on sale right now)! I'm really happy I went with glass, because it's easy to clean if the kids decide to color on it.

I can't wait to have my electrician install my new chandelier! Where are you, Ryan? (It does have an actual light in the middle, plus the candle holders)

I also got a green shag rug, but it's way too bright and is going back. My new friend, Sarah at Sarah's Fab Day found me an adorable Pottery Barn black and white rug online, and it's on sale (see below), but I decided I need to find the drapery fabric first, then decide on a rug. It will probably be gone by then.....but we'll see!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Invitations: Boy, She Gets Around!

My favorite preggie girl is making another appearance as favor tags for a baby shower in Marblehead, Massachusetts!

Meredith is hosting the shower, and the mommy-to-be won't disclose the baby's name yet, so we toyed with a few ideas before deciding on the one above!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Decorating: Obscene Rug

I love West Elm. I really do. But, is it me or is this new Hamsah Hand Rug flipping me off?
I think the one below will sell much better for them. This is called Andalusia Rug and I love it.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

If My Wedding Was Today....

...this would be my decor! When I was looking for damask fabric for my studio makeover, I came across these gorgeous photos taken by professional photographer, Jennifer Skog. These were actually taken at her own bridal shower, not a wedding! Amazing bridal shower, I must say! I love the combo of black and white damask with green. Yum.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Fashion: Great Buy - Adorable Little Dress

My friend Taryn is going to have me beaten for shopping at Walmart again. I started grocery shopping there a couple months ago, and my Mom is right...everything IS cheaper there. I used to visit SuperTarget at least once a week, but it was so dangerous because everything there is fabulous. Not only can you get your groceries, but pick up a cute bathing suit, some jewelry, trendy pillows, everything you can imagine. I still go there of course, but in moderation. The other day I went to get some groceries at Walmart, and spotted this adorable little girl dress. Apparently, Spring is on the way?! I knew Target had cute clothes, but Walmart?! Keep in mind, the majority of the kids clothes there are nothing to write home about, way too many character items for me.
I love this simple, sweet dress. I can totally see Kate with her little pigtails in it! I can even see me in it. Too bad it doesn't come in my size. Guess how much it cost? A whopping $6.00!

Amanda's Wedding Flowers - White Roses & Green Spider Mums

I recently helped one of my best friends, Amanda with some of her wedding details. The event was a quaint backyard ceremony at her father-in-law's beautiful custom home in Whitewing, with a reception following at her mother's charming home in Chandler. It was a beautiful celebration on a small budget. Luckily, Amanda has great friends with great talents! Our friend Taryn and her husband, who own Serendipity Videography shot the ceremony, and another friend Tina, from Live.Love. Photography took the photos. I printed Amanda's invitations and envelopes, as well as tried my hand at arranging FLOWERS (see previous post). I ordered white roses from Costco (only to have them not arrive and have to travel to another store far away), and the green spider mums from AJ's (right on schedule).

It was a hectic day, I ended up not being able to shower before the wedding...Yuck. But hey, it wasn't about me, it was about her and her special day....and it all turned out beautiful!

photos by kim stoegbauer

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Invitations: My Favorite Pregnant Girl

I recently designed two baby shower invitations using the same artwork, that I absolutely love! I think this is the cutest pregnant girl around, and sets the tone for a classy event!

The first one was for a double-celebration soiree that I hosted for two of my best friends, Kristi & Amanda. It was a baby shower for Kristi (baby girl #2), and bachelorette party for Amanda. I used coordinating "ladies" for the invites (the preggie girl and a bride), since most of the invitees were invited to both. For more details and photos from the event, click here.

I also used the same mommy-to-be artwork for a double baby shower held in Florida, for my sister-in-law, Suzanne and her sister, Lucy who are due just weeks apart. I did these in a brown/green scheme, since Lucy isn't sure if she is having a boy/girl, and Suzanne is having another BOY! Double the fun!

Like these invites? Keep me in mind when your next event comes around!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Decorating: The TomKat Studio Update

I decided I would try my hand at one of those nifty little "Inspiration Boards" or "Mood Boards", or whatever they are called, for my studio makeover! I like to think of it as a collection of my thoughts...and a shopping list!

1. Ikea Liatorp Desk: Haven't seen this yet in person, probably too small. But I like the style.

2. Ikea Green Boxes: Bought a bunch of these, starting to get organized

3. Pottery Barn Inspiration Room: Love this desk, but want something bigger (and less expensive). Love the green wall, and the black/white accents.

4. Ikea Sideboard: Love the whimsical lines of this sideboard, could use it for storage depending on what else I find.

5. Ballard Designs Inspiration Room: Love the black/white swirl wallpaper, love the green chair, love it all.

6. Ballard Designs Armoire: Done. Got it. Moved it to the den.

7. Ikea Lamp: I think this will look good on whatever desk/table I find.

8. Fabric: Michael Miller Avocado Damask - This could be my drapes or chair fabric? We'll see.

Still a total work in progress.....and I can't seem to find a rug. Any ideas?

Dyson Really Sucks! (In a GOOD way)

IT'S TRUE! I can't believe it....everything they say about the Dyson is TRUE. We have been through at least 5 vacuums in the last few years. One fell off the back of our moving truck during one of our many moves. One blew up. We even had central vac once. Our latest, a trusty red Hoover recently went on the brink, so I went and bought another Hoover at Costco. This time I didn't buy the cheapest one available there, but stepped it up a little bit to the Windtunnel. While I was wheeling my Windtunnel to the register, a lady actually stopped, and politely told me to go put it back and just buy the DYSON. I should have taken this as a sign, but of course I went on my way with the Windtunnel. I really hated it, and once my husband got a hold of it (he likes to clean)...he hated it as well. I joked that we could always go for the gold and buy the coveted DYSON (Costco sells the DC14) and he actually gave the green light!

I figured I better jump in the car and get right to it before he changed his mind. I actually was able to return BOTH Hoovers (score!....LOVE Costco), and therefore really didn't come out of pocket much. Got home, read the directions, assembled, started vacuuming and my life has been changed forever. Seriously. This thing is worth EVERY penny. After one quick vacuum of our bedroom and family room, the canister was full....REALLY disgusting! Little did I know, we've been living in filth.