Sunday, January 31, 2010

What inspires you?

I'm a VERY visual person, which also makes me a big book and computer nerd! :) I'm always curious to know what books, magazines, web sites and blogs other people are reading to inspire them! So, tell me - what are you watching and reading that inspires you? I'm always looking for new books to reference, new shows to watch, new blogs and web sites to view!

Here's books I've got saved in my "wish list" on

Here are two books I've recently bought from and a magazine I've subscribed to:

If you're an avid reader beyond the craft and party planning books - what are you reading in your spare time?

Another fabulous Valentine's Day decorating idea!

I stumbled upon the Tatortots & Jello blog and had to share this super cute Valentine's DIY decorating idea! Jen, the creator of this fabulous site, made this awesome Subway Canvas Art. I love that this piece would look good anywhere - in an entry way, resting on a mini-easel on a dining room table, decor in a bedroom or living room - seriously the locations are endless! Best of all, it's super easy to make! Check out here what supplies you'll need and instructions on making your own!

Choose your own words that you correlate with Valentine's Day and love!

Make the canvas as large or as small as you would like - it's your creation!

I think we finally did it... we found "the one"

My boyfriend and I have been house hunting for what seems like an eternity - I swear, most of our Saturday's (not to mention the hours searching online) have been devoted to hunting for "the one"... and I think we finally found it! While I'm not going to post the pictures displayed on the MLS listing (because trust me, they don't really do it any justice), I thought it would be WAY more fun to show photos of decor and furniture inspiration... kind of like window peeping!

The MASTER BEDROOM: Our bedroom furniture looks NOTHING like the photo below, however I'm in love the idea of placing a collage of mirrors above the night stands. I also like the idea of hanging a set of 3 of 4 photos on the wall above the headboard (note: I wouldn't do both... just in case I had readers out there cringing and going "she's really going to do both of those?!"). I love our bedroom furniture, so the decor is the major element I'll need to work on. As of now, I'm thinking deep purples or soft teal and brown. (image via the style files)

The DINING ROOM: We actually have an oval black dining room table a 4 black leather chairs similar to those shown below (which I'm absolutely obsessed with to the point of being adamant that we NEEDED a separate dining room just so we didn't have to give up the table). The dining room in our "it" house is actually connected to the kitchen, like a big eat-in area. I envisioned putting some type of shelving in... and when I came across this idea, I loved it! Dining room inspiration - CHECK! (image via Ikea)

The BASEMENT: One of the biggest thing my boyfriend was looking for in a home was a place to make his own - to display sports memorabilia, have a pool table and ping pong table, a place to hang with his friends - you know, all the elements of a MAN CAVE! This house definitely has it, and I think the photo below is just what he would envision his man cave to look like. Add a nice bar, some more sports stuff and you're good to go. (Mental note to self: make sure furniture, carpeting and decor is easy to clean up - the smell of stale beer is NEVER a good thing!) (image via

The FAMILY ROOM: There's a nice family room right off of the living room that this would look perfect it - the main focal point of this room is a HUGE fireplace. We're thinking of mounting a TV above the mantel, making this the perfect place to hang out and watch some movies or my favorite design, decorating and craft shows! I love the furniture below because it looks amazingly comfortable and functional for a family room. :) (image via CSN Stores)

The LIVING ROOM: The living room has a dark bluish-grey paint color that we both actually really dig, and both thought it would look great with black furniture and accent pieces. Here's a living room set that I really like - ample seating, while still looking simply and classy - although, I'm not sure how comfortable it looks, but hey, you get the idea! (image via furniture store NYC)

The HOME OFFICE/CRAFT ROOM: This will most likely be my favorite room to decorate because it's going to be ALL MINE (he has his man cave, I'll have my office/craft room). Because it's my favorite room to dream about, I couldn't just pick one... so here's three favorite choices, but believe me... there were WAY more that I loved!

While this would be like my dream office - I don't think it's something I'll be able to afford anytime soon... (image via

Something like this is more do-able, while still allowing enough space to do all the things I love! (image via Cheyenne Milwork and Custom Cabinets Ltd)

Another good one and probably the most affordable because I've already got a desk that looks like those! However not sure this one allows enough space to do everything I'd like to do in my office/craft room. Maybe adding another desk so it makes an L-shape would be ideal, at least for space. (image via good design)

While I could go on and on DREAMING of decorating what I hope is my future home, I better make myself stop as it's making me "decorating hungry"... and we all know that's not good for a bank account - especially the bank account of a new home owner!

What types of decorating tips do you have for a new home owner? What chic (and cheap) designs and tricks are up your sleeves? I'd love to hear them!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Valentine's card for your favorite music lover!

If I could pick one thing that my boyfriend might love more than me (ha!), it would have to be music (OK, and maybe his mom... but that's a different kind of love, right?!). He's seriously obsessed. When we first started dating, I think one of the first things he asked me was "So, what kind of music do you listen to" - and I don't think it was necessarily to keep the conversation rolling, I think it may have been a small test (guess I passed!). After a little while longer, he made a CD for me that featured some of his favorite songs... and while I can't find the CD anymore (seriously, I'm so sad over this!), I remember the songs on it, which will always be songs that remind me of him. So, when I saw this AMAZING idea for a Valentine's card and CD holder combo on Elle's Studio's blog, I knew I had to share - and I know that I'll definitely be trying to make this sweet little number myself! Check out the full post here for what supplies to pick up and instructions on how to make this adorable creation for the music LOVE-r in your life!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What I did last night...

Well if you read my last post, you know that my grandma has recently been diagnosed with cancer. As a reminder that myself, my siblings and my cousins are always thinking of my grandma, we decided to make her a little care package. While I don't have a picture of the entire package put together, I thought I'd show you a couple of the pictures I took of those things I made myself - including some homemade chocolate, caramel, cookie lollipops and a card.

I found the link for these adorable lollipops on another bloggers site - although whose site I saw it on is escaping me at the moment. However, her blog post directed me to Parents magazine's web site, which is where I found the ingredients and directions on how to create them - it was just one of a few different Valentine's treats that I'd love to try out - which hopefully I'll be writing about soon that I've made them and will have pictures, too! Now, let me tell you, the 'pops that were shown in the picture look WAAAAY better than the ones I made, but hey! - it was my first round at this... I know my next one's will be better! I also learned a thing about melting chocolate - don't mix in milk or it will make a paste (rather than making it creamier, which is what I thought would happen... silly me!). Another thing to note, make sure the bowl that you are using for the melted chocolate is deep enough so you can dunk the 'pops in there - my bowl was too shallow so I ended up spooning the melted chocolate on the cookies... not as efficient!

The next thing I made was my grandma's card... I know, I know... there's a lot more I could have done with it - but with the short time I had to spend on Joann Fabrics, and not having all of the supplies laying around, it's what I came up with - I don't think it's too shabby, though! I bought a stack of blank cards from Joann Fabrics, along with some "grandma" stickers and voila, you've got yourself a homemade card! Next card I make will include more embellishments, ribbons, rub-ons, etc. Hopefully the next card to my grandmother will one for her being in remission!

I hope you enjoy a peak into what I do other than blogging and working all the time! :) And please don't don't mind my photography skills - I'm still trying to get down the whole lighting thing!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Help in Finding a Cure

My family and I found out (well, got confirmation) that my grandma on my mom's side has been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, which is a type of cancer that affects ones plasma, blood cells and bone marrow, as I understand it. While we're still unsure of the stage of the cancer, it's come as a big shock to my family. There's nothing worse than feeling helpless to try and help the ones you love. When I heard the news, I instantly began to think of ways that I could help out with this disease that's hurting my grandma - I've gotten as far as holding my own fundraiser (which seems like a good idea, but not sure I'll have the time to do it all on my own), purchasing wristbands and selling them to friends and coworkers, participating in the marathon being held in October (October in Minnesota can be sketchy... and I must admit I'm in NO shape to be running a marathon anytime soon... even with 9 months of training, that might be pushing it!) and creating something of my own and trying to sell it... however, what that creation would be, I haven't a clue - my creative juices aren't flowing the way they normally would because I'm still in shock (I haven't had to deal with friends or family being diagnosed with cancer). What I could do right now was start looking up products that are being sold to benefit cancer research, specifically Multiple Myeloma. While I'm already trying to come up with ways that I myself can help (partially to relieve my creative ability), looking up what other people have done adds great inspiration! So I hope you enjoy the Multiple Myeloma items I've picked out - stop by the Cafe Press and Choose Hope web sites and find something that supports your loved ones who have been diagnosed cancer or other illnesses - they have a great selection! I will post any creative ideas I've come up with to help the fight against all cancers when those brainwaves start working again!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I'm diggin' this card

I fell in love with this DIY card that DannisDoodles featured on her blog. I'm a huge fan of Sex and the City, and this card is totally Sex and the City-esque! She created this card, with simple embellishments and rub-ons by Martha Stewart and Glitz.


Warm up with this yummy recipe!

Although it's felt like a heat-wave the past couple of days (I think it's actually warmed up into the 30's... wooohoo!), I know all good things must come to an end and we're expecting cold and nasty weather this weekend. With that in mind, I decided it'd be a great idea to find myself something to keep my inside's warm. So when I came across this delicious sounding recipe on Bright Ideas, I just had to share!

Warm Cocoa Surprise

What you'll need:

- 1 1/2 cups chopped 3 MUSKETEERS bars
- 3 cups low fat milk
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, plus more for dusting
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 2 tablespoons whipped topping


- Combine candy, milk and ground cinnamon in a small saucepan. Bring to simmer of medium
heat, stirring constantly until candy is completely melted.
- Pour into mugs. Add cinnamon sticks and a small dollop of whipped cream. Dust with a
sprinkling of cinnamon.

Who are you "nutty" for?

I came across this blog while looking for creative DIY Valentine's decorations. I must say, I absolutely loved this idea, while so simple, it's so adorable! I can totally see me giving my boyfriend something like this for Valentine's Day (we don't tend to go all out on Valentine's Day, so I'm pretty sure this one will stay be inside the budget!!)

Once it gets a little closer to Valentine's Day I'll post what my "nutty for you" jar looks like! :) Until then, here's how to make your own!

What you'll need:
- Empty glass jar
- Paper
- Ribbon
- Embellishments
- Nuts

How to make:
1. Make sure glass jar is clean!
2. Attach ribbon to glass jar with glue gun
3. Cut paper to size and attach with glue gun
4. Embellish with stickers, flowers, letters, numbers, or whatever decorations you'd like!
5. Fill with nuts!

Check out InspireMe Crafts blog for other DIY ideas!

What are you favorite crafts for Valentine's Day?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pretty in Pink!

I just loved this pink, white and silver theme that the Dooby Design Group featured on their blog. The party, thrown for the designers 4-year old (adorable) daughter, was designed with toddlers in mind - including the decor, furniture and of course, the FOOD! As you can see... I loved the food they served - which included mini cupcakes, pink lemonade, pink candies, lollipops, hershey bars and more! The decor, as you can see in the pictures above, included pink flowers with white accents, "mini" white furniture pieces, and pink and white pillows to use as seating. Click here to see the rest of the adorable photos from this great party!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Things I'm loving right now: Square Dinnerware

Square dinnerware has always caught my eye - there's just something about it that is so appealing to me. I'm not sure if it's because it's not your traditional circular plates, bowls and cups, or if it's because you can fit things in each corner without your food touching (that's one thing I hate - touching food!), or just because I think it looks so trendy. Regardless of the reason, I've vowed to myself that someday I'm going to buy myself a nice set of square dishes.

I took a look online tonight to see what I could find for my dinnerware wishlist, and found quite an array of colors, patterns, shapes (rounded corners vs. non-rounded corners), and most importantly, prices! I made a inspiration board with some styles I liked. I would have to say my favorite is the Laurie Gates set from Macy's, but they're all pretty cute!

Here's where I found these in case they've sparked your interest as much as they did mine!

#1 - Macy' - Laurie Gates dinnerware - Anna Plum 16-piece set
#2 - - Union Sqaure dinnerware sets (16 pieces)
#3 - - Hometrends Mosaic Tile Square 16-piece dinnerware set
#4 - - Spice Alley Square dinnerware set (16 pieces)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The start to my home office!

I seriously dream of having this super bright, amazing home office that I can someday start my own business in. So after a (two hour) trip to Ikea today, I came back with a nice desk that only cost me $20! I also bought a white magnetic board, a pack of 2 magazine holders and 2 packs of 2 storage boxes (I'm not quite sure what I'll be putting in them yet, but trust me, I know there's something to be stored - mental note: NYE resolution #3 is to GET ORGANIZED!), all for $30! Today's total Ikea purchases - $50 and some change for tax.

Like I mentioned above... my trip to Ikea was at least a two-hour long visit. I just absolutely love that store. My boyfriend and I are currently shopping around for our first home together, so looking at their Showroom gets those wheels in my brain spinning about all of the things we'll have to decorate - I can tell he's not nearly as excited as I am for it all - OK, who am I kidding, he's not excited for any part of decorating beyond his "man's room".

OK, so back to my office... or beginning of my home office. Right now, it's just one smaller desk (as you see in the photos above), eventually I'm going to buy one identical to it, but longer, and possibly wider, to make a nice, large L-shaped desk. I also haven't purchased a chair yet... I know, I know, a necessity for a home office, but I don't think I've shopped around enough for that one chair that's going to fit my butt just right - you know, a chair is a very important element to an office... comfort AND style are very key. I've also got A LOT more decorating to do. I bought the cool white magnetic board, but don't want to hang it because we'll be leaving our rental townhouse soon, and that's just another couple of holes in the wall we'll have to fix. My boyfriend's brother is an AMAZING photographer, so I'm going to hit him up for some photos to hang "collage-style" on a wall around my desk, too. Maybe that'll be EXTRA inspiration to get my butt in gear on following my dream to learn to be a great photographer (can you tell I dream BIG?!). Other things I'd like to purchase to complete the room: more storage stuff - including a nice, modern filing cabinet, one of those cube bookshelves, some plants, more personal pictures and frames, and definitely desk accessories (I'm such a sucker for desk accessories!). As you can see, I still have so much to do! I just thought you'd all like to see the progress I'm making!

I'd love to hear what ideas and DIY projects you have done for your home office, or any decorating tips!

PS - Please pardon the mess in my picture - the room's still a work in progress! :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

It's a Baby Shower!

It seems like a lot of people I know are getting pregnant, so I thought I'd put together a couple of small inspiration boards for a BABY SHOWER!

Now I know the typical baby shower colors are either pink for a girl, blue for a boy, or green or yellow for that "surprise" baby - but I love mixing it up a bit - having a purple themed flower. My first inspiration board is based on a more classic baby shower - with floral centerpieces, a cute little cake, simple, yet useful favors; and simple, adorable invites. This shower focuses more around your mom-to-be, rather than all the cutesy baby stuff (not that every shower shouldn't revolve around the mom-to-be!).

Since a purple-themed shower is probably colored more for a girl, I wanted to create on using some more boyish colors - bright orange and blue. (Orange is actually a pretty universal color and will make any party pop - especially with hot pink!) The photos represent a more modern, yet laid back shower in comparison to the first inspiration board. As you'll notice, the invites are humorous, the decor is very eye-catching and bright.

These are just two examples of what your baby showers can look like - there are so many creative ideas out there for decor, centerpieces, food, favors and more that you're sure to plan the best baby shower possible! Like always, I suggest heading over to Hostess With the Mostess for super creative ideas, or even just checking out some ideas through a Google Image search!

What have you done for baby showers you've hosted or attended? I'd love to hear some fresh ideas!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Brrrrrthday Party!

I came across Veronica Reeve's photography blog, along with this adorable idea she came up with for her daughter's winter birthday party. Everything from the invite, to the decor, to the food was so well tied together for a kid's winter-themed birthday party! You can check out the rest of the photos she took by clicking here!

Check back for more ideas on planning your next winter party or wedding!

The love of a DOG!

So I mentioned in my "About Me" section that I have a dog named Pebbles. Well, I'm absolutely in love with taking pictures of her. Here are some that I took after we got a dumping of around 2' of snow overnight! The best part was watching her try and wade through it - those little legs sink fast in that fluffy snow! I've also added some more expressions of Pebbles snackin' on the one of the lollipops she got from Santa in her stocking this year!

I hope you enjoy checking them out as much as I enjoyed taking them!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

DIY Inspiration - Crafty Organization

One of my goals/resolutions from 2010 is to get more organized... and while I love browsing and buying all those supplies that are suppose to help me do, I never seem to fully follow through with it. When I came across this article on Creating Keepsakes by Megan Hoeppner and how she keeps her workspace and crafts neat and organized, it inspired me to follow through this year. I must say, the pictures are great - pink with white - what a great and girly color combination... perfect for inspiring any crafty girl!

Anyway, her ideas are creative and relatively inexpensive. Check out the photos above for a better look. Below you find her ideas on storing your scrapbook paper, rubber stamps, paper punches

Megan's tip on:

Storing your scrapbook/decorative paper:
  • By color
  • By pattern (if paper is multi-color) - Polka dots, stripes, floral, etc.
  • By holiday (Halloween, Christmas, Valentines Day, etc.)
  • By theme (pets, birthday, travel, etc.)
  • By type (lace paper, shaped, vellum, etc.)
Storing your rubber stamps:
  • Alphabet
  • Backgrounds
  • Holiday
  • Images
  • Sentiments
** Mark a separate box just called "supplies", where you store the stamping accessories, such as ink pads, watercolor pencils, blender pens, embossing powder, etc. **

Storing your paper punches:
  • Purchase a shoe storage hanger (one that you hang around the pole in your closet)
  • Buy the bins that fit in the slots and label each one (Megan used cute handmade tags that she wrapped around the handles)
  • Separate the punches by design/theme

Another way she keeps organized is a removable dry erase board by Wall Pops. These fun little boards stick to your wall, but are fully removable, without any messy sticky stuff!

I hope this post has inspired you to tidy up and get organized (if you're not already...), or at least has given you some ideas to ponder and test out for yourself! If you've got any other creative tips, I'd sure love to hear them!