Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What we learned at PROM...

Last weekend, my husband and I attended the Preserving and Restoring our Marriages conference at our church. Along with about 70 other couples, we listened to keynote speakers and had our choice of breakout sessions – all with the premise that strong marriages help build strong families and strong churches. One of our favorite take-aways from the day was this quote the keynote speakers talked about:

“Marriage is both a done deal and a daily development, something you did and something you do.” – Max Lucado

The quote is so true because after you say “I do”, you have to continue to “do” through your actions, words and love each day. I can’t explain it as well as the speakers did, but wanted to share it anyways. [My husband liked it so much he thought of a really cool idea for something in our house incorporating the quote. I know that’s really vague, but I don’t want to spoil it before we actually do it!]

For a little background information…Max Lucado is a minister and award-winning Christian author. I have his book Grace for the Moment Vol. II and it is amazing! I highly recommend it and hope to read more of his work very soon. :)

Monday, June 29, 2009

So simple, so cute...

I love how sometimes the most clever decorating ideas are so darn simple! I am loving Rachael Ray's easy entertaining ideas for a 4th of July party. I'm going to be a little busy this 4th (at an incredible wedding!), but I will have to remember this for next year or some other time.

I always forget about my random craft punches, but this is a great (and easy!) idea for using them. My cute rubber ducky one - that I've never had a reason to use - would be perfect for a baby shower!

By the way, I hope you enjoyed my festive coloring for 4th of July (and how I wasn't smart enough to figure out how to superscript on here). And yes, I know I'm a dork.

Did Martha read the same origami book as me?

I just saw a post on iDIY about Martha's Cheery Paper Fruit Pouches and got so ridiculously excited because I have honestly been making these for years and years! When I was little, my sister had an origami book and I tried to learn things out of it too. This was the only thing I could make really well and I randomly make them all the time. Like when I was nine and made all of my friends try to drink Kool-Aid out of them - which you can totally do! (But if you don't drink it fast enough, it gets really soggy and your hands turn red, so I would advise trying this with water instead if you're curious.) Or when I made them out of the cloth napkins at my cousin's rehearsal dinner because my grandma wanted to see my origami skills. Oh, and I always make teeny tiny ones out of the paper napkin rings at Applebee's while I wait for my food. So obviously, I have never thought about doing anything remotely useful with them - but I am definitely going to now!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Party wrap-up...

So, I'm a little slow at getting this posted, but considering all that has happened in the past two weeks, I'm doing pretty good. Anyways, here's a recap of the Girls' Night Party, which went GREAT!

I made these cute plates and mugs for the food table. The idea came from Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts (which is totally amazing, just in case you're wondering). Martha said to use china and this fancy paint in these cool little bottles that bakes onto the plates. But I couldn't afford china and couldn't find the fancy paint...so I used dishes from the dollar store and the only paint that I could find with a pointed tip. Needless to say, the paint is already starting to peel off, but that's okay because I have fun plans for reusing the plates (watch for more on that sometime in the future). And even though they might not have been Martha quality, the dishes looked cute and fit with the party's theme of painting pottery.This is the food table (obviously). If you ignore all the stuff I had stashed under the table when I took the picture, the "bride-to-be" sign is really cute! I forgot to take a picture of the sign on the door, so you'll have to take my word for it that it was cute too.
And here is the bride-to-be working on the cups she painted. :)
And here are a few of the other finished products (well before they are put in the kiln or whatever happens next) - mine is the baseball one, of course.

Monday, June 15, 2009

My first stamp...

Thinkstock Single Image Set
As of last night, I have my first stamp in my passport. Yay! I got so excited when the customs agent in Toronto stamped my passport that he offered to do it again. I told him I could hold off on the extra stamp...but only because I'm coming back again in just a month. :)

Since I'm here for work, I honestly haven't done anything overly exciting yet, but we did have a delicious meal from Boston Pizza tonight. My Cajun shrimp pizza was incredible and I am totally in love with their brand imaging. I love when companies have interesting (and effective) design elements in their logos, packaging, etc. (I guess this is where my business degree and creativity meet up.) The Boston Pizza logo is great and even better was my pizza box that said, "Hi, I'm an individual-sized pizza. I think sharing is highly overrated..." - love it!

Easy as 1, 2, 3....or not

This weekend I tried my hand at making the pretty in pink pretzels I have been so excited about. It turns out Rachael Ray's three ingredients and three directions were a little much for me...but after a few tries I got some really cute pretzels made. Here's what I learned:
  • After dipping the pretzels in chocolate, they were a little top heavy and didn't just "hang off the side of a cooling rack." Instead they tumbled over the side of the cooling rack and got the chocolate all smooched up. So I had to prop the pretzels up in between the bars in the cooling rack. (And, of course, a few times one would fall over and have a domino effect on all of them.)
  • In the instructions, it says to let the chocolate set about 30 minutes before sprinkling with sugar...but when I tried to sprinkle the sugar on after about 10 minutes, the chocolate was completely set and the sugar wouldn't stick at all. I ended up letting each pretzel set about 30 seconds to one minute instead.
  • The sugar on mine did not end up looking nearly as bright as in the picture. If I make them again, I might use white chocolate instead to make the sugar stand out more, use decorating sugar that is more coarse, or skip the sugar altogether and just use food color to tint white chocolate the color I want. (I think the last option would be really cute for a baby shower since the colors tend to be lighter and you could use a few different colors.)
So I guess I am not very easily discouraged because I am already excited about trying out another Rachael Ray recipe: monkey bread minis. This one has more ingredients and steps, so we'll see how it goes. I guess I'm a sucker for cute, sugary foods. :)

by Vivian Jao, found via rachaelraymag

Thursday, June 11, 2009

For my dad...

With Father's Day right around the corner, I decided to design a card for my dad today. I wanted to make a word cloud like you do on Wordle. (Thanks for showing me that site, Mom!) But I had no Internet access at the time, so I decided to do it the old-fashioned way - okay, not really old-fashioned - just myself. Here's what I came up with:

As with all my random pictures, you probably need to know a few things for it to make sense...
  • When I get home from West Virginia, I will print it and put it on blue, or green, or brown paper (I told you I'm indecisive!).
  • The front - My dad's name is Eldon and to all his friends he is Big E - but to my sister and I, he is Dad E.
  • And the inside - I tend to talk a lot and one day when I was little (or maybe I was in high school...) my dad said I seemed even more talkative than normal and asked why. To which I very seriously replied, "I'm just trying to make sure I use all my words for the day", and of course it has now become a running family joke. :)


I just saw one the very most amazing wedding invitations ever on iDiy and just had to share it...too bad I'm having a blonde moment and can't figure out how to get the picture not to be tiny. And trust me, I can't ruin this amazingness in tiny form, so click here and be prepared to smile, giggle and maybe even tear up a little. It's truly that great. The bottom says "dinner and dancing and eternity to follow" - and it just might be the sweetest thing I have ever heard!

Decisions, decisions...

I have been thinking about the upcoming girls' night party for weeks now and was sure that I had absolutely everything figured out. I am planning to make cute little red velvet cupcakes in white liners with a border of red sugar and cute cupcake flags. See, I had it all figured out - until I got to the cupcake flags, and now I cannot for the life of me settle on what I want them to look like! I swear I am the most indecisive person on the planet! All I know for sure is that they have to coordinate with the invitations. After coming up with about 317 options, I have narrowed it down to three choices (for now)...

Option 1:

Option 2:
Option 3:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Colorful inspiration...

Jonathan Adler Acapulco Melamine Dinnerware via Gracious Home

You have probably seen this Jonathan Adler dinnerware before, but I just can't get enough of it. I love how bright and cheery it is and would love to have a whole bunch of it! Unfortunately, at $12 a plate that's not going to be happening anytime soon...but it did give me a fun idea for art in our guest room. (Outdoor dinnerware to bedroom art - a little random, I know.) But what if you took the same idea of single-color graphic collages and framed them? Maybe it could look something like this...
Okay, this requires a little imagination...The yellow background is because our guest room walls are currently light yellow. And each "wall hanging" is supposed to be "matted" in navy with a white "frame." (Hopefully this is making sense, because there is only so much I could do with my PowerPoint picture of what this might look like.) If I end up deciding to actually make something similar to hang - or decide on anything to hang in the guest room for that matter - I will be sure to post a picture!

If you want to see more collage-inspired, fun, colorful goodies on Gracious Home, check out this, this and this. Maybe some of these will inspire me to create my own versions as well. (By the way, there are TONS of amazing non-collage items on the site too, but if I tried to pick my favorites out of everything I would be here forever!)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Loving labels...

I'm not sure when my obsession started...but I absolutely love labels. If I had my way, I would label everything, so I was very glad to see I am not alone. Check out this post from iDiY for some fun labels and ideas. Actually, check out all four fun posts with free labels - which inspired me to come up with some of my own designs.

  • The ones in the first row would be bright and fun for items in the kitchen.
  • The second row would make perfect mailing labels.
  • I can already imagine the third row on folders.
  • The bottom left is very similar to the labels I made for my plastic tubs.
  • And the thought bubbles would be a great way to label a binder with all the random ideas I tear out of magazines.
I see lots more labeling in my future...like right when I get home from West Virginia!

Workin' in a coal mine...

Vintage miners
Who would have thought that when you major in accounting and work for a CPA firm, you would end up in a coal mine? But I'm so glad I did! Today I got to tour my second coal mine - very fun! We are visiting another mine in two weeks and hopefully I will get to tour it also.
By the way, I know this post is a little out of nowhere with all my posts about parties and pretty things...welcome to the randomness that is my life! :)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Party preview...

by Marcus Nilsson, found via rachaelraymag
How cute are these? I am planning on making them for the Girls' Night party in a couple of weeks (except with red sugar to match the color scheme). The best part - they only have three ingredients and three steps. Sounds easy enough to me. :) On a related note, I am quickly becoming a little obsessed with the new rachaelraymag website. There are TONS of fun recipes and entertaining ideas.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Another invitation...

In case you can't tell, I am a little excited about my friend's wedding and all of the pre-wedding events. So, here's the invitation for the bridal shower. I also made some other coordinating items and have lots of fun ideas for food and decorations - I'm sure I will be posting more later. :)

One month...

View of fireworks bursting against night sky
Nicole % Drew's wedding is officially one month away! I can't wait to celebrate with them!

Only the coolest website ever...

Girls Night Party
I recently discovered the website Polyvore via an old post on Hostest with the Mostess. I've never really done the whole inspiration board thing before, but with this site it's so much fun I can't stop! The above inspiration board was made to go with the girls' night invitations I made for my friend's party. Try it - you'll like it!