holiday

A Valentine Home

With only one week until Valentine's Day, I'm getting in the mood for some love! And, while I was managing our Etsy shop this week (which, I know, is terribly low on inventory, since we've been selling like crazy) I was inspired to create an Etsy Treasury featuring little touches to a sweet and LOVELY valentine feel at home. And, now I'm sharing it here on our blog with you!

Oh and don't you worry, we've got some great new Etsy items to list.. so check back soon!

Anyway, if you're not familiar with Etsy Treasuries, they are member-curated shopping galleries. As you browse Etsy, you can compile a group of items (usually related in some way) into a Treasury List and share them with other Etsy visitors. Mine is entitled A Valentine Home, and here's a snapshot of it on Etsy.

Treasury from Etsy.

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I've also included images of each of the items below. Check it out!

You know, Logan and I like to say we celebrate our love every day - versus just one day a year - so we don't usually make huge Valentine's Day plans. Instead, we'll usually just do a little something sweet together that day! We also don't usually decorate the house much for Valentine's Day, but right now I'm wishing we had some of these cute Etsy finds to help fill the house with love!

Heart framed art.

Be mine mug!

Striped party straws!

Luv ya wall words!

Burlap hearth wreat.

Coasters.

Framed LOVE print.

A heart mobile.

Heart coasters

Painted pink chair.

Nesting bowls

Berry wreath.

Love is kind banner.

Ikat pillow.

Teether.

Heart art.

If you love these items, like I do, they can be found on my Etsy Treasury! And, if you liked my Treasury, feel free to share it!

Oh and now you can follow my blog with Bloglovin!

I'm Dreaming of a..

decorated Christmas! With being so busy, I'm embarrassed to admit that we've been slacking on spreading the Christmas cheer around our house. We haven't even decorated our Christmas tree yet! It's horrible, I know. But, the good news is that we finally have it, in the stand, watered and ready to go - that, in and of itself, was a big step. We have been saying, "Let's go get our Christmas tree tonight" everyday for the past few weeks, and we finally did so last night! So, now, the plan for tonight is to get out the ornaments, decorate the tree while listening to Christmas music and baking yummy cookies, since we only have 10 short days to go!

So, without any photos to show you of our holiday decorations, I thought I'd post some creative, unique Christmas decor ideas from our Pinterest pin boards not only to inspire others, but to get inspired myself. Let's face it, everybody needs a little inspiration sometimes. Hope it works!

Enjoy!

Green and silver decor.

Hot chocolate.

Simple, neutral decor.

Scrap wood christmas tree.

Simple wrapping!

White christmas decor.

Burlap stockings!

Bold graphic gift wrapping!

Simple vintage wood deer!

Reindeer cookies

Christmas tree decal!

Well, I'm inspired! Happy Holidays to everyone!

It's Still Fall!

I'm sure, like me, you've noticed that when November arrived stores, homes, and even design blogs have traded their pumpkins in for snowmen, and their warm rich earthy color palettes to cool crisp icy colors. Well, wait just a second! With the mildly chilly weather only now in full swing, beautifully colored leaves still floating to the ground and Thanksgiving just around the corner yet, fall is still here! Right? In fact, I am only now finally getting excited about all things fall. As you probably know, I'm not a huge fan of cold weather, but I do have to say the shift from summer to fall does give me a good feeling. It means it's time for cute sweaters, hot chocolate, warm earthy colors, yummy food, time with family, beautiful nature and scenery, etc. And, I've recently gotten to enjoy most of these.

Pumpkin roll!

So, before my warm fuzzy fall feelings turn into winter blues, I thought I'd browse a few of my favorite sites for some fall inspired finds, decor ideas, and the other lovely joys of fall.

Leaf pillow.

Paper mache pumpkins.

Yarn wreath.

Leaf and Gourd decor.

Cupcake toppers.

Pinecone wreath

Table centerpiece.

Leaf garland.

Fall scarf.

Pottery Barn fall decor.

Wishbone servewear.

Candy apples.

My front door.

Side Note: This last photo is actually from last year - fortunately we kept the mums and they came back this year.. unfortunately they came back about 1/3 as big and beautiful and do not look like this!

So, while most people may already be moving on to the Christmas season, I don't like to jump the gun. I'd rather enjoy the fall and the Thanksgiving holiday first. After all, I am very thankful for not-frigid weather (along with many other things, of course).

I hope today's post reminded you of the many joys of fall, and also hopefully reminded you to slow down sometimes. Christmas will be here soon enough. In the meantime, be thankful (hehe) for the fall!

The lovely images from today's post came from Etsy, Pinterest, BHG, West Elm, Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn and, of course, my camera!

Anniversary Escape

Back on September 19th, Logan and I reached our two year wedding anniversary, yay! Wedding Photo

See more photos from our big day here!

Wedding Photo 2

But, with a lot going on (as usual), that day came and went with just a few sweet anniversary-ish moments and a simple "happy anniversary hunny" exchanged between the both of us. Otherwise, actually celebrating our anniversary was placed on the back burner - which isn't a huge deal, since we're usually pretty low key anyway! But this sort of happened with our first year anniversary too, when friends of ours got married. So, last year, we spent our anniversary weekend at their wedding activities.. Fun? Yes. Celebrating us? Not so much.

So, before we let another year slide, we decided (on a whim) to actually get away for a few days and celebrate! It really is worth celebrating when you have someone so amazing, like I do, and you were able to keep him around another year. Haha. So, that's what we did. We took advantage of the holiday weekend and decided to travel upstate to a charming little town in the Pocono Mountains and stay a couple nights at a cute little bed and breakfast!

We chose the small town of Milford, PA - which, by the way, apparently made the list of the 10 coolest small towns by BudgetTravel. Anyway, it was a very cute place and it was a great place to relax and escape from the stresses of everyday life. Oh, and we had the best unseasonably warm and sunny weather you could ask for!

Milford sign.

We stayed at this beautiful little bed and breakfast, the Harrington House.

Harrington House sign.

View of Harrington House.

=Us in front of Harrington House

When we booked this bed and breakfast, like I mentioned, it was pretty last minute, so they only had one room available. It wasn't our first choice of their charming little rooms, but since we liked this B&B, we booked anyway. Well, when we arrived, a cancellation had occurred and (without our asking) the innkeeper had already moved our reservation to the room that had been our first choice! Now, on any other circumstance, I would have been disappointed that what we booked, and what we expected, was not what we were getting. I mean, can they just do that? But anyway, in this case, it was a good surprise and it was like an everything-works-out-for-a-reason moment. We ended up getting to stay in the room that we kept referring to when saying "well, it would have been nice if we could have booked that room, but we'll have a good time anyway." Haha.

So, anyway, here is our cute little room.

Thistle Room sign.

View of our room.

Second view of our room.

Typically on vacations, or mini-vacations as this one was, we like to just explore the local area and take it as it comes. As I'm sure you know, I definitely have an "itinerary" type personality. I mean, as a designer, it's all about planning, right? And, before we leave for any trip, you'll definitely find me researching the locale, googling cool things to see and do there, reading reviews on where to stay and eat and, of course, taking notes, making lists, and creating itineraries, oh my! But, surprisingly, once we arrive, I play it pretty cool. We usually like to just go with the flow, and use all my planning just as a loose guide. If we see someplace cool, we stop. If we're hungry, we eat. If we're tired, we nap!

Logan asleep on the bed.

Anyway, most of our time spent in Milford was walking the town, casually browsing local shops and eating yummy food!

Photo of Jorgenson's Deli.

Man and monkey sitting outside the deli.

Logan and I at our picnic.

Lots of the shops in this town were antique shops - be still my heart. This was one of our favorites. And, we have two new pieces to prove it. One you'll see below, the other we'll post about in the future.

Old Lumbaryard Antiques

Vintage printing press letters.

Me walking down the stairs with our new purchase.

Another favorite shop was this really fresh and stylish shop called Upriver Home. And, bonus, they have an online shop, so I now have a new resource, yay!

Upriver Home sign.

Logan reflected in wood mirror.

Glass bottles.

Industrial light fixture.

Stools and other stuff at Upriver Home.

Lastly, we heard if you visit Milford, you must visit Grey Towers. So we did.

Grey Towers sign.

As the sign reads, it's a national historic site, and was once the home of Gifford Pinchot, a Pennsylvania governor and America's first forester and noted conservationist. It's a beautiful stone building with gorgeous landscaping and exterior spaces. We did not take the interior tour. I know, I know, as an interior designer you'd think I would, but I have been on many period home tours, and this day, we chose to enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery instead.

Grey Towers.

Stone column walkway.

Circular trellis covering.

Us sitting on a bench.

Well, I'm so glad we took time out of our often busy schedules to get away and celebrate us. I hope 50 years from now it will be no different. I am such a lucky girl to have found my one!

But, enough with the mushy stuff.. it's back to reality. When we returned home after our trip, we wasted no time starting on some new projects that we'll fill you in on soon.

St. Patrick's Day Duds

Just a little note to say Happy St. Patrick’s Day! You know, I never quite got into participating in the “wear a particular color on a particular holiday” idea. I just never seemed to be interested in matching everyone else on that one particular day. It’s not that I don’t have holiday spirit, ‘cause I do! I mean, of course, I love to decorate for the holidays, but for me it doesn’t translate into fashion. In fact, I would probably say I’d specifically rather not dress for the holiday. But, I guess that’s just me – and don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind those of you who do. Clearly, it gives me something to talk about. : ) But nonetheless, perhaps St. Patrick’s day is really not the best holiday to be discussing this topic.. I suppose Christmas or Halloween are better examples. However, as I was out and about today, I couldn’t help but spot all of the people wearing bright green. I even saw a shamrock here or there! And to top it off, I even overheard someone say, “ohhh, I forgot to wear green today!” in a very distraught voice. I guess it’s a big deal to some.

Well, anyway, my point in talking about this is that halfway through the day, after becoming so aware of the amount of people who dressed specifically for the holiday, I looked down only to realize that I too had worn some sort of green today – unintentionally! Now my green was a bit more of a blue-green and I had a grey sweater over top, but in that moment of realization that I had actually participated in this holiday tradition, I wondered how many people who saw me had assumed I dressed for the occasion. That’s when I thought to myself, 'well, if for a moment when my eyes met someone else’s who was also wearing green, we shared a sort of “hey, we're in the same happy holiday club” camaraderie, then I was okay with that!' And, I guess that's what it's about.

So, maybe I’ll change my tune on this topic. Despite my original opposition to wearing a particular color on a particular holiday, while browsing esty.com this afternoon, I came across some lovely accessories that I’d be happy to sport as my little nod to the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. Check ‘em out!

Spring green scarf

Handmade green flower necklace

Handmade feather hair clip

Green stripe messenger bag

Handmade fabric necklace

Handmade green felt flower brooch

Handmade woodland hood

Green crystal bracelet

And, I'll leave you with that!

Hope you all enjoy the beautiful weather (at least here in Midtown it is) on this St. Patty's holiday! Oh, and with the nice weather, I did get a chance to snap a few photos of our new ride - so, stay tuned, they'll be in the next post!

Spring is ALMOST here!

It’s still chilly outside, and I know we have a little bit longer to hold out for spring, but with the rain showers today, and the slightly warmer temperatures lately, I am getting excited for the upcoming season. You know, for the first time in a long time, Punxsutawney Phil (the famous weather predicting groundhog here in Pennsylvania) forecasted an early spring this year when he emerged from his burrow and did not see his shadow earlier this month on groundhog day! I hope he’s right!

Anyway, with the spring season often comes bright colorful new items for the home. So, today, I browsed some design shops to bring a little bright colorful inspiration for the coming season. Check ‘em out, and just envision the warm, sunny afternoons spend with family, friends and lemonade. =)

Textured vases in spring-y colors.

Four tiles with birds.

Spring colored toss pillows.

Yellow geometric patterned drapery panels.

Recycled glass votives.

Yellow toss pillow with foliage design.

Outdoor lanterns.

Spring green garden stool.

Yellow-green desk lamp.

Set of four plates.

Images from Crate and Barrel, West Elm, Pottery Barn, Ballard Designs, etc.

Hope this has brightened your day!

Versatile Veggies

Like many of you, I’m sure, Valerie and I attended a Super Bowl get together on Sunday. We went to my mom and stepdad’s house where we enjoyed good food and good company, emphasis on the food, of course.. haha : ) As with most of our family shindigs we all pitch in and bring something to share. This time, Valerie and I were assigned veggies. So, instead of just bringing your normal veggie tray (which we did for those who don’t like change), we also stole a delicious idea from one of our friends and made this:

Football shaped dinner rolls with dip and vegetables on top.


You might recall seeing something similar from our previous post about our potluck just before the holidays. We used the same recipe (available at pillsbury.com) as our friends did, however, we just changed the shape of the rolls to look like a football. It was as delicious as I remember it and quite a crowd pleaser!

See our process below:

Chopped vegetables on cutting board.

Baked dinner rolls in the shape of a football.

Mixing bowl of spreadable vegetable dip.

Dinner rolls with vegetable dip on top.

Vegetables placed on dinner rolls to look like a football.

Football shaped dinner rolls with vegetables on top.

Football shaped dinner rolls with dip and vegetables on top.

Close up of veggies.

So, as you can see, this is an easy and fun way to mix things up, and can be created for any event by simply changing the shape. For example, with Valentine’s Day coming up, you lovebirds who want to show your sweetie how you really feel, try making this in the shape of a heart!

Let’s hear about some of the tasty foods you shared at your Super Bowl parties!

And, for those Packers fans out there, congrats! For the Steelers fans, good try and good game! And, for the fans of any other teams, well, better luck next year : )

Un-decorating for the Holidays

Over the past month, we have decorated everything from the tree to table tops and even sugar cookies. Look below to see some of the creative and artful projects we’ve done here at our home. Christmas tablescape with peppermint bowls

Close-up of Christmas centerpiece.

Stockings hanging by the tree

Close-up of name tag on Logan's stocking

Close-up of ornaments on the Christmas tree

Decorated sugar cookies

But after all that fun and beautiful holiday décor, it’s now the first week of January and the holiday season is pretty much over. Therefore, it’s time to un-decorate. I thought I’d post a few tips for this often not-so-fun task that (for us) make the process simpler, practical and fun.

    Un-decorating Tips!

  • Break the un-decorating process into two stages – Instead of spending a whole day tearing down the entire house, after the holidays, first remove and put away only the holiday specific décor. Other winter related décor can remain up throughout the season and be enjoyed for another few weeks!
  • Donate old or unused décor items – Less is often more, and we are always up for cleaning out and simplifying. There is no need to store décor that you never use or don’t intend to use next year. But, don’t simply throw it away! Donate it or reinvent a new purpose for it – think art project!
  • Get organized – Perhaps when you unboxed all the decorations this year, you found that last year they had been tossed in boxes, tangled together and maybe even broken. Well, take the extra couple seconds this year to organize like items together, carefully wrap and box décor items and, of course, (if you know me at all) label, label, label. This will make both the decorating and un-decorating process a piece of cake for years to come.
  • Redesign your space – At Christmas, we often move aside furnishings and other décor to make room for the Christmas tree and all the other holiday décor! Well, when it’s time to put it all back, don’t just go back to the old layout, put your creativity hat on and change things up a bit. This will also give your home a fresh look for the New Year!
  • Bring in Spring – While the warmer weather is still many weeks away, get excited about the new season and lightening and brightening your space for spring! I don’t know about you, but winter weather puts a damper on my productivity and creativity, among other things. So, here is my opportunity to fight back! Design shops everywhere are launching their spring goods – go out and get inspired… maybe even snag a great find!

Well, I promise I won’t be posting anymore on the topic of Christmas, but we hope that our little look back over the holiday season, that we didn’t get to share while we were busy finalizing the launch of this blog, has perhaps inspired some ideas and Christmas cheer for next year! Now it’s back to work on a few client projects, and as always, more design and DIY fun here at our own home and studio!

Happy 2011!

Sending out Happy New Year wishes to all! Logan and I at the New Year's Eve strawberry drop

Happy New Year sign all lit up at 12:01 am

So, it’s that time of year again, to reflect on the last year of your life, to look forward to the coming year and to make resolutions about how this year will be different – and better! Well, neither Logan or I have made specific New Year’s resolutions. I think there is some part of me that knows if I claim a specific resolution, that will inevitably set me up for failure. Haha. But, that’s the pessimist in me. So instead, we are simply aiming to take on this coming year with our always trusty motto in mind – be.love.create. We mentioned these three words in an earlier post, but today (New Year’s Day) seemed like a great time to post more about it and hopefully inspire a more positive year for you too!

Each of these words provide (at least for us) inspiration, motivation and basically all the guidance needed to shape a happy healthy life. Each word is the start of an axiom that can end any way you choose; therefore, it can change with whatever is happening in your life at the time, yet always remain consistent. For example, the first word, be, might inspire you to “be yourself”, “be happy”, “be in the moment”, “be confident”, etc. Then, the second word, love, might direct you to “love one another”, “love life”, “love what you do”, “love a challenge”, etc. And finally, given our artsy crafty nature, we throw in the last word, create, which may not only inspire you to “create art” or “create beauty”, but can always encourage you to “create goals”, “create your dreams”, “create relationships”, “create memories”, etc.

So, as you can see, these three words have a huge story to tell and as this year goes by, we’ll be sure to post any be.love.create phrases that inspire us – both in our personal lives and, of course, with our design studio! Feel free to share any of your mottos with us as well – we’d love to hear ‘em.

Sending Handmade (and eco-friendly)

It’s been several days since Christmas, but here on our blog, we’re still catching you up on all the pre-holiday fun we had. Another staple of the holidays are the Christmas wishes sent to family and friends; whether it be an email, a mailed card, a family update letter, or what have you, many people dig out their address book (or iPhone in our case) and gather a list of all those they hope to wish season’s greetings to. I must admit, I do love the idea of shooting someone a little note to say hello or simply that you’re thinking of them, but sending Christmas cards can often be overwhelming, and for us, this year was no different! Logan and I were feeling crafty one night in December and he says to me, “Why don’t we make our Christmas cards?” which, I should mention, is not unusual as we have done this several times before, and so, I happily agree. But, I’m not sure we knew what we were getting into this time.

As an artist, I had recently been interested in mosaics, having been inspired by my aunt who has been creating beautiful credit card mosaics for the past several years. Anyway, I had been saving all cardboard packaging from products we buy at the grocery store (cereal boxes, tissue boxes, etc.) in hopes of cutting them into tiny squares and reusing them as my medium to create recycled mosaic artwork. So, with the huge stack of these broken down boxes staring us in the face, Logan suggests this method for creating our Christmas cards. So, off we began and let the holiday spirit inspire us! Check out some of the results and our easy instructions below.

How-to: Recycled Mosaic Cards

  1. Gather supplies - card stock, scissors, craft glue and post-consumer cardboard packaging.

Post-consumer recycled cardboard packaging

  1. Cut and fold card stock to desired size and orientation to create the actual card.
  2. Cut lots of small shapes (squares, triangles, etc.) from the cardboard packages - these are the mosaic pieces.

Handmade recycled mosaic present card in progress

  1. Organize the mosaic pieces into colors and patterns for ease of creative flow. =)
  2. Layout mosaic pieces to form simple seasonal imagery (presents, snowmen, Christmas trees, wreaths, etc.)

Handmade recycled mosaic snowman card in progress

  1. After you're happy with your design - glue the mosaic pieces down. We use scrapbooking tweezers, which help this go smoothly!
  2. Write your message inside the card and sign, seal and send! That's it!

Handmade recycled mosaic Christmas tree card

Now, as I write this, I must be clear – this DIY project is really super simple, inexpensive and a lot of fun, and for many great reasons (recycling materials, being crafty, and giving handmade gifts – just to name a few), I hugely encourage you to create your own greeting cards. But, on the other hand (the logical one), at the volume of nearly 50 cards, you can imagine the huge undertaking this became and the smidge of regret we had for taking on such a project. =) But on the bright side, Logan and I got to spend a good deal of quality “craft time” together and when all was said and done, they turned out very sweet and the best part is the lovely and very complimentary feedback we’ve received from our recipients; making it all well worth it! And before you say, “well, thanks for the idea, but Christmas is over.” This handmade recycled mosaic card project works for any occasion… so get crafty!

Christmas Cheer!

Well, the day is finally here. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone! For most of us, there is always such a lead up to Christmas - with all the shopping, making travel plans, baking, and, of course, seasonal decorating of our homes, trees, etc. So, since our blog is less than a week old, and we didn’t get the opportunity to post about our happenings in preparation for today, I thought (over the next few posts) we could give a snapshot of some of our fun seasonal décor, holiday inspired events and creative holiday projects we’ve done over the past month. To start the season off right, Logan and I hosted a holiday themed potluck for a few of our friends early in December. While we encouraged guests to adorn holiday wear and prepare holiday themed eats, the latter of the two was more successful. =) Below are a few snapshots of some of the great dishes we enjoyed that night.

Appetizer displayed in the shape of a Christmas tree.

Closeup of a holiday cocktail

Honey maple glazed ham with pineapple

Milk and white chocolate brittle bark

Speaking of holiday meals, I’m always interested to know what other families enjoy around the holiday table. For many years, we have been spending Christmas dinner at Logan’s mom’s house; the meal is usually casual and traditional. Yet this year, we decided to mix things up and, while we’ll share our meal around the same table, it will be slightly different than usual. Our family opted for a brunch style Christmas meal! Logan and I don’t actually cook much of the meal (which is fine by me), but I hear the menu is going to include yummy goodies such as ham, eggs, breakfast potatoes, croissants, pumpkin bread, etc. Sounds pretty amazing to me! What meal do you and your family share at the holidays? Let us know.. comment below!