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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Replaced on the Dollar- IKEA Blomster

Every once in a while I find something on the cheap to replace a design element I have held off on purchasing.  This one I just had to share.

I have been eyeing the IKEA Blomster clear 3-pc set for quite some time. I wanted 3 sets for Christmas decor and other event decorations. They are very versatile, beautiful, and tealights are a quick, easy, inexpensive, no-mess way to add candlelight to a party.  Unfortunately, tealight holders generally don't have a lot of height, or are very style specific. I had seen a few examples of clear glass holders of tiered heights in a couple design magazines, but had no idea where to get them.  That's why, when I found the IKEA set, my imagination went wild over all the great ways I could achieve different looks with vignettes, table top decor, etc. I thought the $15 per set of 3 was a fair price.  I know not everyone gets so excited about tealight holders- call me strange- but I was seriously giddy when I found them.

However, I had not gotten around to forking over the $45.  Other things always seemed to catch my eye in IKEA when I would drop in to blow all my money pick up a few things.  Imagine that.

But now, boy am I glad I was sidetracked because look what I found at the dollar store:

On the mantle at home- yay!
Now, I know they are not exactly the same in design, but they function exactly the same way, and certainly meet the standard of "pretty darn close".  I actually find the ones from the dollar store to be more neutral in design...which is a good thing for these in particular. Especially since I am buying them for their design versatility.  

I purchased 9 holders in-store (the equivalent of 3 sets) for $9!!!! Two sets are already up on the mantle for Christmas- love it! The reviews do note about the stickers...I had no problem removing them by laying them in a casserole dish and gently pouring hot water in the dish to let the stickers soak.  The stickers rubbed right off without any issues. 

If you buy online, I think it must be purchased in bulk, but I had no trouble finding them locally for a $1 a piece.  And, seriously, you can get a box of 24 for less than the cost of 2 Blomster sets if purchased online at  

This is definitely a win-win find. What awesome dollar store items have you found as a trade for a much pricier item? 

Have an inspired day!


Sunday, August 5, 2012

My Black-eyed Peas Recipe

Today we are having one of my favorites meals of homemade comfort food heaven: Southern style barbecue pulled pork, black-eyed peas, collard greens, and macaroni and cheese.  By far my husband makes the best mac and cheese I have ever had in my life. And sorry, he doesn't give out the recipe ;) So I am stuck with giving you my black-eyed peas recipe, which the whole family loves as well. (At least, that is what they say....haha) It is surprisingly healthy- unlike that macaroni and cheese that makes you gain five pounds just smelling it- and can optionally be made with more liquid added along the way and some favorite veggies to make a yummy soup.

What you will need:

1 Bag of dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and soaked.
10 cups Water
1 Smoked ham hock
1 Green tomato, quartered
1 Small Jalapeno, halved and seeds removed
2 Garlic Cloves, peeled and halved
8 Fresh sage leaves
3 Sprigs of thyme
1/4 Large red onion, halved
1-2 tablespoons Salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon White pepper

Bring first 8 ingredients to boil all together in a large pot or dutch oven.  Turn down burner to low and let simmer for one hour. Stir occasionally and check water level to make sure water is always above the beans as they cook. Add salt and pepper to taste. Continue simmering on low until beans are tender and soft with no graininess, always remembering to stir occasionally. Remove ham hock from the pot, and cut of all meat from the bone and chop up into small pieces. Remove garlic, herbs, pepper, and onion (or leave them in and just avoid them when serving). Add ham hock meat back in, and stir. Serves 8-10 as a side dish.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Quick Upcycle: Cork Board

Hello to all!

It has been an insanely busy Summer so far, but one of the things we have been working on is our home renovations (Yes, still going...but the end is in sight.)  Here is a quick revamp of an old (and ugly) cork board that is now hanging on the wall behind the door in my daughter's room.  It's a tight squeeze for photographing so photos aren't magnificent, but hopefully you will glean a little inspiration of your own from it.

To achieve this look, I covered and taped off the cork board then spray painted the frame.   Once dry, I carefully inked up a large corner stamp (Fancy Pants).  I actually did two trial stamps on the back of the board to get a feel for it- it's hidden, so I highly recommend it so you can get a feel for the ink and pressure you will need :)  A stencil and paint will work fine for the corners as well. Once this is done, attach the hangers that go with the board (if you don't have any, they can be purchased at any craft/hobby store.)

I doubled the twine and tied it off a few inches off to the side, and tied the ribbon and tags to the twine using a bow from the long hanging ends.  You certainly could just do it in the center, but I love the look of offsetting, and am playing with the idea of adding a paper blossom arrangement later.  

Materials you will need:

White paint (I used spray paint)
Large corner stamp or stencil
Ink or paint for stamp/stencil
Thick twine or thin rope
Decorative ribbon scraps
Tea stained and stamped tags
Painters tape and covering for the cork

Have an inspired day!


Monday, June 11, 2012

Custom Recipe Boxes

I often have customers ask me how the process works, and I thought it about time that I blog about the wonderful way I get the opportunity to create something uniquely beautiful for each customer.

The first thing I do is get an idea of my client's style and color theme.  My favorite way of do that is to send them over to where they can pick color palettes that suit the look they want.  I also have them go to my facebook page to look at my different created boxes and my pinterest boards for style ideas and inspiration.  Knowing what catches their eye give me wonderful insight into their bent of artistic style.

Once we hit that point, I might ask a couple clarifying questions.  Sometimes, clients tell me to just do my "thing" from there, but usually this is where I send swatches for the client to pick from, reminding them that this is probably a paper from a line of many patterns.  Their box will generally not be exclusively the paper swatch chosen unless requested.  Here is an example:

A client picked the far right swatch-

These three paper swatches I sent were based off of this design seed pick:

Her recipe box turned out to look like this:

As you can see, I use finite cutting techniques to add additional layers to the patterns from papers that are in or match the same line, as is also exampled here:

And sometimes a customer asks for a special personalization: 

The time to create can differ from one box to the next but generally takes a week from start to finish including a painted interior. Each is made to order.  Lead times vary by the amount of custom orders I am already working on, so sometimes it can take a bit longer. 

This is truly one of my favorite parts of my business- creating these special recipe boxes for others.  It's even more heartwarming to hear back from my customers with stories of the way it has been used or gifted. I even get photos of the box in use every once in a while and that just tickles me pink!

So a huge "Thank You!" to my many customers who have given me the opportunity to create a recipe box, just for them!  


PS If you are looking to have one made as well, just click here.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Displaying Short Stemmed Flowers

There are many times, as an avid gardener, that I have trimmed up and thinned out flowering plants and am left with an assortment of short stemmed blossoms.  I never have the heart to throw away this pretty little beauties.  I used to throw them in a short glass or mason jar, but many times they were either too short even for those glasses, or there were just a couple of flowers so they would forlornly fall over to the side of the glass to sit miserably on my window sill over my kitchen sink as they died.  Recently though, I came up with this simple solution, which really does look lovely wherever I put it, and I can "stand" the flowers to arrange heights.  They stay in place, and still receive water  Here's my resent trimmings of dahlias:  

The cost: $1 for the shallow glass bowl/vase, and $3 for the decorative rocks.  Both can be purchased at Hobby Lobby. Simple, reusable, inexpensive, and versatile....the rocks can be placed in any pretty glass piece to help with arranging your short blossoms. 

Have an inspired day! 


Friday, May 25, 2012

Great interior design tool!

So while in the midst of designing the boys' bedroom, I came across this FREE design tool by Autodesk.  I love using it!  Even though the selections are somewhat limited, it still gives me a basic understanding of my space.  It also helps me give my dear husband who struggles understanding my inspiration for designs no matter how well I describe them, a tangible visual of what I am trying to accomplish. Several times it has helped pull us from the brink of an avoidable argument. How's that for Awesome?

So here is a snapshot of the basic layout I designed in the attic room:

Because we had to gut the attic after the extensive storm damage,  (See blogs: It Could Happen to Anyone and Trying to Play Catch-Up) we reconfigured a couple of areas like the stairwell and closet to make them safer, more efficient, and get them into code.  Just building up the floor at a bizarre drop allowed us to push back a wall and add square footage to reduce the overall pieced-together feeling of the space. I am so grateful that this CAD program was available for saved us from many headaches.  Hope you enjoy using it as much as I have!

And as a little extra holiday weekend bonus- A fun curation for your Friday viewing pleasure:

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Decoupaging Clothespins

I haven't done a "how-to" in a awhile, so thought I would do a small one today while the house is still relatively quiet.

Many of you have seen my decoupaged clothespins. They are pretty easy to make, but there are a few tips to make sure you are creating something that isn't going to fall apart on you and will look their best for years to come no matter how you use decide to use them.

What you will need for this project:

  • Plain wooden clothes pins
  • Decoupage 
  • Matching printed  paper selection 
  • Small bowl of water
  • Sponge brush
  • Paper towel or rag
  • Trimmer
  • Distress Ink/Chalk (optional)


Measure the flat side of the clothespins. Cut the paper strips to the measurement. Using your lightly dampened brush, apply a thin layer of decoupage on both the side of the clothespin you will be placing the paper on, and the backside of the paper. Adhere together.  Make sure placement is as exact as possible.  Gently wipe off excess decoupage, trying to avoid getting decoupage on the printed side of the paper.  Set aside with paper side upright on paper towel or rag and let dry.  Repeat with all the clothespins for your project.  Let them dry completely (see the directions for dry time on your decoupage bottle).  Optional: distress ink/chalk edges.  Once dry, put another layer of decoupage on top of the papered side and let dry.

Here are some important tips:

Measure the flat side of your clothespins and cut to size as exactly as possible.  This is very important.  Paper that is too big or too small on the clothespins looks shoddy, and larger strips will not stay adhered as well. 

Heavier stock paper works much better for this project.

Do not use xyron, zipdry, or other adhesives instead of decoupage.  For something as small as a clothespin, it does not work as well. The firmness of the top protective layer causes the paper to eventually lift off the clothespin.

I do not recommend homemade decoupage because is yellows and is more likely to crack on this project.

I like to boil (about 15 minutes) and dry my clothespins to breakdown the wood sealant a little.  Clothespins that you buy at the store for laundry use typically have a bit of weatherproofing seal on them that can make it more difficult for a good initial adhesion.

The final seal on top of the paper can be done a second time to make sure it is well-protected.  Just remember to allow the decoupage to dry completely between coats.  

Using high-gloss for the top coat process gives a very unique look. I usually use matte, but using gloss, glimmer, outdoor, or another sheen is totally fine.  

Have an inspired day!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

April was an insane month.  Too much illness, doctor's appointments, business hiccups, business changes, issues with parenting a teenager, gardening through roller coaster weather, travelling...I seriously hit my capacity.  And my home definitely looks like the May remnants of the April whirlwind.  So while browsing the net, I found this link from Martha:

Great list, isn't it? This is totally tangible for me. When I get overwhelmed with a mess, and feel abandoned by the other occupants of the house when trying to create a solution ;), I tend to just shut down and get tunnel vision on something else.  Unfortunately, as many of you probably know, that isn't a long-term solution. One step at a time, and I think we will get back on track...

Wish me luck!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

IKEA Hacked: Alternative Legs

During my daily browse through pinterest I stumble across this glorious company that has created beautiful legs to hack your IKEA furniture:

Can you imagine my glee?  Well I clicked the link to only be sent to a domain registration site.  Thinking it was a fluke, I dug further...I mean how could I not?  One of the things that always kept me from purchasing the Kalstad was those hideous cheap-looking legs.  I found out that this was no fluke.  Every site that was drooling and fawning over these beautiful pegs had the same link issue.  I did find out in comments that they were well over $130 a set (ouch) when they were available. I am still unsure as to what happened.

I also found out during my search that there is a retired gentleman who now sells his wooden wares online.  Uncle Bob has also created a hack for the IKEA legs too.  Sure, this picture isn't trending pretty, but the skill of his woodwork is well-respected, and he offers several attractive peg designs I would still fawn over.  Those who have purchased from him say he is happy to consider custom requests.  On his site he shows not just different designs, but also different finishes, and at $7.50- $11.00 each (YES! I know!)  They turn those ugly 2x2 monstrosity or over the top industrial IKEA legs into a thing of the past. I would love to hear anyone's opinion of their purchase with Uncle Bob, and if anyone has tried a custom order with him.

Uncle Bob's Sleek-looking Pegs

Uncle Bob has a website and an Etsy store. I have a feeling I may be purchasing some of those adorable animal puzzles and wooden toys as well....

Hope your Easter holiday is wonderful- Cheers!


Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring Treasuries

Created two new treasuries in the past couple days, and I wanted to share. There are some really unique gifts for mother's day, and definitely some cool wedding ideas, as well as a few items of just plain awesomeness. Just click on the photos to be taken to the treasuries and all the store links of the wonderful artisans that created these goodies.



Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Meal in a Ramekin (MIAR): IKEA Potato and Broccoli Medallions Tweak

Just a quick "Meal in a Ramekin" recipe idea using the delicious Potato and Broccoli Medallions from IKEA's frozen food section and tweaking a little.  I generally don't add a lot of salt to my dishes like this, so you make prefer a little salt and pepper added (or even hot sauce!).

Take one ramekin and drizzle olive oil in the bottom, then brush one frozen medallion with oil as well.  Set medallion into ramekin and let bake in the oven as directed (until golden brown).  While cooking, slice 1/2 an avocado and grab an egg.  Pull out Ramekin at the end of baking, turn off the oven and break egg over the medallion.  Put back into the oven for 7 minutes, letting the residual heat cook the egg.  Once the egg is at desired doneness, top with avocado, and enjoy!  Make several at the same time for a delicious brunch dish for the entire family.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Before and After: Inspirational Window Changes

So after our basement started flooding twice, calls into the city finally brought a crew to repair the problem- something which we had been calling about more times than I can count over the past two years, and the city arborist slotting the Sycamore tree that attacked our house for least a few things got accomplished.  I think I have been in a state of non-stop stress since the Year of the Dragon began...but wait, this is supposed to be my year, right?  I guess in a way, this year will have highly anticipated ends to many struggles that occurred in 2011.  And that feels wonderful.  So, in the meantime, I am going to start getting back into blog mode and share the little things that keep me sane, or at least relatively pulled together in between the times I was completely falling apart ;)

Today will just be some quick tips about window treatments.  Whether or not you like my personal changes to these rooms, there is a little bit of an "ah-ha" moment in each, and encouragement to think outside of the "rectangular box" when it comes time to re-think a window's place in the overall design instead of treating it as an afterthought.  It can change a room drastically for minimal cost.  (I can't speak to cost of before pictures, since it shows photos of what was there when I moved in.)

Here is an example of before/after in both my bedroom and living room re-design.

Bedroom Windows

As you can see, the window literally looks three times bigger by increasing height and width of the overall hang, using a optical illusion of dark (but not heavy) curtains on the sides to cover what is actually just the walls on the sides of the window. The light white cotton back drape creates a soft under layer that allows all the sunlight to pour in, but is still thick enough to hide the illusion and give full privacy.  Cost: $40 for the dark drape set, $15 for the white set, and $15 for the double curtain rod (on sale- was originally $30).  Sew your own, and the cost could go down even further.

Living Room Windows

In the living room, it wasn't necessary to hang the window treatment higher (though we could have), but the vertical blinds were so garish and hiding the beautiful re-finished original windows, so I needed a fast and super cheap solution.  This may not be the final look ultimately, but speaks to how easy it is to change the feel of a room.  The original window treatments before were assisting in quashing my ability to look beyond the dingy old feeling of the space as a whole. The gauzy white curtains ($10 per set) and simple black rods ($8 per set), once installed, were all that was needed to really help me re-think the space and open up my continued and evolving inspiration for this room. 

I hope this helps you re-think the importance of your windows in your overall design and how much it can further inspire your creativity when making a space your own.  I promise to post my final pics of both rooms when all the construction in the house is finished. Until then....

Have a wonderful and inspired day!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Time to Create

I have been very inspired lately, which is a wonderful thing!  However, my business has been keeping me so busy (a very good thing too!) that the opportunities to delve into producing new designs and invest that level of attention and time has been diminishing greatly especially since we are still in the midst of construction in our home.  Because of this, I have decided to thin out my store a bit and limit my stock availability for a month while I create.  What I have realized from this incredible increase in business, is that I burn out very quickly when I don't make time for inspired creation. It begins to show in my work and my attitude towards the business side.  I love what I do and I love the business, but like a marriage, I need to work at it and keep falling in love with it, or it starts to becomes almost a burden touched with resentment- I don't ever want to feel that way about something I am so passionate about.

For the next 2 days I will have a store-wide sale of 30% the entire purchase. This is a huge sale, so if there were pieces you have been keeping an eye on, this is the time to buy.  I will not be re-listing anything until February, and some items will not be returning, so I encourage everyone to take this opportunity to check the store out. Make sure to go to my facebook page and grab the 30% off coupon code for the 2 day sale.

I look forward to being able to share with all of you the new designs that I have been working on.  I hope you will be inspired right along with me.

Have a wonderfully inspired day!


Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy 2012!

Starting today, Pride and Prejudice ornaments in sets of 3 are on sale for 10% off!  This is a great time to buy for next year, especially if you have them in mind for gifts, or wanted a few more for your own tree.  Other items will be added to the sale for the month of January. Just click over to my sale section in my store.

As I am working on my new studio, I am getting little bits of revived inspiration, and I look forward to sharing how the studio is progressing.  I also have been having fun on pinterest for studio design inspiration...if you have ideas too, I would LOVE to see them!  I have to keep this short today, but more to follow tomorrow :) 

Happy New Year!