"Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will."
George Bernard Shaw

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Not Far From Friday

HAH! You didn't think I could do it did you? Post on the same week day two weeks in a row? It should be noted I also posted on Sunday. :) I'm getting the hang of this!

Today, I would like to talk about Paisley. This kind:
Pretty pink/brown/green paisley
Not this kind: 
Brad Paisley. I do love him too. I just don't want to decorate a room around him.
I think Paisley is one of the most beautiful patterns ever created. And it turns out it's been around for a long time: 

"There are many theories about the boteh or pine motif; Paisley Museum's explanation seems perhaps the most logical. The pattern can be traced back to ancient Babylon, where a tear-drop shape was used as a symbol to represent the growing shoot of a date palm. The palm provided food, drink, clothing (woven fibers) and shelter, and so became regarded as the ‘Tree of Life', with its growing shoot being gradually recognized as a fertility symbol." (For a more full history of how it started and evolved first in fashion--centuries ago!--visit this very informative site)

My favorite paisley has lots of pink and corals, bright green and blacks or browns like the one above. I know it can become a bit juvenile, especially when you get into the brighter pinks, but it just makes me so happy to see.

A bedroom with paisley bedding as the focal point is my new obsession. Some day I will design a room around paisley bedding. But the challenge will be which COLOR paisley to choose. I've always been on that pink/brown/green kick. And then I discovered these: 
Obsessed!! I'm seeing a light grey accent wall and lots of burnt orange and light blue accents in the room. It's a tight paisley pattern but doesn't feel over-the-top with muted white and grey sheets and other bedding accessories. (Find it here at Pottery Barn)

How could you not wake up with a smile when you're sleeping on this? I love how you have to be totally committed to this color. The pattern is almost (but not totally!!) lost in this color. Such a beautiful shade of yellow too--not crayon, not butter, just right. (Find it at Pottery Barn here, but unfortunately only in twin size now)

And finally, the most shocking paisley I've ever seen (and even more shocking that I love it...)

Where are all the bright fun colors!? They grew up. And made bedding that could create such a modern bedroom, even though we've already discussed this pattern has been around for centuries. I actually like the monochromatic feel, and think you could have a very clean, simple bedroom--even with a highly patterned comforter. Find it at Restoration Hardware here.
I know I have some paisley-obsessed readers out there (it's not just me!). So what kind of paisley do you like? What do you love to see it on? 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ladies Luncheon

Today was a very fun day with (most of) the ladies from Mom's side of the family. I decided to host a "Ladies Luncheon" so we could all get together and hang out without the guys, and so everyone could see our new place. A couple people had prior engagements and weren't able to make it, and it ended up being the seven of us that took a trip in October 2006 to Amish Country in Pennsylvania for a long weekend. It was a wonderful trip. And we haven't done anything with just the women since! Here's our favorite group photo from the last trip (yes we're wearing matching shirts...) : 

And here's one from today: 

So much fun! We laughed, we cried, we planned our secret family winter project, and started talks for our next "Mothers and Daughters Gone Wild" trip. I made custom invitations for the lunch. The fronts were all different and the back had all the details for the day. Here's one: 

And then continuing the pink and black theme, I made food tags for everything! I love making these little tags. And the more I make the faster/easier it gets. 
Pink Champagne Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

I also made chicken salad, and decided to actually cook two whole chickens instead of buying prepared chicken breasts. I just don't think anything beats chicken that's cooked on the carcass in a big pot of water. I somehow had the foresight to make chicken stock as well. So now I have approximately 20+ cups of chicken stock that is cooling in the fridge so I can skim off some fat in preparation for freezing it. Killed two birds with one stone on this one (haha get it? Chickens are birds...) and now I'll have great organic chicken broth (that isn't $3+ a can) for chicken noodle soup, chicken and dumplings, etc. Not going to lie though-I cannot wait for the house to stop smelling like chicken. Here's my epic tower of chicken stock: 
I know this made me nervous, too. But don't worry, Brian was standing at the ready just to the left in case something went horribly awry. 
And finally, here's a photo of me and my mom from today. Without whom, it should be noted, this day would not have happened! My brain would have probably exploded trying to tie everything together in the last two hours before everyone arrived. Thanks Mom!! Best mom ever!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Not Far From Friday

Hi everyone! (And by everyone, I mean the potential 2.1 people who I believe are actually reading this :-P) I've decided I need to be more diligent and dedicated to my blog, and that I now have to post something at least on one same day every week. So that day will be Wednesday because I have the best chance of successfully fulfilling this goal. And my Wednesday posts will be called "Not Far From Friday," which I find to be super optimistic. 

I wanted to share a color combination I'm in love with: Red + Teal. If I had truly discovered this color combo before our wedding, our scheme may have gone a completely different direction in the color department! I made some red and teal cards a little over a month ago: 

And I talked in the description about how the colors are a modern teal and red combination. Not even a week later I got this in the mail: 

Did I feel vindicated or what!? Also, thank you to whomever anonymously subscribed me to this! I love love love it! 

Not only do the homemade donuts look delicious, the red and teal made my jaw hit the floor. So imagine my delight when I realize there is a whole story about "touches of fall decorating" featuring red and teal. 
Hello big red leaf on teal canvas.
This is where I think the BHG ladies may have taken their design meeting to happy hour...see below for further proof.
Really? Little acorn hats (okay maybe they're supposed to be daisy-esque flowers) on sticks in a blue vase?

I don't know about you, but I don't have time to glue 75 acorns onto a picture frame. Regardless, the teal and red motif is beautiful and really works for every season!

It makes me want to paint a room! Check out these Behr paint swatches: 550B-6 for teal and S-G-170 for red.

Till next time! (Which is hopefully before next Wednesday's post!)        

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

YOU Decide What I Make!

Hi Friends!

Nothing makes me realize how quickly time is passing like this blog. I'll think it's just been a day or so since the last post and before I know it it's been a week. 

A few weeks ago I found some really cute supplies. I immediately had no less than 10 random ideas for what I could do with them. I usually buy my supplies and embellishments with a specific use in mind to ensure I'm not purchasing something frivolous that I'll never actually use, so this was a little out of the ordinary for me. But once you see the inspiration for it all, I think you'll understand why I jumped in head first. Now here's the problem: I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO MAKE. I need your help. Below are the photos of the supplies. I also have TONS of stamps (check the Etsy store for examples-thank you, party invitations, "just because", friendship, etc. etc.) and other embellishments like sticker flowers and ribbon.

What you need to do: Leave me a comment below (or on the link through Facebook) with your idea(s) and I'll either pick one at random, or create the most popular idea. Once it's finished and listed on Etsy I'll let you all know and the person with the winning idea gets 20% off and free shipping if they decide to purchase! Let's begin: 

The inspiration for it all: teal, pool blue and lime green roses.

Six muted blue scalloped flat notes. (size = 5.5" square)

Six matching muted blue envelopes. (size = 5.75" square)

Various embellishments such as these blue and green pearls and gems.
SO, get those creative juices flowing! Share this post with your friends so they can join in on the fun. I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Secret Agent of Kindness

Hi Friends,

It's been a really busy week. Like usual. But this one has given me surprisingly no free time. No card making, no blogging, nothing! I do have all weekend off so I'm going to be very creatively-productive on my business hopefully. :)

So what I really wanted to share was the one thing that made me genuinely happy and smiley today. I was inspired by an article I read several weeks ago on CNN.com. This woman decided to be a "secret agent of kindness" in her spare time. She now has tons of "affiliated agents of kindness" all over the country and world. Read about her amazing story here: Agent L. I decided immediately that I could do this. I don't feel the need to become "affiliated" through her or anything, but the idea is great. And reading all the stories on her blog just makes you feel great.

We subscribe to The Daily through Crossroads. Every morning they send you a verse (or two) to read, pick it apart and then have a follow up reading if you want to read more about the topic. Yesterday's take-away was to be generous to other people. Today's was to think of a positive thought for every negative (I worked really hard on that today but I'm afraid the negative still took over :-/). So between the two days I was really feeling like it was time for me to leave my first kindness gift for someone. I was nervous about it this morning while I was writing on the card in my cube. What do you say to a potential complete stranger you will never meet? Here's the outside of my card:
Part of this is two-fold too. As you can see, I included one of my little business cards, I of course made the card, and it's stamped with my special stamp on the back. But honestly, more than getting my name out there, I really want to make someone smile. I feel like the people who will receive these will be the people who need them. So on the inside I wrote that I hoped they had a good day today. And that it was almost the weekend so they just had to get through tomorrow. And that I hoped they got a chance to enjoy the nice weather some time this weekend. Then I had to think about how to address the envelope. That was tricky, and I think I've learned some things to do differently tomorrow (Yes! I'm planning one for tomorrow too!). Here's the outside: 
It says "To: You!! (Yes, you who are reading this right now)." And then I had to think about where to put it. On Agent L's blog, people will kind of sit down somewhere, and get up and leave it and just walk away. So I decided to do that too. I had to go to Cheesecake right after work today so I didn't have time between jobs to do anything creative really. But there are benches in the mall right outside the restaurant. So I decided to leave it there. And if we got busy (ha ha I know) some people might wait out there. So I sat down on the bench and put it next to me in the corner. Now is probably the time to mention that all day today I wanted a Twix bar. I just NEEDED chocolate. And only had sixty cents in my purse. :( So no Twix for me. But at the very end of the day I remembered I had my change purse on me for work. So I went to get myself a Twix. And immediately realized I should give it to whomever received my card. *sigh* But I felt that was only right because Agent L always leaves little gifts with her cards. So here's everything ready to go on the bench next to me: 

And then I just got up and walked away! Well, practically ran. I could just see my very first time someone yelling after me, "M'am you forgot something!" hah. Not smooth. And then I realized I was just BEAMING. And my heart was racing and I was so excited. I wanted to keep peeking to see if anyone had taken it yet, but refrained. Ideally you just walk away and don't look back. So I was just so excited--and then about 10 minutes later Ryan, who works the front desk, walked over holding the card hahahahhaah. Someone had turned it in hahahahah. I honestly figured there was a really great chance that would happen. But I didn't want to leave chocolate on someone's windshield in 85 degree weather so the mall was my only option. So he said he recognized the logo (that's progress right?) and business card. And that the guy at table 111 had turned it in in case someone in the restaurant was looking for it. FAIL.

So Ryan wanted to know what to do with it. I said well, he could keep it if he wanted. Or, he could go give it back to the guy and tell him he was apparently meant to find it and should keep it. He said that another girl working at the front desk really wanted the Twix and they really liked the card. So I said well give it to her if she wants it. Maybe she's supposed to have it today. So it was nice to have some positive feedback and she was very appreciative and smiley.

So lessons learned: Hide the gift under the card addressed to a stranger. Make the "to" part big and bright so there's no mistaking that it's for the person who finds it. Leave it somewhere where you will be legitimately walking away. 

Tomorrow, I have to mail some things at the post office. That can often (okay, always) be a very stressful place, so I'm going to leave something on someone's car when I leave. I'm really excited about this one. 

I think everyone should do something like this! It's such a great thing to do. And easy. And cheap. And I really do believe that the people who are meant to find these things will. So when I put something out there in the universe, it will connect with the person that will get the most out of it on that particular day. 

I hope you all have had wonderful, stress-free days and that you have great plans for the weekend! To leave you for this evening, here's Phineas, who has been extremely jealous since Vivienne's blog debut a couple posts ago: 



Friday, September 3, 2010

First Sale: Thank You NY!

Hi everyone! It's only been a few days but a lot has happened. 

1) One of my bestest friends and roomies got ENGAGED!
Claire, Crash and I had champagne with cranberry juice in celebration before dinner earlier this week. Such a fun time catching up! (Note: Crash you look amazing so I don't want to hear anything about this pic!)
2)My business cards arrived today! They said from the start that they would be delivered today, but I've tracked these things multiple times a day, every day since I ordered them a week ago. Obsessive (I agree). Check out these little guys!

I mean how cute are these boxes? They say, "Open them, Quick!" at the bottom.
Look at these all pretty and fanned out. This is obviously the image/"portfolio" side of the cards.

The front!

We have taken some pretty nice photos with our new camera, and when I ordered these there was not quite enough of my cards to put on them yet. So here's a photo of an old, pretty bridge we saw on a bike trail over our anniversary weekend in Northern Ohio. 

Here's a sample of a card on the back of one of my business cards. There's almost 50 different photos. And you can upload up to 100

3)And last but certainly not least: I sold my first card!!!! TO SOMEONE I DON'T KNOW. Who lives in NY. I was floored! This is the conversation I had with Brian when I called to tell him: 
Me: "I really was starting to think that eventually my family and friends would start to feel sorry for me and buy a card or something."
Brian: "Well I was going to give it at least a couple more weeks before I started buying things and shipping them to an anonymous address."

But seriously, the gentleman who bought the card (a Cynical Sentiments card, btw) is a saint. I have ZERO feedback on my shop and have been open for about 2-3 weeks. He has a lot of faith and trust, which I appreciate. Now fingers crossed the card gets there soon and in once piece and that he and the recipient love it. 

Back to Brian: What a supportive husband I have. And really, support is keeping me afloat right now. I'm a very confident person, but I also like to do things 110% and go way above and beyond most of the time. Which means I'm pouring everything I have into this business right now without any idea if I'll ever see a return on it, and let me tell you: that is a really scary thing for me. Probably once (okay more like 5) times a day I ask Brian, "What happens if nobody ever buys anything?" and he tells me that's ridiculous and unproductive to think that way. 

So help me spread the word! If handmade cards and paper crafts aren't your thing--pass along my information to someone who might take an interest in my business. I have a Facebook page that I would love for you to be a part of as well. Thanks for your support and encouragement and I hope to hear from you soon. 

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