Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A black and white themed bridal shower

My best friend's wedding is fast approaching (December 1st! SO soon!), and as maid of honor, one of my duties was to throw the bride-to-be a shower.  Well, that shower happened the weekend before last, and it was a great success if I do say so myself! 

Megan's wedding colors are black, white, and light yellow, and so I stuck with those colors as a theme for the shower. Pinterest was a huge source of inspiration because, frankly, I have zero vision of my own when it comes to these things and, also frankly, I was shocked that everything came together as splendidly as it did in the end. Here are some photos from the day!

these salted caramel macarons from La Boîte here in Austin were a big hit!

gorg cake by the bride's sister

made the cupcakes myself, thank you very much! cupcake liners from Sur La Table.

by Martha Stewart Crafts, from Micahael's

wrapped clear tea lights with washi tape

for party favors, guests were given cute bags to fill up with goodies from the food table 

beautiful bride :)

Hope you enjoyed your peek into the shower! Happy Wednesday... (and incidentally, Happy Halloween!)

Happy Halloween!!

I am sure you all have some fun Halloween activities planned. We'll be taking both kids out trick-or-treating this year.  Jett has been talking about this day for weeks! 

This year my kids are going as farm animals. 

Jane is our little chicken. I made her costume by modifying this Martha Stewart tutorial. I just glued a feather boa straight onto one of her onsies. 

I think she looks pretty dang cute. 

Jett is a little sheep this year. 

(yes he has mismatched socks. that is a common occurrence in our household)

I sort of used this tutorial to make this costume but I changed a lot of things. I just bought a black hoodie and black leggings at Wal-Mart. I then hot glued quilting batting all over the hoodie except for the arms. I also hot glued some felt ears on the top. 

Have a great time trick-or-treating! I know we will. 

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Make sure your gifts are on the use, enjoy and special list

When we moved almost a year ago I was frankly staggered by the amount of stuff we had.
Moving is a great opportunity to re-evaluate your possessions, see which ones you use, enjoy and have real meaning, and simply get let go of the rest.  

I realised there is very little more than I really need. Sure I would love to swap out some existing furniture for new that will suit this house better, but those are big ticket items I will need to choose and buy myself.
That got me thinking about this Xmas, I want to give my dear ones things that are on their use, enjoy and special list.  I don't want to give things that will go into cupboards and never be used. Sometimes you find something you know someone will love, but usually choosing is so difficult.  
This is when I had my clever idea, how about making a family Xmas 2012 board on Pinterest and getting everybody to pin what they would like.  What do you think?  Want to do one too?  

  • Add a board on your Pinterest, invite your family so that they can pin on it too, and let the fun begin.
  • Make sure to add your name when you pin so people know who wants what.  
  • Family who don't pin can probably get somebody to create a pin for them.  
  • Add something you think somebody else will like and ask for comments.  
  • People can join together to gift more expensive items.

I am excited to see what everybody puts on already already.  For myself I am thinking luxury consumables, hmm...  
    - I would love to replace items like old, tired towels and pillowcases, and old unmatched coffee cups.  
    - I would love Grown hand wash in every bathroom
    - a few bottles of Moet to put on ice
    - a gorgeous bunch of peonies

Here is a sneak peek at my board so far, click on the image to see more.  

Organising the gift list
The last few years the Voice of Reason and I have bought our gifts from each other ourselves, BUT kept it a surprise.  So when I opened my present on Xmas morning I knew what it was, but he didn't, and vice versa.  It worked pretty well but this year I found something I think he is going to love.  

Miss E's favourite present of both Xmas and birthdays is the parcel of many little things that my mom and family send from Cape Town.  Its always a selection of bits and pieces that they have found during the year and its always the highlight.  She loves the parcel arriving, she loves all the little things wrapped inside, its like a Santa sack all of her very own. 

In some families the tradition is that each adult buys for just one other family member, randomly chosen out of a hat.  This way you can spend a little more and get something a little bit special, or spend time creating a special gift pack.   I like this idea myself, especially when the family is large like ours and trying to buy gifts for all ends up really expensive.  I have yet to convince my family this is a good idea.

Others have a $15 limit for store bought gifts, keeping the focus on the sentiment of gift giving.  
Last year I came across a family giving only luxury food and wine for the pantry, to be enjoyed with friends and family another day.
Each family seems to find its own way.

How do you organise presents?  Any good tips to share?

Tips For Designing Bookshelves

As you might remember my family had new family pictures taken in July by Justin Hackworth. My parents got our family picture framed and put above their mantel. Once it was up there they started to realize how outdated their current bookshelf decor was.

Here is a picture of their mantle and built-ins from a few weeks ago.

They had a lot of really random things on the shelves. 

I think they had just put stuff up just to fill spaces but there was really no rhyme or reason to how it was designed. 

And yes, that is faux Ivy you see up there. (gasp!) 

Just a bunch of "stuff": random jar of potpourri, a bust of Abraham Lincoln, a large jar covering up something else? Like I said no rhyme or reason to the design. 

My Dad enlisted my help to freshen the shelves up so I got to work! 

I was given a budget of $300 to fill the shelves back up. 

Here is the after:

I kept repeating the mantra "less is more" as I redesigned the shelves. I pulled off almost every knick-knack and tchotchke off the shelves and only left what I really loved or would work well in the space. I also used a lot of white and creams to enable the items to "pop" more off the shelves. 

Almost all of the frames and accessories were purchased at Target. 

I love the Target frames with the large white mats. They really help keep pictures from just blending in with all that dark wood. 

I used green as a my main accent color. 


Notice that there isn't any clutter. When you have so many shelves it's easy for things to get easily lost. Especially the items that are up high. I kept everything simple and clean. 

Here are some of my tips when designing shelves.

1. Remember the mantra, less is more. If you don't love it then you don't need it. 

2. Don't buy random suveniors when you are on vacation. My mom had picked up seashells, mini terra-cotta warriors, wooden boats, wooden animals, ceramic sculptures and other tchotchkes from all her travels. While I don't think you need to totally ban all souvenir buying I would say think carefully about what you are buying. I think some of the best souvenirs are just beautifully framed photographs from your trips. 

3. Put bigger items up higher. Small items can get lost easily when you put them too high up. Move your smaller items to the lower shelves and your bigger items up high. 

4. Stay away from faux Ivy. No explanation needed. 

5. Pick accessories that "pop". My parents have dark cabinetry so I wanted to pick a lot of lighter items to create contrast and make the accessories noticeable. 

6. Leave negative space. Not every shelf needs a million things on it. Sometimes one single item stands much better on it's own. 

If your shelves are feeling cluttered to yourself a favor. Take everything off and start from scratch. A few new accessories can go along way! 

Monday, 29 October 2012

West Elm Salt Lake

I know it's old news by now but West Elm has FINALLY come to Utah!! I can't tell you how happy I am. I order from West Elm all the time so it's going to be so nice now that I can just walk right in the store and check stuff out in person. 

I was invited to tour the store before it opened and it was such a treat. 

I am obsessed with these paperwhites made from paper! I am totally getting some to decorate for Christmas. 

This art installation is insane! 

The Salt Lake City store is also the very first to sell products by local Etsy artists. 

There was a killer party that night that I attended with my friends Lisa and Erin. 

If you are looking for a good laugh check out these awesome pictures. 

I call this one "laughing so hard I might pee my pants". 

And this one, "oh crap I laughed so hard I did pee my pants". 

And this one is called, "Erin is laughing her head off. Literally." 

Needless to say we had a blast. 

Speaking of West Elm. Have you hard of the new West Elm Market

West Elm is going to start carrying items in four areas: Kitchen, Garden, Care & Repair and Personal Care.  The first store, West Elm Market Brooklyn, will open October 25th. The store is going to include a café and a common area for community workshops which will be hosted by Skillshare. Eight Market shop-in-shops will open in West Elm stores in Costa Mesa, Dallas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Nashville, New York City, Seattle and Toronto this November. 

You can check out the products online here. Here are a few of my favorite items from the new Market. 

Check out all the new West Elm Market items here