Teacher Christmas Gift-Hot Cocoa Theme

Being pregnant and sick and tired, I just didn’t have it in me this year to get crazy creative with my daughters preschool teachers gift.  A quick run to World Market for some goodies to make a Hot Cocoa cup was just what I needed to dazzle up my gift card gifts. You can see how I’ve dazzled up a gift card for past teachers {HERE & HERE}.  All you need is a giant mug…because really…who wants a puny cup of hot cocoa?!?!  Not I.  Hot cocoa mix, a yummy treat, mini jar to hold some marshmallows, gift card and BAM…you have an amazing gift.  I also use Printables a lot, that I save on a Pinterest board when I find cute ones.  Then, I have great gift tags when I need them in a pinch.  This adorable little darling I found on Smitten Blog Designs.  Thank the stars for talented and giving graphic designers and their free Printables!  Boy do they make you look good in a pinch.

Jennifer Bishop Design| Hot Cocoa Teacher Gift

Jennifer Bishop Design| Hot Cocoa Teacher Gift

 

Halloween Decor

I haven’t shown you much of my apartment.  Primarily…because it’s a disaster zone almost 24-7.  But I’m OK showing you glimpses of the clean parts once in awhile!  My daughter kept telling me she wanted Halloween decorations up.  I don’t normally decorate for Halloween and didn’t have much in the way of typical Halloween decor.  Then one day, I was on Facebook, and a post came up from one of my Friend’s Leslie Nash whom I like to call the Master Crafter.  She had posted this artwork that she had designed and it was so funny to me!  Running a business and raising a small child…I definitely feel like I’m living in an insane asylum many days!  I immediately contacted her and wanted to know how I could get my own poster and also how she went about making the embroidery hoop prints.  The best part is that she has this print in her ETSY shop so if you’d like one customized for your own family just contact her.

The embroidery hoops were also such a cute idea.  I’ve never used this technique before but the image is actually printed right onto the fabric. I won’t go into too much detail but I will share with you the sources and directions for this project if you’d like to try it yourself.

Clipart Source: The Graphics
Embroidery  Hoop Directions: The Graphics Fairy
Label Printing Method: My Re-Purposed Life
Tip– I used Linen Fabric to make my hoops

 

So here are the results after I used Leslie’s Artwork, made my own hoops and added a few other items including a photo of my daughter on her first Halloween!

And speaking of my daughter, do you think she was happy with our Halloween decor…of course not!  4 years olds have such a mind of their own.  I asked her what she was envisioning and she said  “you know…the stickers.”  Come to find out she wanted the Halloween decals you stick on the windows =)  So off Mommy went to Target to hunt down some decor for my Bean to set up her own decorations.  I think she did a pretty great job!

 

Should You Paint Your Oak Cabinets?

I wanted to use this kitchen re-furbish as a teaching lesson as much as I just want to share with you the beautiful outcome!

Contractor- On Time Builders Materials Supply-Ashley Interiors

Many times, I get clients wanting to do partial kitchen and bath remodels.  Meaning they want to keep existing cabinets and just do flooring and countertops.  Or keep floors and just do floors and cabinets.  My advice DON’T!  In the beginning of my career, I let clients do this over and over again and the results always looked like something was still old.  I have seen instances where the room turned out OK but many times…it doesn’t.  I always suggest people either wait until they have the budget to remodel right or go simple with their new selections. If you try and make something older looking newer (like installing modern glass mosaics in a kitchen with honey oak cabinets) it will just look off.   The alternative to replacing an entire set of oak cabinets is to paint them. It can make a tremendous difference in the result.  And you aren’t doing this to necessarily save money, you are doing this for the good of your design!  A good painter won’t be inexpensive but this is one area you don’t want to skimp.

Luckily these clients were on board with painting the cabinets from the get go but they did want to keep their existing floor tiles.  You’ll see whey I really pushed them to replace it later in this post.

The style of this home overall is traditional.  The goal was to keep it traditional yet modern.

Cabinet Paint:: Benjamin Moore OC-38 Arcadia White
Granite:: Santa Cecelia

I get apprehension from some clients about subway tile.  Of course it is not for everyone but if you are open to it, your kitchen will stay classic rather than be dated 7 years down the road by installing the latest fad.  I love subway tiles and their are so many options as far as colors and textures that there really is a right option to fit any style of decor.  They are also the perfect contrast to a busier granite.  It is imperative to use a tile with your granite that will not compete against it.  If you are a granite lover, let it shine and be the star of the show.  Otherwise your eye will be overloaded and not have anywhere to focus in the room.

The floor tiles are a porcelain limestone look so they will be easy to maintain…no sealing.  The offset rectangular pattern modernized the stone look. Another way we blended some modern into the traditional was with the chandelier in the eating area.  Drum shades always add a modern touch to a chandelier.

Woven wood shades added texture to the space as well as brought in some contrast to an otherwise light space.  I like how they balanced out the darkness from the homeowners existing wooden hutch on the opposite side of the room,

Both the floor and the granite had a slight green undertone to it so I we selected a that tone of beige for the paint.  The wall in this image looks a little off but in person it really looks great.  It’s Sherwin Williams Ecru 6135.

And now…get ready….for the before shots. Quite a transformation wouldn’t you agree?

And remember when I talked about how originally the homeowners wanted to keep the existing tile?  Well, here it was.  12×12 ceramic beige tiles.  The first and foremost reason I stressed we needed to change it was that it had a pink undertone to it and all of the granites we were interested in were in the gold/green family.  By far, the number one mistake I see being made in homes, is people not understanding the undertones in beige.  The second reason I suggested the tile be changed was that is was a 12×12 in a fairly large kitchen.  It was really too small and busy for  the scale of the space.  In the end the homeowners agreed and were so happy they made room in the budget to allow for a new floor.  I cannot imagine this tile with the rest of that new beautiful kitchen!

And one after again so I don’t leave you with pink tile!

A Bold Stripe For a Bold Girl

It’s totally different designing a nursery than a children’s room.  When you design for an unborn child, you design more for the parents.  When you design for a child, you get to take their personalities and interests in mind.  My BOLD-LIL-BEAN loves flowers and blue…well at least the week I started working on her big girl room.  So when I found the Marimekko fabric to wrap an existing canvas painting I no longer liked, I knew it was perfect to update her space.  Besides the fun floral, I love the wide stripes on it and knew it was a perfect way to incorporate elsewhere like her drapes.  I ordered a few different swatches of black and white stripes.  The striped pattern actually runs vertically off the bolt but I really wanted to run hers horizontal instead.

After hanging three options of wide stripes up, ultimately, I decided to go with the widest for the biggest impact. Sydney agreed although she was busy wearing her life vest and reading her potty training book so I’m not really sure if she put her all into that decision.  Oh to be young! The pattern is a 3″ stripe called — Vertical from Premier Prints.  I love it and can’t wait to get it ordered and sew in some blackout lining.  I’m praying that a darker room that my kids may be tricked into taking some naps again!!!  A Mother can dream at least…

The other two patterns can be found {HERE} & {HERE} at Warehouse Fabrics online.

Baby Shower:Winnie UN-Pooh

I thought my baby shower designing was over for friends after I finished by BFF Jennifer Skog’s baby shower.  But NO…the baby’s keep coming! This time it was for my Sister in Law Teri and my soon to be nephew.  With a large guest list the parties got split and I, along with the soon to be Grandmas (my Mom Lauren and Teri’s Mom Donna) got to work.  My sister in law is AWESOME, I’m very lucky to have her and I’m not just saying this because she lets me do whatever I want to her house and her parties =)  She always tells me “I trust you”.  ACK how nerve racking to live up to that and not disappoint? But, I always seem to make her happy and that makes me happy!

Her only request was that she did NOT want a Winnie the Pooh shower.  But, she wanted Winnie the Pooh.  Huh…scratching head?  I took this as she did not want a Pooh explosion or your typical Pooh themed party materials…fine by me!  My Pooh skills were a bit rusty being in my almost mid thirties.  Did I really just say that?  After some quick research (how did I ever survive before Google?) I remembered that Pooh and his buds lived in the “100 Acre Woods“.  There was my ticket.  I could focus on creating a beautiful woodsy theme and just splash Pooh and the gang while using references like honey.  That is why I entitled this post Winnie UN Pooh. Because the Pooh is scarce.

I really didn’t want to use any cartoon Poohs so that made splashing him in a challenge.  I found a terra cotta Pooh statue on eBay and I knew that it would be an awesome focal point for my room.  What I did not want to be a focal point in the room, was the ugly conference room white board stuck on the wall. So I used a fabric wrapped canvas to hide the eye-sore.  A tree branch I drug home from the creek by my house (with a toddler and dog in tow…boy was I a sight for my neighbors) and a chalkboard sign were just the right additions to setting my theme.

 

Tree stumps and wooden discs were used throughout the shower.  They were the perfect way to layer my tables.  For another layering tool I used some book boxes I found at Ross. They were originally in a Paris theme but I recovered them with fabric and made faux leather book spines.  I then added various Winnie the Pooh book names that I made on the computer and topped them off with metal label holders with brads.  This was one of my favorite details of this shower.  And let’s talk about these adorable cakes.  I found this Beehive cake idea from Martha Stewart and knew it was just perfect!  Janice (Teri’s Aunt) so graciously donated her skills to make this happen.  They turned out so great.

I stenciled a Winnie the Pooh quote on the dessert table runner.  I really feel like every Mother feels this way toward their children.  It read…

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Our guests took home honey jars as their party favor.  The labels read “Thanks from the Mama-to-bee”.  Again I didn’t want to use typical Pooh cartoon characters in the shower so I found coloring book drawings and printed them onto weathered paper to use on signs throughout the shower.  The huge tree trunk still had live moss on it. I was ECSTATIC when my Aunt and Mom brought this home from a trip to my Dad’s.  Yes, I was flipping my lid over a Mossy tree stump….what can I say…it’s the little things for me.  I kept paying visits to it in the garage to check that the moss would last until show time and it DID!

I used a grouping of three wooden place mats as the runner down each table setting.  I alternated napkins under each plate.  One was a solid turquoise with a gold beaded trim and the other, a buttery yellow with s subtle white contemporary pattern.  Chalkboard name cards with feathers and raffia trails sat on each plate.  Accessories like birdcages, snails and tin buckets filled with evergreens helped in aiding my woodsy feel.

 

For food we wanted to keep it simple.  Since we were attending this party we had a lot to do for set up and keeping the menu manageable meant more fun during the shower for us!  But, just because the food is simple does not mean it needs to look like you didn’t slave over it.   We bought rotisserie chickens and mango sausages from Costco that we used as our main course.  Accompanied by spinach salad (a family recipe), fruit kabobs, fresh corn salad, salt and pepper potato chips and biscuits with honey butter.  It was delicious, looked great and gave our shower a sort of down home woodsy feel.  Our guests did not go home hungry!  The turquoise fabric was made into a runner and is what I used to create my color palette for the shower. Turquoise, gold, brown, black and kelly green.

Our beverage station held sweet tea, water with cucumber and wine for guest to help themselves to.

We had all the guests address their own envelopes for the busy Mama to use for her Thank you cards.

We had such a great time and I was so happy to see how this design turned out.  Big thanks to my worker bee Grandmas, Jennifer Skog, Janice Williams for our adorable cakes and Lori and Eddie our laborers during set up and cleanup.

Left to Right: Me – Mama To Be Teri – Lauren (My Mom and now Grandma of 2)

And last but not least…you’re never too old to get kisses from your Mommy =)

Teri and her Mom Donna.

CREDITS:

Photography | Jennifer Skog Photography

Venue | Residence Inn Livermore, CA

Rentals | Stuart Party Rentals

Florals | Jennifer Bishop Design

Cakes | Family Member-Janice Williams

Mama’s Makeup | Lindsay Skog of Pretty Me Chic

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