Thursday, January 31, 2013

Just a Lil' Ol' Announcement That's Kind-of a Big Deal

Have I thanked you all lately for reading this blog?  Because if I haven't, I want to say again--thank you!  

Because, due to your coming back on a regular basis to see what in the world this girl is up to now, I get to keep doing this.  And sometimes I even get the attention of a publication and they decide to feature something I've done.

This time it's the February/March issue of Cottages and Bungalows.  

Apparently, they liked my guest room makeover enough to share it.  And I have to say, it's really exciting for me.  There's just something "EEEK!" about seeing your name in print, like some important person.  (Let's just keep it on the down-low that I'm winging it over here, okay please?  Thanks!)  

So, if you happen to be in the dentist office or in the magazine aisle and you see this issue, check me out on pages 72 and 73.  And then tell whoever's beside you, "Hey, I know this girl.  She's a friend of mine."  

Because we totally are.  Thanks, again, friends!


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Valentine Kitchen Décor {2013}

So, if I'd like to pretend my Valentine cafe shelves from this year were out of a scene from Downton Abbey, I'll have to be honest with myself and say the kitchen décor turned out more like a kissing booth at the county fair.  Don't ask me how these things happen.  I'm inspired by all kinds of crazy.  And I like to keep my family guessing.  The good news is, they like it that way.

I hope you are taking the time to add a little love to your décor for your family at Valentine's Day.  Don't forget, it doesn't take a lot of talent or moolah to make it special for them.  

And I know I keep saying this, but this is another one of my easiest chalkboards ever... You really should try this!

And even if chalkboard typography doesn't float your boat like it does mine lately, a sweet simple message speaks volumes.

And a few candies and cookies put out for display is just plain fun as well.

I made the fan flare garland and big picks with the same method I used here.

 And most of the other items are just things I pulled together from around the house.

I hope this inspires you do to spread a little love around your home for your family this Valentine's season!  Remember:  it's the little things!

Sharing this with a few of these parties!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Edie's Heart of Hospitality

One of my favorite things about the internet, social media, and blogging is that they allow us to connect with people we knew way-back-when and see who they turned out to be.  

We see the product of the life choices they've made, who their family is, and even what they ate for lunch today.  Sometimes it's  more information than we really cared to know, but sometimes, we're influenced by them.  We see that, through the years, life may have pulled and picked and stretched them thin, but they have emerged with a story to tell.  Of God's grace and mercy and unfailing love.  And they make us want to hear more of it.

I have several friends that fall into this category.  And one of them is Edie.  You know her from Life in Grace.  I knew her before the internet was invented.  We went to church together waaay back when, and then we lost contact for many years, only to be reconnected once again through blogging.  And what a fabulous blogger she is.  She writes from the heart and her words so connect you to her that you feel like you've made a new friend.  

And now she's giving us even more of herself through her new ebook, 31 Days to a Heart of Hospitality.  

I was honored to be one of the first people to read it and, just as I suspected, it's a treasure. 

First of all, it's a subject that every. woman. every. where. needs to know more about.  And lest you think this is all about one more blogger trying to twist your arm into letting people into your home and teaching you how to be the perfect hostess--it goes much deeper than that.

This is a really great book, packed with practical instruction from a fun Southern girl who really knows her stuff.  

Edie and I just live a few towns apart from one another and the last time she came to my house for lunch with my best friend, Denise, and I, we did what Southern women do best--we laughed and ate and chatted and then ate some more.  That was just a few short months before Edie's house burned to the ground along with all her material possessions. When that happened, I asked you all to pray for them, and even then, I knew Edie would use the experience to let God work in her and that she would influence us all with who she would become as a result.

And with her blog and now her new ebook, she has done just that.  Buy this book, friends.  It'll cost you less than a Venti Mocha Frappuccino and benefit you way more.  It will encourage you, inspire you, and make you want to buy expensive jeans and thrift store glassware.  

Plus, you'll get Edie's recipe for her Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies thrown in as well.  There are a few of you that didn't hear a word I said until that last part, but even still---buy it!

Edie, we thank you!  Keep on living it up and keep on writing it down.  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Downton Abbey Inspired Valentine Vignette {and More Free Printables!}

For my cafe shelves this Valentine's Day, I was going for classic romance.  Sparkling crystal, gilded accents, and a just a hint of English aristocracy.  And when it was all done, I realized what I had wanted was Downton Abbey.  

Tea and cookies, anyone?

And I realize this might be very American of me, but I also have some free Valentine printables  for you, if you are so inclined.  

Download the small ones here.

And download the large heart here.

Use these to make little buntings...

Or for adding a sweet message to your Valentine treats...

Lady Violet is my favorite.  Who's yours?

Linking with a few of these fine sites.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Grant's Super 16 Superhero Birthday Party {With Free Printables!}

It's kind of a big deal, turning 16.  So, I knew we needed to throw a big party.  And since Grant has always been a little crazy about superheroes, I knew what I had to do.  I know many of you have little boys {or big boys} who also dream of saving the world while wearing a mask and cape, so I'm sharing our day with you...

One of the great things about a classic superhero party theme is that you can start with some basic primary colors and shapes just run with them.  

City skylines and black and white polka dots are great foundational elements for a superhero feel, so that was the look for the party table.  A couple of blue plastic table cloths with a makeshift table runner made from wrapping paper worked perfectly as a cheap and easy table cover.

And a few boxes covered in black tissue paper and yellow card stock made a great city skyline to hold the cupcakes.

We had a super-simple menu of hot dogs and chips, and a little 'Pop' 'Bam' 'Boom' added some wow factor to the condiments.

Once again, my cafe shelves came in very handy for theme decorating.  I made another of my easiest chalkboards ever in my old red frame.  

And the same red lantern I used on the Christmas shelves fit in just right here as well.  

I made Grant's name on a skyline from black paper with painted-on windows which held the glittered paper letters clipped on with clothes pins.  {Get this glittered paper from Hobby Lobby for only $1 on sale weeks!}

Here's the rear view...

The party favors for each guest were superhero cookies cut from Williams-Sonoma Marvel Comics cookie cutters. (UPDATE:  Williams-Sonoma is no longer selling these, but for those of you who have asked, I did find them for you here with free shipping!)

 We also had a city skyline photo backdrop made from black foam board with painted windows.  Here's a great option for a city backdrop if you'd rather just buy one!

When guests arrived, they chose a mask of their favorite superhero.  Purchase the download for the masks here.

My husband made us some laminated speech bubbles so we could all use a dry erase marker to write our own messages.  This dry-erase contact paper applied to cardboard would work great as well!

We had a lot of fun with that!

It turned out to be a super night for Grant and all his friends.  And, obviously, it was pretty fun for me, too.

If you're planning a superhero party anytime soon, feel free to download my printables. 

Click here to download the cupcake circles. (Use a 2-inch punch to get a perfect cut.)

And click here to find the Pop Bam Pow in various sizes along with other great stuff.