When inspiration strikes

It’s difficult to predict where inspiration will invade. And honestly, I’ve always believed it is less about the source and more about being receptive to the influence. This week I have found inspiration in two, rather traditional, places.

While browsing the new bookshelves at my neighborhood library, I picked up the book Young House Love by Sherry & John Petersik. Beautiful, full color photos with clear directions for turning your house into a home. The projects are often inexpensive and easy yet look finished and chic. Truth be told, this book looks like my DIY board on Pinterest but there is always something better about having a book to reference (that is probably just my inner librarian trying to break out of this new mold I have stuffed her in). There are several projects I am itching to try!

But first…

I need to get organized! Last year we donated an incredible amount of clothing, furniture, and other household miscellany. It was liberating and at the time it felt massive. Six months later it feels like more could be done. Scratch that… MORE CAN BE DONE! As I begin the second year of trying out this stay-at-home-mom thing, I feel crushed by my home and all the stuff in it. It is also time to take a look at what my future might be and let go of the things I think need to be kept for that uncertainty? eventuality?

31daysbutton2

While cruising Pinterest this morning I happened upon a blog with 31 days worth of posts to help get organized. It is probably the most practical organizing blog I have come across (and trust me I’ve read a bunch of ’em). The suggestions are not only practical but cost efficient and look great, not cheap which is exactly the direction I am hoping to head. A few of the posts helped me to rethink my hoarding tendencies and what I’m teaching lil’ A about the accumulation of stuff.

With this guide I feel confident I can begin to make our home more of a useful, comfortable place and then feel ready to tackle to room by room decorating that I’ve been dreaming about.

Roaring ’20s Inspiration

Saturday we are heading to a 1920s themed murder mystery party. I am beyond excited to get all dressed up and play pretend for a little while. Of course like the good little obsessive-compulsive that I am, there has been plenty of research!

1920s evening dress by Coco Chanel

1920s evening dress by Coco Chanel

Since I’m pretty confident The Met isn’t going to loan me the above gem, I need to get creative to find the best ensamble possible! The character assignment I received suggested to dress as a flamboyant flapper so I’ve decided to make a simple flapper style dress. My hope is to find fabric and embellishments that give the dress lots of flare.

Flapper dress pattern inspiration

Flapper dress pattern inspiration

This basic style will serve as my template. I’m hoping to find blue and sparkly fabric to work my magic. I’ve never made a piece for me to wear so I’m a touch nervous but it can’t be too difficult to make a boxy dress with an uneven hemline, right? The drop waist and headpiece will either be black or silver depending on the fabric I find.

I am convinced that this outfit will be made in the styling… hair, make-up, and accessories.

Classic finger waves with headpiece

Classic finger waves with headpiece

Bold eye makeup

Bold eye makeup

Red lips and pearls

Red lips and pearls

Half-moon manicure

Half-moon manicure

Today lil’ A and I hit Target and the Goodwill where I made a few purchases to get started.

T-strap heels, fishnet stockings, and three long strands of pearls

T-strap heels, fishnet stockings, and three long strands of pearls

I would love to find arm length gloves but that might be more of a challenge this time of year. Tomorrow I plan to hit the fabric store and a second Goodwill (still piecing together K’s costume as well). More to come!

Bring on Fall!

I love Fall. It has always been my favorite season. The crisp, cool air. Sweaters and scarves and boots. Pumpkins and leaves and Football. Now that the College Football season is in full swing, I am desperately ready to transition my wardrobe. I just wish Mother Nature would cooperate.

We have been experiencing temperatures in the 80s since March – very unusual for Central Ohio. At first, this was great! I was newly minted as a SAHM and it allowed us more options for fun outside of the house. However, the seasons have felt like one long summer what with a warm winter and no spring at all. I have 80 degree weather fatigue. Seems strange to say because when we are in the thick of the snowy season, I am craving the warmth. Part of the beauty of living in Ohio is the changing seasons.

The mornings have been cooler. A small taste of Fall. By noon it’s back to the 80s and a shedding of a layer. So I am going to try my hand at that whole Positive Thinking thing again and THINK FALL!

Game Day Fashion!
I’m from Ohio. Football is serious business here. I grew up in Canton, Ohio, Home of the ProFootball Hall of Fame. I remember attending football games at Fawcett Stadium before I even started school. It’s what we do. You root for 2 teams… Ohio State and whoever is playing Michigan. So when I think Fall, I immediately think of appropriate Saturday attire!

Cozy Casual
Best way to spend a Fall Friday night? With close pals around a bonfire drinking a few beers. Chunky sweaters, scarves, and boots are perfect gear for a cozy night around the fire!

Fancy Fall
There are so many beautiful clothes for Fall. Skirts and tights and belts and sweaters – all combine to create a gorgeous look. Makes me almost miss working full-time.

Fingers crossed the temperatures begin to take a turn for the cooler… 60s rather than 80s or 90s. I can’t wait to make my Fall wardrobe come alive with all the inspiration I am finding on Pinterest and in the Fall fashion issues!

 

What I wore today… {Coral and khaki}

I had an interview today for a part-time, seasonal position so I hit my style board on Pinterest for a little inspiration…

Nail polish ~ Fast Track by China Glaze & Tangerine Crush by L’Oreal
Braided belt ~ Apt. 9 from Kohl’s, Clearance
Coral ruffled blouse ~ Target
White cardigan ~ The Limited, Thrifted
Khaki pencil skirt ~ Target, Clothing swap
Black & white striped ballet flats with tan bow ~ JustFab.com
Silver drop earrings ~ Maurice’s
Assorted bangle bracelets ~ Tiffany, Forever 21, Maurice’s

The interview went well and my fingers are crossed. I like the idea of working part-time to help fill the holes in the budget yet still having time with Lil’ A during the day.

I really need to get back into the habit of blogging daily. Missing a day or several makes me sad and filled with guilt. I think I’ve been avoiding posting because I feel I should be more accountable of my fitness goals here. Maybe I’ll join Nikki in posting a Fitness Friday entry even if this was a bad week. Fortunately, I’ve simply maintained my weight loss from the last two weeks. Sigh.

Get Organized {Thinking Positive}

Getting organized has been an 11 year battle. When we got engaged in August 2000, I moved home to save money and my whole house full of stuff went into storage in my great-grandmother’s garage. A few months later, in April 2001, she passed away meaning I had until the end of May to move it all into a storage unit. Added to my possessions were some substantial pieces of furniture that K and I were inheriting and many surprises boxes. These surprise boxes were all the items that my grandmother and aunts either didn’t want or didn’t know what to do with (I just opened the last of the surprise boxes a few days ago).

When we married and finally moved in together in August 2001, we put my stuff, his stuff, my great-grandmother’s stuff, and all the wonderful gifts we received as gifts into a tiny 2 bedroom apartment on the 2nd floor. One bedroom was floor to ceiling unopened boxes. Fast forward 2 years and we move into a tiny cottage that had been his grandparent’s home for 50 years. We gained a bedroom and a sunroom and lost a bathroom. The sunroom became storage central. We were never really organized in the 3 years we lived there and unlike at the apartment, we couldn’t just shut the door to the chaos.

I had high hopes of finally getting it right when we purchased our house in 2006. This time we had 1,600 sq ft of space! No reason we couldn’t get our shit together. This time around it wasn’t space that got in our way but everything else and we let it. We closed late and moved in a week behind schedule. For some crazy reason we had agreed to host a surprise party for K’s mom now only 3 weeks from move-in day! Ack! 6 weeks after move-in we learned I was expecting Lil’ A. My pregnancy was awful and I spent all but about 4 weeks sick. Very little was accomplished during this time and really only things related to baby. Then it was baby and focusing on careers and now 6 years later I’m finally in a position to get organized.

Phew… with all that background out of the way…

Here is my first of five think positive goals

Get Organized!

I have been working on Project Basement since last week. The goal is to purge, clean, and organize. I want to be able to use this space rather than it be dedicated solely to storage. There will be 4 distinct areas… a play space for A, a sitting area with a tv that can double as sleep space for guests on the hide-a-bed, a studio/crafty space for me, and a laundry/storage space. There will also be plenty of room if K decides to move the home gym system from the garage.

Pinterest has been a huge source of inspiration! I’m almost down with the purging and cleaning stage and can’t wait to get started setting up and organizing.

Craft room inspiration!

Once Project basement is complete, I plan to finish organizing the rest of the house. The former nursery will cease being a playroom and become an actual guest room/dressing room for me. I’m excited about the ideas I have for this room!

Guest room inspiration                       LOVE these colors!

So now I have to stop thinking about how much work all this will be, how exhausted it will make me, how little help I’m getting from K, and the fact we have no money to do everything I’m dreaming.

I will think about how less stressed I will feel because the clutter and overwhelming presence of stuff will be gone, how useful this will be for my family, how much more comfortable my guests will be while visiting overnight, and how I can finally get to all the crafty projects I’ve been itching to do.

Happy thoughts!

Tomorrow… I think positive about getting paid.

Oh, baby! {A Little Golden Books themed baby shower}

I am so very excited to be an aunt again. My whole family is just tickled ‘blue’ for the arrive of my brother’s little boy. To celebrate his upcoming birth, my mom and I threw an intimate shower for the mama-to-be, Jen.

Jen, the mama-to-be

Thanks to my time spent on Pinterest, I found inspiration for a Little Golden Books themed baby shower. As kids, I remember being at the grocery store with mom and being allowed to pick out a Little Golden Book as a reward for being good. Never candy. Always books (shocking I became a librarian, huh?). We split the work load for preparing for the event… Mom was tasked with planning the menu and I created the decor and dessert.

To decorate I scoured thrift stores and resale shops for gently loved books. I bought what I could find, which at first was not exciting. I was hoping to focus on classics such as, The Pokey Little Puppy and The Saggy Baggy Elephant. I gobbled up what I could find at super cheap prices and then I hit the jackpot at Half Priced Books.

I created the party invitation in MS Word using a google image of the inside cover of a Little Golden Book then adding a textbox for the message. I converted the file first into a PDF and then into a JPEG in order to print it using Walmart’s photo center. I despise Walmart but they have the best photo printing and the prices are very good. I create a 5×7 photo card on their site and have them printed in the number needed. 1-hour and they come with envelopes!

Using foam board and one book, I created 2 birdhouses for decor. These were a lot of work and all I had to go by was a photo found on Pinterest. I’m happy with how they turned out and they were a whimsical addition to the tables.

To accompany the birdhouse, I made felt bluebird ornaments as party favors for our guests. I simply love working with felt and always joke that “whatever you can do I can do better and in felt!” The bluebirds of happiness also worked as a simple decoration across the mantle. The birds were hung using mini clothes pins to ribbon announcing”It’s a boy!”

During all my purging and cleaning over the last few months, I found a torn copy of The Little Engine That Could. Using the pages from the damaged book, I cut them into triangles and attached them to ribbon using my sewing machine. Simple and adorable. These banners added just the right touch without making the party feel overdone. I also used the same illustrations to create mini-pennants to decorate the cupcakes.

  

Fabric with the Little Golden Books logo and images from classic stories served as a table runner and colorful mini-buckets from the Target dollar spot held the utensils.

For the menu, Mom choose to offer a salad bar which was an excellent choice. A variety of greens, fresh veggies, and shrimp provided a colorful and light lunch.

Food prep took very little time and was really stress free. Everyone loved this alternative to traditional party foods. Beverages also tend to be a huge ordeal at parties so we choose to offer one option…

This punch is made from a mixture of equal parts Blue Hawaiian Punch and lemonade. Lemon slice were added for a bit more color and because lemon slices just make everything a touch more classy. It was delish and our small group went through almost 2 pitchers! I plan to try this punch again but maybe adding rum!

In my opinion, cupcakes make everything easier. Every party should have cupcakes. No cake cutting. Less mess. No special plates needed. No wait for your guests. Cupcakes make the world go round. This time it was up to me to make them. If there is one thing you should know about me, it is that I am a notoriously horrendous baker. It’s bad. Badder than bad. However, after watching the amazing Nikki make 60 cupcakes for Lil’ A’s big birthday bash, I felt brave.

Not only did my cupcakes look super cute… they were YUM YUM YUMMY! French vanilla for the win!

Lil’ A sends Baby Aiden a kiss through Jen’s belly.

It was a lovely day! Jen and Brent received some very special gifts for little Aiden to help him start his journey in this crazy world. Lil’ A couldn’t be more excited for Aiden to get here and neither can I (and neither can his mama)!