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Although sometimes sporatic I do my best you up to speed on the ever-changing world of design! Come back often to see new products, suggestions, and completed client projects.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Holiday Trees in November!

This year I have found myself in a state of holiday glee! It all started the first week in November when I participated in a holiday event and listened to holiday music to get in the mood. Well, that mood stuck so now it's not even December and my shopping is done, my gifts are wrapped, and my decorations are begging to be put up!

I was lucky enough to decorate a tree for Health East's Festival of Trees, last week at RiverCenter in Saint Paul, MN. Each year this event brings 750 people to the RiverCenter in support of the Health East Foundation which provides services to patients in need.

My tree was 7.5 feet tall and my theme was "Birds of a Feather". I used gold ball ornaments with traditional red accents. My favorite ornaments were the white owl (Target), birds nests (trade source), and cardinal globe (trade source). I was able to decorate this entire tree for $200 including the skirt!

Monday, November 15, 2010

5 Minute Holiday Craft!

This crafting process seriously only takes about 5 minutes. Believe me, you don't have to be Martha Stewart to get this one right
First, you'll need the following tools: holiday scrap booking paper (something sturdy), holiday stickers, ribbon, cutting tools, zots (adhesive glue dots - or just Elmer's glue is fine too!).

To make the process simple, I am using a circle cutting tool from Michael's. This tool is around $20.00 but wow is it worth the cost - you can cut circles anywhere from 4" to 12" in about two seconds! It is so easy to use.

The first step is to cut a circle out of your first paper - any size will do. For my larger size I used a 10" circle with a 5" circle in the center in a contrasting paper. Once you have your first circle cut then cut out your second circle and glue or "zot" your second circle onto the center of your first circle. Now punch a hole in the top of your big circle and run a ribbon through the hole to create a hanger. Now you can embellish the circle with holiday stickers or you can use glittery letters (from the craft store) to spell out holiday phrases.

Now...where do you use these? I plan to use some in the center of my wreaths - I simply hang the ornament from a nail or hook and then hang the wreath on that same hook. If you measure carefully the ornament will hang in the center of your wreath; this is a beautiful, easy decorating trick! You can also make banners as I have shown - connect your circles with ribbon. You can hang banners just about anywhere but they are very pretty by a fireplace mantel (just keep them as far as possible from flames!) or across a mirror.
This is incredibly inexpensive and you can recycle these ornaments when you are finished if you don't want to use them next year. Or, if you make smaller circles you can repurpose them as gift tags next holiday season.
So simple! So festive!

Chaos No Longer!

When it comes to the kitchen, my favorite accessory is just about anything you can put on the table: place mats, napkins, napkin rings, place card holders, runners, and table cloths! For me, these are to the kitchen what shoes are to a woman's wardrobe!
Even with the best of intentions, my linen cupboard was a disaster. Any time I needed a particular item the rest would tumble out of place and, in a rush, I would shove them back in the cupboard and shut the door. What a mess!
A few weeks ago I tackled the issue head on with a label maker and some organizational bins. My supplies were purchased at Target. I opted for Sterilite containers to hold my napkins, napkin rings, and and table runners. Each container is along labeled using my trusty label maker. For instance, one container is labeled "cloth napkins, sets of 6". I also have "sets of 4" and so on...
My napkin rings are divided depending on occasion: everyday or holiday.
If your kitchen is a mess, this is the time to tackle it! If you plan to do holiday entertaining or even holiday baking surely you will need to find things easily and quickly. No better way is this possible than through good organization!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gift Wrap Center

One of my favorite holiday tasks is gift wrapping. Amongst family and friends I am known for my gift wrapping and usually people know who the gift is from long before they look at the tag. I don't mind being known for gorgeous gifts.
I do mind, however, when my gift wrapping supplies are in disarray. Due to lack of dedicated space I tried to contain all of my supplies in an under-the-bed storage container. The main issue was that this particular container did not contain a roll of wrap - the rolls were too long! So, I kept wrapping paper in the unfinished basement, other supplies under the guest room bed, and then the tape and scissors were in the den. What a mess! Every time I had to wrap a gift I would run to five different rooms to gather my supplies. This process sucked all the fun out of wrapping gifts!
I have been on the look-out for a smart gift wrap center but had been disappointed with what I saw. I could have easily spend $600 on a high-tech gift wrap center but I didn't want to do that for a temporarily solution. So, I put on my thinking cap, went to Home Depot and came up with a peg board system.
All of my accessories like ribbon, gift tags, tape, pens, tissue paper, and gift bags are organized on my peg boards. Under the peg boards I have a 4' by 2' table that I use my work surface. On that table I have a few small baskets that hold miscellaneous ribbons and small "do-dads" or embellishments. Then next to my table I have two trash tubs - one holds my everyday gift wrap and the other holds all of my holiday gift wraps.
This whole system cost me $95 - real steal in my mind! Now sanity has returned my gift wrapping process and I couldn't be happier with that.

Wonderful crafting tool!

I am obsessed with this new crafting tool that is available through Martha Stewart Crafts. The tool is called "Punch Around the Page" and you can purchase it at Michael's for $24.99. Look for coupons though - Michael's usually has a weekly 40% off coupon and you can use it on this particular item!
Versatility is the main reason that I love this tool. I have used mine on paper to make beautiful place mats, gift tags, mailing labels, card stock, stationary, and more. You can use this for just about anything.
If you are going invest in this tool I would highly recommend a classic pattern that you can use all year. There are some cute snowflake options but it would be ridiculous to use that during the summer months! I chose a classic loop pattern for my punch and I have very happy with it!
Using this tool is so straightforward and somewhat mindless. A note though, if you have arthritic hands get someone to help you or you hands will hurt for days!
Happy Crafting to all!

Fantastic Book!

One of my favorite past times is rummaging through design books at the library. I do buy a lot of design books as well but I like to preview books first and the library is perfect for that!

A few weeks ago I stumbled across a book called Creating a Sense Sational Home by Terry Willits. I love this book and cannot say enough positive things about it!

As a designer I always try to convey to clients just how important the concept of HOME is. How important it is to raise children in a comfortable home that reflects the family and sense of togetherness. This book puts it into easy to understand, yet eloquent terms.
Terry has a unique background as well, she is an interior designer but her husband is a pastor so she does discuss religion in the home as well which I found interesting too.

There are tips and tricks throughout the book - how to change a small thing here and there to make a big difference.

I would highly recommend this book!
P.S. - Sorry for the click caption on the photo. My lack of tech-savvy is showing through! =)