what I do

what I do

Monday, November 28, 2011

Presenting a hostess gift

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to a dinner party by two of my clients. They had "won" a private dinner for six prepared by a celebrity chef at a charity auction supporting their children's school. The dinner was hosted by one of the couples but I really wanted to give them each a nice hostess gift because I was so touched that they would include my husband and I in such a special evening.

 Do you struggle like I do sometimes finding just the right gift for someone? 

I thought it was hard to find something that both couples would enjoy, not too much but just enough to show my appreciation. Until I saw these wine stoppers. I thought they would be just lovely for the holidays coming up.

I grabbed some wrapping paper that I keep on hand and some ribbon from my ribbon drawer and added a couple of inexpensive ornaments I picked up recently from Crate and Barrel. I love to tie ornaments on packages around the holidays and when I see ones that I like, I pick them up to have around when I need them. They are great to add a little extra glitter to a package or even a simple bottle of wine.

My favorite part were the tags that I downloaded from here.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year I did my baking at my moms. My oven decided to stop working the day before my daughter's baby was born. We baked the cookies for the nurses at the hospital in my neighbor's oven. This time I borrowed my mom's. I am thankful that I still have my mom. She was a great help in the kitchen cleaning up after me and keeping me company as I tried to get as much done as I could. And she didn't get made when I got flour all over the place (I am not the neatest cook!). I couldn't get everything done that I had hoped but I was grateful I was able to bake my favorite cookies. 

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving full of God's blessings. I am thankful for so many things and I pray that I will be reminded more of what I do have than what I do not. 
"Thou hast given so much to me,
       give one more thing ...
           a grateful heart;
                 not thankful when it pleaseth me,
                      as if Thy blessing had spare days,
                              but such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise."
                                                    -George Herbert

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving decor

I finished a client's Thanksgiving table tonight and in my haste completely forgot to take my camera along. I really wanted to share how it turned out so I grabbed a few photos quickly with my phone.

I started with a shopping trip to Target and HomeGoods ...

I purchased a 'hotel' crisp white tablecloth from Target and a table pad to go underneath to protect their table. The napkins I found at HomeGoods, and I picked up an assortment of candles from both stores. When I purchase candles to be used for dining I make sure I get unscented candles. These cream color pillars (below) were from Target.

The gold leaf candles (HomeGoods) were only $1 each. I like the little bit of glitter that the acorn ornaments add.

The amber colored hurricanes and votive candle holders were also from Target.  I used the small candle holders ($1.99 each) as vases. The roses came from my local grocery store. I purchased five bunches of three different colors of roses and mixed them together.

The photos don't do it justice - but I am thrilled with the way the table turned out.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

An early Christmas

I thought I would give you a glimpse (even if it is a blurry glimpse) of some of what I did on Monday (yeah, my camera is not performing like it should). I started the day putting up some Christmas decor for one client ...

She likes a lot of color. Remember that I am the girl who likes white and took all my ornaments off my tree last year and loved it ... 

But decorating is all about giving the client what they love ... and so we brought out all the toys and added as much shiny and sparkle as we could find.

I finished the day by getting another client ready for Thanksgiving. The big reveal I hope to show you tomorrow after I bring over the fresh flowers and finish the table, but here is a sneak preview:

I didn't get home until after 8 PM so needless to say I did not start any baking. Yet.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Let the baking begin

I will be beginning the baking today ...

Thanksgiving 2010
... as soon as I finish decorating a client's house for Christmas!

(Doesn't that sound a little backwards?)

Not into baking? Try this cute idea:

{from Martha}

Happy Monday everyone ;)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I agree

Being happy
doesn't mean that
  everything is perfect.
               It means that
        you've decided to 
          look beyond the 
            imperfections ...

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say or do.
It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company... a church... a home.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes”
                                                                                                -Charles R. Swindoll 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A little Thanksgiving inspiration

I will not be hosting Thanksgiving this year ... but I am helping a family who is. A couple trips to my favorite supply stores (Target and HomeGoods) and I have all that I need to get them ready ...

But today I am taking the day off. Hope you are too! Happy Saturday ;)

{top images via etsy, etsy, etsy, pinterest}

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Playroom revised

Today was shopping day for the playroom project I have been working on, and like everything usually does, it needed a little tweaking. Not everyone agrees, but for me, the best part of designing is the challenge of working with restrictions. Whether it be budget restrictions or the client's likes and dislikes, I do like a challenge.

The rug that was my inspiration and jumping off point (see post about it here) was rejected and needed to be replaced. And so did the dividing storage cabinet. But I think the new revised plan is wonderful and I thought you might enjoy the seeing the process and the new plan.

The new rug is playful and bright and I am happy with it. I liked the idea of the square rug but now that we have changed to this 8'x10' rug, I actually like that it makes the playroom feel larger. And of course, it is my favorite 'go to' color right now anyway. 

Giving the client a visual is an important part of the design process and a quick sketch helps them grasp what I am trying to communicate - especially when all the communication is via email (you know how hard that can be!). Sometimes a quick drawing can be faster than a fancy computer program - that is my rationale anyway. Or maybe I just like to cut and paste ;) 

The storage cabinet I had previously chosen to divide the three spaces was long and low. But when the office area changed and the desks were brought to the opposite wall then I had planned, the low cabinet (at 18" high) felt 'too low' and I decided that a cabinet closer to the desk height would make more sense. I also decided that the 94" long cabinet, although it divided the space beautifully might make the boundaries a little to tight. 

first choice for dividing cabinet

final choice for dividing cabinet

So I will use this Torsby sideboard from Ikea instead. I am placing two of them back to back so that the unfinished back will not show from the office space and they will have office storage as well.  The bean bags are quite large (41") and I think they will help divide the space as well.  

I am happy with the way it is turning out even with the changes. And the best part ...

Maskros pendant lamp - Ikea

This will be hanging in the center of the room. So fun! 

{Lonny via here}

Now if I can just be patient while it is all getting installed and my client sends photos (the downside to working long-distance).

Monday, November 14, 2011

Recipe for a playroom

I am working on a children's playroom for one of my out of town clients. In order to save money we are going to use primarily Ikea furniture - which I actually love. I have always thought it would be so much fun and a great challenge to decorate an entire house only using what I can find at Ikea and Target.

The room I am working with is a very large room (almost 40 feet by 17 feet) that will be divided up into 3 separate areas - a family TV area, an area for a desk and game table and then the kid's play area. The client wanted the areas divided by boundaries but still kept somewhat open. I decided to divide the play area from the adult side of the space by low bookcases placed back to back so that one side will have toys inside and the other, family games and books.

Because I had a clean slate to work with, I had to start somewhere for my inspiration. So after coming up with some basic furniture pieces for storage ...

{Besta storage unit by Ikea}

{Expedit unit by Ikea}

... I started by looking for an area rug. I didn't have to look too far.

I love the vibrant colors and because the rug is a square, it fits perfectly into my floor plan. The idea is to give the client's grandchildren a place to play that can stay organized and neat. A book corner was also requested.

I plan to bring in a simple table and chair set that will be colorful and fun and also easy to maintain. We will use beanbags for the kids to lounge around on and read.

I love these beanbags from Pottery Barn. They come in a variety of colorful options and can even be monogrammed which is always fun for kids. I will throw in a red bookcase for a little more color.

I found this cute idea to hang your children's artwork and think it will be the perfect way to add some personalization. The color of these just happen to be exactly right for this room too.

I will also be using some decals and other fun artwork to make it a happy place to play. I love this stylized tree ...

{Byrdie graphics on Etsy}

These fun leaves ...

Or maybe some circles. Did you know you can change the colors of the decals to match your decor?

I really like the idea of bringing in a quote or two!


No matter what ends up on the wall ...  

It needs to bring a smile.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

For Haley

Sometimes things happen that make me wonder what is God doing? I don't mean this disrespectfully. I am just saying that sometimes things just don't make sense to me ... here ... on this side of heaven. Life here hurts sometimes so much it is hard to bear. And it is in those times that I have to dig deep and trust in a God who is all love and all powerful and believe that He knows what He is doing. And I go back and cling to the words of a good friend who once, when I cried out to her asking, "Why?" answered in a soft voice, "God is Sovereign. His ways are not our ways." 

 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
   neither are your ways my ways,”
            declares the LORD.
 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
   and my thoughts than your thoughts.

(Isaiah 55:8-9)

This week the daughter of some friends of ours lost her battle to cancer. Even though I did not know her personally I know her parents. She has the same name as our own daughter and was close in age, and it is just not in the right order of things. Parents are not supposed to lose their children. I ache for her parents, for her sister, for her family and close friends. It does not seem fair. And it hurts. And yet ... still ... I do believe this is not the end. I have hope in a future where every wrong will be made right. Oh, long for that place.

 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4)