Thursday, September 26, 2013

Large Burlap Bow Tutorial

 
I finally managed to pull myself together enough to make a short tutorial video. This one is how to make our large burlap bows.
 
This photograph is our most re-pinned picture on pinterest! 
We sell both the large roll of four inch burlap ribbon used to make these bows as well as the finished bows themselves. For the more avid do-it-yourselfer, here is a video on how to make them.



 
 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Social Media...errr, Social Weirdia

My week started off in a completely surreal way.

My Monday morning started with a breakfast meeting with my creative team to go over the final details for our Halloween decorating. Have I mentioned how over-the-top and completely unexpected it is going to be? I know you are thinking white pumpkins and fall leaves...but believe me...that is the last thing you can expect. Anyway, I was feeling so grateful that I am surrounded by these amazing, creative people who have so many awesome ideas and can help to not only organize the ideas but actually implement them.



THEN...

I got to greet my two Monday interns who started working on some really off-the-wall projects with me in preparation for our Christmas decorating. I know...Halloween and Christmas in the same day is enough to get any one's head spinning. Anyway, we dyed some wood thinga-ma-jiggies that will be cool tree embellishments and started glittering...glittering...glittering. I was sooo grateful for their help!



THEN...

In a completely unexpected twist, I met Chloe! 

 
I got, yet another taste of the strangeness of social media and was introduced to an intentional visitor from up-state New York (as opposed to an unintential visitor from out of state who just happened upon the store)! I say "social weirdia" because though I just met Chloe for the first time today, she has been following our story for over a year. It was weird...cool...unexpected...hard to wrap my head around. I know I write a blog post every once in awhile, and someone out there in the big 'ole world might read it...BUT, to actually meet them face to face...well, that doesn't happen often.

I was thinking about how I would react to "Miss Mustard Seed," or "Funky Junk Donna," or Kelli from "Restore Interiors" if I met them in person for the first time. I feel like I know these women...their families...their children...their lives...their struggles...their successes. I read their blogs regularly, weekly...sometimes daily if time allows and can relate because they are just ordinary woman doing extraordinary things...that they love...which includes and involves their families, church groups and neighbors. Not much different from myself! Yet, they don't know me...at all...in fact, it would be darn right weird for me to go up to them out of the blue, give them a hug and ask, "how are the kids?"  

Anyway, Chloe was in LA working and visiting friends. She hung up her work hat, ditched her friends and braved the LA traffic to drive all the way to podunk Glendora. Yep...it took her two hours, to which I said, "WELCOME TO LA!"

It was such an honor to meet her. It motivated me to want to write more, share more pictures of the store, write more tutorials, show my home projects more frequently.

It was a good reminder that there are, like...I don't know...a dozen people truly interested. :) OK...maybe more than that! And, someday I might meet more of you. Heck, just last year I got to meet Fiona all the way from Australia who (intentionally) visited knot too shabby while she was staying with friends in the area. Now, I follow her blog and we even have the occasional social media conversation. It's great to put a face to a comment! 


I am no big-time-get-a-show-on-HGTV-or-write-a-book-blogger! And, when I'm feeling slightly inadequate, over tired, over worked, not quite good enough or under appreciated, the Lord sends a gift in a stranger like Chloe...or Fiona...my creative team and my interns... It is these wonderful women (and the occasional gentleman) who give me that extra boost of confidence to carry on with my day...do something meaningful, and I mean more than painting furniture or the occasional crafting project...but relate in that everyday, "I'm just a mom trying to keep up with my house chores, kids homework, personal fitness, cooking dinner...oh, and running a shop" sort of way.

Yep...it's not that grandiose. In fact...it's entirely and utterly normal. But hey...that's what makes it real!   

So, as I hustle my kids out the door in the morning, cram a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in their lunch box and stuff their backpacks in the car, I can go on with my day knowing that perhaps God has something wonderful in store for me, much like our unexpected visitor from across the country...who, completely humbles me in my everyday life and causes me to want to smile more, complain less and greet everyone that visits with the kind warmth and enthusiasm that I greeted Chloe.

Seems like it should be second nature, huh?

If you could visit us, where would you be coming from?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Burlap Baby Shower Invitations

In our present world of pinterest-ers, is it possible to have an original idea? For a creative person (like myself) who strives for individuality, it seems that the more internet/blog savvy people become, the harder it is to come up with that one-of-a-kind product or idea. Such was my struggle in pulling together the theme, games and decorations for my sisters baby shower last weekend. When I was throwing around themed ideas, I decided that I was going to steer away from reading blog posts, looking for pictures and scouring pinterest for ideas. I wanted her shower to be a reflection of my interests, because I have a lot to pull from in that area, but also something that would be a reflection of Karen, my sister. 

(By the way, if you are tuning in for the first time, you can catch a glimpse of the baby shower here).

I decided to "theme" the shower around the nickname that Karen's baby girl was given by my three year old. Let me back up a bit (because it's a cute story).

I was pushing a double wide shopping cart around Sams Club during one of my weekly shopping trips when my sister called. She says, "I found out what we are having!" GASP! (We all new it was going to be a boy)

"It's a girl...probably...about 80% sure." I couldn't believe it. I looked at my girls and exclaimed, "Auntie's having a girl! What should she name the baby?" With a completely straight face and no thought involved, Molly said, "Sparkles." We started laughing out loud and since then, the name has stuck. Everyone calls her Sparkles. 

So, with that in mind, the baby shower took on a "Sparkles" theme, starting with the invitations.


Since not everyone knew the story behind Sparkles the name, I had to be creative (and completely corny, I admit) in wording the invitation.


Going back to utilizing things that I already had on hand, I pulled together my burlap "project bags" as a pocket for the invitation.



I bought the teeny tiny clothes pins at Target and was horrified at how expensive they were and have since set up a wholesale account (with the help of my Merchandising and Branding Manager, Michelle) for teeny tiny clothespins. Ours will be cheaper than the ones at Target. :0)


I hand cut every little teeny tiny piece of bunting and hot glued it to twine. Like the sparkly paper?


I used the extra pockets that I made as napkin and silverware pockets for the tables. 

All in all, each invitation cost less than $2 each. $1 for the burlap project bags, $.50 for the teeny tiny clothes pins and less than $.50 for the paper and twine. 

Rather than glittering anything and everything, I used silver...lots of silver to add a sparkle to the shower decorations. 




Silver teapots and pitchers loaded with fresh flowers...


...and sparkly fringes in all of the flowers.

My poor mom spent hours in front of my sink polishing silver last week! 


My girlfriend Kim made beautiful and tasty cut out cookies, hand decorated and topped with...you guessed it...sparkly sugar glitter. 

All in all, the sparkles around the party were pretty understated.

Next, I will show pictures of my baby shower chalk art! So, stay tuned! 



Monday, September 9, 2013

The Hottest Day of the Year

Last Thursday, my mom and I were setting up my backyard for an outdoor baby shower that we were throwing for my sister.



As we were setting up tables and chairs in the sweltering heat, I commented to my mom that it was going to be too hot to be outside. "But it looks so beautiful," she said. I commented back at her that it didn't matter how pretty it looked, if we were sweating buckets no one was going to care about the china, buntings, chandeliers or anything else. But, we persisted on with the outdoor decoration.

Without a doubt, Saturday was the hottest day of the year. By 9:00 am it was in the mid 90's. By 10:00 am it was pushing triple digits.

It was, never the less a picture perfect baby shower.



Despite the sweltering heat, we made the most of it and got some great pictures of the set-up!

I set up the backyard into four stations...so to speak.

The far back on the grass was the eating area. I had a tent set up with a lounge section for enjoying drinks...


...and on each side of the lounge were two dining room tables with seating for eight.


I used my mis-matched china, blue mason jars, vintage lace place mats and burlap pockets for the tables.



The flower centerpieces were displayed in a variety of mis-matched vintage silver pieces.
 
The second station was set up near my swimming pool (and in the shade) for all of the beverages.


I had a make-your-own mimosa bar, iced coffee drinks, iced tea, spa water and some other cool beverages...since it was the hottest day of the year.


The third station was a crafting area. I had all of the shower guests make a small bunting piece when they arrived. I am going to put all the pieces together in the next month.


The last station was a breakfast buffet on the covered patio deck.





In the spirit of flexibility (and out of consideration for the old ladies and pregnant ladies...and me), we ended up moving the entire shower indoor where the temperature was much tolerable.


I'm going to share more about the shower, what I used, the game we played, the chalkboards I made and our new rental opportunities that are coming about as a result of this particular party!

And, I have to give a HUGE Thank-you and major props to my friend Michelle Black who came before all of the guests arrived to take pictures of the decorations! Please check out her awesome art work that she creates using her own photography!

Can't wait...so until then...




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