Cute (and trendy, even!) paper goods for parties?
Fabulous stocking stuffers for the kiddos?
Cold medicine, toothpaste, aluminum foil, or dishtowels?
They've got 'em.
Million dollar candy bars for our "Million Dollar Providers" attending a Bootcamp at work?
(And, for all of these items for a dollar, no less.)
Every time I start a creative project for any type of event, whether it's for work, for home, or for a friend, I pop on over to the dollar store and just cruise on through each aisle.
Last week I got square paper plates. Totally designer looking, and, at 10 in the package for a buck, the price was right. I can't wait to use them.
In the case of the candy bars, I was wandering through on my lunch break and spotted them. Since one of the point we teach our members is how to become a "Million Dollar Provider" they were just too perfect to pass up. I took a picture of one with my phone and headed back to work.
I then shared the photo with a coworker and we came up with a use for these perfect candies.
I ran back over a few days later and bought up the amount we needed, and then I created little little printed strips to cover the brand name marketing already on the candy wrapper. I printed them, cut them out, and added them to our candy bars for a custom look.
This idea would work for any kind of event; a birthday party, a congrats present, a just-because-you're-so-special gift.
Do you shop your local dollar store? I'd love to read about your finds!
Now, you would think since it's so close to my heart, I'd be moving faster on it, but...no. I've been oh-so-slowly working on this since...gosh, I think just after Christmas.
Well, I'm getting focused in on it now, and moving along at a slightly faster pace, and so I thought I'd share a little sneak peek.
I'm still trying to organize all of my assorted types of paper, and litle bits of ribbon. I'm still searching for the right rug, (or not) and maybe some item for the center of the room (a chopping block type of island, about three by three)...or maybe I just need a rearrangement of furnishings?
Gosh, I just don't know.
When I am trying to figure out the best room arrangement, I use graph paper and use one square per foot. I measure the room, the windows, the doors, and then all of the major furniture pieces. (Do you use this method?)
You know, you don't even have to buy graph paper anymore, you just google some up and print a page.
How easy is that?
I always make sure to have around three feet of walking space around pieces that stick out into the room. Make sure you don't ignore how many little one foot boxes are between furniture pieces, so you end up with enough walking room.
I'll be sharing an update with more complete photos soon!
One of the charming vintage shops in Vancouver Washington came up with a not-new-but-new-for-our-area event…a monthly Vintage Flea Market, to be held on the first Sunday of each month through summer.
Last Sunday was the first one. Both of my daughters and I had discussed getting a booth space in the parking lot, but...the weather here in May is dicey at best, so we chickened out, and decided we would just attend the event as shoppers. As it turned out,the event was great, and the weather was perfect, other than some pretty heavy winds, which were playing havoc on some of the booth displays. I took plenty pictures, but as I edited them, I realized that what I was drawn to more than anything else, was the fabulous art of display these talented people have.
The place was crowded with shoppers…lots of browsers and looky-loos, and folks eye candy shopping for inspiration. I say this because I didn’t see a wave of near hysterical shoppers running at items as I have witnessed in years past when the crowds of women scampered to grab what they could before someone else snagged it. Out of the three of us, only one daughter bought something. She got two darling wooden turquoise children’s chairs to go in the playroom.
It got me to wondering. (And maybe I’m wrong. I often am, you know.)
Could it be?...Have I seen it all? The weathered creams, whites, and burlaps. The feed sacks, the chalkboard painted buckets, tables, dressers...you-fill-in-the-blank.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I like this look.
Heck, I love this look. ( I have a version of it in my own home, and my daughters have their own versions of vintage in their homes too..)
But I seem to have it already. So do my girls. I do not seem to come across anything that I feel like will add to my spaces with such impact that I am willing to pay a high price for it.
That brings me to the other thing that we all noticed. (and I am wondering if you have noticed this in your area as well, as this was not the first event I have noticed prices edging up.) People seem to have really raised their prices. (and this may have been why nothing really grabbed me hard enough to buy it.)
I mean, I am not expecting yard sale pricing by any means at all, but eight bucks for a small metal tag that I was thinking could be too-cute tied with jute around a cloth napkin at a summer barbeque? That’s just not happening at my house, when we are eating off my thrifted-for-twenty-dollars-six-years-ago pfaltzgraph Filegree white dishes, and the handmade cloth napkins my mom makes for me with discount fabrics. It just seems that as a vendor in afair, without the overhead that ashop owner has to bear, the prices would be a little lower.
Am I getting out of touch? Right now, the things that send me to the moon all seem to be table setting related, or for parties, or a small intimate event. (Like a cozy breakfast for two)I never to seem to find any gotta-haves for my own home decor these days.
I am hoping it’s not that I am “getting old”. You know, like before you know it I will be sporting sensible shoes that resemble men’s house slippers, (gasp!) going to bed with the chickens, and saying things like “he hasn’t got the sense God gave a goose”.
What do you think? Are you feeling like you have seen most of the ideas and pieces, or are you still finding so much stuff you need a pick-up to take it all home? I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this, and also, I’d love, love, love to read what kinds of things currently do inspire you right now into nesting mode over-drive...
**Edited Tuesday, May 7, 2013- While as of now, I have not had any negative comments here from readers....I want to apologize with all of my heart to anyone I inadverently offended with this post....those that had a booth in this fair, and to Billie who owns the charming shop as I stated in my first paragraph. I did not realize....(obviously, I had a complete brain lapse, and ...I did not think.) as I wrote my thoughts, that anyone involved in the fair would take offense. (Not sure why, it just didn't enter my mind as I wrote. I think maybe it didn't occur to me because I didn't say anything negative about the products- quite the contray, they were all fabulous, or I wouldn't have taken so many pictures.)
The main point I was sharing, (or...attempting to share) besides noticing pricing on the upswing, was that I am kind of surprised at myself, at not being swept away in a vintage frenzy, as I have been only a few years back. The fact was, it crossed my mind that I might be thinking more these days like...ehem...an older lady. (No ofense meant to any women out there older than me. Especially not you, Mom.)
Again I want to say, to Billie, and to the vendors in the Flea Market event...I am sorry if I offended you in any way.
(Insert large embarrassed cringe here.)
I will not ruin a perfectly decent apology here with excuses. I will say that Cottage Vintage Home's next Flea Market will be held June 2nd.
And...Love is all you need....along with a little paint, a few flowers, and some elbow grease.
After I shared my photos yesterday, it occurred to me that I had some old pictures of the house...before.
Before the little wicker chair and rain boots found a new home on the doorstep.
Before we drove around for more than two hours and then knocked on some stranger's front door to ask her what the name of her house paint colors were.
And she happily shared them.
We didn't spend a lot of money, but the changes are priceless when I look at the before and after shots side by side.(Oh, keep in mind that the before picture was taken at the end of summer, when a lot of lawns here look rather dry and...dead.)
Mmmm hmmm. I likey.
See what a little love can do?
Aaaaah, it’s Friday.
I cannot remember a longer week than this one. Seriously, the days have seemed to each be three days long at work, and I know why.
I have spring fever.
Yes, warm-and-sunny-blue-skies-flowers-blooming-everywhere spring fever. This dry gorgeous weather hit the fabulous Pacific Northwest this week with such sudden-ness that I have been unable to concentrate on anything work related.
Even though I swore I wasn't going to buy any plants for outside until at least mid May, I ran out on my lunch break on Monday and bought several ivy geraniums. (We have red front doors, and I could just envision the bright pops of red geraniums adding that needed touch to the front of the house.
I then spent Monday evening sharing my vision with my Rock n’ Roll Buddy of the amazing impact the hanging flowers would have on our home once he installed the screws under the eaves to hang them.
The geraniums waited patiently in the flower bed below where there new home would be.
I spent Tuesday evening letting the idea gel a bit more in his head.
The geraniums continued patiently waiting.
He obliged on Wednesday after work, (See? I knew he just needed time to digest the idea and see the potential!) and I was right. They added the perfect amount of color and balance. Once they were hung we went down to the sidewalk to bask in the awesome-ness that was our walkway of hanging geraniums.
Amazing what a huge difference four hanging flower pots can make.
Now I am thinking that we really need a nice shade tree out there in the yard behind the Adirondack chairs…..what do you think? Can you see that? (I would move the chairs more forward on the lawn, which is fairly large...)
It's just like decorating any other space in our homes... the front...the outside...is the first thing anyone sees, and you know what they say about first impressions.
So, when this time of year...this glorious weather...hits, I am suddenly all about creating a welcome feeling...outside. LAst year we painted the exterior, and this year I want to continue the momentum of making our home look happy...just like us.
Now, maybe I am (once again) late to join the party, but, after seven years of blogging, I just attended my first ever blog conference a couple of weeks ago, and it was a great experience on all counts. (I have no idea why I hadn't done this before!)
There are so many conferences to choose from out there, and so many of them sound amazing, that just selecting one can be a challenge.
Last summer my daughter suggested we go to the *SNAP! Conference being held in Salt Lake City, Utah. Now, we booked tickets for this particular conference for a couple of reasons. First off, she had researched and read up on a number of conferences, and this particular one had gotten lots of rave reviews from the attendees last year. (Which was coincidentally, it's first year.)
It had sponsors we loved (Annie Sloan Paints, Lowe's, Ryobi, Minwax...)It was also the closest blog conference to our homes, being less than a two hour flight away.
Now, normally when I am looking forward to an event of any kind, I am planning things out in my head. What am I going to wear? (Oh! I need a cute new pair of shoes!) How many outfits will I need? What research do I need to do about the event I am attending so I come prepared?
In this particular case, that never happened. As the conference date got closer, my daughter and I both became busier (more busy?) with our own lives, and before we knew it, the conference was upon us.
I haphazardly packed the night before our flight, overcome with that oh-my-gosh-why-didn't-I-plan-better?! thought overwhelming me.
"Oh well, it will be fine", I convinced myself.
And, really, for the most part, it was.
We arrived the just before midnight the night before the conference and got settled into our hotel room. We stayed up far too late, talking and giggling. Before we knew it, our alarm went off, and we were out the door and running.
(Here is one of the two pictures I took at the conference, as we registered. No, we are not in the picture, but two of my daughter's favorite blog writers are.)
The conference classes and events went from eight in the morning until around ten or eleven each night. You would think this would cause us to tumble into bed each night and go right to sleep, but...no.
We were far to excited each night, rehashing the day, and looking through all the swag we got from sponsors. We'd be yakking it up and finally turn the lights out, only to have that darned alarm go off far too early to get going and do it all again.
In short, attending a blog conference is a great experience overall, and if you're lucky enough to get to spend that much one on one time with one of your grown kids, it's the absolute best.
We are already trying to decide which blog conference we want to attend next year.That being said, we learned what we will and will not do next go round.
Do: Go with a friend (Qr your daughter. Or your Mom.) if possible. You can share a room, and exhange ideas over snacks at midnight.
And you'll spend a lot of time laughing.
Don't: Bring your big 'ol Cannon Rebel Camera. It's bulky and heavy, and you'll forget to take pictures anyway. Your cell phone can do the job just fine for this occasion.
Do: Bring an empty duffle bag or carry on suitcase to schlepp home the new Cannon Rebel Camera (my daughter!) cordless drill (me!)you might win in drawings, along with all the other incredible swag the sponsors give out.
Do: Pay attention to the little details in the conference activities emails. Case in point- we looked pathetic at the "Cookies and Milk Pajamma Craft Party" one of the nights after dinner....all because we didn't really take the memo all that seriously.
We will not even discuss our better-late-than-never lame attempt at entering the Hotel-Room_Door-Decorating Contest.
Do: Bring business cards that are double sided, have ALL of your contact info on them, and have your photo on them. Neither of us did this, and apparently everyone else got the memo to do so. It was so helpful to remember who was who!
Do: ask around as you meet new friends as to which other confereces they have attended and would recommend. (We now plan on attending Haven, and the Bloggy Boot Camp on Branding at some point.... I can't wait!)
I think that about covers the main take-aways I came up with for tips on attending a blog conference. How about you? Have you attended any? If so, which ones? Would you go again?
Do tell. I'm dying to get my next conference pans underway!
I am so glad you popped by!
You know, I've been blogging for quite a little while now (since 2006...can that really be right?)and over that long length of time I've shared a whole lot about my not-so-ordinary life.
I've shared small successes, and big challenges, milestone moments, and yard-sale make-overs. Some of you have followed me through a divorce after three decades, a move, a job lay-off, more moves, and the births of six precious (and very nearly perfect!) grand-babes.
And I love you for that.
For reading my posts, week after week, and year after year, even as my posts were sometimes sporadic, and at the more recent stages during the past year and a half or so, where some posts were...well, mediocre at best, if the truth be told. For that, I feel an overwhelming need to apologize.
To ask for a do-over.
Another chance at a fresh start.
You see, as I looked back through the past year or so's posts, I saw my energy level drop. It's kind of funny - the more balance I found in my life, the less time and drive I had for my blog...that, and the fact that I was spread too thin with my creative time, being pulled between a booth space, paper crafting, my new website, and vintage prop shopping...my blog slowly but surely took a ride way, way in the back row of seats)
As I read back through my blog, I saw many of my posts becoming more a boring narrative of photos,very obviously (to me at least) thrown together in ten minutes (or less) instead of sharing of my personal thoughts. Some of them read like C+ level writing assignments, rather than a peek into my head and heart, and that is not what I want to portray here, or anywhere.
I want to be real, and genuine, and share my authentic self, always.
So....having taken a couple of weeks off from writing, (coupled with attending a pretty inspiring blog conference with my daughter during a portion of that time span) I am back, and I feel refreshed, newly inspired, and even excited (yes!) to be back.
Back in the zone.
My creative-high-on-life-thrilled-to-see-what-the-day-brings zone.
I've re-grouped and re-focused, and I am feeling full to the brim with new ideas that I am anxious to share!
(Who on earth knew that a mental two week break could work such wonders?)
Oh! Speaking of new ideas, I've created a happy little faux chalkboard banner as a friendship present for you!Because...
You had me at hello.
(Punny, I know, but you like that about me, right?)
Print it, cut it out, punch some holes and weave a length of ribbon through it. Hang in your craft room, or your laundry room. String it up in your cubical at work, or tuck it in a card to a friend. It's yours to do with as you please.
(I backed mine with old book pages and then cut the book pages with my trusty pinking shears... I love it!)
Please click on these links to get your very own printable H-E-L-L-O Banner:
(One more thing....if you do take the banner, and you print it, would you be so kind as to share a photo with me of what you did with your banner? I would love to share some ideas here!)
Again, I want to say that I am so very happy that you popped by, and I hope you will continue to check in and see what new adventures will be happening here, in my not-so-ordinary life.
I shared this hair photo a short while back.
(It's my current "dream" hair-do.)
It's just taht I do not really understand how to achieve this look.
(Insert big, long, frustrated sigh here.)
I am always amazed at how some of my coworkers manage to have that messy, tosseled, kinda-curly-kinda-straight hair style. I saw this video and now I know. Watch this:
Now, my only question is, how can you apply this look to shorter hair, and is it a look that only girls under 40 can pull off? Sweeps rules: http://www.blogher.com/hair-sweepstakes-official-rules-week-7 Prizes & Promotions page on Blogher.com: https://www.blogher.com/blogher-tv-weekly-hair-style-sweepstakes