Friday, June 25, 2010

Fab Friday

Just a quick note to check in. I won't be doing my regular Friday's Fab Finds post today because I'm off to VBS again. I've been one of the kindergarten teachers for VBS at my church this week, and while it's been wonderful and amazing, it's also been exhausting. Leaving me no time or energy for much else at all. Today's the last day, and then back to normal life after the weekend. But I do have a redesign appointment with a client tomorrow, so maybe I'll share some details from that next week?! I have to give you one piece of eye candy though. I recently discovered photographer Erin Reynold's work, and I'm in love. Above is a taste...from Etsy shop elr104.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 21, 2010

a little retail therapy on

So normally, I just window shop (screen shop?) on Etsy. But a few weeks ago, I was having a particularly rough week...which followed a particularly lucrative week in my shop...and the combination of seeing money in my PayPal account, and at the same time craving some retail therapy, was too much to resist. So I thought I'd give you a look at a few of the things I indulged in...

First, this cute little handmade wallet for business cards. Since my own business cards have rhinestones on them, I may need a hard case for the longer term, to protect that 3-D element. But for the short term, this little cutie was all of $7.00. And check out the fabric and colors! You'd think I might have custom-ordered this to match my business cards and my business theme (birds + nest, etc.) but I didn't. It was already available in this cute fabric, so I snatched it up. Love it! From thespottedbarn.

I may have told you several weeks ago that my wallet (not for business cards, but my real, normal wallet) fell apart. Literally. The money you put in just falls right out. Since I prefer to choose where exactly I lose my money, this was certainly not an ideal situation. But, you see, I didn't want just any wallet. I wanted one that reflected my personality and my style, and preferably came straight from the artist who created it. So of course, to Etsy I went. I found this wallet at lbaccessories embroidered with her own "zinnia" pattern. I loved it as is, but requested if she could possibly do the teal zinnia on a natural linen rather than the blue fabric. I heard back immediately that she would be happy to do it, and it wasn't long before I had my handmade, custom-made wallet in hand! (It's like the one above, only with natural beige linen.) And I luuuuuuuuuuuv it. It gets so many comments and compliments every time I pull it out. Give me a custom-designed artistic wallet any day over a spendy leather Coach one. (Am I crazy? Perhaps! But if this is wrong, I don't want to be right.)

Then, my fav jewelry seller thatjewelrygirl had a secret Facebook sale. For one hour, a couple of weeks ago, her facebook fans could choose any one necklace in her shop for $20. Twenty bucks! I gasped and immediately put a reminder on my calendar in Outlook to make sure I didn't forget to log on during the correct hour. The necklace I chose? This one. You may remember me singing its praises in this post.

And last, but not least, I had a girlfriend who recently moved with her family into a beautiful new (to them) home. They've had a rough time the last few years, with their young daughter suffering from leukemia. We are all hoping and praying that as their daughter enters into the last few months of treatment, this home represents a fresh new start in their lives. Hopefully, her treatment will be successfully completed and she will be declared cancer-free in the next few months. So, to celebrate the new home and all that it represents, I felt a housewarming gift was in order. My friend's style is country & Americana, and...what the heck...I just loved this mini burlap banner that said "Home Sweet Home" and was embellished with vintage buttons, from funkyshique. You may remember me featuring this seller here.

Phew! That may not seem like a lot of purchases to you, but to this penny-pincher, that was a lot. Happily I got through that rough week without causing any real damage to the family finances.

I make no guarantees for this week, though. Somewhere in a moment of insanity...or perhaps just optimism?...I agreed to be the kindergarten teacher for our church's VBS (Vacation Bible School). I am excited and nervous. Or nervous and excited. Anyway, it will take up most of my time Monday thru Friday this week, so I'm not sure how much time or energy I'll have for blogging (or even for brushing my teeth, for that matter!...although I won't let that stop me...I promise I'll brush my teeth, Honey!). So bear with me and I'll check back in with you as soon as I can. I've been working on some fun projects recently, and I can't wait to show you the details.  xoxo

Friday, June 18, 2010

friday's fab finds: tickled pink

It's been a while since I showed you some fab finds in...PINK. You know, I used to hate pink. Then, my first two children were girls. Have you ever tried building a wardrobe for a little girl that does not include pink? With girl #1, I was mildly successful for a while. But when girl #2 arrived, I kind of gave up resisting. She happens to be an even more girly-girl than my first, and well...I decided to stop fighting it, and I finally succumbed to the charms of pink. In fact, the color has even started to make it into my decorative accessories at home! Can't believe it. But when you see things like what I'm about to show you, how CAN you resist?

This lovely print of a watercolor by annechovie is a perfect example of just how I like my pink: feminine and fun, but not too tooth-achingly sweet. I've always been a big fan of artist Anne Harwell's work, and this is no exception. Not to mention, owning this print would probably be as close as I'll ever come to owning my own Mini. This one might use less gas. (Not much less, though!) Soooo cute.

This has got to be one of my favorite prints that I've ever come across on Etsy. I love the graphic, vintage nature of this print by linocutboy...but let's face it...I mostly love what it says. And how it says it. If you can't have a sense of humor when decorating...well, you're missing out on the fun. I had to show this print to my husband and told him, "I want it. Really bad." He just smiled and shook his head and said "Oh boy. I bet you do." A typical exchange here at my house.

This is a lovely print from wrenandchickadee. I love the subject matter, because ranunculus are one of my favorite flowers. By the way, I may have just typed and re-typed ranunculus about seven times. Not an easy one to spell. (And you're talking to a former seventh grade spelling bee champ. Oh boy...that's one of those things I probably shouldn't be admitting to.) Anyway, I love the point of view of each of her prints. They are very simple, and yet represent a point of view on life that I'd like to have. She has prints of some very sweet vignettes. And of course, when created by the lovely Ez, author of the illustrious & visually stunning Creature Comforts blog, they couldn't help but be wonderful.

This is the second week in a row I've shown you a picture of bobby pins, but cute are these? Very sweet. I love the handmade nature of them. They'd work great on a grown-up girl or a little one. By sraige.

Etsy shop yumiyumi has been in my favorites for a long time, and with good reason. Her prints are both charming and modern. This one combines pink with orange - always a fav combination - and her little owls are just too cute. I find some owls to be charming, and some just a little freaky. These owls are definitely in the "charming" category.

A new favorite shop of mine, lucysnowephotography offers photographs that are dreamy, with soft, muted colors. I think I liked absolutely everything in her shop, but of course, the colors of this one worked perfectly for this post. Look at the cute bird on the cherry tree! (At least, I think it's a cherry tree!) I am besotted with this image.

Each of these finds was also featured in a Treasury I built on Etsy last night. (Check it out if you'd like to see more of my fabulous pink finds.) Building treasuries has become one of my new favorite things to do. I've only made three treasuries so far, but had a ball doing each one. Click here if you'd like to see all three. I keep crossing my fingers and hoping one of my treasuries ends up on the front page of Etsy one day! Then I could die happy. ;-)  

Happy weekend, everyone! xo ~ Courtney

Thursday, June 17, 2010

a big thank-you...and my own DIY list

Just a quick note to give a shout-out to two amazing blogs that featured my master bedroom makeover. Yesterday, I was featured on Better After, a blog that shows wonderful before-and-after photos of entire rooms or smaller projects. Today, my entire post about the bedroom makeover is featured at The DIY Show Off blog. It's a beautiful blog that shares before-and-afters, too, but gives a more in-depth look at the process the home-owner took to get from the before to the after. A big thank-you to both of these blogs!

And speaking of DIY, the other day I wrote down a list of all the projects around my house that are either half-finished, or haven't even begun yet. OY! It was a big list. I'm planning to tackle them all, one by one, and blog about the process. I can't believe I'm going to do this, but as a form of accountability for myself, I'm going to let you  have a peek at the list. Here goes nothin':
  • paint hope chest
  • hang curtain in upstairs bathroom (customize first...w/ ribbon? stencil? not sure)
  • paint downstairs bathroom + woodwork
  • put curtains or doors on nursery closet
  • paint mirror above piano (did it yellow is not okay...will fix VERY soon!)
  • re-decorate mantel for summer
  • paint/upholster yard sale ottoman in my basement
  • create clean & bright laundry room my SCARY basement
That's enough for now. There are a few other things on the list, but I've gotta have a few secrets, right? I'm not exactly sure when I will be accomplishing these things, but sometimes I think that just writing them down is half the battle. For me, it puts these tasks in the forefront of my mind and helps give me direction when I have a free moment. And the energy to spare. Ha! (When do I ever have energy to spare? Does any mom?) So wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

hello yellow!

So this is a story of how decorating can go terribly wrong...or gloriously right. Sometimes both at the same time. See, I started with this arrangement over my piano (below):

And while I've been really into white lately, this area seemd quite pale and neglected. Not only that, but we haven't had sun here in QUITE some time, and it's getting me down. Really down. So the prescription? I decided I needed YELLOW. Problem is, I have very, very few yellow accessories. So I decided to make some.

I started with this vase. Nice modern shape, but clear and fairly boring. I already had this vase in my closet, so it didn't cost me anything.

Next, I sprayed the vase with this. "Frosted Glass" spray paint. I've had this stuff for years, from some project way back when (that I may or may not have completed) so it didn't really cost me anything either.

Next, I took wide blue painter's tape, and cut it into skinny strips. At first I was doing this just because I didn't have any of the skinny tape; but pretty soon, I decided I wanted all the strips to be uneven and kind of funky-looking anyway. (These are the kinds of things we decide when we have no choice in the matter. But seriously...I like the funky-ness of the stripes!)

HELLO! Then I took some really bright yellow spray paint and painted over the vase with the tape stripes. Just one coat. That stuff is BRIGHT.

And voila! A cute yellow-striped vase was born. I tihnk the stripes - yellow alternating with the frosted look - help the yellow to not be too much. I am just tickled pink...ahem, yellow...with this vase.

So that's the part where things went right. Where they went wrong - I also painted the frame of the mirror with the same yellow. I can't even bear to show you what it looks like, because it's horribly, horribly, wrong. You know that yellow on a school bus, which is really somewhere between a yellow and an orange? Yeah. That's the color of my mirror right now. So, I quickly had to put something else in its place while I wait for the SUN to come back so I can spray paint it a different yellow.

Luckily, I had this yellow print in another room, just waiting to be used. I quickly stuck it on the hook that normally holds the mirror. Added my yellow vase and a yellow's definitely not perfect, or finished, but at least it's not embarrassing now. (As it would have been had I left the school-bus mirror up.) As soon as the weather allows, I'll be re-painting the mirror and will then show you the finished "after" pictures. (This yellow print is intended for another spot in the room.)

So...I wanted yellow...and I got YELLOW!! And ya know, I love that little vase so much, it's almost worth the agony of going to all that work to paint a mirror school-bus yellow and then have to paint it again.

Monday, June 14, 2010

mahvelous mahket day

Finally...a weekend that felt like summer here in the Pacific Northwest! I love nothing more on a sunny Saturday than to browse my local farmer's market. I find that more and more recently, I am appreciating the beauty in things as simple as fresh green asparagus, or dazzling-ly red strawberries. It is artwork more complex and beautiful - not to mention functional - than I could ever create.

We call it "Gus" around our house. We adore it. A little olive oil, salt and pepper, grill it for just a few minutes. I'm getting hungry!

And if you weren't hungry before, surely you are now. Look at this red delicious-ness!

and know I love peonies. I bought a couple more bunches of them Saturday...some for me, some for my mom (who's recovering from surgery for colon cancer).


...and when peonies are only $5 for a large, glorious bunch - why wouldn't you indulge?

sooo purty

But, as always, I find myself drawn to truly artistic and creative vendors. This is one of my favorites.

Little Brown House Herbary guessed it...herbs! On Saturday the herbs were buy one plant, get one free. Woohoo!

 Above are sweet little bath salts that seller Linda Taylor made herself from her own herbs.

But what I liked more than the great herb deals, was the way that seller Linda Taylor used her artistic talents in creating a charming little space in which to sell her herbs. Above, my favorite thing at the whole farmer's market - which, sadly, was not for sale - was this table cloth she made for her space using burlap bags. I'll admit, I was swooning over it a bit. I told her she should sell them at the farmer's market too - she'd make a killing!

You can see Linda's artistic talent on this great chalkboard she made out of an old frame. I love it when people don't just use chalkboards to communicate information, but they do it in a way that's beautiful, too. Look at all the flowers she drew on the sign! I love to see people who care about making things not only funtional, but aesthetically pleasing, too. It makes a big difference to me.

And here's Linda herself...isn't she cute? She and her husband Jim are two of the nicest people, and she was very sweet to let a perfect stranger take her picture. I kinda felt like I wanted to come back every week just to visit with them! That's one of the cool things about the Farmer's Market. Somehow I just don't feel the same about going to the grocery store.

Can you say "YUMMY"?!


And ya know, only at the farmer's market are you invited to sample the cherries before you buy them! Love it.

What about you? Do you shop at farmers' markets?

Friday, June 11, 2010

friday's fab finds: loving violet

Today, just for fun, I thought I'd feature some fab finds in lovely shades of violet. Purple, lavendar, it what you wish...but the color is romantic, elegant, a little moody, and unique. It's not the most common color to decorate with, or even to wear, and I think that's why it's always appealed to me. Combined with grey or silver the effect is stunning. It's feminine, but not too girly.

mystic orchards...fine art photo print from leapinggazelle

This print is so lovely and sort of surreal. I love the muted shades of violet in this print of orchids. I actually found several prints in this shop that were lovely and purpley all at the same time. In fact, I'm sort of in love with all the prints they offer, even the ones that aren't purple. There are too many I like to feature here.

Can I get an "Awww!"?  Finally, cute hair pins that I probably wouldn't even let my daughters wear, because they'd be on my own head first. These are so sweet and colorful and elegant. And I love the three colors they are selling together.

Okay, now I realize this one is not purple at all. But I mentioned earlier that the combination of purple and gray is just stunning, and here's a perfect example. This print would fit just about any interior because it's fairly neutral...yet it really sets off the violets in this post well too. I like the more graphic representation of the popular cherry blossoms. This shop carries a lot of other graphic prints that bring simple but styling bursts of color to your walls. You should check them out.

By the Pond original acrylic on canvas by sandinthesky

I love, love, love this and I LOVE the chance to own original artwork. This one is well-priced for its size (and it's on sale through Father's Day!). It is just so restful and beautiful to me, and could fit with traditional, contemporary, or modern decor. Whatever floats your boat. So lovely.

I hope you're not getting bored with my constantly including jewelry by etsy seller thatjewelrygirl. I just can't help myself! Her pieces are one-of-a-kind, so there's always something fresh in her shop. This neclace could be pink...could be purple...but for sure is GOR-geous!

lilac flowers - set of 6 custom rhinestone notecards by NestInk

Do you like that? How I threw in one of my own products in an act of shameless self-promotion? But really...look at the colors...I designed this gray-and-lavendar notecard several months ago, and as I was putting together my gray-and-purple post today, a lightbulb went off, and I thought...hey! I have the perfect find in my own shop! I've never included my own things in my Friday's Fabulous Finds before, and I don't intend to do it often. But in this instance, it fit perfectly. 'Nough said.

That's it for today, folks. Here in Portland we are praying for SUN and the weather report says we just might get it! We are giddy with excitement. I hope you have a lovely weekend too.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

paper love for a dancing queen

Here are some sweet cards I made recently. A friend of mine asked me to create cards for her daughter's ballet teacher as a thank-you gift. What a great idea! And since my daughters are in ballet too...I'm stealing the idea, and their teacher will also receive these personalized notecards as a year-end gift.

Each card is embellished with two light-pink rhinestones, and the name of the dance teacher (or whoever's receiving them!). These would also be great gifts for the dancer in your life...or any girl who likes pink and romantic ballet slippers. How about a "thank you for coming to my dance recital" note? Anyway, I'm selling them in sets of six, just like my other notecards. But I'm always willing to do custom quantities, so if you'd like to purchase some in a different amount, just ask! I'll just listed these in my Etsy shop.

In other news, my mom's surgery yesterday to remove colon cancer appears to have been a resounding success! What a relief and answer to prayer. I have to confess, it's been hard to think of anything to blog about in the last week, because somehow decorating is the farthest thing from my mind when I'm concerned about a loved one. That being said, creating cards was a nice mental escape. The cards above were made by my kids and myself to decorate my mom's hospital room. She'll be there for several more days, so we wanted to give her cards that were as bright and cheerful as possible. I can't think of anywhere more in need of a ray of sunshine than a hospital room.

Click here if you need a before-and-after fix. I'm basically finished with a friend's redesign - just have to get back over there sometime soon to take pictures of the space. I can't wait to show you! It's a room that's gone from having no function at all, to now two or three functions in one. LOVE it.

Friday, June 4, 2010

five bucks at the farmer's market

Look what I got for five bucks at my farmers' market last weekend! I cannot begin to tell you how much joy these six peonies have brought me this week. And the silverplate pitcher they have been living in...two bucks at a garage sale. It says "Kent Silversmiths" on the bottom.

I mean, really...if you can't have summer-like weather (ours is downright depressing and resembles November more than it does June)...than luscious, early-summer blossoms in your living room are the next best thing.

And for five bucks? The cost of a Starbucks stop...only this find stays with you (in a good way) for days. And did I mention they smell lovely too? For several days I commented on them every time I entered the room.

My week's been a little topsy-turvy with the discovery that my mom has colon cancer. She will go in for surgery on Tuesday morning. I am praying the surgery totally takes care of it.

There are times where a tiny spot of beauty in your home really means a lot. This is one of them. I plan to bring more peonies like this to my mom as she's recuperating in the hospital, and then again when she's at home. I think it's so important to have beauty around you when your body and your heart are weak, sick, and tired. I'm praying that her recovery will go smoothly and she'll be cancer-free. And my flowers will get to hang out with her even when I can't be there.