Thursday, March 26, 2015

Minted Art Prints // A New Look for the Dining Room

I was perusing the artwork selection on Minted's site when, ironically, I received an email from Minted asking if I would review their curated Art Marketplace. Kismet! I'm all about blogging with authenticity, so it was an easy "yes".

Redecorating our dining room has been on my mind for the past few years. We moved into our current home five years ago, and we basically just squeezed in our existing dining room furniture & accessories, then moved on to deal with more pressing issues. Our current furniture is big, bulky, outdated (think Tuscan circa 2001), uncomfortable and our dining room just doesn't work with the rest of our space. The artwork in the room is no better; Dark, heavy… Not inspiring at all. We've been making-do for the past 5 years and I think it's time to remedy the situation.

Over the past few months I've been perusing various online art sites for inspiration. My plan? Find contemporary art & accessories and meld it together with timeless, useable furniture pieces. The only thing that I'm keeping is a silk & wool rug. Luckily it is a neutral transitional piece and should work well with many contemporary styles.

Using the artwork from Minted as inspiration, I came up with 5 different looks.

Look 1: Bold + Masculine

Look 2: Black + Gold

artwork:    the rapids by rose lindo via minted.  | chandelier | chair | table | rug

Look 3: Beach-Inspired

artwork: beach by yao cheng design  via minted   | chandelier | chair | table | rug

Look 4: Ethereal

Look 5: Neutral + Bold Color

Now the hard part… Figuring out what style to go with! I'm terrible about making big decisions. Someone chime-in and help me out!

In the meantime, here's more eye-candy…

Aren't these strong, bold prints wonderful? They just demand attention.

artwork via minted: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 

When it comes to artwork, my eye is always attracted to pink and other feminine colors-- It just seems so light and uplifting. And yet I don't own anything pink or purple. No decor. No clothes. I may need to rethink my buying habits. :)

artwork via minted: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

One color that just speaks to me is blue. I have splashes of blue in every room. From a chair in a reading nook, to artwork in the living & great rooms. Calm and soothing, I love blues (and greys too)!

artwork via minted: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

What a goldmine of incredible art!  I've purchased some very cool cards from Minted in the past, so I am really happy to find the same quality of carefully curated and well-priced artwork in their Art Marketplace. There are so many eye-catching pieces that I feel that the possibilities are endless… What say you? Any standouts?

disclosure: This post is sponsored by the fine folks at Minted. As always, all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day - Rainbow Cupcakes

Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

Yesterday the boys and I whipped up some easy Rainbow Cupcakes for a bake sale. We are competing with donuts, a bake sale favorite, so this year we decided to take it up a notch. Yes it's still tastes like a white cupcake… but it looks much more fancy with a little lot of color!

Here's why it's easy--
White Cake Mix (I used Pillsbury Moist Supreme)
Vegetable Oil
Buttercream Icing Mix (I used Wilton)… I don't usually like frosting, but this one was good.
Food Coloring (I used Wilton Gel)… The color is very concentrated and you don't need much.

Enlist the help of eager leprechauns to mix, stir & dollop.

Bake it…

Let it cool then… Frost it.

I didn't even bother with a frosting tip. I put the frosting in a ziplock bag, cut the corner and squeezed.

We'll see how these do at the Bake Sale!

It just occurred to me that the last time couple of times I've posted were also "holidays"… in February. Whoops, I really mean to post more often, but it's been a busy month (heck, a busy 6 months) and time keeps getting away from me. I do have a project that I'm working on… If it turns out I'll share it in the next week or so. Crossing my fingers, because it's a science experiment of sorts.  Have a great rest of the week!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Make // Minecraft Valentines - Free Printable

My six year old loves Minecraft, so this year we decided to make Minecraft Valentine's Day cards for his class. I kept it simple with swords for the boys and hearts for the girls-- All in the pixelated-Minecraft theme of course!

Perler Beads lend themselves perfectly for this. I have to admit that I kind of like working with them-- slow, pedantic and somewhat relaxing if you're not in a rush.  I had a bit of practice with Perler Beads when we threw a Minecraft-themed birthday party last summer (details HERE). 

You can obviously do a lot more with Perler Beads and the Minecraft theme-- Minecraft Creepers, Steves and Mobs, etc. If you're looking for more design ideas, check out these Perler Bead cupcake picks.

Click "Read more" for the full post

Saturday, September 20, 2014

This Week // 9.20.2014

sunset fields via sylwia urbaniak photography | available on etsy

Well hello there! 

Just popping my head in to say "hi"… and make sure the ol' blog is still standing. ;) 

I didn't mean to take two weeks off but, life happens and then suddenly it's two weeks later.

Or something like that.

In my last post, we were "transitioning" into a new routine.

Well, I guess we're as transitioned as we'll ever be.

So I find myself with a 1st & 3rd grader.

They are busy.

2 soccer practices, 2 basketball practices, 2 karate classes, 1 lego engineering and 1 agility training…

Add school and homework, the random play date or birthday party, and that's pretty much our week.

Tack on my decision to handle the fundraising for the kids' school.

I've had my head buried in spreadsheets, verbiage and strategy since school began.


The last two weeks we've also had family and friends in town, visiting from other countries.

Hong Kong and Brazil to be exact.

So cool to have and maintain these long-distance relationships.

Busy and lucky.

And Thankful.

That's enough babbling. Here's what's going on this week--

The crazy week-long heatwave finally broke and today it finally feels like Fall. I can't put away the shorts and tees just yet, but at least I can start thinking about  *flannel*  *plaid*  *boots*  and  *wool pants*.

10 steps to make your child smarter. Unlike most lists, this one is backed by science and actually makes sense.

Have you ever tried grilling lettuce? I love grilled cabbage… and this grilled romaine salad appeals to me.

And here's where you think I've gone completely nuts… The cutest snail ever. We have one in our aquarium… Fun to watch and smarter than our fish.

I'm re-thinking our dining room and this chandelier has me intrigued.

I swear by argan oil and use it day and night to keep my sensitive skin happy and dewy soft. This alternative to the pricey josie maran version gets my stamp of approval… and I like the pump better than the medicine dropper.

Hope you're having a nice weekend!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

This Week // 9.04.2014

personalized leather bracelets via sweet auburn studio | available on etsy

Our household is in transition mode… we are transitioning from Summer to Fall, from K & 2nd to 1st & 3rd, from Unscheduled to Scheduled. Today is the boys' first day of school. I'll be honest… I'm a little sad. Usually I'm jumping at the bit to get back on schedule, but this summer I thoroughly enjoyed being under-planned. That's probably not even a word, but under-planned is sometimes good for a usually over-planned family. Luckily we have a few days to adjust before the REAL school year kicks off on Monday. So we are excited, anxious, slightly unprepared but pretty much ready to go as we'll ever be. Ready or not world, here we come!

Besides transitioning, here's what's going on this week--

I always crave Plaid during the Fall. This dress caught my eye. And so did this top.

The history behind Why we shouldn't wear white after Labor Day. Do you/did you ever follow that rule?

This may be the year of the puffer vest. I'll revisit that thought when it's not 90 degrees outside.

I just love this Back-to-School comparison of the 1970's vs. Today. I can so relate since I grew up in the 70's and now have school age kids… Man, I miss those uncomplicated days…

Antibiotics in our food causing allergic reactions in some… What (!!!)

Tired of your Summer tees but it's too hot for Fall clothes… It's time for something edgy, yet cool

Happy almost-weekend!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Make // Pineapple Gold Leaf Bowl

I wasn't going to jump onboard the "pineapple decor" bandwagon. But then, on our trip to Kauai, I saw this 1970's designed pineapple bowl while perusing the Tourist Section at Walmart. You know that section? The one that all the locals avoid? I was fearless and risked my reputation for this!! I kid. Sorta… Anyhow, for 5 bucks, I figured I could indulge the trend.

BTW, this bowl is made from pine, not pricey koa or monkey pod that some of the vintage pieces are made from. So while this pineapple bowl brings me back to the time of avocado shag carpet and orange formica… aah memories… I'm clearly someone who enjoys living in this century, and had no problem updating it with a little paint and bling.

My only struggle was deciding on a design…  Should I paint it on the diagonal? White with gold polka dots? Paint it all? Leave some wood showing? Gold leaf?

Eventually Gold Leaf won out. I have a gold leaf kit that's been hiding-out in my craft supplies for the past year or two. Truth be told, gold leaf can be a little tricky to work with, so I put off using it until I had the time and patience. Well, last week I had the time and patience-- woot! Here's how my first attempt at gold leafing turned out.

Click "Read more" for the tutorial

Thursday, August 21, 2014

This Week // 8.21.2014

We are back from our annual trip to Oregon. It was eleven days of amazing. We spent 7 days in Portland and 4 days in Central Oregon. This wasn't a super fancy or highly planned out trip, but it was perfect for us-- Quality time with great friends and many, many children… nine in all! And those nine kids (7 boys, 2 girls) got along splendidly. We hung out a lot, bbq'd a lot, played a lot. It was just what we needed.

Now we're home and the back to school, back to routine, back to work, back to everything, is in full swing. It's all good though. This has been one of the best summers on record for us. It's a combination of the kids being a little older (no nap schedules to adhere to, no major meltdowns) and also me being better at planning and finding the right mix of busy and downtime. Ah summer...

So, besides laundry, here's what's going on this week--

You know those tees and sweatshirts with French saying? I still like 'em.

Oh dear, dear, dear… They one-upped cookie butter. Already on my shopping list.

I think it's inane to worship athletes and celebrities, but I'm okay with my kids looking up to this humble guy. A good read for the 8+ crowd. This is the kids' edition, but there's also one for teens/adults.

After a decade of being a strictly pants kinda gal, I'm ready for a change. I may have found the perfect skirt-- not too frumpy, not too frilly. Just right.

You're looking for a Natural Dyes Chart, right? Sure you are. This one is cute and useful for a future project.

I've always wondered what to do with these drawers. Now I know.

Have you heard of a capsule wardrobe? I always feel better when I simplify… Consider me intrigued.

Fall shoes… Oooh. Currently 20% off.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

This Week //8.14.2014

abstract pillows via art pillow | available on etsy

We are hanging with our besties and having a relaxing, carefree week… Well as relaxing as it can be with 7 kids under the age of ten! Luckily they all get along really, really well. Which probably isn't all that unusual considering that us parents (well, 3 out of 4) have known each other since 9th grade. These days I really appreciate our childhood friends. If these relationships can weather puberty, teenage whims, and the unpredictable 20's, they can pretty much make it through anything!

Here are some things I liked this week--

Cute bootie alert!

I don't like frosting. But I still have a sweet tooth. This nekkid cake may be just the thing.

Did you ever wish that you could create a Water Color Map with a snap of your fingers? Just enter your location. Done.

Tips for planning an Epic Road Trip. Unless we're driving at night, my kids can't survive past 1.5 hours. Saving for later.

Do you collect fonts? These are pretty darn cute.

Apparently Instagram selfies take A LOT of work.

Among other things that we're updating in our house, we need to install and change-out some ceiling lights. I'm digging this round-up of lighting fixtures.

This may be THE perfect jacket for Fall.

Happy *almost* Weekend!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Eat // Dutch Oven Savory Pork Roast

I've been a slacker blogger lately (there. I said it!) and I actually couldn't remember if I shared this recipe already. So I had to search my own blog. Pitiful. 

Anyhow, it turns out that I haven't already shared this recipe and it's about time that I did!

I love easy. I love healthy. I love anything that makes my eyes roll back in my head as I stuff my face between sighs. This pork roast just does it for me. And my hubby and boys agree.

I love it when that happens because I am not a short-order cook… and I get annoyed when one kid likes white sauce, one kid likes red sauce and I'm supposed to figure it out… pink sauce??

No figuring it out with this one. The only thing I do differently for one kid is give him barbecue sauce instead of gravy.

Someone always has to be difficult special.

Click "Read more" for the recipe

Thursday, August 7, 2014

This Week // 8.07.2014

beautiful sunsets this week…
but thankfully the humidity broke and we're back to dry 80's. phew!

We have a month left of summer break and I feel like time is just speeding by. I find it interesting that many schools have already started or will start within the next week or two. It seems like schools are starting earlier each year… Remember the good o' days when school would start mid or late September? I'm not sure how I feel about school getting out in May and starting in July/August, but all I know is that right now we're not physically or mentally prepared, so I'm grateful for the extra few weeks!

Things I liked this week…

A cool DIY leather-wrapped console table.

Vans are back! Or did they ever leave? I may need these cool kicks. If anything to relive my skateboarding days. ;)

Underwater photography tips.

I'm not really a watch person, but… wow!

Toile… it's making a come-back!

We're finally getting around to doing some home improvements around here. I'm a decorating scaredy-cat so I'm starting with the easiest room-- our guest room. It's getting new charcoal gray drapes and this bedding. It's a start!

After trying on way too many hats-- too floppy, too wide, too summery… I finally found my hat for Fall. It keeps the sun off my face and, although it looks like wool, it's light and airy.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Make // Paper Punch Card

It's been awhile since I've worked on a project, so when my sister-in-law's birthday rolled around, it was the perfect opportunity to create a pretty and simple card.

I used this technique a few years ago for the cover of my journal, and it's one of my favorite projects-- Simple with a little flair.

click "Read more" for the tutorial

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Party // Minecraft - Free Printables!

As promised, here are the FREE PRINTABLES for a Minecraft Party. If you're looking for all of the party details, click here.

 This Creeper printable will fit nicely around a tall
 2"x4.75" juice box.

And this TNT printable will fit around a 2"x2"x2" box.

Click "Read more" for the Free Printable & Instructions

Monday, July 28, 2014

Party // Minecraft - Part 2

I mentioned in a previous post that we were gearing up for a Minecraft Birthday Party. Well that party was this past weekend and I believe the birthday boy and his guests had a great time.

Weather in July is always warm in Southern Cal, so we held the party at an indoor play gym. The kids bounced, slid, jumped and zip-lined to their hearts' content. So basically, there were a lot of sweaty and hungry kids at the end of 2 hours. And those kids were ready to get their Minecraft on!

My youngest LOVES Minecraft so we decided to decorate the party room with all the Creepers, Steves, Mobs and archaic Weapons that we could gather. There aren't a ton of Minecraft decorations out there, so it was a fun challenge for me to make some of my own and also "repurpose" what is already out there.

Click "Read more" for the full post