Last Minute Gifts & Pictures

IMG_2277Since it’s less than a week before Christmas I know you are scrambling to find one last gift for just about everyone in your family.  Last year I asked everyone to wear jeans and a black shirt.  Then I made the ladies, including my doggie Lola, simple scarves.  I also went all out and bought the guys $5 hats!

I bought yards of fabric, cut them and wrapped them.  Then I got my friend to come take some fun pictures with us all.  It was a great way to remember one of the rare moments when we had all our families together.

I hope you can think of some great ideas for you and your family.

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Chalkboard Wall (guest post Corey & Cambrey Little)

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Chalkboard Wall

When building our new house, my husband and I knew we wanted a chalkboard wall that we could draw on, have our guests sign their names, create cool holiday messages, make grocery lists, etc. We can thank Pinterest for the inspiration! Lucky for me, my mom’s a teacher and my husband is a designer. So we had this one in the bag. My mom is an old school at that. It is 2012 and she still uses chalkboards in her classroom. She swears they are better than any white or smart board on the market. So thanks to her advice, and my talented husband who is a graphic designer/web designer/architect/creative extraordinaire (shameless plug – www.coreylittle.com), we were able to come up with the perfect Christmas chalkboard design.
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Here are the steps we took to achieve it:
1. After we chose the wall we wanted to paint (that took some serious contemplation), we set out to buy some chalkboard paint. We found a can at Home Depot for about ten bucks.
2. Paint the chalkboard wall (a no-brainer, right?). Quick tip – we didn’t use a primer. Just used 2 coats of chalkboard paint. The wall was light grey before.
3. Buy some good chalk. Any kind will do for the “seasoning” (see step 4) we got some really good colored chalk from Michael’s. The brand is Artist’s Loft (blue box) and it had 24 pieces in it.photo 3
4. After the paint has dried, you’ll need to “season” or prep the wall (think like you’re prepping your brand new cast iron pan). Basically all you need to do is cover the entire wall in chalk and then wipe it down w ith a damp cloth. This makes it easier to erase any future design and keep it erased for good. Remember in trigonometry class when you could faintly see the unit circle on the chalk board even though it had been erased weeks before? Anyone? Maybe that was just me. Moving on.
5. I mentioned earlier my husband is a graphic designer. He whipped up a really cool Christmas design in photoshop then had it printed on a transparency at Fedex Office. His dad happened to have an old light projector lying around and gave it to us. We used that to project the design onto the wall and trac ed it out with chalk. Voila! A fancy looking (but super easy) Christmas message on our new chalkboard wall.

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I can’t wait to see what we come up with next!

Christmas Gift Wrap

Last year I decided I was not going to give into the Christmas wrapping paper.  I really don’t like 99% of it and I wanted to spend my money on something creative rather than wrapping paper.  I found some butcher paper (or you can use craft paper).  Then I discovered that I could use my scrap booking tool, Cricut machine, to create a wonderful gift tag.  I got some great festive gold, red, white & silver scrap booking paper.  Then I made all the cuts I needed to  and used my sticker maker.  Some of the gifts I used initials and others I used the whole name.  Then for the final touch I used different textures of ribbon and yarn to create bows.  These gifts ended up looking more like my christmas decorations than cluttered gifts below the tree.

Thanksgiving Traditon

Thanksgiving Day has become a big deal with our extended family.  My Aunt Alice and her mother-in-law started a great tradition.  I hope that one day I will be able to also create a tradition like this one.

Many people have a festive table cloth they use for this special holiday.  Well Alice stepped it up a notch a many years ago.  She took our harvest table cloth and asked every guest to sign the table cloth.  She would set aside a certain area and label with the year.  After every guest had signed the table cloth she would stitch every name and then wash.  Over the years when you come back you see names of friends of the family who were special guests.  One of my favorite things about this table cloth was when my boy friend came, then he became my fiance and then my husband.

 


I’m sad that this is her last year as host of thanksgiving and that I won’t be able to be there.  But I do want her to know what a great memory she created for her family and how she inspired me to start some memories like this for our family.

Carson’s room!

 

I worked hard to make my son’s room a reflection of our style but also what is trendy at the moment.  I wanted to be able to give him bright colors and bold patterns mixed with a classic grey.  Many people’s favorite part of the room is the ceiling, I’ll admit it I stole it from another blog, nonetheless it does look awesome (and it was a lot of hard work for my husband!).

The elements of the room came together over time, most made by my friends.  I’ll link up their Facebook pages or blogs so you could contact them to get a tutorial! Also my friend Adam took some of these great pictures, be sure to contact him for your newborn pictures.

Barn Window

vintage KY barn window. by iPhone

We have flat paint in the room and with the having a little boy pee all over the place I figured we needed some sort of splash guard.  Well… in comes the barn window.  My dad found this in KY and painted it to match our room.  It looks perfect above the dresser my dad and I stripped and painted together a few years ago.

Rocking Chair Cushions

rocking chair cushions. by iPhone

Getting a rocking chair from parents was such a blessing but the wicker bottom and back were a little warn and were not very comfortable.  I looked all over the place for weeks for the right cushions but nothing would work.  Then I had a great idea, my friend Rachel has done some great work with recovering chairs for me in the past.  So I took her to my favorite fabric store, The Fabric House (I admit it, I splurged)here in Nashville.  I picked a totally new pattern in the same line of fabrics that the rest of the bedding is.  She volunteered all her time and talent, if you need someone to carry out a vision and you just don’t think you can do it yourself, ask a friend.

Book Crates

wood crates make great bookshelves
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This room doesn’t have a whole lot of square footage so I decided I’d ditch the book shelf for now.  Since he had several books I wanted to feature them somehow but cheap.  I took some great crates from hobby lobby and painted them.  I have a orange one and a turquoise one.  I used the ceiling paint so I didn’t have to buy more paint either!

Art

painting by Amy Dillon Azevedo
Photo: https://pinterest.com/abphotonash/

I endured many art projects in college, brushes & canvases all over my dorm room, even a wood project with soda bottles, thanks to my roommate Amy.  She took on the task of recreating a great painting I found in a nursery online and make it exactly what I wanted, espically the unique dimensions.  Amy is so gifted and I love that she has such a significant part of his room.

Tangerine Shaggy Rug

fun shaggy rug. uptowncountryhome.com
photo: https://pinterest.com/abphotonash/

This is one of my favorite pictures of our sweet Lola and baby Carson.  She loves him and he has never been scared of her!  This rug was one of my splurges.  It may not be for you but I just had a hard time buying a $150 rug!  It really is one of my favorite pops of color to the room.

Crib Quilt & Bedding

Crib quilt. iPhone

I found a great Etsy site, Modifiedtot for my bedding & diaper changing pad.  I just love the bright colors and multiple patterns.  The quilt hanging on the back of the crib was a great gift from the talented Jennifer Ensor.  She said she picked out the patterns before seeing our room!

Wood Block

beautiful wood block from Jennifer Robertson http://www.craftefamily.com/crafts.asp
photo: https://pinterest.com/abphotonash/

My beautiful sister in law, Jennifer, gave us this great wood block that has all of Carson’s birth information displayed in a creative way.  It’s one of my favorite surprises I received in the mail the week after his birth.

Framed Verse

handwritten verse by Cathy Jones Forman
photo: https://pinterest.com/abphotonash/

Another great gift from a friend!  My dear friend, Cathy, from Middle School, made this great print by hand.  I love that she wrote it all out and it has her character all over it. I also use this as a reminder each time I get him out of his crib that he has been set apart by God for big things.

I hope you have enjoyed some of the fun elements Carson has in his room, I hope he can spend more and more time in here as he gets older.  I know he will love all the bright colors and textures.

How I saved $ on my wedding before Pinterest!

My husband and I got married over 5 years ago.  The only internet resource I really had was theknot.com. Today I will help give you a glimpse on how to save money by making and creating some fun things that were very personal and reflected your style. The money saving tips will be in green.

If you are getting ready to plan your wedding or helping a close friend/family member plan their big day I have one big piece of advice for you, pick two to three elements of your wedding that you are not willing to compromise on.  Spend your money on those things first and let everything else fall in to place.

The two important elements for me were:

Photography

You will see why I loved our photographer so much in this post.  Don’t forget that the pictures from your wedding will be how you tell the story of your wedding day for the rest of your life!

Location, Location, Location!

There are so many reasons why I wanted the Peterson-Dumesnil House in Louisville KY to host our reception, most of our photographs & where we prepared for the big day. This home is a special place for my family, we have been having Thanksgiving here for over 15 years, my aunt and uncle got married there, Corey proposed to be in the living room and I also decorated this staircase (below) for Christmas every year as a child.  When little girls dream of seeing their future husband for the first time most dream of the aisle, I always dreamed about these steps, and seeing him at the bottom!

**Since my Aunt and Uncle are on the board for this historic community we were able to get this home and it’s beautiful property at half price.

I had such a wonderful group of women around there to help me pull off the most beautiful day of my life I just knew I had to give them some fun special treats!

**I ordered these cute personalized bags from llbean.com, grabbed some flipflops from Old Navy, gave them a cute mug & lots of love!

**Not every wedding needs flowers, I know that you may not believe me but it’s true.  I have been some some wonderful winter weddings where the bridesmaids carried muffs or the bride made fabric flowers for her bouquet.  I received a very valuable and personal gift for our wedding, my aunt Alice made every bouquet, center piece & church vase. It was a complete surprise and it was perfect!

I absolutely love paper products.  I think one of the hardest decisions to make for me was which store or company I would use for my wedding invitations.  Finally after a lot of research I found a great website Mygatsby.com they were reasonably priced and they sent me free samples, which was very important to me.

**Since I wanted to keep our programs very simple we took one of our invitations into a local print shop.  We basically just said, give us the closest paper & ink you can give us for our programs. It was important for me to know those that were standing up with us at the alter.  The second was that they would have a order of service. These simple programs I designed and I’ve had several friends us the same lay out.  When we come to your wedding we do not want to read a book.  Keep it simple!

My college/post college roommate Amy set up a place for people to give us their advice and blessings on our wedding day.  Here is what it looked like!

**We picked out some great scrap-booking paper & three glass vases.  This wasn’t just a fun element for our reception but I added the scraps of paper to the back of our guest book (very unconventional guest book I might add with black pages & silver/white pens).  I read these at least once a year and it became one of my favorite take-a ways from our big day. 

Old barn windows are all the rage these days, but I’d like to think that  we were on the cutting edge!

**Most big signs are tacky, an I wanted everyone to know they were at the right place.  The solution was this old barn window, we used some shoe polish to welcome the guests to our reception.  These kids running in the background & the historic home give the feel of southern elegance mixed with a true family affair!

I hope you have seen some ideas that inspire you from our wedding.  We loved every moment of our day and as I look back these elements are all ones I will never forget!

Wedding inspiration from creative friends

Weddings

At one time in place not so long ago I was a part time wedding coordinator, coordinating up to 15 weddings in one year.  It’s such a fun job but upon my move to Nashville I really stepped away from it all.  I still love it but I did realize that I would have to give up most of my weekends to pursue this passion, it just was something I wasn’t willing to sacrifice.  But looking through some of the pictures from the last few years I realize I have gotten to see some of my friends pull off some wonderfully creative elements for their weddings.  So I may not have tutorials for them but I did want to plant the seed in case you find yourself in need of some inspiration one day.  I hope to give you a glimpse into the creativity of our wedding next week!

Cambrey & Corey’s picture backdrop.

Katie & Clay’s simple wedding program

Rachel & Mike’s Polaroid back drop for guests

Christy & Matt’s various wedding cakes at every table

Abigail & Alfred’s BBQ food truck & personalized bibs

If you have any questions on how these bride’s pulled it off be sure to send them a message, I know they would love to share their ideas with you.