12.12.13

Christmas Inspiration

So lately I have been on a huge greeting card kick (what with passing out Christmas cards and what-not), and I have been ooh-ing and ahh-ing over beautiful cards everywhere! In the grocery store, in magazines, and online, beautiful type and design has been catching my eye like crazy!

It really makes me think even more seriously that I would love to get into the design field. Whether that includes going back to school or not, I'm not sure at the moment. But it definitely seems to be what pulls at me, and I would love to try my hand at print making, and design!

While on one of my card browsing sessions, I stumbled across this contest from minted. If you don't know, they are this amazing website full of greeting cards, party invitations, and the like! All submitted by designers from all over, and voted on by the minted community. Let me tell you, if I had more money, all of my friends and family would have been getting cards from this site!

Side note: As it were, I settled on designing my own card, and passing those out instead. I was pretty happy with how it turned out :)



Anyways, back to that contest. When I found out they were having a contest based on creating a holiday inspiration board, I was all over that! It's like putting all of my pinterest-ing to good use! So, using one of their Christmas cards that I loved, and some other photos that I've been loving this season, I created this board. I love it, whether or not I win anything, and just looking at it puts me in the Christmas mood!

Cozy Christmas by Amy, see more photo Christmas cards
Cozy Christmas board by Amy. See more photo Christmas cards



As you can tell, I'm really feeling the chalkboard look this year. That mistletoe sign is what I put on my own chalkboard! And I just cannot get enough of all things twinkly and sparkly. I've got some major twinkle light fever going on!

So what has been inspiring you this holiday season? Maybe go check out some more of these inspirations boards, and get dreaming!




16.9.13

On Finding My Niche


Recently, I've been brushing up on a lot of blogging articles. How to grow my blog, design aspects, content advice, and other such things! One thing really jumped out at me from one article, and it was something that had already crossed my mind a time or two. What is my blog really about? What is my niche? What do I love to write about and share with you all, and what it the essence of my blog? 

I feel like I still haven't really taken the time to define what exactly I want this blog to be. I love crafty things, and tutorials, but I'm not very consistent in coming up with projects to share. I love to write, but I find myself blocked on what to write about all too often. I enjoy baking and cooking, but probably not enough to devote a whole blog to it!

I suppose that's why these are called "lifestyle" blogs. It reflects my lifestyle, with a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. And maybe that's ok. Either way, I don't think I have quite enough to draw on from this little blog of mine, to decide exactly what I want it to be yet. I just think that it's time I started heading that direction, and shifting my focus onto the things that really inspire me! I feel like that's the way I will start creating the best content I can, both for me to enjoy, and you, my readers!

During this little reflection period, I came across a link to this awesome website, called Wordle. Basically, you use this sight to create word clouds! I was able to import the link to my blog, and it took every word that I have published here, and made a word cloud based on that. The more a word appears in my blog, the bigger the word is. I hoped that this might help me see if I had a main theme running through all of my writing.

What I saw was that I use the word "just" way, way, way too often!


And "little," "think," and "though." Ha! So, while it didn't give me that essence I was hoping for, I suppose it will help me try to change my word usage up a bit!

After seeing the reality of what my blog contains, I decided to do a little brainstorming. I'm working on a new About Me page, and I wanted to see what word cloud that might come up with (even though it's only a rough draft). I went ahead and added a few words of the things that I really love and that I would like to incorporate more of in my blog. This word cloud is more of an inspiration piece, and I think it will help me on my way to creating my own little niche in this whole blogland!


Inspiration!

I think that Wordle is such a great and fun tool, and you could use it for so many things!

I highly suggest you check it out, whether you were using it for research, or just as inspiration! There are so many layouts, colors, fonts, and orientations to choose from, so you can make it completely unique and yours. And once you create it, it's yours to save and do whatever you want with!

(FYI, this post wasn't sponsored in any way, shape, or form by Wordle. It's just a fun tool that I wanted to share with you all!)

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you find motivation and inspiration for whatever project you might be working on today :) Happy Monday!






10.9.13

I Wish This Was a Tutorial.....

But it most definitely is not!

I did want to share a fun little project with you all though, because even though I'm not talented enough to tell you how to do it, I think anyone else could stumble through it just as well as I did! (And I'll share some tutorials from people who actually did know what they were doing.)

A couple of weeks ago, I had a brilliant idea!

The end of this month marks five years since Dane and I have been married. (Awww!) So I wanted to do something a little extra special, while still staying on a budget. I thought that I would try to make some sort of special night in for us.

Then I realized that I do a lot of "nights in" for us. It has become my standard anniversary/Valentine's deal. I light a bunch of candles, create a playlist, and make a fancy dinner. But how many times can I do that same old thing?

And for those of you wondering why he won't just take me out to dinner, well, we do that a lot too. When you don't have kids, you have the freedom to do date nights a lot! When everything you do is just the two of you, and there's nobody to need to get a break from, any sort of outing becomes a date night, and then even that can become less special. So a romantic night in is sometimes more fun!

This time though, I felt like I needed to up my game a little bit, and come up with something that would really wow him! Then it came to me. I would make an a-frame tent outside, and we would have a romantic camp-out in the backyard!

So I give you: Romantic Backyard Glam-ping!




I knew Dane would love something like this, because he's such an outdoorsy guy, and even if it was just camping in our backyard, he would really enjoy it! Plus, who doesn't love a good sheet/blanket fort?

I was so excited that I got started right away! I went to the store and bought all of my wood and supplies. I think I spent about twenty bucks on all of the stuff for the frame, which consisted of several lengths of 1x2 and 2x2 wood, some bolts, and a couple packages of rope. Everything else, like the lights and coverings, I already had. Most of my information came from a couple of tutorials, here and here.

Now, you can go as fancy or as simple as you want, and I went with very simple. My coverings just bed sheets, and they weren't really attached very well to my frame, just to each other (although that would have been helpful when the wind was blowing!). And I didn't use a dowel rod on the top like that first tutorial did, but in hind sight I think that was the way to go. Instead, I just used screws to attach one of my boards, and I ended up snapping one! It never fell down on us though, so I guess it worked just fine. Like I said, this is no tutorial. I am not a good enough craftsman for that! So, just refer to those links up there :)




For dinner I wanted to go with something light and easy, and I'm glad that I did! Setting up the tent took a lot time and energy, so when it came to the food, I didn't want to have to put a ton of work into it. I still wanted it to tasted good though, so I made some bruschetta with fresh tomatoes from the garden, basil, and fresh mozzarella! I also set out some pita chips and hummus, prosciutto, and a bag of assorted dark chocolates (because those are Dane's favorite!).








 So, besides the fact that I basically spilled the beans (twice! Both on the what and the when) Dane never knew exactly what I had up my sleeve, and he was very impressed with all that I did! We pretty much just hung out and did our usual thing, talking and watching netflix (because what's glam-ping without internet access?) but it was all the more special, because everything is better with twinkle lights!






So there you have it! A fun and magical night in, that doesn't break the bank! The best part, is that these ideas are all so versatile. You could build a fort inside, if the weather wasn't cooperating, or just string up some lights where ever you wanted a little mood lighting. Or, instead of using this for an anniversary, you could do like the tutorials above and make one for your kids to enjoy. Forts make the best reading nooks and hang out spots!

If you do decide to make one, I wish you the best of luck! (Although if I can do it, anyone can.) Now, I'm off to work on something else that Dane enjoys. Clean laundry! Have a great rest of your Tuesday, and thanks for stopping by!

9.9.13

Slow Moving Monday

Top o' the Monday morning to ya!

It is slow going around here this morning. I'm on cup of coffee number two, and have done absolutely nothing productive whatsoever. But that's just how I roll. I like to ease into my Mondays nice and slow!

So, my Pinterest feed has been on fall mode for the better part of the last month, and you would think that since it's finally September, fall would finally be on it's way in! We started getting a taste of cooler weather, and I thought that in just a short amount of time we would be in full fledged autumn.

Wrong!

Tomorrow is supposed to be almost 100 degrees! Blegh....

I suppose it comes down to just being happy and content, no matter what the season (or how long it may drag out), but my boots and scarves are begging to be worn and my fireplace mantel is screaming for some fall decor!

I guess it's good news for those of you who love summer though, and I know several people who aren't quite ready to let go of this warm season just yet. I'll have to keep my shorts out for a while longer I suppose, and just try to have a little more patience...

On another note, I have a new little furry friend to introduce to you! (For those of you who are friends with me on fb, you already know, so sorry for the repeat!)

We adopted a sweet little corgi/terrier mix (I'm guessing), named Emily last week :)


She is just the absolute sweetest little dog ever! She has been uprooted a couple times recently, both from great homes that she loved because her owner moved and couldn't take her. Most recently it was my younger brother-in-law, so that's how she ended up with us.

Her standard belly scratching pose

It was originally going to to be a foster type situation, just until we could find her a good home, but we love having her around! She's older, and chubby, and did I mention sweet? To eat, sleep, and get her belly scratched is all she wants in life, and I'm more than willing to do that. Plus, it's nice not to be so outnumbered anymore, since all our other pets are boys!



She also makes a great little friend for Handsome, which I've wanted for a while now. And she is just the type of dog that Dane loves. A mellow one!

So, Emily makes four, and I think we'd better stop adding to our circus now, or things might start to get out of control ;)

Will you please stop taking these ridiculous pictures and pet me already??


Well, on that cute note, I think it's time I finish my coffee and take these puppies of mine on a walk! Have a great Monday everybody!