This guy just turned five years old in July. Every year his birthday is like a milestone for my business. Five years ago, as I prepared for Sam's arrival, I also prepared to launch my business that had been in the works for a while. I thought and thought about the business I wanted. In the meantime, I was creating things for my house and for the new nursery. Designing, making and decorating has always made me happy. And so, this is what I decided to do.
I knew if I didn't start this business before he was born, he would be two years old before I would have the ability to do it again. His coming is what made me take the leap. And knowing I never wanted to work in someone else's office again helped too!
I began photographing the things I made for our home, the kids spaces, I refurbished furniture and collected beautiful things from resale stores, and eventually I had enough products to launch an Etsy store. A tough lesson was accepting that not everything would be perfect and not every project on the list would be finished, but just to start with what I had ready. At this point I had to accept "good enough" as the way it needed to be (which is against every perfectionist grain in my body)! People have asked me how I began, and said that they would love to start a marketplace store, they've told me they have some things they could sell or a marketable talent, but they don't have enough or not everything is ready. I tell them to just do the best with what you have and the rest will fall into place.
It does! It falls into place! So, here I am five years later and business has developed into the vision I had when I there was just a 2 year old girl and a baby boy on the way. I grabbed this screenshot when I first woke up this morning. It shows what people have been shopping for in the early hours. More than that, it shows a collection of products that I had dreamed of creating and selling years ago. It's taken time, trial and error and a lot of learning as I go. Now, the pieces I make are ones that I am proud to sell and the design service business is moving along. I am at home with my kids, although I have to say "...later! I am working!" a lot, but they have me here. I don't have to go back to someone else's office and I do what I love to do. Every day.
Ask me questions, tell me your story, leave some feedback ... I would love to hear from you!
Here's a few bookshelf images I find inspirational ... hope you do too!
I'd love to hear about your experience if you buy the Laflat Album. And please post any questions or comments you may have!
"Quality over quantity" has become more and more my mantra when it comes to gift giving. I am running out of space for bins and bins of cheap toys and household gadgets that don't fit in my cabinets and inexpensive clothes that wear out quickly and force me to decide if I should donate them after one month of ownership ... and I really don't want to deal with the clutter and cleaning that tags along with all that stuff!
When considering quality over quantity for gifts, quality often requires more thought and results in far less quantity. It also results in far more appreciation by the gift recipient and enjoyment of giving by you! Part of that enjoyment can be from having the time to wrap each gift more carefully and specially for a person. You'll have the time because your're not wrapping piles, only a beautiful, carefully chosen selection of gifts. There is a ton of inspiration on Pinterest. I'm sharing what I came up with this year. I hope you and your wrapping crew have as much fun with this as we did!
Click through or watch the slideshow of some of the gifts I had fun wrapping this year:
Here's a little how-to ...
Start with the yarn you like, I find inexpensive yarn works better than higher-quality yarn. The inexpensive yarn has more "grab" and less slipping when you work with it. It also creates fluffier pom-poms.
The supplies you'll need are yarn, feathers, hot-glue and scissors.
Here's a little video of me wrapping the yarn around four fingers. The fewer fingers you wrap results in a smaller pom-pom. If you want to make a really large pom-pom, use a wide piece of cardboard.
Trim a piece of yarn about 10" long, lay it out. Slip the wound yarn off your fingers and lay it on the 10" piece of yarn and tie securely.
Once tied, slip scissors blade into loops and cut on both sides. If you want a shorter strands, trim them.
Now you have a pom-pom made. Have your hot-glue and package ready. Wrap the package with yarn as many times as you'd like. Tie off in back and trim excess yarn from tie. Leave the strands spread apart in interesting patterns or scrunch together to make a solid band, tie in front if you'd like to angle the strands in (see below.)
At the spot where you'd like your feathers and pom-pom, place a dime-size amount (more or less) of hot-glue under the yarn. Poke ends of feathers into glue and arrange quickly. Put a little more hot glue on top and secure the pom-pom. Trim up strands if desired. Some packages I wrapped looked great with the longer strands, some didn't. Do whatever looks good to you!
Ideas I had, but didn't use, are monotone colors, natural-colored feathers, lightly patterned paper, anything could work. Options are endless. This packaging design would be amazing for birthday gifts and other gifts. My kids had a great time "helping" too!
Post any questions in the comments, I'm happy to answer. Also let us know any ideas you may have or ways you'd do this wrapping differently.
Feel free to watch our full video of making a pom pom ribbon. Have fun and be creative!
The season has finally turned for good, the fireplace has been going more frequently, dawn and dusk are closer together and sweaters are a worn daily. We've done some decorating around the house, but even with all that effort, it's missing a little something ...
... a few specialty pieces are a great way to put your decor over the top and really enjoy being inside again for the season. Today, I'm sharing four ideas from my shop that will make you love your decor and will transcend the seasons.
Nuts are a traditional symbol of the cooler seasons, make 'em gold and you've got eye-catching décor pieces.
Leather. Gives a classic cozy feel wherever it's used.
Books, whether you have time for them or not, they evoke thoughts of curling up and reading by the fire. Make a statement, by decorating a stack of books or the bookshelf itself with Elizabeth Andersen's Decorative Spheres.
Velvet, a luxurious, classic material that just feels rich and warm.
Enjoy the season!
A perfect image of Fall. I love using the beautiful things that nature creates for Autumn decor. Using gourds, pumpkins, leaves, dried flowers and acorns gives decorations an authenticity and rusticity impossible to replicate with something from the store. This decorator even threw in a little bit of spooky Halloween fun! Love.
You get a lot of time to think while you paint, and today as I painted long trim boards, I found myself thinking about how my ability to paint well has afforded me much nicer spaces and home-lifestyle than I would be able to have without. I believe anyone can perfect the skill of painting. We're talking painting basics and how to get them right.
Many home-owners and home-renters put up with drab, ugly, dingy spaces because the thought of painting is simply daunting. We've all done it: looked at the pin on Pinterest or the page in House Beautiful Magazine and thought "Oooh, that color would be perfect in the bedroom ... I could do that!" Then the thought of purchasing brushes, rollers, tape, sandpaper and drop-cloths creeps in. And, soon, we start thinking of the steps it takes and the time-line involved and say "Forget it! When I have money, I'll hire it out." Needless to say, it never happens and you continue to live in a space that doesn't make you happy. And your space should make you happy and comfortable.
A major part of beating this cycle is to have good and well-maintained supplies on hand and at-the-ready, this is step one. Go out and purchase good supplies and plan on taking care of them. Read the packaging about how to clean and maintain your tools. Store them well and that first negative thought is eliminated. Supplies you should have on hand are:
Start assembling your tool kit and we'll talk about putting it to use in Part 2!
Written for The Circular Home
Buy Your Linens
Have nice linens. The simplest thing you can do each year to make yourself and your family feel good, your closets, hooks, towel bars and beds looking good is to BUY NEW LINENS.
For the longest time I didn’t know that January is the month linens go on sale. BIG-time sale. This may be a reminder or great news to you, either way, do your shopping and take the first step in freshening your home for the New Year by getting crisp new sheets for the bed and fluffy, absorbent towels for the bath.
I typically like to get the best I can afford, and this often times forces me to alternate my purchases. One year I may buy new towels and the following year new sheets. Unless you are really hard on your fabrics, alternating years should work out just fine keeping your linens looking fresh and bright. If you can buy the best of it all each January, by all means do it and enjoy!
Nothing uplifts the look of the bedroom or bath more than fresh, clean linens and alternatively nothing more quickly drags down a comforting setting than drab, worn towels and sheets. Comparatively speaking, these are a much more affordable option to refresh a space than new furnishings or finishes.
I always buy white. White is always fresh, always bright and easy to clean. Colors can be fun too, but use them with restraint. Here are my favorite buys:
Restoration Hardware’s 802-Gram Turkish Towel Collection: http://bit.ly/1RMKJir
Pottery Barn's PB Classic 820-Gram Weight Bath Towels: http://bit.ly/1NNAtTU
Or try a search on EBay: “Turkish towels, hammam towels, peshtemal, fauta, turkish hammam” Different levels of quality will pop up in your search, you can give the Turkish towels a try by starting inexpensively or go ahead with a better quality and spend a bit more. Either way, you’ll love these highly absorbent and quick-drying towels.
Land’s End Home: http://bit.ly/22tOf5f
Tuesday Morning: This is a great “hit or miss” shop where they carry some of the highest-quality linens for a fraction of the cost. I picked up a set of $1200 sheets for $100 last January. Worth a stop for the budget shopper.
View this article on The Circular Home
Written for The Circular Home
Typically an afterthought, the decorative throw pillow certainly does not receive its due as the space-altering, mood-setting or color-invigorating piece of home décor that it is.
Think about it: visiting a friend’s home or looking through a magazine or scrolling Pinterest; throw pillows are always something you notice, whether subconsciously or consciously. They are there on the sofa, bed, chair, and floor adding color, pattern and texture to the room.
The glorious thing about these pretty little accents is that they are affordable. There is a decorative pillow for your budget that will make a great impact on your space, taking it from tired to fabulous.
As you are inspired to organize and refresh your home this month, take a good long look at those throws around your house. Could they be better, more colorful, and puffier? Here are some things to know about having great throw pillows that make a powerful impact on your home décor:
As you work your way around the house freshening things room by room, take notice of places that could use a little uplift. Pick a piece of furniture or a room and take the steps we’ve discussed to really brighten and uplift your space affordably. Once you’ve had success, try the next space and eventually enjoy easily refreshing your home with perfect pillows that will make a fantastic impact on your home décor.
View this article on The Circular Home
Learn how to make these simple and fun pumpkins, gourds and ghosts in 5 steps with a few simple tools and colorful paper.
Here's the traditional and cute pumpkin paper craft taken a little further by simply getting creative with shape, size and color. Your kids will love seeing these pretty shapes spinning overhead and you will love them just as much for their clean, simple lines and pretty colors.
Supplies: I went to the paper section at Hobby Lobby and it was as easy as pumpkin pie to choose complimentary, beautiful sheets of colored paper. They are grouped by color. Whatever compliments your home and style, grab a sheet of each. I purchased the large square sheets. Remember to choose some leaf colors (small sheets are ok for the leaves, you won't need much) as well and sheets of black and white if your making ghosts ghosts. You will also need scissors, a pen or pencil and a stapler.
First: Cut the sheets into 1" strips. (Do not cut the leaf or black sheets.)
Second: Group an odd number of strips together and stack evenly. It is easier to start with about five strips until you get the hang of it. Staple the stack of strips at one end. Take the middle strip and move the strip immediately next to it up and inch or two towards the stapled end. Play around with it, the higher up the middle strip you push the strip next to it, the fatter your pumpkin or gourd will be, the less you push up the middle strip, the narrower your pumpkin will be. You can do one side and put a temporary staple in to hold the position and then match your strip placement on the other side if you have trouble keeping all your strips as you want them while you work. Place your temporary staple as far to the bottom as possible so you can trim it off easily later.
Third: Once both sides are positioned like you want, staple all the strips together at the bottom end of your pumpkin or gourd. (This staple will not be trimmed, so make it neat.)
Ghosts: Now I've covered basic construction. I will back-track a bit and tell you how to make a ghost. The same concept applies, except the head of the ghost will be small and the excess strips will be left long, not trimmed in the end. Do not use a temporary staple with ghosts, as there is no trimming it off. If you want you ghosts to have long pointy heads, move your staple farther down the strips at the top. The varied lengths of strips at the bottom, create an interesting looking body.
Fourth: Get your leaf colored papers and cut varied shapes 1" wide and a few inches long. There is nothing exact here, wavy, jagged edges are OK :) Cut some skinny strips for tendrils, too. Then, with a pen or pencil, curl your leaves and tendrils. (This is a fun part for the kids to help with :)
Fifth: Get out the glue! Glue your tendrils and leaves to the top of the gourds, hiding the staple. You can get creative. Turn your leaves right-side up or upside-down, give your creation some authenticity. For ghosts, glue their eyes and mouths to the face (hot glue probably works best for this).
Finally: Loop a cute string through your piece, hang and enjoy!
Have fun with this craft and enjoy it's pretty style for the season!
I'm admitting it: I am not a huge fan of the endless hues of pink used to make little girls feel girly. Pink clothes, toys, home decor. Gag! The other day, Birdy, my five-year-old daughter said, "I am a girl because I love pink!" I immediately responded, "I don't think that makes you a girl and maybe boys like pink too!" Unfortunately, this is what little girls are taught and there's bigger battles in my book.
As much as I am over the association of little girls with pink. I find myself with the Benjamin Moore color wheel, comparing the lights and brights and bolds in the pink section to create the perfect little girl space. Why? Because she loves it. And, she has never had that pink room and might not have another ever again.
So, here we go! Pink, pink, pink! Painstakingly, I've chosen two colors of pink. The overall color is a super-soft pink with a tinge of peach by Benjamin Moore called Elephant Pink. The accent wall, to give Birdy a thrill, is a bold pink called Rosy Blush, also by Benjamin Moore. I've decided to go with eggshell finish for cleanse-ability and a little sheen. I would love to use a shinier finish, but I have old and imperfect walls and am trying to minimize their flaws. Now, we have paint colors and they're going up, next, in efforts to bring some balance to the pink, I plan on adding in blues and greens, yellows and white through window treatments, rugs, floor pillows, bedding and wall art.
Come along with me on this project where I will continue to share my ideas, trials, successes and failures. I am also exploring a great program, SampleBoard.com, to develop and share design boards and really get my ideas across in a dynamic way. In future posts about Birdy's room, I'll be talking about our theatre theme, painting and installing millwork, building and upholstering window cornices and creating overall balance in a PINK! room.