April 29, 2009

5 Great Birthday Banner Ideas

Ah, banners. Or garlands. Or streamers. It doesn’t matter what you call them. Hanging up anything with ribbon or string in the name of celebrating is an absolute must-have in my party planning mind. They are such an easy, festive and customizable party decoration. Whether you make them or buy them, they can be as simple or elaborate as you want.

Here’s a look at five great finds from romantic flowers to classic pennant flags.

1. Polkadot Collection cardstock banner from Polkadots & Pirates
2. Customized Papel Picado banner from Mexican Sugar Skull via Snippet & Ink
3. Fabric and pom pom trim banner from Moda Bake Shop
4. Felt pennant banner from Ohdeedoh
5. Flower garland from Sophie Cuvelier via Design Crisis

April 27, 2009

An Idea For Celebrating Family Birthdays

I think that birthday parties are a lot of fun. Sometimes, however, these carefully planned celebrations leave parents stressed out and kids overwhelmed. Often, the party takes place on a day that fits into busy schedules -- in the case of my daughter, a day that works around the season opener of SEC football -- instead of the person’s actual birthday.

This is where today’s inspiration board comes in. It’s for a special birthday dinner, which is a tradition I’m itching to start, and it ensures everyone in the family gets to celebrate on his or her birthday. I’m not saying no to big parties; those will definitely still happen. I mean simply celebrating the big day with decorations used only for birthday dinners along with a customized menu of favorite foods.

While I created this board for families with children in mind, you can easily make it work for couples, roommates or groups of friends. Just choose a color scheme that's a bit more sophisticated.

I’ll see about doing this in my family this year. Since my birthday is first up, it might seem suspicious to start the tradition and then immediately pull it all together for myself. What do you think?

April 25, 2009

Friday Favorite: Green Your Decor

While studying for my interior design degree (circa 2000, yikes!) talk of environmentally-friendly design was just heating up and no one had heard of a blog. But, if things had been different, I would have loved a blog like Green Your Décor, which is the favorite blog for this Earth Day-week.

Written by a designer learning and sharing her process to creating greener homes, Green Your Décor shows products, design ideas and decorating advice that fit within the existing style of most homes and that don’t require an out-of-this world budget. The site itself is pretty, easy to navigate and fun to read.

So, what do I like best about Green Your Décor? The way the blog makes finding eco-friendly products a natural and accessible part of decorating. Here are a few ways that happens.
  • Green Room in a Box series If you like inspiration boards, which I do (big surprise!), you have to check out this series. From nurseries to bonus rooms, this is a stylish collection of completely put together rooms covering everything from floor to ceiling.
  • Green Steals of the Week Sometimes going green is more expensive, but these posts directs you to eco-friendly finds at the best price.
  • DIY projects If you like to make things and/or hate to throw away perfectly good stuff, this list provides inspiration five easy-to-do projects.

April 22, 2009

Create A Relaxing Outdoor Space

In honor of Earth Day I put together this board for an intimate outdoor seating area. Several of the products use sustainable materials or are eco-friendly in other ways. It would work equally well in a small garden, patio or even a balcony (just choose a smaller rug and trade the flowering bushes for potted plants).

Our front porch has an odd little nook with nothing in it. Unfortunately, I’m not much of an outdoorsy girl so venturing outside to sit isn’t high on my list. However, if it looked like this – inviting, peaceful, stylish – I just might find more time to go out there.

  • A lantern looks pretty during the day, but it adds the perfect amount of sparkle to a seating area after the sun sets. Bristol lantern from Pottery Barn
  • You can sit on it or prop up your feet, but I'd put this hand-carved, hand-painted beauty between the bistro chairs and set my drink on it. garden stool from Pier 1
  • The vintage vibe of this rug pulls the outdoor space together. Bonus: just spray it down when it gets dirty. outdoor rug from Target
  • I absolutely love, love, love hydrangeas. While April may be a tad early for these blooms, they are the endless summer variety, so you will plenty of time to enjoy them. endless summer hydrangeas from Home Depot
Do you have a favorite place to sit outside?

April 17, 2009

Friday Favorite: Simple Mom

What could be simpler than reading books and creating organization, the two things talked about here this week? This week's favorite blog is all about making things simple from managing your home to taking care of yourself. It's Simple Mom written by Tsh Oxenreider.

I found Simple Mom several months ago while doing a mad search for ways to organize and manage my days as a stay-at-home mom who also needed to work a little on the side. The resources I found here have been invaluable since then. With two kids (one only a few months younger than my daughter), Simple Mom seemed to have their life in order and loved it.

Here are some of the things I've learned from reading Simple Mom. They have made my life easier, more productive and, I must admit, a little saner.

  • Daily Docket While I'm not nearly as structured with my daily routine, I do plan my days using an adapted version of the daily docket.
  • menu planning I'd never actually thought about menu planning until I read this blog. That's right. Now, I don't know if I could survive without it.
  • Jesse Tree Last Christmas is the first time I've done the Jesse Tree, inspired by this post. It's a great way to spend time with your family remembering the reason for the holiday season.
  • spring cleaning Okay, this hasn't happened yet, but just thinking about makes me feel more accomplished. Simple Mom is hosting a spring cleaning party and everyone is invited. I can't wait to what tips she offers up.
In addition to home and life managing tips, you'll also find a book club, regular giveaways and five columnists who post on various topics.

April 15, 2009

5 Kid-Friendly Ways To Store Kids Books

Seeing the little reading corner SouleMama created at the top of her stair landing got me thinking about carving out a space for my own little one (see Monday’s post). AFter creating the girl’s reading nook inspiration board, I started thinking about organizing all the books.

In my experience, it’s best for the books to be accessible to little hands (although I do have a few special books stored in high places to prevent the inevitable rips, crumples and nibbles.). Here’s a short list of five storage options for your kid’s books. All of them make it easy for kids to find something to read and they fit in stylishly with your home's decor.

clockwise from top left: storage basket from Target; book caddy from Land of Nod; book bag from Brooke at Inchmark; bookcase from Ikea; book cozy from Morgan at One More Moore

Note: The book bag may not be great for long-term storage, but it’s great for holding favorite books, separating those on a certain topic (such as potty training!) or carrying them back and forth to the library as explained on the Inchmark blog.

April 13, 2009

A Girl's Reading Nook

If my daughter had no other toys except books, I believe she would be happy. She has always loved books, and hopefully that won't change as she gets older. I can't wait to introduce her to storybooks and series books some day--many of them that I enjoyed as a kid.

When that day comes, I hope to create a space just for her dedicated entirely to reading. It will have to stylish, functional and made to grow up in.

April 10, 2009

Friday Favorite: One Pretty Thing

Rain and crummy weather is in the forecast, and today's favorite blog is perfect for when you're stuck inside. One Pretty Thing is a catalog of craftiness. So whenever you're feeling the need to create, click on over. There is bound to something you just have to make.

The author posts round-ups everyday (Daily DIY) of projects culled from various other blogs. That's not all. There are also round-ups for holidays, crafty businesses, kids and gift guides to name a few.

Whenever I wonder, "where did read the instructions for that project?"I look to One Pretty Thing. Even if I didn't see the craft there, I'm probably find a link to it and about 10 other things I just have to try creating.

April 8, 2009

Perfect Pairs: Umbrellas And Stands

April is a month known for showers, which means you're going to need an umbrella. If you use an umbrella, you're going to need somewhere to store it.

Enter perfect pairs. Choose your style, choose your pieces and get ready to weather the rainy season in style.

  1. Boot umbrella stand from z gallerie; Sweet Daisies umbrella from Target
  2. Vintage stick umbrella from Totes; black umbrella stand from Ikea
  3. Driade umbrella stand from Unica Home; polka-dot umbrella from Dillards
  4. clear bubble umbrella from Target; Marcello umbrella holder from z gallerie

April 6, 2009

Dressing For April Showers

The saying goes, "April showers bring May flowers." Well, it has rained considerably in the last few weeks providing just-right inspiration for a perfect rainy day outfit. Oh, I couldn't wait on May for the flowers!

Choose a classic trench in a neutral color. Then make it pop with bright colors and whimsical accessories.

clockwise from top left: canvas trench from Tulle; blue floral umbrella from Old Navy; Prohibition bangle from Anthropologie; ruby necklace from Stella & Dot; python frame clutchAnn Taylor Loft; polka-dot rain boots from Target; flower pins from Linda & Harriett

April 3, 2009

Friday Favorite: No Time for Flashcards

We have been feeling crafty here lately. (Okay, I have. My daughter just goes along with what I do!) Maybe it's the spring weather or the Easter coming up that makes me want to create and have fun. I don't know, but many of our projects have been holiday related. We've decorated foam Easter eggs which turned into garland, made tissue paper flowers and colored countless pictures.

A lot of my inspiration and motivation for getting started on all these projects (including an Easter egg matching game to help learn colors) comes from today's favorite blog: No Time for Flashcards.

I recently came across this blog and have been amazed at all the art, craft and activities that my 19 month old and I can do. The author is a former preschool teacher and she graciously shares all of her wonderful ideas.

For months, I have longed for age-appropriate crafts, etc. I never realized how many there were, probably because I'm not a teacher and my brain just doesn't think that way. It doesn't matter, because now all I have to do is just click over to No Time for Flashcards and I know I'll find something.
Some fun ideas include:
  • letter of the week: Fun art projects to help with letter recognition.
  • beginner activities: These are my favorite right now because they are just right for the age my little girl is.
  • food activities: These are great because they provide entertainment and a snack all at the same time.
In addition to all the activities, the author often provides songs and book lists to go along with them. It's a great way to reinforce the lesson being taught. Must be one of those teacher things I have no clue about.

FYI: We do use flashcards at our house. My daughter usually begs for them, actually. But thanks to No Time for Flashcards, we have so many more ways to spend our time. She has had so much fun with the crafts and activities we've done, and I love watching her learn and get excited. This is one blog I'll continue to visit over and over again.

April 1, 2009

A Hunting We Will Go

photo by katrinket

Over the next couple of weeks, there will be a lot of hunting going on...for eggs that is! This Easter tradition is always fun for the kids who get to search for little treasures and the adults who get to enjoy the party.

Use these ideas for a brightly-colored, egg-themed celebration.

easy centerpiece: candle-holder egg tree from BHG
decorative baskets: flowered Easter baskets from Martha Stewart
party favors: pretty wrapped boxes from Rebecca Thuss
crafts for after the hunt: egg animals from Good Housekeeping
polka-dot napkins:
chartreuse dots cocktail napkins from Paper Source
pink Easter cupcakes: chocolate cupcakes with blackberry buttercream from janset1 via flickr
invitation: egg basket invitation from Fine Stationery
colorful bunny plates: embossed bunny plates from Plum Party