Wednesday, February 27, 2013

newbieNEWS: IKEA!!!

omg, seriously. the night before my first ikea adventure i felt like a kid waiting for christmas morning, or my first trip to disneyland or something. last weekend, my mom and i decided we would go to ikea. IKEA! ok, stop laughing at me. i've never been and in my head it is a magical place where all my home-good dreams come true. and damnit, i was right!

after researching their website all week (yes, i'm that girl) i had a list, a pinterest page, tons of great ideas and a wad of cash ready for our trip to ikea. let me preface this by saying that ikea is over an hour away from our house. so, it isn't like target where i can just pop over there for a quick stroll through the office supplies section when i'm having a bad day... this was serious.

i recently decided that i am going to re-do our "office" space - the word office sounds really official, like we do important paperwork in there and type really fast. we don't. right now, "office" means "room that is for storage of things that nobody knows where to put and have no purpose but we are keeping them just because." i hate it. so i sold some stuff and took that money to ikea for a full on play day extravaganza with my mom.

we got there at 11am and it i could see the sunlight and furniture covered rainbows beaming out from inside the store. it was a massive magical warehouse. in reality it is just a huge building with a completely crowded parking lot and a lot (i mean, a lot) of people all excited to get their hands on some cool cheap stuff. you go in and get your cool mini cart and put one of their massive yellow bags over the handles so you have place to store all your goodies. then you go upstairs for the first part of the store.

when you get off the elevator, you walk into a giant showroom of sorts. there are mini rooms decorated and set up for you to look through and get ideas. so you start with like 30 different living rooms and each thing in the room has a tag on it with the info you need to find it. so, say you really like the shelving unit on the wall - you go over to it and check the tag for the aisle # and the bin # - so that when you get to the last part of the store (the overwhelming warehouse part) you can find it and pick it up. you write all of this info down on the paper they give you when you get there. same goes for pillows, rugs, etc. but those are found in part 2 of the store..we'll get there.

dream kitchen action. i'm in love.

so you go through all the living rooms and eventually get to the offices, bedrooms, kitchens, closets and bathrooms. each section flows into the next and they even have handy little arrows on the floor in case you get lost. each section has everything you could ever need for that type of room. so when you get to the kitchen section (one of my favorite sections!) you can pick out your counter tops, cabinets, flooring, faucets and even your sink! they literally have everything, including the kitchen sink - housed so neatly in many drawers that you pull out until you find your dream sink.

the sink section. obviously.

my mind was blown. the last part of the showroom section was the kids section and even without any children of my own i wanted to buy everything. many times on this trip i had to remind myself that i was there on an office mission and that the rest of the house would have to wait for another day. it wasn't easy, friends.

more of  my bright white dream kitchen. it's just so clean

after you get through the showroom section you can go grab some food in the restaurant (which we didn't do because of time but they totally have swedish meatballs and chocolate cake- so we are stopping there next time!) or you can take the elevator down to the first floor for section #2: the marketplace.

lights galore in the marketplace!

in the marketplace you pick out all the little do-dads and accessories for your various rooms. so - dishes, pillows, rugs, wall decor, etc. we grabbed an extra cart as we entered this section and i don't know what we would have done if we hadn't. once you get in - going back for a cart would be a task. it was hard not to grab everything in sight because it is all so awesome. i needed everything in sight, naturally. my favorite part of the marketplace was the "home organization" room. i mean, shelves, boxes, binders, dividers, drawers, bins - i love a good organization section and this one was seriously top notch. once your carts are full to the top (or in our case - 2 carts full to the top) you go into the warehouse.

there are no words.

the warehouse is not for the faint of heart. it is serious business in there and its totally overwhelming. floor to super high ceiling of cardboard boxes. each filled with a awesome piece of furniture likely consisting of ten thousand tiny pieces. lucky for matt - the things i bought don't require too much assembly.

found my aisle, found my bin... now what?!

so once you are in the warehouse- you take out your notes from the showroom section and find the aisle and bin that is for your piece of furniture. if you don't know that - you are totally screwed. there is no rhyme or reason to this mega warehouse section and you will get lost if you don't have good notes. i'll be taking much better notes on my next ikea adventure because i was obviously not prepared.

all smiles here! i love ikea!

once you get your furniture, you head to the well-oiled machine that is the checkout section. i almost shed a tear when i saw the massive lines ahead of us - i was tired, hungry and cranky by the end of all this (its hard work!) and the last thing i wanted was to spend an hour in line.. luckily ikea has done this before and we only waited a few minutes despite the huge crowd. so i got my stuff, paid the lady and then panicked because they don't give you bags! no bags for items to carry to the car. so, it took more time reloading my cart with each item - each tiny individual item - than it did to wait in line and pay.

mama and our cart of goodies!

checkout aisle mayhem

as you leave they have a little shop with swedish food items. most of the items looked a little scary or were some type of herring fish soaking in weird liquid. not my thing. but they did have chocolate - and i never say no to yummy chocolate, so i got myself a bar and one for the hubbs, cuz i kinda like him.

car full of new office goodies!

overall - ikea was as magical as i thought it would be. it's obviously crowded and at times overwhelming, but i think that's part of the magic. in case you are heading to ikea soon, i decided to help you out with a list of tips and tricks. you're welcome.

 i can't wait to get started on our new office and show you all how it turned out! seriously, this day was one of the best days i have ever had and i loved seeing all the amazing possibilities ikea has to offer. go explore and have fun reworking a part of your house that makes you a little sad. it is so worth it! my new space is going to be so great and organized and functional. hooray ikea!! have you ever been to ikea? was it awesome?

Monday, February 25, 2013

time to take the plunge! quilting: part three

i've been chronicling my first ever quilt journey: if you're just joining the party,  read about part one and part two. and now, the saga continues.

once i had a good christmas fabric stash for haley's quilt i was ready to get cutting. i decided on a fairly simple design since this is my first quilt. nothing crazy like stars or weird shapes. after doing more math than i'd care to talk about (me + math = oops! thankfully barbara was there holding my hand and doing the heavy thinking) we settled on a size and a layout. finally! a plan! oh, jeeze.

we decided i would make the majority of the quilt out of 4 inch squares, with 1/4 inch seams - so after all my sewing, the squares would be 3 inches showing. i know - too much math. i would put 9 of my squares together to make a bigger square. then 4 of my 9 square pieces would be one huge square. 6 huge squares would make up the majority of my quilt and then in between those i would do strips of fabric. does your head hurt? because on the day we decided all of this i am pretty sure i had a glassy "i have no idea what you just said to me" face. it's easier to see in the layout drawing, so don't fret if you can't see it. i am a visual person, so seeing it all drawn out really helped me! when in doubt, draw it haha.

then i started cutting. talk about scary! it felt so final, so permanent  i had spent so long collecting fabric i couldn't tell you where which piece came from, so if i ruined it i wouldn't be getting it back. no pressure! first, i had to square off the edges, since most of the cuts on the edge were jagged and not straight. after squaring everything, i measured out my four inch by four inch pieces and got moving. once i got the hang of it, i was less afraid - but it still took forever! a million four inch squares later, it was time to get to the sewing part.

once i had a gazillion squares, i was ready to start making my bigger squares. i know, more math. i laid out some fun combinations of fabrics and got to it. i decided that i would pace myself so i didn't get burnt out or frustrated, since i was sure frustrations would arise - like the time i took the bobbin out just to check how much thread was on it and then couldn't get it back in the right way! ugh! what an idiot move.

it was really important to line up my seams as i made my squares, and i had to make sure the seams lay in the opposite direction. this way, the seams of the quilt lay as flat as possible once the quilt started getting larger. trust me, taking these extra careful steps in the beginning make a HUGE difference in the end. be as neat and perfect as possible. i spent quite some time perfecting this, and over 200 little squares later i have mastered it. stay tuned as i start piecing together my larger squares and my tiny pieces start to look like an actual quilt! can you believe it?!

Monday, February 18, 2013

arti-gras: awesome edition.

this weekend i needed to get out of the house. it was a classic long work week and the fresh florida air was calling my name in a big way! fortunately for me, i scored some free tickets to arti-gras (super great outdoor art show. think white tents, frozen lemonade, fair food and all kinds of art!) and even though matt hates crowds, he loves me and he came with me to the art show.

i love art shows, but i really hate it when i'm not surprised. not inspired. you know the artists i'm talking about - the black and white photos of some french chateau, the silver jewelry that looks home-crafted and not in a special way, the paintings of unknown women or over-sized flowers. not to say they aren't good at what they do, but i've seen it before. 

so i am going to celebrate the artists that did something new, something truly fantastic. booth after booth of art found in every city of every state was interrupted by strokes of pure genius and i collected them all here for you. lucky duck!

why doesn't my name start with an H?! whyyyy!!!
i am so in love with this
photo courtesy of

first on the awesome list: RANSOM designs. they take old letters from store signs or wherever and turn them into custom art pieces. i totally love letters (obvs) and when i saw their designs i forgot about bills and our mortgage and all responsibility and felt the overwhelming urge to buy an awesome giant letter g (even though i have zero need for that particular letter. it was that incredible.) it was unique, and upcycled! amazing, right?! i love making old things new again. they also do backlit canvas pieces, but it's their letters that stole my heart. seriously, check them out. support them because everyone needs typography in their life. this husband/wife team are truly killing it in the creativity-sphere. find them at and be sure to see the pieces waiting for your customization and their etsy shop. letter lovers forever!

i..i just can't even talk about how great this was in person.
photo courtesy of 

next on the list of super cool art that is not at all generic or typical: deborah hyde. she does something that doesn't even seem possible. it's called "fiber art" and holy bananas, friends, it's serious. she sketches out her design on a quilters grid and then turns it into a quilt. a QUILT! i am talking hundreds (maybe millions) of tiny squares all coexisting to make one mega awesome finished piece. i literally can't even wrap my mind around this. she puts my quilting skills to shame in such a brilliant way. 

this picture doesn't even do this quilt justice. this particular piece was at the show and its huge, and each square of fabric is so tiny. it is insane. my mind was blown by her talent. she wasn't at her tent when we happened upon it, which is probably lucky for her (and matt) because i probably would have stood there talking to her for days. i'm so amazed. check out all her awesome pieces and read up on her crazy technique at seriously, check it out. now. 

i love this sweet old couple and their pup.
photo courtesy of
and last, but honestly, not least in any way shape or form: puppets! something about puppets just makes me super happy. and bonus, these amazing artists can even turn you into a puppet. yeah, i said it. they are marnie and bill winn of puppet artists and they are making all my puppet filled dreams come true. not only do i want to turn everyone i know into a puppet (because it would hilarious) but the ones that they have come up with are fantastic and i might need to own all of them. 

they have storybook characters like the whole alice in wonderland crew, pop culture icons like the beatles or beavis and butthead, and movie casts - like the whole freakin cast of harry potter. i will say i was getting a little fan girl nerdy in their tent and fell in love with the harry potter finger puppets. ok, so i may have fallen in love with all of their finger puppets. they are so miniature and cute and sweet and totally perfect in every single way possible. 

check them out  at and make all your puppet dreams come true. and once you have your puppets call me so i can come over and put on a puppet show with you. for reals.

i mean, really. could this be any better? the set they had at the show also featured voldemort. it was pure hp magic.
honestly, look at hagrid and tell me you don't want to own him. perfection.
photo courtesy of 
i love being inspired and seeing something i have never seen and i am so thankful for these creative people and their amazing art. they made arti-gras so great for me and i came home so happy and talking matt's poor face off about how i can't wait to go home and see more of their work. kudos to them. serious kudos. 

what has inspired you lately? and which of the above three is your favorite? leave some love in the comments and be sure to check out each of their sites and tell them how mega cool they are!

Friday, February 8, 2013

garden bunny remix

ok, so since florida basically skipped my favorite season all together - literally is it 80 degress outside, what gives! - i have decided to start my spring gardening. i'll be honest, i don't exactly have a green thumb..and if you ask my mom she will likely tell you i have a black thumb instead. i'm not a plant murderer per se, but i am not so good at keeping them alive. i try - but i usually fail. so insead of diving into new plants and all that, i decided to give my garden bunny a little make-over - a remix of his previous self, if you will. he really needed a new look.

this particular bunny has been an anchor in my life. he used to live at my grandma's house and i can't remember life without him. he is pretty old and he was starting to look a little (okay, a lot) rough.

if you have a garden guardian who is in need of a face lift, here is what you need:
-white paint - i used kilz because it covers really well and protects it from the elements
-spray paint
-googly eyes

ok, so the first thing you want to do is clean off your critter really well. once he is clean, let him air dry completely. then use sandpaper to get rid of any old chipping paint, rust, uneven edges, etc. then wipe him off again really well so that all the dust is removed. let it dry.

now you are ready for you base coat of paint. it took two full coats and a little extra in certain spots for my to get mr. bunny completely white. you want to be sure to let each coat dry completely, otherwise it becomes a gooey mess. once he is completely white and dry, it's time for spray paint! i really tried not to completely coat the grass behind our house, but spray paint kind of gets everywhere, so make sure you are somewhere in the open so you dont get it everywhere or passout. i did two coats of spray paint so he would be nice and bright!

then all you need is some fresh googly eyes and your garden guardian is all ready to resume his post! i love this guy and now that he is bright pink it is hard to miss him on our big patio.

would you ever spruce up your garden with a bright critter? leave some love below and tell me what ya think of my new neon bunny!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

party style: valentine's day!

if there is one thing i love, it's a killer party. but, since i am literally the busiest person on the planet (and have really busy friends) a valentines day party just wasn't in the cards for us. but, what to do with all the super fun valentines party ideas? well, after much groaning with ashlee (fellow blogger and awesome party lover), we decided to style a party anyways. for ourselves. and for you!

we met some super awesome gals from the candy company, Airheads, while we were at alt summit and were so inspired by their stories of people using airheads in unique ways (other than turning their teeth fun colors and getting a stellar sugar high) and decided to run with that theme. who doesn't love a good airhead?! (and lets face it, sometimes the two of us have a little extra air in our heads too... it's a perfect fit.)

for our party i made a yummy cake topped with airhead roses and a photobooth backdrop with the signature airheads red balloon. we set it all up just for you! so check out our party table and read my how-to's after the jump!