A Baby Girl Nursery

I'm excited to share details of my baby girl's space.  I wanted the space to be new and fresh, but I wanted to do it with a small budget since she's one day going to be sharing a room with her big sister.  
I started with a few simple, design elements to bring the nursery together.  Here's what I started with:

1.  Statement Lighting
Since lighting can make a HUGE impact, I knew I wanted to do something fun.  But a lighting statement can cost as much (or more) than the statement.  So I looked to IKEA for something big and inexpensive.  I settled on THIS light and sprayed it gold.  It took me a day to paint and dry, and my personal handyman had it up within minutes.

2.  Wallpaper Decals
I found the sweetest watercolor decals here.  Urban Walls has tons of decals to choose from, and the sky is the limit as to how you wanted to implement them.  I just free-handed my spacing and deliberately spaced some really close together and some evenly apart.  My 9'x11' wall used only one purchase of a 50 pack of dots, for $48.  Putting these up was really fun because it instantly made a big impact, and it was quick process.

3.  A Unified Theme
Picking a theme will help your space stay unified and give it an identity.  This doesn't mean it should be all pink and unicorns a hundred times over, or all brown with horses through and through.  But implementing a theme, and then acknowledging small motifs of that theme in various ways (even just once), give a space an identity.  Spaces like this create an inviting and welcoming atmosphere.  And don't think that this concept suggests a super controlled, generic space.  If your space is super random and eclectic, acknowledge that as your theme, and go for it. I love eclectic spaces because they emanate depth and have layers of meaning in them.  They are like pieces of art commissioned just for you.  That being said a lot can be said with silence, or in the case of design, so much can be said with simplicity.  Whatever you're looking for, envision it, and then implement those elements.  It all depends on your personal taste.  But just go for it, and enjoy creating it.

Some the other fun DIY's included spraying the drapery rings gold, spraying an Ikea rod gold to display some of our swaddle blankets, and simply handing spice racks as book shelves.
Other sources:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Who doesn't love chocolate covered strawberries?  They are such a fun and easy treat, and they are the perfect Valentine's Day treat.  Plus, it's fun and easy to make them look gourmet.  They also go a long way when you buy a large package of fresh strawberries from Costco, for dipping.  The amount shown in these pictures was not even a full package, and we had plenty to spare. 

Here are my top tips to making your strawberries look and taste just right.

Tip #1
Wash and dry your strawberries the night before.
If there's any water on the strawberries when you start to dip, the chocolate or candy coating, is not going to adhere properly, or at all.  I wash all my strawberries, and then lay out a few sheets of paper towels and spread the strawberries out to dry, let them dry for a day before dipping.  If you're short on time, you could hand wash each strawberry, without dousing them in water, and then hand-dry with a paper towel.  You just don't want them to be wet when dipping.  

Tip #2
Temper your chocolate or candy coating.
They're are a lot of things that involve tempering chocolate, but for the simplicity of  just dipping strawberries, I just mean, heat the chocolate slowly.  This allows the chocolate from over-cooking and most importantly, to maintain its sheen.  If you're finding that your chocolate has a dull, matte appearance, check your tempering.  
When I dip chocolates, I don't test the temperature, and I don't even use a double boiler, I just use the microwave, and VERY slowly heat and stir.  Once the chocolate becomes more fluid, I add more chips, and stir those in for a time, before adding more heat.  

Tip #3
Chill your cookie sheet 30-60 minutes before dipping, and place dipped-strawberries on parchment paper, on the cooled cookie sheet. 
I have found that dipped-strawberries harden best at room temperature.  It prevents condensation from occurring from the juices in the strawberries.  But this tip allows for the chocolate to harden and keeps the strawberries lightly chilled.

Finally, I just have a few ideas to share about decorating.  I have used milk chocolate and Wilton candy coating, and both work similarly.  It really depends on your color/taste preference.  For these, I was just really set on pink.  I also used white chips to drizzle on top.  I drizzled the white by using a plastic bag and cutting the tip, ever so slightly.  I used this gold leaf once the coating dried, and then I lightly painted on some water, and then I adhered the gold leaf.  I also used a mixture of sprinkles and edible sparkles.  You could also use finely chopped nuts, shredded coconut, or more sprinkles (next time I make them, I'm going to take non-sweetened, shredded coconut, chop it up, and then sprinkle on top!).  The sky is the limit.  

There you have it!  I hope some of these tips help to make dipping strawberries a little more seamless.

Happy Valentine's Day

Nutcracker Cookies

I love to create new sets of cookies.  Designing a new cookie set is actually one of the best parts for me.  When I design a cookie, I first map it out in my head and start to get a feel for what I want it to look like.  Then I trace an outline of the cookies with the cookie cutter and draw it out.  With these cookies, I used pre-made icing decorations and hand-made ones as well.  I used a lot of edible sparkles, and I hand-painted edible gold on the details of the cookies.  Things get pretty serious in cookie decorating when you're holding a paint brush.  You start to feel like an artist painting a layered canvas, haha.  There's royal icing and then there's abstract oil paining.
I'm not sure if it's just the nostalgia from when I performed, or just because they are kinda cute, but these cookies are my some of my favorite!  I love the Nutcracker and always look forward to going around Christmas time.  Its' become one of our family traditions, especially since my two oldest girls perform now.  I figure I've perform in over a hundred Nutcracker's since about the time I was 12, and I can't listen to the music without feeling the need to start dancing. 
I hope you're enjoying this wonderful time of year!
Merry Christmas!

My Top 3 Design Tips For Your Kitchen

I just added a few finishing touches to my kitchen, and that got me thinking about the things that make my kitchen feel fresh, clean, put-together, and well-designed.  I came up with a list of 3 things that will add a POW to any kitchen, can easily be implemented, and ultimately are easy on the waistline, I mean wallet.  And don't get me wrong, there are WAY more than 3 things, but I really feel good about these 3.

 1.  Fresh Fruit.  I love fruit.  Plain and simple.  It's pretty and yummy, and it adds the best practical/functional touch to any kitchen.  And when I say functional, what's better than a kitchen with a nice bowl of delicious, crisp apples (with a little Biscoff spread on the side)?  It really adds a welcoming touch.  Really, what says 'wonderful kitchen' better than sending the message that 'you can eat in here' with tons of fresh fruit.  And with lemons and limes at $.25, you can feel pretty good about over-flowing bowls of them.  Plus, you won't have any shortage for your morning, warm lemon-water.

2.  Greenery.  Plants.  Nature.  Fill a small pot with basil, rosemary, or lavender.  It always brings out the best in any kitchen, and it might even make you feel like a gourmet cook.  The main design element I just brought into my kitchen was a dwarf lime tree, and it's adding the happiest/freshest vibe.  It's like a sweet little smile in my kitchen.  I got mine for only $40 dollars, and if I do things right, it could be a long-term relationship.  I read up on what it needs to survive, and it needs sunshine and tender care (fingers crossed).  I also love to have mint in the kitchen since it adds the yummiest garnish to desserts and drinks.  There's also nothing like having a little lavender plant close by to rub off some of its essence.  Lavender is just so beautiful, so it really just does its own thing.

3.  Blue China.  It is just so pretty in the kitchen, and all you need is a tiny bit to make a statement.  You could, of course, do a lot and go that route, but one pretty little bowl or vase freshens up a space quite a bit.  On the other hand, I have a completely unhealthy amount of blue china, too much to reasonably display at one time.  That whole functional/practical concept doesn't always resonate with me.  And well, the description that 'I'm a hoarder trapped in a minimalist's body' (or is it the other way around?) sometimes applies to me.  
There are a lot of places that have incredible Blue China, and they're usually a lot of money.  I'd prefer to save that type of money for other things, or just buy one special piece.  But I am going to share a HUGE secret:  I have bought almost all my Blue China from Ross.  Yes, Ross!  My mom likes Ross, and I never used to go there, but then a few years ago I went with her, and BOOM!  Blue China everywhere.  I have gotten two sets of giant, matching vases, and all of my Blue China planters are from there.  The large pot in the pictures posted here is from Ross, and it was only $7.99!  Run to Ross, I hope you find some!  Either way, add a touch of Blue China, your kitchen will be whistlin' another tune.

Have fun with these 3 tips. Make them simple, practical, and enjoyable.

This whole blogging thing has almost gotten out of hand, and I've blogged more in the last few months than I ever have (minus all the documenting I've done for our family).  But it's fun for me, and it's a place for me to share some of my interests, and pursue the thing that matters most to me; creating.  

A Boy's Room

This boy got a new room!  He's been hoping for a bunk bed for a long time, but every time I thought about him and a bunk bed, I though about him and a broken arm.  We settled with a lower loft bunk from Ikea, and it's perfect.  I know he's still going to be launching himself off of things, but I feel much better about this.
I posted links to a few details from his room below.  We love the swing and made it the spotlight of his room.  Right now it's on clearance as they bring in their new line of swings, and it's such a good price.  If you're looking to get one, buy it now.  You will love it!
I love this boy so much, I feel like I can't hold it in sometimes.  He has the greatest energy and brings the best joy and love into our family!  I'm so thankful I get to be his momma!  I love you times a million!!!

One of my favorite things that we did in his room was make the 'Lion Eyes' collage.  I bought the picture, and then cut it on a mat, and spaced it out evenly over three frames.  The frames are classic looking, but such a good price.  They are the 'Silverhojden' frames from Ikea.
Fringe Pillow
Tortoise Shell


design + development by fabulous k