Party Paper

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I know it’s been a month since NYE but I wanted to share a fun party trick I used for our little get together. Don’t worry- you don’t have to wait until next NYE, you can use it for any party! I bought a roll of Kraft paper a while back and I’ve been having fun using it for entertaining. So far I’ve used it for book club, casual post-thanksgiving gathering and game night. I love this idea for so many reasons… First you can buy rolls of Kraft paper at many grocery stores and even Walmart on the cheap. Second, it’s disposable. Third, it’s a festive way to add some unique decor and a functional and fun way to label dishes. There is so much you can do with it!

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I simply rolled out my paper (cut to a 12″ runner size in this case) where I was going to have our “bar” area. I used a sharpie to outline the glasses, label wines, and even outlined the corkscrew. I tried to vary the size of the letters and different vibes for each word. I had fun and made a whimsical illustration of Champagne and used the marker to label cranberry juice that I had put in a small carafe.

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As most of our guests are tired young parents like ourselves, I knew midnight was passed most of our bedtimes. I made sure the Keurig was ready (thanks, Santa!) and set out some coffee mugs with a K-cup in each one. Then I wrote simple direction for the Keurig. *** Side note: I just got a reusable K-cup so I can have any local coffee I want and be more “green” …BTW- have you seen this video?!?! Worth a quick watch.

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I also used the paper on our kitchen’s peninsula for some of the food. I left the marker and open spaces for party guests who were bringing dishes to share. I added washi tape to keep everything in place and to keep the end from rolling up.

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Whenever I use this I get tons of comments on how clever it is. It is literally a blank slate for your party. Cut the edges with scrap-booking scissors, use washi tape, different markers, use movie quotes or fun facts that pertain to your theme. Anything is possible! I doesn’t need to be perfect. Have fun with it!

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Things I’m Loving

Oh, its been a while. I try to post these at the beginning of each month, but the weather has been lovely (usually) and spending time in the fresh air has been more of a priority for me. At any rate, here are a few things I’m loving.

20130517-093838.jpgSweet O trying on some of my jewelry creations (btw- I’m almost finished reorganizing my etsy shop!). She really is my kid. Bling, bling.

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I bet you are wondering what in the world I took a picture of here. I took this picture while visiting my sister… this is what happens when you take down chair rails. You may just run into some awesome vintage wallpaper. I’m just loving the poppies and the entire 60’s vibe.

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My good friend Kara arrived for an impromptu pizza night with a bottle of wine in hand. One of the many reasons Kara and I are friends is that be both know how refreshing a glass of wine can be. Another reason: her humor. She bought this wine just because the name and label were awesome. And the wine was pretty good too!

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The view from the end table. I laid my phone down and accidentally hit the camera slide. The camera was set on the front camera because I had just tried to take a selfie with O (we send them to Hubby daily)… and this was what I saw: view from the end table, through the lamp to the ceiling. I snapped a pic because I loved how unique it was. Geometry and composition are two of my favorite things… Art really is everywhere.

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Z practiced his alphabet on the dry erase board. Notice the detail on his “H”… I think he may have a love for typography.

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I let Z drive O in his Powerwheels Dune Racer. He promised to go slow and stop if she cried. O laughed the whole way. I love them!

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Out for a hike at the Cincinnati Nature Center (which I highly recommend) with my sister and her little charge. I snapped this one on a trail on our way back to the lake. Stinking cute.

IMG_2335I might be a bit spoiled… this is my favorite way to watch a Reds game. We ocassionally sit in the Cincinnati Bell suite. Its right above the warning track in outfield with indoor and outdoor decks. Not a bad way to enjoy a game if you ask me. This was during batting practice. I love all those red seats and uniforms.

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The other night I was putting away laundry and had put aside a few things to hang up. I looked down and realized that every one of them was striped in some way. I think I’m addicted to stripes. Just a little?

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With the nice afternoons lately, O has been walking her baby doll around the neighborhood in the stroller. She’d do it all day long if she could. Notice that she’s finally big enough to wear her bangle bracelet she go for Christmas. Starting her young! I wore a similar one until it had to be broken off of me at five years old. I refused to take it off.

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Left over Blue Oven Bakery bread that my mom made into delicious homemade croutons. This stuff is just too good to go to waste!

What are you loving lately?

Gallery Wall Breakdown

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As promised, a gallery wall breakdown. What we chose, how we chose, how we (mostly I) made it. I love love love gallery walls. In fact, this isn’t our first gallery wall. Its at least the third. And third time is a charm my friends. But it IS the first gallery wall (and probably only one for a while) in our own grown-up house. I’ll do my best to go left to right with some up and down in between… don’t get dizzy now!

First up:

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The top left item is a small canvas I painted ages ago when I was dreaming of filling O’s wall with the alphabet. The idea for her room evolved (I guess I should post about her adorable room one day?) so I was left with a bunch of canvases of letters. I painted over most of them but I saved the A (for our last name) and waited for the right spot to hang it.

Below that is a Chinese paper art cut-out of an ox. I received a book full of paper art and cut outs from one of my father’s Chinese business associates. I framed this one because it had a great composition and the most bold colors of them all. It once lived on our hallway wall in our first apartment but it fits right in here.

The largest piece is a large print of our wedding announcement. We eloped in secret to Jamaica and had my mom send these out from “Loveland, Ohio” on the day we wed. Our good friend Erica made it. The entire thing is a water color treasure map depicting our engagement at the Cincinnati Zoo and our surprise Jamaican wedding. There is even a pirate ship and a treasure chest with our wedding rings. I think Erica and I came up with the rhyme together and she did all of that calligraphy by hand. Gorgeous work and one of my most prized possessions. Here is a closer look at it.

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Seriously one of my favorite things in the world.

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Closest to the door is a print of a photo I took of driftwood on one of our trips to the lake ages ago. The frame had a traumatic move but I plan on patching it with wood filler and giving it a fresh coat of paint. You can also see a little more of the Chinese ox in this picture.

20130312-114312.jpgOne of my favorite DIY wall art techniques is to take simple items and display them in an interesting way. Here I have done that with keys. I collect keys. I don’t know why but I have a shoe box full of them. So last time we did a gallery wall at our old place I grabbed our old car keys… Hubby had his beloved Volvo and I had my dream car Wanda the Wrangler. (Yes, I name my cars. My current ride is a 2012 charcoal Honda Pilot. She’s dark and boxy and looks like a Rhino so I named her Rhina). Enough about keys… The point is that all I did was paint a small canvas and hot glued my keys on. Then we each signed out names. The keys above are also on a canvas that I painted a coordinated chevron pattern on and glued some replica skeleton keys to it.

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This is our old apartment key and you guessed it- I painted a canvas and glued on a key. Then I used a sharpie to label it “Our First Apartment” and the address. I like it because it is sentimental and it ties in with a few other items on the wall. I chose orange to add a little color and pick up some of the vibrant colors from the Chinese ox.

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The next picture is of Hubby kissing O when she was just a day old. I especially love it in black and white with the silver frame.  It is a daily reminder for me of why I’m here doing what I’m doing each day.

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Above that is a smaller picture of me with O on the same day. I can’t believe she was ever so small.

And next to that is another driftwood picture that I took at the lake. Hubby and I used to stare at this picture and talk about what we see. I see an old man’s face. What do you see?

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Ah, and then there is a giant print of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly. Hubby and I have agreed that she is only a placeholder for something else… should we ever find anything more fantastic than her.

The red frame holds corks. Its another free art piece I made with an everyday item for our old gallery wall. I even left the wire cage on the champagne cork in true Hilda style. Can you tell I like wine and corks? Because I posted about them here, here and here.

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Next is a framed sepia row boat print purchased from The Market in Charleston.

And then there is an adorable little Baby O foot print in plaster and a copy of her Valentine’s Day themed birth announcement. The natural wood frame is nice but the rest of the frames on the wall are black, white or silver so I think it may eventually get painted to give it more cohesion with the rest of the wall.

The last piece is a typography print of an eye exam chart but it says “I love you past forever and longer than always” instead of the alphabet. I bought it on Etsy as a valentines day gift for Hubby years ago. I wish I could remember which shop it came from.

So I that’s the novel version of our gallery wall. It is actually the second time I’ve written it… apparently WordPress ate my last post so I did this all over again. That’s love people. I love you! I didn’t mean for it to be so long but each piece has a story. The stories are what is starting to make our house a home. What makes your home?

Things I’m Loving

Every now and then I post about a few “Things I’m Loving”. I’ve not been consistent with these posts but I enjoy them so much. I like being able to share a few moments of my life where I see beauty, creativity and an opportunity to just enjoy the world. I hope to be able to post about all of these moments more often- I’m aiming for monthly. Here are a few things I am LOVING right now.

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The other day my fantastic barista made a little latte art atop my coffee.

Shout out to Lori at Awakenings Coffee in Hyde Park. Way to make my day!

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This is a natural tumbled Turquiose and red coral beaded bracelet I made.My sister bought it as a birthday gift to her friend and apparently it was quite a hit. Yes, I’m tooting my own horn here. It just happens to be one of those pieces I wish I could have kept for myself :/

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I actually had to wear rain boots last week instead of snow boots. Spring is in the air! These are my favorite and most comfortable rain boots. They are even a bit fashionable! {Chooka boots can be found here}

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Ok, how adorable is this ceramic cream and sugar set {Pier1}? I could just die over it! simple and cheeky…just my style. I kind of wanted to get them to display on my new kitchen shelves!

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My Aunt Kathy (Side note: Not actually my aunt. She’s my Dad’s cousin but that gets complicated and I’m close to her like an aunt) makes these darling refrigerator magnets out of upcycled wine corks! She also makes keychains with them as well. I have a few magnets on my fridge and a keychain too. They can be personalized with charms and decorative paining. The Corcoran one is my fave- It’s my grandmother’s maiden name and O’s middle name.  These would make adorable hostess gifts… so much more creative than a plain old bottle of wine. You can find York’s Corks here. Be sure to check them out!

Holiday Banner and tWINE bottle Tutorial

My apologies! It’s been too long since I’ve posted. My computer had a few hiccups so I sent it to a friend to have him clean it out and start me on my first (I know, welcome to the 21st century) external hard drive. {Insert shout out here: Thanks Brad for your help!}

As promised I have put together a couple holiday tutorials from my last post on mantle decorating for the holidays.

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First up is the J O Y banner I used on the frames in my holiday mantle. I used twine but ribbon and the like will do the job. I had some card stock laying around from another project so I used it for the pennant style banner pieces. I used oil pastels for a rustic deep red (crayons, markers or paint could have worked as well).

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I cut out some triangles, wrote my letters…

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and hot glued them onto the twine that I had cut to fit the frame.

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This took a whopping 10 minutes to create!

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Then I just tucked it up where I liked it on the frames and scotch taped it in place. I feel like this little touch actually made the mantle. It’s my favorite part!

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Next up is the twine wrapped wine bottle. Or as I call it, the tWINE bottle. Har har.

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All you need is some twine and a hot glue gun. Ribbon, yarn or string are some other alternatives. I used this technique on a wine bottle but it could easily be applied to jars, vases or flower pots. I started with a generous amount of hot glue at the base of the bottle and began wrapping. Every few inches i did another generous blob for hot glue and continued wrapping around and around. It got trickier at the neck of the bottle though. When I got to the base of the neck everything started shifting and slipping. I just took my time and glued way more often. When I got to the top I just cut the twine and glued generously again. Fairly simple. (I had step by step photos but they must be on my old phone since I just switched to the iphone 5- woot woot!)

Here they are on the mantle!

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