Friday, August 1

I'm Over At Tatertots & Jello Today!

Happy Friday!
Mmmm, I'm looking forward to the weekend! I've got a few painting projects waiting for me on Sunday. See, I've been slowly working on my home office/craft/work spaces, which I'll be sharing on the blog in a month or two, but in the meantime you'll get a little "sneak peek" into one of my office projects! 

I'm sharing how to make DIY Custom Magnetic Tins over at Tatertots and Jello today! Gee, I just love TT&J, and I was so honored to be asked to guest post! Pop over and read all about it...

Thursday, July 31

July's Highlights & Happenings

Ohhhhhh, I am so not ready for the summer break to end. I had all these grandiose plans for what projects I could accomplish over the summer, but now that barely dented list is mocking me. IT'S MOCKING ME I SAY! With 3 weeks left until school starts, I'm scrambling to tackle as much as possible on my to-do list. Please tell me I'm not the only one out there with time management issues and a summer let-down (misery loves company you know). *grin*

Anyhoo, in case you missed anything this month, here's the recap!

My Post On Remodelaholic
It has been a month, and I am loving being a contributor over at Remodelaholic. It is truly amazing being able to work with Cassity and all her talented contributors! 
Today I'm sharing how to make a faux storage tin over at Remodelaholic. I've drooled over the original tins for months, so this knock off is just what the decor doctor ordered! Click here for the entire tutorial.

Etsy Love Series
In case you missed it, July started an 8 week Etsy feature series. I'm sharing 7 shops I follow avidly on Etsy, and on week 8 ( Aug. 21st) I'm hosting a Great Big Etsy Giveaway!!! 
If you've missed any of these features, click on the picture link to read, and don't miss the sneak peek at the end of each post to see what that shop is contributing to the giveaway at the end of the series. 

Thank you for the Feature!
I want to give a great big thank you to Good Housekeeping for featuring my budget bathroom makeover online! That was a pleasant surprise! See more here...

Also to Cut Out + Keep for elevating little ole me to "superstar" status. I shared 7 projects at Cut Out + Keep, and a little bit about myself... you might learn something you didn't know before! Read more here...

Well, I hope your summer has been more productive than mine...or at the very least loads and loads of fun! 
I'm gearing up to start school with the kids on August 17th, so wish me luck! If I disappear off the face of social media for a little while, you'll know that I'm plunging headlong into homeschooling. Good thing, I have most of August and September lined up for you on the blog... ;)

Etsy Love - MB Art Studios

 MB Art Studios produce edgy, modern designs on everyday ceramic products you use in your home. I love the uniquely textural quality of their work! From cheese trays, to planters, to made-to-order ceramic dishes, and clocks, you'll love these gorgeous handmade works of art!
I'm happy to welcome one of my favorite Etsy shops and it's artisans, Mary and Cory Burrows to the blog today.

Meet Mary & Cory | Owners

MB Art Studios is the work of me (Mary Burrows)...someone who really never expected to find myself on this path of being an artist and having a desire to create. for many years I was in a cubicle, living a life that was very uninspired. What woke me up was having a child who didn't fit into the average "box", he helped open up my eyes to a whole new world!

MB Art Studios is dedicated to bringing beauty into peoples’ lives. Each ceramic piece that I create is one-of-a-kind and hand built in my studio with earthenware or stoneware clay. My work is influenced by my love of simplicity and the beauty and power of the written word. My work is also greatly influenced by modern architecture. my grandfather's parents were from Sweden and I seem to gravitate towards modern, Scandinavian design. I love patterns, black and white, color, wood, textiles and imperfection.

My intention is to create pieces for the modern home that inspire. I hope you find something that moves you.

~ Mary

Made-to-order porcelain ornaments allow you to choose your favorite available design-quote combo. But my favorite is their deep blue swirled dishes...maybe it is my love of paint & art, but I envision these gorgeous dishes hung on my kitchen walls! *wink* Which are your favorites?
Be sure to follow MB Art Studios on Etsy and Facebook

Monday, July 28

How to Make a Fold-out Portfolio Business Card

The question rattling around my brain was how do you get a business card to make such a great impression, people buy into you right away? I was leaving for a blog conference in 2 weeks, and as a new blogger who was fairly unknown to fellow bloggers, it was important to make an impression and do so in the first minute of meeting. A regular business card just wouldn't do it.

The average person sizes you up in the first few seconds of meeting what about the first moments they glance at the card you just handed them? Business cards are a dime a dozen and can easily slip into oblivion. My goal was to create a card that worked hard for me, I wanted my card to tell people that I was innovative, had design capabilities, and great original content on my website. That's when the idea hit...I needed to create a business card sized portfolio! I promptly set out to design an accordion foldout that could house my business card and say everything I desired it to say.

I know, I'm asking a lot of a business card. But why not? I say take a chance, be creative, and think of ways to portray the important things you want your business card to say about you and your business.
Here is a peek into what my brainstorming session looked like, and how it was translated into content. Now, these thoughts were specific to meeting other bloggers and brands. I am creating a second portfolio card designed solely for the general public and potential readers. Sometimes we need narrow our field of vision to our target audience and create more than one business card portfolio. This allows us to passionately articulate that one message designed for that one person we want to reach.

There were a few extra details I could have added, but I chose not to include for specific reasons...remember, in my case some information could already be assumed, and some information was simply traded out for my most impressive information. You will need to determine your own message, your purpose, and make sure each item accomplishes that goal. The tricky part is keeping it clean and uncluttered while portraying as much information (non-literal) as possible. 
A few things you might decide to include are:
  • Business Name, URL, & Contact: Don't take contact info and URL's for granted...if they can't find you or reach you, they won't make the effort. Under contact you may want to include relevant social media symbols (just to show you can be found there).
  • Description/Mission Statement/Tagline: What does your business do? Unless everyone who will receive this runs in the same circle, clear descriptions and taglines are important. 
  • Profile picture: Are you a part of your brand? Then making your thumbnail recognizable is just as important as your logo being recognizable. 
  • Niche/Unique Message/Goals: What makes you unique? What is the message you want to convey...this is your brainstorm session from above.
  • Media Kit info: Perhaps your portfolio is being designed as a media kit to reach out to various brands and companies. You may want to include website stats (pageviews, social media follows (#'s), etc.
  • Projects: Show your outstanding work. Make sure it reflects the whole of what you do.
  • Features/Who you've worked with: It's not always what you know but who you know. List people, companies, brands, you have worked with, or who have featured your work.
  • Reviews/Recognition/Testimonials: Have you worked with big clients? Has your business been recognized or given a great rating somewhere? Sometimes it is important to humbly "brag", suddenly others will want to work with you, or at least see what you've got!
  • Experience: Maybe in your particular business you are seeking clientele. Listing your most brag-worthy work experience is a must!
  • Special Offers: Does your business provide a service or product that you can offer a discount on? Create a coupon and your card is less likely to be thrown away.

How To Create Your Portfolio
I used Photoshop, which is the best option for creating a professional graphic rich portfolio. However if you do not have access to a photo editing software and you have existing graphics... you could use any program that allows you to import and resize photos, and select a variety of fonts. 
Specs: Simply put it is half of an 8-1/2 x 11 sheet>> A folded portfolio card is 4-1/4 x 2-3/4. Opened it is  4-1/4 x 11. Printed in color on plain paper.

When designing your portfolio you will need to employ rulers in the program to know where each fold will go and how much space you have to work with. If you are using Photoshop start by creating a new project, change pixels to inch, input width: 4.25 inches, height: 11 inches. It is best to leave a 1/4 inch allowance around all edges for printing, but if you find that difficult to execute don't worry about it, your printing company will do it by default.

When designing the inside and the outside of the portfolio, remember that the outside will also become the front and back of the portfolio once it is folded. Your "front" will need to be upside down. 
There are two options when you are done designing. You can copy and place two of the same side onto one printable document (psd, jpg, etc.), and do this for the inside and out, and have the printers align, print, and cut. OR you can simply bring (on a thumb drive of course) each half sheet you have designed and let the printing company do the work! It is often better to let them do it, as they will have the expertise to make sure everything lines up properly. Ask for a test print, then fold it to ensure all your graphics line up properly.

How To Prepare Your Portfolio
Fold in half, careful to line up the ends before creasing your fold.

Then fold each side in half again, opposite of each other, this creates an M fold. Crease all folded edges using your nails to create a crisp crease.

Cut the corners off of one of your business cards to use as a template for where to cut slits in your portfolio. You will be sliding an uncut business card in here. Use a sharp exacto knife to cut your slits. 

Insert business cards into your fold-out portfolio. Be sure to design it so that the same information on your card is on the fold-out portfolio itself...this way if the card is removed (for filing), the portfolio still contains the business card logo and info. It is better than having a blank space in your design and allows you the flexibility of handing out the portfolio without business cards (if necessary).

And there you have it! An accordion styled business card/portfolio that actually does the work for you!
I had great success with it at the conference, many bloggers commented on it and voiced their assurance that they would be visiting my blog (for which I was eternally grateful!). In addition it got the attention of brands impressed enough to "talk shop" right then and there. 

Whatever your business, make an impression and give your business cards a voice!

Friday, July 25

20 Bathroom Makeovers On A Budget | Hometalk

I'm curating a board on 20 Beautiful Bathroom Makeovers On A Budget over at Hometalk today! There is a bit of advice and inspiration for knock-off style, as well as some incredible blogger powered bathroom makeovers! Click here to see more over at Hometalk. 

I have completed 2 out of 3 bathroom makeovers in my own home on a slim budget, and let me tell is possible! With a little inspiration, a little creativity, and a lot of elbow grease you can have the bathroom of your dreams. 

Thursday, July 24

Etsy Love - Christine Marie B

I love shops that appeal to my whimsey...that unexpectedly delightful item you can picture in your own home. It's what I love in this darling shop I follow on Etsy; Christine Marie B Custom Designed + Handmade shop. I have a little crush on Christine's beautiful custom stamps, although I'm awful at keeping in touch! Any chance owning stamps will make me want to write? *chuckle* 

 I'm thrilled to have Christine here on the blog today sharing her passion, be sure to give her some love on Etsy! Oh, and you have to scroll down to see what she's giving away in our Etsy Love giveaway in a few weeks, some lucky winner is going to be over-the-moon!

Meet Christine | Owner, Designer
I'm a graphic designer and ferocious DIYer, happily working from a little office in my home in Florida. Formerly an art director in an advertising agency, I left the cubicle to follow my military husband wherever the Air Force takes us. 

I've always wanted to open an Etsy shop, to have a place to share and sell my designed and DIYed creations. It started with a case I made for my iPhone that got the attention of my friends. They asked where they could get one like it and so my shop began. It's now expanded to include iPad & iPad Mini cases, address stamps, invitations, cards, stationary, and calendars.

I love to create custom, unique and one-of-a-kind things to add a little spice to ordinary things in life. The items offered in my shop will keep evolving and changing, so visit often to see what's new!


One lucky winner in the Etsy Love giveaway at the end of the series will gain a custom stamp from Christine's shop! *drool* Your choice, of return address, wedding, or save the date!

Click here to visit Christine's shop on Etsy, and be sure to favorite her shop to see her latest and greatest! She also makes jewelry & scarves with her friend, a fellow military wife, at a shop called Niloulu. Thanks for stopping by Christine!

Monday, July 21

YMCA Dream House 2014 Tour

Like most of you, I’m a sucker for an inspirational home tour. While we love to virtually browse through images of gorgeous homes and imagine ourselves enjoying these spaces, nothing is quite like being in the space itself. Experiencing firsthand the flow and beauty of the space, and learning what functions work best for how we live.
Recently I did just that, experiencing firsthand the beautiful Lake County YMCA Dream House located in the quaint town of Willoughby, Ohio. For my local readers, this is a great opportunity to enjoy a home tour in person, plus your ticket entitles you to enter to win the Dream House!! Tours are running until August 10th, so visit while you still can. For tickets or more information click here.
For my other readers, I’m afraid you’ll just have to enjoy it vicariously through my “sneak peek” on the blog today. 

 I love this first look right after you enter the space from the hall. Right at the outset you know you want to take a seat, get comfortable, and drink in the beauty. 

The designers were not afraid to bring in these attractive hues of mauve which I found I really loved! Great inspiration for my daughters room..she has been begging for a purple bedroom since she was 3. Of course the idea of purple initially struck terror in my heart, *grin* now I’m seeing all the possibilities in the lovely mauve and violet throughout this house!

I love the touches of glam without feeling like you are in a feminine space. From the wall d├ęcor to the accessories, all have a bit of a metallic qualtiy that reflects off each other and brings some sparkle into the space.

I don’t want to give away too much so that you have something to look forward to on your tour, but I’m in love with the open concept of the 2nd floor living area. You can see straight through from the kitchen and dining, to the living room, to the great room. 

Aahhh, and what a great room it is! The art gallery immediately drew me in…the photographs were taken right there in downtown Willoughby!

 This kitchen has something I’ve always wanted in my home: charcoal colored cabinets! I’m not sure I could get the husband on board, but maybe this stunning kitchen will convince him to take a chance. 

The kitchen also boasts another dream of mine…a fully outfitted pantry space! When I opened those pantry doors I think I let out a little sigh of jealousy. The pantry is in the ideal location, right next to the refrigerator and prep space…wouldn't it be lovely? 

The beautiful thing about a custom space is the continuity of design. When you purchase pre-fab furnishings and window coverings, you often have to be content to mix and match. Not so with the custom touches in this home! From the dining chairs and window coverings, to the kitchen valance, the fabric and design choices were pulled into the adjoining spaces for a cohesive feel.

Perhaps it is because all the light fixtures in my home that need to be updated, but I’ve certainly got lighting on the brain. I really love this clear glass fixture above the kitchen sink, and the old fashioned bulb that it highlights.

Perhaps the kitchen is the heart of the home, and living spaces the soul… but in my opinion the bedroom is equally heart. It is the private areas in our home where perhaps only our family members may venture, but where our real life begins. I think of it as a space that needs to be restful, happy, and above all else become an escape at the end of a long day. 

 This bedroom has some awesome industrial features. When you visit this home, take a look at the creativity that went into building the bed! (Yes, that was a bit of a teaser…for those able to go on a visit!) 

All I could think seeing this industrial desk lamp was hmmm how can I DIY this awesome lamp?

Finally I enjoyed the mirrored furniture in the master bedroom. Even with the blinds closed and the lights dimmed it created a very glamorous effect.

Whoever wins this YMCA Dream House will be located in a lovely town, within walking distance of all its amenities. I am well acquainted with Willoughby since I drive through downtown on my way to church every week. It seems there is always some exciting event happening in Willoughby

Each week I find myself exclaiming over a banner announcing the latest festivity, or peering into some lovely little shop, or watching the artisans set up for farmers market. I love this little town, so conveniently located to everything one could wish, yet having that quaint small town feel all at once!

I think the designers and builders did a fantastic job on this year’s Dream House…I know I was inspired! The YMCA tour volunteers were also so sweet I just had to give them a special shoutout! They were very helpful as I took pictures and excited to show me all the amazing features of the Dream House.

There were a lot of spaces in the YMCA Dream House I did not share here on the blog, but I hope you enjoyed this sneak peak!