Saturday, June 18, 2011

How to Do What I Do...

Have you ever wondered how I make all of those crayons?!

Here's your chance to see the inside secrets and try it for yourself! Wander over to the EtsyKids Team Blog and read their tutorial on how to make your own crayons!

Enjoy your day!


Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Spotlight...The Detailed Decorator

Through the fabulous world of Facebook, I have gotten to know many small business owners. It is these women that I draw strength and inspiration from, and I fondly call them my "co-workers". Jaime Casstevens of The Detailed Decorator is one of my newest online friends. We first met through HGTV's fan page, and I find myself checking back with her website often. Her inventory is always growing, and I am drawn to her very reasonable prices. Because we are a proud community that supports one another, I offered her the chance of a interview here. Sit back and relax, as we get to know Jaime a little better.

How did you get started in the home decor business and how long have you been in business? 
I had friends tell me to help them with this or look for this, and I thought I might need to look into it as a business.

What would you say is your personal design style? 

Where do you draw inspiration? 
Just looking at an object I try to envision what can be done with it in a room.

What are your biggest challenges as a business owner? 
Gaining trust in people

What makes your company different from others like it? 
Customer satisfaction is my #1 priority. I will go above and beyond to make a customer happy!

What are some of your professional goals for the future?
I look to franchise maybe in the future

Where do you see your company in five years?
I just want to help people more and more.  I want to make enough to give back to organizations like Canine Assistants and Vietnam Veterans group.

In your opinion, what is the single most important home improvement a person can make for resale? 
Anything to improve your kitchen or bathroom.  Granite is a great improvement where you will get almost all your money back out of it.

What are some of your favorite online places to shop for home decor necessities? 
My website :)

Some of Jaime's favorite products...

Doorknob Wall Hook $9.95

Rooster Kitchen Towel $9.95

I have my eye on these adorable pencil cups, right now....

Burlap Container $3.99

Jaime has a lot of promotional items that currently ship for free. Be sure to check those out! You know I LOVE a deal!

You can find Jaime...

Enjoy your day!

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Job for Siblings too...

As everyone knows, bringing another baby into the home can be a stressful time for both parents and siblings. Older children watch us busily preparing the house. We're shopping, painting and decorating a new room for baby, and sometimes we forget to help little hands take ownership of what's happening around them. This sense of ownership, or "helping", can really lesson the change. One of my favorite ways to ease the transition, and make older children feel more involved and control of their surroundings, is to have them create a piece of artwork for the nursery!

Go to your local craft supply store and purchase one blank canvas for each child. Next, get a few acrylic paint colors that match the theme of the nursery. When home, put your child(ren) in play clothes and encourage them to make a painting for their sister/brother. {Watch how often you use the word "new". This can make some children feel like they're being replaced!}

Be sure you get really excited and praise your child for all of their help! Take lots of pictures of the process too.

Paityn Prepares for Brother Coltin

When done, ask your child to help pick a place to hang their masterpiece. Make sure to give them a choice of two spots you'd like it to be displayed. This way you really have control over it, your child isn't getting overwhelmed with choices, and a decision is made smoothly!

Paityn's Work Proudly Displayed

Later on, reserve a special place in your baby book to talk about the art project. Have your child decide which pictures should go inside the book too!

When visitors start to pour in to see your newborn, your older children can excitedly show off their addition to the nursery too. This way, everyone feels the love!

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Budget Baby Shower...The Breakdown

It's not necessary to run to the nearest party supply store and load your cart with every matchy-matchy premade item you can find. Anyone can accomplish a much better look for a much better price. I promise! It just takes a little planning and some creative thinking.

I recently took on the honor of planning this baby shower for a very dear friend of mine...

Here's a look at some of the little details...

How did I accomplish this look...

4 Baby Blue Tablecloths $8.00 ($1.99/each)
12 Dollar Tree Vases $12.00 ($1/each) 3 per table
4 Red Gerbera Daisies $9 ($2.25/stem) 1 in center vase of each table
24 Red Carnations $24 ($1/stem) 6 per table/3 in each vase
4 White "Love" Clay Tags $6.50 Marley & Lockyer on Etsy 1 tied to each center vase
Red & White Polka Dot Snack Cups $5.00 (Used 16/Purchased in set of 24) HeyYoYo on Etsy
Red Cupcake Liners $3.33 for 24 HeyYoYo on Etsy
Personalized Cupcake Toppers $7.80 for 13 Bushel+Peck Paper (All my stand holds, but we served more)
"Thank You" Banner $18 Bushel+Peck Paper
"BOOKS" Sign Tied to Basket $2 Bushel+Peck Paper (Guests asked to bring book instead of card)
Love Notes Printable $8/set One Sweet Party on Etsy
White Frame for Printable $8 on clearance at Michaels
I already had the red tissue paper on hand $0 (originally paid $1.25/24 sheets used 66 sheets)
2 Spools of Red Ribbon $1.00 ($.50/each) at Michaels (ribbon also used on vases and to make clothesline)
1 Spool of Baby Blue Ribbon $.50 at Michaels (ribbon also used on vases)
1 Spool Red Ribbon with White Detail $2.87 at Michaels
1 Spool of Silver Floral Wire $1.99 at Michaels
Ribbon Counted Above $0
Cardboard $0 (cut from diaper box at home)
2 Elephant Stickers $3.99/set of 36 stickers California Craft on Etsy
2 White Buttons $0 (had on hand)
16 Clothespins $0 (had on hand)
1 Sheet of Clearance Scrapbook Paper $.50 at Michaels (Mod Podged to Pins)
1 White Hanging Tin Marker Cup $0 (had on hand but originally paid $1 at Dollar Tree)
Markers Borrowed From Personal Stash $0


Not bad, if you ask me! What were some of your original guesses?

Of course, there was the cost of food, but we even tried to save there. Premade lemonade was $2 from Walmart, but we cut three fresh lemons and added a dash of sugar to give a homemade look and taste. We also saved costs on the cupcakes by making them ourselves from scratch. The total cost for food was around $75! All of the serving dishes and drink dispenser were already ours!

The burp clothes for the clothesline (guests were asked to decorate one for the mommy to take home) were just $12 at Walmart. I also found four onesies on clearance at Target for $3.38 that I added to the line!

We also had the cost of plates, napkins, cups and plastic utensils. The utensils were bought for $1 at Dollar Tree, and everything else was less than $12 at a local party supply store.

I hope this has inspired you, and please let me know if you have any additional questions or need some advice for your next party!

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Puppet Power...

We've heard it before. The economy has changed and people are cutting back on spending. This means, many spring break family vacations have been largely scaled back or omitted all together! If you're one of the millions staying home this year, you may want to supplement some of the expensive fun with some budget-friendly ideas! Here's one for you...

Available for $2 (plus shipping) at my etsy shop, these blank hand puppets are a wonderful time filler. Gather white school glue, fabric scraps, google eyes, markers, or anything else you have on hand. Then, encourage your child to get to work making a puppet! Ask your child to name the puppet, and keep the conversation open. Maybe she can tell you a story about the puppet, or act out a situation that's been bugging her lately or causing her problems at school (a bully perhaps). Get two and make your own along with your child, and you're sure to have a memorable afternoon full of good communication and giggles!

Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Way Past Pink...

Lately, I have been attracted to yellow and gray color combinations! I want a yellow and gray kitchen, bathroom, and...NURSERY! More specifically, a little girl's nursery. I'm over pink. It's time for punch! However, another baby is really no where in my immediate plans, so I'll just get my decor fix by blogging. Sit back, prop your feet up, grab the pickle jar and enjoy a little eye candy...

This crib set packs more than enough motivation to move forward! I am head over heels in love with this crib set! Really. In. Love.

Now, that we have the perfect inspiration Amy Butler fabric, it's time to choose the paint...

I don't think you can miss the mark with either pale gray or yellow. Then, pair the bedding with a white crib, repurposed antique furniture and art pieces like these Etsy finds...

Hang an eye catching, lacquered, antique inspired mirror above the dresser, or one like this...

Then,  place a vase of these on top of the dresser. They're low maintenance and perfect for life with a new baby!

This would also be adorable hung inside a bookshelf or near a little nook...

You'll also want a rug. Here are a few Anthropologie options that could work!

Every nursery needs a soft chair for feedings and long story sessions. With yellow walls, I'd do a white or gray one. With gray walls, I'd do a yellow or white one!

I'm also a firm believer that a nursery should have personalized touches and  grow with a baby! A way to get the most age out of a space-especially a girl's space-is to add "soft" and "hard" accessories. Investing in an over sized, industrial inspired wall letter can really add a statement too. Plus, it's sure to be a piece that will always have a place in your home...

There will be plenty of future days full of doll rocking, painting and pretend play, so you may want to add a piece or two ready and waiting! Start your child's library early and place a small chair near it!

Later, you can add a pretty full length mirror and hooks with dress-up clothes or a play kitchen and a table and chair set. Plan a head, leave some open space and choose a few pieces that are most important to you. Every child doesn't need a play room. Get the most use out of your space and create a room that your child won't ever want to leave! Also, remember a room always evolves. Don't cover every square inch of a room, before your water breaks. You'll want to have space for fantastic finds later on!

Enjoy your day!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Born to Design...

Early childhood education is a passion of mine, but home decor and design is equally important to me. As a child, I wanted to be a teacher (before I knew what an interior designer was), but I always had a drive in me to design. In first grade, I would wake up in the middle of the night and rearrange my pink bedroom. I even turned my closet into a baby doll nursery. I drug my dad to the hardware store and gave him my exact specifications for a changing table. He let me pick out the trim and handles, and it was a masterpiece!

The rest of my room was almost a full classroom. My mom wanted me to have a vanity, but I had other plans. I instructed my dad to remove the mirror, and I screwed a real pencil sharpener into the top. It became a desk, survived a house fire, and I still use it today!

We moved in third grade, and I took full advantage of a new space. I was tired of Pepto-Bismol pink, and against my mother's dreams, I asked for a black and white bedroom. Well...demanded is more like it! She took me to K-Mart, and I picked out a black and white striped comforter. She fought me tooth and nail on the paint, and I settled for white walls with black trim. By this time, the rest of my room was a full blown classroom. I had two real student desks, my "teacher's" desk, a file cabinet, and a large chalkboard. Yes, these are the things I asked Santa for!

In mid elementary, my closet changed again. This time, it was "Crystal's Country Closet". The sunflower was my "logo". With tape (for laminating), paper, markers and a repurposed pin back, I made my own name tag. I cut a white tank top down the center and made a uniform vest. Using cardboard boxes for shelving and baskets for display, I gathered things I didn't want anymore and sold them to my little brother and the neighborhood kids. Yes...I even had a real cash register too!

By fifth grade, I soaked up the JCPenney catalog and begged my parents for a daybed. I convinced my mom to order a floral bedding set (remember when hunter green was in) and got to work on another transformation!

In high school, nothing changed. I saved my baby sitting money and painted my room and my desk myself. I replaced my black outlet plugs with white ones (yes, I actually turned off the power and did this myself), sewed matching pillows in Home Economics and made collage wall art. I even gathered old glass Coke bottles and covered them with dripping crayon wax and candle wax. Then, I put a white candle stick inside each one. My mom nicknamed my room "Apartment 1A". I was a budding amateur designer! With the first promo for "Trading Spaces" hitting the airways, I knew it would be a hit, and I would be their biggest fan!

Moving away to college may have meant partying and freedom to most. To me, it meant complete design control, and I took full advantage. When new friends visited my dorm, I beamed when they commented on how "homey" it felt!

My first apartment was no different. Because we couldn't paint, I covered my kitchen walls with striped school folders. I liked the print, and they were on sale. Believe it or not, they were actually easy to clean too, because they had a laminated-like coating.

During student teaching, I moved back home and turned a bedroom into my first full blown office. I drug my dad back to the hardware store and gave him exact specifications for a wall mounted ribbon display. He ended up making me two! My childhood desk was painted once again, and I was given such satisfaction in working in a perfectly functional space.

Fast forward to modern day, and I find myself once again wanting more. While PreschoolDoll Designs has turned into more than I could have even imagined, and I am honored every day to work successfully from home, I have a desire to once again give my desk a face lift...

My new Etsy shop, Modern Bungalow, will be launching in May! Inspired by our cozy, little bungalow, I will be offering an array of home decor accessories and finally tapping into that side of me professionally. Won't you please come on this newest journey with me!

Enjoy your day!