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unintentional inspiration...

Friday, January 29

unintentional inspiration...

i adore it.
it's one of those moments when you accidentally stumble across something you weren't really looking for...

and you leave completely inspired.

that's what happened yesterday.

randomly clicking on links to other links led me to this:

an adorable design concept, don't you think?
cardvelopes? so cute.
LOVE the colors on this and the illustrations.
and this is actually a free download...
so go and get it HERE!

but that was just the beginning.
i was intrigued by natalie jost and her blog.
she's got LOTS of fun things to look at.

i skimmed through her "tutorials"...
for instance:

but wait...
it gets even better...

i was completely intrigued by the items she offers in her etsy shop.

want the icing on all of this designer cake?

she's got a store too.
"olive manna"...
a name created by the combination of her three daughter's names:
olivia, emma & audrey anna
so cute.

you should definitely take a minute...
or five...
or twenty...
and go browse through her sites.
LOVE her.

LOVE unintentional inspiration.
don't you?

Happy Friday - hug the weekend...

Keeping It Real: (completely unrelated to this post - merely a follow up)

Remember me mentioning yesterday that I was going to cross off one of my "before birthday goals"?
Goal #26: pay for someone else's order at the drive-thru.
I forgot to do it!
Can you believe it!?
& we'll conveniently skip over the reason why i was even AT a drive thru twice in one day. *wink*
So, anyway...
I DID redeem myself.
I ended up paying the tolls for two people behind me on the toll road.
That was pretty cool.
Such a small thing.
But such a big impact on me.
I could get addicted to that feeling. *wink*
I'll have another drive-thru opportunity today - I WON'T forget this time.

creative hostess contest

Thursday, January 28

it's another contest.
but this time i'm not hosting it. *wink*
kim posted this on her site and i couldn't help but enter.
just for fun.
you never know...
you should enter too...
or if you have friends that would be interested...
pass along the information.
creative hostess is sponsoring it.

holy mackeral...
as i'm getting ready to copy the link from creative hostess,
i see a slide show on the homepage with my party! what!?
i had no idea she posted it. (evidently on the 11th).
i'm so excited.
thank you creative hostess!
thank you for all of the sweet things you said about my little ella's party!
that just made my day...
that does it.
today is the day i'm going to go and make someone else's day...
i'm going to cross off the "pay for someone's order in the drive thru"...
you know...

make YOUR day great...
have a wonderful thursday...

& the winners are....

Wednesday, January 27

congratulations to the two winners....
candi was the winner for sending the most friends over to enter...
carmel won the selection...
so happy for you both...
(i'll be contacting you to find out print size, background color & font color choices)...
congratulations again....
(and do you totally love the frame i created as much i'm loving it?)

i was completely overjoyed by the amount of comments!
i appreciate so much every person that participated and supported the cause.
a special thanks to alison bosen who sent tons of friends over as well...
i wish i could send prints to every single one of you...

many people have inquired about whether the prints will be for sale.
i'm flattered that you love them so much.
i'm working on the details & i'll let you know soon...

Keeping It Real
i got a headache today stressing over the fact that my computer would NOT let me upload this announcement. all of a sudden, tonight, it's working? huh? i'm so glad to finally be getting to post it...thank you everyone for your patience...

let's celebrate...

Tuesday, January 26

hApPY bLogOvErsAry
(mini chocolate chip ice cream sandwich)

i've learned so much about myself and about the "blog world" over the past year...
i had no idea what i was rEaLLy getting into when i submitted my very first post.

here are just some of things i've discovered:

- blogging is personal & i put a lot of thought into it.
- blogging is therapeutic
- blogging is a lot of fun
- a lot of my posts seem to center around food - particularly baked goods. *grin*
- it's important to take the time to comment on other blogs
- blogging requires time...and sometimes a lot of it...
- inspiration from others can help you find yourself
- blog comments are like gifts...i love opening them!
- it takes time & commitment to maintain an interesting blog
- the time & effort i put into my blog makes me appreciate the efforts of other bloggers...
- the more you blog, the better you get at it
- there seem to be endless widgets/gadgets to add - pick only the ones that are worthwhile
- there are so many wonderful friends/people i've met
- a little goes a long way
- blogging isn't all about a "follower count" (although it's nice to be followed) *wink*
- always give credit and site sources
- there are many like-minded people out there searching for creativity, inspiration and
the knowledge that there are others like them...
- sometimes the inspiration i'm searching for is right in front of me - my children/family
- my motivation for taking pictures comes directly from my passion for posting/sharing them here.
- i blog for selfish reasons - me. me. and me. (it's been sooo good for me).
- i blog because it allows me to record my life/journal at the same time.
- sometimes i go for a few days without any posts because of time constraints...and that's okay.
- although i've debated whether or not to keep music on my blog because it may, potentially,
irritate some readers. BUT...without music, my blog wouldn't be a true representation of ME.
- blogging is worth it...

a big HUGE thank you to all of my readers...
your comments, feedback & support continue to lift me.
i ADORE you!

Don't forget...
You've got until midnight tonight to have a chance at winning my first blog give-away...
there's a serious competition going on between who can send over the most friends...
i won't mention names...but these two gals are neck-in-neck...
hugs to everyone...
thank you for the genuine excitement and support...
...good luck!

Keeping It Real:
the picture of the mini chocolate chip ice cream sandwich took me several attempts
to get it right.(and i'm still not 100% satisfied...*laughing*)
it ended up back in the freezer at least two different times so it could harden back up. *wink*

snatch it up...

Monday, January 25

only one day left to enter to win this little lovely print...
(or you have the option to customize your background color, words & font color).
isn't it cute displayed with the polka dot ribbon?
love it.
both clara & ema are begging to have a print of their own...*wink*

good luck to all of you...
can't wait to mail the prints out to 2 winners...
exciting stuff...
happy monday everyone.

'bake it pretty' & sprinkles make everything better...

Friday, January 22

my first creation from the "petite sweets" cookbook...

mini chocolate velvet cakes...

cute, right?
looks pretty tasty...?
overall, it actually DID taste pretty good. (nothing to write martha stewart about)
but it wasn't that difficult to make. (brownie points)
i messed up the icing. *blushing*
go ahead.
look closely.
you can see a curdled, runny mess all up on that poor little innocent velvety cake.
that's some dripping down the side of the wrapper.
the ones in the back are even worse looking.

#1: butter was too soft
#2: refrigerated portion was too cold.
mix the two together and you get:
an icing disaster.

i couldn't bare to just toss them all away.
but i also couldn't bare the thought of eating naked cakes.
these would unfortunately be crowned with a less-than favorable icing presentation.

but wait.
a little bit of valentine's sprinkles...(or maybe it was A LOT) *wink*

by george...
i believe the unthinkable has been avoided.
no wasted cakes...
no naked cakes...
an undeniably cute.
seriously cute.
despite the frosting nightmare...
thank you bake it pretty...
i adore you...

it's a "win-win"...

speaking of "win" -

have your "cupcake" and eat it too by entering to win the "be" print from this post.
only 2 days left to enter & all it takes is leaving a comment.
be 1 of the 2 lucky winners.
seriously easy.
seriously worth it.

thank you to those who've already entered...
i'm LOVING the feedback you've been giving!
don't forget to send your friends over too...


things that are making me smile today...

Tuesday, January 19

these are some things that are making me smile today...

started reading through this book...preparing myself for baking every recipe.
(this will assist me in reaching one of my "before birthday" goals)

picked a recipe to try this week from this book...

making felt flowers to make cute little headbands for ella... this one. sweet, isn't it?
(disclaimer: i'm not a sewing kind of gal...don't be too critical) *wink*

and these...
i received these yesterday and they are even more lovely in print.
you could still win one of these.
2 lucky winners to be announced.
only 7 days left to enter to win...
(see yesterday's post for details)

those are some things i've been busy with lately.
they're little things, i know.
but they sure have a way of filling up my heart in such a BIG way.
and they're making me smile today.
i hope they make you smile too.

8 days to a GiVeAwAy!

Monday, January 18

i'm eight days away from my "blogoversary"...
yes people.
i've been blogging for almost 1 year.
it just seems like yesterday i was biting my nails as i was pushing the "publish post" button for the first time...
i realize that's just a drop in the pail compared to some of you...
but it's definitely something worth celebrating...
don't you think?

here's the announcement i've been promising to make...

i've decided to do my first "giveaway" here on the blog.
a giveaway that requires a little something from my readers...
not a whole lot.
just a little bit of effort. *wink*
but wait.
what IS the giveaway?

remember this?
from this post...???

i've had SUCH positive feedback on this creation...
i've decided to give one away to one of my blog readers...
that's right!
the winner of this gem will receive an archival-quality print mailed directly from ME to YOU!
it gets even better...
for only $19.99...
(it was beginning to sound like one of those commercials...)


the winner gets the option to CUSTOMIZE their print:
- choose your background color.
- choose your font color.
- choose your own "words to live by" OR use the ones i've already created.
- choose either a 10x10 or an 8x10 print...for easier framing.

OR...just keep the print "as-is"...
the winner gets to decide.

can't visualize a different background or font color?
here's some help...
just to get you pumped up and excited...

how about a PINK print in an 8x10?

or how about a white font instead of the black?

what do YOU need to do to have one of these lovelies gracing a wall in your home?

1. leave a comment here & tell me where you'd display it in your home. (only one entry per reader please...*wink*)
2. your comment MUST also include your favorite word from the current print or one you'd like to see added...
3. have your friends leave a comment too...but make sure they reference your name...

why have your friends enter to win & potentially sabotage your own chances of winning?
hold onto your seats...
i'll be giving away yet ANOTHER free print to the person who sends the most friends over to enter the giveaway...

that's all it takes.
the contest ends midnight..January "blogoversary"...of course. *wink*
i'll be using to select the first winner.
the 2nd winner will obviously be tallied by the number of friends you send over...

good luck to you all...
thank you soooo much in advance for your excitement & participation...
8 days and counting...

& happy monday...

these goals are different...

Friday, January 15

this post is updated on a continuous basis - as goals are met.
(see below)'s the new year and we all make goals.
but my list pictured above is different.
these are goals i've come up with to achieve before my next birthday. (november 2010)
these aren't your typical new year's resolution goals.
these are goals that will inspire many ways.
some are funny little things...
some are family related...
some cost money although most are free...

these goals are silly and light-hearted.
these goals will bring a different sense of happiness...
the happiness you get when you focus on doing things your heart, (and maybe even your soul), tells you to do...
the happiness that rejuvenates...

want to see my list?
the number of goals i came up with is random...
i just started listing everything i wanted to do...

green indicates goals in progress - the steps I'm taking to achieve the goals.
red font indicates goals that are DONE
and if it's black...i've not done a thing with it...YET!

1. go down the water slide with the kids during our annual world marriot stay...DONE! see this post...
2. bubbles with etched glass DONE!
in progress...
bought etching cream Jan. 2010

3. participate in a charity walk DONE!
gearing myself up with the 343 challenge - (May/June 2010)
participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure - October 17th 2010

4. wacom tutorials - complete at least 12
in progress...two completed Jan. 2010
October 6th - one more done.

5. have a family picnic with bubbles & take pictures DONE!
in progress...
scheduled for Saturday, February 6th
had the picnic but too windy for good bubble pics. will be having another one.
waiting for Fall - when it's cooler. (August 2010)

6. buy a toe ring (silly...i know...but i need a new one...*wink*)
i looked and looked many times throughout the year and never found any that caught my eye...

7. watch "gone with the wind" in its' entirety (never done this..shame on me). DONE!
thanks to the "girls only slumber party" with my aunt, cousin, mom & two older daughters...
i watched the movie from start to finish. yay!!

8. plant some pretty flowers that make me happy.

9. compendium books...add a few more to my collection DONE!!
October - "She" and "One" are on the way
A complimentary package of goodies from Compendium helped me add "Believe" to my collection
as well as another copy of "Give Thanks" - October 15th 2010

10. candlelight picnic with j. DONE!

11. perfect a gluten-free dessert DONE!
in progress...
ordered babycakes Jan. 10th
started reading babycakes Jan. 17th
added a button to my blog for all to follow along with me
purchased bob's red mill gluten-free all purpose flour (Feb. 2010)
purchased xanthum gum (Feb. 2010)
baked chocolate chip banana bread from babycakes - DELISH!

12. slumber party with the girls. DONE!
scheduled for Saturday, October 23rd
My aunt Susan, cousin Kalie, my Mom and Clara and Ema all hung out for a slumber party night!
We enjoyed homemade pizzas and gave each other facials and pedicures while watching Gone with the Wind.

13. attend the mt. dora craft fair (as a participant) DONE/sort of - see below
in progress...application requested Dec. 2010
think i've figured out what my focus needs to be...(Feb. 15th)
printed out the application - discussed with j
application deadline is May 2010.
with our move this year and after much discussion, we decided 2010 is not the year to participate....bummed. *frown*
WAIT!!! i have another idea that just might let me participate - just in a different way...(August 2010)
I will be having a "mini display" in the shoppe of Cupcake Delights - thanks Judy! (October 23rd & 24th)
With Judy's shoppe in downtown Mt. Dora, I was able to put up a little display of some of my printables in her shoppe for the weekend of the craft fair. I was thrilled!!

14. do an herb garden DONE!
anonymous blog reader sent me this link:
another source for herb garden inspiration: (July 2010)
purchased herbs from a local garden center (July 2010)
made my first "bouquet garni" (July 2010)
my herbs are already dead (August 2010) *frown*

15. make an angel food cake (never done it)

16. photoshoot with "me" only
had a family photo shoot scheduled with a photographer at the end of November...found out this morning it fell through. WILL do this!!

17. try some royal icing art. DONE!
cupcake buttons for ally's shower - Jan. 2nd
cupcake buttons for several customers - April & June

18. one night alone at a B&B

in progress...
purchased on Jan. 8th
started creating exercise jar
exercises started on February 3rd.
it's been awhile...need to get going again (june 2010)

20. sell something on etsy. DONE!
started setting up shop Jan. 14th
putting some ideas out there to see what people are interested in
etsy shop opened & very first sale: February 2nd!
three total sales in shop - 3 jobs outside of etsy...(february)
business has taken!
almost to 60 sales - July 2010
Wow...feeling really inspired. 141 sales to-date. (11/3/2010)

21. create a profitable business doing what i love. DONE & doing it
set up an etsy shop.
applying for mt. dora craft fair
honing creative energy to figure out what people want most from me.
sent off my very first invoice...Jan. 27th yea!! (job: pottery barn invite)
another invitation/announcement job commissioned on February 3rd! (moving card)
total of 3 prints sold from etsy shop...
ongoing orders and custom design requests....exciting!
SO excited about the positive response over the last five months. (June 2010)
Thrilled to have a thriving little business with so much positive feedback! (Nov. 3 2010)

22. go for 1 month without any meat. (for cleansing & just to see if I can do it...crazy).
Don't know what I was thinking when I created this goal.
Somewhere in the back of my crazy little mind I'd like to think I could do this.
Because really I'd be vegetarian if my family would allow it.

23. cut squares from my grandpa's shirts for a quilt/blanket
i've got the suitcase of clothes conveniently located in my closet now. (June 2010)
shoot...I meant to do this when we had our slumber party! Man!!! (11/3/2010)

24. make macarons (never done it).
in progress...
collecting macaron recipes like this one from bakerella
pre-ordered "Macarons" book...(August 2010)
Scheduled for October 23rd - slumber party night
Didn't happen...but it will!! 11/3/2010

25. make meringues (never done it) DONE!

26. pay for someone else's order in the drive-thru (i LOVE this idea) DONE!
paid for the person's order behind me January 29th
looked like a young teenage boy.
he ordered the 2 cheeseburger promo for $1 & 2 order of fries for $1
total was only $4.28
pretty cool feeling...

27. kopykake projector (save & purchase)
in progress...but i'm torn between buying that or buying or a silhouette
tried winning a silhouette through Hof3 and TomKat Studio (April & June)
not in the budget this year. *frown*

28. print my 2009 blog
I soooo wanted to do this and didn't.
I'll have to print my 2009 AND 2010 at the same time. 11/3/2010

29. make something at yada yada pottery
think i've decided to do either a cake pedestal or pie plate (July 2010)
does driving by and looking several times count? (August 2010)
scheduled for October 23rd
didn't get to do this...but plan on doing this with my girls. 11/3/2010

30. go to Brio's just for cheesecake DONE!
went with Kris on March 13th.

31. new 50mm lens
thinking i'll be asking for this for my bday *wink* (August 2010)
hoping to get this for my birthday
i was going to be getting this for my birthday but after finding out i get to go to the Martha Stewart Dreamers Into Doers event in January, I told everyone to donate their cash towards my trip! *wink* 11/3/2010

32. paint some canvases
in progress...
bought one canvas & new brushes Jan. 10th
can't believe this didn't happen...should've been so easy.
i had the canvas and new paint brushes and plenty of paint...11/3/2010

33. create a dream board
collecting things...can't build it until we get in the new house
researched material costs with Clara & Ema (they want one too) - July 2010
keeping this on my's SUCH a wonderful thing to do. 11/3/2010

34. tara whitney's photo wall (see this post)
i found the PERFECT product to make this happen!!
didn't accomplish this BUT i found the company fracture and will be using them to complete this goal later. (11/3/2010)

35. start collecting letters for home decor (revised..collecting NUMBERS instead) DONE!
does picking up a letter in a store and then putting it back count? *wink* (April 2010)
thinking i'm going to collect NUMBERS instead of letters - numbers that are significant
to our birthDAYS and months...don't you think that'll be fun? (May 2010)
Sticking with the NUMBERS idea. (June 2010)
Purchased my first number: "3" - (July 2010)
my collection isn't near finished but the goal was to "start" it...

36. write a children's book/coffee table book & publish it on my own
in progress...
think i've come up with a name for it
nothing sketched out at this point but lots of ideas
getting excited about this - may tie this into Ella's bday party (August 2010)
started sketching ideas out - September
considering creating a mini book for Ella's bday party.
i actually sketched out the book but haven't done much with it yet. (11/3/2010)

37. "saturday sundaes" once a month as a family DONE!
in progress...
had our first one on January 23rd
had one in February and we did Oreo themed sundaes for March
we've completed this every month so far - and it's now the end of May.
still going strong...(July 2010)
No's officially a little tradition.

38. do something completely "out of character" with my hair
discussed options with my hair guy...Robie...mentioned "pink" and he suggested temporary
extensions??? thinking.
Does going to a new hair person because I couldn't get in to see Robie count?
I walked out with an unintentional "out of character" look...MUCH more blonde than I've ever been! *wink* (July 2010)
I'd better schedule to have some pink extensions put in...(October 19th 2010)
My hairdresser wouldn't allow me to do anything crazy at this point since the Martha Stewart event is coming up in January...*wink* 11/3/2010

39. focus on making mini-desserts this year DONE!
in progress...
ordered petite sweets on Jan. 10th
picked my first recipe to try: chocolate velvet cakes - Jan. 16th
made mini chocolate chip cookies - Jan. 24th & i used them to make my blogoversary mini ice cream sandwich...
made pretzel buttons (february)
made mini lemon cheesecakes for memorial day.
made mini banana pudding bites for 4th of july.
mini ice cream cookie pops (July 2010) - these have been featured several times around the web...

so there's my list.
isn't it fun?
notice how each one will trigger CREATiViTY..?? LOVE that.
i challenge you to come up with your own lists.
things you've always wanted to do but aren't on your list of priorities.
things that are FUN & light-hearted.
easy little things that will lift you...inspire you...
and things that will connect you with your heart...

in other news...
watch for an announcement on monday -
my first little excited!

I was really nervous at first to share these...*wink*

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