Happy Birthday to Me!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The last thing I should be doing is blogging on my birthday but I took the day off and have planned lots of Debbie time today! Last night I came in late after a closing shift at the store and J was an eager beaver to give me a birthday gift. How can you say no to that? What he gave me was the most thoughtful gift and used inspiration directly from this blog.

The women at Michael's must have been a little exhausted directing J around the sticker aisle looking for just the right ones. This book includes 31 reasons (for number of years, blah, blah) why J is grateful for me, complete with really nice stickers, my own stamps and lots of creativity! A special hug to our dear friend SH for directing J to my blog and giving him this awesome idea!

I love you J and I can't wait to be your wife in four months!

Inspired by 2011!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Before I put away the holiday decorations and after I recover from my birthday (it's tomorrow by the way!), I'm going to celebrate 2011! Now, some of you may think that I had a pretty stellar year (new house, new ring, longer hair), but it was actually a rough one! My brother barely survived an aortic aneurysm and the family went through quite a bit watching him recover and we still worry about him every day. The constant wedding planning, money saving and family commitments kept us from hanging out with our friends as much as we would have liked. And I think we only made ONE trip to Napa this year ...

So let’s ring in the new year with a happy and healthy attitude. Cheers to more time with friends, with our wii and making it to the San Francisco festivals! Here’s to bridal showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, our wedding, and five others that we are very much looking forward to. And last but not least, here's to sharing and giving more, and doing the things that truly make us happy! Enjoy!

Here is a new year’s subway art freebie from Custom Printables.

I'm not much of a cook and good thing I'm not because I just don't know when I'd find the time to sleep! So for those of us looking for shortcuts, Better Homes and Gardens shares 37 new year's eve party ideas!

And if you're entertaining the next day, all*you shares a great menu for throwing a low-cost New Year's brunch.

You can't start a new year without a new calendar. Just this morning, I stumbled upon free templates that I'm happy to share here! Skip to my Love has a selection of free and very inexpensive 2011 calendars. Michelle at This Crazy Life also shares a nice selection of colorful and original calendars that will definitely brighten your year.

Jen at Tatertots and Jello amazes again! She has collected an assortment of party hats that can be used for any party - from grape juice to champagne.

Anna and Blue Paperie shares free party circles that can be used for cupcake toppers, gift tags, wine tags and so much more! I love the color combination.

Here's a free download that has some good behind it. In an effort to get the word out about Operation Shower and support those who give to our country, Love The Day is providing a free 2011 New Year Printable Party.

And this unique idea is something that I'm going to do in 2011. Chronicle all of the things that you're grateful for in 2011 and I bet you won't repeat a single one! Here's a great gratitude journal by I Love it All that is featured on Amanda's Today's Top 20.

You can also find a great list of freebies at Pizzazzerie and How Does She?

home: thrifty holiday and mantel reveal

Monday, December 27, 2010

This is my first holiday blogging and the inspiration from my favorite blogs was overwhelming this month, and with a full time and small part time job, where does the little blogger find time to recreate it all? Projects were completed here and there, and thanks to some of my favorites, I was able to add the spirit of Christmas to our home this year while on a very tight budget.

The hardest part of the holiday decorating was deciding where to put the tree! With a new dining table and a couch that we refuse to sell, we needed to get creative. The location next to the fireplace is perfect for outsiders looking in (spies!) and for when we walk in the door. We decorate our tree with ornaments from places we visit, reflections of things we do (cow = engaged encounter weekend in the Valley), and things we love.

Our home has two fireplace mantels and we only decorated one this year to save some money. We already had the garland but we added the small ornaments that we picked up in the dollar bin at Target. The Keep Calm and Merry On is a free download from Craftily Ever After. I made the stockings late one night but never had a chance to post something on the blog about it (something to look forward to next year!). The remaining decorations were already in a box in the garage.

Another never-had-time-to-put-something-together excuse is the holiday card display. There are some good ideas out there ladies, but my last minute solution was a string of red ribbon and a stapler. Here, I display the ever popular picture holiday card showcase! Also notice the free subway art download from eighteen25.

My DIY answer to a front door decoration? Leftover tree branches from the tree lot where we bought our tree, leftover ribbon and ornaments that I had at the bottom of a box.

My most prized thrifty share this year is that I didn't spend a single dollar on gift wrappings. All of the paper is leftover from a big after Christmas sale two years ago. The ribbon is the collection of my thrifty hoarding of gifts that I receive. And the tags are made from holiday cards that I receive each year.

And this little butterball makes the holidays special. This is my brother Toby, and a good replacement for the grandchildren my parents are desperately pushing us to have. He especially enjoys taking naps on wrapping paper and standing on his hind legs.

I hope everyone enjoyed the Christmas weekend and I wish you a very happy and healthy 2011!

30 before April 30 Project 3 Completed!

Christmas is a time to be with family and friends, eat foods high in calories and rich in butter, and make a wrapping paper mess that only the dogs and cats can really enjoy. But during my time locked up in a farm house with my family, I worked on project 3 for our wedding (four months, three days away!!).

In a previous post, I mentioned that we hired the talented Sarah of Foglio Press to design our invitations (find Foglio Press on Etsy). For a very small fee, she designed a matching logo that we can use on items sprinkled throughout our big day. I took the logo and placed it eight times on an 8 1/2" x 11" piece of sticker paper, and printed enough for 304 stickers. I used the always reliable paper cutter to cut each one.

For the dessert bar, we will have coffee, candy, cookies and homemade Portuguese sweets. We'll include little bags and take-out boxes for guests who need a little sugar one, two or three days later! The stickers were placed on 200 small bags and 100 take-out boxes purchased online at Paper Mart. The four remaining stickers were used to make chicken noses on my little cousins (sorry, picture not included).

Project 3 is done and packaged until April. Here's an update on the 30 before April 30 list:

- Homemade totebags for the bridesmaids
- Guest bags and all of the pieces that will go inside for out-of-towners
- DONE! Save the dates
- Wedding invitations
- Hand written addresses for wedding invitations
- Wedding programs
- Wedding menu cards
- DONE! Bridal shower invitations
- Bridal shower centerpieces (this isn't taking place April 30, duh!)
- Reserved signs (no escort cards at this wedding)
- Escort cards for wedding party
- Photobooth props & sign
- Materials for out-of-town guest
- Rehearsal dinner invitations
- Rehearsal dinner menus
- Bar menus
- Thank you cards for gifts along the way ...
- Groomsmen gifts
- Door initials
- Monogramed centerpieces
- DONE! Dessert bar components
- Sign in *surprise* area (we can't give everything away)
- Bridal Party dinner table monogram runner
- Signs for front of reception site
- Centerpieces for cocktail tables & bars
- Wedding cake topper
- Bouquet bling
- Signs for pictures
- Toiletry kits for bathrooms
- Thank you gifts for our generous vendors, family and friends helping on the big day!

A Little Wedding Inspiration

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

For two days I sat in a small studio cabin in the middle of the Kirkwood Mountain Resort, watching 35 inches of snow fall just in 24 hours! J enjoys to ski and even made an attempt at snowboarding this weekend (thanks BL!), but I wrapped myself up in sweaters and worked on some wedding projects without interruption (jealous?).

The main projects this week include ceremony programs, local maps, out-of-town (OOT) guest bag tags, and OOT welcome programs. This includes a lot of time on the computer researching some great ideas. I have a good start, but nothing worthy of sharing with the blog community just yet. Instead, I'll share some amazing online gifts and hope that I can pass along some inspiration.

Wedding Bee has become one of my go-to online communities. Whatever the project may be, I can count on the Wedding Bee search engine to direct me to some great ideas. This one is exceptional - I don't think we'll go with the 8 page version, but this couple created a truly unique piece that deserves some mention. Click here for instructions.

This Week's Roundup: My Favorite Freebies

Friday, December 10, 2010

There has been so much sharing going on this week that I'm collecting my twitter updates in a blog to show you just how gorgeous - and generous - these freebies are. So please, take a moment and save some future projects or get started on one now. Enjoy!

While checking out Black and White {Side by Side}, I found Jones Design Company and the next hour of my life was consumed by her tutorials and warm home. Below are free templates of tags that you can print on cardstock and use on your holiday gifts.

Benign Objects is another sweet site that carries a whole lot of eye candy. This week I found templates for candy jars, for cards, envelopes, and CD cases. Visit the site and enter to win during the 25 days of freebies & giveaways!

Although I need to put some elbow grease into this freebie, a tutorial is often more valuable than being handed the finished product for free. Since a tree skirt is on my to do list, Design*Sponge walks us through the process.

For someone planning her wedding, the Wedding Chicks are the answer to the DIY bride. Their free downloads are perfect and can be customized for any color combination. Now, the Chicks are offering free holiday card templates!

Sprik Space has a whole basket full of free downloads that are perfect for your holiday cards, decorating your home, or letting your neighbors know how creative you are!

We can always count on Tip Junkie for some good stuff! On a recent posting, she shares lots of holiday labels and favors, including CD labels, water bottle labels, shipping labels and more.

Holiday Stocking DIY Inspiration

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Last week I worked on two Christmas stockings for me and the Mr. and I still need to make one for the kitty. The sewing machine was challenged and eventually, so was my creativity. The Christmas stockings are sewn and the skeleton is strong. The following details are still unfinished and I'm collecting some ideas to stamp my personal touch on our stockings. In the meantime, enjoy the eye candy that I'm using for inspiration.

These sweater stockings are so sweet with the polka dot fabric inside and ruffles on the top edge. Apartment Therapy shares where you can pick up a pattern to create stockings for yourself.

I shared this creative stocking before on this blog but I want to share this free pattern featured on Twig and Thistle again.

These country style stockings are simple to make and would make cute gifts in the rooms of your out-of-town guests. All About You shares a pattern and instructions.

An always reliable source for patterns, Martha Stewart offers this pattern for mini boot-shaped stockings. This link also provides 28 different templates. Not a bad deal!

The greatest part of this fun side gig is stumbling upon one great blog after another. That was the case with this strip pieced stocking and the incredible details that are shared on The Purl Bee.

I had to use Martha Stewart again because these warm stockings can be made with a scarf that you already have at home. Click here to grab the pattern.

DIY Subway Art Holiday Cards

Monday, December 6, 2010

The 2010 theme around here has been "do more with less." So the holiday card isn't going to be an ordered item but instead I need to take this into my own hands. A stack of holiday paper, some leftover envelopes and a few minutes on the computer made the perfect card. I've said it before on this blog and I say it again: subway art rocks! So this design includes 12 text boxes with all the right holiday words. Here are just a few samples.

If you'd like the word document to create your own, email me at inspiredhoneybee@gmail.com or tweet me at NspiredHoneyBee ...

30 Before April 30 Project 2: Completed!

In my efforts to do everything myself from scratch with love and care, there comes a point where you do the math, you think about your time and come to realize ... I'm going to make an online order. That was the case for the bridal shower my mom is hosting for me and the invitation. Originally, I wanted to use graphics from the free downloads at Wedding Chicks, but after printing everything, buying envelopes and a whole lot of cutting, the cost didn't compare to the amazingly inexpensive deals at Wedding Paper Divas. I had two coupons on hand that included additional discounts. Here is the design choice (I'm obviously not Serena):

To add my personal touch, I focused on the address labels. Martha Stewart shares a folded address label  that I downloaded for free.

I saved on the cost by just picking paper with different brown tones and using my own printer, then cutting along the lines.

Using the Martha Stewart lace edge punch, I made a little upgrade on the front of the address label.

The labels were glued on the envelopes and folded over. Done one month ahead of schedule.