Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Favorites: Throw pillow obsession!

Happy Friday and welcome to my throw pillow obsession, folks! I LOVE decorative pillows and how you can change the entire look of a room by switching them up and mixing patterns and colors. I have so many bookmarked that I had to share some of them this week for Friday Favorites! I decided to focus on the pillows I've chosen for our future master bedroom because they are the prettiest! I'm obsessed with robins egg blue right now and I think it pairs beautifully with neutral creams and browns. I love that english cottage/french country/rustic/shabby chic/vintage vibe as you can tell from my wedding decor and I plan to incorporate that into the decor of our home as well! If you haven't checked out the awesome pillows on Etsy you are missing out! So many talented people out there and the prices are pretty much the same (or cheaper) as any home decorating store!  

 I love the interesting print on this pillow and of course the colors are to die for, too! And you literally cannot beat the price.... a set of 2 pillow covers for only $18! The Pillow People on Etsy is a shop full of fresh patterns and great colors. I highly recommend!

Ruffles have a special place in my heart... I just love them so much! This cream pillow is so beautiful and the linen ruffles give it such great texture. I also love how she added the buttons! So unique. Find them at Sutton Place Designs on Etsy.

I wonder if my love of burlap will ever fade?? I highly doubt it! This little nest pillow is so cute and the pop of blue color is just perfect! I love that it's hand-stamped too, which makes every pillow unique! Find it at My Adobe Cottage here.

This robins egg blue damask pillow from Pop O Color is so classic and timeless. It pairs beautifully with other colors and patterns and is the perfect staple pillow. I also love the french country vibe it has! So pretty.

More burlap, what a surprise! :) I couldn't decide between these 2 pillows from Secdus so I had to include both of them! This whole shop is full of burlap and vintage inspired pillows and I pretty much love all of them! I especially love the contrast between the rough burlap and the pretty white ruffles and how cute is that little bird and teacup?! I die!

This 'home is where the heart is' pillow is hand embroidered in beautiful Portland, OR and I love it immensely. You can fully customize it and have the heart put anywhere on the map (or even another country!) for no extra charge! I think it's so sweet and definitely a conversation starter. Check out Plumed for a ton of pretty embroidered pillows! She is talented!

Who DOESN'T love cashmere?? And cashmere RUFFLES?! It just doesn't get any better! I love how she finds sweaters at local thrift stores and turns them into these adorable pillows. Upcyling at its finest, folks! You can find this pillow and tons of other pretty colors here.

Please tell me I'm not the only one with a pillow obsession! Where do you find your favorites ones? Aside from Etsy, I love Target and World Market!

I hope you all have a lovely weekend! It's supposed to storm all weekend long here in Southern CA but I plan to make the best of it and get some snuggle time in with my 2 favorite boys! XOXO

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wedding Planning Wednesday - Crepe paper rosette tutorial!

I'm so excited to finally share this DIY pomander tutorial with you all! I just love how it came out and I'm happy to show you all how I did it! I really, really wanted to do something fun and different for our flower girl because I'm not crazy about the whole basket thing. I was toying with the idea of a paper cone or a handmade pomander of some kind when I stumbled upon this tutorial on Pinterest for crepe paper rosettes. She used them to make a centerpiece (which is a lovely idea, by the way) but I decided to turn it into a handmade flower girl pomander! (The original idea came from Danielle Flanders and you can see a helpful video tutorial here.) These are pretty easy to make once you get the hang of it and you can use them to make a pomander like me, centerpieces, or even hang them from the ceiling at your next get-together! I am already planning to make more for a bridal shower and I think they'd be lovely in different pastel colors for spring!

Materials needed:

1 4-inch Styrofoam ball
2 80 foot rolls of crepe paper in your choice of color
Piece of wide, satin ribbon for the handle
Low temp hot glue gun + several sticks of glue
Glue stick
2 pushpins (optional)

The first thing you want to do is cut both rolls of crepe paper into strips at your desired length. You can play around with different lengths to see what you like best, but the longer the strip is the bigger the rosette will be. For the size rosettes shown, I did 24 inch strips. Once they are all cut, take the first one and crumple it up into a ball and then carefully un-crumple it. This gives it that 'shabby-chic' look. Then, fold the crumpled strip in half, length-wise. This is another thing you can play around with to see what you like better. You can leave them as-is, fold 1/3 of the way down, or fold them in half like I did. The wider the strip, the taller the rosette. I wanted these to lay pretty flat on the Styrofoam balls, but if you want more dimension you can leave the strips wider. 

When they are folded in half, start rolling them until you get a nice center piece. Once you have the center, keep rolling (not very tightly) and then start twisting the tissue paper every now and then to get the look of petals. If you are confused by this part (like I was) go watch the video tutorial to get a better look at how she twists them. The more twists you have the more textured the rose so just play with it until it looks right to you!

Keep rolling and twisting around using the whole strip until you end up with good sized rosette. Then, using the glue stick, dab some glue on the end and gently press together.

Repeat until you have used all of your strips and you should have a great big pile of rosettes. It will look like way too many, but trust me, it isn't!

Now it's time to glue! Cut a piece of wide satin ribbon to your desired length. This will act as the handle of your pomander (if making centerpieces, you can skip this step!). Then, using the hot glue gun, glue down each side of the ribbon to the Styrofoam ball. Be careful not to burn yourself pressing down! If you have 2 pushpins, pin the ribbon down over the glue for extra security. Once the flowers are on you won't be able to see the pins. 

Now start attaching the rosettes! This is where you use A LOT of glue... put a big glob on the ball, stick the rosette on, and press down gently to secure. Be careful not to put the tip of the glue gun directly onto the Styrofoam for long because it will melt! Continue gluing the rosettes until the whole thing is covered. Start with any larger or wider flowers and save the smaller ones to fill in at the end.  

When you're done, you should end up with something like this! Be sure to let it dry for a few hours before letting anyone play with it because it is delicate! There are so many different ways to decorate with these and customize them with any color... I am obsessed! Rosette balls for everyone! You can also use the rosettes to decorate other things like picture frames or scrapbook pages. The possibilities are endless!

My sister just finished making the flower girl dress so I got to see our adorable little flowers girl all dressed up holding this sweet pomander! I. Almost. Died. She looked like such a little fairy princess and everything is exactly what I pictured in my head! My sister is talented, people! I'm signing her up for the next season of Project Runway! 

I hope you all enjoy your Wednesday! Less than 2 months left until the big day and it's so surreal! Ahhh! XOXO

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wedding Planning Wednesday - Invitations

Hello everyone! I'm so excited I finally get to show you our wedding invitations! I have inexplicably had the worst luck with these invites which explains why it took so long to post about them! First the color was showing up wrong when I tried to get them printed, then the post office lost them, and then they were re-sent with some outdated information on them (which I didn't realized until AFTER I cut and assembled most of them of course!) and they had to be re-printed and cut and assembled! Needless to say, I am THRILLED to be able to check these off our list!

We asked Diana, one of my favorite designers on the planet, to design the invitations for us. I have used her services in the past for my Etsy shop, gifts, and personal prints for my home and I absolutely love working with her. She's such a doll, SO FAST, and of course oh so talented. And you cannot beat her prices! SO reasonable! I can't recommend her enough. You can find her Etsy shop Livy Love Designs here.

I showed Diana a photo of an invite we liked and she made some changes and created a custom design for us! We are so happy with how they turned out; they were exactly what we were looking for! Because we are getting married at a nature center we decided to keep the oak tree theme going and I am obsessed with our initials carved into the tree! So cute! Our venue involves a bit of walking in a forest (long dirt path!) so I also wanted to include an extra insert to let the guests know not to wear a ball gown and stilettos! We tied these 3 together with some pink and white bakers twine and stuck them inside a kraft envelope. They are perfect and perfectly us and I couldn't be happier! (Also, I realized when I uploaded these that I totally used the wrong lens so I apologize for the blurriness of the photos. I know my photographer will get an amazing photo of them on the day of though!)

So happy that these are done and we'll be sending them off in the mail soon! I'm also really excited to share another fun DIY project AND tutorial next week... it's something I've never done before and I'm so thrilled with how it turned out! Happy Wednesday everyone! XOXO 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mini Cherry Pies

The weather here in Southern California has been gorgeous and I can't wait for spring and the continuous warm weather! Lately I've been craving warmer weather desserts including my all time favorite... PIE! I have a special connection with pie, probably because it was one of the first desserts I successfully made from scratch as a teenager. I didn't even know at the time that pie crust was something that required skill and practice, but I just followed the recipe and lucked out with an amazing home-made pie! Since then, this cherry pie recipe has been my absolute favorite and I make it all the time. The recipe comes from an old 1990's Debbie Fields cookbook that my mom has called Debbie Fields' Great American Desserts (which I can't even find anymore or I'd link to it!) and it is truly the PERFECT cherry pie. If you have a mini pie maker you can use that, but if not, you can just make them regular sized or experiment with mason jars, ramekins, or a cupcake tin. There are so many cute ways to package a pie and they make great gifts for the pie lover in your life! I made these for my bridesmaids for our wedding crafting night and everyone loved them!

  •  2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks COLD unsalted butter
  • 6-7 tablespoons ICE water
In a large bowl whisk together the flour and salt. Using a pastry cutter or a knife, cut small pea sized pieces of the cold butter into the flour mixture until the mixture is course and crumbly. (These pieces are what make your pie crust flaky so don't skip this step even if it is a hassle!) Then, add the ice water one tablespoon at a time and stir with a fork until the mixture starts holding together. Do not overmix! Seperate the dough into 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other, flatten into a disk shape and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 1 hour before using.

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 16oz cans of tart, pitted red cherries drained (reserve 1 cup of the juice)
  • 2 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
In a large saucepan whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Over medium-high heat slowly add the cherry juices whisking until smooth. Bring to a boil stirring constantly until thickened. Gently stir in the cherries and bring back to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Cool slightly while preparing the crust.

On a floured surface, roll out the larger disk 1/8 inch thick and at least 2 inches larger than the pie pan. Transfer to the pan and trim the edges to a 1 inch overhang. Chill the pan in the freezer. Grab the smaller disk and roll out. Cut into 12 strips. Remove the chilled pan from the freezer and pour in the pie filling. Top with the dough strips in a lattice pattern and press the edges with your finger to seal. Brush the pie with an egg wash (1 beaten egg + 2 teaspoons sugar) and bake at 425 for 20 minutes. Lower the temp to 350 and bake for 30 more minutes or until its golden brown and bubbly.

Now obviously that is for a regular sized pie so you'll need to adapt it to whatever way you're making it. For mini pies, you would cut the dough using the cutter your machine provides and only cook for about 8 minutes. You could also fill a mason jar with the filling and lattice the top with dough. Experiment with different containers and see what you like the best! There is no wrong way to eat pie, people! Enjoy and happy Monday! XOXO

Monday, February 27, 2012

Chocolate chunk pretzel cookies

Lately I've been craving the sweet and salty combination in desserts and I've been pouring sea salt on everything I make! There's nothing like the crunch of salt to bring out the sweetness of chocolate. It's to DIE FOR. I've been looking for the perfect chocolate/pretzel dessert but every recipe I come across has something I either don't have or don't like. I decided to do my own take on the chocolate chip/pretzel cookie and created my own recipe! This is one of my most successful cookies to date! It's the perfect combination of soft and chewy and salty and crunchy. I used my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe as a base and then made a few changes as needed. They turned out beyond delicious so I knew I had to share the recipe!

You will need:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks) at room temperature 
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk at room temperature 
  • 1 cup broken pretzel pieces (I put pretzels in a ziplock bag and just crushed them with my hands until I got the right size pieces)
  • 1 cup milk chocolate roughly chopped (I chopped up a giant Hershey kiss that Mando gave me for Valentines Day, but you can use a few Hershey bars instead or any good milk chocolate bar or even milk chocolate chips)
First, pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees. Then mix the flour, baking soda and salt with a wire whisk and set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Then beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy.

Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate and pretzel pieces by hand using a wooden spoon. The dough will be very chunky and delicious!

Scoop out cookie dough and loosely roll into 1 inch balls onto the prepared cookie sheets. Don't worry if the balls of dough are falling apart a little bit, they don't have to be perfect! The cookies will spread a bit while baking so make sure to allow enough room.

Bake for 12-15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. (DO NOT skip this step! It's what keeps them soft and chewy!)

Make sure to try the cookies while they are still warm! The melted chocolate with the crunchy pretzels will send your taste buds over the edge! Delicious! If anyone tries these make sure to let me know how you like them! Enjoy! XOXO

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wedding Planning Wednesday - DIY mason jar centerpieces

 This last weekend Mando and I met up with our wedding coordinator at the LA flower market to pick out flowers for our centerpieces. I knew I wanted baby's breath and peonies but I was still looking for a 3rd option. I kind of have a love affair with florals after working in a flower shop so I was happy to browse around all morning. Peonies sadly were not in season yet, but I found some gorgeous spider mums to play around with in the meantime! I also found the perfect 3rd type of flower which are those white pom pom flowers you see in the ivory centerpiece. I'm all about texture so my main goal was to try and get the perfect balance and I really lucked out finding those at the last minute! I'm super excited to do my own flowers for the wedding. It's been a long time since I've worked with flowers at all, but it isn't something you really forget! I spent the rest of the weekend experimenting with different boutineer styles and bouquet wraps which was really fun! The floral arrangements aren't the only DIY project I have going on either.... I'm also making my own centerpieces. I knew I wanted to incorporate my love of mason jars (which goes perfectly with the rustic theme) so I came up with 3 different designs for each table.

1. Burlap & lace mason jars: Burlap and lace has been a continuing theme throughout the wedding so I knew I had to use them for the centerpieces! This is just a quart size mason jar with a wide strip of burlap around it and hot glued in the back. I then wrapped it with a piece of wide ivory lace ribbon and hot glued that as well. Super easy once you have all the strips cut out! The good news is that the strips don't have to be perfectly straight or even because the frayed edges just add to the rustic charm!

Ivory painted centerpieces: I wanted one centerpiece that was different than the others so I chose to do these ivory painted cans to mix it up. This is beyond simple and super inexpensive to make! I just started collecting large cans after we used them at home and then peeled the labels off. You may have to scrub them afterwards to get any glue redisdue off as well. Then, once they were completely dry, I spray painted them in this ivory color. They aren't super fancy, but that's okay... the more rustic looking the better!

Twine wrapped mason jars: Last but not least are these pint sized mason jars! I bought some thick twine at a craft store and wrapped them around the middle adding a dab of hot glue here and there to hold it together. Again, easy and inexpensive to make!

I really love how all of these turned out. They are exactly the look I was going for and I think they'll look amazing on the tables! You can't beat pretty centerpieces on a budget! Now I just have to finish the rest of them, haha!

Next week I'll (hopefully) talk about our invitations and even share a sneek peak! Almost time to mail them out, can you believe it?! Ahh! XOXO

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Favorites: Color palette love!

In between planning the wedding and keeping my toddler entertained, most of my time is spent daydreaming about my future home. What style it will be, what furniture I'll choose, and of course the design and colors. I've been obsessively hoarding my favorite color palettes on Pinterest so I thought it'd be fun to share some of them with you this week for Friday Favorites!

I originaly planned to link each picture to its original source, however I just discovered that about 70% of the original links don't work anymore. So I'll link you guys to my Home Inspiration board on Pinterest instead! You can find each of these on there.

I love this cranberry and teal color combination, don't you? I think it's very relaxing and unexpected. I would probably use these colors for a master bathroom.

The yarn palette is more color than I would normally do, but I like how they are still subtle tones. I think this palette would be perfect for a girl's bedroom or nursery!

The bread palette is my absolute favorite. I can't even pick one particular room, because there are so many I would use it for! Bedroom, bathroom, living room, dining room... I love the espresso paired with the cream and that teal and tiffany blue add the perfect pops of color! It feels really rustic and earthy which I love!

I adore bright and sunny kitchens so this yellow and aqua palette would be absolutely perfect! How pretty would it be paired with natural wood and all white dishes? SWOON! I'm also loving that vintage colander in the picture.

Another bright palette! I love this coral and turquoise combination for the master bedroom. I would have never thought to put these colors together on my own, but I've recently seen some gorgeous bedrooms in these shades and they compliment each other really well.

This espresso and robins egg blue palette is another favorite. I just find these colors very calming and peaceful which, again, I think is perfect for the master bathroom!

This palette is another idea for the master bedroom or a guest bedroom. I love that mint color especially paired with the creamy browns. The purple is an unexpected pop of color that totally works. These tones also give off a vintage vibe which I really love.

I can't wear mustard yellow (pale girl, holla!) but that doesn't mean I can't have it in my house, right?! This palette is the perfect combination of rustic and modern with the earthy tones and pop of bright color. I think this palette would work really well for a family room or dining area.

Another rustic inspired palette, hooray! These colors remind me of a cozy cabin in the winter time and it would be perfect for a family room! I love the cranberry color and although I don't normally like green, it really works here and makes me think of pine trees and the woods. So pretty!

What color combinations are you loving right now? Don't you just love all of these beautiful palettes popping up everywhere? I like how easy is it to just choose a photo that inspires you and design an entire room around it! I can't wait to put some of these design ideas in action! Hopefully someday soon! Have a great weekend everybody! XOXO