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Monday, November 30, 2009

Placecard of the Week: Jingle Bells


Happy Monday, friends!  I took a couple days off from blogland last week to celebrate Thanksgiving, and, naturally, officially usher in the Christmas season.  I have to tell you that Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday!  Seriously, I go a bit nutso...in a good way...I think.  No other time of year is quite as exciting in my book.  I love everything about it...I love the miraculous story of Christ's birth, I love the warmth of family gatherings, I love dressing up my home to welcome guests, I love the food (oh my, the food!!) and so, SO much more.  Needless to say, the day after Thanksgiving, I start hauling out bins of decorations to celebrate this most precious holiday.  That being said, as you may have guessed, I have been a very busy girl this past weekend, and I can't wait to share with you all of the new projects I've been working on for Christmas...all in due time.

So as to not get too far ahead of myself (I could carry on forever), I leave you today with a simple Placecard of the Week.  I thought this placecard would be just right for a lovely, candle light, cozy dinner with close friends or family, and yet it was simple enough to make for an elegant Christmas wedding, wouldn't you agree?

Stay tuned...tomorrow I will be sharing a fun, creative blog award passed onto me by Jen over at With Grace and Lace, and later this week, I will take you on a tour of my home all dolled up for Christmas.  Remember, nutso = me this time of year.  Should be good stuff!!

Ciao!

Nikki

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Inspiration Board

Images from left to right:
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16, 17

As you all know, I have so much fun setting a lovely table, so over the past few weeks, I've been gathering some images of Thanksgiving table settings that are just simply beautiful and charming.  I know, I know, so many bloggers are posting table settings, so naturally I decided to mix it up a pinch and put together this handy, dandy, all-in-one inspiration board for your viewing pleasure (see how much I love you!).  I hope you find some favorites of your very own and a touch of inspiration to add to your Thanksgiving celebration.  Have a wonderful and most blessed Thanksgiving!!

Ciao!

Nikki

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fulham House Decor










So...today, I am loving this gorgeous London home.  I stumbled across this London real estate website over at Daisy Chain yesterday, and the homes on this site are simply stunning.  There's something so romatic and charming about these older homes and cottages in England that I can only wish that I could replicate my very own version on this side of the pond.  Of course, I would need quite a few decades or centuries, for that matter, for such an undertaking, but a girl can always dream, right?  Granted the designer took a few liberties in creating an updated, more modern home, yet I love the way the character and charm of the home is still preserved through details like the old, distressed-looking fireplace and the vintage-style kitchen.  What a truly lovely retreat to come home to!

Ciao!

Nikki


Monday, November 23, 2009

Placecard of the Week: Giving Thanks


This week's Placecard of the Week is a Thanksgiving themed placecard, as you can see.  It was hard to capture this with my camera, but the background to the placecard as well as the name card is gold paper, and there are gold, shimmery tones in the patterned paper, topped off by the glittery leaf stickers, so this is one sparkly little fella.  Even the ribbon is sparkly!  I just wrote the name in my normal, every day cursive - nothing too fancy, as it's already pretty flashy with all the sparkles.  I hope you like it!

I also wanted to mention that last week's placecard giveaway winner is City of Dionne.  Congratulations, Dionne!  I really, really appreciated all of the comments those of you left sharing what you are thankful for this Thanksgiving season.  It's such an incredible reminder of all the wonderful blessings we have in our lives when we stop to count them.  So, since you all were so kind to share with me, here's just a few of the blessings in my life that I would like to share with you...

1. I am humbled and blown away daily by a truly amazing Lord and Savior who takes me as I am, imperfections and all, and continues to reveal His love and faithfulness to me.  I'm continuously reminded that my struggles are no match for the strength that He provides me in Jesus Christ.

2. I am so thankful to be married to man who not only is my soul mate but also is my perfect match...imperfectly, if that makes any sense.  He challenges me and loves me and pushes me to be the best I can be.  I adore him with all my heart.

3. I am thankful for amazing parents, who have spent almost four decades building a legacy of commitment and love to leave their children.  I have always had an extremely close relationship with my mom and dad, and I can't thank God enough for the example they've given me.  Likewise, I am thankful for my husband's parents who also have been married for almost four decades.  Marriage can be so difficult, and yet I am amazed by these incredible examples of love and commitment for us as children to witness!

4. I am thankful to live in a country where we can still live in a freedom that the vast majority of this world will never experience, and I am so utterly thankful to those who fight and put their lives on the line daily to give us this freedom.

5. I am thankful for a beautiful place to come home to, for a warm bed to lay my head, for a hot shower on cold day, and for all of the every day, little blessings and conveniences that I so often take for granted.

Today and every day, I have much to be thankful for.  May you be reminded of all of the little things that bring blessing to your life today!!

Ciao!

Nikki



Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Twilight Themed Wedding





Images Via Wedding Chicks

Okay, I'm not gonna to lie, I have joined the ranks of all the tweens of this world who are simply beside themselves with Twilight love, and I feel no shame in that.  Like most who have read the books, I nearly put my life on hold last year when the first movie came out and breezed through the book series in a couple days.  I don't know if that's entirely pathetic or just massive props to Stephenie Meyer, the author and genius behind this bestseller, but I am officially a fan.  Needless to say, I can hardly wait for New Moon to come out in theatres tomorrow.  I may have to drag my husband (a.k.a "the stud") kicking and screaming, but in the end I feel confident that he'll be a good sport about it...I hope!!

So...imagine my delight, yes, delight when I came across this incredible Twilight themed wedding design via the Wedding Chicks.  First of all, I expect nothing less than the best from the WC ladies, and once again they deliver!  I've had the pleasure of working with Amy over at the WC as a new preferred vendor, and she is just so sweet and awesome to work with.  Thanks so much, Amy, for letting me use these fabulous images!  I'm giddy as a kid in a candy store!

Ciao!

Nikki

P.s. I'm still in the dwindling ranks of Team Edward.  How about you?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Craft Rooms...In Style

A little craft room inspiration....









So...I think I need a craft room or at least a more user friendly system.  Sure, I'm an organizational freakazoid when it comes to storing my crafting goodies, but I dream of the day when I have an entire room with wall to wall shelving and little niches and such for my paints and ribbons and paper...whew, do I have a lot of paper!  I've even sketched a few different custom-made shelving designs that I've dreamed up for me and the hubs to execute together, so I thought I would share a few of the inspiring craft room photos I dug up with you all here.  I completely adore the first room over the rest, but realistically the second photo is much more my style.  What room do you like the best?  Happy Wednesday, gang!!

Ciao!

Nikki

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mexican Fiesta Dinner Party

I spend too much money on parties...

...so the stud of the house tells me.

Since I only have parties every once-in-awhile, I honestly think nothing of dropping a few hundo's to make it "real nice" as Eddy Griswold would say.  You may have recalled me brainstorming my mom's birthday party at my house over here.  The stud wanted me to keep it around $60.  Yikes! Well, I took that as a challenge, and not only do I love a good challenge, I embrace them and must conquer them.  So, prior to this weekend, I would've said that it would be nearly impossible to host a party of 12 people (food AND decor) on a budget of $60, but not only did I accomplish this, I actually did so in under $50 (Booya!) with plenty of delicious, homemade dishes as well as all on-hand, homemade decor, and I will tell you how I did it. Yahoo!!


14 lemons and limes = $4.00 = super cheap centerpiece (I used the extra limes for homemade salsa, too.  That's what we call killing two birds with one stone.  Yahoo!)  Throw a little water in the cylinder add a floating candle and perfecto!




I made a table just for the kiddos...gumballs and all!

Details... (double click to enlarge)

Okay, so let's start with decor.  I really, really wanted burlap (and a sombrero) somehow, someway, but since my shopping wings were clipped via the above referenced stud-budget, I knew that I needed every cent of my budget for the food.  This is where forced creativity comes in handy.  After I got some great feedback last week, I chose to make the tissue paper pom poms/flowers that I saw here, and blogged about back here (I've been dreaming about them for a while now).  I had the tissue paper on hand, and, although, I didn't have floral wire on hand like Martha Stewart recommends, I improvised and used pipe cleaners.  Perfect!  I made mini-trees from the two large pom poms with wooden rods that I had on hand, and I wrapped them in green paper and green pipe cleaners with added, glittered green leaves.  I used empty Frank's Hot Sauce bottles, which I think are way cool and embellished them with tissue paper and stick-on crafter's jewels.  Back to the tissue flowers...I was totally in the zone making them that I just went a bit nutso and ended up creating napkin holders, too.  Again, forced creativity.

I added gumballs to the tablescape to add color and a touch of fun.  Not that I actually expected the adults to chew them (shhh...I chewed all of my gumballs...and choked on one the night before while I was making flower pom poms).  This must be what happens when one is "in the zone".  Anyhoo, this may be weird, but I was dying to use these gigantic wine glasses that my husband bought for me...and I used them for water.  Lame, I know, but at least I got to use them!  What else??  Hmm...oh, I know.  Okay, I bought these stylish placemats on clearance from Target about a year ago, and I had never used them.  Once again, perfecto!  Also, I used my everyday white square plates with round lime green, metallic chargers.  I didn't really hesitate to make that call because I thought it would work with the theme.  Finally, I had purcashed the linen napkins at World Market on clearance last year when they were closing their Minnesota stores.  Oh, how I miss you, World Market!!

For the food, I'm just going to tell you what I made for the sake of not making this post any longer than it already is.  However, if you're interested in getting any of the recipes (I've linked in a couple of recipes), just shoot me an email, and I'll gladly send them to you.  I'll even give you "The List" as referenced here.  Everything, I made was from scratch, so it's a bit time consuming, but I assure you, it was well worth it!

How did I save money on the grocery bill?  Here it is...Aldi, a calculator, and sticking to a very specific grocery list.  I used to be scared of Aldi because I thought cheap groceries = bad food.  Not so.  Not so, at all!  Actually, their produce is excellent, as are their dairy products and such.  Now to the menu...

Menu
Chicken Enchiladas
Beef Tacos
Sweet Corn Cakes AMAZING (with homemade sweet corn on the cob - delicious!)
Mango Black Bean Salsa (yum!!) - Homemade by the stud!
Mexican Rice (okay, so this was the only thing that wasn't homemade)
Chips, of course!
My mom brought her incredible homemade pies: banana cream, just cream, apple, and cherry pies
(I know, I know, it's her birthday, but she insisted.  Really.)
My sister-in-law Steph brought some delicious "cowboy cavier" and chips.
We just had water and sodas to drink.

I apologize that I don't have any pictures of the food for my foodie friends.  Once I start cooking, I get so focused that everything else kind of goes to the waste side...ie. my camera, but I assure you it was lovely and delicious!

How did it go, you ask?  Well, my mom said it was her best birthday party ever, which makes me thrilled!  After all, this was all for her, so Happy Birthday, Mom, and I love you!

And to my friend, Heather, thanks for praying with me and praying over my insanely busy schedule.  Success is always ours to claim with the Lord behind the wheel, and this one was definitely a success! 

Ciao!

Nikki

Pssssssst......Don't forget to enter the placecard giveaway from yesterday's post.  Leave a comment here to enter.

"Necessity is indeed the mother of invention."  -Little Women

Monday, November 16, 2009

Placecard of the Week GIVEAWAY!! Pretty in Paisley



So, I was talking to a friend of mine last week, and she asked if I would be giving any placecards away.  Well, I thought it over, and it seemed like a pretty good idea to me, so now you have it!   Here's how it works...as you can see, I've already begun crafting the placecards, which turned out pretty spiffy (psssst...they look much, much better in person, by the way), so now I need you.  If you have a dinner party of some sort or special occasion planned or that you would like to plan and you would like these placecards for you and your guests, simply leave me a comment with 5 things you are thankful for this Thanksgiving season along with the type of occasion you would use these little beauties for if you were to win.  The winner will win up to 10 of these placecards (if you absolutely need a couple more, I'll throw those in, too!), so keep those guest names in mind, bloglets.  See, it's easy-peasy!  The winner will be announced on Sunday, November 22nd.  Cool beans?  Remember...5 things you're thankful for and what you would use the placecards for.  Oh, and don't forget to include a valid email address.  Thanks, gang!

Now that I have giveaways on the brain, I must mention that I was so excited last week to win the Petite Minx jewelry giveaway from City of Dionne.  Be sure to check out her fantastic blog.  She truly has a gift for sketching incredible illustrations, and her blog is definitely one of my new faves.  Thanks a million, Dionne!!

Ciao!

Nikki

P.S. The Mexican Fiesta was fantastic!  Pictures to come tomorrow.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Whimsical Calligraphy: Fiona Style









So...I finally finished my latest calligraphy project.  Yay!  It always feels great to accomplish one project, and move on to the next.  For this specific project, I addressed about 400 company Christmas card envelopes, and I decided to add a touch of whimsical, flowy fun to my writing, and this is what I came up with.  I was really pleased with the way they turned out, so I decided to add this style to my services.  Yahoo!

For now, I'm off to work.  I have plenty of planning to do, and to Jen over at With Grace and Lace, thanks a ton for all of the tips for the 'ol Mexican Fiesta, and I think I may have found a new blog to be obsessed with as well over at Fly Through Our Window.  Thanks for the heads up, Jen!  You have some fabulous ideas that I hope to incorporate (if the hubs will let me!).  He already gave me the, "Nik, now don't go overboard" speech.  I have no idea what he's talking about whatsoever (wink, wink).

Also, a huge shout out to my sister-in-laws Jenna and Katie, you guys rock!  Thanks for the great ideas you passed along.  P.S. Check out Jenna's Mexican Fiesta from this past summer.  Super fab, don't you think?

Ciao!

Nikki

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ideas Anyone? It's Mexican Fiesta Time!

Image via Social Couture

As I shamelessly promote on my profile, I love getting feedback from all of you!  Afterall, this is what blogging is about...sharing ideas that are inspiring to others.  As much as I love to post fun ideas, I equally love to receive them.  That being said, I got this email a couple days ago from a good friend of mine who knows that I'm planning a little Mexican fiesta this weekend for my mom's birthday (I'm so excited!).  I love that she was thinking about me, and that she was so kind to send me a link to Martha Stewart's Mexican Fiesta Planner.  Oh that Martha, she does it again!  Anyhoo, I thought I would share my friend Heather's email with you all...

Hey Nik,

I was killing some time tonight on the Internet, and you inspired me to check out some Martha Stewart ideas from all of your creative blog posts. Knowing you, there's probably already a grand vision for your Mexican Fiesta this coming weekend, but I stumbled upon this Martha Stewart Mexican Fiesta Planner and had to smile because it is totally you! I especially like the "how to" section at the end with some of the craft/decoration ideas. Anyhoo...maybe you'll receive some extra inspiration or ideas from this...
Mexican Fiesta Planner (Click on Mexican Fiesta Planner)

Have fun!
Heath
 
How great is that?!!  I'm kind of liking the paper mache idea.  How about you?  I'm also envisioning burlap...hmm...maybe homemade burlap placemats and napkin holders (that is if I'm feeling particularly ambitious).  If any of you have any fun and inspiring Mexican Fiesta or party planning tips or ideas, I welcome them.  Thanks for thinking of me, Heath! 

Okay, okay, so I know it's weird that I'm going all Mexican Fiesta on you here a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, but I asked my mom what kind of meal she would like for her birthday, and she likes when I do Mexican, so Mexican it is!  So......um....so far I have an uber-nerdy, tidy and extra detailed menu and shopping list aligned and in 12 pt. font put together for the occasion.  Sanity is my friend, and I like to maintain it by all means, hence "The List".  Life is busy, and I like to play hard, but for goodness sake, I'm simply beside myself when I don't have a list.  Anyhoo, feel free to shoot me an email (they always make me smile) or leave a comment below if you have some fun ideas for me to incorporate into my Mexican Fiesta.  P.S. Some munchkins will be there, so any fun kids ideas are oh-so welcome.  Thanks gang!

Ciao!

Nikki
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