Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Little Loves Designs' Giveaway!

I am so excited to introduce you to my newest sponsor......Little Love's Designs'! This cute Etsy shop is full of super adorable baby accessories that are so on trend right now. Mandy, is the owner and creator behind this fantastic shop.  Little Loves Designs' carries the latest styles in baby headbands, teen headbands, adult headbands, flower headbands and hair clips. She uses high quality materials on every design she makes. Each of the flower headbands are handmade when ordered with attention to detail as her number one priority.

Mandy started Little Love's Designs in December of 2010. When she found out she was pregnant in 2008 she came across Etsy and loved all of the adorable handmade original items that she couldn't find anywhere in local stores. In March of 2009, she found out she was having a little girl and her Etsy obsession began.  After awhile, she started to think about how much she would would love to make her own hair accessories for her daughter and possibly even sell them.

Finally at the beginning of December 2010 Mandy decided to go for it and opened up her very own Etsy store. She named the business after her daughter, who she calls her 'little love.' She has been so overwhelmed with how quickly the store became a huge success and feels so blessed to be able to work from home and do something that she loves.
For today's giveaway, she is offering one of my readers a free headband of their choice from her shop.  Here are just a few of my favorites.......

Mandy has also been kind enough to offer a 20% discount for my readers during this giveaway. You will get 20% off of your entire order! The discount ends on Tuesday, June 7th, so  head on over now to Little Loves Designs' for some beautiful headbands for the women in your life!!

Here is what you need to do to enter:

1. (mandatory to enter) Visit Little Love's Designs and leave me a comment with the name of your favorite item.

You can earn additional entries by doing the following:

2. Leave a separate comment letting me know you have become a follower of Karen At Home or that you are already following Karen At Home.

3. Become a follower of Little Loves Designs Blog.

4. Follow Karen At Home on Twitter.

5. Tweet the Following (copy and paste): Little Loves Designs' #Giveaway via @Karen_At_Home! Enter to win a free headband!

6. Please click on the 'Like' Little Loves Designs' on Facebook!

7. Please click on the 'Like' Karen At Home on Facebook!

For each entry, leave a separate comment and don't forget to leave your email address! This Giveaway ends Sunday, June 5th at 11pmEST. A winner will be drawn by Random.org and posted on Tuesday, June 7th (open to US Residents Only).

Good luck!!

**Note: Blogger has been acting up lately with commenting.  If you are having issues leaving a comment on my blog, it has been recommended to unclick the 'Stay Signed In' Box when you are prompted to log in.  This should hopefully help.  Please email me if you have any questions or continue to have difficulty leaving Blog comments**

Friday, May 27, 2011

My New Bloggy Business Cards

After attending the Legacy Village Bloggers Event, I realized that I really needed some Bloggy Business cards.  All of the other Bloggers in attendance had them and I could just kick myself for not taking advantage of this networking opportunity!!!  I had thought about making them myself before the event but just ran out of time.  I then remembered that I won a giveaway recently on Flip Flops and Pearls Blog to Ink Obsession Designs.  Perfect!!!  I decided to check out the Ink Obsession's Designs website to see if they had what I wanted and came across the Elegant Blue and Charcoal Gray Grey Business Card.  Wow, major swoon!!!  I absolutely love the quatrefoil design against the soft blue and grey background. 
This was exactly what I had in mind so I placed my order.  Truly inspired by the beautiful business card design, my head started spinning with all sorts of ideas. I then noticed that Ink Obsession Design's also sold digital papers and patterns in a quatrefoil design.

Or pretty much a quatrefoil design in any color!

So I placed an order for these too.  My plan is to match up my blog design to my new business cards so you may start seeing some new changes around here.  Again.

And here is how my new pretty business cards turned out. 

I am so proud of them.  I may just start handing them out to random strangers on the street...

I hope you all have a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Weekend Fun!

I am still riding on a high from such a fun and busy weekend.  The weather finally felt like Summer and I couldn't wait to get outside and enjoy it.   Friday night for us was pretty low-key compared to Saturday and Sunday.  We grilled burgers out on our patio and then headed over to our next door neighbor's to enjoy a few drinks out on their new deck.
Saturday was 'Girls Night Out' with my book club friends and what a blast we had!  I don't know if we were all in an extra good mood because of the warm weather or just happy to be out downtown with the girls.  If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you may of had a good laugh or two at a few of the pictures I was posting. 

Our night included a show in Cleveland's Playhouse Theater District which was actually called "Girls Night: The Musical".  The play was about a touching and hilarious 'tell-it-like-it-is' look at the lives of a group of female friends.  It was the perfect show to see with a group of girlfriends.

Before the show, we all met at Bricco for a bite to eat and a few drinks.  Bricco was right in the heart of the Theater District and it was the perfect place tograb some dinner before the show.  And to also enjoy pretty drinks....

Even the restaurant had a certain vibe and energy to it.  All of the patrons were groups of women obviously with the same plans as us! 

Posing in front of the Theater District before the show.

When you walked into the Theater, you were greeted by loud music and a bunch of screaming girls.  Boa's were being sold at a table for $5 which we couldn't pass up. 

Me getting donned with my boa by the men in pink!

The girls posing with our boa's before the show.

The performer's of "Girl's Night:The Musical" greeting the audience after the show.

On Sunday, my sister's baby girl Katelyn was baptized.  I honestly think that Katelyn is probably the easiest going baby I have ever met.  Moms, this baby was sleeping through the night by four months and hasn't looked back.  I just love my precious niece Katelyn and can't tell you what a blessing it was to see her Baptized.  I don't think she made a peep during the entire ceremony.

Katelyn with her Godmother, Heather.

Jillian was so good during the entire ceremony.  It was like she knew she needed to be quiet and be on her best behavior. 

I think she had enough of the Daddy paparazzi taking her picture though because this look pretty much said it all.  I can't look at this face without laughing!!!  So glad Jeff got it on camera, I think this one is heading to our photo wall eventually!

After the ceremony, Jillian had fun running around in and out of the church pews.  I was worn out chasing her!! 

My sweet family. 

Mommy and her precious girl.

Immediately following the ceremony, we headed over to my Sister's house for a reception.    It was a fun day spent with all of my Sister's friends and family to celebrate Katelyn's special day. 

With so many babies in the family now, we thought it would be fun to get them all together for a picture.  I was impressed they stayed together this long!  Trying to pose four babies together is like herding cats into a box.

Jillian thought she would take advantage of the opportunity to give my sister's nephew a big smooch!

I had to rescue my baby girl and teach her a few lessons on making the first move. 

I hope you all had a great weekend as well!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Legacy Village Cleveland Blogger Event

Charming Charlie and White House Black Market teamed up on Sunday evening to host a Cleveland area Blogger's event at Legacy Village. The theme of the event was to find ways to accessorize that little Black Dress.  I can honestly say that I found several ways to accessorize my little black dress and pretty much all of my outfits at Charming Charlie's!  I have to admit I was a bit nervous. I have never been to a Blogging event before! I just couldn't believe after all of the years I have spent Blogging about our life as a hobby that I was actually being recognized for it! It was exciting and I was very grateful for the opportunity.

I shop at Legacy Village all of the time on my hour lunch break but have honestly never been into Charming Charlie's.  I was under the impression that the store primarily sold little girl's clothing. Jillian's 1st Birthday party outfit was from Charming Charlie's which my friend Andrea had found for her. I obviously had no clue of the awesomeness that was in store for me.  Needless to say that I was shocked when I was walked in and was greeted by wall to wall accessories! And for women!!! I thought I had died and gone to accessory heaven. I have never seen so many necklaces. And so reasonably priced!!!

Another reason I was so excited about attending this Blogging event because it was an opportunity for me to meet several of Cleveland's Mommy and Fashion Bloggers.

I have gotten to know Chrissy from GotFam recently through our Blogs and have followed Classy Chaos and 2Wired2Tired on Twitter for several months now.  As nervous as I was, I instantly felt more at ease as soon as I spotted Chrissy. We chatted most of the night and had a blast walking around the store and trying on all of the beautiful necklaces.

I also met a few beautiful Cleveland fashion Bloggers!  Such a pleasure to meet these women and to get to know other Bloggers from different Blogging niche's!

The event was hosted by Jennifer Reese from Yopko Penhallurick PR. She graciously thanked us all for coming and then introduced us to the White House Black Market models. The models came up one by one showing off their beautiful black dresses and explained what type of jewelry would compliment each dress. I have to say that my favorite was the black dress with the white cummerbund. The cummerbund was even removable which made it even more versatile. You couldn't beat the shoes either!

After the fashion show, we were free to roam around the store, sample the goody table, and mingle with the other Bloggers.

Look at this beautiful spread courtesy of The Melting Pot - Legacy Village.  The strawberries were as big as your head!!  Everything was simply delicious.

Towards the end of the evening, I still had not picked any accessories to buy. I was feeling slightly overwhelmed, partly due to all the excitement and the nervousness of the evening. I just kept drawing a blank to what accessories I truly needed. I then remembered a few weeks ago how I started noticing necklaces with pendant flowers attached to the side.  So I set out on a mission to look for one of those.

I ended up finding one in the black accessory section of the store and it was exactly what I had been looking for. I also picked up a pair of matching earrings.

I am so happy to have had the chance to attend this event and can't wait to go back to shop at Charming Charlie's! It is now one of my go-to places for jewelry and accessories.  And you just can't beat the price and quality of their products.

I plan on hosting a giveaway for a Charming Charlie gift card in the next few days.    I hope you will come back and enter to win a gift card to this amazing store!!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Guest Blogging: No-Sew Drape Hem

Last week I was a guest blogger for Stacy over at Not Just a Housewife.  It was a pleasure sharing one of my latest DIY projects with her readers and I couldn't wait to share it with you!  Enjoy!

{DIY No-Sew Drape Hem}

A few weeks ago, I purchased drapery panels for our large set of windows in our Great room.  This particular area of our home was challenging because I had to come up with FIVE panels to cover all of the windows.  Five panels can add up quickly and be rather expensive.  Purchasing custom made panels was just out of the question.  So I decided to go with a 84" inch two tone grommet panel from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  The only problem was that I needed 86" inch panels.  The length of the top of our windows to the floor was over 86" inches long and 84" panels would look like flood pants on a 8 year old little boy.  Nothing drives me more crazy then drapes that don't hit the floor.  So I decided to do a little customization of my own for very little time and money.  And it was so simple and easy that anyone can do it!

{What You Need}

Hemming Tape
Cuticle scissors
White fabric pencil
Binder clips

I initially hung up the drapes to see how they would look and also to measure exactly how much extra material I would need.  Look at the picture above, see the drape on the far left not hitting the floor whatsoever?  See all of the molding under the drape?  Yes, I did too, and it was driving me nuts!

{The Before}

Here is a close up, way too much molding showing at the bottom.  Here is what you can do to fix it.

1. Measure how much space you have from the bottom of the curtain to the floor.  In my case, I had a little over two inches.  

2. Examine your hem to make sure you have enough material to cover what you need.  I didn't even have to measure to see that I had plenty of material to work with.

3. I took cuticle scissors and cut the hem, one little stitch at a time.  This was probably the most time consuming part, however, I became a more efficient as I found my groove.

4. You will even have to let out the hem on each side of your drape, I only let mine out through the end of the lining.  Do not let out the whole side hem, that is not necessary for what we need to do.

5. After letting out the bottom and part of the side hems, I determined I had 3 inches of material to work with.  I only needed two inches, so I would have to fold up 1 inch from the bottom to give me those extra two inches. 

6. Next, you will have to fold over the sides again and secure it with a binder clip. 

7. You will then have to decide how much hemming tape you will need to slip under the newly formed side hem. Cut your hemming tape to the desired length and slide under your crease. Make sure the hemming tape is flat and completely hidden. Preheat your iron to medium heat without steam. Place and hold iron on the drape for 3 seconds. Repeat until your entire hem is bonded. DO NOT apply iron directly to adhesive tape. Turn item right side out and iron fabric for an additional 3 seconds.  Here is my newly formed side crease.

8. You will now have measure the bottom.  I folded over an inch of material which was the desired length in which I measure in Step 5.  I marked every ten inches with a fabric pencil and measured to be sure the whole bottom length of the drape was folded over evenly at one inch.

9. I held each measured ten inch section with binder clips.  I felt binder clips were a lot easier to use than pins and they allowed me to easily place the hemming tape underneath the hem.  Repeat Step 7 by measuring and cutting sections of hemming tape and inserting them under your folded hem.  Iron the hemming tape into place until it has fully bonded with the fabric.  Let the drape cool and then hang!

{The After}

10. The drape now lays flush against my carpet.  No more floods!

I hope you enjoyed my tutorial today on No-Sew Drape hems.  It truly was an easy project, and I now have 4 more drapes to do! 

I am linking up to the following parties today!

Fingerprints on the Fridge - Feature Yourself Friday

At The Picket Fence - Inpiration Friday

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating - Flaunt it Friday

The Shabby Nest - Frugal Friday

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Jillian is 16 Months - Myrtle Beach Edition

Jillian turned 16 months old while we were in Myrtle Beach and what a great place to turn 16 months!!!  The last time we were in Myrtle Beach, Jillian had just turned 6 months and I kept thinking to myself the entire trip on how much she has changed.

At 6 months, Jillian was still waking up at least once a night to breastfeed.  At 16 months, she rarely gets up at night.  When she does, I know it's something serious.  This girl is really starting to become a sleeper!  Lately, Jillian has been sleeping in until 8am.  It's been wonderful!!!  Ever since the time change back in March, she was on a 6:30am wake up time which was absolutely killing Jeff and I.  We were starting to go to bed an hour earlier just to try to make up for Jillian's early wake up call.  Coincidentally, in the middle of our trip to Myrtle Beach, she finally switched back over to waking back up again at a decent hour.  Jillian typically takes a one two hour nap a day starting around 11:30am. Every now and then she will take two naps but it is certainly no longer the norm any more. 

At 6 months, we Jillian tried rice cereal for the first time in Myrtle Beach.  At 16 months, she is a big girl now sitting up in high chairs at restaurants and coloring!! 

Jillian is starting to eat a lot more lately too.  She is not as picky as she used to be and has even started to like pasta!  She is still not a fan of it covered in tomato sauce, however she loves eating the noodles in chicken noodle soup and will eat just plain cooked pasta.  Jillian's favorite fruit lately is strawberries, she just can't seem to get enough of them.  She of course still is not a fan of veggies, although, I can manage to get her to eat the cooked carrots in chicken noodle soup.  Needless to say, chicken noodle soup is a staple in Jillian's menu since that is one of the only ways she will eat pasta and carrots!  She is even starting to prefer those two items over the cooked chicken which is unusual! 

Jillian also still purrs like a cat when she eats, I love it!!  I thought this would be something she only did as a baby but she is still a hummer!  I need to get this on video again because I just love it and hope she never stops.  Well, at least until she goes to Kindergarten!

Due to Jillian's recent diagnosis of a milk allergy, our pediatrician is recommending that she stay on the formula that we have been giving her until she is 2!  Because of this, she is still on bottles.  Partly my fault, I love giving her a bottle and cuddling with my baby, but now that we know what our plan is, I really need to start switching over to sippy cups.   I tried transitioning her while we were in Myrtle Beach.  I figured since I was going to be with her for 8 straight days, I could easily work with her.  Yeah, right.  As soon as she realized that formula was in her sippy and not water, it instantly went on the floor.  Daycare swears to me that she will drink formula out of a sippy there, however, she has shown absolutely no interest in drinking formula out of a sippy with me.  Perhaps she feels the same way I do about our bottle cuddle sessions and isn't ready to give them up either. 

Even though she is still drinking formula in a bottle, I taught her how to drink out of a cup with a straw around 15 months old.  I no longer have to worry if I forget her sippy cups when I go out to dinner.  Most restaurants have kids cups with straws.  It has saved me on several occasions when we are out running errands and suddenly decide to grab something to eat. 

At 6 months, Jillian loved swimming in the pool in Myrtle Beach.  She wasn't afraid of water at all!  Since she loves bath time so much, I am sure she feels like she is in one big bath tub!  And look at those rolls!!!  Oh how I miss them, she is such a skinny minnie now.  At 16 months, she loved the pool even more and loved playing in the water with Daddy.  She is definitely Daddy's little girl.

Relaxing and cuddling with Mommy after a long day of playing in the pool.  We had so much fun in Myrtle Beach, I can't wait to go back and create even more memories with my baby girl!

{Jillian's 16 Month Stats}

Weight: 20 pounds exactly(5th percentile).

Clothing: Jillian is fitting comfortably in 12 month clothes in both pajamas and regular clothes.  I do not see her fitting into 18 months any time soon, she is a peanut!

Height: Jillian was not measured at her last appointment, as of 14 months she was29.1 inches (25th percentile).

Shoes: Size 3

Diapers: Size 3

Favorite Toys: Fisher Price Rings, Playskool Ball Popper, Fisher Price Kitchen, Fisher Price Laugh and Learn table, balls of any kind, Fisher Price Stroller Walker, and Little People sets.

Favorite Book: Jillian's favorite books are the Sesame Street books from the Target dollar section.  We own at least ten of these and she absolutely loves them.  I pick her up one practically every time we are in Target and it entertains her throughout our shopping trip.  And since you all know how much I love Target, those trips can be a bit long at times!!!  She also loves The Ten Little Ladybugs and A Cuddle for Little Duck.  Jillian also will point out all of the lady bugs in any book we are reading, if there is a lady bug in a  Sesame Street book, she likes to point it out to us.  It's adorable.

Favorite Past Time: Bath time.

Least Favorite Past Time: Diaper change.  She is also hit or miss with the high chair.  Sometimes she hops right in, other times, she puts up such a fight, that we have to sit her on our laps just to eat.  I am wondering if she is getting ready for just a booster seat.  I am sure she would get a kick out of eating with us at the table sitting in a booster.

Teeth: Jillian has 7 teeth, three on the top and four on the bottom.

Communication: Jillian's vocabulary is growing by the day.  She can now say Mama, Dada, Mommy, Daddy, Apple, Ball, Pappi (for Paci), vroom vroom, uh-oh, hot dog, Mammi (for Maggie, Jeff's parents dog), bye-bye, and elmo.  She loves to wave hello and good bye to everything. Claps all of the time. She loves to giggle, laughs and give "smooches". Loves to play "So Big!" and "Where is Jillian?"

Bedtime: 8:30pm

Jillian officially started walking in the beginning of April, right after she turned 15 months old.  I never had a chance to document it or post the video that we took since that was at the beginning of my crazy illness.  I will have to remember to download it and post it on here.  I certainly can not forget such an important event in her life!!!

It's been an amazing month with my sweet girl. She is such a blessing to us, we praise God every day for allowing us to be her parents.