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By now you've seen my Bermuda beach photos and the beautiful glass and clay pottery they make there, but I have just one more thing to share about my trip.  On our last day there we went to the Bermuda craft market.  The craft market is on the West end of the island and is a co-operative where local artists display their work.

The craft market gave me some great ideas for DIY projects.  Check out this framed beach scene, it is actually a collage made from fabric.  The artist used linen, denim, and other fabrics to create an ocean scene and added a tiny seashell and small twig for dimension.  While I thought this piece was very cool, I couldn't justify spending the asking price of about $200.  I think it would make a great DIY project though.

P1100515

At the nearby Clocktower Mall, I saw these very cute mosaic candle holders in one of the shops.  These votive holders had a very Moroccan look and were covered with glass pieces and beads.  I'd love to try my own DIY version of these mosaic cuties by covering a glass votive with grout and then adding some colored glass or beads.

P1100517

I love all of the project ideas my trip has given me. Have you ever created something based on your travels?

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Earlier this month, I celebrated my birthday.  I didn't have much time to prepare a birthday party this year because I had just gotten back from my vacation the previous week (poor me, I know).  Thinking it would be quick and simple, I decided to throw together a luau style BBQ to celebrate with my family.  Barbecues are my favorite when hosting a last minute party because most of the cooking is done on the grill during the party, so little preparation is needed in advance.  In fact, most of my party prep just involved the Hawaiian and tropical inspired decorations.

Some decorations I already had, like this cute hula girl I got at Old Navy years ago.  I also picked up a few cheap luau party decorations like this awesome monkey, hand carved from a coconut, for just $3 at the Christmas Tree Shops.  
tropical_decorations

There, I also snagged these tropical pink paper lanterns for about $2.

luau_paper_lanterns


I snagged these fun colorful lantern string lights at Walmart for about$5.

lantern_string_lights


And of course, I needed some tropical paper goods too (from the Dollar Store).




The guests were decorated too, wearing their most tropical looking outfits and donning Dollar Store leis that I provided- modeled here by an inflatable monkey decoration:
luau_party_decor

Even the puppy got in on the fun:


Although the decorations were cute, the party didn't go exactly like I had planned (notice the decorations are all hanging indoors). My thought to throw an "easy" backyard BBQ didn't work out so well when our grill wouldn't light up! So much for my idea of a simple BBQ. Then, as my hubby and brother in law attempted to fix the grill, rain started pouring down and my hopes for a barbecue were completely washed out. So instead, we went to plan B and ordered pizzas! Luckily, I had a few snacks and hors d'oeuvres (that didn't require the grill) already out to munch on while waiting for the pizzas. My sweet family was very understanding about the food delay and didn't mind pizza, but I learned an important lesson to have plenty of food on hand in case the BBQ doesn't light or something else goes wrong (who knows- stove doesn't work, food delivery doesn't come, etc).

In the end, everything worked out and I celebrated a wonderful birthday with my family, but next time I will definitely test the grill in advance and have alternative dishes on hand in case something goes awry!

(Pssst...If you like party talk, stayed tuned I have a big new blog feature coming soon!)

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As I love to do on the weekends, this past Saturday morning I headed out to some garage sales.  This trip, I found some great art for my master bathroom.

I spotted this set of two bathroom pictures at a garage sale and wasn't sure about them at first, but when I heard their price I couldn't resist. The wife hosting the yard sale said that they were $5 each, but then her husband chimed in and pointed out that they were a set and said they were $5 for both! Oh, husband!  His wife didn't seem too happy with him (I wouldn't have been either if he was my husband), but as a buyer I lucked out! I snagged both of these cute framed bathroom prints for just $5. The frames alone are worth more than that!


I love the cute French style design of the prints. It's a little hard to photograph because of the reflections and funky angles in my bathroom, but I think these prints look great above the tub in my master bath:


The bathroom prints dress up my previously bare walls and fit in well with the color scheme of my bathroom. 


As the Marshall's commercial would say, one husband's faux pas is my shopportunity!

This post is shared in Southern Hospitality, stop by there to see some of the other great posts featured.

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My recent Bermuda vacation was all about the beach, but on our last day there we did a little shopping.  One of the places we checked out was Dockyard Glassworks where local artists make hand-blown glass pieces.  They even did a demonstration of how their hand-blown glasswork is made:
P1100452
The studio makes plates, vases, and many other types of glass items in an array of beautiful bright colors. 
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The variety of colors reflects the bright colors of Bermuda: pink like their beaches, turquoise like the ocean, and blue like the sky.
 P1100455  P1100456
P1100457
The glass studio also featured gorgeous glass light fixtures and sculptures: 
P1100459  P1100460
Next to the glass studio, we also went to Bermuda Clayworks which featured custom made clay pottery.
P1100461
P1100462
Isn’t this stuff beautiful!  Do you own any special glass and pottery or other special souvenirs from a vacation?

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Solar Powered Fun


June 21, 2010
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Happy Summer! Today is the first day of summer and the summer solstice. I hope everyone has a chance to enjoy the outdoors tonight as the summer solstice means that today we have more daylight than any other day of the year, making it the perfect day to enjoy some solar powered products!

I have a few sets of solar lights in my patio and front yard and I love them. Neither my front yard nor my backyard were wired for landscaping lights, so I chose to add solar powered lights because they required no work to install (just pop in the ground and enjoy) plus they are energy efficient and save me money (sun = free, electricity = $). On this sunny day, check out the solar powered lights I own and my top picks for other fun solar items:


1. Crackled glass solar landscaping lights: I have these in my front yard and love them.  They can be set to either be color changing or display white light: Amazon

2. Beautiful  hand blown sea glass solar string lights: Amazon

3. Set of 2 kettle lantern solar landscape lights: Walmart

4. I have these solar coach lights in my backyard and think they add a nice landscaping touch: Home Depot

5. These solar powered peacock garden stakes were one of my top picks for June. I can't help it, I think they're adorable:  Target (Green or Purple)

6. Who knew you can have a solar powered outdoor fountain? It looks cool and you don't even have to worry about wasting electricity by running it continuously: Target

7.  Fun multi-colored solar party string lights:  Target

8. Super cute illuminated frog garden stakes. These are sure to make you smile:  Target

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One of my home goals for this year is to get organized.  I've found that our house tends to get disorganized and messy when there is not a proper place to put everything and we end up just tossing our stuff in a spare drawer or closet because we're not sure where to put it.  So this year (it will take a year, trust me) I've tasked myself with going through the house (closets, drawers, garage, basement) and making sure there is a proper place to put away all of our belongings.  Not only will this allow us to be more organized, but I'm hoping it will mean less cleaning up on a daily basis since it will be so easy to put our stuff away.

One of the items I'm bad at keeping track of is store receipts.  I like to hold on to a lot of my store receipts in case I have to return an item.  I can find random receipts in my purses, drawers, and car, but I can never find a receipt when I need it.  To solve this problem and keep my receipts organized and easy to find, I bought a simple plastic accordion file organizer:
 
receipt_organizer

This mini file organizer is the perfect size for storing all of the receipts I need to hang onto.  It came with alphabetized stickers that allow me to sort receipts by store name.  It also came with month stickers in case I wanted to organize receipts by month of purchase, but organizing by store name works better for me.

organize_receipts

I keep this receipt organizer in my living room console table, so as soon as I get home I'm able to quickly file away any important store receipts from my purchases.  Now, I have the perfect place to put away any receipts and I know just where to find a needed store receipt if I need to return an item.

file_organizer

This simple solution has made organizing my receipts much easier.  When it comes to home organization I always say, sometimes the best solutions are the simplest solutions!  Do you have any trouble keeping track of your store receipts?  Any other tips or solutions for this problem?

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Last year I planted two hydrangea plants in my patio garden and was very pleased to seem the grow back beautifully this spring.  Hydrangeas are my favorite flowers and I even had them in my wedding bouquet.  A few months ago (during my mulching update) the hydrangeas were still stark but since then, although they hadn't bloomed yet, I was admiring how large and full they were getting.

Well, imagine my horror when I went outside yesterday morning and saw this:

patio garden

Don't notice anything?  That's because my beautiful hydrangea bush is gone!  It was completely ripped out of the ground, leaving just a hole with no proof of its existence except for one lonely leaf.

Since I didn't have a photo of how beautiful the hydrangea had gotten to be, I compiled this police sketch (ok, not really) of the missing foliage:


While searching my yard for clues, I discovered the withered remains of my beloved hydrangea.  Only a fraction of the plant it used to be, it was strewn carelessly across the lawn:

hydrangea remains

So who or what could have destroyed my lovely flower plant?  My prime suspect is this shady character:

suspect

Don’t let the new haircut and party attire fool you, he is ruthless.

This innocent looking puppy has a dark side and I suspect my hydrangea caught the wrong end of it. When I discovered this travesty, besides being upset that my beautiful plant was gone, I suddenly grew worried. I had just happened to read the previous day that hydrangeas were dangerous to dogs! In fact, I had no idea but there are a ton of common plants that are poisonous to cats and dogs. Potentially poisonous plants include popular favorites like azalea, begonia, chrysanthemum, coleus, foxglove, geranium, hibiscus, hosta, peony, and rhubarb. And that's just a sample of the potentially dangerous plants, the ASPCA provides a list of over 400 plants that are dangerous to dogs, cats, and horses.

The danger of each plant varies, some may cause tummy troubles while others can have dire results if ingested. I was shocked to find such a long list of plants to be dangerous. Luckily, my little puppy/criminal didn't seem to experience any side effects from destroying my hydrangea, but we did keep an eye on him to make sure he was okay and he was getting plenty of water.  It seems like he just ripped out the hydrangea and toyed with it, rather than actually ingesting the plant, so he was luckily safe from any side effects.

If you're a pet owner, I would urge you check out the ASPCA guide to toxic plants and contact your vet or their emergency poison control hotline (1-888-426-4435) if your furry friend gets into any trouble.

As for my hydrangea, I replanted it remains and hope it will grow back, but the outcome doesn't look good.  In the meanwhile, I'll admire (and protect) my other hydrangea which hasn't experienced the wrath of my criminal dog.

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Beautiful Bermuda Vacation


June 15, 2010
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Over Memorial Day, I was lucky enough to take a big family cruise to Bermuda.  And oh my gosh is Bermuda gorgeous.  I had been to Bermuda before and it is a place I hope I can keep coming back to again and again.  I would even venture to say, that it’s my very favorite place to visit.
When I wasn’t stuffing my face on the cruise (what? that’s what cruises are for), I got some much needed time to relax in the sun, swim, and read some good books.  But my favorite part of the trip was definitely the destination, Bermuda.  Seriously, check out how gorgeous the beaches are.  We went to my favorite beach in the world, Horseshoe Bay Beach:
horseshoe_bay_beach
We took long hikes on the beach and were amazed by the breathtaking views:
bermuda_beach
The amazing rock formations:
bermuda_rock_formations
The pure blue ocean:
bermuda_beach_view
And the pink sand beaches:bermuda_pink_sand_beach
The entire island is simply breathtaking and there is a gorgeous view at every angle!  I’m so grateful I got to go to Bermuda again this year and I would definitely recommend if you love beach vacations.  What’s your favorite vacation destination?

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Garage Sale Jackpot!


June 14, 2010
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I am definitely not a morning person and I love to sleep in late on the weekends, heck, I sleep in pretty late on the weekdays too! But there is one thing that will get me up early on a Saturday morning, garage sales! I can't help it, I love going to yard sales. I think it's the thrill of the hunt, combined with great bargains, that have me itching to go to garage sales every Saturday morning.

Recently, there were a few neighborhood wide yard sales held in my area and boy did I find the mother-load of all yard sales! I went to the garage sales with my sister, a fellow garage sale enthusiast, and we made out like bandits! We got so much stuff, that I'm actually even a little embarrassed to show off the following photos. Check out my car at the end of the day, packed to the absolute brim!



At least I was right when I insisted that my husband and I buy an SUV as our next car. I folded the backseats down and packed the entire car!


But the best part of all, was that we only spent about $16 on this entire carload of stuff! Believe it or not, but I bought an all wood end table for $10, a tray table for $4, and two other small items for $1 each (in all my excitement I can't even remember what those items were), and the rest of the stuff was FREE! My favorite four letter word!

I'll have more photos to share later, but here's a preview of the great tray table I found:
P1090098

We really struck gold with our findings from this day! In one neighborhood, we met a woman who was ready to pack up shop and take all her stuff inside, but had to get rid of a large indoor plant, complete with nice pot, because her dog kept eating it. Since it was the end of the day and she needed to get rid of it she gave it to me for free!


My sister and I were about to head home after this, but decided to stop at just one more sale. Turns out the garage sale was already over, but the owner didn't want to hassle with the stuff that didn't sell and gave it all away for free! That's where my sister snagged a set of 6 tray tables (perfect for parties), picture frames, and candles amongst other small items all for free. I made off with some books, brass candle holders (that I'm planning a diy project with), a brand new makeup train case, and a ton of Christmas decorations! At first I felt bad about taking all this stuff for free, but the owner really didn't want it and would rather give it away for free than hassle with getting rid of the rest of it. Talk about hitting the jackpot! I think we can both say this day was our best garage sale finds ever.

What's your best garage sale find?

This post is shared on Southern Hospitality and Picture is Worth 1000 Words, check out some of the other great finds there.

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Hello!  If you've been missing me and wondering where I've been over the past couple of weeks (I know you have), your wait is finally over, I'm back and I have plenty of blog posts!  I've been traveling, but am finally home and excited to share my adventures.  I took two trips over the last several weeks, first traveling to San Francisco for work and then to Bermuda for fun! 

I was in San Francisco for a few days for a work meeting.  Although I think San Francisco is a wonderful city, I'm not a big fan of flying across the country to get there.  But I must admit, I had a nice view:
flying to california 
You may remember I traveled to the City by the Bay last September and stayed at the W hotel which had very funky and cool decor.  During this visit to San Francisco, I stayed at the Palace Hotel.  Although the W Hotel and Palace Hotel are both owned by Starwood Properties, they are decorated very differently.  The Palace was very traditional and opulent, nothing like it's funky W counterpart.

My room had two traditional beds with wood post headboards:

palace_hotel_san_francisco 
The walls were painted with a traditional warm beige color and had pretty molding.  The room was accented with gold accessories, like the mirror shown below.

palace_hotel_decor

hotel decor 
My hotel room was also full of rich fabrics, with long floor-to-ceiling curtains, a beige bedspread, and blue throw blanket.
san francisco hotel design 
On the opposite side of the room, there was a wood desk, tv armoire, and an upholstered chair with ottoman.
hotel design ideas
Although I don't typically decorate in a Traditional style, I enjoyed staying in this room and admired the romantic bedroom furniture and stately accessories.
If you love the look of this room, check out how I re-created this traditional bedroom:
traditional_bedroom_decor
Fancy Gold Mirror: Target $89.99
Blue Floral Lamp: Bellacor $144.95
Dark Wood Night Stand: Target $259.99
Framed Dragonfly Prints (Set of 2) - Target $56.99
Wood Poster Bed: Bassett Furniture $544.00
Beige Bedspread: Walmart $22.00
Blue Throw Blanket: Target $39.99
Total Cost: $1158 for this traditional bedroom
So what do you think?  Do you like traditional bedrooms or do you prefer a more casual or modern style?  If you love traditional rooms, Traci at Beneath My Heart recently did a beautiful transformation of her master bedroom.  Elements of this traditional room can be incorporated into any bedroom, Rhoda’s beautiful bedroom at Southern Hospitality has similar prints above the bed and a blue and white floral lamp, but has a sleigh bed instead of a poster bed.
For more hotel inspired bedroom mood boards, check out the room recreations I did of this Las Vegas striped modern bedroom and San Francisco funky modern white office.



This post is shared on Fine Craft Guild, check out some of the other great projects featured there.

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Since today is the 10th of June 2010, I put together a list of my top 10 summer must haves.  Check out the home decor products I'm totally loving this June:


1.  Bright, colorful paisley print bedding: Target
2.  Glass beverage jar dispenser. I'm getting thirsty just looking at it: Amazon
3.  Colorful glass hanging tea light holders:  Ikea
4.  Fun, bright polka dot beach towels: Target
5.  Pretty blue and turquoise capiz wind chime: Amazon
6.  Swanky outdoor patio daybed. I would love to curl up with a book in this daybed: Walmart
7.  Chipper colorful bird serving platter: Ikea
8.  Glossy ceramic white planter: Target
9.  Fun outdoor game set. I have a set like this and its tons of fun for BBQs:  Amazon
10. Ok, so this may be a little kitchy, but how cute is this colorful solar peacock garden stake is: Target 

These are my 10 picks for a fun summer, what items are you loving this season?

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I am totally in love with the look of outdoor fabrics.  I can't help but swoon when I see backyards like these:

Source: Elle Decor


Outdoor fabrics used as canopies and drapes look so romantic and tropical.  To me, it makes the space seem more like an extension of the home and another room.  Plus, fabrics are a great way to add privacy to your patio or yard.  Unfortunately, my little backyard offers no built in opportunities to hang outdoor curtains.

I considered adding an outdoor gazebo with curtains to my patio.  These are great for privacy and shade, but I am hesitant to get one because I've heard they tend to blow away or get damaged in heavy wind, even when secured into the ground.  Has anyone tried an outdoor gazebo in their yard?  Plus, I already have an offset umbrella, so I don't really need the canopy gazebo.


If I wanted to utilize my existing patio umbrella, I've seen umberella netting sold.  This seems like a great (and inexpensive!) way to keep bugs away from your outdoor dining area, but I'm not sure if it would give me the privacy I need.  Has anyone tried adding netting or fabric to their patio umbrellas?
 
Source: Ikea
 
I've also seen a few clever ways to build a DIY outdoor gazebo or cabana that I love. Check out these gorgeous DIY cabanas with curtains made from pipes:


Source: Sunset

I love these, but because I have a homeowner's association in my community, I'm a little hesitant to put up and large structures in my yard though.  But I recently found this DIY backyard canopy that would solve my privacy problem, without taking up too much space in my little yard:


This outdoor canopy is so cute, without being very imposing, I may just have to try it in my backyard!

Are there any other ways to easily add fabrics to a deck or patio?  What solutions for privacy and shade do you use in your yard?

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