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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Put Your Name On It

I'm sorry, I'm not sure where this image came from! It was found on Pinterest. Apologies to the original pinner of this beautiful arrangement and kudos on something so lovely.

Not so much your name, but your initials. I don't think monogramming will really ever go out of style, it just keeps getting reinvented. There's something so very southern about monograms and stamping your three little letters (or one) onto something that makes it even more yours. Who can really steal something unless you have the same initials? If you happen to be lucky enough to share three letters with someone then go ahead, you can always just claim it as yours. I'm not recommending to actually steal something, I'm just saying. There are so many different styles out there that it's easy to pick out something that will best suit your name needs. I ran across Luxury Monograms in Rue Magazine, which is amazing this issue, and decided to check it out. These monograms are beautiful, with many options and lots of luxe detail. I never would have thought to monogram placemats or a shower curtain but these are pretty awesome!

Luxury Monograms placemat

Luxury Monograms pillows

Luxury Monograms shower curtain

Luxury Monograms cardigan

Monday, July 30, 2012

EveryGirl-check it out!

Click it. You'll like it. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Stained Glass Inspiration

Considering I have found my own invitation inspiration from a stained glass ceiling, of course I am in love with this week's Ceci Style. The above invitation was inspired by Tiffany stained glass, the ultimate in stained glass of course. I love love love how she took the lines of Tiffany pieces and fused that with watercolor to create this gorgeous birthday invitation. What I truly find beautiful is the blend of colors and the difference of each piece in this suite. All could be stand-alone pieces but they work so cohesively together that it's like dessert for your eyes. Whatever that means.
There is even more to Ceci's post than the invitation, that party is amazing, the makeup tips are fun, and those recipes have my mouth watering. This is probably the best visual board I have seen in a while:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Coolest Wedding Website

It is a sign of the times for an engaged couple to have a wedding website for more information. I'm still working on ours but I ran across this awesome one and had to share. The design is simple and elegant and beyond spectacular. I don't know these people, but reading their timeline was so fun.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Finding my own inspiration...

I love that my business has picked up and that I just finished one beautiful bride's invitation suite. Two more are in the works and will hopefully be completed by the end of this month in order for me to make room for my own. I can find lots of inspiration for others and incorporate loving little elements for them throughout their design. However, finding inspiration for myself became a challenge. I have been so focused on getting my clients' invitation designs perfected that I haven't even allowed myself to think of my own wedding invitations. I think that was partly because I didn't know if I would be able to incorporate everything I loved about an invitation, and even if I did I had no idea where I would pull my inspiration from because I pay attention to so many different types of designs that it's hard for me to settle on one style that I truly love. I was beginning to worry to myself that I wouldn't love my own invitation suite because I was creatively drawing a complete blank.
Until this past Saturday. My best friend and Matron of Honor Julie and I went to Bella Bridesmaid in Green Hills (seriously go there for your dresses!) and narrowed the bridesmaid dress selection down to two. I was leaning more toward one because in that moment I knew little details and elements were coming together to create a look I was really liking. I still wanted to think about the decision so Julie and I ventured downtown to Nashville so she could see inside Union Station Hotel, our reception venue.
We walked in, the furniture was out, rugs were pulled up, tables were being set up for a wedding. The floor was exquisite white marble and reflected the magnificent ceiling. I had forgotten how beautiful every inch of that space was. Julie looked at me after staring at the ceiling and said "definitely the off-the-shoulder ivory dress." The look in my mind was starting to complete itself. Soon after, inspiration struck and had apparently been blatantly obvious this entire time of what I wanted my invitations to reflect: that amazing ceiling. It encompassed the elegance I was going for and incorporated our historic venue perfectly.
Here are some bits from my inspiration board:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Artist: Miya Ando

Design*Sponge is a wealth of information for designers sometimes. I found something that struck me for the first time in a while on the site, the works of Miya Ando. She works in metals from her Japanese/Russian background. Her work is simple, stunning and alluring. I have found myself liking more contemporary simplistic art these days and this is at the peak of it for me. The natural gradation of color is exquisite and not too bold but has just enough of a wow factor to keep me staring.
Here is her bio from her website, you must check her out!

Miya Ando is an American artist whose high profile public commissions and unique artwork have been called ‘A Must See’ by the New York Times.  Ethnically half Japanese &  half Russian, Ando is a descendant of Bizen sword makers and was raised in a Buddhist temple in Japan and in coastal Northern California. She has continued her 16th generation Japanese sword smithing and Buddhist lineage by combining metals, reflectivity and light in her transcendent paintings and sculpture. In 2011 she completed two memorial sculptures for the 9/11 in which she utilized 30 foot tall pieces of steel which had fallen from the World Trade Center Buildings. Ando’s work is has been exhibited in galleries throughout  Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Paris, Berlin, Austraila  and Tokyo. Miya’s public commissions include projects in  South Korea, London, New York and California. Her work appears in many important public and private collections and she is the recipient of the Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant in 2012, the Thanatopolis Special Artist Award and Public Outdoor Commission Winner and Puffin Foundation Grant winner. She received her Bachelor of Science Magna Cum Laude in East Asian Studies at UC Berkeley and continued her studies at Yale University, in addition to serving as an apprentice  to  a master metal smith in Japan.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Amazing Guest Bloggers, Thank YOU!

I want to say a HUGE thank you to the beautiful, talented, wonderful ladies that were guest bloggers last week while I was on vacation! They all did better than I would have done, for sure!
Holly is the DIY queen because she makes old furniture look better than brand new. I always love to see her projects and am so so so excited to watch her new adorable home come together. I told her to write whatever she wanted and secretly hoped it would be DIY projects...and it was! Love it. 
Alison is always full of fun ideas, and she is right, as Southern Belles we do love to entertain! I can't wait to try out her suggested recipes. And next year, Alison, the future hubs and I just might accompany you and Mr. McQuain to Boston for the 4th!
Lily got me so excited about engagement and wedding day pictures, especially when I came home to find her contract and awesome sample photos waiting for me in the mail! 

Thank you again, ladies for all of your hard work, your creativity and inspiration and most definitely your friendship! I owe you all!

I feel rested and relaxed from vacay and really wish I was still on that ship for another week. We swam constantly in Labadee, Haiti which is one of my favorite spots. In Jamaica, despite the bumpy and long ride, we lazed on a bamboo raft down the river, stopping to eat wild fruit and see vegetation. I even got a limestone pedicure along the way, which was awesome. In Cozumel, we relaxed on a private beach and roamed around the pier a little. Each day at sea was spent by the pool, reading, sipping tropical drinks and listening to a steel drum band. I wish I were back there! However, I am glad to be home to my little blog and am ready to jump into wedding planning even more now that we hit the four month mark last Tuesday! 
My next big step: conquering my own wedding invitations...what am I going to do?? Perhaps this week I will brainstorm with you.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

So excited to be a part of Laurie's fabulous blog today. While the rest of us are fighting this 99 degree stiff summer weather, I hope her toes are in the sand and that she's taking full advantage of that big cool ocean!

Since it's peak wedding season and I'm still giddy over the idea of photographing Laurie & David's wedding this fall (it's gunna be gorgeous), I've decided to share a few thoughts about how to best prepare for an engagement session. As a photographer, the e-session is my favorite way to get to know a couple; it's a perfect practice round for the wedding day and I think that's exactly how it should be viewed. I tell my couples that their only responsibility is to have fun so it's my job to remove all stress and apprehension about the experience. While some of that is done on the spot (giving direction but still allowing them to interact naturally, etc.), there are a few things we discuss ahead of time so they walk into the situation confident and excited.

First and foremost you should feel comfortable and confident. Choose a look that makes you feel your best but isn't so high maintenance that you're constantly worried about a bra strap or slip hem peeping out. I work with a fabulous stylist that puts together a customized inspiration board for each of my couples which includes some outfit suggestions -- I've found that people love this. It's just a little nudge in the right direction and helps them visualize what looks good together as a couple.

This could also be the perfect time to try out a hair or makeup look that you're considering for your wedding day. Obviously we don't suggest trying anything ca-razy, but it could be a great opportunity to test those fake eyelashes or that va-voom lip color! And why not get a little pampered before your session?!

 Another big decision is location. Just as your wedding venue is a reflection of your personalities and aesthetic as a couple, your e-session location should be no different. Most photographer's have a endless list of great places to shoot, but don't be shy about suggesting a location that holds some significance for you. Do try to be flexible when scheduling as the photographer should only recommend times that offer optimal lighting.

Finally, since you're all dolled-up and looking your best, I always suggest that couples go out for dinner or a movie afterwards. There's no denying that a lot of people are apprehensive about getting their photo taken (a-hem, 99% of grooms...), so why not reward yourselves afterward with a little date. There is one condition though: no wedding speak. That's right. I know it's hard and that you feel like you need to decide right away between the ivory or the ecru linens, but it's important that you take time during this process to just enjoy one another and remember why you fell for each other in the first place. 

Thanks for having me, Laurie!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Eat the 4th away

 Happy Independence Day Fanciful Americans!

If you do not have a gathering to gather at today now is the time to create your own! Laurie and I both love to entertain and creating a special menu for our guests is top priority. We are Southern Belles you might say…we know that rule number one is to put a drink in your hand when you walk through our perfectly decorated foyer. This is immediately followed by a bountiful table of the most scrumptious items one has evah (no this is not a spelling error, you should be reading this entire sentence in an accent found in the southernmost United States) feasted their eyes on.

I will not discuss the necessary d├ęcor today as I do not have time. It is time for me to gather myself for my gathering. Now skim the below recipes. Cooking Light was so kind to share most of these with me. No, these are not the most traditional items for this particular event but new traditions do not create themselves honey! So go try some new recipes and create your own!

As I said…first things first. This Watermelon and CucumberTonic will cool your guests as they arrive.

Rachel Ray always has new ideas on old standards. This Southwest Turkey Burger will rock your 4th.

I like my starch and carbs so this meal will get two. Just go to the gym twice tomorrow. You will be fine. If you can’t handle it throw some zuchinni or something on the grill next to your burgers and Grilled Corn.

Here is a twist on a bbq classic. We all get tired of potato salad. So change it up with this Red, White and Blue Potato Salad.

Last, but far from the least, easy breezy Blueberry Cobbler. Watch this recipe. I don't believe it tells you to add the flour when you combine ingredients. I have made this before though and yum yum yum. I take the amount of sugar down and add a little lemon juice to give it a kick. Depending on the fruit you use you can leave out a lot of sugar. Please be creative and make this your own. (Another secret...sprinkle a little sugar and cinnamon on the top before baking)

Go forth. Eat and be merry.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Need ideas for the 4th?

While Miss Henry is traveling to exotic locations most of us are sweating it out in the states. So, here are a few last minute schedules of events and sights you might be able to enjoy here in the states. Some of the ideas require some spontaneity and last minute travel. Don’t worry; I know there are type A personalities out there that are already experiencing early signs of a panic attack just reading the word spontaneity. Take a deep breath and wipe your sweaty palms. I am also going to give you a few tips on some local events you need to be aware of. (To Laurie and I local is within a short drive from Nashville or Knoxville, Tenn.)

So fellow Fanciful Ink lovers…let the spontaneity or planning begin!

First up, the National Independence Day Parade in our Nation’s Capital. The parade begins at 11:45 am at Constitution Avenue and 7th Street. It is the 4th of July people! A parade is a must!

While celebrating in D.C. you can also visit the NationalFolklife Festival. As many heartfelt politicians would say, ‘America is a melting pot of ethnicities.’ Because of this the Folklife Festival gathers at the National Mall to remember and celebrate cultures represented across the country. Be prepared to experience oral history exhibits, cooking demonstrations (like the Mississippi Hills Regional Cooking…can someone tell me what this is? I will not be in the spontaneous group this 4th), presentations from the University of Hawai’i’s Tuahine Troupe, and so much more.

Finishing up the day in a political junkie’s mecca…you may have heard about this, read about this or even seen it on your local cable network…ladies and gents, it is the PBS firework spectacular “A Capitol Fourth!” The National Symphony will serenade you as you feast your eyes on one of the Nation’s best displays. All of the excitement begins at 8pm ET. (Type As, check out the excitement online or on your local network. Visit the website for listings or clips from the event.)

If I could this year I would make my celebrations happen in one of the most historic cities in America, Boston, Mass. And if I were there you would find me at the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. My friends, just take a gander at these images. Boston is a city I CANNOT wait to visit one day. This would be a great time to visit. It may be a little crowded but suck it up and enjoy! The concert begins at 8:20 pm ET.

If you find yourself in Nashville this July 4th make a stop at the Riverfront Park for a dazzling display and concert by the Nashville Symphony beginning at 9:45 pm CT. This is one of my favorite cities. If you are nearby make a stop.

For anyone further east, Knoxville is a great place for an East Tennessee Fourth of July celebration. All the fun takes place at World’s Fair Park in the heart of the city. The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra will join you for the evening beginning at 9:35 pm ET.

Wherever you find yourself this celebrating July 4th, remember our troops and the families of those brave men and women celebrating this holiday without their loved one so you and I can enjoy our freedom. To the families of our troops, I salute you just as much as your loved ones borders and oceans away; thank you all for your service.

This is your guest blogger signing off. You can find me here sometimes.

Monday, July 2, 2012

One Man's Trash (A Furniture DIY)

If you have ever gone from apartment living to home ownership, you will understand the dilemma. I have been facing this daunting task lately, because we close on a house two weeks from today. While I am ultimately very grateful to be entering into home-ownership with a lovely 1931 brick on brick colonial, I am in an all-out search. For what you ask? Here is the thought in the back of my mind all day every day (drum-roll, please).

How am I going to fill this place????

So, I am simply going to share a couple of solutions to buying all new furniture that I have come up with. This will include where I have found some of my furniture and what I have done with it. First let me lead off by saying that there is NOTHING wrong with walking into a beautiful furniture store and picking out the piece that lies beneath the parting heavens. Our future dining set was heaven sent (distressed table, butterfly leaf, slat chairs and a bench... it was love). If you are like me though, that splurge is enough! The rest of my finds MUST be budget friendly. So here we go!

I am simply going to share my sources and narrate the process of refinishing them.

1. Moms know best.

My mom found this lovely record cabinet at a thrift store in Wisconsin that is to die for. It just needed my loving. Here is the before, taken at the store.

It's cute, right? And the door pulls open, holding all of my record in place. It even has little genre labels inside. I sanded it down, (usually you will have to strip it, but this one had almost no finish left) painted it with a Valspar Eggshell turquoise, distressed a bit, added clear polyurethene to the top, and changed out the pull for a couple of knobbs. Voila.

2. Yard sale beauty.

I recently participated in a yard sale with my mother-in-law and one of her friends. The best part is that I got a new office room desk, which makes my little sewing desk functional again! The money from the sale covered the price she was asking for the desk and the chair, plus the materials to refinish it, with a little left over. Nice, right? Here is the before:

I did the exact same thing to this one, except I used Blue Mint to paint them. I also recovered the seat. That is the easiest thing to do, you flip over the chair, unscrew the seat and staple new fabric to the underside of the cushion. You can do this!! Check out the finished desk:

It is completely different now and I am in love! Can't wait to paint the office room grey and put this inside. Make sure to poly any surfaced that is going to often be used, bumped or scratched.

3. The daunting task. 

The third and final piece that I am going to show today has no "after". Sigh. One of the drawers has no bottom and the other two do not work very well. It is gorgeous though! Once I work up enough guts, I am going to wrap the two bottom-ed drawers with pantyhose and wet them down to counter the warping (we'll see). I am also planning on waxing the bottoms, so they run on their tracks smoothly. I plan on buying a piece of masonite for the bottom of the poor drawer, which can currently hold nothing. Then I will strip it down and refinish it with a dark cherry stain and poly all over.

See? DAUNTING! I can do it, but my fear of failure is keeping me from it! Eek. Here it is:

Maybe one day I will get around to it. I search Craigslist, yard sales, thrift stores, antique stores, auctions and even the shiny new furniture stores. It takes time, but I love the pride I feel when I finish a piece. That's all I have for you today. Thank you Laurie for letting me share my fancy thoughts. I hope that you are soaking up the sun and that your luggage found you again this year.



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