Friday, June 28, 2013

Instafriday # 13

Happy Friday, all!  I'm linking up with Jeanette again for Instafriday - woohoo!

The grandparents from both sides came for a visit.  My mom and I have a deep love for afternoon tea, and the girls have started to develop the same love!  So we try to all go together when she comes to town :)
This was the yummiest margarita I've ever had - jalapeno mango.  It was SO good and spicy!

If you come to Seattle this summer, be sure to hit up the Chihuly exhibit at Seattle Center - it's amazing!  This is a tiny part of a ceiling installation and it's just breathtaking!

The weather was amazing...couldn't resist a picture with my favorite guy.  He's the best!

I love this shot I got of part of the glass exhibit and the Space Needle with the sun flare...I felt all artsy :)

My youngest has been taking tap all year, and this past weekend was her recital - of course, Daddy brought her roses after :)

Have you ever gotten a gel mani or pedi?  If know what a pain it is to take off! 

My birthday was on Thursday...I'm feeling old, so starting the day with a mimosa.  They make everything better!  Is it just me, or is my Instagram feed mostly full of food and drinks lately?

My girls have been taking swim lessons all week, in the rain.  I had to break out the Uggs, I was so cold!

My birthday cupcake.  YUM!

These girls are becoming quite the little fishies :)

We ate dinner on my birthday at Delcancey, run by the fabulous Molly Wizenberg and her husband, Brandon.  If you're local, please hit this place up - it's always yummy and the service is great! 

Today is supposed to be nice and sunny, so we're headed to the pool!  While I'm there, I'll check out the other bloggers linking up at Life should too!

life rearranged

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fun Finds at the Japanese Dollar Store And a GIVEAWAY! - CLOSED

Do you have a Daiso near you?  It's such a fun store!  It's basically a dollar store, although everything there is $1.50-3.00.  Still - those are great prices for everything from craft supplies to cute dishes.  I get almost all of my kids' bento supplies there, and lately, there have been some really cute craft supplies there as well.  Here are some finds from my most recent trip:

First up, some adorable lace tape and fabric tape.  I use this stuff for card making, scrapbooking, and gift wrapping.  I've seen both listed for $8-10 per roll, so getting two rolls of each for $1.50 is a total bargain!  And don't think that the price means it's cheap - it's great quality.  This cute frame was purchased for an upcoming birthday party - stay tuned for a post all about it next week!

More lace tape, some cute paper plates, binder clips, trainer chopsticks (I actually bought several pair - my kids love sushi!), a set of cute erasers for party favors, and one of several little bento snack boxes that I bought.  There are so many bento blogs out there - I especially love Wendelonia and Another Lunch.

Finally, and I wish I could get a better picture of it, is this two-pack of adorable gift wrap.  I see a sweet shop for the girls' dolls coming up, a la this background we made earlier!

And now for the giveaway!  I've got a bento snack box, a roll of fabric tape, and a roll of lace tape for one lucky reader!  Just follow this blog (check the sidebar!) and leave a comment, and I will pick a
winner Monday, July 1! 

Congratulations, Mariah!  I'll be in touch soon!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Thoughts on School House Craft's Blogger's Summer Camp

One of the (many) awesome things about living in a creative city like Seattle, is that there are tons of ways to find support for running a small business.  In the few months that I've run my Etsy shop, The Graceful Rose, and this blog, I've realized that a lot of the blogs I follow are written by local creative folks.  So when I found out that several of them would be speaking at a local class on blogging through School House Craft, well I just couldn't pass that up!

Sadly, I did not take too many pictures - I was so focused on taking notes and chatting with my table mates!  Let me just say though, the decorations were awesome!  Very cute camp theme, complete with little tissue paper camp fires on every table. 

We sat at tables of 8 and were able to network quite a bit throughout the day, which was great!  I met so many talented folks, some of whom had yet to really even start blogging - they just wanted to learn.  It was weird to be one of the "veterans" for some of the discussions!  The first panel was geared towards a blog/life balance, which I found extremely important, as this is my second blog, but first geared towards actually making a business out of it.  My old blog (which I merged with this one...just look back at the archives) was more about my daily life and was quite a mish-mash.  I want this one to have more focus and I want to get it out there in the world more.  Blogging with purpose takes a LOT of work, and even more planning.  A few things I learned from our first panel:

  • Create an editorial calendar.  Think about holidays months in advance so that you have the time to shop and do, as well as photograph.  I can't believe I hadn't thought of this already!
  • Become friends with HootSuite.  I've had it on my phone for almost a year...time to actually use it! 
  • Do more link parties, and host a few!
  • Recruit more guest posters - there are so many great ideas and writers out there, especially in the craft and sewing blogiverse!
  • Do more round up posts - a great way to share information with others, and possibly be shared yourself

We broke out into groups for lunch (which was deeeelish!) and I sat with some fabulous gals where we talked about collaborating with other blogging talent, as well as some ways to monetize.  It was great to hear from other bloggers what worked or didn't!  And I found a whole new list of blogs to read :)

The afternoon session was all about monetizing your blog - they myths about just how much money you can make (actually, it sounds like not a lot) vs how much free stuff you can have sent to you (now this is where you can hit it big!), how to attract advertisers, and even which ad networks were the best.  I don't think I'm big enough yet to attract the big advertisers, but it does sound like I should be reaching out to my fellow crafty small business owners to either trade ad space or charge a small fee (any takers??).  Among the gems that I gathered in the afternoon:
  • Figure out which conferences are best for your industry and attend as many as you can.  Network, network, network!
  • Ad networks seem like the best bang for your buck.
  • There's not a lot of actual money to be made in blogging BUT you can earn a lot of free product by doing reviews.
  • Be graciously aggressive.  (Is that not just the best advice for life in general?)  Go after what you want, but do it in the best way!
  • Reach out to other bloggers, shop owners, or businesses - the worst thing that can happen is that they say no. 
  • Attract more followers by participating in link parties and using social media to the fullest, especially Twitter and Instagram.  Need to be better about the latter!
All in all, it was a great day, and I had such a wonderful experience that I signed up for SHC's annual Fall Conference.  I'm attending both days and can't wait!  If you'll be there too, drop me a line :)
Finally, because they all were such a wealth of information, please be sure to check out the blogs of the fabulous ladies on both morning and afternoon panels:
Moorea Seal - her blog has been a favorite of mine for a long time!  Her taste is impeccable.
Marie LeBaron - I've been reading her blog since the beginning (which, uh, I told her and then sounded like a stalker...sorry, Marie!)
Blair Peter - another blog I've been reading for what seems like ever.  She's just as sweet in person!
Megan Reardon - her DIYs are awesome and she is SO funny! 
Arianne Folks - She helps make blogs great - so much wisdom there!
Andie Powers - one of the talented ladies behind Assemble, I knew her from her contributions to Apartment Therapy.
Melanie Biehle - who writes beautifully at Inward Facing Girl
Marlo Miyashiro - our MC for the day, who blogs at I Make Cute Stuff

Friday, June 21, 2013

Instafriday #12

It's time to link up with Life Rearranged for Instafriday again!

Last Friday, I was able to attend the Blogger's Sumer Camp at Schoolhouse Craft.  It was a fabulous experience!  I've got a write up of it coming next week, so stay tuned.  I really learned a lot and got to meet some amazing bloggers!

The decorations at Summer Camp were adorable, especially these little camp fire centerpieces at each table.  There's an LED candle in the middle.  I think these would be so fun for a summer BBQ!

We hit Ben & Jerry's over the weekend and I had a scoop of Midnight snack.  Vanilla ice cream, salted caramel swirl, chocolate covered potato chip clusters...yum.

The weather in Seattle has been amazing, so we hit up a beach on Lake Washington and the girls had fun trying not to get wet ;-)

I love living here!

For Father's Day, the girls wanted to eat breakfast in bed with their daddy.  Love these people!

My husband is the breakfast chef in our house, but I did make him this yummy tomato bacon hash...he asks for it every year so he must like it!

This bloody mary was one of the best I've ever had.  If you live in the area, hit up The Wing Dome and order the 6 alarm.'s spicy!

This little ham has a tap recital this coming weekend, and this was taken before her dress rehearsal.  She's a pretty fun kid :)

We made this AWESOME pizza this week.  Go make some now!

My husband's birthday was this week...he requested steak, of course.  I got some really good dry aged steaks for he and I, and some less fancy steaks for the girls...naturally, they liked ours better.

I was a bit cranky yesterday, but that all changed when my love brought me home some just because roses.  They are still opening but they smell amazing!

Remember, you can follow me on Instagram here.  And be sure to check Life Rearranged to see what other bloggers are doing this week!

life rearranged

Friday, June 14, 2013

Instafriday #11

It's Friday again (yay!), which means I'll be linking up again with Life Rearranged.

I had one of these for's our little secret ;-)

Even after a week, peonies are so pretty!  (I used PicFx for the bokeh)

We love sushi in our family, and we are lucky to have some inexpensive places nearby - here's the stack of plates about halfway through our meal.  The taller one is my oldest's, the shorter one is mine.

I'm always asked how I got my kids to become such adventurous eaters - the answer is that we are adventurous!  And we feed our kids the same stuff we eat.  It works, I swear.  Here's my little one eating mussels like they are going out of style.

This girl has become quite the expensive sushi date!  Look at that stack!

I'm leader to our Girl Scout troop, which is lots of fun.  We had our year end award ceremony and the girls received all of the badges they'd earned, which is always fun!

I used my walking foot for the first time and I'm in love!  So easy to sew lots of layers and ruffles!

This girl and I have enjoyed lots of lunch dates while she was in part time school.  This fall, she'll be in first grade and in school all day.  Waaaah!  Soaking up a few lunch dates while we can :)

Here she is on her last day of kindergarten!  I used the A Beautiful Mess app for the words and doodle.

And here's my big girl, already a third grader!  I blinked and she is turning into quite a young lady.

These girls are ready for summer!  We've got some fun things planned, so stay tuned!

Make sure you head over to Life Rearranged and check out what other bloggers are doing!  You can follow me on Instagram here :)  Have a great weekend!

life rearranged

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

10 things Tuesday

1. Holy smokes, my kids only have 2 more days of school!!!!  Yay? 

2. I had to give the first of two speeches this week...400 little kids and most of their parents looking at me brought me back to elementary school when I auditioned to be Violet in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Scary!  I'm an OK public speaker...but I tend to make dorky jokes when I get nervous.  What are your tips?

3. I have 5 dresses, 2 pairs of shorts, and a top cut out that need to get sewn up.  Too bad I have a case of the last week of school and therefore zero motivation.  Lounging in bed watching some Real Housewives is more like it.

4. I'm glad that my husband's birthday is next week...mainly because I've been craving cake.  Specifically this cake.  YUM.

5. Are you watching the Bachelorette?  Are you bored yet?  Come on, Chris us the man tears!

6. My birthday is also coming up.  We have a tradition where the birthday girl gets to pick what we do/eat on her day.  I want to take a trip back to the dorms where you could have cereal for every meal AND someone else to do the dishes.  Ahhhhh...

7.  I'm seriously bored with my wardrobe.  Luckily I stumbled across this gem and now I'm inspired to get more creative and work with what I've got.  You know, until I win the lottery and can shop 'till I drop.

8. I got one of these as a present almost 2 years ago...and I've never used it!  Last summer was yucky and cold and rainy.  But this summer, it's ON!  Any recipes to share?

9. I've done a summer bucket list for the past 4 or 5 years with my kids.  It's mostly easy stuff (park play dates, sidewalk chalk, etc.), but this year I'm over it.  Instead, I like the idea of doing a loose schedule.  Monday: Craft day.  Tuesday: Library Day.  Wednesday: Play Date.  Thursday: Go Somewhere Fun.  Friday: Bake something Yummy. 

10. I remember my mom making bars similar to these (she used raspberries), so I can't wait to make some of these Blackberry Oatmeal Crumble Bars...yum!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Tried and Tested: Daphne Wrap Dress by The Cottage Mama

Happy Monday!  I'm sharing some pictures of The Cottage Mama's newest pattern, The Daphne Wrap Dress and Top.  I tested the dress, View A, and I just have to say, Lindsay did it again!  This pattern was quick and easy to sew, but the finished piece looks expensive and professional. 

My favorite detail on this dress is the piping that you can add to the entire garment.  I chose to add it the top of the bodice, but I think that when I make another one, I'll add it to the hem as well. 


The back buttons, and I chose to use a covered button kit to make mine.  They are such an easy to add detail to clothing!  If you've never used a covered button kit, you can find them on the notions wall at your local fabric store.  These are my favorite.

The Daphne Wrap Dress is super comfy and my 10 year old model fit into it perfectly.  I love how it works on an older girl, but it would also be absolutely darling on a baby or toddler!

The Daphne Wrap Dress and Top are reversible too!  So you can get two outfits in one!  Plus, there is an optional kangaroo pocket - I think the pocket or the bodice would look so cute with a monogram or applique.

A huge thank you to Lindsay for having me test another pattern for her!  She really made it a fun experience for our testing group!  Check out her blog and Facebook page to check out the adorable dresses and tops that the other testers made.
This dress will be listed in the shop soon!
Here are some thoughts and details about this dress:
Pattern: The Daphne Wrap Dress and Top by The Cottage Mama
Size: 10, View A
Fabric: Quilter's Basic from Joann Fabric.  This fabric is nice and lightweight - perfect for a summer dress!  I used plain pink piping and made my own covered buttons.
Thoughts: This pattern is great for an experienced beginner who isn't yet comfortable with piping and button hole placement - Lindsay offers some great tips for both, so if you are afraid to try either, this is a great pattern to get started!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Instafriday # 10

Happy Friday!  I'm linking up again with Life Rearranged for Instafriday.  Head on over there to see what your favorite bloggers are up to this week!

Nothing says "Summer's here!" like a bowl full of cherries :)

I finally got some business cards!  I feel so official :)  My friend Brian designed the logo and my husband helped make my cards.  I think they're so pretty!

We took the girls to Girl Scout Camp over Memorial Day weekend and this is how stuffed my car was!  Two days, 4 people, too much stuff!

The girls got to chop firewood at camp - they loved it!

Not as much as they loved the s'mores, though ;-)  I think it's my youngest's favorite part of camp!

I'm working on a hat for a friend, and I really love the color she picked out!

This past weekend, I went to Bellevue for a girls' weekend.  We ate dinner at fancy restaurants, had massages, and saw a grown up movie!  Plus, I ate cashews, which are forbidden in my house due to allergies.  YUM!

 I took my out of town friend to Pike Place Market, which is famous for the guys who throw fish, but I think it should be famous for the flower vendors...they were amazing this weekend!  I brought home a huge bouquet of poppies and one of peonies.  My favorites!
I met up with the hubs and girls at the beach for some ice cream and play time.  Love these two!

Another shot of the Georgia Vintage Dress that I tested for The Cottage Mama.  Can't wait to get these into the shop!

Pattern testing late at night...

My girls are super obsessed with Uno lately, and we've been playing it after dinner.  Sadly, I only win every once in a while.

Happy Mail from The Ribbon Retreat.  See that cross stitch fabric back there?  I might be in love.

Our car came with Sirius and I am loving the 90s station.  I admit, I know every word to this song.

I have been really bad about not eating breakfast lately :(  But I've been making up for it with a smoothie for lunch.  This one had spinach, carrots, berries, hemp protein powder, banana, and some OJ.  It was delish!

Last night I went to bed at 8:30. It was soooo nice :)

Whew!  I guess that was actually 2 weeks, hence a lot of pictures!  You can always follow along on Instagram.  Check back next week - I've got a few surprises for you :o)