running tips & some motivation

I love running. I have been “a runner” for several years. I really got into it after my kids were born and it’s been the perfect workout for me. Unfortunately I’ve been nursing a few injuries over the past year so my running routine has slowed down a bit. As I’m getting back to it, it reminded me that I’ve learned a lot about running over the years. So I thought I would pass along some of the info to you and hopefully encourage some of you to try it. First, I want to explain my minor injuries are not from running – I actually pulled my hamstring doing {ahem} cartwheels and splits with my daughter on the beach last summer. So, no more cartwheels or splits for me {so sad}. And bursitis in my heel. ok – that one might be from running or just the fact that I walk {and run} very hard on my heels. My dad used to say, “for a little girl, you walk like an elephant!” So, as long as you ease into running, are smart about your capabilities and don’t do random cartwheels and splits, you’re good to go.

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Some of my running tips might sound a little funny but I found that it was best to do whatever got me up in the morning and look forward to running. Take what I have here but also, listen to your body and your lifestyle and do what works for you {picturing Ryan Gosling at the finish line might just be it}.

LORI’S RUNNING TIPS:

- proper shoes. This might be the most important tip of all. Get the right shoes FOR YOU. Don’t buy cute, glow-in-the-dark sneakers that are on sale. Only buy properly fitted shoes that are comfortable. I wear Asics Gel GT 1000. They’re one of their cheaper sneakers. I tried the most expensive ones because I thought those must be the best – but they weren’t – not for me. And be sure to replace your sneakers often! There’s a lot of varying opinions on this, but I replace my sneakers every 400 miles. So if you run 15 miles/week you’ll need to get new sneakers about every 6 months.

- inside or out. For me running inside is very different than running outside. I love the treadmill. I like the constant factors {no weather, no cars, flat surface, controlled pace}. I also like to know my speed and time. Not sure why because I’m not breaking any records – it’s just something that motivates me. But I also run outside with a group of gals usually once a week and that’s much more fun than the treadmill. So I would say mix it up – brave the elements and the treadmill.

- attire. Living in New England, the weather can be a big factor when running. For the warmer summer months, you gotta just muddle through. Run early and that helps with the heat. Carry a water bottle if needed but I find that’s a nuisance. For the colder winter months, I go with layers – usually 3 layers on top, 2 on bottom, a hat and running gloves. We made it a rule not to run when it was colder than 16 degrees. Admittedly, I often prayed for 15 degree weather so I could sleep in. But you’ll be amazed how warm your body gets when you’re running. My rule is to dress as if it’s 15 degrees warmer. So you will be cold when you start but you’ll warm up quickly. When I run on the treadmill, I have my go-to pieces which include shorts and a tee or tank. Simple as that. Oh, and a very good sports bra. I don’t always look pretty but I get the job done. And my hair always needs to be completely off my face in a thin headband and pony. No fail. The worst is when you have to keep pushing the hair off your face. One day, I stopped running early and went home because I had forgotten my headband. It was that bad.

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- group or solo. I say both. Running by yourself can be like a mini-meditation session. I like to think about my day or have an argument with my husband in my head {never!}. And I do math. Yes, math – easy math. I run an 8 minute mile on the treadmill so I’m always calculating how much time is left {2 minutes to the next quarter mile, 4 minutes to next half…}. It keeps my mind occupied and makes the time go by faster. Whatever it takes, remember. I also use an ipod shuffle when solo. It’s the perfect size and music is the best motivator and distraction. And I have found the best headphones ever. I can say this because I think I have tried every headphone ever made. But the Yurbuds by IronMan are awesome. Find them here. Running with a group is great too – no math skills needed. Just find a group who is similar in your abilities and intensity. A fun group who likes to chat is my recommendation.

- easy does it. When I started running, I ran 1 mile {for a long time} and then I increased my distance by half mile increments once I got very comfortable at each distance. So you could be at 2 miles for several months if that’s what works for you. But I promise, if you ease into it and stay with a routine, you will be able to run ANY distance.

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- set personal goals. For some it’s a race. For others it’s how often they run, and for others it’s how fast they run. I’m not a race person. I’ve done several races and I did ok. I felt a great sense of accomplishment but they were too stressful for me. The crowds, the structure – it’s not for me. So I have more personal goals like how often I can run each week, incorporating interval training on the treadmill {check out an article on interval training here}, and sometimes my goal is how quickly I can get it over with! If you want to try a race, you can just google races in your area. Races are a great motivator too – they give you something to strive for or train for. Or do a triathlon {swim, bike, run}. You can team up with 2 others and do just the run portion. Lots of options out there!

- running routes. I use the app map my run. It does so many things but mostly I use it for mapping out a running route. You can also set up a personal running log that can be very helpful.

- be safe. Whether running inside or out, be safe. Treadmills can be dangerous and so can cars! Wear reflective gear if it’s dark outside and if running by yourself, it’s a good idea to buy an ID tag that you can wear. Check out Road ID for different options like shoe tags and bracelets.

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Running is fun and you will feel a great sense of accomplishment when you get going. You don’t have to be a marathoner, just do what works for you. I hope my tips were helpful and maybe got you thinking of lacing up those {well-fitted} sneakers. Send along any running tips of your own too, I’d love to hear them!

Have a great weekend – we’re heading to the Newport Wine Festival so I’m not sure a run will be happening for me! Enjoy!

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tee shirt trend | wearing your message

Is there a piece of clothing more perfect than the tee shirt? I know fall is here and I need to be taking out the sweaters and fleece and flannel but I’m on a big tee shirt kick right now. The great thing about tee shirts is that they can work in any season. Layer with a flannel shirt for fall. Wear under a v-neck sweater for winter. Throw on a long sleeve shirt underneath for spring. Or wear as-is for summer. Add a pair of jeans and you’re good to go in any season. Plus they’re {usually} pretty cheap! And I am really loving tee shirts with nice, simple messages on them. Even better when that message is in support of something good and even helps fund a great cause.

Even celebrities are getting in on the trend {I know, Kim Kardashian – but the tee is for Earth Day}:

celebs in tees

I found a few tee shirts shopping the other day and also just bought a few online. Here are some of my favorites:

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1: Etsy, $18 | 2. Forever 21, $12.80 | 3. Etsy, 15 | 4. Shopbop, $66 | 5. Old Navy, $9 | 6. Layla from Blog Treads $24 | 7. Forever 21, $14.80

Are you liking the tee shirt message look? Yay or Nay?

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favorite finds | from the web

I’m not sure if it’s the routine of back to school or the hunkerin’ down kind of weather but I have been needing to get into a better routine with my blog – and just about everything! When I started my blog {Greco Design Company} almost a year ago I wanted to do 3 posts a week. ha! And I wanted to do a Favorite Finds recap post every Friday – highlighting all the great stuff I came across all week. ha! So, here I am about a year later and I was lucky to get 2 posts out each week and a Favorite Finds maybe once a month, maybe. So I guess you could call this past year a learning period. And that’s ok. I may not have stuck to my schedule but I have learned so, so much about blogging. I have also learned how to balance the blogging with being a freelance graphic designer, running a household, and being a mom to three kids. And there’s still a lot of learning to be done, just ask my kids.

So, my plan for my new routine, {she says with such conviction} is to post a new blog entry 3 times a week {don’t laugh}. BUT… one of the posts will be short & sweet – kind of like me {again, don’t laugh}. And then do a monthly recap of all my favorite finds, probably at the end of each month. Sounds good on paper, right? So I’m feeling like September is my transition month and come October I’m hitting the ground running and hope to be in a new groove. Kinda like Stella.

I’m also taking an online course next week on The Art of Building a Blogging Career. gulp. I said it. That means I have to actually build my blogging career. So your help is greatly appreciated. You can tell your friends and family, neighbors – and anyone you can scrounge up – about my blog. Anyone can subscribe to receive my posts automatically via email too {really cool feature – see button on the right} and please, please send me your comments! I would LOVE to hear what you think – good, bad or indifferent. It’s the only way I can keep learning. Just click on the bubble icon at the end of each post to make a comment.

Thank you for all your support! Here’s a few of my Favorite Finds for this month. No, it’s not the end of the month but we’re in transition here and remember I don’t have my groove yet. Plus I have seen tons of great stuff that I just wanted to share. Hope you like them and, as usual, click on the blue links to go to the original sources. Have a great weekend!

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Caramel Apple Brownie Cheesecake. Yes, please. Click here for the recipe.

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Love that these photos are hung on clipboards! Such a cute alternative to the traditional frame and no glass makes these perfect for a kids room. Check out the post here at HGTV online.

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Not on the web but an adorable fairy garden my daughter came home with from a birthday party. What a great party favor/theme/craft. I especially love that she put a dinosaur in the fairy garden! I could go crazy with the fairy party theme.

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Bottles of fairy dust… is just one idea. Found here at oh one fine day.

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I heart these digital prints from Etsy. Only $13 for all 4 – and you download and print yourself, no shipping. Find them here.

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I just bought this friendship bracelet from Etsy for $13. So stinkin’ cute. Love the different colors and mix of metals and jewels. And, like everything I’ve ordered from Etsy, it arrived quickly and beautifully packaged with a personal note.

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Rolled magazine flowers from Jones Design Company. I am so going to try these. And copy her and put them on my chalkboard with the drawn antlers. Done. I have no shame.

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This made my day. My daughter took my gin thyme lemonade recipe and made a non-alcoholic version all on her own. It was delicious and she was very proud. So was I. Click here to go to my post of drink recipes and try your own.

Check out some past Favorite Finds | from the Web Posts:

May 9

March 21

February 27

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never forget

flag print

My heart aches when I remember this day, 13 years ago. But I am reminded that I live in the greatest country in the world.

Join in commemorating 9/11 by watching the anniversary ceremony live online at www.911memorial.org. The ceremony coverage will begin at 8:39 a.m. EST.

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I have included an art print here that you can download and print to display today – or anyday – to show your pride and remember those who suffered. Also, if you have a flag, hang it proudly. Immediately after the tragedy on September 11, 2001, I remember seeing so many American flags and it was an amazing display of unity. I hope to never forget how terrible that day was and never take my freedom for granted. Let’s all keep that pride and never forget this day.

Click here to download your free print.

 

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gallery wall inspiration & tips

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ok – I did it! I gave our dull, black-framed photo gallery wall a facelift. And it was one of the quickest projects I’ve ever done! We had my in-laws visiting this weekend and I always think visitors make the best excuse for finishing a home project. Our kitchen table was covered with artwork so I had to get it up on the wall if we wanted a place to eat! I pulled together a quick, use-what-you-got gallery wall. Click here to check out my post from last week on diy artwork and the start of this gallery wall.

Here are some of my inspiration photos. I love collecting ideas and this helps me so much when I’m starting a project. If you need additional inspiration, click here to see more gallery wall beauties on my Pinterest page.

inspiration:

 

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Pottery Barn / houseofroseblog.com / classyclutter.net / lovegrowswild.com

Here’s what our hallway gallery wall looked like for 10 years:

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It was nice. We had mostly pictures of our kids when they were very young or our wedding photos – which were fun to look at but the wall needed an update. I was going for a more organic, collected look. I also wanted it to be brighter and more colorful – with more variety and interest.

Here’s how our hallway looks now:

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Definitely brighter with a collected and organic feel. Remember how I said this was the quickest project I’ve done? Check out the blank piece of white wood at the top of the wall – that was intended to be my arrow DIY project {see my arrow trend post here}. I just ran out of time. But now that it’s hanging on my wall, unfinished, I have to get it done. It just keeps staring at me as I go by. Stay tuned! Also note the mixed metals {gold/brass starburst mirror, brass deerhead hook, silver frames and banner lettering}. I kept these touches minimal and spread them out so the metallic finishes were more subtle yet connected.

Hanging a gallery wall can be a daunting task. Lots of measuring, nail holes in your walls, making mistakes, having to cover up those nail holes, and spending a lot of time and money finding the right pieces to include. I’ve hung several gallery walls so I came up with a few tips that I’ve learned and hope they might inspire you to create your own gallery wall. But I think the best rule to follow in design is if you like it, then it works.

Here are my {hopefully} helpful tips on how to hang a gallery wall:

1. Gather your hanging tools: tape measure, hammer, nails, pencil, level. I also recommend Scotch Adhesive Putty. Use a small bit of this on the back of each piece. It will help your artwork stay in place and can be removed easily when needed.

2. Start collecting. Almost anything can have visual impact when framed and hung in a grouping. Pick what you like and what means something to you. Use stuff you have around your home already – children’s artwork, a beautiful postcard, a ticket stub, stamps, inspirational quotes, metal hooks, letters/numbers, chalkboards and of course, artwork and photos. Also when selecting items, think of similar elements they share – shapes, colors, subject matter – these are all things that can make your collection feel cohesive. For example on my wall, the orange in the chevron material picks up the orange in the Warhol Campbell Soup print. And the circle chalkboard mimics the circle shape of the photo and the circle starburst mirror.

3. Pick your focal piece. I like to have one larger dominant element. For this it was my DIY project from last week – the ornate white frame with the colorful fabric and trim. This was a good place to start and I knew I wanted all of the other pieces to build off of that.

4. Measuring – a.k.a. organized chaos. Nothing needs to be exact or symmetrical {unless you want it to!}. You just need to experiment with what looks best to you. I find it’s best to lay out all the pieces on a nearby table or floor to get a rough idea of what should go where and how much space you have to work with. I used my table layout as a guide and then I tweeked things as I started hanging. And it wasn’t perfect – I needed to fill in areas that looked empty or unbalanced and I moved a few things around that were too crowded, trying to cover the nail holes as I went. Vary the space between the pieces as you hang them too, but keep them within a few inches of each other. And pieces can overlap {see my banner}. I think this helps the elements relate – but I would only do this in a few places. Too much overlapping and not enough space just makes the wall look overcrowded. This is what my table looked like:

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You can also use paper templates. Cut paper to the size of each piece then hang with painter’s tape. Once you have a layout you like, put the nails in the wall, tear away the templates, and you’re ready to hang. I find this step takes a little longer but it might work for you. I just don’t have the patience! See this example from 320 Sycamore

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5. Reassess. Take a step back and look at your wall from different angles. Pay attention to how the color and size of the pieces balance each other out. Make changes as needed. And don’t stress if it’s not perfect – a little spackle, sandpaper and paint can fix any of those unwanted nail holes! Or cover them up with a small postcard or memorable ticket stub.

6. Now add the good stuff. Use your fun collections {those postcards, hooks, letters, etc.} to break up the look of the framed pieces and fill in any empty spaces. 

7. Think out of the box – or the rectangle frames. Find alternatives to your traditional frames. Things like washi tape, large binder clips, clip boards, ribbon, material wrapped canvases, funky thumbtacks or a fun banner are all different ways you can hang artwork and can break up the boxy look of the frames. And feel free to add or take away pieces as you go on, keeping the artwork relevant to your life. 

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My biggest challenge for this project was time and money. I didn’t have the time {remember company was coming} and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on new artwork or frames. I had so many black frames from the original wall that it was hard to justify not using any of them. So I picked the best frames {with the least amount of black}, and then shopped our home for all the other pieces. I found so much fun stuff that I forgot I had – colorful frames, beach prints, and a gold/brass deerhead hook. I also found a sweet letter from my Grandmother that I’ll be framing and will find a special place for that soon too. The only things I bought were the DIY focal piece artwork and 2 white frames. Although shopping your home is not as fun as going to Homegoods {!} it can be fun finding personal treasures. 
 
This post was more like a novel today! But I hope it has inspired you to hang your own gallery wall – and if not, invite company over and that might help! Enjoy.
 
Other posts you might enjoy:

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diy artwork | start of a gallery wall

I’ve been wanting to redo a gallery wall we have in our hallway and I’ve been working on that project for-like-ever {full post on that project to come next week}. But it just wasn’t coming together. Currently we have a bunch of black-framed photographs – mostly of our kids at young ages – hanging on the wall in a gallery-like grouping. We love it. It’s so sweet and people love looking at this wall when they come over. But it’s looking dark and all the photos need some variation – some artwork and other personal items to liven the wall up again. It’s time to refresh but I didn’t know where to start. Then I saw this:

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This was a clean, bright, colorful collection of pieces. Nothing “matched” but yet they worked well together. I will show many more inspirational photos on the full gallery wall post next week but I chose this one photo because I loved the ornate white frame. Like, really loved it. And I thought that was exactly what my wall needed. So I looked. And I looked. And I looked again. But nothing was quite right. Then I found this at Homegoods:

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An ornate 16×20″ black frame with a burlap wrap/dark Halloween decor. Huh? Not white, not bright, and more black. But sometimes you gotta see the trees through the forest {is that the right saying?}. What I’m trying to say is that this frame was an even better solution because it was the right size and I could paint it the exact, bright, semi-gloss white finish that I wanted. And no glass means that I can put a fun fabric in place of a photo and do something different and unexpected. I love that. And this is what I came up with:

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Definitely brighter, more colorful and fun. I think the photos will look much better with this in the mix. So, even though the gallery wall redesign project is slow going, here’s what I did to kick start it:

DIY frame & artwork:

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1) First, I removed the backing of the frame and set the screws aside to reassemble.

2) I spray painted the frame using a semi-gloss bright white paint. It took a few coats because of all the nooks & crannies {sorry no pic bit you get the idea}.

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3) While the paint was drying, I pulled off the burlap Halloween cover. I love burlap so I kept the artwork for a different project but for this – we needed color!

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4) Next, I cut a piece of my fabric to fit the backing. I used Scotch Super 77 Adhesive to attach the material. I also used a glue gun at each of the corners so it stayed flat.

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5) Then, I took a piece of fun, pom-pom trim that I found at the material store and hot glued a strip across the material. I loved the idea of just using the material but I couldn’t pass up this trim. It’s definitely funky and not for everyone but I think it will add a lot more interest to this piece.

final detail

6) When the frame was completely dry, I attached the material wrapped piece and the backing onto the frame. Done! And it cost about $34, including original art, material, spray paint and trim. Now I just have to finish the rest of the wall. Stay tuned for that post coming next week. This piece – and this fun, colorful material – has made me excited to get it going!

related posts you might also like:

diy artwork for home office

new summer art prints

spring touches to our home

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bedside table diy & mixing metals

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My husband thinks I’m crazy. I’ve picked up furniture sitting on the side of the road waiting to be taken away as trash. He just shakes his head when I come home with something new. My most recent find was this… this… well, I wasn’t really sure what it was originally used for. I thought it could have been a computer or media cart. But after my mom saw it – she knew right away – it was a record player stand. And sure enough, when I googled it – she was right! A mid-century metal rolling record cart like these:

sample record carts

Vintage. Mid-century modern. Vinyl records. This made me love it even more! So, now what do I do with it? It took me a few weeks to figure it out but it has found it’s place as my bedside table. A little gold spray paint, white satin latex paint, and a $19.99 tray from Marshall’s is all I needed to transform this roadside find into my new favorite piece!

Here’s the before:

cart before

 And here’s the after:

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I chose gold metallic because it is super hot right now – and I’m loving it!! There are mostly silver accents in our bedroom – and throughout our house – but mixing metals seems to work with my eclectic style. Mixing metal finishes in home decor, or in fashion, can be a little tricky. I used to never think I could mix metals. For me it was either gold or silver. Never both. And then I discovered bronze and copper… ugh, metallic overload. I’m loving the file folders too – and they are very useful for me and all my paperwork.

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Here are my “rules” for mixing metals – this seems to apply to fashion too:

1) don’t go overboard – stick with small touches of metallics.

2) choose one metallic to be the dominant design element and use another metal as an accent.

3) And remember, you don’t have to mix metallics! If you stick with one metal color, vary the texture of the finishes. That way you’ll avoid a monotonous result. For example, if you want to stick with gold, try mixing matte and shiny finishes; if it’s silver, pair hammered silver with pewter. Mixing old and new finishes will keep your room interesting.

You can read a great post on mixing metals here from Jones Design Company. I especially love it when she says, “Thankfully, the best rule for design today is if you like it and it is pleasing to your aesthetic, it works.” I’m going with that!

I hope you enjoyed my bedside table redesign and always be on the lookout for those roadside treasures – you never know what you might find – and what you could create!

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summertime blues| back to school freebie

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Summer is winding down {sigh} and school is just around the corner. I always have torn feelings this time of year. I chuckle a little remembering the Staples commercial with the Christmas jingle, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” And although my patience in August is usually very, very slim, and I am anxious to quit my job as family entertainment director, I am always a little sad that the carefree summertime with our kids is ending. I’ve been wanting to read the book: Just 18 Summers by Rene Gutteridge. It’s about making the most of the eighteen summers we have with our children before they are grown. It’s a lesson in guilt and grace and when to hold on to our kids and when to let go. It’s on my list… and you can click here to order yours online.

But we still have a few more summers left with our kids before they’re grown. And I know when the kids are grown our summers will be awesome too – especially if they’re anything like our summers with my parents. So I will enjoy – and welcome – the routine, the homework, all the activities and the organization needed for getting our kids back to school. I hope you will too. And to help with your routine and organization, I’ve included lunchbox notes and school/teacher notes as a freebie that you can download and print as needed. Kids love getting little surprises from home in their lunch boxes!

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Click on this link to download the lunch box and school notes: back to school notes

And I hope you enjoy the second most wonderful time of the year!

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paper rosettes – again!

ok. Don’t judge me – a repost is completely acceptable, right? I originally posted this DIY project on how to make paper rosettes on May 5 but I thought it was worth a repost because I’ve been seeing so many blogs, emails and tutorials about this really fun and easy project. Again, don’t judge…

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Click here to see my original post and DIY tutorial. And don’t be afraid to try this project! I’d consider it EASY on the difficulty level scale and it’s a very forgiving project {ie. you don’t see the mistakes if you make them}.

But now here’s some additional uses for these unique and beautiful creations that I’ve seen on the web:

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Party backdrop. What an eye-catching party decoration!! From Design Dazzle.

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Bridal bouquet. What the what? Love it and NEVER thought of this. From East Coast Creative Blog {love them!}

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Plant or floral embellishment {perfect teacher’s gift!}. From No Biggie.

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Cupcake topper {why do so many of my posts include sweets…hmmmm?} from 6 Bittersweets.

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Award or acknowledgement ribbons. Perfect for a kids birthday! From How About Orange.

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Fun message banner. Any occasion. Birthday, 4th of July, welcome home…. endless ideas. From Pine is Here.

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And, you can always use them as a simple hanging decoration – this one’s from my dining room. I really do love these and think they would make a great holiday or seasonal decoration too. Enjoy… again!

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arrow trend

A trend that has caught my eye lately has been the use of arrows – everywhere! I’m thinking the movies Hunger Games and Brave might have contributed to this trend. But I’ve been seeing them in home decor, invitations, party decorating and even jewelry. I love arrows for both their primitive and whimsical qualities. The simple, graphic shape makes them an easy subject for DIY projects {think stencil or simple line drawings}. Here are a few examples of ones I’ve seen and loved and then be on the lookout for a DIY arrow project from me soon. Honestly, I just can’t decide what to do….

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Love this! But if these were on a table in my house my boys would throw them at each other. constantly. Check out the article about arrows in home decor here.

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This downloadable print is one of many I found on Etsy {for $5!}. I love the colors. And the message. Find it here.

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What a fabulous place setting and the arrow adds just the right touch. I think it was for an arrow-themed wedding. Who would have thought!? Look at the complete details here.

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Beautiful DIY headboard. Find the link here.

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Handmade pillow also from Etsy. Love the canvas material. Find it here.

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This could be my DIY project…. hmmmm. Love the ombre + arrow trend mix. Find it here.

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And a beautiful bracelet from Stella & Dot. Find it here.

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So simple and so pretty. Looks good enough to eat! Find it here.

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Another DIY project – check it out here.

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And a zinc chalkboard sign. So cool. Find it here.

>>>>>>> What do you think of the arrow trend? Click on the bubble below to leave your comments- I’d love to hear from you! Enjoy! <<<<<<<

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