How to Style it Right with Photos

Do you love photos in your home? I know I do- but like so many, I am just not confident about my display choices. Thank goodness I know someone who is a “photo-guru” if you will. Jill at Cool Photo Ideas has given us the how-to when it comes to displaying our cherished photos or prized art pieces in our homes.

Jill says,

IT’S ALL IN THE PLANNING

“Give thought to the space you want to liven up. Once you have an area picked out then you can measure the area and get a general idea of sizes of pictures you may want to incorporate. Generally speaking anything smaller than an 8″ x 10″ tends to get lost on a large wall, so be sure to think those things through!”

Oh and this is my favorite tip:

STICK IT TO ME

“Once you know your sizes, lay your frames (or if you don’t have frames yet, you can get a general measurement by taking the size of the image and add about 4″ for the width of the frame. So if you would like to hang an 8″ x 10″ image, trace out a 12″ x 14″ frame) on a roll of kraft paper and trace around them. Cut each frame out separately. You now have “frames” that you can hang on the wall with blue painters tape (which will not peal paint off your wall), to gauge where you will hang your final framed images.”

STAY IN THE LINES

“Keep moving your paper frames around until you love the look! Be sure to allow approximately 2″ between your frames. Then you can finish up your project with ease by simply hanging your frames over the paper spots as shown. The sample shows a great way to create a display, buy drawing an ‘imaginary’ line and then working above and below the line to create an organized look. Perfect for the beginner!”

Love this design tip from Cool Photo Ideas? There are many more where this came from! Check out:

STAGGERING IMAGES & SYMMETRICAL DISPLAYS

Jill knows how to solve your “fear of putting holes in the wall only to find you hate the way the portraits look when they are hung.” Cool Photo Ideas is full of solutions.

This fabulous e-zine is filled with ideas, sources, articles, contests and more – all photo related of course!

Tell me, what area of your home would you like to decorate with photos? Come on, everyone has that empty wall…..

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How to Save Money & Still Have a Fabulous Wedding


Are you planning a wedding? Don’t waste your money on these 3 things that guests could care less about!

1. Trinkets as Favors- The majority of wedding reception favors are left behind once the night is over. Why? Well who really needs one silver 3×5 frame or one heart shaped place card holder? For your favors, consider an adorable edible gift. I do not mean a tulle bag of Jordan almonds either- there are so many options these days. Change to an edible favor and I bet that not too many will be left behind. Bonus- edible favors typically costs less which will allow you to increase your budget on more important things…..like flowers!

2. Personalized Embossed Cocktail Napkins- Yes, I had these at my wedding. Why? I have no idea because it was not 1980. Take it from me, save the $150 and put it towards something else (did I mention flowers would be a good place?). The solid, standard cocktail napkins will do just fine.

3. 200 Ceremony Programs- If ceremony programs are important to you, go ahead and have them. Just please, don’t order one for each guest. Order one for every couple (or just divide guest list by 2). Not every guest will even read your program and after your 20 minute ceremony, the ground will most likely be scattered with tossed programs anyway.

Hostess Tip- To avoid “running out” of programs, have your ushers or site staff place one program on every other ceremony chair rather than handing them out as guests arrive.

I hope these simple ways to save money help you stretch your wedding budget when you are planning your fabulous day!
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Fresh Take on Formal Seating


For your next formal affair, you may want to reconsider those overdone white chair covers. You know the ones, with the giant chiffon bow? I have put together a few pictures on fresh ways you can decorate you chair backs. One simple piece of fabric can do the trick, cutting down on the “fluff” and also your expenses.

Go to your local fabric store and select a color to match your party’s theme. Buy several yards and cut them into strips using fabric scissors. Tie them in a bow or knot (my personal favorite) and you have chair decor for cents each place setting.

Hostess Tip: Matching your color perfectly outweighs finding the perfect type of fabric. Guests will notice color before texture.

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Polka Dot Parties!

This year when you find yourself planning you child’s birthday party, stop stressing and simply think…Polka Dots! This fun and colorful pattern is a hot trend right now, and in good reason. Polka Dots are versatile, allowing you to be as creative (or basic) with the color selection as you dare. With this simple theme you will be able to create an impressive and thoughtful party in a snap! Just start thinking in circles, and you’ll soon realize what I mean when I say, Polka Dots are SIMPLE!

My Tips- Choose 2 colors and go at it! Above: Hot Pink & Lime

All items above can be found at Polka Dot Market!

Head on over to Sally’s Polka Dot Birthday Blog to get great tips on throwing that perfect polka-dotted-party! She has all the tips, ideas, and goods!

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Pumpkin not just for pie!


Pumpkin Shakes

These pumpkin shakes are such a festive {and simple} treat for the fall season. An easy treat to whip up for a festive snack – try this pumpkin shake recipe.

To make this simple shake:

Mix 1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup vanilla ice cream

1/2 cup milk

a pinch of cinnamon

Told you it was simple!

Recipe from Martha Stewart

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Yummm….Pumpkin Cheescake

For a delicious fall dessert, try this modern take on the traditional pumpkin pie. This Pumpkin Cheesecake is sure to dazzle the taste buds of all your party guests!

Serves 16
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Prep 2 hours
Chill Overnight
Crumb Crust

1 cup graham-cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar

Pumpkin Filling

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin, (not pumpkin-pie mix)
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons bourbon, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs

Sour-Cream Topping

1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In 9″ by 3″ spring form pan, with fork, stir graham-cracker crumbs, melted margarine or butter, and sugar until moistened. With hand, press mixture onto bottom of pan. Tightly wrap outside of pan with heavy-duty foil to prevent leakage when baking in water bath later. Bake crust 10 minutes. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

2. In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat cream cheese until smooth; slowly beat in sugar until blended (about 1 minute) scraping bowl often with rubber spatula. With mixer at low speed, beat in pumpkin, sour cream, bourbon or vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

3. Pour pumpkin mixture into crust and place in large roasting pan. Place pan on oven rack. Carefully pour enough boiling water into pan to come 1 inch up side of spring form pan. Bake cheesecake 1 hour 10 minutes or until center barely jiggles.

4. Meanwhile, prepare Sour-Cream Topping: In small bowl, with wire whisk, beat sour cream, sugar, and vanilla until blended. Remove cheesecake from water bath, leaving water bath in oven, and spread sour-cream mixture evenly over top. Return cake to water bath and bake 5 minutes longer.

5. Remove cheesecake from water bath to wire rack; discard foil. With small knife, loosen cheesecake from side of pan to help prevent cracking during cooling. Cool cheesecake completely. Cover and refrigerate cheesecake at least 6 hours or overnight, until well chilled. Remove side of pan to serve.

Recipe from Good House Keeping. photo by Brian Hagiwan

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