Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Feeling a Little Crafty!

How has your week been so far? Lately I've been feeling really crafty but my dear friend time has not been on my side. There are a few things I'm hoping to make this month which are actually pretty easy projects, I just need a few spare hours to dedicate to getting them done. This image above is of an advent calendar that I really want to make. Isn't it elegant?

I did take a moment to do a quick change out of the hurricane vase on our tiny kitchen table in October. I usually fill it with fresh flowers or this shell orb. To give it a quick makeover I added a wheat sheath I trimmed down with a small white pumpkin nearby and kept the color palette the same since we live in coastal FL. But with Christmas upon is, it's time to switch it up yet again as well as the place mats and napkins too.

Karen from Strictly Simple Style wrote this wonderful post a few months ago about DIY cashmere cable knit pillows made from thrift store sweaters! I've been wanting to make one for a couple years now and given the price that Potterybarn commands, I think I'll stick to making my own and Target offers one for around $20 but I'm not a fan of the material or color selected.  I was so impressed with Karen's that I'm going to hunt down a thrift store sweater, keeping my fingers crossed that there are some in the right color and size.

Here is a pic of the last pillow I made with an existing down insert and a cheetah print fabric remnant for 75% off that I thought was fun and added a bit of personality to the bedscape. My challenge was an invisible zipper, and it turned out really well for a first attempt it now lives in the guest bedroom snuggled between two solid silk pillows from Tar-jay.

I was thinking back to some crafts/decor that I worked on in the past and realized that it's also time for me to paint some older furniture pieces in our home. We inherited a few from P's grandparents that I once disliked but now have a new excitement for as I envision how I will transform them with paint and new hardware. He was hesitant at first to alter them, but he's finally on board and ready for a change too. I'll post the details once I get that ball rolling.

I love recovering and repainting older pieces to give them new life and personality. Below is a little foot stool that hubby's grandfather made many years ago, and office chair that that I purchased off Craigslist for $30 and recovered, both are in the guest bedroom which also doubles as my office.

{Click HERE to see the original foot stool post and HERE to see the full office chair makeover.}

Today, I'm going to pick up some red harvest color roses and pop them into this new little living room centerpiece that I'm creating with old glass bottles and small vases which are hidden inside a basket that I picked up from a yard sale recently. It looks like it would be perfect for holding silverware on a picnic table in the backyard but the compartments are perfect for holding just about anything. Once filled, my goal is that it will appear as a large, lush and compact arrangement of roses where the dividers and glass containers will be fully hidden.

I love perusing craft and home decor projects via blogs and the web. I live for creating and Before & After pics! I know you all are a creative bunch so I thought I'd create a little linky party (my second one ever) so you could show off your latest creations or anything at all that you've made.

I cannot wait to see what YOU have been working on lately. Anything from a simple centerpiece, a new wreath, gifts you're making for family, a holiday mantle, a rehab furniture project or even a new recipe you've tried out. Please link up! :)


Monday, November 29, 2010

Pear Tree Giveaway-$30 to Spend YOUR Way!

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend. What better way to start off the week than with a giveaway! My generous sponsor Pear Tree Greetings is at it again with another fabulous prize for one lucky reader. This time you'll get to choose whatever you like from their website, they'll be providing the winner with $30 to spend any way they wish. Because their cards are not only chic but affordable too, you'll definitely find something you love.

With Christmas just a few weeks away, what a great way to select some stylish Christmas cards or New Year's party invitations.

I love that Pear Tree is a company that gives back. With their Operation Gratitude project they are sending color-in Christmas cards to teachers around the nation who sign up to have their students color in the snowman and write a message thanking  men and women serving overseas for their dedication and hard work they provide this country. Pear Tree is also giving back this holiday season by partnering with the American Cancer Society. They have designed six exclusive Christmas cards and by purchasing one of those cards, 100% of the proceeds go to the American Cancer Society.


1. Must be a public follower of this blog.

2. For your first entry leave me a comment telling me your favorite thing about Christmas/the holiday season-is it the cheerful music, decorating the tree, sweet treats, family time together, crafts?

3. For a second entry: Follow me on Twitter and Tweet about this giveaway by linking back to this post.

GIVEAWAY CLOSES: December.3, 2010 at 11pm EST


PRIZE: $30 to spend at www.PearTreeGreetings.com

RULES: The winner will be selected using random.org and announced on 12/04

OPEN TO: U.S. addresses ONLY for this giveaway.

If you're interested in browsing or shopping the Pear Tree website now, Classy & Fabulous readers get special discounts.

Want to see which Pear Tree cards I'm mailing out this year? Click HERE, it is the first card image of the six shown. ;) These address labels are what I selected to complement the cards, they arrived a couple days ago and are perfect.

Good Luck!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving today filled with joy, laughter and love.

I've been a little MIA on my blog these past two weeks, working diligently on some room e-designs for some new clients and now I am so blessed to get to spend the next week with my hubby before he heads back to NYC. I have so much to be thankful for: A supportive husband, great friends and family, a job that I enjoy, good health, a cozy home and getting to serve a loving and faithful God who is the God of more than enough!

I am also really thankful for all of YOU, my readers! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my little ol' blog, for leaving me thoughtful comments, sending me personal notes of encouragement or a quick e-mail to see how I'm doing during this time of transition as Paul works towards his Masters degree in a different state. I really appreciate you all and my life is truly more blessed having you all be a part of it. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

I'd love to hear what you all are especially thankful for today. :)


Thursday, November 11, 2010

8 Great Pumpkin Recipes & Linky Party

Aren't you just in love with the cornocopia of beautifully colored fruits and veggies of the harvest season?  I've made a point to purchase as much of it as I could and challenge myself to make new recipes and also invent new recipes that would honor all of this produce.

So far I've made curry chicken with baked sweet potatoes, an artichoke salad, concord grape puree to top my organic blueberry waffles and eggplant parmagiana. A couple weeks ago I stocked up and bought several cans of pumpkin after last year's shortage due to the freeze. I knew that beyond the two pumpkin pies I make every Thanksgiving, I wanted to come up with other creative recipes that weren't just for dessert.

If you've also been on the hunt for some exciting new recipes to celebrate the beautiful, edible pumpkin; I've included 8 great recipes below.

Pumpkin & Black Bean Soup

Pumpkin-Shrimp Bruschetta

Gingersnap Crumble Pumpkin Parfait

Pumpkin & Mushroom Pasta with Gorgonzola

 {via Closet Cooking}

Pumpkin-Praline Cheesecake

New World Pumpkin-Turkey Chili

Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

Rigatoni with Pumpkin & Bacon

While canned pumpkin is super convenient, making your own is actually really simple. Kevin shares how to make pumpkin puree HERE. It can be used in so many recipes and freezes easily too.

What have you been up to in the kitchen lately? I've included a LINKY below so you can share your favorite Autumn recipes!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Getting to Know You: What's in a Name?

Just for fun, I'm starting a little series called 'Getting to Know You' which will begin with today's post. If you enjoyed the 'Manners Monday' series, not to worry, it will be coming back soon. Since I'd really enjoy getting to know all of you a bit better and because I love reading your comments, I thought this series would help do that. So, over the next few weeks, I'll be posting about various topics, and asking you for your comments, stories and your take on things. I'll also be revealing more about myself too-that's only fair, right?

A few of my friends have just had babies and have spent a great deal of time going over baby names. I began to think about what's in a name.  Some people really keep the family name going by naming their children after themselves like little Johnny Jr. Others name their children after their own parents or another family member or at least include it in the child's middle name. In the case of my hubby, he was named after his father, Paul, and incidentally his two grandfathers' names were also Paul as well. The funny part is that his step mom's name is Paulette, really what are the odds?

We will be breaking that tradition if we have a boy one day. It's safe to say that our children will not bear his first name in any way and we're both okay with that. LOL. I on the other hand was also named after my father. After a long debate as my dad wanted to name me Meaghan (pronounced Mee-gan) and my mom assured him she didn't want her daughter's name to resemble a word in Dutch (I'm half Dutch and half Polish) which apparently means 'to pee', they settled on naming me after him-Carl. My dad thought the letter 'K' was more sophisticated than the popular 'C' for my name, and as they say the rest is history. My dad and I also share the same middle initial.

Sometimes we hear names like Dakota, Savannah or Georgia where geography may have played a part-maybe it's where the couple met, got engaged, enjoy traveling to or merely just a name they fell in love with. Other times biblical names are chosen such as Joseph, Noah, Moses or Mary.

Celebrity names are perhaps the most interesting, somehow names like "Apple" have become the norm in the Hollywood bubble. I like Nicole Ritchie's choice of "Harlow" for her daughter but found "Sparrow" to be a bit odd for her son. Having said that, naming children after birds has become quite common lately. Three years ago a close friend named her son after a bird but changed the spelling-his name is Fynch. Names like Stella have become popular again and celebs like Tori Spelling proudly call her daughter by that name. Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes' daughter Suri has probably one of the most unique names I've heard, but ironically at age 4 her name is known worldwide. Jennifer Lopez' twins have sweet names- Max & Emme.

Depending on what our name is we've often picked up nicknames along the way also. Maybe a shortened name becomes easier to say like Liz instead of Elizabeth or a shorter name like Jane becomes Janie. My name falls into  both categories. Growing up my family called me by my name and my dad called me Karly. My younger brother couldn't pronounce the K, so he called me 'La La' for a while which later turned into 'Lah-Lee' and then my mother began to call me that and it stuck all through high school.

My friends on the other hand and a couple previous boyfriends called me 'Kar', many of my friends still do to this day. When I met Paul, he liked the idea of a longer name and since he is fairly fluent in Spanish living here in FL where many speak the language, he bestowed upon me the name 'Karlita'. Paul on the other hand, coming from a long line of those with the same name was nicknamed 'Duke' at an early age. To this day to make things easier, they call him that and so does the rest of his extended family. It was a bit odd when we first met to hear it  but I'm used to it now. I, on the other hand still just call him Paul unless I'm speaking to his parents, in which case I'll refer to him as 'my Paul'.

SO, now it's your turn to introduce yourself! I would love to get to know you all better and I'd love to hear the origin of your name, how you got your nickname or how you decided upon the name of your child/children. I hope you'll join in and leave a comment! :)

Happy Monday!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Promises: Being a Woman of Your Word

From the more casual, "I promise I'll drive the next time"  to bigger things like "I'll pay you back next month", I'm continually amazed at how easy it is for people to forget about a commitment or promise as soon as the words have left their lips.

Promises, Promises.

The truth is that there is a lot of lip service in this world. We know this to be true when it comes to politicians, companies and governmental agencies. However, when it comes to friends and close relationships with others we expect and hope for something more. At the end of the day, we are only as good as our word.

It's so easy to downplay even the most simple of promises by saying, "I really meant to call you but I just lost track of time", but I think our nearest and dearest in particular deserve so much more than these simple off-the-cuff replies.

For some people it's about a lack of organization. The day slips away and then the realization comes that something or someone got overlooked. Like valuing other people's time, it too comes down to respect and following through. It's important to write down the commitments we make, with iPhones, blackberries and regular agenda books, it's easy to capture the info but there must be consistency in doing so for it to work.

If you cannot follow through with a promise, be sure to let someone know well in advance but try to avoid breaking promises altogether. In every instance, try to see how you're lack of commitment could affect the other person and those around them.  One of the greatest blessings in life are loving and responsible friends that we trust, can count on and who follow through with what they say they'll do, even if it's an inconvenience to them after they've promised it.

There have certainly been times where I've been excited about an idea and promised to go somewhere or do something for/with someone and then other events fall into place and the timing just seems bad but I force myself to do what I said I'd do because that is the promise I made and I try my best to do it with a smile and a grateful heart. In both business and pleasure, integrity is very important to me. We all have 'off' days where things couldn't be avoided, nobody is perfect, but I believe your word is so important in the makeup of your character. If people cannot trust you, count on you or believe that you'll be a woman of your word and follow through, you don't have much of a relationship with them at all.

Sometimes it's necessary to confront someone when something has gone on too long and promises are continually made and being broken. In the case of the workplace, there is no way that an employer could tolerate an employee continually making promises on sales numbers or reports that they couldn't deliver upon. Likewise, friendships can only last so long when one feels taken advantage of, let down, disrespected and lied to, because that it what promising and then not following up essentially is.

I recently had to confront a friend who started to create a pattern of not keeping her promises, and letting me down. While it would have been easier to brush it under the rug and not rock the boat and potentially upset a friend I enjoy spending time with, I chose to honor myself and not be disrespected by this person.

How about you? Have you ever had to confront someone who couldn't keep their word? How did it go?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pear Tree Thank You Cards Winner

I hope everyone had a fun weekend. I wanted to start the week and the new month off with the name of our Pear Tree Greetings giveaway winner. On a technical note, I've stopped using the old screen capture tool for grabbing the random.org image of the winning number, as the tool was creating issues on my laptop. (If someone has a better way, please let me know. I was using 'a lot' toolbar before and had to keep installing then uninstalling it afterward because I don't own photoshop.)

We had just 14 entries and random.org deems No.8 to be the winner! Congratulations to 'Rich and Mallory'! I'll be e-mailing you shortly with the info for your cards!

She said, if she won, she'd choose these thank you cards:

Thank you Pear Tree Greeting for your awesomeness and thanks to all of you who took the time to enter our Thank You Card giveaway!

I'm still amazed that it's November ALREADY. I'm going to be using this month as a fresh start to get back on track in a few areas of my life that I've been neglecting lately. Working out, making batch meals to save trips to the grocery store so I can stop buying semi-prepared foods and doing a little more reading and writing and less TV watching/ web surfing rank high on the list right now. How about you? Are you ready to have a clean slate in an area of your life to begin afresh this month?

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