Sunday, January 27, 2013

Finding a Small China Cabinet

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I proudly present, the long awaited and MUCH sought after… CABINET!!!

Be still my heart.

For nearly two years, I have been looking for a cabinet to use for storage of my beautiful Christmas plates, platters and my Gram’s silver I inherited.  I literally asked my Mom to go shopping with me for my birthday last year and we spent the whole day looking for something that was “just right”.

I found a cabinet at Home Goods that I LOVED… except it wasn’t deep enough.  The knobs were ugly.  The front and top had this weird bird painting.  Hmmmm. Maybe the only thing I really loved about it was the funky shape and the adorable feet.  When push came to shove, or check stand to large credit card bill, I just couldn’t bring myself to spend $250 on something I planned on completely taking apart and re-doing.

Another trip to Home Goods resulted in another cabinet… much shorter and I didn’t get the same butterflies as the other one, but this one was “ok”.  So I brought it home.  Stared at it for two days and took it back to the store.  It just wasn’t MY cabinet.  Sigh.

Many, many, many Home Goods trips with Houston and my frequent furniture stalking in Ross and Marshalls still didn’t produce my lovely cabinet.

Has anyone ever been to Tai Pan Trading in Rancho Cucamonga???  It is so affordable and they have the cutest setups for each holiday.  The first time I ever went was with Houston around Christmas and I could have walked through the beautifully decorated trees and tables for hours – I think we did actually spend a few hours there, now that I think of it.  *another Tai Pan Trading find were these AMAZING polka dotted plates- EEEK!

Ok, ok… so here is what happened two weeks ago:

Houston had told his mom, Ruby, about Tai Pan and we stopped by on a Saturday just to look around.  And there, in the verrrrry front corner of the store, away from all the pretties, with the sun shining in the main window was this cabinet.  Gasp!  It was even the same sage-y color as my living room!!!  Of course I didn’t have my measuring tape in my purse (I had stopped carrying it after last September) and the price tag made me want to cry.  Brittany’s wedding is in seven weeks, and I just couldn’t bring myself to buy it for $250 - sound familiar?  I have a serious issue purchasing things at full price.  So I left it at the store.  So SAD.

On a whim, I signed up for Tai Pan’s mailing list, I thought eventually they may have a furniture sale or something.  Imagine my delight when I received a coupon two days later for $25 off every $100.  Whooo hoooo! I saved myself $50 by waiting one week to buy my beloved cabinet.

My darling boyfriend let me borrow his truck and biceps to get it home (seriously, I am so sorry to everyone who has helped me move things in and out of my third floor apartment over the years)!!! 

Isn’t it pretty???  I love that the feet are scrolly in the front and the back (unlike the Home Goods cabinet with the ugly back legs), the height is perfect and there are two drawers for silver and napkins!!!  Napkins!!! I never even thought I would have that storage too!!!  I am so happy to finally have a place to keep my pretty Christmas dishes, and the chargers even fit inside too!!!

This was sooooo worth the wait.

* Thinking of refinishing the top with a darker satin and (maybe) decorating the sides with this idea I saw on Pinterest (spray painting over lace). Thoughts?

Thursday, January 17, 2013


There.  I admit it.  I have a problem, and that problem is that I LOVE cake stands!!!  -Yes, I am doing a blog post on cake stands… yikes, somebody stage an intervention – FAST!!!

I have always loved cake stands.  They are vintage-y , tragically girly and just plain adorable!  Pair that with my (also un-healthy) obsession with Pinterest and you have a potion for dozen of creative uses; other than holding yummy cakes, of course.

I received my first cake stand from one of my besties, Leah, last Christmas.  We had been shopping at Marshalls and *gasp* I saw “it”.  A darling cake stand with cut outs to thread ribbon through; granted, the ribbon on it in the store was AWFUL, but even that couldn’t disguise the beautiful porcelain!  It had a ruffled bottom on the stand and I instantly fell in love.  I picked it up, held it, and then put it back on the shelf.  *groan* It was only $15, but I was determined to pay off my last credit card with a balance, and every penny helped.  Well, Leah went back and bought that beautiful cake stand, replaced the dreadful ribbon with a beautiful eggplant purple one and surprised me for Christmas!  Now for the part that still makes my stomach sick… one week later, I watched it slip off my kitchen counter and smash into a million pieces.  I was distraught… yes, I know it is a “just” a cake stand, but it was the thought, money and love that Leah put into it that meant so much to me.  I called my mom and cried and then called Houston (whom I had only known for a couple weeks) and bawled my eyes out.  I begged the employees at Marshalls to call me if they received anything similar and I saved the gorgeous ribbon.

Cake Stand number two was a labor of love and hours of internet scouring.  After I called Houston and made an absolute fool of myself crying about a cake stand, he searched high and low for a replacement for me.  The cake stand he found is IDENTICAL to my Leah’s stand.  He had them even put in a polka dotted ribbon and I could not thank him enough!  He is just awesome like that.  It sits on my kitchen table – away from any ledges!

On my birthday, my Mom gave me cake stand number three.  It is a square with detailed edges!   It is different and pretty and I leave it on my kitchen counter – generally it has a loaf of bread or a bag of lemons on it!  Perfect for keeping things “off” the counter.

I have a WONDERFUL boss.  Her name is April, and she has the memory of Fort Knox.   She gifted me with a cake stand this Christmas, because she remembered that I had broken one last year (yes, I told EVERYONE my sad, sad story) and she tried to find something like what I had described.  Gold star April! 

Natalee also gave me cake stands numbers four and five this Christmas – probably because I was so envious when she got some last year!  They are dainty and so sweet looking!  I love that I can stack them to display yummy snacks or use them separately.  I am contemplating using the smaller one in my bathroom – a Pinterest idea, but I haven’t yet decided. 

What a quirky thing for me to collect, since I don’t do a lot of hosting, but I adore them!  Hopefully when I have a home and not a 600 square foot apartment, I can host some parties and incorporate my collection into the mix!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Custom Photo Stationary

What to do for the bride who loves lists and is FREAKING OUT!!!  ??? !!!  *side note to the gentlemen of the world:  short engagements are suicide missions for planners like us!

Make her a binder!  Even better: make her a binder with custom photo stationary.  I saw a tutorial on Pinterest for making photo stationary on plain ruled paper and freaked out because it was such an awesome idea!  *  Try as I might, I can NOT find the original Pinterest article to add the link - bummer.  
4/26/13 - I found it!!!  Click {here}

Here is what I did:

Opened a Word document
Click photo – find the image on your computer and select to add to the document.  Then resize to fit the page by dragging the corners.
*I found it helpful to zoom out on the document so I could see the whole thing at one time.  Zoom is on the bottom right of your screen in Office 2010.
Right click on the photo and select: "Format Picture" at the bottom of the list.  
Glow and Soft Edges: Adjust to your liking.
Picture Color: Click the drop down box under Recolor, Presets, and select the transparency level and color you like the best.  - You can adjust the transparency manually, but this is faster!  :0)  (I printed a ton of test pages to get the image just right.)

Then the hardest part: print a BILLION test copies and adjust the photo to make sure that the little blue lines don’t go straight through the bride’s eyes!  It took a while, but I made it perfect… thankyouverymuch!!!

I got a cute binder, tabbed dividers, plastic page protectors and filled the binder with Brittany and Jonathan stationary!!!  Perfect for jotting down notes, tearing out magazine pages and keeping track of receipts! The finishing touch? - A PINK pen, of course!

Brittany loved it, and I hope it eliminates some stress for wedding planning... even if it is only a little bit.  <3

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Modpodge Photo Frame

Whoo wheeee!!!  Did I drop the ball in December, or what???!!???

It seems as I get older that time is FLYING!  Christmas has come and gone, and I never even baked a batch of cookies… and now that I think of it, I didn’t take my normal Christmas cookies to the fire department.  

Oh well.

So what is to blame for this time flying by??? Well, my boyfriend Houston thinks he is the culprit, and he is probably right.  I have been MAJORLY slacking when it comes to my chores, craft projects and just about everything else that doesn’t include him.  Now, he is not to blame… no, no, no. I am the one who wants to spend almost every free second together. – He is so great, he will even go couponing with me at Target (winner!)

So the dilemma:  what to buy the guy who wants for nothing, has everything and insists that time together is the only thing he wants for Christmas???  * Girlfriend freak out *  I managed to be creative and get a few quirky gifts, and made him a favorite snack, but when it came down to having something for him to really enjoy, I was stumped.  Everything I tried to coordinate either failed to happen in time for Christmas or I hated the end result.  Yes, I am even guilty of trolling on Pinterest searching for “gifts for your boyfriend” ideas. UGH.

Then I had a stroke of genius.  I would make a photo frame!  I love photography, and so does Houston; actually, he REALLY likes photos of us together.  I envisioned a black and white frame with a color photo in the middle.   

I purchased an unfinished wood frame from Michaels and used craft paint to paint the edges black.   *Forgive me for also slacking on the "in process" photos.  

I printed black and white photos of us from the last 12 months and carefully arranged them around the border. *I printed on plain 'ol white paper to get the sizes right before I printed on photo paper. 

We usually take photos landscape and I had a little spot of frame that was uncovered, so I put our names and the year on the bottom right corner. – cute.  One of my favorite pictures went in the middle and, viola! 

I had originally planned on modgepodging the frame to make a smooth surface once everything was attached, but I decided to do a test on a couple of extra photos… I am sooooooo glad that I did!  I am assuming that since I printed the photos at home on my ink jet printer when I put modgepodge over it, it turned the white parts of the photos purple!!! So glad I didn’t ruin my newly finished frame!

Houston thought it was great and couldn't believe I had made it from scratch - yes, I suppose ordering one would have been easier, wouldn't it???  Merry Christmas, my man.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Four Weddings & Me on TV!

My little heart was all a flutter yesterday as I read my email... and by "a flutter" I mean I almost died!!!  A darling customer from my Etsy shop contacted me to let me know MY birdcage and MY Kusudama flowers were on TELEVISION!!! 


That’s right… Polkadottedbluejay made it to TLC’s “Four Weddings”!!!!!  -Freak out much?  You betcha!

One of my very first customers, and the FIRST to order additional flowers was a lovely lady named Cammi.  We shared MANY emails back and forth, and most of them left me laughing at her quick wit!  I had a blast folding thirty flowers out of vintage sheet music and she purchased the unique square birdcage I found one afternoon with Leah while antiquing in Redlands (mucho thanks to Leah for spotting the cage for me!) 

Cammi’s wedding “took the cake” and she won first place on the show!!! *The winner gets a super fancy honeymoon!  She had so many pretty details and it looked like a truly elegant event!  When her dad walked her down the aisle, I completely lost it!  Pair that with a string quartet and a BACON BAR, yes I said “Bacon Bar” and I am not surprised that this super creative bride won the competition! 

There are a few shots of my flowers throughout the video and Cammi was super sweet to send me the screen shot below:

You can watch the whole episode here:  

Or a short clip of Cammi here:

Congrats to Cammi and Clayton Matthews!  Thank you for letting me be a small, yet oh so fun, part of your wedding!  <3