Monday, December 3, 2012

Doodle Speakers | Christmas for HIM

Lets face it, sometimes it's a bit difficult to find that perfect gift for that fella in your life. I'm sure by now he has enough socks, he doesn't want another Christmas sweater, and another fruit cake just means more bullets for target practice. Here are some ideas for some awesome stocking stuffers!

Plug in your creativity with the first ever custom portable speaker! Doodle by OrigAudio™ is a light and durable hard-plastic speaker with a vibrantly printed fabric face cover and kickstand for easy propping. Powered by USB cable (included) to power via your computer or 2 AAA batteries (not included), the Doodle speaker has a 3.5 mm. headphone jack that is compatible with any standard music device. This fun little speaker makes it easy to take your music and your style anywhere!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Dino Lingo

(Photo © Dino Lingo)

Dino Lingo is a language learning program for kids. When I first saw this pop up as a task that I qualified for I was a little bummed. I'm not a parent and I'm over the age of 4 so this didn't seem like a big score to me. I do, however, spend a lot of time with nieces, nephews, and local children (when their parents need a break or a babysitter) so I decided to give it a shot. I pictured something along the lines of Dora the Explorer. I have nothing against Dora, but I really enjoyed these videos. I may or may not have watched 5.

The first video I watched was Dino Lingo Italian. I think Italian is a beautiful language but I picture it to be a tricky language for 2 to 7 year old to pick up. I can't think of any kid who wants to sit down for an extended period of time if they think they are JUST learning. The videos, themselves, are bright and fun. Kids aren't going to even realize that they are watching an educational film. The videos are also very easy to follow along with (though I do think the sample clips could have benefit from subtitles.) Coupled with the entire program, which includes flash cards and multiple DVDs, I believe this program could have children AND adults easily learning languages in no time.

I really enjoyed watching these and I think you and your children will both enjoy them! Ciao for now!

(This clip was viewed complimentarily through Influenster)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Very Merry Christmas

December is upon us and with that comes jolly tunes, twinkle lights, sugar cookies, presents, and CHRISTMAS CARDS! You have to admit, in a digital world receiving a holiday card via snail mail puts a smile on your face (unless you're the Grinch.) Here are some of our favorite and most popular holiday cards for 2012!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

DIY Burlap Bunting Banner

Who doesn't love those adorable bunting banners you see used at weddings and parties? If you go on Etsy you can find HUNDREDS of adorable varieties of these babies. They can run you $15-$60 on average. If you're on a budget or more interested in DIY activities, these are very easy to do (and extremely budget friendly.) If you're a crafter you are going to have 90% of this on hand. You might have to run out and pick up a spool of jute twine, but that's only going to set you back $5-$6, or stencils (unless you're super confident in your painting skills and then you can just skip that all together.)

What You Need:
- Burlap (I'm using a burlap sack)
- Scissors
- Letter Stencils
- Acrylic Paint
- Sponge Brushes
- Jute Twine
- Liquid Stitch
- Sewing Machine

Before I started I quickly ironed out my burlap sack, not perfectly but just to remove some of the huge wrinkles, and then I cut out my four triangles. To get uniform triangles for the banner I created a template triangle out of cardboard. I went back over each triangle with the iron to make sure they were all nice and flat.

Be sure to lay something down under your burlap before you start stenciling (or you'll end up with paint on whatever surface you're working on.) Use your sponge to apply a thick layer of paint in each stencil.

After my paint dried I folded each top of my triangle and ran them through the sewing machine (before this, I actually put down a bit of liquid stitch just to give me a guide.) Once you're done sewing your triangles all you have left is to feed your twine through! Now you're done!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Wedding Inspiration | Burlap & Lace

I think burlap and lace are two of the most perfect elements to combine for a wedding. Burlap easily represents your casual and rugged groom, while lace represents your soft and elegant bride.

Both are a super popular item for weddings, which means both seem to increase in price at a rapid speed. Did you know that your local feed store will have burlap sacks you can purchase for a fraction of what you pay for a couple of yards of burlap at a craft store? You can cut them up and re-purpose them for your wedding. The same goes for lace. Purchasing lace at a fabric store is just crazy. Talk to your local seamstress or even look up scrap lace on Ebay. You'll be surprised at the price differences! If I could give just one piece of advice when you're planning and purchasing for your wedding, it would be: SHOP AROUND! If you found it for one price, chances are you're going to find it cheaper.

Here are some awesome ideas on how to incorporate burlap and lace into your wedding!

(Burlap & Lace Invitations | Burlap & Lace Table Runner)
(Burlap & Lace Bunting | Burlap & Lace Covered Bottles)
(Burlap & Lace Cake | Burlap & Lace Guestbook)
(Burlap & Lace Garter | Burlap & Lace Bouquet Wrap)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Big In Nashville: Celebrity Gifting Lounge

Earlier this year I had something amazing happen to me. I was asked to attend the 46th Annual Country Music Awards as a representative for The Artisan Group. I had months for this to sink in and yet it never seemed real, not even when I was boarding my plane (the first plane I’ve ever boarded in my life) headed towards Nashville, Tennessee. What an amazing opportunity for a small town, Louisiana, girl who grew up on Country Music. I've always thought of myself as a sort of authority on all things modern and classic country, and I would have never thought that would have paid off in any way.

Since that first day I knew, my excitement just continued to grow and grow (it's a miracle I didn't explode from excitement overdose!) I let that excitement take me over until one day, I realized that I would be talking on behalf of a group of super talented, and sometimes a little scary, artists (yes, as much as I love them all, some of them can get a little…testy.) That's big, that's intimidating (even more intimidating than looking into Blake Shelton's face!) Holding the fate of my business in the palm of my hands is one thing, being responsible for someone else's seemed like an entirely different league. I had to take a major breather and remind myself that it's been a long time passion of mine to promote products that I believe in, I could do this (and thankfully I could talk to a fence post about anything.) I also took major comfort in the fact that Valerie is a seasoned pro at these events and I would be under her tutelage!

Setting up for the lounge was stressful, which had nothing to do with nerves or jitters and more to do with what we were given. Thankfully I brought my fiancĂ© (mostly to give him a vacation while we worked) and he was our savior. There’s no way Val and myself could have gotten what we needed done, in the time frame, without him. Anyone else would have hindered us, but thankfully he’s who he is and can do the impossible in every situation you put him in (he would also come to our rescue for the IMPOSSIBLE break down time we were given.) Set-up day was good, once we got over the “how will we get this done” part. After we set up it gave us an opportunity to check out the other awesome vendors!

The first day of the lounge I was NERVOUS! It’s so official when you’re BACKSTAGE, walking by rooms labeled “dressing room” “press room” “talent room” and then walking past THE STAGE, the stage where the country music stars are going to sing, dance, present, and accept awards. That’s a little intimidating! We got in the room, got everything together, and we played the waiting game. I was so scared the butterflies in my stomach were going to take over and suffocate me! The first person I talked to, who wasn't press or an executive, was BRANTLEY GILBERT. When he walked in the door I saw him and I went…maybe a bit too loud, “HOLY SHIT, THAT’S BRANTLEY GILBERT!” None of the vendors knew who he was so I was giving the pocket edition biography on Brantley Gilbert. When he got to us, I just knew I had to be the one to do this. I knew him, I loved his music, I could do this. I got so lucky because he's the gentleman you expect him to be. I felt like I was talking to a friend I'd known my entire life. From there on out if just came natural. I knew what I had to do, I had come up with my elevator sales pitch for the group, and I didn't feel another ounce of jitters, not even when Blake Shelton came through (and let me just say, if you think he's good looking on tv, this man is way too handsome for his own good in real life. It's a wonder his gorgeous wife doesn't just lock him away!) It was an amazing experience to get the opportunity to promote products that are handmade by talented people to a group of some of the most talented country artists ever! I really hope they each appreciate those items as much as I do! It's hard to look in one of The Artisan Group's bags and not be blown away by the craftsmanship and time that goes into them. I really couldn't mess this up because the members gave me all the tools I needed to work with!

Some of my highlights were:
- Meeting Lisa Marie Presley! She's so petite, and absolutely beautiful. She really liked the Red Pop Daisy Wristlet MadiBella gifted at the event!
- Talking to Blake Shelton. I've been a huge fan of his since I was really young! I love seeing the success he has today. Blake actually took my Rustic Keep Calm Doodle Speaker home with him! I hope he gets a lot of enjoyment out of it!
- Seeing what fans of handmade products the members of Zac Brown Band are. You see them and you really hope they are as down to Earth as they come off as, and I really think they are! Daniel de los Reyes really loved a copper cuff by Willow Creek Jewelry!
- Kelly Clarkson was an amazing presence at the lounge! Her energy was infectious and I don't think there was one person present that didn't feel it! She really enjoyed a gorgeous watercolor painting by Jody Edwards!
You can check out more of my personal pictures from the event at my Instagram, as well as official event photographs on Facebook!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mason Jar Wedding Invitations

If you're anything like me (and the Pinterest masses) you are all about the mason jars, and who can blame you? Functional, inexpensive, and they are timeless! No, seriously! They are! Just ask your grandma!

With so many ways to incorporate mason jars into your wedding, why not display them proudly on your wedding stationery?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fancy Feature | pinkEpromise

I've been fortunate enough to work with my close friend Stephanie at Sprout Web Designs on a few really great projects. One of my favorites being the pinkEpromise website. What is pinkEpromise? It's a daily deals site, but not just your ordinary daily deals site. 5% of every sale goes to a breast cancer foundation! The foundation that pinkEpromise was built on is that they save YOU money and YOU help save breast cancer patients. pinkEpromise was developed as a way to raise awareness and money for a special breast cancer foundation that directly helps patient healing with spiritual, mental, physical and emotional guidance while they receive their medical care.

Be sure to sign up for the pinkEpromise daily deals newsletter! You can also find them on Facebook.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Small Business Talk | Lucky Charms

I recently saw someone make the remark that "small businesses just don't work and the ones that do just got LUCKY." Lucky? Luck? Granted I've only been a small business owner for 3 years at this point, but I don't remember being handed any lucky tokens or golden tickets. Willie must have forgotten about me that day. What I do remember about this entire process is a lot of work. I've seen plenty of people start businesses around the same time as I started Fancy Designs and I've seen a pattern. Lack of follow through. People expect to see immediate results and it just doesn't work like that. It's like when you're trying to lose those last 5 lbs. They don't just come off the day you decide to lose them. It takes a lot of work. A LOT OF WORK! If you start a business because you expect to see immediate results, you're living in a fantasy world. Sometimes that happens, but it's just not a realistic way to look at it. You can't expect to take shortcuts, you can't expect to have the same outcome someone else has had, you just have to do your own work, put in the time, and wait patiently.

I'm a contributor for IAWEO and one of the recent topics was "Why did you start your small business?" I started my business to bring a service to people that I didn't think they necessarily were receiving with varying budgets. Atleast that's what I like to tell myself. The day that I jumped head first into launching my business was when I realized that none of the people I expected to be supportive of my goal believed in me. I never once heard, "This is so exciting, I hope this goes well for you." I've learned over the years that if you want to see my full potential, all you have to do is not believe in me. I enjoy proving a nay sayer wrong but more than that, I enjoy proving to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to. I think that is the exact mind frame anyone considering going into business should have.

If you're willing to work hard, believe in yourself, and work EVEN HARDER, things can happen for you. Yes, that's going to mean looking in your bank account and asking yourself if you can survive off Ramen Noodles for the month. It's going to mean staying in to work late when your friends are out having a good time. There are countless sacrifices you are going to have to make, but if it's your true dream to own a business those sacrifices won't even be remembered 2 years down the road. All you'll see is what you've created for yourself.

Friday, September 7, 2012

It's All In The Display

I can't believe that October is almost here. That means Fall is close, but more importantly it means Fancy Designs will be backstage at the 64th Annual Country Music Awards. I can barely contain my excitement, especially after taking a peak at this years nominee list. Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Lee Brice, Brantley Gilbert, Little Big Town, Zac Brown Band...OH MY! I thought long and hard about what would be the perfect item for me to display backstage and what better to display at a music awards event than a speaker? A custom speaker with distressed leather and parchment elements! What do you think?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Funny How a Melody Sounds Like a Memory

Nothing like a little Eric Church to get me into the mood for the 46th Annual Country Music Awards!

We'll have a fabulous country/western themed notecard set going into 85 celebrity swag bags as well as 35 swag bags that will be received by various members of the press. We'll also have something very special on display for celebrities to pose with (but that's for another day!) I'd like to introduce you all to the designs I've cooked up (and brought back) for this fantastic event.

Firstly, our Rustic Lace Notecards. These are very near and dear to my heart. They are modeled after the invitations I designed for our April 2013 wedding! Very light and elegant! Perfect for sending love notes to that special someone.

Our Divine Bovine collection is making a comeback for this event!

Another favorite of mine, our Rustic Parchment Notecards. I love the textures on it!

and lastly, our Western Skulls Notecards, that were inspired by my fiance, the bullrider.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Brooch Bouquet

Before I took a little break from blogging I had just began the process of having a brooch bouquet designed for my wedding. I found a terrific designer, Nicolasa Cicero. You couldn't ask to work with a better person. She was extremely professional and thorough. She made sure I knew exactly what I was getting and double checked to make sure we were on the same page. For a detail obsessed person, like myself, I couldn't have found a more perfect designer to work with!

Nicolasa kept me up to date every step of the process. From picking out the brooches for my bouquet, having the top completed, and adding the stem. My bouquet was shipped quickly and I look at it everyday, it's just gorgeous! (These pictures were taken by Nicolasa.)

Monday, July 9, 2012

46th Annual Country Music Awards

We are so excited to announce our participation in the 46th Annual Country Music Awards thanks to our association with The Artisan Group. If you've been following my blog, you may remember our participation in GBK's Emmy Awards Gift Lounge. It's a very exciting process and I cannot wait to share with you what we have in store for the country music icons backstage at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

I Didn't StUTTER

Shortly after getting the opportunity to gift one of my all-time favorites, an opportunity to gift Trista Sutter came up. Yes, Trista Sutter, from The Bachelorette (the gorgeous gal who snagged up her hunky fire fighter.)

I immediately started thinking romantic, elegant, and sweet for her design, and our Romantic Rose line was born! The design was printed on metallic champagne paper to give it an even classier quality.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

This Is No sTori

It's been a while! I'm so happy to be settling back into my blog. A big thanks goes to Sprout Web Creations for helping me get it all up and running!

In the time we've been away we've had some pretty big changes, amazing opportunities, and great news come to Fancy Designs! (All in due time!) For starters The Artisan Group had an amazing opportunity to gift, non other than one of my all-time favorite people, Donna Martin Tori Spelling! The fashion & craft icon herself.

I decided to go with a sleek chevron pattern in a kelly green tone as the theme for Tori, adding a chandelier embellishment to her note card set. We also included a matching iPhone 4 case.

Be sure to check out our Tori Collection here.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Bring On The Bling

By the second day of wedding planning I knew that I wanted two bouquets, an extremely simple lavender bouquet for the bouquet toss, and I REALLY wanted a brooch bouquet. Being on a budget, I immediately started to wonder if I'd be able to actually afford them. While gorgeous and timeless, I felt a little stingy with our wedding money dropping $700-$1200 on my bouquet. I knew I COULD DIY a version that I'd be happy with, but I just don't have the time. -insert a pouty bride here-

Then I accidentally ran across Nicolasa Cicero. I immediately fell in love with two bouquets (and then all of them.) Her bouquets are GORGEOUS and the prices are amazing! Not only that, but she's a real treat to work with. Check out these beauties!

How Pinteresting | Wedding Edition

Pinterest has to be the next best thing since Facebook and Twitter! Whether you're trying to organize your home, feed your picky children, planning a vacation, looking for a place to stash all the interesting things you find on the web, or just want to be inspired, Pinterest has something for you.

I'm newly engaged and we're in the beginning stages of planning our 2013 wedding and Pinterest has been an amazing tool for that. One place where I can put EVERYTHING together. Recently a friend suggested that I should chronicle our wedding planning, progress, and then our actual wedding through my blog, something I can look back on. At first I was a bit apprehensive because I have never found a good balance between personal and professional in my blogging world but I think it might be a good thing. My Happily Ever After board has become increasingly popular so that makes me think there have to be a lot of people out there with my taste. Why not offer tips, advice, and a little more inspiration?

We've decided to go with an outdoor/rustic/woodland theme for our wedding. Our colors are more of a neutral tone (champagne, tan, light brown) and we'll be pulling some color in with lavender and yellow craspedia. We've also decided against traditional flowers. We'll have a lot of unflower, flowers; moss, larkspur, babys breath, wheat, and cotton stalks.

(Rustic Bouquets | Bridal Buds)

(Babys Breath | Style Me Pretty)

(Craspedia | Style Me Pretty)