Sep 30, 2011

No-carve Ribbon Pumpkins

I was inspired by this picture I found on  I found some ribbon on sale at our local craft store, and gave it a whirl myself...

Sep 29, 2011

Sausage Breakfast Casserole

This recipe (modified from was really easy and EVERYONE - including little kids - loved it.  We ate it for breakfast and lunch on the same day. :)

(The picture isn't beautiful, but it's tough to make a casserole look as good as it tastes, right???)

Sep 28, 2011

Decor Items I'm Loving Lately

Just wanted to share a few items that have ended up in my "I want this decor" folder.  Super cool things that make you go, "ooooohhhhh, that would look cool in/on my __________" (you fill in the blank).

I first saw these lit circus letters in a cool boutique shop in Portland, called Manor.  I decided to search for them online to see if I could find a better price...and I did.  You can find every letter and a few other fun characters - like "&" and "@"- for sale at  They cost $179 but are huge at nearly 2 feet tall and 1.5 feet wide, adding a major statement to an indoor or outdoor room.

One of my fun new neighbors mentioned these Penguin Clothbound Classics books to me yesterday, and so I looked them up ASAP.  You can find the best assortment online at - each book costs between $11 and $14.  They have many of the great literary classics, like Jane Eyre, Little Women, Great Expectations, The Odyssey, Oliver Twist...just to name a few.  Each cloth book cover was designed by Penguin senior designer Coralie Bickford-Smith.  They look so cool on a painted bookshelf:

Not only are these books beautiful to look at, they contain wonderful literature.  Multi-purposed decor...does it get any better than that?  They'd make great gifts for teachers, bookworms, name it.

I love this Ikat Sari Pouf from Pier 1 Imports.  I bought one the other day to use as an ottoman in my baby's room, and it looks amazing in both her room and my living room so I'm a little torn on where it will end up...I guess it can share some time in both rooms, depending on where we need some extra seating.  There are poufs everywhere lately, but this is the only one I've found that incorporates so many different colors.  It also adds a bit of whimsy in a room, giving it a collected/eclectic feel.  Each pouf is unique, since they're made from scrap Indian sari fabric.

Happy decorating, today and everyday! -Kristen

Sep 27, 2011

Gifts that Give Back

There's nothing better than buying a gift that ends up blessing multiple people.  So, I decided to look for some gifts that are not only great ideas for family and friends, but also support greater causes that are helping to change the world for the better.  The first cause that I'll write about is the MD Anderson Cancer Center Children's Art Project.  The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is one of the premier cancer centers in the world, offering state of the art research, education, and care for those battling cancer.  These great gifts are inspired by the artwork of kids who are fighting cancer and the proceeds help fund awesome programs that make their world a little brighter in the midst of their daily battles against cancer.

This "Groovy Hearts" plate - only $28 - is such a fun platter to serve on all year round.  I own one myself and it makes me smile every time I use it.

Sep 26, 2011

Bold Kitchen Update for Less Than $1,000

I was enjoying some time on the Better Homes and Gardens website the other day and came across this great kitchen re-do that cost less than $1,000.  Notice, that the changes were purely cosmetic - no appliances, layout, or structure were changed.

Here is the "before" - looks like a plain builder-grade kitchen (with a missing cabinet door...).  It's just begging for some color!

And, here is the "after" - one weekend, lots of elbow grease, and tons of inspiration:

Sep 25, 2011

Apple Crisp

We went apple picking last weekend - and as can be assumed, we came home with a lot of apples.  More apples than we could eat, so we decided to search for some good recipes that would help us fully appreciate our apple harvest.  Our super sweet new neighbors were coming over for dinner, so we hoped to impress them despite our somewhat-lacking culinary skills...and this Apple Crisp recipe from was a hit!

Sep 24, 2011

Pom Pom Wreath

It's not time for Christmas decorating yet....but this was an easy wreath project that can be displayed all year round.  I call it the pom pom wreath (or Popple wreath, for those of you who grew up in the '80s like me)...

Sep 23, 2011

Color Punch

Designers often recommend that you keep furniture (and even wall colors) neutral in order to provide multiple color scheme options and keep your space from ever looking dated.  This allows you to add color to your room through inexpensive accents that can be changed on a whim.  While neutral beiges, grays, and whites can be tranquil and beautiful on their own, color can really liven up a space and help camouflage those imperfections from kids, pets, parties, etc.  Here are some great examples of color infusion in neutral spaces from (they have even more pics posted there).

From a neutral living space:

To a colorful living space that draws your eye (and you) in:

Notice, the main furniture all remained the same.  The changes came in the accent pieces - lamps, pillows, curtains, art, side tables, throws, etc.  Not all accents need to be colored...notice the great wooden side table that provides the perfect touch of texture among all the brightly colored items.

From a crisp neutral dining room:

To a dining room filled with color and pizzazz:

It's great to select a key accent color (here it's green) and play with different shades within the same color family.  Then select another complementary color (here it's bright pink) and infuse it in just a few spots for an extra dose of color and fun.

From plain-jane bedroom:

To a bright and lively space:

Notice, all of these rooms contain art that could easily be a DIY project.  Just buy a few art canvases at a craft store and select some paint colors that show up in your fabrics and accents.  Cover the canvas with a simple design like a single stripe or a repetitive shape, or even paint the entire canvas one color, then hang.  An easy and inexpensive punch of color - and people will ask where you bought your art!

The best part about these accent pieces is that they can easily be changed out for a different color scheme.  Perhaps you want to infuse some deeper jewel tones for Fall and Winter...stow the red, orange, and green accents and add some pieces in plum, raspberry, and goldenrod hues instead. -Kristen

Sep 22, 2011

Gift Ideas Under $35

Sometimes it's really tough to think of good gifts for people, so this year I've been making a list as I came across some good gift ideas, in hopes that I wouldn't be stumped when it came time for Christmas shopping.  Here are a few thoughtful and practical gift ideas, as the holiday season quickly approaches:

Trader Joe's Spa Lavender Hand & Body Lotion - only $5 in store.  This stuff smells amazing - a combo of lavender, citrus, and sunflower - and comes in a beautiful bottle that resembles sea-glass.  There is an entire line of products, so purchase a few and present them in a cool container.

This is a great magazine for anyone of any age - only $12 for an annual subscription on  It contains great pictures and travel tips to inspire vacations both near and far.  It also contains advice on the cheapest way to travel to certain locales - i.e. best time of year, mode of transportation, etc.

There's nothing a little spray paint won't fix...

If you're like me, your style changes a bit over time or sometimes you just get bored with a certain decorating item so you want to revive it a bit.  Spray paint has become my go-to fix for many items that I need to freshen up to fit my new tastes.  For example, I bought this (rather large) metal rooster over 6 years ago and he's been with me through 5 moves and has found his place in every kitchen until now.  He's been banished to the living room and he's looking a little too shabby chic for me lately...

Shabby Apple

I happened upon the most exquisite online boutique when I was blog-hopping the other day - Shabby Apple.  They have such beautiful things at a rather affordable price point, with most accessories under $50 and most dresses and skirts under $100.  Answer a few questions in their Fit to Flatter application and they direct you to the most figure-flattering attire for your body type.

Since it's still relatively warm for many of the long-awaited Fall fashion trends, here are a few of my favorite transitional items that will take you from Summer to Fall:

This beautiful cherry silk dress would look great with bare legs and platform sandals or tights and a cardigan for a cooler day.  Add a belt around the waist, or a scarf like the model above, to dress it up a bit.

Hot Air Balloon Ride

This is a must-do adventure you've got to take if given the opportunity!  (Disclaimer: It's not for those of you who are terrified of heights...unless you really want a personal challenge)  I consider myself to be pretty bold when it comes to trying new things, so when my husband surprised me with the notion of doing a hot air balloon ride with Adventures Out West in Colorado Springs, Colorado I was totally up for it.  I honestly thought that it might be a little lame compared to jumping out of an airplane or even flying an airplane, both of which I've been blessed with the opportunity of doing.  Boy, was I wrong - it was so much more thrilling than I ever would have thought!

Here is a picture of the basket on its side as the crew set up for the flight:

Photos of us before take-off, while they were blowing the hot air into the balloon:

Once you're high in the air, it's almost like an out of body experience as you lean over the basket and look down at the world growing smaller and more distant.  It's very quiet, peaceful, and warm in the basket...not windy and cold like you'd imagine it to be.

It's crazy being in an open container so high above the ground.  Even though you're not tethered in, it's completely safe because the basket comes up rather high around you and is split into multiple sections so you feel contained.  It's quite the liberating adventure - to be up so high and watch the sun rise.  Now, if only you could bungee jump from a hot air balloon...maybe another adventure, another time. -Kristen

Sep 20, 2011

Framed Photo Letter Montage

I've seen photo letters, or pictures taken of everyday objects that resemble alphabet letters, all over the place - in gift shops, decorating stores, online, you name it.  When you buy them from stores, it can be quite pricey to put a framed word together, especially if you have a long word you want to spell out.

We decided to do our own photo letter montage of our last name - Hobbs - with pictures from different places we were planning to travel to.  You must plan to do this in advance because you have to keep your eyes open for "letter opportunities" wherever you go.

Maple Glazed Chicken

This was a super yummy chicken recipe that my husband found on  It was very quick and did not require many ingredients, which is always a good thing for us!

1 lb fresh (not frozen) chicken tenders
2 tsp steak seasoning (we used Montreal Steak flavored Grillmates)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup maple syrup

Herringbone Pattern

I've always loved herringbone pattern - whether it's in fashion, furniture, flooring, etc. - it's one of those great classic design patterns that never goes out of style.  When my husband and I took a trip to New York City a few years ago, we visited the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.  I was so inspired by the beautiful herringbone tiled ceiling that spans the original immigrant processing area.  I would love to have a backsplash in a kitchen or flooring in a bathroom that looks like this!

A few days ago, I was browsing through one of my favorite blogs design*sponge and happened upon a before and after posting of the most gorgeous herringbone wood dining table handmade by Sarah Summers and her father.  I highly encourage you to check out the full posting.  Here are a few pics from the post that I stowed away in my inspiration file:

Isn't it beautiful???  The table looks like an expensive work of art!  I may try to do a similar smaller-scale side table for my living room based on this inspiration piece... -Kristen
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