12.27.2014

#myheartbelongstooxford

what an amazing ride this holiday season has been for my little etsy store! i can't even describe how wonderful it has been....and how much true love i have felt for my work + what i do! this will be the first of two special posts about two very special (surprise!) projects that i was asked to do for re-nest fans' loved ones for the holidays! to say that i was honored is an understatement!

the first up...a dear friend of mine (and huge re-nest supporter!) asked me a bit ago to do a custom framed print for her husband, who is a massive fan of ole miss (that would the university of mississippi to those of us not familiar!) not only is he a massive fan, but he's also an alumni, which i think is totally cool! so, we got to work....

one of the designs we reviewed together!
my dear friend mentioned to me that she'd like the piece to read "my heart belongs to oxford" and of course, be in the school colors of red and dark blue with a dark brown frame to match their decor. no problem...i got to work putting together several layouts of ways we could go. everything included a cutout of the state of mississippi and different ways we could orient the text and colors we could use. so much fun! 

we settled on a layout, and i got to work and finished up with what i think is a really lovely looking (and masculine) piece for this very special ole miss fan! and, the best part is that he loved it when he opened it on christmas! how special is that?!?!

the finished piece!

12.19.2014

re-nest studio goes boutique (and, why i heart social media!)

if mr. re-nest read that title, he would laugh his butt off. no joke. he and i have an ongoing debate over social media....the time spent on it, its worth, how it changes relationships....it's a healthy debate (he's anti-social media as the world's last facebook holdout) that i don't think will ever end. my side of things? well, i'm in marketing. i believe in social media. i believe in it's ability to create connections, to help build brands, to help inform people, to help develop relationships. and for re-nest, social media is my way to get the word out to all y'all about what i'm doing, where i'm going and to share with you. so, yeah, i love it.

and, there was no better day that proved the very power of social media than the day of the st. mary's 2nd annual holiday shopping event here in sycamore, illinois. i had a booth there and while the event was going on, a lovely woman came up to me and said "oh my goodness, i was looking for you! i saw your work shared on another friend of mine's facebook page, and i just had to come see you in person!" first off: mind blown. we had an amazing conversation, and turns out, she is one of the owners of an adorable boutique in downtown sycamore. by the time our conversation was over, names + phone numbers had been exchanged, and she wanted to talk more about giving me the chance to have my work in their store! again: mind blown.

fast forward a couple of weeks and here we are to today. officially, as of today, i am so unbelieveably excited and honored and over-the-moon to share that several of my re-nest studio pieces are being featured at SIS - Shop In Style in downtown sycamore, illinois! this year has just been so incredible, and to have this happen to finish off the year is totally the icing on the cake!


so to start things off in my display, i'm going to share a couple of my very faves from the re-nest shop! all available for custom order, of course! if you happen to be around my area of town, please stop in to SIS, say hello, check out the amazing clothing + accessories and my little display in the window. we all love you for it!




12.08.2014

a southern chic engagement soiree!

long time, no see, blog fans! life has been a-happenin' over in these parts, and i just have been working to keep up! but, this weekend wrapped up one of the last big events of the year for me, and i just had to share all of the goodness with y'all! 

welcome to the ins-and-outs of the engagement soiree that i've been planning. which happened to be for my sister + her awesome fiance! 

so, what did we do? well, thinking about my sister + what she loves, and of course, talking to her about what her fiance likes too, we came down to a theme we called "southern chic." (feel free to see ideas i pulled together here on my pinterest boards!) i had this vision in my head of burlap, natural elements like branches, and of course, ball jars. and, admittedly, i had a couple of projects on my wish list that i have been waiting to make (can you say a fabric banner?!?)

let's just jump right in to the pics + details, shall we?

welcoming our guests! a simple tulle wrapped wreath
with a twine-wrapped "c"
(for the happy couple's soon-to-be last name!)
accenting the front porch with some lighted ball jars!
a fresh eucalyptus wreath + handmade fabric banner
in the entryway
the paper love banner
the beverage + dessert station!
to us, a "southern chic" party called for some really
fantastic personalized koozies! these were custom
made from rookdesignco on etsy!
who doesn't love a huge monogram on a beverage bucket?
monogram love!
there is nothing i love more than these ball jars, which were
perfect to enjoy the rudolph's tipsy spritzer from southern living magazine!
sent with love from london! aren't these shortbread cookies from
sweet dream desserts & catering so cute?
the adorable bride-to-be enjoying her cocktail!
and, to wrap up....another delicious cookie for guests! a special thanks to
polka dot bakery for these fantastic sweets!

hope you enjoyed! we sure had a fabulous time + loved every minute of the party! 

source list:

rudolph's tipsy spritzer: southern living magazine

beverage supply/planning/coordination: lundeen's liquors. i can't say enough about lundeen's...what i know about liquor, i can fit on one pinky finger. i found the recipe, and called my friends at lundeen's here in sycamore and they took care of it all....they figured out how much i needed, what i needed, put it together and all i had to do was stop by and pick it all up. if you are local to northern illnois, please give lundeen's your support! they are amazing!

initial cookies: sweet dream desserts & catering, sycamore, illinois

snowflake cookies: polka dot bakery, sycamore, illinois

personalized monogram koozies: rookdesignco on etsy. again, amazing to work with!

11.02.2014

halloween 2014 (or, known as "when mama tried the impossible and was left with 6 lbs of oats")

here it is friends. the post that i've been waiting thirty days to write. the one where i unveil little mr. re-nest #1 and #2's halloween costumes. note: in six years of halloweens, i have never attempted to make a costume. much less two in one year. but this year, the gauntlet was thrown down by little mr. re-nest #1, and then it was thrown down again once mr. re-nest and i found the pattern to make little mr. re-nest #1's halloween dreams come true.

i'm going to stop right here and throw major props to the etsy artisian/lego extraordinaire brackdaddy. he is the one that developed this lego costume pattern and decided to be nice enough to put it together in a pretty pdf and sell it on etsy. to him, i am forever indebted. if you're curious, please visit his etsy shop here. he's an engineering genius.

so, yeah. about three weeks ago, i decided it was time to buckle down on this whole "mama's gonna make the halloween costumes this year" thing, and i went shopping. i was starting with little mr. re-nest #2's costume. i sketched it, and it seemed simple. it wasn't too bad. i think i managed to finish it in about three hours once i started it. that at least gave me the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction i needed to dive head first into a five-year-old sized version of this...
life-size lego figurine costume. design, pattern + image from brackdaddydesigns.
i did what any person would do. first, freak out a little. second, read the instructions. one.page.at.a.time. fortunately, brackdaddy had the forethought that there would be lots of parents attempting this (probably three days before halloween) and put the easy stuff up front. the legs. then the body. then the waist. the arms. and finally, the piece de resistance (no pun intended): the lego head, in all its bright yellow glory. 

the steps were many and the glory was great....i can't tell you how amazing it feels to have made this little dream come true for my little man. what do you think?


everything is awesome!

the piece of resistence!

the giant emmet with the tiny emmet figurine
a couple of questions we've been getting about the costume:

1. what's it made out of? surprisingly, camping mats. three of them. so the material is super lightweight. and lots and lots of hot glue.

2. what kind of paint did you use? krylon spray paint. 

3. how did you make the hair? i'm pleading ignorance here, and proclaiming total envy to mr. re-nest and his abilities. i had the head all completed, and mr. re-nest sat down with it, made a pattern for the hair, and went to town with a hot glue gun. and, yes it's removable. 

4. can little mr. re-nest #1 see out of the mask? yep! based on where the costume hit him, he actually was able to see out of emmet's mouth. 

oh, and p.s. i do honestly now have about six pounds of quick cooking oats in my kitchen from this project. if you attempt this costume (or any other that requires the purchase of multiple cans of quick cooking oats), here's a great muffin recipe that you can use to use up some of those oats!


10.16.2014

where in the world i've been (or, when did fall become such madness?)

yes, that's right. this must be some sort of rite of passage for when your child enters kindergarten or something. but this fall has been insane in the membrane. (so cheesy, i know). every single week, i've had "write blog post" on my list of creative endeavors and has it happened? nope. want to know why? well, because mostly i feel like i've started a lot of stuff and nothing has really gotten finished. (see, i'm baring my soul to you all right now!) but there is fun stuff going on in the studio, at the kitchen table, and at little mr. re-nest #1's school, and well, i just thought i'd share where in the world i've been...

- fundraiser/special events co-coordinator wannabe. for the longest time, i had this dream of being active in my kids' school. and with the amazing turn of events this year, i am able to do that. so what did me + two other mamas do? we decided to organize a holiday shopping event for our local friends + neighbors where local artisans and vendors can come, set up, share, and shoppers can come and cross some items off of their holiday lists! the past several weeks have been planning, organizing, writing, planning some more, reaching out to friends, collecting checks, planning some more, making more lists, getting the word out there, and generally, the three of us working really, really hard to make this event something special. (you see, we have some big shoes to fill....last year's event of the same name was put on by a great friend, who has since moved to another state.) it's coming together quite nicely, and if you're in the northern illinois/sycamore/dekalb/west suburbs area of chicago, come see us on november 22. you know you want to!
the work-in-progress "kragle" costume!

- halloween costume sketch artist/designer/assembler. oh. yeah. i mentioned in an earlier facebook post that little mr. re-nest #1 proclaimed a while back that he had to be emmet from "the lego movie" this year for halloween. i thought, "how hard could this be? i mean, that movie was a HIT." there is not an emmet costume to be found. no joke. oh, and along with this, he decided to dictate that his younger brother would be the "kragle" from the movie. "sure, kids, let mommy just work on this a bit, and i'll get back to you." enter in my sketch for the "kragle"...thankfully as of today, this costume is finished (and don't worry...there will be a blog post on this!). now, i'm on to emmet. and let me just say this: i'm praying that this project will not be an epic fail. (there. i said it.) i found a fantastic shop on etsy where a very talented gentleman actually figured out a way to make a kid-size lego costume...squared off and everything. i paid my $10 for the 50-page guide (yes, 50 pages) and off to wal-mart i went to gather the supplies. so far, so good. i'll let you know how much more madness i get into this weekend. (i'm seriously scared of this being a total fail.)
don't you love this fabric?

- ikea poang chair cover/re upholsterer wannabe. yep, i found this amazing pattern, like five weeks ago, over on just the bees knees. i bought the fabric and all of the supplies, and how far have i gotten? the fabric has been washed. that's it. in my defense, the fabric has taken up permanent residence on our upstairs balcony to make sure it doesn't get wrinkled anymore...i'm thinking that maybe after the whole halloween costume thing is finished, i can get back to this little sewing project!

- ...and, if just those things aren't enough, i got totally sucked into the michael's yarn section this weekend, where i found some gorgeous heather grey wool...and i bought six skeins. because of course, i need to attempt to knit a blanket. for our new couch in the family room. (that's another story, for another day!)

so, yeah. that's what's going on around these parts. and i promise as i get these projects finished, they will be up here on the blog (i promise!)

what about you? what do you have going on this fall?

9.24.2014

love for #olemiss

a long, long, long time ago, i was a young college freshman, and you know what my favorite part of going to college was? decorating my dorm room. decorating my sorority house room. decorating my summer apartment before senior year. see a trend here?

the circle monogram with burlap
this year, i started the college spaces section of the re-nest studio etsy shop, mostly because i love what's out there now for college decor. bright colors. stripes. chevron. monograms. textures. i love all of it. 

love for mississippi. and, big love for ole miss + oxford!
this week, i had the pleasure of delivering a very special set of custom decor for a young girl's apartment at ole miss. after meeting with her mom several weeks ago, we talked about two different pieces: the favorite state throw pillow cover + the circle chevron framed monogram, but we needed to make it custom to her decor. so, we changed up the fabrics for both to burlap which is so very much trending with home decor right now.

i love making pieces totally custom to decor and this is no exception! hope you like these two new versions of two of the shop's favorite pieces!

9.23.2014

a little creative in the kitchen

alright, so we all eat, right? and i'm willing to bet there isn't one person reading this who hasn't gotten totally bored with cooking the same things over and over. and, who felt the need to break out of the rut. well, for me, that was the case. along with the fact that i just wasn't cooking that much. so a couple of weeks ago i gave myself a little kick in the pants.

a quick back story: i'm a healthy eating nut. well, most of the time. i don't do fried anything. i don't do butter. i don't do cream. i do love chocolate. i believe cake is a food group. and i have a long-standing love/hate relationship with diet coke. but for the most part, i'm good. and i'm proud to say that as a mama, i have successfully helped cultivate these habits into my boys. almost a year ago, i embarked on a journey to lose the rest of the baby weight from little mr. re-nest #2, and as part of that, i have ventured into the world of clean eating (most of the time), buying organic (when i can and when the budget allows), and (gasp!) cooking more often. it's been a transition...not one that i (we) made overnight, but one that has happened naturally and i think it's turned out pretty well. (note: mr. re-nest is a total gem when it comes to this...we've been together forever and he's all about healthy eating. well, except for his candy vice.)

as part of this natural process into becoming a kitchen maven, i started meal planning. as in, i sit down and plan out two weeks worth of dinners at a time. (i do two main grocery trips per month...and if we run out of something, i'll run and get it, but mostly, it's the two trips per month. and two times a month, we get an organic produce delivery to our house, which is another totally new and awesome thing that i never would have done.) 
the meal plan. yes, friday, 9/19 says "hot dogs."
that was all for the boys who were home solo. :)


okay, so i want to stop and talk about meal planning for a moment. because it has changed.my.life. i'm not kidding at all when i say this. not one bit. and maybe i'm late to the meal planning game and everyone reading this has been doing it for years, but it has changed so much in our little corner of the world. before this, at 5:00pm, i was panicking about what i was going to make for dinner. that would lead to me standing in front of an open fridge, freaking out more, and then settling on picking up chipotle. and i was cranky about it. now, i always keep my notebook with me, and when i can, i check out recipes on my phone, and just plan out the two weeks when i can. then, when it's time to shop, i note what i need (notice i said what i need), and that's what is bought. pre-meal planning, i had a grocery list that i would print out every time i went shopping, and it had everything on it that were our staples. and i would buy what we needed, but without any plan as to what i was going to do with it. and you know what that meant? lots of wasted money and food that was never eaten. no joke, i've been meal planning now for about six weeks, and by only buying what we are planning on actually eating in that two weeks, our grocery bill has easily been cut in almost half. 

now that i've campaigned for meal planning, let's talk about some of the amazing new recipes i've been trying (which my family has given the gold seal of approval!). many of these i've come across through clean eating websites which i've found through simple google searches or friends of mine that are on the clean eating bandwagon. two of my very favorite sites? skinnytaste.com and committed to get fit, over on blogspot.com.

crock pot sesame honey chicken...this is a total new favorite, and one that both my husband
crock pot sesame honey chicken!
+ kids LOVED. i put it together in the crock pot in the morning, and when we came home from work/school, all i had to do was put rice in the rice cooker, and thirty minutes later, we were eating!


turbofire chili....don't be afraid of the name, because the spice in this is low. the one thing i will say that the recipe calls for that i left out was tomato paste. tomato paste is not something i use at all anymore. if a recipe calls for it, i just up the amount of tomatoes that are called for. tomato paste = not good. (just trust me on this one.)

garlic sweet potato mash....yummmm! sweet potatoes are a superfood, and i am always trying to get my boys (all three of them!) to eat more superfoods. this does it. easy. sweet. very, very good.

skinny garlic parmesan fries....i just made these this past weekend, and i'm so glad i got tired of cutting the potatoes, because i probably would have eaten the entire batch by myself if i'd kept cutting up the 'taters.

hopefully i've inspired you a bit (or just made you hungry!) honestly, i was so skeptical about the whole meal planning thing, but it has been the greatest thing i have done around our house in a long time. so, grab a notebook, or a piece of paper, or your notes section on your smartphone, and start planning! enjoy!




9.04.2014

it's official: "frozen" party goodness!

to say that i have been anxiously awaiting this day for a month would be an understatement! that's right, friends, there is more party goodness coming to the party shop on the re-nest store! and, i have a wonderful indiana connection to thank for the inspiration and the reason to launch this new offering! (note: i love social media. love it. it's one of the reasons i have been able to do so many great, custom projects this year. i have had so many friends from long ago, reach out to me and ask me to create handmade greatness for them this year. i have them to thank for thinking of me first, and i have social media to thank for keeping me in front of them. so, facebook, while i sometimes want to quit you, i can't. i digress.)

so, let's talk about how this goodness came about, shall we? a friend of mine from long ago (okay, we know each other from the cole academy days, and i used to babysit her siblings from time to time) - we connected through facebook, and started talking about her daughter's upcoming fourth birthday party. like many little girls, the theme was set..."frozen," of course! one day, i was cruising through pinterest (another fave of mine!) and i was looking for some "frozen" themed inspiration. i had just finished up the new tulle princess wand, and i saw something similar, except with a snowflake on the wand! i sent this mama a picture, and the rest is history! i made up a mock-up of our version of the snowflake/glitter/ribbon wand, and she loved it...so, i started a wand-making operation in the studio!

we settled on twelve wands for the party, and i got to work. lots of ribbon + snowflakes + glitter later, and we had a dozen adorable snowflake wands, ready to make a special party in indiana complete! 




but we couldn't stop there! remember how last week, i mentioned on the facebook page that adding some keepsake canvas decor to a party makes for a great party decor addition, but it's also something you can use in the house later? this mama was my inspiration. her daughter loves elsa so much, that she asked me to design a custom canvas for her to use at the party and then to hang in her playroom after the party was over. how amazing is that?

i got to work sketching up some ideas...i went with some really personalized themes to one that just focused on the castle and elsa. we ended up going with a 16" x 20" canvas, painted with the brushstroke technique combining pink, purple and blue (very "frozen"-esque colors!). centered on the canvas, i did three large scale cutouts of elsa's ice castle....and to make it a little extra "icy" i used a glitter cardstock for all three of the castle layers. to finish it off, i added a very simple, pink elsa silhouette along with a couple of snowflakes to make the piece complete!




what do you think? do you know a little girl who is "frozen" obsessed? oh, and i should mention....the glitter snowflake wand is now available on the etsy store, so check it out!

8.23.2014

creative station!

in classic "me" fashion, exactly five days before school started, i looked around our house and decided that little mr. re-nest #1 didn't have an appropriate space to be creative, explore, and eventually, do any homework he might bring home. (yes, he's only five. i'm type a. i like to be prepared.) he had a small craft table down near my studio area that never really took off with him. it was cramped and i always feared he'd knock his head into the side of my table. but....

we had this kind of sad little area in our kitchen that was the perfect space for a desk. (i mentioned in this post that the builders of our house decided against putting in a permanent desk option, which looking back on from my brand new desk that i'm writing at, i'm happy with that decision!) for the last seven or so years, that space has been home to a little console table that we bought when we lived back in indianapolis...it fit, it managed to fit a laptop and a framed picture. but we never really used it. that whole space had the opportunity to be way more functional and useful for us as a family.

i started my usual search for a desk and shelf combo, and i knew right where i was going: ikea. they have such a giant range of desk options that it can get totally overwhelming. but i found what i thought would work: the micke desk and the kallax four-opening shelving unit. (i even measured the space before we went to the store!) off to ikea we went....

well, of course we went in a tad bit of a different direction. mr. re-nest found a much better option for us that actually gave us more storage space (because let's face it, who couldn't use another drawer or two?) so, we built a desk from ikea's massive range of table top, table leg, and console options and came up with a pretty amazing set up (if we do say so ourselves!) 

and, here it is....the newest creative station in the re-nest house. and of course, i had to dress it up with markers and crayons and colored pencils and pretty binders! (and, the early reports from little mr. re-nest #1 are in: he loves it. the biggest heart melting moment was the day it was finished, he pulled up the chair, got our his lego notebook and dove right into the markers to color.)











what do you think? i'm so in love with this space, i can hardly stand it! 


8.19.2014

sending my baby off to school

i realize i am not the only mama in the world that spent august 2014 preparing for this ginormous life event. until just a week ago, i was going through the practical steps of prepping for kindergarten. ordering uniforms. filling out forms. writing checks. buying school supplies. ordering a lunchbox. and, then it hit me.

my baby is going to school.
the coveted red backpack. ready to go.

not preschool. (no offense to preschool, because i cried like a baby on the first day of preschool too. in fact, little mr. re-nest #1 talks about his preschool teacher no fewer than five times every week.) but this is school. this is "there's no turning back now" school. this is backpacks and worksheets and projects and homework. this is the real thing.

there will no longer be the ability for us to schedule a trip from august to may. i have to get into "school-mode mind." there will be a lunch to pack every night, a backpack to check for important notes, questions to ask about friends and classrooms and special projects. recess. sports. 

but beyond all of the day-to-day things, there will be so many wonderful things. watching him continue to grow and learn and absorb all of the cool new things he's going to learn. seeing him evolve into a young boy rather than a little boy (which i continue to refer to him as).
the uniforms are hung in the closet with care

i'm so excited for him. and, i'm so excited for our family and our choice of school for him. i can't wait to see him in his uniform tomorrow. i feel so blessed that he will be going to school exactly two blocks from where my 9-to-5 is. and, that i'm going to be able to drop him off and pick him up everyday. that right there? that was what i always envisioned for myself. being close and being able to have the gift of doing that for my kids. 
the perfect book


so, tomorrow, little mr. re-nest #1 becomes a young boy. but you can bet that every night, i will still hold my arms out, encourage him to hold still for one minute, while i hug him tight and tell him i love him to the moon and back.

to all of the other mamas on the same journey with me: we can do this. :)

8.15.2014

it's friday...i'm in love

yep, this situation needs some control!
it's the weekend before school starts. and for some reason mr. re-nest and i have gotten into our heads that we have all of these house projects that we've just sort of abandoned this summer. and, there's
been some that have just recently popped up (can you say lego table?).

so, what does this mean? there's a trip to ikea this weekend! (can i get a whoop, whoop!)

i was making a list (and checking it twice). i had a vision for our projects and i wanted to be organized. here's what's on the list (to make + the needed supplies):

photo courtesy of ikea.com. the micke desk in white
1. a whole new desk/storage/workstation in our kitchen. right now, this is total makeshift. the builders of our house had a perfect spot in the kitchen to do a simple built-in desk area with counter, but i guess that didn't make the cut. so, when we moved in, mr. re-nest and i had a console table from target that doubled perfectly as a small desk for that area. you know, somewhere that we could put a lamp and our laptops. so, for seven years that poor console table has been the desk. i've considered sinking the $ into doing a custom cabinet and counter to match the kitchen, but when it comes down to it, i just thought it would be too matchy matchy. besides, i like the idea of using more white in the space to brighten and be more in line with the moulding accents that we have (and it'll look super awesome against the grey paint on the walls!) so my plan is this: the ikea micke white desk (which happens to have some small drawers and a cabinet! add to that the new kallax shelving unit (it used to be the effectiv) in white with one row + four blocks, please. i was going to end there with some cute school supplies and a little lamp. and, then i found this: panyl. i am totally, beyond belief, in love. this is amazing. i haven't even placed an order yet, but i am so over the moon about this, i can't even stand it. (once we get everything this weekend, i'll be placing an order. you can be sure of that. more to come on what i think!)

2. a lego workstation. yep, you heard me right. between "the lego movie" release in february, and that very first lego set that little mr. re-nest #1 received around his birthday, our house has become lego central. the pool table has been taken over. the kitchen table has been taken over. we have lego manuals all over the place. fortunately, i haven't experienced the pain closest to childbirth yet - stepping on a lego. (watch, i say that and tonight, it'll happen!) we need to get this situation under control. stat. (those were mr. re-nest's words, before they even came out of my mouth.) so, what did my adorable husband do? he started searching online for ideas. and the next thing he did, just about made my heart stop: i got a text with a link to a mommy blog that had done a fabulous lego workstation with the words "i think this is it." i barely even had to look at it before saying "yes." so thanks to the google results we found over on that mommy blog, we're going to tackle the fabulous-beyond-fabulous lego table she constructed for her son. watch for pics as we begin the whole process!

it's going to be a busy one this weekend, but one that has some projects i am totally excited about (can you tell?!?!) there's nothing i love more than doing something that will be completely fun + functional for the re-nest house!

tell me: what do you have on your plan for the weekend?
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