New Squarespace website design for Seventh & Stone

Barbara Stellmach, the owner of the store Seventh & Stone, contacted me about working on her website design. A fellow Etsy seller, Barb creates beautiful and unique handmade jewelry – she incorporates Lake Superior stones into many of the designs, which are inspired by her gorgeous surroundings on the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. Along with her own designs, Barb carries a carefully curated selection of handmade goods, crafted by artisans – many of them from her area. 

She wanted a website that was clean and well-organized, showcasing the products with links to the individual artists – such a great way to convey the wide array of talent that goes into creating these items. Our collaboration resulted in a lovely, functional site design and its corresponding mobile version. Barb has been a pleasure to work with, and I'm so excited about the final product! You must click over and check it out (and there's a link to her Etsy shop in the navigation!) - and if you're lucky enough to live nearby, stop in and see her at Seventh and Stone!

Stitch Fix Review #3

stitch fix review #3

My third Stitch Fix came in the thick of our typical long, hot Tucson summer. I specifically asked for lightweight clothing, preferably not in synthetic material that is just miserable when you're trying to function in this heat  – and thankfully, they delivered! (What in the world is Stitch Fix? Read more here!)

First up was this Ellison Josie cut-out embroidery detail cotton tank. I loved the detail on this top, and it is lightweight and flowy – it's cute for casual wear with denim shorts, or dressed up with jewelry and a skirt. I've already worn it a lot. They also sent it with a simple white cami to go underneath, and the cami wasn't one of the five pieces for the fix. I thought that was a nice touch – this definitely needs something under it, and although I already had a white cami I can always use another!

Next was the Pomelo Downing striped knit shirt. Again, it is a loose and flowy fit in a perfect lightweight cotton, and it's become a summer staple for me. I didn't have much orange in my wardrobe, so these two pieces have been a nice change.

My jewelry piece in this fix was the Pixley Brandi enamel drops statement necklace. I LOVE this necklace. It's a little different from something I would have picked out for myself, but I seem to constantly find things to wear it with and I get compliments on it every time I wear it. 

My stylist Samantha continued to feed my dress addiction with the Andrew Marc Daire sleeveless fit & flare dress. I love the white lace (crochet?) overlay and it's a cotton/linen blend that is super comfortable. I wore it for the 4th of July paired with a denim vest and really liked it.

The last piece in this fix was the only fail – and sadly, that may be more the fault of my thighs than a problem on my stylist's part. The Margaret M Duboce straight leg jeans would have been perfect - I loved the idea of the stretchy, wide waistband (like maternity! but not!) and I love white jeans, but these were WAY, WAY too tight. I sincerely hope that these run extremely small, or I better do some serious scaling back on the summer treats. These went back.

I think this was my favorite fix to date, which is in keeping with their theory that they get better at styling for you over time. Try it out yourself with my referral link here and you'll get a code of your own to share with friends for credit! Check out my other Stitch Fix Reviews for even more information.

I'm going to link up to the other reviews at Whimsicle. Let me know if you check it out!

Origami Yoda Birthday Party

origami yoda birthday party ideas

For my son's 10th birthday, he wanted to have his first sleepover. We agreed to a small gathering of just a few of his friends, and decided on an Origami Yoda theme, since that book series was one of his current favorites and the boys love anything Star-Wars related, so we had a lot of options for this one! 

I gathered all of his Origami Yoda books for inspiration for the invitation and decor. Using the black background and lime green as an accent color, this was the invitation design:

Origami Yoda Birthday Party Invitation
Origami Yoda Birthday Party decor

 

If you have a 10-year-old boy in your life, you can imagine how much he cares about party decor ("seriously, Mom, centerpieces?!") - Luke really just wanted a fun time with his friends, but I couldn't help but do a little something to make it fun and festive. And even he admitted it was "cool." I didn't fuss too much, but I got my assistant to create some tissue paper pom-poms in the black and lime green color scheme. I set up a (short-lived) display with the Origami Yoda books and another book Luke had, so that the boys would have them for some activities...

origami yoda birthday party
origami yoda birthday party decor

 

With Luke's birthday falling right after Christmas, I always luck out with decor if I can work green or red into the theme. I picked up these sparkly clusters of plasticky fake leaves, completely unsure of what I was going to do with them. I threw them into little vases with pebbles and bunched up foil tissue paper from Dollar Tree, and in about 10 seconds I had some fun centerpieces - I also ran metallic wrapping paper across the dining room table, which was where the boys would be hanging out. Fun and functional, as it protected the table from the coming mayhem.

origami yoda birthday party decor

Because we agreed that this would be a very small gathering, I was able to purchase nicer favors than I can when we have a big crowd, and in this case, the favors were going to double as the evening's activities as well, I got each boy (and of course Luke's little sister!) a pack of this origami paper from amazon.com. Make sure you shop around for this kind of thing - I had seen it for double the price at Michael's and was so glad I checked Amazon! I also got each guest a fine-tip black Sharpie, a silver Sharpie, and a roll of fun colored washi tape - some of Luke's favorite origami tools. You can get the Sharpies and washi tape at any discount store, office supply store, or Michael's, but also check Etsy for some really cute, fun washi tape patterns. We put the goodies in a white lunch bag with stickers I designed, along with some origami folding instructions we got from the Origami Yoda website. The boys went to town, making all kinds of fun and crazy creations. Evidence of the fun:

We concluded the crafty part of the evening with an epic (their word!) paper airplane making contest, and then moved on to pizza and make-your-own ice cream sundaes. The boys then wound down with a showing of Star Wars and happily crashed for the night. This was such a fun party, and I love how intent the boys were on their projects – it kept them busy and content for hours – hooray! If you have a child who is around this age, check out the Origami Yoda book series - a big hit for them!

Linking up here - click the image below to link to lots of great ideas and inspiration!

The Idea Room

Logo and branding design projects

Logo and branding design projects have kept me busy over the past few months – check out some of the brand boards I've created here, and you can see more details over at www.jwilliamscommunications.com/blog. I have worked with some great people, and I love helping these business owners bring their vision to life.

Color for warm weather months {decorating the living room}

coral ombre throw and floral pillows for summer

I'm a big fan of light, bright neutral palettes for home decor, and I have an official fear of color  -partly because I'm afraid I'll get tired of it. The up side to having a neutral backdrop is that I can work in little pops of color that can be easily changed out, so I jumped in and did just that this summer. I'm loving these bright patterned pillows and coral ombre throw that I picked up from Marshall's for this summer, and I can tuck them away when fall comes and I'm ready for warm earth tones. 

Patterned Wallpaper Accent Wall in the Office {removable wallpaper from Target}

I've been working on an office makeover for way too long – it's one of those projects that I got started and then kept putting on the back burner. My office is also the guest room, which always presents decorating dilemmas, but more about that in another post. 

Today I wanted to talk about the one small project that we did that made a huge difference in the way this room looks. We put up some patterned wallpaper - Devine Color Diamond Wallpaper in Twig from Target - just on the window wall. I love the mod pattern and the soft grayish taupe color scheme, which looks great with the brushed gold accessories and curtain rod on that wall. The wallpaper has a sticky back and is supposed to be removable and repositionable – perfect for commitment phobes like me who have always shied away from wallpaper because of what a task it is to take it down when you tire of it.

Chad found that it was a little tricky to work with, which resulted in one visible seam and a few bumpy areas – this would totally drive a pickier person crazy, but I was able to disguise the imperfections with the wall art and bookshelves that are placed in front of the wall. The result? A big difference that took less than one afternoon to accomplish, and that can easily be undone when needed. What do you think?

removable wallpaper - Devine Diamond in Twig by Target

removable wallpaper - Devine Diamond in Twig by Target

Has anyone else tried this removable wallpaper at Target? Check out their other great patterns and colors!

Stitch Fix Review #2

My second Stitch Fix was another success overall. My only specific request was for a pair of dark jeans that I could dress up or down. I don't know what it is, but jeans fall right after swimwear on my list of Things I Dread Shopping For, so I thought maybe my stylist could help - and she did! She sent these Kensie Skinny Jeans in a  nice dark blue (they look black in the photo, but they're not). They're made of a great soft stretchy denim, so even though they looked super skinny to start, they're comfortable and a good, flattering fit. She gave me some cute options for them on my style card. 

 

Next up was the 41Hawthorn Bell Solid Sleeveless Tie-Neck Blouse. In a soft cream shade and drapey material, this should have been right up my alley, but the tie-neck threw me off at first. It conjured images of 1980s elementary school teachers for some reason, but once I tried it on, I really liked it. The drape was flattering and comfortable and the tie was thin enough that I decided it was just a nice detail, and pretty on-trend right now. This is another good example of how Stitch Fix helps me find items I wouldn't have chosen for myself. See the blouse here with the Bay to Baubles Raelynn Knot Cluster Necklace. I liked the gold knots on the necklace, but the middle seemed to stick out a bit, and since I thought it was a little pricey I decided to send it back. The upside is that I was inspired to find a similar necklace, and I happily discovered one elsewhere that was similar but a little more subtle.

I received two dresses in this fix. The Sanctuary Felicity Colorblock Ponte Dress was almost right. I loved the style and fabric and was impressed that my stylist referenced a similar dress on my Pinterest style board (they actually look!). However - I am a 30-something mom of two with an active lifestyle, and this super mini short cut was just not practical for me. Because sometimes I need to sit down. Boo.

Finally, I received the 41Hawthorn Lori Lace Fit & Flare Dress. I love the lace details and lavender color, and this was a fun find because I had seen a peek of this very dress in a photo Stitch Fix had posted on their Instagram account, so it was neat to see it show up in my box! This seems a little on the dressy side for me, but I'm happy to have it on hand when a pretty, summery dress is called for.

Overall, I was pleased with this Stitch Fix and was excited to schedule my next one. If you'd like to try it for yourself, you can use my referral link here and you'll get a code of your own to share with friends for credit! Also, check out my other Stitch Fix Reviews. Have you received any great items in a Stitch Fix?

Check out some other reviews at Whimsicle, and I'm also linking up at the always inspirational What I Wore Wednesday at Pleated Poppy!

Website Design Projects

Squarespace website design has become a popular service in my Etsy shop and with some of my local clients. I've worked with some great people so far this year, in a variety of different industries. Check out fabulous photographer Alisha Sims' new boudoir photography site, Fearlessly Feminine, and Sunset Interiors Furniture & Design. I love working with these business owners on this platform - I'm able to design the site for them, and Squarespace is user friendly enough for them to continue to add content later. More projects are in progress - I can't wait to share them!

fearlessly feminine website design

My First Stitch Fix Review

If you haven't jumped on the Stitch Fix bandwagon yet, you really must check it out, because when this little box arrives at your door, it's like Christmas.

stitchfix box

Stitch Fix is a personal styling service that is perfect for so many of us - whether you love fashion, style, and clothing or hate even thinking about shopping and putting outfits together - either way, you will love this. I was tempted to try it out after seeing bloggers like the Nester and Emily mention it, and then I read oodles of the customer reviews on the StitchFix website.

I love clothes but find myself buying the same types of things over and over again and struggling to find cute, current styles that aren't too young or too old and frumpy. Enter StitchFix, where you fill out a survey on their website so that your stylist will be able to make smart choices for you, taking into consideration your style preferences, body type, budget, and lifestyle. I really spent some time making sure I was giving clear preferences in my survey. You pay a $20 styling fee and are sent five pieces - in my case, I received four clothing items and a piece of jewelry. If you keep anything, the $20 is applied towards those items - and if you keep all five items, you get 25% off the whole thing, which makes that a pretty tempting deal each time (well-played, StichFix)! If you choose to send items back, there's a prepaid bag right in your box to drop them in - it couldn't be easier!

I had to laugh when I read this review and she mentioned how ridiculous her husband thought it was to have to take her picture wearing the items for her blog. I must admit my husband's reaction was quite the same - glad he's a good sport.

In my first Fix, I got two tops, a dress, a pair of black pants, and earrings.

I loved the two tops - both of them probably not items I would have chosen in the store but I ended up seeing lots of ways to wear them, which is exactly what I was hoping for when I signed up for StitchFix. I was also helped by the styling card that comes with the fix, complete with photos and suggestions on how to pair and style your items - love it! These are the tops below - the lavender one (by 41Hawthorn)  is in a soft, drapey material and I like that it's longer - perfect with skinny jeans. The chevron top by Olive & Oak is also sleeveless, and I paired it with a cardigan and the same dark skinny jeans:

The black pants (by Katherine Barclay) I received are in a very flattering, slightly heavy stretch fabric. At first when I saw the wide-ish legs and higher waist, I thought they'd go back, but when I put them on I loved them. I can see that the stylist took into consideration my more challenging areas (ahem) and found items that would play those down. These pants will be good dressed up or down. They're a little long, but that makes them look really good with heels, and the heavier fabric means these will be an unlikely choice until our interminable Tucson summer is over, but I think I will get a lot of use out of these next fall and winter. 

The dress (also by 41Hawthorn) is perfect for me - the soft, flowy fabric is comfortable and the color is fun, and I've already worn it dressed up with a belt, jewelry, and heels and casually with flat sandals.

I love the dangly gold earrings - they've become one of my favorite go-to pieces of jewelry.

Well done, StitchFix - I kept the whole box. And since I'm writing this a little late in the game, I already received box #2 - stay tuned for that review soon.

If you want to try it out, I would love if you'd use my referral link here - that will give me some credit for sending you their way, and when you sign up, you'll receive your own referral link to share with friends and family. Win-win!

If you want more StitchFix inspiration, follow Allison on Instagram - she is a pro at great combinations with her StitchFix finds, and check out the Stitch Fix Reviews linkup at A Whimsicle Life!