February 16, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
As I sit down to write this post, I’m thinking long and hard this morning about how much I hate complaining about the cold. I try really hard not to do it, because obviously my complaining is not going to make it any better. Whining doesn’t miraculously make spring arrive! That said, when I woke up a few hours ago, the real temperature was -25° with a windchill right around -40°. I promptly rolled myself into a blanket burrito and spent an extra hour lying in bed avoiding the day. On Friday, our town had the coldest recorded temperature in the entire United States (including Alaska) and I am pretty sure it has been over two weeks since we’ve seen temperatures above zero. So while I am going to refuse to complain, I am not too proud to admit that I probably won’t leave pajama pants today and that I will guaranteed be drinking as much coffee as I can get into my system, purely in an effort to stay warm.
All of that is a long winded way of saying I am really starting to love the idea of having a coffee cart in our house! B and I are both coffee lovers and between our drip maker, our Nespresso, our French press and our pour over coffee carafe, we actually own a slightly insane quantity of coffee-related paraphernalia. We have a full bar set up in the house, so why not a coffee station, too? I need to mull over if it would make sense for us to do so, but in the meantime, this pretty little cart stocked full with all the keep-warm necessities, is serving as my inspiration. I also love this idea for entertaining or for hosting weekend visitors, even if you don’t have space for it permanently, because nothing makes guests feel more welcome than self-serve coffee with all the requisite accoutrements.
Get more inspiration as well as tips for creating a coffee cart over at A Beautiful Mess. They keep a fully stocked coffee cart at the ready in their studio for their staff, so that no one runs short on caffeine during the day. (You can also see more of their offices and studio spaces here.) On that note, I’m going to go refill my cup and then get back to painting! I have another project for Valspar in the works that I’ll be sharing soon, so today I’m going to beat the cold by staying inside and getting my paint on. Wherever you are, I hope you’re cozy and warm!
[Photos from A Beautiful Mess.]
February 13, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
Happy Friday, friends! We’re less than a day away from Valentine’s Day and I’m squeezing in one final last minute Valentine’s Day gift idea! This may be about the easiest DIY “project” ever, but it’s also super cute and fun, which makes it perfect for a friend, a neighbor or that person you’re just starting to date. You know the one. You’ve been hanging out, you’ve been on a few dates, but you’re not really at the diamond jewelry-mushy-card stage just yet. All you need to get started is a little intel into your valentine’s favorite cocktail and you’re already halfway there! (Oh, and want to know a little secret? These bad boys will only run you about $5 each. Love that!)
Today we’re talking DIY cocktails to go! With the booze, the mixer, a mason jar for sipping, and a paper straw, you have everything you need here for a perfect cocktail, other than the ice. I think this idea is genius! Lest that should sound like I’m getting busy with tooting my own horn, I will share that I received one of these sweet mason jar cocktail gifts at a holiday party this year and I thought it was such a fun little gesture that I just had to make some for a few friends for Valentine’s Day. And then I thought I’d share them with you so you can do the same! Cool? Cool.
- Mason jars
- Baker’s twine (or ribbon)
- Mini liquor bottles
- Shipping tags
- Striped straws
Are you ready for this? Because it’s a little involved and I don’t want to lose you. (Also, I’m fluent in sarcasm if you didn’t catch on.) Start by tucking a bottle or can of mixer in each mason jar. Just a note that you’ll need a wide mouth mason jar if you want to use standard sized cans, otherwise you’ll need to get slimmer cans or bottles. I made a Jager Bomb with a can of Red Bull, a Rum Chata and Coke with a little mini bottle of Coca-Cola, and a vodka tonic using a mini bottle of Kettle One and a bottle of Fever-Tree tonic. Wrap your baker’s twine, jute twine or ribbon around the mouth of the jar a few times, then wrap each end around the neck of the booze bottle a few times and securely tightly with a knot. Make sure the twine has enough length to leave fairly long ends.
Pen a little note on a small shipping or gift tag. It can be sweet or, like mine, it can be cheeky. Then slip the ends of your twine through the shipping tag, tie it in a cute little bow and trim the ends to the length you like. Stick a paper straw in the mason jar alongside the mixer and that’s it. Bottoms up and happy Valentine’s Day! xoxo
[Design, styling + photos by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion.]
February 12, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
I’ve mentioned here and there over the last few weeks that my very dear friend Erika Firm and I are currently in the midst of totally overhauling The Sweetest Occasion. In a couple of months, everything from the logo to the site design will be all new, and at the moment we’re hard at work debating and analyzing the finer points of color palettes and letter forms. I will say that this will be the largest makeover since I started blogging so it’s quite the process for me, but I’m also starting to get really really excited. All of that to say, Erika took some time off from all of that and her other projects (she’s a branding whizz if you’re in the market!) to create this gorgeous Valentine’s Day art print just for you! It’s all hand drawn and I love the way it looks printed on pink card stock. Or choose any color you like! You could also play around with a gold Sharpie marker and add a little texture here and there to some of the flowers to make it really pop. Stick it in a frame and it will make a gorgeous gift or a really sweet addition to your bedroom or anywhere in your home. Art prints! We love them, so I’m bringing you loads of them all year long.
Download the LOVE art print | See more printables | See more Valentine’s Day ideas
[Printable art print by Erika Firm for The Sweetest Occasion.]
February 11, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
This post was sponsored by Valspar. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that so
generously help The Sweetest Occasion keep on keepin’ on!
Friends, I am so excited about today, because this post marks the start of an incredibly exciting collaboration with Valspar where I’ll be working with them to bring you loads of color inspiration, ideas and DIY tutorials throughout all of 2015. I am sincerely really ecstatic about working with them because I personally use their paints frequently and it’s partnerships like this that allow me to create really super cool content for you. So without further adieu, today we’re kicking things off with these mini paint can glitter vases! They’re the perfect last minute Valentine’s Day craft and they’re so versatile. You can use them as gifts for your girlfriends, your mom, your sister, or your coworkers and once the flowers have passed their prime, they can do double duty as a pretty pen or makeup brush holder.
Begin by wiping down your paint cans to remove any residue or fingerprints. (Mine had barcode stickers on the top, which I removed with Goo Gone and then washed thoroughly.) Then it’s time to paint! I am obsessed with the Valspar Color Radiance spray paint available at Lowe’s (you guys know all about me and my spray paint obsession) because it has a primer built in and it is specially formulated to work on wood, plastic and metal so it’s the perfect choice for giving these little cans a wash of color. I picked up a can of Rosy Cheeks in a flat finish, which is the perfect Valentine’s Day pink. Be sure to use several, light coats of spray paint to avoid any drips, allowing 20 minutes or so between coats. Then allow them to dry completely for a couple of hours before moving on.
Next up, using the paint brush, apply a coat of ModPodge to the bottom half of the can. If you want a precise line you could use painter’s tape to mark off the can, but I wanted a slightly imperfect glitter-dipped look so I skipped the tape. You’ll want a fairly thick coating of ModPodge, but not so thick that it puddles up or starts dripping.
Now it’s time to glitter! Work over a piece of kraft paper so you later use it as a little funnel to return the rest of the glitter back to the bottle, because pretty much you’re going to just dump loads of glitter over all sides of the paint can where you’ve applied the ModPodge. Tap off the excess and set it aside to dry.
You’ll be left with these super pretty glitter-dipped paint cans that I am totally loving! I also added glitter to the lids of my cans using the same process, so they’ll look really pretty tucked on a shelf or on your desk, too.
Now it’s time to make these bad boys look like the vases they are! You’ll want to pick up a block of floral foam (the kind you use wet), which you can find at any craft supply store. Use a knife to slice off chunks of the foam, then soak in water and push a piece into the bottom of each paint can. The foam makes it super easy to create really professional looking arrangements without having to be a floral whiz!
I picked up a few bunches of flowers in pretty, Valentine’s Day inspired colors from the grocery store and then trimmed everything down to a length that looked pretty with the height of the paint can vases. Start with one color or flower type and push the stems directly into the foam in the bottom of the can. Then build it up layer by layer, adding a color at a time until you have a big, full looking arrangement in each can.
And there you have it! The prettiest little paint can vases loaded up with gorgeous flowers for making all of the ladies in your life feel super special this Valentine’s Day. Of course, you can choose from any of Valspar’s gorgeous spray paint colors and play with different colors of glitter to really customize these and make them suit your personal taste. For me, it was all about the pink for Valentine’s Day and I’m so glad that Valspar gave me the chance to have fun creating these. I know a few special ladies who will be receiving these from me this week!
[Design, styling + photos by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion.]
This post was sponsored by Valspar. Read more about our editorial policies.
February 10, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
We’re taking a little break from all things Valentine’s Day this morning to discuss a different kind of love. Specifically, we’re talking about my longtime love for an awesome bunk room. What is it about built-in bunk beds that just incites such utter glee for me? I know that when I dream of one day building or renovating a house, there are corresponding dreams of bunks for sure. It’s such an efficient use of space, but when done right (think cool ladders, velvet curtains and little reading lights) I think they’re also entirely magical. As a kid in one of these spaces I would have hidden away in my bunk with a book all day long if given the opportunity. If you have a room in your house begging for bunks and you’re handy with a saw, be sure to check out this DIY tutorial!
[Mikaelmonson Family Photography.]
[Jana Carson via Style Me Pretty Living.]