Vacation Living

March 30, 2011 § 6 Comments

One of my favorite places in the world to be is at a spa. Not just any kind of spa, but the relaxing, I’m-on-vacation type place with the beautiful outdoor pool area. Then I would flip through catalogs and I see the breathtaking outdoor living spaces, and I so desperately wanted to have a place like that of my very own.

At my old house, our backyard became a place to keep all of our junk— the broken toys sinking into pools of mud and grass and the wooden furniture rotting away in the hot Texas sun. It would be easy if we lived in California… or somewhere north where at least we had half the year to enjoy perfect weather. But in Texas, you see, it’s very hard to create a space like this. The weather is so extreme that you only have a few weeks in the spring and a few weeks in the fall to put out all of your nice stuff before the heat, tornadic winds or random ice storms destroy everything. I was determined when building our new house to make a Texas-proof backyard that still had a vacation-like feel.

It’s been 2 years since we moved in and I never quite got around to it. Here are the “before” shots (eek, the weeds were the worst part!):

A few weeks ago, my husband went on vacation, so I decided to surprise him with a finished backyard retreat. In my head, the one thing that makes the outdoors go from same-old-same-old to dreamy is outdoor curtains. I mean, you could install outdoor curtains on just about anything, and bam!— you’ve got yourself somewhere peaceful and relaxing. So, that was a major priority. Another priority was to have a box to put all the outdoor “junk” in… pool floaties, toys, cleaning stuff…. random things lying around the yard really mess up the whole “retreat” feel. And, I wanted a comfortable place to sit with friends. I had a metal table with feet that EVERYONE would stub their toes on as they walked by— not very comfortable. Finally, I wanted to top everything off with some greenery. I do not have a green thumb. (see most recent failure below) I can’t keep anything alive in 110 degree heat. Because of this I decided to choose cactus-like plants that didn’t look too cactus-y.

With some help from friends, we pulled it all together and Presto!— Here are some after shots:

Things to spice up a backyard:

1. some way to create fire



Notice the cute wall clock a friend gave us at the top of this picture 🙂

Yay! The Weeds are gone! And here I chose a Yucca plant because it can survive freezing and 100 degrees and you don’t have to water it. Of course, if you have a green thumb, a prettier plant would always be a nicer touch…

I took a rug from indoors that I don’t care about and put it outside… it makes it much more homey. I also added a place to put ice and cold drinks in for the next party.

In the back of this picture you can see I planted fruit trees. Hopefully in 4 years I will have my first crop 😉

Who wants to go for a swim??

New Products Galore!

March 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

The Spring Line for Life on Paper Co is here! 

Organizing just got personal.

Check out our 9 new products with 10 different designs… that’s over 90 new combinations available! There are address labels, nameplates, bookplates, expiration labels and spice labels. The best part about this new line of stickers is that everything is personalized. You can choose the name and coordinating text to go along with it. These make great gifts, too! Click here to enter the shop.

New FREE Worksheet! For a Clean House….

March 8, 2011 § 5 Comments

Just in time for your spring cleaning urges— a worksheet you can follow step-by-step throughout your house. This is the order in which I clean, which is by task. For example, I do all the bathrooms at the same time and move in phases throughout my house. It seems to go faster this way because I am focussed on one thing at a time and am not constantly searching for cleaning supplies I set down in another room or which rooms I’ve already vacuumed, etc. It is also nice if I happen to run out of time because the whole house is generally cleaner whenever I have to stop, instead of having one sparkling room while the others are still in the state of disaster they were previously in.

What is your house cleaning style?

Go download this worksheet here:

Inspiration: Sycamore Street Press

March 5, 2011 § 1 Comment

Aaaahhhhh, Letterpress.

The art of ink pressed into beautiful papers. I really can’t get enough of it. Maybe I love it so much because it is a lost art in this digital world, but I love how it is still alive (and more creative than ever) in small shops across the country.

One shop I came across recently is Sycamore Street Press. I like this one especially  because their designs are so creative, their color palette makes me smile, and they are very green in the way they do things. Take a look at some of their beautiful work:

Take a look at their shop or go Like them on Facebook.

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