Bringing the India Hicks Brand into your Home

Blogging can bring you a sense of community and friendship. By starting a blog, I have been able to “meet” like minded people who share the same passion for design that I have. With those common links already in play, it is easy to form quick bonds with people. I was recently contacted by one of my very first blog friends, Amy, about this amazing new opportunity she is now a part of. Amy was one of the first blog friends that reached out to me and asked if she could feature my home on her blog. I was so excited for that opportunity. And she might not even know this, but she was also one of the first that encouraged me to try my hand at e-design. And for that, she has always had a special place in my heart. So when she told me she was a rep for the new India Hicks brand and wanted to introduce me to some of the amazing new products, I jumped at the chance to reconnect and see what the products were all about. India Hicks is the daughter of famed interior designer, David Hicks, and has also made a name for herself in the design world. Here is a little bit about the company, as seen on the web site:

Our vision for the company is to share our exclusive range of well-crafted gifts, fragrances and accessories directly into the heart of the home, defying the traditional shopping experience, by selling these collections through networks of entrepreneurial women and our dynamic E-commerce site.

I love that India is the ambassador of this new brand and inspires women to become entrepreneurs themselves.

I am now the proud owner of the beautiful India Hicks Island Style book…

I cannot put this book down! The colorful, beautiful pages instantly sweeps you away on vacation. India and her family live on a small Bahamian island that is so inspiring and breathtaking to see! The interiors in this book instantly make you want to pack your bags and head to the coast.

I could just move into these serene rooms!

This party just looks so inviting and chic!

The Prince of Wales is India’s godfather and also wrote the forward for the book. India was a bridesmaid (back row, third from left) and just wanted to be out of the fancy dress and back into her comfy jeans!

This gorgeous bedroom has the ever popular David Hicks La Fiorentina fabric on the front pillow and chair.

I could go on and on about my favorite images from this book. Also, the story behind life in the Bahamas is so amazing and would make a great summer read!

I am also now the proud owner of the stunning love token called ‘Oyster.’

In Britain, it’s a tradition to engrave coins to give to friends and loved ones. This has been in practice for over 400 years and it’s actually the size of a British Pound coin! This jewelry piece has a heavy weight to it and is made so well. I chose the phrase ‘the world is your oyster.’ I have always loved that sentiment, because it reminds you to follow your dreams. I think it’s important for my kids to always know that, too. This love token is just one of many special jewelry pieces available on the site! This token can be paired with any necklace you have, or you can choose one from the site, like THIS. To visit the site and do some shopping through Amy’s page, start HERE. In addition to shopping, you might also find your next entrepreneurial career!

Thank you so much, Amy, for introducing me to this amazing and inspiring brand!

In Love With… Sarah Style

I have been a long time fan of the design work of Sarah Richardson. I was thrilled to be able to meet her and tour her Toronto design studio last fall. She has that perfect blend of traditional with modern, new with vintage. It is always a treat to watch her television shows and see what projects her and her team are up to next. So when Anneliese from Simon and Schuster Canada contacted me about receiving a copy of Sarah’s new book, Sarah Style, I jumped at the chance.

I have loved going through this book page by page and studying the rooms she has designed. I also really like the way this book is written… Sarah takes us through the book by room type, showing various ways to make each space in your home unique and personal to your style. I also love the tips along the way, giving us a glimpse into her thought process when she designs a room. I was even surprised to find out that some of the spaces I have long admired were her designs. She is literally a design genius! Let’s take a glimpse into the decorating goodness you will find in this book…

Amazing, right?!? And these images just scratch the surface. There is so much more in the book, including foyers, bathrooms and kid’s spaces! To order your copy, visit HERE.
Thank you so much to Anneliese and the people over at Simon and Schuster Canada for this book!

Check Out This Etsy Shop {A New Blog Series}

I am excited to introduce a new series to the blog… Check Out This Etsy Shop… Every week, I will highlight a favorite etsy shop of mine and I am kicking off this series with a good friend’s shop! I met Shantelle a couple of years back and she is the sweetest, most genuine person you’ll ever meet! In her shop Just Luved, Shantelle sells handmade rag quilts and other shabby sweet items. She has always loved the vintage appeal that rag quilts have and the originality that comes with a special handmade product. What I love about her shop is the ability to choose from the variety of quilts on her site or you can special order a quilt with the colors and fabric ideas for your space. It is such a meaningful and personal addition to a nursery and would also make a wonderful, thoughtful gift for a baby shower. I decided to take one of my favorite quilts from her shop and build a nursery around the color scheme. Here is the precious quilt…

And here is the nursery design I came up with…
I absolutely love the fabric patterns she chose for this quilt. The colors are so soft and serene and you can easily find coordinating pieces to work with the quilt. Shantelle loves the fabric selection process and has so much fun selecting the prints that go into each and every quilt she makes. You can tell her heart goes into the rag quilts she designs and I appreciate handmade items that are also meaningful. A win win in my book!

Check out her shop HERE to find that one of a kind gift for any nursery! Shantelle is kind enough to offer my readers a 10% discount off of any current shop listing!! The coupon is valid for existing shop items and not custom orders. The coupon code is AmberB2014 and is good until October 31st, 2014. 
Happy Shopping !!!

Crafting With Paracord!

If you have kids, you probably have a ton of rubber bands around your house from those rainbow looms. They were a huge craze for a while and some of the bracelet patterns were tough to make and required hours of patience. Luckily, help came at the right time. I was recently contacted by a representative from Ulysses Press to review a creative, fun crafting book using paracord. This was a style of crafting I have not tried before and I was up for the challenge. Paracord is the world’s strongest cord and is also starting to become the newest crafting material. When my kids saw this, they couldn’t wait to see what knot design and keychain they could make first! Originally used during World War II as parachute line, Paracord’s colorful cord selections has made this the coolest new crafting material of choice! Author of the amazing book, Crafting With Paracord, Chad Poole gives us step by step instructions on how to make 50 fun, creative projects!

Of course, we got right to work, making our own creations. And happy to report, the keychains were easy to make and fun to create!

Twisted Soloman Bar Keychain

Ladder Rack Knot Keychain

Here are some others we want to try in the future, because the names are just too cool…

To walk around with a shark jaw bone or alligator fang bracelet is a thumbs up in any kid’s book!  :)

This was a great crafting project that involved the whole family. You are only limited by your imagination with this product! Thanks to Ulysses Press for the introduction to this cool, new {to me} crafting idea! To get your own copy of this book and start crafting, visit HERE!!

Ulysses Press supplied the book and paracord, but all opinions are my own, as always!

A Great Place to Shop That Also Helps the Environment!

When shopping on line, I haven’t found many sites that offer unique home decor items and gifts while also helping the environment and creative artisans. Sounds like a tall order, if you ask me! But the creators of Uncommon Goods do all of that and so much more. Half of the items in the shop are made by hand and several items are even from recycled materials! With Earth Day right around the corner, now is as good of a time as any to think about how we can make the world a bit greener. And I can definitely appreciate the hard work ethic of this company… their belief is that it is their responsibility to use their business as a way to positively impact others. I was truly blown away by that powerful message. And now, onto some of the amazing products from this very special site!

The chef in your life would love this reclaimed wood cookbook stand!
Can you get any more beautiful and whimsical than this handmade butterfly map? The regions on this map are populated by colorful butterflies. What a great way to bring some color into a space!
This personalized love cuff made from real birch bark is the perfect gift for your loved one! I can’t get over the detail and craftsmanship of this piece!
It’s safe to say I am very impressed and hooked! Anytime I can find a special, one of a kind gift that also supports crafters and the environment, I’m sold. I could go on and on showing more crazy unique items, but I want you to check it out for yourself! Start your shopping HERE. If you make a purchase, let me know. I would love to see what unique find you fell in love with. I’ll post it here on the blog. :)
Happy Shopping !!!
This post was sponsored by Uncommon Goods, but all of the opinions are my own, as always!

Read Any Great Design Books Lately??

Design books have a special place in my heart, because I love to take them out from time to time, pour over all of the great inspiration and learn a few new design tricks. When design books also give the history of a city, culture and way of life, I’m especially inspired. So I was very happy to receive an e-mail from a publishing company rep introducing me to Stealing Magnolias: Tales from a New Orleans Courtyard. The book was written by Debra Shriver and highlights the wonderous city that is New Orleans. The book has a great mix of design with history, exploring the city’s rich architecture, food, local customs, music and so much more. I have always been in awe of this city and although I have never visited yet, this book makes you feel as though you are there, experiencing everything New orleans has to offer. Here are some of the amazing highlights and gorgeous imagery from the book…

Could you imagine anything more grand and beautiful! While New Orleans is known for extravagant architecture and design, they also have a laid back, relaxed style that I love. I could just move into the room in the second image! To read more about this book and get your own copy, visit HERE.

I think that I may say that an American has not seen America until he has seen New Orleans.
-Mark Twain

A Quick, Simple Way to Tackle Painting Projects

My motivation to complete house projects comes when I get ready to entertain. I will be hosting a house full of friends soon and that is the perfect way for me to finally tackle some much needed projects around the house. So when a representative from the Paint Brush Cover contacted me to review their product, I was on board! I had some walls that needed retouching around the home, but knowing me, I never finish a painting project in one sitting. I might do one wall one day and then move on to the next wall a few days later. But, I always dread washing out the paint brushes! Sometimes, they are still wet when I am ready to start painting again. But luckily, I don’t have to worry about that any longer! The Paint Brush Cover allows you to keep your paint filled brush safe in an airtight container for days, even weeks! Made of a clear, durable plastic, it ensures that your paint brush stays safe and ready to use, no matter how much it’s tossed around.

I had to try this out for myself and I started on our dining room wall…

Lovely wall scuff marks!

The product says it fits most 1-3″ brushes and my 2 1/2″ brush fit like a charm! As you can see from my paint can, I don’t finish in one day!  :) So when I was done for the afternoon, I tried placing my paint filled brush in the cover to see what would happen…
Days later, I was so excited to still see the paint brush wet and ready for the project! I could even see wet paint on the inside of the brush cover, proving that this really works.
I like that the cover is clear, so you can do a quick look to see what paint you used last. Perfect for the avid painter! The inside of the cover wipes clean with just a wet paper towel…
And now, a room/wall set for entertaining!

I will definitely use this product for future painting adventures! Anything that makes my life easier is a thumbs up in my book! To order your very own and make painting easier, order HERE.

Write a Valentine’s Note with Bic Magic Markers

Would you like to remind your Valentine how much you love them?? A representative from Bic Magic Markers contacted me recently about trying their marker product that adheres to glass surfaces. I have always wanted to try writing on mirrors and I am now addicted! I thought this is the perfect time of year to write little love messages around the house! Since it is a non toxic, water based marker, clean up is easy with just a wet cloth. I have been having fun writing on all of the mirrors in our home…

They come in other fun, vibrant shades like blue and florescent yellow and I chose the colors above for my valentines!

Writing this in our foyer mirror will make me smile as we head out the door! The red turned out more like a deep coral, which I love! I think it matches the pillow very nicely.

Not only can these markers be used for Valentine’s Day, they are also perfect for birthday parties! My daughter will be celebrating hers soon and she wanted the party room to have a personal message for her big day. {She picked out the phrase, color and design that I wrote. Future crafter/decorator in the making??} The marker used above was the pink.

I went even more crazy and used the white on our living room mirror…

They were exactly right when they said it will wipe off easily with a wet cloth. It couldn’t have been simpler…

After it was wiped off

I know I will continue to use these for many more events or just to have fun. Through the end of February, you can purchase these markers at a discounted price of $5 at Staples! For that price, you can either get the 1 pack jumbo chisel or two pack bullet tip.

Happy Writing !!!

Thank you to the representative from Bic which supplied the materials for this craft project

How to Turn a Digital Pattern into Wrapping Paper!

When a representative from Pattern Pod reached out to me and said I could choose from their gallery of digital prints and make it into something amazing, I jumped at the chance. Pattern Pod is an on line company that allows you to transform digital patterns into almost anything from wrapping paper to fabric! They work along with Spoonflower to make those dreams a reality. First, you find a pattern you love and purchase the digital image through Pattern Pod. Then, you visit the Spoonflower site and choose what you want to do with your uploaded pattern! The pattern pod site has so many different patterns to choose from and some come with an option to also change the colorway. I decided to choose a pattern and turn it into wrapping paper!

The paper came no nicely packaged! I quickly opened it up to check out my pattern. I chose Pattern 46 in Aqua. I thought it looked like delicate snowflakes, which is perfect for any gifts given throughout the winter months. The paper is sturdy and made of very good quality. I quickly got to wrapping for some parties coming up in the near future.

{A little closeup to show how nice the corners came out!}

I would not pride myself on being the neatest present wrapper, so for the gifts to come out as good as they did, that means the paper was amazing to work with! I am so happy that I found out about this company. There are so many ideas and ways to make the patterns come to life. I would love to one day line the back of my bookshelves with one of their patterns and turn a pretty pattern into a new pillow fabric! You can also use the patterns for digital use, such as enhancing the look of your social media pages and blogs.

To purchase a pattern and start imagining the possibilities, visit their site HERE!!

Then, turn that pattern into something amazing over at Spoonflower!

House Proud {A Design Book Review}

When I was recently contacted to do a book review on a gorgeous interior design coffee table book, I couldn’t pass up the chance. I am so glad I went for it, because once I opened the book and started looking through some of the stunning interiors, I knew I had found a new favorite! The book is titled: House Proud- Unique Home Design- Louisiana by accomplished New Orleans interior designer Valorie Hart. In her first published book, Valorie highlights some of the best interiors the state of Louisiana has to offer. From the formal Greek revival house to the modern urban loft to her own abode, the essence of Louisiana’s homes and charm are evident on every page. Take a little peek at this amazing book…

home of Leah Giraud 

home of Leah Giraud

The home tours featured a ‘Takeaways’ list, which gave tips on how the look was created and how you can duplicate the idea! I especially loved the idea above, which shows a twin mattress turned into a reading nook/platform bed. By adding a white slipcover, it looks like a custom furniture piece!

home of Leah Giraud 

home of Kellie & Mark Soileau 

home of Sean Yseult & Chris Lee

The Louisiana charm and history is clear when looking at the gorgeous home exterior, above.

home of authorValorie Hart & Alberto Paz

home of Valorie Hart & Alberto Paz 

home of Jeff Burrell & Ron Carrier
All Photography by Sara Essex Bradley

Now do you see why it’s a new favorite?? What I think I love most about this book is the approachable design aesthetic each of these tours gives the reader. We can easily take away ideas from these homes and achieve them in our own spaces. The featured designs are beautiful and functional, which is a winning combination in my book! Thanks so much to Sara over at Glitterati Incorporated for this book to review!

Get your copy HERE!!