Tuesday, March 31, 2015

HOW TO: Make an Abstract Painting for Home Decor

I have a love-hate relationship with this kind of project.  Artists train for years and years to make quality, meaningful art, so I always hated those HGTV projects where they would make fake "art" with the homeowners to complement the decor.  That being said, I think as with everything that balance is key.  Invest in good art and buy vintage when you can, but sometimes you just don't have enough money for that and if you know what kind of art your space needs, sometimes you gotta go ahead and make it yourself!

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Thrifty Wedding Dresses from Etsy: 6 Dresses Under $1K

I'm all about living on a budget and when it comes to planning a wedding, I don't see it any differently. After all, I want to start my married life debt-free and well, as not broke as possible!  That's where cheaper wedding dresses come in.

Etsy is always a treasure trove of unique items in any price range.  Unfortunately, there's an increasing amount of crap to wade through, but there are some real gems to be found if you look.

So, I present to you.... six wedding dresses from Etsy under $1,000!

Dress 1: Lace and Chiffon Wedding Dress with Beaded Cap Sleeves by Grace Loves Lace, $902.39

This Australian designer is fairly well known off of Etsy and to get one of her beautiful designs for less than $1k seems like a deal to me. I love the skirt and pretty sleeves. Check it out here.

I mean, look at those sleeves!

Dress 2: Lace and Chiffon Wedding Dress by LaceBridal, $259.00

I'm in love with the gorgeous top and skirt of this dress... and the price can't be beat! Check it out here.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Wait on the Lord

I don't normally post on Sundays, but I think it's apropos to have a little encouragement today!

I shared a verse last week that I've been reading a lot lately.  I feel so lost sometimes and not really sure what I should be doing, but the Bible tells me that our Heavenly Father has "established my goings" (Psalm 40:2). He gives us free will, of course, but we needn't feel that we have no purpose and no way that we should go.  Today, I took a look at the verse before it (Psalm 40:1).

Waiting patiently is hard, isn't it?  And waiting isn't always an inactive state.  Many times, we have to be working and striving towards a goal, when we aren't even entirely sure what it is and where we're going. That's the part that gets me. If we're patient though, He will incline unto us and hear us and guide us. We're here on this Earth to learn and grow and sometimes that process takes time. I believe though, that if we work hard and pray and listen to the stirrings of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, he'll guide us in the way that we should go!

I hope that you have a great week!  I've got some fun things planned with B and my family, super excited!


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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Brooch + silk bouquets for a yellow, black, and white wedding

I was looking through some of my old pictures for my Travel Tuesday post and found this, one of my first Fuzzy Rose bouquet orders. It was for brooch bouquets for a small budget wedding.  The bride wanted something as budget-friendly as possible in her wedding colors of black, white, and yellow.  I loved working within the fairly tight budget constraints to come up with something so cheerful and cute.  It's still one of my favorite orders that I've done!

I think I always get attached to orders that I work on for longer periods of time (like Michelle's bouquet!) and I definitely had an emotional attachment with this one! I spent so much time hunting for nice, low priced silk flowers and just the right brooches.

These pictures are really old... please excuse my pre-fancy camera pictures!

The big black buttons gave us a lot of bang for our few bucks!

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Travel Tuesday: Studying and Traveling

Oh man, my much delayed Travel Tuesday post!

Jumping back in with my Study Abroad experiences...

I love this place!
Once we got to Harlaxton, it was an often frenetic pace of going to classes at the Manor and going to London for shows and touristy fun.  There were so many days of falling asleep in class because we'd gotten back super late the night before.  I remember waking up when I started falling out of my chair one morning.... and I never fall asleep in class!

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It's Tuesday: Encouragement for the Week

So, like most bloggers, I normally have a few posts already written and scheduled to be published.  Alas, not today.  We went on a much needed mini-vacation/staycation to Orlando, about 45 minutes from home.  Obviously, life is stressful and it was wonderful to have a couple of days to relax and focus on each other.  

We got back into town last night and now I'm hustling to make up for lost time.  My grandmother needs my help today, so I'll be back to the blog later on today with my usual Travel Tuesday post.  

I thought I'd quickly share a verse that I've been meditating on this past week or so, as I try to find my way and work towards my goals...

I'll be back with more later!  Happy Tuesday!

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

What I've accomplished this week

I have a tendency a lot of times to feel like I haven't accomplished much, no matter what I actually did do.  I know that isn't *always* true though, haha, so I'm compiling a list of what I've actually gotten done in the past few weeks.  Makes me feel a little better about myself and I think it will actually be a pretty good resource.  So here goes...!

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I have my own domain name! Finally!

I've been super long overdue to get a custom domain name for a while now, but I was intent on getting other priorities taken care of first, like the new site design and getting established on Instagram.  However, it was becoming increasingly obvious that I couldn't put it off anymore, so I was super excited to see the new Google Domains.  There are pros and cons to it (see below), but it's the right option for where I'm at right now with blogging, so I went with it!  And now I'm *drumroll please*.... robinandrosedesign.com!  

Pros and Cons to the new Google Domains


It was really easy to do.  Just go to domains.google.com and search for available domain names.  Find the one you like and add it to your cart!  

I'm still on Blogger, so the transition for me was seamless.  I just chose to forward it to my blog.  I've heard that other hosting sites like godaddy.com can be a hassle (haven't tried myself), so I really appreciated the ease of setup.

I get a custom email address!  I thought this was really cool.  You can now email me at robin@robinandrosedesign.com, easy peasy!  Just set it up to forward to an existing email address, log in to that email to confirm, and you're good to go!

It was really affordable.  Most domain names are $12 for the year.  I like that I only have to pay once a year and it's a really great price as well.  The prices are based on predicted popularity (I think), so some domains are a little more expensive.


I didn't quite realize this until we had finished, but the domain name just forwards to your blog.  What that means is someone can input your domain name to get to your site, but once they get there, it will still say "blogspot" or whatever in the web address.  I'm still playing with it, but it looks like it also still shows up as blogspot when I post links on Google + and that sort of thing.  

It may not be a long term solution.  I'm not exactly sure of the mechanics of the forwarding I mentioned above, but that's probably not going to be something that's workable long term.  I'm planning on getting off blogger and doing another redesign of the site next year if the blog continues to grow.

It's still in beta.  It's a new program and may change and evolve in the coming months.  
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The Nature of Handmade Consumerism

I was reading a post on a mommy blog the other day (because someone on FB had posted it, no kids here) about a woman who was trying to lavish her children with time and values instead of material possessions.  She listed off the "it" items that she would not be buying her children and one of them was "Etsy dress."  While her intentions are fantastic, it made me a little sad.  Despite the fact that Etsy has become saturated with mass produced crap lately, it's still a platform where lots of small businesses are hustling everyday, selling their handmade goods that they put their heart and soul into, and generally trying to make their dreams come true.  

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Travel Tuesday: I want to go to Ireland

My Travel Tuesday post got overshadowed in my priorities this week by St Patrick's Day, but I wanted to at least do a little post.  So in the spirit of the day, here's someplace that I want to go, but haven't yet.  Ireland.  Like a lot of people in the US, I'm mostly of Irish descent.  So many of us have lost track of our heritage through the generations and I think it'd be wonderful to go tromping around the homeland of a good chunk of my ancestors.  There's even a town called by my (uncommon) last name! I tried to swing it a few times when we were en route to England, but alas, it never happened.

Image via The Travel Tester on Pinterest
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Happy St Patrick's Day!

I love green and being Irish, so St Patrick's Day is one of my favorites.  Hope you have a great and safe day, whatever you choose to do!  

Here's some green and white wedding inspiration for the occasion!

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I'm on Instagram now!

I'm (finally) on Instagram!

I wanted to take my time to do it right as a business and I'm so glad I did. Right when I needed it, my friend Karissa Barber started a new group, Rising Tide Entrepreneurs, so that we, as independent business owners, can help each other out.... a rising tide raises all boats. Anywho... our first meeting centered around the use of Instagram for business, just what was on my mind right then!

I'm so excited to be using this new-to-me social media platform to expand my brand and connect with like-minded folks. So far, it reminds me a lot of Pinterest, which is/was my favorite.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Travel Tuesday: My Study Abroad Home, Harlaxton

After a few days in London seeing the sights and some West End shows (possibly falling asleep in Hecuba with Vanessa Redgrave, oops), it was time to travel on to our final destination, Harlaxton College, formerly Harlaxton Manor.

I don't know that anything could have prepared me for experiencing the manor house for the first time.  We arrived in Grantham (home of Isaac Newton and Margaret Thatcher!) by train.  We crammed into a bus and headed towards what would be our new home for the next month.  I remember the bus driver telling us to look for the manor as we drove towards it and all of a sudden seeing it rising out of the trees like a dream.  I had never seen anything like it.

Harlaxton Manor, barely visible as it appears from the trees.
We lost sight of it as we turned off the main road and drove through fields of poppies.  And then there it was again, in front of us. It was amazing, this new castle home of ours.

Harlaxton Manor, bathed in evening sun.  I believe I took this picture just after we arrived!
The bus pulled in the circle drive in front of Harlaxton and we all piled out.  Once we'd moved in, we would use a back door by the kitchens to enter and exit, but for our arrival, we were welcomed through the front door.  It felt like we were guests to a 19th Century party!  We hauled our luggage into the manor i.e. I dragged the sixty-pounder.  For most of our comings and goings, there were staircases to access our rooms, but since we all had luggage, we "got" to ride up in our old school cage elevator.  Never again.

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Daylight Savings Time: Spring Ahead Wedding Inspiration

This Sunday was Daylight Savings Time!  While I'm not a huge fan of the concept itself, I love when it's finally spring time and we can set our clocks ahead.  The lost hour of sleep was a big bummer (and it's always on a church morning), but I love it when it stays lighter out later.  It's super hot here in Florida today and there's no denying that spring (summer for us Floridians, who am I kidding) is on its way.  This winter has been a difficult one for us in many ways and I'm so excited for the promise of new beginnings that comes with spring and Easter.

The wine is from an awesome local winery, Keel and Curley Winery.  They make wine that incorporates great local flavors like strawberry, key lime, and blueberry.  Almost spring means it's strawberry time here in Central Florida!

I'm very excited for this time of year.  What about you?
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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Travel Tuesday: Getting to England (and Some Safety Tips)

I missed my Travel Tuesday post last week because I was hard at work getting this order finished up and in the mail for a wedding later this month.  The bride has promised to submit her pictures to the blog afterwards and I can't wait to see!  The order is on its way to her (already in Washington, should be delivered soon), so it's back to Travel Tuesday for me.

After getting packed (for better or worse), it was time to go!  Arriving in London was magical for me and it's still one of my favorite cities.  The way everything just seemed so similar yet, at the same time, totally and completely different from the States was incredible.  Even the air was different (I'm assuming a combination of exhaust and no Florida humidity).  

We stayed in London a few nights before we would head on to our final destination, Harlaxton College.  While in London, we stayed at the Corus Hotel.  It's a nice hotel with a great location right on Hyde Park and I'd recommend it.  Our room was fairly small with two twin beds.  I still remember laying in bed that first night with the windows open (unlike home, nice weather and no A/C), listening to the sounds of the street below.  I was hooked on traveling.
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Monday, March 2, 2015

Some Thoughts on Life Right Now

(Disclaimer: I don't often write super personal posts like this about my feelings, my dreams, and my insecurities.  Please be kind.)

In many, many ways, I am so lucky. I have a family who supports me in any crazy thing I do, an amazing guy who loves me and accepts me for all my wackiness, a faith that has gotten me through so much, a house that may be tiny but is safe and comfortable and cute and all mine, a car that works, and a job. I have more than most people on this planet can ever hope to have. I am fully aware of this and eternally grateful. Nevertheless, I constantly feel as if I'm wasting my life, wasting my younger years, wasting whatever talent I may have, wasting a degree that both my family and I sacrificed so much for me to able to get.

I have dreams and things I want to do and visions for how I want my life to be, but I feel like I haven't figured out how to make it happen yet.  I'm constantly plugging away: writing, working, creating, applying for opportunities, but the breaks seem few and far between.  A lot of times, I feel too old, like I missed the boat and there's no way to get on it.

A few months back, I commented on a post by Grease + Glamour about people who won't give up on their dreams.  She took the time to respond to my comment and in many ways, her response has been the fuel to my fire to keep going, to not give up, to keep trying to do this....

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