Friday, June 22, 2012

Blogging made me do it! Featuring Kara Paslay

If you've read my blog for any time at all, you know that I owe a lot to today's guest. Kara is a real go-getter and it was one of her inspiring posts that gave me the nudge I needed to jump right into starting my own design business. I love the way she thinks outside the box and you can guarantee her designs are not cookie-cutter. Original and unique are two perfect words to describe Kara. 

Oh yeah, and did you know she used to work as a display designer for Anthropologie? Searching her blog to see the displays she created is definitely worth your time, friends!

Ready to be inspired?...Read on to see what blogging made Kara do!

A big thanks to Dana for inviting me over to share today!  My husband (Tim) and I write the blog Kara Paslay Designs."


Blogging has made us do all sorts of things:

- stay up to all hours of the night
- be creative daily
- document our process
- learn to ignore rude comments by people who think it's their mission in life to make people feel bad
- learn to relish the kind comments that people have taken time to write
- find our desire to inspire others creatively
- exercise discipline and patience

Yes, blogging has made us do these things and so much more. . .  but probably the biggest thing that blogging has done is make me a sharer.  I am not a sharer by nature.  I do not share very easily.  I grew up playing competitive basketball (I mean like, this is my life competitive) and in that arena you never give your "opponent" a leg up.  You are always working harder so that you can be victorious when game time comes around.  And while I had friends on other teams, giving them the play book would never be something I would consider doing. :)


Ok, so you may be wondering how I'm going to bring this back around to blogging.  Well, when I first started writing, I brought this same competitive mindset to blogging.  As I entered deeper and deeper into the blogging world, I was blown away with how freely everyone gave away their DIY tips and tutorials.  It seriously was hard for me to tell others exactly how I do things and freely offer up the lessons that I had worked so hard to learn, especially to strangers that I had no connection to.

Fast forward 3 1/2 years, and my mindset has changed  (although if I'm completely honest, I still have bouts of anxiousness when I'm spilling secrets learned from long hours of experimentation).  But here's how I look at things now- this blog is my platform.  And although it pales in comparison to other peoples and bloggers influence, I still do have a few messages that I believe God wants me to use my blog to share.  Those messages are:


1. Do what you love!  We believe when God made us, he gave us each specific talents, abilities, and passions!  Those talents and passions were put there not to be ignored, but to be explored and used.  We truly believe that you find true joy when you are doing what you love in everyday life.  Make your passion your career!

2. Go after your dreams with hard work and faith!  We believe anything is possible and we want our blog to be a place where people can come and receive encouragement that they can achieve their wildest dreams! We always, always include the fact that I believe anything is possible only if the dream you are going after is one that has been put in your heart by the Lord and not just one you are going after for selfish gain. And beyond that- hard work, incredibly hard work that doesn't just last a few weeks, but for as long as it takes is what will bring your wildest dreams to fruition.  You can read a whole post I wrote about this topic here.

3. Create a space that surrounds you with things that celebrate where you've come from, who you are, and where you're going.  Because our message is "do what you love," our blog shows off exactly what we love to do- design!  Our philosophy is to help people do what they love, go after their dreams, and celebrate who they are with the designs that they are surrounded by everyday.

For example we created this Glowing Drum Table for a music lover.


This Book Page Wallpaper would be perfect for an aspiring writer.


And this Fish Scale Tile would be perfect in a sea lovers home!


When we create a room, we want to include things that speak specifically to that client so that when they wake up everyday, they can look around and be encouraged and inspired to be their best them!  You can see more projects like this on our blog.

4. Love Your Body!  This may seem like a random message, but for some reason it is dear to me.  Growing up I had body image issues, but through a series of events I was able to overcome them and gain a confidence about and love for my body.  I hate when I hear women criticize their bodies or think they have to live up to someone else's idea of perfection.  So, every so often you will see me write a post about loving your body or Crossfit.  This is a message I feel compelled to share.

So, on those days when I feel like I want to stop blogging forever and use that time on other things, I remember- Blogging has made me a sharer and the messages I have to share are important. . . so much more important than DIY secrets (which I also share- check out my DIY tutorial page here).  And although I do want my work to be known as exciting, unique, and awesome- I hope the underlying message that people receive when they read my blog is that "Anything is possible!"  The Lord has put me here to discuss the things that are dear to my heart: design, dream chasing, hard work, and Him!!! And thanks to blogging, I can! :)

I'm so glad Kara shared with us today. Hasn't it been fun seeing all the different directions my guests have taken the topic of "Blogging made me do it"? I'm grateful for how transparent Kara was in this post.

On a different note, things will be quiet around here for the next week or so. I'll be enjoying some quality family time and taking time to refresh!

Hip hip hooray! Happy all the way!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Random Act of Kindness #39

Today's RAK is a little bitter sweet. It's a super fun idea. It takes a little prep. It's one you get to be 'sneaky' with, but ours didn't quite go the way we expected

Let me walk you through the day...

Me: "Hey, Bryn and Reed, we get to do a RAK today. Who wants to help?!"
Kids: "I do!" and "I will, I guess."
Me: "Okay, Bryn, will you create a free bubbles sign for us to attach with the RAK card?"
Bryn: "Sure."

The next hour or so looked a little like this...

My busy little beavers knocked out 18 of these puppies and we were pumped that we'd be able to spread that much kindness in just one day!

So, next it was off to the park for the fun part...

It was kind of like hiding Easter eggs in the middle of June! Anyway, I found it very odd that there wasn't a single person at the park when we were 'hiding' the bubbles. I thought for sure we'd have to answer a couple questions about what we were doing or plan to come back another time when it wasn't crowded.

Well, apparently everyone else had watched the weather forecast, because less than an hour later this is how the park looked from the front seat of our car...

What??? It hasn't rained in ages! Why now?!

You can put two and two together and think about those pretty little tags that Bryn made up. Ummm, yeah, probably not very clear that these are 'free bubbles' anymore. And that RAK card attached to encourage them to pass it on...well, that's a runny mess as well. 

I'm pretty sure not a single bubble was found before the downpour started! Now, it probably just seems like people forgot to take their party favors with them when the party ended. 

Bryn and Reed handled it like champs. We got a good giggle and tried to look at the bright side...we desperately needed the rain. So what did we do?...went home and played in it, of course.

I really hope one of you will take this RAK challenge and complete it the way it's intended! Here's a little tip...the dollar store has 3-packs of bubbles right now. That means for a mere $6 you have the potential of spreading kindness to 18 people! How cool is that?

Need the RAK card printable? Just click here, download and print. In case you're new to this blog and haven't seen them, here's a peek...
Okay, friends, it's your turn...go out and be kind!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rome wasn't built in a day...

and neither was this kitchen remodel!

Dreams of this kitchen remodel began back in November. My clients had plans of purchasing new appliances and needed help "making them fit." We put our heads together, discussed the options and began planning.

Initially, the plan was only to bring in new appliances and reconfigure the cabinets a bit. But, with further discussion of their options, we moved from a few updates to a complete remodel!

Oops...their new rug made it's debut a little too early. Forget you saw it!

 Six months later, the work begins...
Down with the cabinets, down with the wallpaper, out with the floor, etc., etc.

What's in store? I'm so glad you asked.

Let's break it down...
custom cabinets
new counter tops
subway tile backsplash
new appliances
new shades/drapes
under cabinet lighting
upper cabinet lighting
pendant lights over the island
gorgeous fixture over the dining table
apron front sink
new flooring

They're going to feel like they're living in a new house when all is said and done! I hope you'll follow along with the progress. It'll definitely be worth the trip, friends.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Transparent Tuesday

Transparent topic: Cherishing those you love

I guess the timing of this post is a little late, but if it's applicable to you, it may be worth storing away for next year!

I'm not an overly sentimental or gushy type person, but I started a tradition years back that has turned out to be something cherished...Daddy books. Each year I snap pictures of the kids doing things they love to do with John. Then, the week before Father's day, we print the pictures, head to store to buy paper and stickers and come home to put together their Daddy books. 

Each kid has their own book. I did the work the first couple of years then as their abilities have increased and improved, they've taken the reigns and now do it themselves!

A portion of Reed's pages are dedicated to a blue dress shirt. Each year Reed poses in John's shirt. It's fun to see him grow into it. The sleeves are rolled less and less as the years pass. I'm sure he'll fit right into it one of these days (way too soon).

Reed's Daddy Book Snippets:

This was the first year Reed was old enough to "draw" a picture for John.

I love capturing his spirit in these pictures. I stay out of it and simply instruct him to do what he thinks daddy would like.

 Sometimes instead of drawing, they pick out stickers that represent things they like to do with John.

 The last several years have looked very similar to each other...hunting, hunting and more hunting!

Reed's picture idea for this year...grillin' up something good!

Bryn's Daddy Book Snippets:

Fishing and worms, 2 of Bryn's favorite things to do with John when she was little. John misses these days!

Going to get sprinkle donuts was a common daddy/daughter date night when Krispy Kreme was close. 

 When they were too little to write letters to John, I would "interview" them and write their answers. A few of Bryn's quotes: "I like to make crafts with him!" and "He teached me how to do a brand new prayer!"

Picking out the background paper is something the kid's look forward to each year. Reed's is always camo and Bryn's typically has cupcakes involved.

It's great watching their handwriting mature, along with the sentiments. 

These books are a two-fold blessing. The kids have a chance to 'speak' to John from their heart and John has a treasure of notes and memories reminding him how much he's impacting their lives. Our family says 'I love you' all the time, but when you take the time to write the drives the point home a little deeper!

It wouldn't be a typically Transparent Tuesday if there weren't a little prayer involved, friends! My intentions through this post are to encourage you to cherish those you love, in whatever form that may be. Prayers don't always have to be for sad things or struggles. Let's celebrate today with prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving for God's blessing of the special people in our lives.

Got a special prayer request? Leave a comment or send me an email:

Monday, June 18, 2012

Amazing Austin Designer

I've had a few ideas rattling around in my head concerning the decor of our guest bedroom. This room is the one where all our "leftover" furniture now resides and the bedding is literally 14 years old. It hasn't been high on my priority list to decorate since the majority of our family lives local and guests are few and far between. But, John keeps asking me when I'm going to "do something with it." He tells me, "It just doesn't go with the rest of the house."

Well, in my search for inspiration I ran across a local designer and absolutely fell in love with her house! Her name is Kimberly Renner and her company is The Renner Project. Simply put...I'm ready to move in. Look at her amazing designs...
 Postcard lighting installation...amazing!

 Kimberly's solution to low ceilings...shiplap and glossy enamel paint. Beautiful!

 Kimberly and her husband were smart enough to raid a local Air Force base when it was closing and bought many items that now live in their own home.

 I can't get enough of these stairs and the impressive!

Her sons' bathroom. Is this cute or what?

So it's official, Kimberly Renner, I NEED to work for you. I want to soak in your creativity and learn how your brain operates! 

These pictures are only a fraction of the Renner's beautiful home. Helen Thompson wrote a great article giving you all the details with lots more gorgeous pictures. Get your pinterest button ready, friends. Click here to see more!

Now, back to reality and my guest room. What I'm kicking, white, cream, honey, mint, Swedish, minimalist and a heart. Laughing as I type this and realize it almost sounds more like a recipe than a room design. Maybe I should name it my Swedish Cream Honey Mint room! Sound yummy or gross?! 

More to come...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Blogging made me do it! Featuring Elizabeth from The Mustard Ceiling

Today's guest definitely wears many hats. Do you know Elizabeth from The Mustard Ceiling?! She's not only gifted at decorating, but she's an amazing graphic designer and as of recent, you can go ahead and attached awesome photographer to her list of talents. When Elizabeth puts her mind to something, you better get out of the way! She's clearly going to do it with 110% of her being. Isn't that an amazing attribute?!

Here's what blogging has made Elizabeth do...

Sometimes I look around the house, or sit down at the computer to work on a new blog design and cannot believe the way my life has changed since I started blogging in January, 2011. Blogging has taught me a lot over the past year and a half and I cannot imagine it not being a part of my daily routine. Blogging has helped me learn to open up and take greater risks in my design choices and in the DIY projects. After working so hard to accomplish the projects around our home, I feel that if I really put my mind to it, I can accomplish it. For example, our Laundry room. Before blogging I would not have tackled a laundry room makeover. For 1) I never could have imaged how fun it would be to have a cute laundry room and 2)after a few days of stenciling I would have probably stopped the stenciling madness. I started the laundry room project because I won a stencil from Olive Leaf Stencils in a giveaway and had no idea where to use it. I thought, the laundry room is small, it won't take long to stencil and so the makeover began...this project took three weeks of stenciling! To date the laundry room stenciling has one of my most challenging projects to finish, but I LOVE it! It is not the most difficult project we have tackled, but the stenciling was really tedious and took a long time. Blogging has made me learn to sew (well, sort of). I am not an expert, but I can successfully sew a pair of drapes or pillows. Two of my goals for 2011 were 1) to start a blog and not give up on it and 2) to learn to sew. I started small with pillow covers and finally in May I worked up the courage to tackle burlap drapes for the dining room. I struggled through the process, but in the end, I think it is just what we needed in there.
Not only has blogging made me more confident in my design choices and abilities, but it has helped me find and follow two new passions that I am sure I would never have found without blogging. One of my New Year's Resolution's this year was to learn how to shoot in manual mode on my DSLR camera. When I set out to meet this goal in January I had no idea how much I would grow to love photography. I started out hoping to improve my DIY project photos and fell into a new hobby. Photography really opens your eyes to the world around you, giving you the opportunity to view the world in a whole new light, to pay attention to details you wouldn't have noticed without a camera in hand. It has open up a whole new avenue of creativity for me and I hope to continue to grow my skills.
Self-Portrait downtown Clovis, NM
I have been trying to widen my range of skills, photographing everything from Downtown Signs to bucking cowboys at the rodeo we attended last weekend.
Finally, blogging has led me down a completely new and unexpected career path, which I absolutely love. When I started my blog a year and a half ago, I was computer illiterate. I knew how to turn it on, check email and shop online..that was it. In the first days of blogging, I became obsessed with learning how to create a design for my blog. I would sit glued to my computer for hours teaching myself photoshop. Then, I learned how to install a header on Blogger and finally managed to choke out a full design for my blog. As I sat for hours at the computer I realized I had no idea how many hours had passed, I would get lost in photoshop, loving every minute of it. That is when I knew I was onto something... I have taken blog design classes, photoshop classes, coding classes and have taught myself how to design on wordpress and I have been enchanted by every step of process. I still get giddy when it is time to start a new design, or install a design. My husband teases me about becoming a computer nerd. Never in a million years would I have chosen web design and graphic design as my career path, but I feel it is right where I belong. I recently celebrated my one year anniversary of opening my blog design business, TMC Designs. In some ways I can't believe it has been in a year, in other's I feel like I have been doing it my whole life. Without blogging I would have missed out on something great... Thank you Dana for having me today! I had so much fun thinking and writing about all of ways blogging has opened up new paths in my life. Looking back over the past year and a half, I am truly amazed at where blogging has taken me and am excited to see where the path leads.

I'm so glad Elizabeth shared with us today. If you're even halfway thinking of giving your blog a facelift, make sure you contact her. She's responsible for my design and truly was amazing to work with!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Random Act of Kindness Challenge #38

I hope you're in the mood for something fun today, friends! Today's RAK challenge is a good one...

I'm a little curious if anyone can identify this establishment before I reveal it? Want to take a guess? Here's a hint...they have happy hour that doesn't involve adult beverages.

RAK challenge #38: Visit Sonic and leave a RAK card + gift card attached to the menu.

Wouldn't it be so fun to pull into your spot and find this great little treat?! Admit it, you know you'd be looking around to see if anyone was watching, then snag that gift card like nobody's business. And rightly so, because that's exactly what you're supposed to do!

Make sure you plan ahead before heading to Sonic. You'll need to printRAK card and bring along some tape.

Such an easy way to put a smile on someone's face today. It's your turn now and you know the drill...go out and be kind!
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