Sunday, July 13, 2014

Texas Peach Sangria Recipe

I had so many people ask for this sangria recipe after I posted this picture on Instagram yesterday that I thought I would share!

I had actually torn this recipe from a Southern Living magazine over 10 years ago and had filed it away. Yesterday was the first time I had ever made it and it turned out delicious! It was the perfect thing to bring to our neighbor's house for a fun afternoon at their pool.

Since being in Texas, I've discovered their peaches are delicious and this sangria is a fun way to highlight them. But what really made this drink work was the cinnamon simple syrup. So good!

Texas Peach Sangria Recipe

1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
1 cup fresh mint leaves, divided
1 bottle dry white wine
2 lemons, sliced
2 oranges, sliced
2 (preferably Texas!) peaches, peeled and sliced
2 cups club soda, chilled

Bring first 3 ingredients and 1/2 cup mint leaves to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and cool. Cover and let stand 8 hours, if desired. Remove cinnamon sticks and mint leaves with a slotted spoon.
Combine sugar mixture, remaining 1/2 cup mint leaves, wine, and next 3 ingredients in a large pitcher; chill overnight, if desired. Stir in club soda before serving. Serve over ice.

A couple additional tips:

1. Don't use an expensive wine for this. I used a $3 bottle of Pinot Grigio and it worked great.

2. You don't have to let the simple syrup or sangria sit as long as the directions say. I made the whole thing a few hours before the party and that was plenty (just make sure the simple syrup is completely cool before adding it to the rest of the ingredients.)


Source: Southern Living Magazine, April 2002

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Has your summer been like mine? I started off daydreaming of all the things I wanted to take the time to enjoy this summer - making mental lists of lazy mornings playing with my girls, afternoons at the pool, and lots of time to sip iced coffee and read a good book for a change. And then with a blink of an eye, it's already July and I'm still waiting for the quiet summer I imagined to start! 

After a very busy June, I'm ready to truly slow things down in July before the summer is gone. That means things will be a little quieter on the blog over the coming weeks. My blog calendar is blank for the month of July (a very strange feeling for an uber-planner like myself!). I'll still be posting, but I'm giving myself a little more freedom and flexibility to post when the urge strikes! I have some fun DIYs I am playing around with, and a few room designs in the works that you will be seeing on the blog soon.

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to a month of inspiration from magazine reading, trips to the craft store and thrift shop just for fun, and a yoga class here and there. As they say in yoga, I'm looking forward to some time to "just be". I hope you are making a little time to just be this summer too! 

Photo by Alt Summit

Monday, June 30, 2014

4th of July Kids Picnic with Minted

4th of July Party Ideas

The 4th of July is such a defining moment of your summer as a kid. I always remember it as the bittersweet halfway point - only a month and a half left until school would start up again in August. The 4th is all the best parts of summer packed in one day - picnics, parades, fireworks - what could be better?

This year I partnered with Minted and my friends at Handmade Mood to create the ultimate 4th of July kids picnic complete with red punch, patriotic popsicles, and cannonballs into the pool!

4th of July Party Ideas

4th of July Party Ideas

To make the party extra special, we used Minted's Patriot Party decor line to decorate the food table and picnic area and had fun putting our own DIY spin on the items, such as using Minted's large table confetti to make a fireworks cake topper by cutting some notches in them and taping to a skewer!

4th of July Party Ideas

There were red, white, and blue treats galore!

4th of July Party Ideas

Head over to Handmade Mood to see all the details of the food table and simple ideas for your own 4th of July picnic like dressing up a simple paper plate with a patriotic sticker!

4th of July Party Ideas

Read on to see how we made a magical picnic area for the kids featuring DIY star lanterns using Minted's gorgeous large paper globes

Sunday, June 29, 2014

DIY Picnic Blanket

DIY Picnic Blanket

I love using painter's drop cloths for table coverings - they are cheap, wash up great, and a blank canvas for all sorts of DIY touches. It turns out they also make perfect picnic blankets!

DIY Picnic Blanket

You can whip up this star-spangled picnic blanket easily in under an hour with just a few supplies. The Martha Stewart multi-surface paints will wash up again and again and still look great. Have fun trying out other stencils and color palettes using the same approach!

Supplies for DIY Picnic Blanket

  • Painter's drop cloth (I used a 5'x5' foot square, but they come in a variety of sizes)
  • Star stencils (I found a template online, printed it out in different sizes onto card stock, and then cut out the middle to make a stencil)
  • Martha Stewart multi-purpose craft paint (I used Habenero, Blue Sky, and Deep Sea colors)
  • Martha Stewart foam pouncers or foam brushes
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors

DIY Picnic Blanket

Thursday, June 26, 2014

4th of July Wreath

4th of July Wreath

Light up your front door with this patriotic fireworks wreath just in time for the 4th of July! It takes minutes to make with a few supplies from the 4th of July aisle at your local craft store.

4th of July Wreath

I love the scale of this wreath on our front door - it definitely catches your eye from the curb!

4th of July Wreath

I found these pre-made paper pinwheels, popsicle sticks, and star stickers at Hobby Lobby making the wreath super easy to pull together.

4th of July Wreath

Supplies for 4th of July Wreath

  • Foam wreath form (I used a curved one, but if you find a flat circle form those work even better!)
  • Paper pinwheels (I found pre-made ones at Hobby Lobby, but you can make your own using my easy tutorial and some red,white, and blue paper)
  • Patriotic popsicle sticks
  • Foam star stickers
  • Hot glue
  • Scissors

4th of July Wreath

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Creative Spaces Magazine Feature

It's official - Volume 3 of Creative Spaces is on newsstands! I was so honored to be part of this special issue from Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking magazine. That's my office on the cover!

The issue features gorgeous photos of over 25 offices and craft rooms of fellow DIY bloggers and paper crafters. There are so many amazing decor and craft storage ideas, I just want to grab a cup of coffee and spend an hour slowly flipping through the pages and jotting down ideas! Check out this sneak peek of the magazine to see what I mean.

My office was a labor of love, with lots of DIY decor pieces. You can find links to each of them below, and check out the original office reveal on Design Improvised if you missed it!

Tutorials for each of the DIY projects in my office:

Monday, June 23, 2014

Guest Bedroom Reveal and $200 Home Decorators Giveaway!

Guest Bedroom Ideas

When we moved to our new home in San Antonio almost one year ago this guest bedroom was one of the things I was most excited about. No more having our guests sleep on an air mattress or the couch - we could provide them with a real retreat!

Guest Bedroom Ideas

I wanted the room to have a special spa-like feel with lots of natural elements. When I saw this beautiful upholstered headboard at Home Decorators Collection I knew it was the perfect focal piece - its color palette and floral pattern served as inspiration for the rest of the room.

Today I'm partnering with Home Decorators to give one of my readers $200 towards creating your own special retreat in your home - enter at the end of this post!

Guest Bedroom Ideas

I think an upholstered headboard is such a great alternative to a full bed - it's often considerably less expensive, but can be more unique. A headboard with a gorgeous pattern like this does double duty as a piece of art in the room. You can pair it with simple neutral bedding and accents. Home Decorators has nearly 50 fabric options for each of its upholstered headboards.

Guest Bedroom Ideas

The headboard and mattress were the only pieces of furniture we purchased for the guest room. We were able to repurpose other pieces from our Chicago condo in new ways, such as this rocking chair that used to be in the nursery and the little side table, which was one of my first post-college purchases over 10 years ago! 

Guest Bedroom Ideas

I gave the table a quick update with a fresh coat of blue spray paint on its previously wrought iron legs.

Guest Bedroom Ideas

Saturday, June 21, 2014

14 Days of Summer Love Giveaway!

Remember back in February when I partnered with some of my favorite bloggers to show our readers how much we love you guys with 14 days of giveaways? Well, we had so much fun giving away all those awesome prizes, that we're doing it again!

Our 14 Days of Summer Love starts today to kick off the first official day of summer. Today's giveaway is at Oleander and Palm with an amazing Shark Rocket Vacuum. I recently bought a Shark Rocket, and I'll tell you it was nothing short of life changing. You won't look at vacuuming the same ever again. So head over to Oleander and Palm and enter to win right now!

If you haven't already, be sure to "like" The 14 Days of LOVE Facebook page. You are not going to want to miss any of these amazing giveaways, and here's what the next 14 days look like.

June 21 Oleander and Palm - Shark Vacuum
June 22 Dream Green DIY - 8 B by Brandie Dessert/Appetizer Plates of Choice ($250 Value)
June 23 Design Improvised - $200 Home Decorator's Gift Card
June 24 Handmade Mood - Instax Camera and Film
June 25 Squirrelly Minds - $150 Wayfair Giftcard
June 26 Frock Files - MZ Wallace Purse
June 27  Lulu the Baker - Sseko Designs Sandals and Leather Hobo Bag
June 28 Jade and Fern - Simple Peace Bags ($120 value): Handwoven Beach Carryall & Farmer's Market Bag
June 29 Everyday Reading - Tiny Prints Giveaway
June 30 Living on Love - Freshly Picked Moccs and Solly Baby Wrap
July 1 Poppy Haus - Curated Art Wall from: Emily JeffordsClare Elsaesser, and Jennifer Daily (4 pieces valued at $350)
July 2 A Girl Named PJ - Lo & Sons Catalina weekender ($120)
July 3 The Flair Exchange - $100 gift card to Pier One Imports
July 4 Melissa Creates - Prize Package including products from Shop Melissa Creates and a Target Gift Card (total value of $100)

Head back here on Monday because I'm partnering with my friends at Home Decorators on a room reveal and an amazing giveaway you won't want to miss!
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