Tuesday, December 23, 2008

All I want for Christmas (the abridged version)

This year my family decided to forgo exchanging gifts for the holidays since everyone traveled home for Thanksgiving. And while it's nice on the pocketbook, I'll admit I miss the shopping. I love to seek out the perfect gift and watch with satisfaction as the recipient falls to the floor and faints with gratitude. OK, maybe it doesn't happen quite like that. But I miss it all the same.
In case you're still on the hunt for some fabulous gift ideas, I thought I'd share my personal wish list. In no specific order or category. Just stuff I want that might be fitting for the people on your shopping lists.  
a) Finial ornaments (OMG, check out the prices) $.95 – $2.95 right here.
I would use these suckers all year long. For what, I'm not sure of yet. 
b) Utopia Teapot, $95.00 right here.
For Jonathan Adler fans or teapot collectors.
c) iPod Nano, starting at $149.00 right here.
Hi, Steve Jobs? Everything you make, I want. So cut it out. I could have just made an "Apple Gift Guide", but you're not paying me. So there.
d) Magno Radio, $178.00 right here
Small and stylish with an iPod adapter. Boys will like this, too.
e) Tenjin Shrine Puzzle, $148.00 at Anthropologie stores
The individual pieces are insane and I heart Japanese Woodblock prints. Good alternative to a Sudoku book.
f) The Office Trivia Board Game, $24.99 right here
What, you thought my personal wish list wouldn't include something from The Office?
g) Mad Men, Season One, $27.49 right here
Everyone keeps telling me I have to watch this. I get the feeling this would be a good gift for just about anyone. With the exception of a three year old.
h) Sprig Market Tote, $39.00 right here
So flipping cute. I want one of each in her shop.
i) Domino: The Book of Decorating, $21.12 right here.
I can't wait to get my hands on this decorating bible. Perfect as a housewarming gift or those looking for some design inspiration.
j) Vintage Iron Jewelry Holder, $49.00 right here
I have wanted this forever and just haven't gotten around to ordering it. Great for girls, big and small. 
k) Large NYC Print, $60.00 right here.
I would literally take anything from Matte Stephens' Etsy shop. 
Happy Hunting!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

How to get what you want from Santa...

I'm pretty sure if you leave this out for Santa (in lieu of a plate of cookies) he will get you a Mercedes instead of the usual tube socks. Mainly because this is a CAKE. A white butter cake layered with chocolate fudge and homemade butter toffee chunks, covered in Italian white chocolate butter cream to be exact. Oh, and it's $130. 
I will eat the whole thing myself if anyone wants to send me one. Thanks.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

An Asian Inspired Christmas

Just got done working on some Christmas cards for one of my all-time favorite clients! Her only requirement was to incorporate the color red somehow, so we used this insane red floral Japanese paper as the focal point. I love how it looks with the metallic paper and shimmery satin ribbon band. And now I need to figure out how to hang this stuff as wallpaper because it is just that cool.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Recessionista Christmas, Pt. 5.5

This ties in perfectly a Recessionista Christmas – Jim over at Sweet Juniper! is giving away one of his lovely photographs (pictured below). All you have to do is leave him a comment with your first name and email address. And if you haven't read Sweet Juniper! before, now is a great time to start.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Recessionista Christmas, Pt. 5

If you are a fan of Seinfeld, you may recall George Costanza lamenting a childhood sans mantle.
I believe the exact quote (confirmed by Wikipedia) was, "If my parents had a mantle, I might be a completely different person."
I grew up without a mantle as well. And while I'm not sure I would have turned out any differently, it would sure be a heck of a lot easier to display Christmas cards!
Behold Domino's clever and chic Christmas card display. Notice there isn't a mantle in sight. 
They even say it's OK to use cards from Christmas' past. They do, however, suggest you spend $129 on a fabric bulletin board. I say to nix this silliness. Buy a cheapo cork board from an Office supply store, wrap in some leftover wrapping paper and go to town.
Click here to see how they did it.

A Recessionista Christmas, Pt. 4

I normally shy away from any of Martha Stewart's recipes. The ingredients can be hard to find and they tend to be very time consuming. Oh, and did I mention I'm not much of a cook? My dad still likes to tease me about the time in college he called to find me settling down to a dinner of toast and skittles. But I digress.
This is a great solution for a Recessionista Christmas – make 1 dough to create 4 different cookies. And it's easy, I promise. The orange spritz cookies are particularly divine.
{ image from marthastewart.com, recipes right here. }

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Recessionista Christmas, Pt. 3

I saw this idea for paper chains in the latest issue of Good Housekeeping and it's definitely worth sharing. They suggest double-sided scrapbook paper, but you can use just about anything. Drape it on your tree, wrap it around your banister or hang it from your doorways for a cool take on the retro beaded door. It looks pretty cool as they show it here -- piled in a pretty glass bowl.

Get the directions right here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Recessionista Christmas, Pt. 2

Every year Pottery Barn comes out with the most gorgeous tree skirts. And every year I ask, "if I'm not willing to pay $100 on a skirt for myself, what makes them think I'm willing to spend that kind of money on a skirt for my tree?" 
I figured there must be something in my closet to do the trick, and I was right. I have a wide variety of wraps and shawls that just collect dust for 95% of the year. They are PERFECT. One will work for a smaller tree, you might need a few for something larger. I felt like Linus wrapping his blanket around Charlie Brown's sad little tree. And I got a warm fuzzy.
{ $12.99 right here. }

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Recessionista Christmas, Pt. 1

It seems like everyone is talking about cutting back for the holidays, and for good reason -- the news headlines aren't exactly merry and bright. But that doesn't mean you have to forgo a stylishly decorated home for the holidays. This week I'm featuring fun tips and projects for those of us on a tight holiday budget. Enjoy!
I've been reluctant to purchase any new ornaments or other tree trimmings this year, and it occurred to me that I could create a fresh new twist on last years' tree simply by raiding my jewelry box. This works best with a smaller tree to get the most visual impact. Grab several pairs of drop earrings (those chandelier earrings that have been collecting dust --- perfect for this!)
You won't even need a hook - it's built right into the earring! Check it out -- my favorite earrings now grace my tree. Super easy and brimming with style! 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Survival of the geekiest

Remember in Napoleon Dynamite when Uncle Rico is trying to sell the 24 piece set of Tupperware and the lady sees the "incentive prize" and leans over to her husband and says, "I want that." That's exactly what I did when I saw this:
Now when I'm out being outdoorsy somewhere, I can also carry my plans for world domination in the nifty USB port. What could be better, I ask?
From $49.99 right here

Monday, December 1, 2008

Now if I could just find my Bedazzler...

Although Michael's has smelled like a pine forest baked in cinnamon for the past 3-ish months, I don't feel it's really Christmastime until the calendar turns to December 1. (I know, crazy!)
I'm pretty sure I could make this myself with the proper motivation (caffeine) and some of Martha's glitter. A more likely scenario will probably involve visiting Pottery Barn on December 26th and buying it on sale. Either way, it's $99 right here.
If you go, save me one, OK?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Gifts for the Deserving Hostess, Pt. 5

Welcome to the wonderful world of tea towels! Your hostess will appreciate the fact that these are anything but the plain jane variety found at your local superstore. And you can rest easy knowing that you didn't break the bank on a spiffy gift.
{ at left: $9.99 here, top right: $18 for 2 here, bottom right: $14 here. } 
{ at left: $18 here, top right: $16 here, bottom right: $9.95 here. } 

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gifts for the Deserving Hostess, Pt. 4

Lots of lovely picture frame options out there, folks. If you've got an embarrassing photo of the hostess, all the better. Just kidding. 
Keep it classy when someone is feeding you and providing you with intoxicating beverages. Here are six ways to do it:
{ at left: from $7.99 to $44.00 here, top right: $50 here, bottom right: $50 here. }
{ at left: $19.95 here, top right: from $15.95 here, bottom right: from $30 here. }

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gifts for the Deserving Hostess, Pt. 3

You can't go wrong with candle holders. Another great inexpensive gift that can easily be matched to your hostess' decor. And do her a favor -- bring the matching candles so she won't have to make a special trip to complete your gift. But avoid the smelly stuff. A vanilla factory may be heaven to you, but may make your hostess yack. I'm just saying. 
{ at left: $9.95 each here, top right: $3.99 each here, bottom right: $5.95 each here. }
{ at left: $32 a pair here, top right: $24 right here, bottom right: $49 a pair here. }

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gifts for the Deserving Hostess, Pt. 2

I've always considered aprons to be a tad on the dowdy side, but it tends to be a popular choice for hostess gifts. A quick web search has completely proven me wrong – there are so many cool aprons out there! I would even wear some of these out of doors if it were socially acceptable. Perhaps I can start a new trend. In the meantime, check out these cuties:
{ at left: $42 right here, top right: $40 right here, bottom right: $24 right here. }
{ at left: $39.95 right here, top right: $19.99 right here, bottom right: $19.99 right here. }

Monday, November 24, 2008

Gifts for the Deserving Hostess, Pt.1

I'm always on the lookout for a cool and unique gift idea, so this week I'm devoting my posts to gift ideas for the deserving hostess. Today I'm presenting some great finds from the world of salt and pepper shakers. Everyone needs them, they're cheap and, as I've found, they come in a wide variety of options to match the personality of your gracious host. 
{ at left: $3.95 each here, top right: $12 here, bottom right: $30 here. }
{ at left: $22.95 here, top right: $24 here, bottom right: $48 here. }

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gifts for the Wino

When I saw these, I totally did a Stacy London and said, "SHUT UP!"
And bear in mind, I hadn't even checked the price yet. I'm a huge fan of wine glasses, especially those that may fall in the "quirky" category. These are perfect, and prepare to faint when I tell you they are a mere TWO DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS apiece. Drink your sorrows away in high style for less than a Value Meal! (Wine is better for you anyway. Even the cheap stuff.)
{Vino wine glass and carafe right here.}

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Wedding of the Century

Unfortunately, I was not the chosen stationer for the Martin/Bernard wedding, but I still felt it necessary to share their lovely save the date.  
The groom has also set up a great website where you can follow the couple as they make preparations for this most important day. I wonder if Jim and Pam will set one up, too?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Holiday Greetings Giveaway

Lovely Liene at Blue Orchid Designs is hosting a giveaway this week that ends next Tuesday. The prize? Why 50 free Kelly Ashworth Design Holiday Greetings, of course! And all you have to do is leave her a comment about the things you love most about the holiday season. What could be easier?

{see the full line here.}
Good luck!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Borgata Bridal Event

If you are planning a wedding and you live in the Valley, be sure to stop by The Borgata of Scottsdale this Friday for An Evening of Elegance – The Borgata & Hilton Village Bridal Affair.
From the flyer: "Brides to be will find bridal gowns and jewels, live music, food samplings, wine tasting and wedding accoutrements (hello, custom invitations from yours truly!). Stay for a chic fashion show featuring resort wear and bridal party attire. Enter-to-win prizes make your dream wedding come true."  
From 4-7 pm this Friday. Stop by and say hello!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kate Spade, you evil genius

I have always been a big fan of Kate Spade and all of her wonderful accessories, but when I saw THIS...well. It was as though she instinctively knew that every stationery designer NEEDS a bag that looks like stationery. 
$175 for a PVC tote is a bit rich for my blood. Actually it's freaking ridiculous, current economic conditions notwithstanding. In the meantime, I'll just head into the bitter barn with this apropos Bah hum bug ski hat.
Oh, what's that you say? It's $115.00? For a ski hat? Maybe I can just Photoshop my face over the mannequin. In the meantime, you can find me hatless and bagless catching the first train to Bittersville.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Shameless plug for the holidays

The day after Halloween, one of the local radio stations began broadcasting Christmas music. So I suppose the holiday season is upon us! (Either that, or the holiday season has been prematurely forced upon us to boost ratings.)

I've lived in the Valley for almost 8 years, and I'm still not used to the blue skies and mild temperatures that accompany the holidays. In Detroit, the holiday season was all about dirty slushy streets, scraping the ice off my car everyday before work and shopping malls heated to a balmy 95°. It was glorious. And in all honesty, I miss it.
Whether you have embraced the arrival of the holiday season or you're scowling at all the tinsel, it's a great time to start thinking about sending out holiday cards! (Brace yourself for a shameless plug in 3...2...1...) Kelly Ashworth Design Holiday Greetings and now available in my Etsy shop! I have 13 designs available, and I also accept custom orders.
{ photos courtesy of EME Photography }
So visit Etsy! Place your orders! And to all a good night!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Getting Political

The Bright Girls came up with a clever idea for the October Display table at their lovely event gallery. In lieu of anything involving ghosts and goblins, they went for another theme sure to horrify many -- the 2008 Election.

I will admit, this was one of the most challenging table displays I've worked on yet. Not because the style was unusual or the technical aspects were particularly difficult. The true challenge was to provide a design that highlighted each candidate equally without infusing a lot of personal bias. You can make fun of each candidate and their respective running mates in a variety of different ways, but in doing so you risk alienating the other 50%.
So I tried to focus on the black and white of the parties. I incorporated donkeys and elephants where I could. I created "red state" and "blue state" place cards. And the menus mimicked a ballot, but instead of choosing a candidate based on his credentials, you got to choose based on his favorite meal. (Thanks to the Wall Street Journal for caring enough to dig up the candidates favorite restaurants!)
{ Neckties adorned the chivari chairs -- an idea inspired by Cicely! }
{ The country is divided. The tables are divided. }
{ With apologies to Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney. Donkeys and Elephants only. }
{ Place setting detail -- Barack Obama's seat complete with an "I heart Blue States" place card. }
{ McCain cookies from Tammie Coe. She has Obama, too. }
Special thanks to Keith Pitts for the images!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

As a kid, Halloween was always very exciting until about two seconds before it was time to go out trick or treating. This was because my mom would guard the door with our winter coats in hand. "You don't leave until you put this on." It's a memory shared by every child who did not grow up in the land of cacti.

Now that I live in the desert, I'm somewhat jealous of the kids who actually get to parade around in the costumes they intended to wear for the big night. Although this year, it's so hot I'm sure they could go door-to-door in their swimsuits if they really wanted. 
To console myself, I'm hoping to stop by Sprinkles to catch the last of the caramel apple cupcakes. Spiced apple cake studded with granny smith apples topped with a buttery caramel cream cheese frosting.
{ photo from the Sprinkles website }
Eat your heart out, kids. You may be able to enjoy your costumes in all their glory, but I guarantee no one will be handing these beauties out tonight! (I'm only a little bitter, promise.)
Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Designer Invites for Beer Budget Brides

This just in...I'm not sure if you've all heard, but apparently the economy is in tough shape right now? Weird.
Anyway, given this recent development, I figured it might be nice to come up with a new menu of services to cater to brides who are cutting back on their wedding spend. So in addition to my custom work, I will now be offering Design-Only Services for brides who still want the look of a designer invitation, but who are willing to take on the assembly themselves. I will meet with you, go over design options and even make recommendations about what tools you'll need, which techniques work best and so forth. 
The menu below (click to enlarge) is just a starting point, if you have a specific idea that I have not addressed below, just give me a buzz. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hitchcock for Halloween

If you're throwing a Halloween party and want to forgo the kitschy pumpkins and cats, consider decorating with vintage Hitchcock posters. All can be found here for about $15.00. Have your guests dress up to go along with the theme. Not too many ladies will think twice about dressing up like Grace Kelly or Kim Novak. But keep it classy -- no dressing up like "Ma Bates", please.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

New from the Norman Bates Home Collection...

Super cool for a Halloween party, but if you use it for anything else, I reserve the right to call you creepy and weird. $16 right here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

No Bones about it

I live in a new neighborhood where there are more homes under construction than residents. So unfortunately I don't anticipate any trick-or-treater's this year. I still looooove Halloween, though, and figured I might as well post a few neat-o ideas leading up to the big day.

{For the Love of God, 2007, made of platinum, ethically sourced diamonds and human teeth} 
Personally, I've never been very big on skulls, bones or the like. But I know these icons are enjoying a trendy moment, and they are ever prevalent this time of year. We can't all spend $100 million on one of Damien Hirst's creepy creations (the image above is a REAL human skull with REAL human teeth. Gross.) but we can head to our local Michael's and glitter us up some fakes!
Martha seems to be channeling Eddie Ross here with her wicked grin, no? Either way, my vote goes for these tamer glittery skulls presented ever so tastefully. Plus, it's easier to find glitter than "ethically sourced" diamonds, right?
Find the how to guide right here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Don't forget, it's time to shop!

Just a reminder to stop by the Holiday Open House at Bright Event Gallery in Old Town Scottsdale this Friday and Saturday! 
In addition to my line of Holiday Greetings and Highlight Books, I will be selling these cuties.
Set of three nesting boxes, $24. In green (shown), pink or blue. I've only got a few of each, so don't delay! 
It's finally nice enough to walk the streets of Old Town without suffering from a major bout of heat stroke. Oh, and this Holiday Open House is totally going to rock the most.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Be a gracious guest

You hear an awful lot about bridezilla's these days. But for every bride behaving badly, there are a bevy of wedding guests who could also use a refresher course in minding their manners.

I have encountered all of these indiscretions at one time or another, as I'm sure many of you have as well. These blunders are inexcusable and must be stopped, so I'm doing my own little part to bring these issues to light. I give you:
The Kelly Ashworth Design 6 Ways to Not Suck as a Wedding Guest:
1. RSVP in a timely manner
There is a reason the reply card lists a request for response by a certain date. Actually, there are several reasons. The caterer needs to know how many meals to prepare, the rental company needs to know how many tables and chairs to set up, the florist needs to know how many centerpieces to create. You get the picture. Don't make the bride call to ask if you plan on attending. In other words: don't be an anchor.
2. Pay attention to your invitation
If your kids' names are not listed on the envelope, don't bring them. If your name isn't followed by "and guest", don't bring along the guy you met at the club the night before. And DO NOT hassle the bride. We all know your kids are perfection in human form and that this new guy you've been dating for 24 hours is just the bees knees, but the bride and groom might be on a limited budget, the reception location may have a smaller capacity, etc.
3. Don't fuss about the food
I always try to dissuade brides from allowing guests to choose from several meal options because it can be a nightmare to keep track of everything. A great solution is to have a combination plate (chicken and shrimp, steak and lobster, etc.). If you have been given a choice, stick with it. Please don't choose steak and then become a vegetarian the night before the wedding. It's just one meal.
4. Sit where you're told
I had a guest at my wedding sit where she wanted instead of where her escort card indicated. She insisted that she would not move, that she was to be seated with the party presently in front of her. She obviously didn't realize (or just didn't care) what a domino effect this created, and the wedding coordinator had to scramble to find seats for the uprooted guests quickly. Please respect the seat to which you've been assigned. Again, it's just one meal.
5. Don't wear jeans
It's a wedding, people! Unless the invitations requested Canadian tuxedos, please leave the jeans at home. I understand the economy is tight and you may not be able to afford a new dress, but just make an effort. You'll blend in a lot better with last years' cocktail dress than you will with anything consisting of denim.
6. Don't behave like a hooligan
So dinner is over, you've had a few cocktails and it's time to party. This is to be expected at a wedding. However, this is not an invitation to behave like a complete buffoon. 
I have witnessed so many shocking displays of jackassery at weddings. I don't know that there is really any way to mitigate these shenanigans so long as alcohol is being served. Have a great time, just don't be that guy. You know the one I'm talking about. 
Emily Post sums it up best:
"The good guest is almost invisible, enjoying him- or herself, communing with fellow guests, and, most of all, enjoying the generous hospitality of the hosts."
In other words, don't spoil the wedding, weirdo.

Friday, October 17, 2008

October Charity

Save the ta ta's. Nuff said.
Click here for more info and to donate.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pumpkin rage and pretty lamps

I've started counting my calories again. In these tough economic times, it's cheaper to lose weight than replace all of the tight jeans I suddenly find in my closet. 

And of course it couldn't come at a more ridiculous time -- Halloween candy is everywhere, and all I want is a giant piece of pumpkin loaf and a caramel sauce latte. Liene didn't help matters with her Pumpkin Creme Pie post. My whole mouth filled with saliva and I started seeing spots. 
Bottom line...don't be an idiot like moi. Diet after the holidays like a normal person.
In the meantime, I have been finding distraction in my catalog/magazine addiction. Check out these lamps:
{ $169 for bedside and $199 for table, right here. }
I love this idea for a wedding. For a more casual affair, wouldn't they make a cool centerpiece? Fill them with personal trinkets, beads, buttons, seashells...you get the picture. I want one for every room in my house. And with all the money I'm saving by not buying new jeans...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bright Holiday Open House

The Dow is up 500 points! Get ready to shop!
Bright Event Gallery is hosting it's first annual Holiday Open House next Friday and Saturday. Stop by and say hello! I'll have my Holiday Greetings and Highlight Books on hand, as well as a few other nifty items available for purchase.
All the info is listed below on the flyer, and if you have any questions, be sure to give the Bright Girls a buzz at 480.656.0623.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

4 Years

{ Photo by Chris Holford Wedding Photography }
Happy 4 years, babe. I love you.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Highlight Books

I'm excited to announce another new product hot off the presses!

Kelly Ashworth Design Highlight Books are now available for purchase.
Highlight Books can accommodate up to 6 photos and can be completely customized to include captions and colors. You also have a choice of 17 gorgeous cover options. When open, the books measure 3"H x 18"W (or 3x3" when closed).
Highlight Books make great gifts or stocking stuffers, and can be used to show off your favorite photos. They can be used for virtually any milestone event including:
• Weddings
• Baby Announcements
• Family Events
• Vacations
Highlight Books are $15 each. Minimum order is 3 of the same design. Interested?
Just shoot me an email (info@kellyashworthdesign.com) and we can discuss your one-of-a-kind Highlight Book.