Friday, July 18, 2014

Big Ideas For Little Ones: Rain Sticks and Bottle Rockets

It's mid summer and chances are your kids are back from camp and bored with just about everything. We found a couple cool and cheap activities to keep them occupied, and don't tell them, but they may learn something new too! This post is from the University of Michigan health blog and you may recognize the little Martha-in-the-making who is demonstrating. She is Sophie, the daughter of my friend and former featured lady here on the blog, Erika Laszlo. Now go shake up some fun!

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University of Michigan Health Blogs

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Clearance Rack: 7-7-14

Good Monday to you! We've found some super cute deals on the clearance rack. These goodies are dorm room ready. Its never too early to stock up and save.

Today's Shop: Target

Cross Stitch Decorative Pillow - $12

These deals are typically sold online only, but remember if you use your Target REDcard shipping is free and you save another 5% off! We thought you should know! 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

July 4th, The All Star Break and Mid Year Beginnings

Happy sunshine y'all! The summer season is in high gear and at the precipice. It always seems to ramp up quickly after July 4 break. Doesn't it? I'm bracing myself to walk into Target any day and see all the back to school supplies. So, whats the tea with you and yours? Lots of change and planning 'round here. 

I've spent the last few months restructuring my career path and goals as well as some overall major changes for our little family. Everything poised and  pointed to our top priority of serving God in our home. Christopher and I have grown in our church fellowship and reflected on the next chapter in our marriage journey. As a result of that I have decided to move my work flow in a direction that gives us flexibility and for me fulfillment. After a few years of neglecting my creative side, I've found a new spark and have some fun and new launches coming very very soon. I mentioned earlier that I would be restructuring the Happy Home Maker too and that is rolling out with a few new focused features that are in line with our current doings.

Loving, Wearing and Caring for Vintage - Most of you know about my Vintage shop, Pack & Alley's on Etsy. If you haven't stopped by, please check us out we love visitors! Curating vintage has been part of my life since before I can remember and with that I have learned, sometimes the hard way, about all the tricks, tips and quirks of vintage items. Lots of folks have asked me great questions and I thought it would be helpful to share my hints here.

Big Ideas for Little Ones - Who doesn't like a little insight or help when it comes to all things kid related? There are blogs upon blogs dedicated to just this subject but it still doesn't cover everything. We'll just be offering our thoughts from our perspective and what we discover along the way. 

The Clearance Rack - You never know what you'll find, but when we find it we'll share it with you.

Knowledge Acquired - Guess what? I don't know everything. I do know a lot of really cool and interesting people and they know a lot of groovy stuff. We'll be having some guest posts, shared posts and stories that I have gained from and hope that you will too. 

Too Cool Not to Share - We just can't stop searching for beautifully designed, practical and just plain cool stuff. My designer spirit is always looking for inspiration and ideas and sometimes we complete a project or two. You'll catch it all right find a cool spot and join us for our mid summer launch of the new Happy Home Maker on Monday, July 14, 2014!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Growth, Change and Discovery

Hello Friends!

I hope this find all of you happy and well. It has been a few months since I have been on the blog. The break was both necessary and enlightening. When I began The Happy Home Maker in 2010, I was a single gal running my decorating business, traveling and serving my community. The blog reflected my interests and knowledge of design and trends. I set out to write about the definition of a happy home and the different way that looks to each of us and how we can all get there. My happy home now, in the first quarter of 2014, looks a lot different than back then and in some ways there are constants. 
I am a married lady to a wonderful husband that has opened my eyes to the culinary world and made food so much more meaningful to me. I have grown significantly in my faith and my walk with God. Religion has always been a part of my life, but now my relationship with Him is a daily discovery. My family has gone through changes after loosing my mother and at the same time we have deep hopes and dreams to expand our own little family. I have moved from interior decorating to add party and wedding styling as well as curating and selling vintage. This time away has given me new perception and re-energized my writing. Since I have grown and changed, I think the blog should shake things up a bit too.
The blog has slowly been morphing into a new identity over the last year. Some of the elements will grow and I hope you enjoy a more targeted format. I'll explain more about each one as I roll them out. Over the coming weeks you will see new sections that reflect the priorities and interests in my life for 2014. So please stay tuned!
I am so thankful for all of you that have supported and taken an interest in The Happy Home Maker we remain all things happy and all things home. You my friends, are welcome in my home anytime.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Cause For Giving - Christmas 2013 Gifts That Give Back

The season is upon us and its time to make your list of naughty and nice folks. Since you are gift giving anyway, wouldn't it be nice to support a worthy cause at the same time. No matter who you are buying for there is a gift that gives back for everyone on your list. You don't have to purchase directly from the organization or online either, many major retailers have partnered with select charities to create gift items. Here are some of my top picks:

St Jude Children's Hospital - St. Jude is a cause near and dear to so many of us. They have teamed up with more than ten different retailers such as, Target, Pottery Barn, KMart and Brooks Brothers.

Brooks Brothers
Brooks Brothers

Pottery Barn
The Humane Society of the United States - Of course we all love our furry babies and you can share that love with animals in need. Fred Meyer Jewelers has created a line called "PAWSitively Yours" to benefit the HSU. Who doesn't love a little sparkle?

Fred Meyer Jewelers

Fred Meyer Jewelers

Your Local Museum - In every town there is a museum that is an essential resource to link the past and present and expose every generation to boundless creativity. They are mostly underfunded and often overlooked as a place to find unique gifts such as this Frank Lloyd Wright Exhibition Wall Clock or a fabulous book of photography like Motor City Muse. I have chosen one of my childhood favorites but you won't have to look far to find your local museum gift shop.

Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit Institute of Arts
If you are looking for a clearing house of great ways to give and give back, TOMS founder of the One for One campaign has created the TOMS Marketplace. You can choose your type of cause and search items and companies with a cause. Like these awesome products:

LSTN reclaimed wood headphones
Starkey Hearing Foundation
Movember Shave Bag
 Combat Prostate and Testicular Cancer

Bella Beanie
Krochet Kids Intl 
OneHope - This organization began with its brand OneHope wine is produced in association with Robert Mondavi, Jr a well known and respected brand in the wine industry. OneHope supports a number of causes and has expanded into several related brands to further their cause. Cheers to that!
Pinot for Paws Gift Box
Supports ASPCA

Medal of Honor Limited Edition Box
Airpower Foundation to benefit the Medal of Honor Foundation

Celebration Gift Pack
End Childhood Hunger
The list goes on and on. With just a smidge of extra effort you can get exactly what you planned for everyone this year and attach a cause that is personal to you and to the receiver. Pay it forward y'all! Happy Giving!

Kiehl's Grapefruit Body Butter
No Kid Hungry

Abe Made Clutch
End Human Trafficking

Harry's Engraved Razor Set
City Year

Friday, November 22, 2013

Deck the Malls: Black Friday Survival Guide

Ready, Set, Shop. The dishes aren't even cleared from the Thanksgiving table and shoppers are off to the mall to get the season started with a cha-ching. Black Friday has become a sporting event that some savvy shoppers look forward to all year. So before you find yourself among the elbow throwing crazies, here are a few simple tips to make the day both economical and enjoyable.

Black Friday 101:

-Do your homework. My basic rule for saving money and time is to shop prepared. Make your list ahead and preview the items that are on sale. Most large retailers like, Target, JCPenney and Kohls have already released their Black Friday circular online. You can even use a site like to see all the ads available in one place.
-Load up on apps. Make sure your phone is loaded and updated with all the apps you need for your shopping day. Apps can be helpful to price compare and even provide additional discounts. My favorites are Target Cartwheel and Brad's Black Friday.
-Map it. Driving around is not where you want to spend your day. Map your route ahead to maximize time, parking and gas. 
-Shop with a buddy. Everything is more fun with a pal. There is a practical reason to shopping with a friend on BF. Parking will be an issue everywhere, so consolidating cars is both courteous and efficient. Also, split up and tackle different departments or shops for each other. If you do shop with a buddy, make sure you both have a game plan before you head out. Know how much time you both have, where you want to go and how you will divide and conquer.
-Take regular "rest" breaks. Seems like an obvious one, but getting caught up in the pace of power shopping can sometimes leave you in an uncomfortable situations. Take bathroom breaks regularly even if its not urgent. There is nothing worse than getting stuck in line for 30 minutes or trying to get out of a crowded parking lot and realizing you waited too long.
-Stay powered up and refreshed. Keep some power snacks in your purse and drink plenty of water. Getting overly hungry can make you edgy, but be courteous and do not take drinks or snacks in the stores. Crowded aisles and loaded carts may result in you or the merchandise wearing your Snickers bar.
-Layer up. It may be quite chilly outside, but often the inside of a store can be quite warm. Wear clothing that is comfortable and not bulky. Carrying around a big puffy coat through a crowded store will not make you happy or popular.
-You may be shopping but they are working. Finally, keep in mind that you may be in the store for 45 minutes, but the folks behind the register are looking at 8 hours ahead starting at the crack of dawn. Be respectful and polite to employees who are likely spread way too thin.

Have fun. Enjoy the festive vibe and be patient. Don't plan on a quick trip to any retailer on BF. If you are in a hurry you will only find yourself frustrated. Instead, raise your peppermint mocha and wish your fellow shoppers a Happy Black Friday! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Family Holiday Photos - Beyond The Tacky Sweater

Its that time of year again! The turkey is about to hit the table, Target is filled with Christmas everything, and amateur and professional photographers are planning the perfect family holiday photo. We've come a long way from the mug shot like family line ups in matching sweaters of the past. Now almost anything goes and the more creative the better. But, what to wear for such an important shoot? No more tacky sweaters. We found some family ensembles that are whimsical, fun, classic, and festive.

Lands' End is one of my favorite shops for classic looks at a great price. Its a great one stop shop for your families holiday look. I put together this example, but their are so many possibilities and another fun fact is they will monogram just about anything.

If your love a picture in your PJ's. Hanna Anderson has sets for the whole family including your pooch. Lots of styles to choose from to mix and match.
Of course there is always the classic and easy to coordinate looks from JCrew, Gap or Old Navy. Its a simple one stop shop for an affordable and comfortable style.

One of my favorite places to find something truly unique is Etsy. There are so many handmade shops that have inexpensive and fun looks that are very special. Here are just a few of my top picks for shops that create family ensembles.




A few tips to keep in mind before your photo day: 
-Think about scheduling, especially if you are dealing with little ones. Try to choose a time of day that will bring the most cooperation such as between routine naps and feedings.
-When using a professional, be clear in advance about your vision and location. Let the pro's give you their best recommendations for color and pattern and time of day to shoot.
-Don't get too caught up on the perfect pose. Pro's will tell you that the best shots are natural interactions between the family. 
-Finally, no matter what you wear, your best accessory is always a smile and a laugh. Have fun with your photos and you will capture a moment you will treasure forever. Happy Snapping!