Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Featured and Featuring

Designing Life has been featured on Heart Handmade's site today:

I am very thankful for sites like Heart Handmade that seek to express the importance of buying from real people making real handmade items, whether digital designs or crafts.  This Christmas Season I am seeking to buy more goods directly from the source.  Sure, I am still visiting Target and checking out Amazon, but I am also buying more meaningful, personal gifts from Etsy.

Fine Silver Snowflake Pendant
Etsy Shop: Wild Dog Studio

Etsy has some of the best handcrafted jewelry for sale at very affordable prices.  At times I find myself standing at a department store looking at the racks and racks of cheap jewelry just itching to find the "perfect" piece, but I'm realizing that it is much better to depend on the craftmanship and detail of Etsy sellers rather than giving my business to large retailers who care nothing about whether their jewelry will last more than a week.  If I do have a problem, Etsy sellers are more than helpful to work out a solution.  Most times, there are no problems at all because the Etsy jewelry makers take pride in their work.  I choose to trust in a craftsman (or woman!) not a mass retailer.

Adventure at Sea: Hand Painted Purse
Etsy Shop: Louche Lab


I have a policy.  I want to put more money into my purse than what I spend on the purse.  This makes me a stingy purse purchaser.  In my opinon, Coach and Prada can keep their over priced "corvette" purses!  Thus Etsy is the ideal place to find affordable, stylish purses!  I fully expect that some of the Etsy sellers will progress to fashion designer stardom due to their unique and breathtaking designs.  Until then, I am more than happy to fund their passions by buying their wonderful purse creations.  Consider buying a Etsy purse as a Christmas gift this Holiday season.

Jellyfish Acrylic Painting
Etsy Shop: Henna Swirls


Personally, I feel that artwork is one of the most precious gifts that can be given.  That is, real art.  A random print from Kohls or from TJMaxx really doesn't count.  What time did the mass retailer spend preparing the piece?  Did they pour their heart into making the machines pump out copy after copy?  No way!  Etsy artisans pour out thier time and their hearts into each piece of artwork.  Even prints are an expression of dedication in cropping, matting, and framing.  My husband bought me a wonderful teapot print from The Joy of Color who is all the way in Israel as well as an original painting by Mad Art . . . I ADORE them both.  Want to give a fantastic Christmas gift?  Buy a masterpiece for your loved one!

These products are only a few examples of the Etsy shops wares, just imagine what you can find to cross another person off your Christmas list!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

About Designing Life

I blog and I write about design, but I have not given much of a formal introduction about who I am and why I design.  Let me introduce myself.  My name is Brooke Shambley and I started Designing Life because I firmly believe that everyone should be comfortable and happy in their own home. The services that I provide are intended to do just that, make your home a place where you can live life to the fullest. 
My products are affordable and priced to appeal to every day people going through every day life. Since my mother is a nurse and my mother-in-law is a teacher, I realized that I would never want to be the designer who priced herself so high that amazing people like teachers and nurses could not use my services.  My prices reflect my passion.  I have a passion to help spectacular people, not just people with a padded wallet.

As a military spouse, I also saw the need to provide design services to the frequent mover. Moving repeatedly means your home environment needs to be a consistent refuge that can easily move with you. I want to help those who move often have a place of refuge to dwell in from day to day as they face the changing world around them.

The phrase "Designing Life" means intentionally planning one's life.  I don't think that life is an accident and I wish to help people live in their home environment with a purpose.  A home should be a place that pulls a family together, assists them in attaining their goals, and especially, a home should never be a hindrance.  Designing Life means purposefully creating a home environment that promotes life.

Thank you for reading a little more about what Designing Life is all about and what I am all about.  If you are interested in finding out more about Designing Life check out these websites.

Feel free to e-mail me directly at:

designinglife at juno dot com

Friday, November 18, 2011

Homeschool Room E-design

Homeschool Room Design

This week I have been privileged to provide an E-design to a mother who is homeschooling her two children.  My client really wanted to make her School Room go beyond average and really be a room that would aid her children in their learning and not be a hindrance.  Most of the E-design was designed using existing furniture, but I was also able to add in a few accessories to complete the look and add to the organization.  Here are a few photos of her E-design as well as a some pinterest photos that were my inspiration.

A Storage Solution for the School Room as well as the Kid's Rooms

Each E-design includes storage solutions as well as ideas for increasing organization.  While toys are not a standard addition to a School Room, organized toy storage bins are a great way to begin teaching children to clean up after themselves.  Toys are not just for playing, but they can be a great tool for teaching.

A Placement Plan for her New Accessories

Since my client had plenty of existing furniture to work with my challenge was using her furniture in the best locations to aid learning.  I needed to create a space where she could stand at the whiteboard while teaching, a computer space, a reading nook, a workspace, as well as ample opportunities for organization.

A Furniture Floor Plan Using Existing Furniture

E-designs are all about the details.  These particular details will help to bring together her classroom and provide unique storage.  Both red, yellow, and green were colors that were reused throughout the room.  This floor plan shows the placement of these items throughout the room.


Here are some Pinterest pictures of my inspiration!

Source: via Brooke on Pinterest

Source: via Brooke on Pinterest

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Moving from "As Is" to "Just Right" in Your Home

As Is Vintage Eye Glasses - Etsy

I'm calling you out (and I'm calling myself out too)! Yes, you! You are living with your house "as is" and it's about time that you move on. When you go to a second hand store, you expect to find items labeled "as is." If you buy it, you plan to fix it or better it from that condition. No one would buy a product in "as is" condition and leave it that way. But we do it with our homes! We leave our home in the "as is" condition. Enough is enough!

From Etsy Shop:

From "As Is" to "Just Right"

One way to move on from having a home in the "as is" condition is by recognizing the areas of the house that are commonly ignored. Just because it's always been that way, doesn't mean that it is just right! For some, the area ignored is the garage, an extra bedroom, or a corner. Maybe all that is left alone is a pile sitting by the bed or a basket of clothes to be mended. No matter what area is left untouched in your house, it is time to pull back the curtains (or pull up the blinds, whichever the case) and get busy in your ignored area.

Moving from Room to Room

Each room has areas that are in "as is" condition. Maybe your pantry is an area that gets messy repeatedly and never gets straightened, or perhaps your laundry room has piles of lost socks sitting on the dryer. Why not upgrade your "as is" areas into being "just right" areas? Make a plan and make your life a little easier and a little more livable!

Just Right Doesn't Stay Just Right

Perhaps you have a room that was "just right" only that was four years ago! "Just right" can digress into "now wrong." You have new needs, new likes, and just as your life progresses so should your home! Keep your home moving forward and update those rooms that were perfect at one time, but need a change in order to keep up with where your life is at now.

In Our Home Sign
Maintaining It "Just Right"

Whenever you have a life change, your home may need a change as well. In order to maintain your home as a perfect dwelling, you have to recognize new needs that you have. Obviously, if you have a new child in your home, you have plenty of decor needs that will have to be thought through in order to make your home "just right." However, even a new job or a new hobby can bring about the need to update your home decor. You may need new storage for your new job in order to keep yourself organized. Or maybe your new hobby would be more relaxing if you repurposed a corner of your living room into a hobby corner. Think and rethink in order to maintain your home as it should be every day of the year!

Though we shouldn't settle for "as in" in our homes, remember the words of this plaque.  The home can look great, but what's more important is how you relate to others in your home! ;-)

From Etsy Shop:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

If Not Now, When?

I was recently faced with this question in the light of my personal life.  If I am not going to fully follow Christ now, when exactly would this happen?  While pondering this question, I realized that the shortened statement "If Not Now, When?" applies to so many areas of life.  If you are like me, you put off many things for later.  According to me, now is simply not a good time.

But if not now, when?

For me, I began to look at my house in the light of timeliness.  For all the projects I keep planning to complete, when would be a better time?  There is no better time than now.

I'm putting my house in order.  I'm cleaning up the piles that have collected because "I didn't have the time" to go through them.  I'm scrubbing up the spots that "I'd clean up later."  I'm painting the walls that "I'd get to sometime."  I'm buying items to help me organize my space that I thought that "I'd find the time to buy eventually."  What time is better?

I'm making my house a home today.  I'm working towards my goal of having my home be a refuge for my family and for others.  I want to be able to invite people into my home today . . . any day.  No room needs to be a room of disgrace.  Today is the day to open up the closets or the junk room and say "enough is enough".

Maybe your house isn't the only place you have stamped with a permanent delay.  Take this question and distribute it thoroughly in your life, there's plenty to go around!  Today is the day you have.  Tomorrow doesn't happen unless you do it today.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Modern Thanksgiving Decorating Ideas

Unless you are enamored with country style decor, I would like to propose that there are much better choices for Thanksgiving than the traditional country style Autumn decor.  Below are some examples of what not to do with your Thanksgiving decorating.  Keep your decorations bright and significant.  If it doesn't make an intentional statement, it may be making a statement you didn't intend for it to make.  A mix of neutral colors do not neccesarily reflect a classy Thanksgiving color scheme.  Just because they are all neutral and seem to blend doesn't make them a perfect match for your decorating this Fall.  Finally, mixing holiday decorations in a basket, hurricane, or vase does not create a foolproof centerpiece!  Stick with two main types of items when filling a hurricane; in this case, more is NOT the merrier.

Personally, I wish to decorate for Thanksgiving without abandoning my class and my taste.  I wish for the comradary of the country Christmas with the decor that says "I have style."  If you are guity of some of the decorating faux pas, don't dismay.  Simply tuck those tired decorations away and take a look at some new items to jumpstart your Thanksgiving decorating.

Modern Brown Design

Modern Orange Design

I hope you enjoy this collection of Thankgiving Items!  If you are interested in more Holiday Decor ideas check out my Holiday Decorating E-design!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Repurposing with Blackboard Paint

Repurposing with Blackboard Paint

I love repurposing.  When I see a picture of an object that has been recreated with a new purpose, I get a warm feeling inside.  If I love a home decor item, I hate to part with it.  Repurposing makes it possible to hold on without being a packrat!
Today, I'm blogging about repurposing with Blackboard Paint.  Whether you use traditional black or get all fancy with the colored paint, you can repurpose like nobody's business by simply painting an item with the blackboard paint.  Why have a frame, when you can have a blackboard frame?  Why have a jar, when you can have a blackboard jar?  Not only am I inspired, I am simply rivited by the accessibility of the chalkboard paint!  What do you repurpose with chalkboard paint?

Chalkboard Cabinet Door

chalkboard cabinet door

Whether you utilize a cabinet door from Home Depot or paint the door in your kitchen, using a cabinet door as a blackboard is a great way to repurpose and multipurpose.  In the kitchen, a cabinet door painted with blackboard paint can serve as a menu list, a reminder board, or even a grocery list!
Etsy Shop: (closed)

Chalkboard Dresser
chalkboard furniture

While you may be tempted to throw out your dresser when it is helplessly dinged and suffering from damaged corner, why toss when you can sand it and repaint?  Sand the edges and soften the dings, then paint your dresser with blackboard paint!  Check out how awesome this dresser looks with blackboard paint.  Not only can you play tick-tac-toe, but you can pattern the drawers and leave yourself reminders.  Label drawers on a shared dresser "his" and "hers" or in a shared child's room mark their names on their drawers.  The possibilities are endless!

chalkboard repurposed board book

I'm not sure about you, but my son has so many board books that I have them coming out of my ears.  Looking for a way to move on from the toddler years?  Repaint and repurpose them with blackboard paint!  Check out this blogger's Chalkboard Board Book Tutorial.  She gives excellent advise on completing your blackboard painting project.
Blog: (post gone, but still a great idea!)

chalkboard wall

Why stop with furniture, books, and decor?  If you want to make a statement that changes with a stroke of a piece of chalk, then paint an entire wall with chalkboard paint.  Check out this bathroom wall that was painted with chalkboard paint.  Elegant and entirely flexible!  Suppose you tire of polka dots, no problem!  Paint stripes on Friday!  Christmas time?  Draw holly or snowflakes.  Your blackboard wall of destiny is in your own hands!

Blog: (This blog also is gone.  Still a GREAT picture and idea!)

Start Your Project Blackboard Painting Supplies
Buy it here --> Blackboard Paint
Item to Repurpose

 Supplies Needed to Make your Own Chalkboard Paint

                         1 C. Flat Latex Paint

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Why My House Gets Messy

I am not sure about you . . .

But I have a monster in my house.

He's the reason it's messy,

There is no reason else.

He pulled the clothes out from my dresser

Took my dresses off their hooks

He even put my make up on

To see how it would look!

He ran into my kitchen

Left the coffee in the pot

I think he spilled some grape juice

That would explain the spot

Then he pulled the kid's toys out. . .

He must have had a heyday

Making sure he left one with wheels

Right . . . in . . . the hallway.

He must have gone in the garage

After he found our house a bore

I know because the boxes

Are now strewn about the floor

There is potting soil and mulch

Beach toys and shovels

I had no idea that monsters

Were so sloppy and disheveled.

There is no better explanation

Than a messy monster frenzy

My household couldn't possibly

Be so disorganized or so lazy.

I'm sure you must have a monster

Residing in your house as well

Let me know when you catch him

Who he is . . . . I'll never tell.
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