A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family
A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family

Thoughts on Necklines & Spring Cleaning

We’ve had a weekend of rain, and the first good shower all winter! I know, us Southern Californians don’t have much to complain about. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to stay indoors with warm cups of coffee, lots of imaginary play and to finish up a few house projects.

Imaginary Play | PepperDesignBlog.com

Imaginary Play | PepperDesignBlog.com

Imaginary Play | PepperDesignBlog.com

But warmer temperatures are infiltrating our weather here, when it’s not raining it is sunny and bright and shorts-worthy. I’m pulling dresses out of the back of the closet from my pre-pregnancy days which feels like finding hidden treasures! It’s been two years since I’ve sported most of these since I had a full term belly last summer. That led me to take a second look at the style of dresses that I consistently shop for and find flattering.

That’s a pretty simple concept, but taking a moment to make note of what fits and why makes shopping a funner experience (especially online). I can immediately bypass dresses/shirts/tunics/sweaters that don’t meet certain criteria without batting an eye, dresses like this one, this one and this one will look fabulous on certain forms, but don’t fit my body well (mostly because of how the cuts hit at my arms, neck or chest).

But those that fit well? Here are nine out of the many, many neckline cuts that I go back to again and again:

 

Wardrobe: Necklines | PepperDesignBlog.com

Scoop necksplit or notch neckline with loose or long sleeves, draping or wrap front (another great color)
loose overlays, spaghetti strap v-line necklinesboat necks with long sleeves
button up shirt dressGrecian v-neck (which start wide at the shoulders), dolman necklines

I lean on these because they feel comfortable to me. I feel good in certain styles, and I know that we’ve all come up with a list in our head of what those styles might be over the many years we’ve analyzed clothing on ourselves. It’s so nice to be able to reach into your closet, pull out whatever your hand finds first and to feel totally comfortable wearing it out the door. That’s the goal for my closet.

This is especially helpful when it comes to spring cleaning! Which is just around the corner. I want to keep only what is flattering, comfortable and multifunctional, a seriously lofty goal. (I’m thinking I’ll use this site to have a big sale soon). Bring on the spring!

PS I’ve heard of stretch limos, but stretching a cruise ship? This is too cool.

Tech Tip: Amazingly Simple Graphic Designs

One of my favorite things to do as someone who works in marketing is to put together a catchy, well-designed piece of marketing material that is both modern and memorable. But coming up with ideas, layouts, graphics, images, fonts and so on constantly… it can be tough! And you have to be a bit savvy at tools such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign to really make it happen.

Enter one of the coolest online tools I have found yet. Have you heard of Canva? Canva is a free website that features pre-made layouts, drag & drop graphics, fonts and colors making it easy for any user to pop in, pull together a professional looking flyer, invitation, postcard, brochure, blog graphic or even a Facebook cover, and publish it within minutes.

Tech Tips: Canva | PepperDesignBlog.com

You can see some of my saved drafts above – even the graphic from Liv’s camping birthday post was a Canva graphic (and it took me 2 seconds to create).

Liv's 3rd Camping Birthday | PepperDesignBlog.com

Here’s a little bit about how the tool works and a preview of the workspace:

Tech Tips: Canva | PepperDesignBlog.com

After logging in, 1. you choose which style of project you’re working on (i.e. a postcard or a poster), 2. an already designed layout for that project from their selection (or create your own), and finally 3. drag and drop from a library of really creative graphics (with and without editable text), fonts and images.

Above shows a sample of layouts available when I choose ‘social media graphic’, below a preview of the text graphics that you can include in your design.

Tech Tips: Canva | PepperDesignBlog.com

I upload my own photos for my work, but they have quite the selection of stock images available for a very small price (in the design world we pay big bucks for stock images). There is a paid portion of the site where you might shell out a $1 for something really unique, but I’ve used only the free graphics available and there are plenty.

It’s basically InDesign as a website. With most of the Illustrator work done for you :).

If you are a blogger, I highly recommend this for adding text and graphics to a pinnable picture of your projects – if you’re a mom, this tool is perfect for birthday invitations or photobook layouts – an entrepreneur or business owner? Check out the layouts they feature for business cards, posters and presentations.

I’m one for a super simple explanatory video, here’s Canva’s:

When I first joined it was by invitation only. If they ask you to hop on a waiting list I promise it won’t be long before they give you access. You must give it a try.

PS This is not a sponsored post, just another cool tool I’m sharing as part of a new series called ‘Tech Tips’. We’re two posts in, but if you’d like to check out the first on an email inbox management tool, it’s right here.

Bringing the Outdoors In, a New Houseplant Collection

On Sunday, while I was on my own with the girls for a bit, I took a trip to the nursery.

Houseplants | PepperDesignBlog.com

I am officially committed to bringing some of the outdoors in this spring and my office (which receives a ton of natural light) felt like a good place to start.

Houseplants | PepperDesignBlog.com

Houseplants | PepperDesignBlog.com

I have been drawn to clusters of potted plants lately… all of my inspiration is here. I’d post some of the actual photos with you but I’d rather you had nothing to compare to just yet.

After I got home that afternoon, I pulled my crazy assortment of collected containers from all over the house. I always knew that I was hoarding these pretty little vases, pots and ceramic odds and ends for a reason. Perhaps they were always intended for a serious houseplant collection!

Houseplants | PepperDesignBlog.com

At the nursery, I had been drawn towards a mix of lime, forest green and purple. When I had collected my pots I was happy to see that I actually had a little theme there, too in the form of bright turquoise, porcelain white and gold (with a navy and natural wood container here and there).

Houseplants | PepperDesignBlog.com

I had a rough idea of the final layout, but I played around a bit on our deck before choosing which plant would end up where. Most of these plants will grow fast and will need a bigger container at some point, but I have enough to go around! And I will just repot as necessary.

Houseplants | PepperDesignBlog.com

I chose to shop our local Armstrong nursery mostly because I wanted to pick the brain of an expert horticulturalist. I knew that I could find many of the varieties I was searching for at my local Lowe’s or Ikea for a lower price, but being the newbie houseplant lady that I am, I thought it wise to double and triple check that my selections were compatible with the space I had in mind, and to confirm on plant care. I was surprised when he actually rearranged my chosen selections a few times, but happy to bring home ‘easy’ varieties that would do well in indirect light.

While there, I picked up a bag of the recommended potting soil for my repotting purposes.

Houseplants | PepperDesignBlog.com

The one bummer about 90% of my saved vessels is that they don’t have drainage holes. This can be devastating for houseplants (and how I’ve previously killed several of mine) so I purchased plastic trays and used river rock in everything (and am crossing my fingers). The plastic trays mean that I didn’t repot those plants whose purchased plastic pots already fit in a container I have at home, I’m just putting a small plastic tray at the bottom of the actual pot to catch water and prevent root rot.

The river rock is something that I had on hand. I will use ice cubes for watering plants with river rock at the base so that water absorption is incredibly gradual in the soil, and so that no water pools at the bottom of the rocks.

Houseplants | PepperDesignBlog.com

When repotting, I used just a bit of the new soil and then most of the existing soil that the plants came home in. I gently massaged the roots to break them up before introducing them to their new home.

Houseplants | PepperDesignBlog.com

Houseplants | PepperDesignBlog.com

Aloe may have been what I was most looking forward to adding to our house. We grew up with a big aloe plant in my parent’s bathroom, when one of us had a boo boo we instinctively went to the plant, broke off a tip and rubbed our raw skin with fresh, gooey aloe. It was nature’s medicine at its best.

Here I am squeezing her out of her existing pot (no pulling, just squeezing) for replanting. She’s one that will definitely need a bigger pot in the future (again, fingers crossed).

Houseplants | PepperDesignBlog.com

A little bit of water for the startled plants as they adjust to their new homes, and into the house they go!

Houseplants | PepperDesignBlog.com

Houseplants | PepperDesignBlog.com

Houseplants | PepperDesignBlog.com

Houseplants | PepperDesignBlog.com

Those three wooden faceted planters are from Uncommon Goods and are possibly my favorites. They bring so much dimension and character with their usual geo shapes, they help to mix up a collection of round and rectangular pots.

Houseplants | PepperDesignBlog.com

If I start feeling like a crazy plant lady, I may break up my new collection and reallocate around the house. It’s already feeling verrrry houseplanty in here (but I’m not complaining yet).

On the plus side, I’m going to have a lot of clean air in this room.

Houseplants | PepperDesignBlog.com

Assorted pots were found at various thrift stores and garage sales, though I did pick up that gold guy and the ceramic white with black flowers at Anthropologie recently for a really excellent price ($12 each, maybe?). My favorite wooden faceted planters were c/o Uncommon Goods. They came with beautiful airplants which I was sure were artificial. Until they died. Now they are repotted with a very small ponytail palm that the gardner from Armstrong specifically recommended. The turquoise rectangular pot is from a going-out-of-business sale at a boutique in my neighborhood, the navy ceramic a find that I toted back from Iowa (wrapped in clothes and stuffed in a suitcase) two years ago. The gold chevron from this lady’s first business venture, original snake plant still going strong!

Plants include: above mentioned ponytail palms, rosette succulent (Perle von Nurnberg is the color), sedum ground cover in the rectangular turquoise pot, African violets in the white and black, aloe vera in my white urn, two different pothos’ (super easy to care for, I have one in the bedroom, too), a crawling fig (that will definitely need a larger pot),a snake plant and one fake impostor – can you spot him?

Houseplants | PepperDesignBlog.com

Wish my sweet little thumb luck!

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