a sneak peek and a partnership with RSVPify

RSVPify Online RSVPs

I’m super excited to unveil something very soon that I’ve been working on for a while. Want a sneak peek?

Wedding Websites Featuring RSVPify

If you are a soon-to-be-bride, please come back next week for the launch of my new wedding website packages. I will be offering high quality, semi-custom, full featured websites built on the WordPress platform. Each site will include…

  • Free Premiere (single-event) membership to RSVPify (a $24.99 value)
  • Domain name (i.e. thepixelwedding.com/jackandjill)
  • Hosting on secure server
  • Mobile friendly theme
  • Gift registry
  • Venue information page with Google map
  • Photo gallery
  • Unlimited pages
  • Instagram Feed
  • Ongoing support
  • and much more…

Did you catch that first part? That’s right, I’m partnering with RSVPify to offer a one year, single event Premiere membership with the purchase of every wedding website.

I did a lot research when it came to a good online RSVP service that would be both easy to use and helpful to brides. RSVPify is the leader in online RSVP services, helping you quickly create simple, beautiful, and custom RSVPs for your wedding or special event. It was created for weddings, but works for reunions, corporate events, Bar Mitzvahs, etc.  Highly customizable, you can choose to create a unique url or embed it right into your website (which is what you get with my wedding websites). You control the look and the questions to ask.

Once your guest RSVPs, track them with an easy-to-use dashboard. You can group guest into couples/families/groups and even create seating charts with the drag and drop seating chart feature.

RSVPify is coming out with some exiting new features very soon and I’ll be posting more details on how to set up events using the Premier plan. Stay tuned!

So if you or someone you know are getting married soon, be sure to come back next week to check out all the wedding website goodies I have in store!

rsvpify-ad

diy chalkboard plate

DIY Chalkboard Plate

I recently made a plate wall. On it, I thought it would be fun to include a chalkboard plate that I could add fun little messages to.

But I couldn’t find anything in stores that I liked so I tried my hand at making something unique…a simple plate turned chalkboard plate. And then of course, I thought I’d make a tutorial. ;)

What you will need…

  • ceramic plate…any size or color
  • drawing compass
  • painter’s tape
  • packing/craft paper or newspaper
  • chalkboard spray paint (like Krylon‘s)
  • Xacto knife

Here’s how I did it…

DIY Chalkboard Plate

1. I chose to use a cheap, white plate I had purchased on clearance some time ago. Its nothing fancy…just your run of the mill ceramic plate.

2. Using my drawing compass, I eyeballed the middle point of the plate and drew a good size circle. There’s probably a scientifically mathematical way to find the exact middle, but all that exact science is lost on me. Don’t sweat it! It took me two tries to come up with a visually even circle.

chalkboard-plate-protractor chalkboard-plate-line

3. What I DID take my time on was tape prepping. Using painter’s tape, I cut off small sections and got very detailed as I taped along the pencil mark. I worked the tape a bit to curve each piece to make as perfect a circle as possible. Make sure the inside of each piece (closest to the pencil line is very securely adhered to the plate. You will be glad you take the time in this step when you get to step 8.

chalkboard-plate-tape-1 chalkboard-plate-tape-3

4. Be sure to leave the back end (the part furthest from the pencil line) of the tape up and not secured down.
chalkboard-plate-tape-2

5. Take your craft/packing paper and completely cover the perimeter of the plate, securing under the tape. Be sure to cover every square inch…unless you want black paint elsewhere on your plate.

chalkboard-plate-paper-1 chalkboard-plate-3

6. I took an extra step and secured the paper on the back of the plate. Spray paint travels! chalkboard-plate-paper-2

7. Now, using your chalkboard paint, spray a couple of coats on the plate and let dry between layers. Follow the instructions on the paint can.

chalkboard-plate-paint

8. Remember how I mentioned taking your time to tape in step 3? Well, even the best tape job will result in an imperfect paint job. But have no fear. Its easy to fix on a ceramic plate. Take an Xacto blade and carefully clean up stray, jagged edges. It comes off pretty easily.

chalkboard-plate-edges

Voila! That’s better. chalkboard-plate-clean-edges

9. As a final step, “season” your chalkboard plate by completely covering with chalk and wiping down a couple of times. It gives that authentic, weathered chalkboard look.

diy_chalkboard_plate

Write your message. I highly recommend Bistro Chalk Markers by Marvy. They are easy to write with, come in lots of colors, and wipe off clean.

Plate Wall

Good luck! If you make your own diy chalkboard plate, please share…I’d love to see it!

 

 

 

 

july digital design pack: celebrate!

Welcome to Summer! Is it hot where you are? Because its toasty warm (106) here in the southwest. We will be celebrating the 4th of July soon, so this month’s design pack is all about celebrating.

July Digital Design Pack: Celebrate!

July Design Pack July Desktop Organizer July iPhone Wallpaper july-ipad-sample July Facebook Banner

This month’s printable is a weekly blog post planner. Get prepared for fall when kids go back to school and you can return to a more consistent posting schedule (or, is that just me??). 

blog-post-planner

Print out the 8.5×11 PDF for a week’s worth of planning. The schedule lets you plan out post title, post ideas/links, etc. and a way to check off when you publish and share each post. 

You can purchase the pack or sign up for a monthly subscription (for a fresh new design each month) in the shop.

how to create a plate wall

How to Create a Plate Wall

About two years ago, I started swooning over these pins of plate walls I came across on Pinterest…

wall via

IMG_3716c via

artsy-plate-wall-sm via

I vowed that “A plate wall shall be mine!” to anyone who would listen and began to put my plan into action.

So here are the steps I followed in creating my plate wall…

1. Choose your space – This will determine how many plates you need and the ‘canvas’ that you have to work with. I chose the two walls surrounding a cutout in our dining area. I’ve seen some really cool ideas for wrapping the pattern of plates around a corner, from one wall to the next…love that!

2. Collect your plates - It took about a year to collect all the plates I needed for the space I had in mind. Near the end, I estimated how many more of each size (small, medium, large) I needed to keep an eye out for to complete my evil plan. You can gather similar designs or colors, but I really had no criteria…just anything that caught my eye and pleased my senses.

plate_wall_collection

Truth be told, I probably spent under $20 for all 18 plates I used. Some I already had, some were on clearance at Target and Home Goods, and most were from the thrift store. And a few, I painted myself.

painted_initial_plate painted_blooms_plate

Next week, I’ll show you how I made this chalkboard plate!

DIY Chalkboard Plate  3. Add your hangers – Plate hangers are expensive and can add up for 18 plates. Plus, I didnt want any hardware showing. That’s why I followed this DIY plate hanger tip from The Girl Creative. Ingenious! See her tutorial for more details, but basically, you just use Gorilla Glue (I’d recommend only using this) and some paperclips. Make sure you have the design on the front of the plate facing up and position the paperclip on the lip on the backside. Dab a pea size of Gorilla Glue over the paperclip. Let dry overnight.

plate_wall

plate_wall_paperclip_hanging

4. Do a trial layout and take a picture - Once all my hangers were attached, I did a trial layout right on the floor below the wall I was going to use. I highly recommend this step unless you’re ok with 137 extra nail holes in your wall (your Mister will thank you for this). Positioning each plate is tricky, so I wasn’t willing to just start going at it right on the wall. I used the width of the wall as a guide and started positioning my plates horizontally on the floor. Once I was pretty happy with both layouts (remember I was basically making two designs), I took pictures of the designs so I would be able to remember the placement of the plates.

plate_wall_left plate_wall_right

5. Using your photo, start hanging your plates! - I started with the left edge of the bigger wall I was working on and started hanging the plates. I trying to make sure the middle of the design was just above my eye level. I referred to my photo and positioned the plates equidistant from one another so I wouldn’t run out of wall space.

You will notice that the photo of my trial layout is different than my final product. Even with that step, I still had to make adjustments. When I stood back and looked at the design, it looked ‘heavy’ in some spots, so I swapped some plates and only had to re-nail a couple of them.

plate_wall-final_left plate_wall_final_right

Voila!  how to create a plate wall

Do you have a plate wall? I’d LOVE to see…please share. And stay tuned for a DIY tutorial on creating a chalkboard plate!

 

12 unique father’s day gifts

Unique Father's Day Gifts

Father’s Day is exactly one week away. If you haven’t found that perfect gift, don’t despair! There is still time to find and purchase a great gift for dad. Take a look at these unique gift ideas!

Unique Father’s Day Gifts

GorillaPod Flexible Tripod
Gear I Modern Wall Clock Gear I Modern Wall Clock (Metal) Chillsner Beer Chiller
81ByHEfWseL._SL1500_
Belkin Grip-Fit Handband
Saving Mr. Banks (Blu-ray) 51+Yf976LZL Samsung Digital Camera
25% off Carbonite fathers_day_carbonite TomTom Runner GPS Watch Beaded Metal Bracelet fossil_mens_bracelet
Winmau Dartboard Dropcam Wi-Fi Video Camera 51eCKxlCM-L._SL1500_ ToddyCold Brew System

 

 

This post includes affiliate links. It costs you nothing extra, but if you click on a link and make a purchase, the few pennies I may get will help make this blog more awesome.

summer fashion for the work-at-home mom

It’s summer and it’s hot. While I’m writing this, its a mere 106 degrees outside. Living in the desert has it’s challenges. One of them is finding something to wear that won’t leave you in a melted puddle of goo after 5 minutes outside.

Luckily, being a WAHM, I get to stay in my comfortably air conditioned home office most days so I really have nothing to complain about…I know this. But finding something cool, flattering and comfortable can be tricky.

So for your inspiration, here are a few summer outfits ideas for WAHMs!

via

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via

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I’ve fallen in love (again) with Polyvore and have created some summer sets too! (and if you want to follow me, I’m pixeldesigngal.polyvore.com)

pastels _wahm_fashion

coral_wahm_fashion

green_wahm_fashion

pink_wahm_fashion

Enjoy, WAHMs. Hope you stay cool…and fashionable!

tips on working from home during summer break

boys-and-me

I’ve been working from home since before my babies were born. Now that those babies are 13, 15, and 17, the logistics of my work-at-home-ery has changed quite a bit since those early days of juggling emails, potty training and wiping up spilled apple juice.

But, it is still a challenge, in different ways. Rather than chasing after their little diapered butts, I’m chasing after football schedules (which, might I warn you, will take over your life), pickup basketball games,  orthodontic appointments, and the like.

And when school is out for the summer? Yeah. Still gets really interesting. ‘Round these parts its hot outside and there’s just not much to do other than swim. Then there is still 3 football practices per week (did I mention high school football takes over your life?) and distractions that aren’t normally there during the day when school is in session.

It’s easy to get, well, bitter…to be honest. I battle the feeling of “You’re on my turf, punk”, and I don’t want to be that mom and give off that vibe. So each year I have to regroup and figure out a strategy that helps me get things done but also lets me enjoy the time I have with my kids (what little there is left of it).

So here are a few things I’ve done over the past few summers that I find really help me keep my sanity. Maybe one will help you too!

Tips on Working From Home During Summer Break

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA 1. Communicate your needs – I put this one first because its always the hardest for me. I guess I just assume everyone knows what kind of time I need each day to focus on work, but that’s not necessarily true. You’d be surprised how willing your hubby and kids will back you when you let them know (…nicely) what you need and expect of them. Things get done, hands pitch in, and there’s little misunderstanding when you communicate what needs to happen for you and everyone else to be successful. It becomes a team effort rather than “me against the world”.

2. Have a friend over - You’re like, “What? Add one more kid???”. But really, don’t you notice the change in dynamic when you add a friend to the mix? My kids are pretty self-entertaining, but they have more fun and I get a little break when there is a friend around so they can keep each other entertained. And the bonus? That friend’s mom may just return the favor to give you a nice little break!

3. Get out of the house - In the past, my boys have asked to “walk the mall” by themselves and though they’re old enough to go alone at this point, I like to tag along, at a distance. I settle into my spot at Starbucks with my laptop and let them go do their thing. It gets us all out of the house and gives us a little breathing room.

alarm-clock 4. Get Up 2 hours early - Sometimes I just need quiet to work. If the TV is on or there are doors opening and closing every 30 seconds its hard to focus. So I take advantage of the quiet of early mornings and get a few hours in before the summer sleepy heads get up.

5. Stay up 2 hours late - And if that’s not your thing…stay up a few hours later. Summer time usually means less early morning commitments, so stay up a little (a little…not a lot!) later and sleep in a bit . Let Jr. get his own cereal.

Bose Over Ear Noise Canceling Earphones

6. Use headphones - For my birthday last year, The Mr. bought me these awesome Bose noise canceling earphones. And I’m totally in love. I can plug in my headphones, turn on Pandora, and the outside world doesn’t exist. If your kids are old enough and you can safely block out what’s going on around you for a bit, I highly recommend it. Its actually quite relaxing, even though you’re still working.

7. Summer Camp - Summer camp is a godsend, isn’t it? Its good for kids and good for parents. We send our kids to church camp every year. Its a great time for them to get away to a safe, totally fun-filled location while we get a break. Our kids have attended UCYC (local to southern Arizona) and CIY. I’m a huge fan of both…and so are my kids.

Kangaroo Road Sign

8. Plan Ahead - If you have a job like mine, you can build in some flexibility for the summer. I try to schedule a little extra right before summer and right after so I can pare down a bit during the summer.

9. Turn down the non-essentials - Related to juggling my schedule, it helps to weed out the non-essential work related things. Especially in the blogging world, there are opportunities that don’t have to be seized. Perhaps cut back on your blogging frequency. Turn down a conference or product review opp. Personally, the summer isn’t the time I’m going to cram in a lot of work, at least not during this phase of life. My kids and my sanity are way more valuable than a nice PayPal payment.

10. Capitalize on your family time - Finally, capitalize on the quality time you can spend with your kids. If you have to get 6-8 hours in during the day, make sure dinner is a time to actually sit and have good conversation. Use a week vacation to not take your laptop and work, but to connect with your kids and soak them up.

It is more evidently clear to me every day how little time I have left with these kids I’ve been given. I’m pretty certain I won’t look back at these days and regret turning down that great project or saying no to that amazing opportunity. But I could regret not cherishing the short time I have with these kiddos. All you can do is recognize what your choices are, do your best, and forget the rest of it.

What do you do to make your summer successful as a WAHM?

 

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my top five…crowd pleasing desserts

My Top Five: Hosting Companies for Bloggers

This week for My Top Five, I’m sharing my favorite go-to crowd pleasing desserts. We do a lot of entertaining, whether its friends/neighbors over for dinner, hosting our small group, or celebrating a holiday or birthday. I like to have a few good dessert recipes I can choose from to feed the natives.

Here are some recipes I regularly use and have received high praises for (and requests for links!). Most were found on Pinterest.

1. Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

If you like salted caramel, you will love these bars from twopeasandtheirpod.com. It takes about 45 minutes to prepare and always receives rave reviews.

2. Strawberries & Cream Bars

Perfect for spring or summer, these Strawberries & Cream Bars from myrecipemagic.com are a creamy, fruity delight. (The Mr. is particularly fond of these).

3. Not Yo Mama’s Banana Pudding

Good lord, talk about decadent. I first found this recipe several years ago from Food Network and Paula Dean. Its been shared all over Pinterest and one place you can find it is at craftysisters-nc.blogspot.com. It doesn’t take a big piece to enjoy this old fashion comfort food.

4. White Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats

I love anything white chocolate. This rice crispy treat hack from livingwellspendingless.com is perfect for potlucks and such as it is easy to transport.

5. White Chocolate and Peppermint Covered Popcorn

(See, told you I like white chocolate…) I found this delicious treat on skiptomylou.org years ago and its it always a hit around the holidays. It makes a great teacher/neighbor/co-worker gift too.

I hope you’re inspired by one of my top five desserts and can try one out yourself next time you have to feed a crowd!

june digital design pack: shades of summer

Happy Memorial Day! I hope you had a good, relaxing day with family and friends, and that you took time to reflect on the freedoms and blessings we enjoy because of the bravery and sacrifice of so many. We are blessed!

This month’s design pack welcomes in summer. Are you ready for long lazy days, kids out of school, and sunscreen?

June Digital Design Pack: Shades of Summer

june-grouping june-desktop-sample

june-iphone-sample june-ipad-sample instagram-sample

This month’s pack has something a little different. Rather than a printable, I’ve created a filter for your Instagram and Facebook photos. And there’s more than just one. Head over to this post to see how you can quickly and easily create a custom ‘filter’ for your images…giving your personal brand and style.

You can purchase the whole pack or sign up for a monthly subscription (for a fresh new design each month) in the shop.