Thursday, May 31, 2012

Design Star Recap and Big Blogger Blowout Giveaway Winner!

Who has had their DVR set to record this season of HGTV’s Design Star since last season? THIS GIRL! Anyone else?  I love this show.  I’m not big on reality shows, I know there must be something wrong with me. But this one – I love!  One of my favorite things about it too is being on Twitter and chatting amongst friends making critiques, jokes and bouncing off inspiration ideas off one another – join in next week with #designstar!

Ok so here’s my little rundown of Episode one of Design Star. 
Adorable cast:
groupshotdesignstar
(source)

They seem like a fun dynamic bunch, and I cannot wait until I’m emotionally invested in certain people.  In past seasons I’ve always felt like I become best friends with the cast members… like Emily and I, oh yah, we’re like “this” (she just doesn’t know it).  

Off the bat my favorite were:
Rachel

(source)

Britany

(source)

None of the boys stood out to me as instant favorites, but I’m sure I’ll grow to love a few of them!

So first challenge was to design a particular room of the mansion they’re staying in.  Some had some larger challenges than others as far as space and purpose of the room.  For instant the great room – that was a MASSIVE room to fill, not only does that take epic design skills to utilize the space well and fill it well, but to bring a purpose to the room.  But those with bedrooms, they purpose is already there, and they’re more to typical scale size of normal rooms.  They didn’t have those other obstacles to overcome.

Onto the room designs:

daniellelucagreatroom
(source)
Danielle and Luca did a wonderful job with the Great Room! The color scheme is RIGHT up my alley.  I love the neutrals and calm feeling of the room and I think will be a great “meeting” place for all the designers to relax and refresh their design palates after challenges. The molding was ingenious, it really brings your eye upward, and they brought the attention to the scale of the room rather then trying to hide it.  As the judges said, it may not have been the right molding but then again I’ve never used molding so I wouldn’t even know what kind would be the “right” kind.  I personally love the clean 90 degree angles used throughout the room, makes it feel balanced and cohesive. 
But, what stands out to me is the furniture layout.  It’s “TV” designed, not “real life” designed.  The chair placements and direction of conversations is too large scale.  It wouldn’t be practical to have people sit that far and stretch across an entire room to try and have normal conversations.  Creating two different spaces with the rugs would be “real life” ideal… but it looks pretty for TV as is.

BritanyMikelBedroomPics
(source)
Britany and Mike’s bedroom.  There’s not much I don’t love about this room! Britany’s feature wall of the lattice design – perfect!  It’s the right scale, I love the bright white contrast and the dimension it adds to the room. The entire color scheme is right up my alley too I love yellows, blue’s and whites.  Plus anyone that knows me knows I love my stripes and Ikat designs.  Plus that chair --- ohh that chair! The only thing not working for me are those beds, or the duvet covers.  I love the color and design, just something about the beds themselves… not loving. With a little more time I personally would have painted the built ins white with some time of contrasting fun color as the backdrops in the shelves. Also, another note on “TV set up” compared to real life… how about that ottoman just floating in the middle of the room?  A great TV space filler, but honestly any one in real life would have it closer to that chair.  But I was very happy to see that I love Britany’s design style as much as I instantly liked her!

HillariRachelDen
(source)
Hilary and Rachel’s Den.  Another girl I instantly liked and was happy to find out I liked her design style too!  The judges were in love with her contrasting color choices of the black wall and stand out white moose head.  While I think they were great fun choices for this room… they were a bit safe (which is okay, it’s the first round!)  They also were IN LOVE with that table of hers.  It is an awesome table… but was kind of thinking anyone could do the same thing with an Ikea table, corbels, and paint.  But then again, maybe that’s what is great about Rachel --- she has beautiful design that’s attainable by you & I!
I love this space, the contrasting designs, the flow of the room, and that chandelier! All beautiful.

KrisBedroom
(source)
Bex and Kris were an interesting combination... I wasn't sure if Bex really has that random design style as she showed in this room (her random piece of art) because it was her style or she just wasn't comfortable trying to mesh with Kris.  There were not many things I liked about this room... my "pickiness" came out in this one and I set up higher standards for them because they're designers.  Had I seen this room done by any of my friends, I'd probably think it was awesome.. but from designers... I think it was a fail.  I like the layered window treatments but felt the curtains could have been laid out better.  The starlight bed just seemed too "kid" style for the hotel feel of the room.  Also, the judges his the nail on the head when they said that a room cannot be a stand out design by just filling it with random pieces of "art".  I was not a fan of Kris's pieces.  When he said his taped off table was "genius" .... I had to disagree.  Am I too harsh?

MieraJordanBedroom
(source)
Miera and Jordan did a fairly well job on this room too.  But once again, I feel it fell just below "average" for a designers level of skill.  Had I done this room I'd be doing Happy Dances all over the place, but for designers... I feel they could have perfected a few more things.  Once again it's a color scheme I love, the blues, greys, yellows and wood accents are gorgeous together.  That white pin-tuck duvet cover?  Obviously I love... I have the same one!  And Miera's accent wall with the design is stand-out awesome... except I'm not sure where I stand with the hand painted look of the chevron lines.  When I was watching it, it was like nails on the chalkboard for me.  I am so particular for perfection on my own pieces, I would have t-squares, layers, frog tape,  the whole 9-yards out perfecting those chevron lines.  She... just winged it, and the judges loved that!  Perhaps I am too hard on myself and the hand painted aesthetic is more appreciated then I believe it to be?


yukiroom
(source)
Okay. Time for Yuki and Stanley's room.  My thoughts will be short because I feel like I'm getting on the negative train and that's no fun.  But honestly, these two were not my cup of tea.  I'm seriously hoping Stanley's design style is far different than what he displayed here, and it was Yuki's style that took over.  His sculpture was actually fairly unique and cool.  However, Yuki.... I don't know where to begin.  I guess I can appreciate her unique style and variety of colors? Maybe?  But the execution was far missed for me.  That collage, horrific.  Those colors, awful.  And yes, Yuki.. it was a Barney purple.

The winner! (of Episode 1... not my giveaway)
WinnerRachelDesignStarEpisode1
(source)
Rachel!
YAY! I love her style, she's a cutie plus she's from my hometown Minneapolis! Wahoo!

So that's my round up of Design Star Episode 1.... what were your thoughts about the episode? Who are your favorites? Were you sad to see Yuki go?

Enough rambling, the real reason you're here is to see the giveaway winner of the Big Blogger Blowout isn't it?
The lucky winner is:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations Laurie I'll be sending an email your way!
The last of the One Year Celebration Giveaways end tonight at Midnight EST for the "Etsy Shops I Heart" so be sure to join now if you haven't...

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A New Father’s Day Sign and the Must Have Product Giveaway Winner!

I hope everyone had a wonderful long weekend & a wonderful Memorial Day!  I want to thank everyone that came by last week for the One Year Celebration!  I’m putting together a goal list for Year Number 2 that once I’m done I want to share with all of you too.

Well, Father’s Day is right around the corner, June 17th, and I’ve added a new fun sign that’s the perfect gift for any Dad in your life! 

PBJcreations Man Cave Reclaimed Wood

It measures about 6”x20” and made from reclaimed wood with hand painted “Man Cave” adorned on the front, and the perfect amount of manly distressing!
It’s only $25 + $8 shipping, and available HERE!  Remember I love doing custom signs too so if you have a personal idea for something for the Dad in your life contact me and we’ll come up with details.  My Father’s Day gift custom sign deadline will be June 6th.

Another big thank you once again to Purdy Brushes, Cutting Edge Stencils, and Everyday Vinyl for sponsoring my Must Have Product Giveaway, and allowing one of my readers to win an AWESOME bundle package!  Well it’s time to finally reveal the first winner of the giveaway line up!
Drum Roll please!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations Erin!!! Check your email soon for further details how to get your loot!
Today’s the last day to enter my Big Blogger Blowout Giveaway until Midnight EST tonight, and then tomorrow ends the Etsy Shops I heart Giveaway! Join now if you haven’t already!

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Friday, May 25, 2012

From Then to Now - A Year in Reflection

Didn't you guys just LOVE those giveaways? So so happy to have so many amazing people come together and join me with my One Year Celebration! I heart them all for being so wonderful to my readers, and I heart all of you guys for helping me grow into another year!

Today I wanted to sit and reflect.  Reflect on how exactly far I've come in a year of blogging.  My typical go to attitude on myself is critiquing in a debby downer-pessimistic type of style.  What I do is never good enough, I always have to try harder and keep improving.  It's a good motivator, but it can start to wear me down as I never really sit and appreciate how far I've come.  It's been a year, it's about time I do that.

Wanna join me? GREAT! Okay so here's a few topics that I really want to take the time and reflect and share with you how I've learned and in turn, hope that I can teach you maybe something you didn't know?

Picture Quality
One of the easiest ways to see I've grown in my blogging is my experience in photography.  I am still a novice.  I essentially know nothing.  Well, one grain above nothing.
But the BEST decision I EVER did to achieve better photos for my blog, was to turn off Auto.  Between this ebook
, and a photography class I took with a local teacher, I learned a handful of things to get myself to be able to take pictures on Aperture Mode.  Almost instantly better pictures, seriously.  Another big improvement I've changed in my photography is I WAIT to take reveal pictures.  In the beginning of my blog, my husband was deployed so I did ALL my projects at night, when it's dark out and no natural light.  It's harsh on your pictures.  Having to compensate lack of light by using my cameras flash just revealed "flat" projects, there was no life or depth to them.  But understanding the importance of lighting and natural lighting, I try to wait to take any type of reveal picture until I can use natural lighting. 
It's a small step of improvement, but these images compared side by side show the slight changes I've made to achieving better pictures.  I still have SO much to learn, but that's added to my "To Do" list for Year #2!

Photography skills, improving in a  year

beforeaftercollage2

Also, are you wondering why that one frame was on its side? Yah apparently I thought doing a project reveal of the oversized “S” didn’t “need” a staged ready photo and left that frame icture on its side.  (Still doesn’t answer your question of why is it on its side though did I? Yah … was “sizing” up if I wanted that frame on its edge for the current subway art).

But you see the improvements right? Way better lighting makes the photos way more appealing to the eye I think.  Not only did my decorating improve (did I really leave my shelves like that before?) but having layers of decor creates depths of field, and adds to a better result in the picture.

Writing Skills 
While my specific "style" has not changed (I'll always write more conversational than formal) but I've learned a lot about SEO search words, key phrases, and properly titled posts.
SEO search words - Once you write your post, take a moment and read back through it and highlight specific topics that stand out in your post.  Then using Google analytics type in specific words you use, and find similar search terms that are being searched by others and try to use those throughout your post instead.  This will bring your post to the front page of Google search results more often, which drives you more traffic. 
Also try to use a variety of words, rather than being repetitive.  When you reread your post, if you see you use a certain word more than once, try to use a synonymous or a different descriptive word.
Use Google Adsense Keyword Tool {image below} for an easy way to find key phrases that people are searching.
Google Adword Keyword Tool

Taking the extra 5 to 10 minutes to reread and make these changes could be the big difference of how large of audience your post reaches.  By using keywords you're opening yourself up to new readers and people searching for terms that you are writing about. 

Styles of Tutorials
I have a DIY & Tutorial page dedicated to showcase most of my projects and how to's and it's fun to see all the projects I've done over the past year (sometimes it's a bit hard to stay on top of it and keep it updated... mental note to add that to my list of way to improve in Year #2). 





I've noticed that I'm less likely to do "simpler" DIY tutorials now.  In the beginning a did a lot more basic tutorials because that's what I was learning too and wanted to share with my readers.  But as I grow and learn how to do more I do less of those types of those "basic' tutorials, and try to do a lot more unique and in depth projects and DIY's.  I do a lot of small projects around the home that almost seem to do a tutorial would "bore" my readers, so I don't include those in my posts anymore.
I have wondered if that's true... or if I'm missing opportunities to still connect to new readers.  I mean we all start out somewhere. 
What do you think?  Do you think as a blogger grows, they should grow with the style of tutorials they do?
Or do you think the occasional basic tutorial is a great way to connect with readers?
Would love to hear your opinions/thoughts/rants in the comments!


Blog Design
My blog design hasn't changed too much.  I'm still within a similar realm of where I began a year ago with PB&J because I'm used some of my favorite colors and designs.  I dug up my original header that I had up for my blog, and logo and wanted to share them.  Aren't they precious?
 
PBJstories

That picture is of my son's adorable little bum bum and him carrying around his best friend, Monkey. I designed my own first logo of PB&Jstories in Picnik too. I love that my logo is essentially the exact same, I've stuck with the grey and yellow and typically use aqua for any additional accent color. One of the hardest things about starting a blog I think is to understand the importance of the name, design, and niche of your blog.  I’m really happy that I came up with the name PB&Jstories, and a year later it still “fits” and has become my brand.

I still am not sure if I belong in a “niche” specifically.  I know I fall under the DIY bloggers, I mean that’s what 99% of my blog posts are about.  But, I keep coming back to the idea of being more relatable to my readers.  I don’t want to just be tutorial content and how-to’s.  I want to write more “in between” posts that get my readers to know me, and my style.  I want to connect with my readers and have a sense of community.  What do you think?  Do you like blogs you feel connected too or are you just reading for the how to’s and looking for project inspiration?



Really has been a great year!
I cannot wait to see what the second year of PB&J brings!!!


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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Etsy Shops I Heart Giveaway



The final giveaway for my One Year Celebration is here!
One of my biggest accomplishments of my first year of blogging, was opening up my PB&Jcreations Etsy Shop.  It was a big jump for me to make, and believe in myself that I could take the leap and I have had a wonderful experience since I started in October.  I have these ladies to thank for my initial belief and love of Etsy.  Each of these women have their own store (technically Ashley from TSP isn't on Etsy.. but just go with it) and each have their own beautiful items. 
I personally love the experience of shopping on Etsy, and being able to communicate with the buyer, and as a store owner, I LOVE communicating with my buyers. 
I want to personally thank each of these women for their generosity in opening up their Etsy shop to my readers and sharing their amazing goodies with you!  I hope you love each of their shops as much as I do.  One winner will win the $135 value prize! 

The Shine Project

Why I love Ashley of The Shine Project:
I have followed Ashley for quite a long time and her amazing adventures she encounters being the voice behind The Shine Project.  She is a truly amazing person and is one that makes this world a better place.  If you're unfamiliar with what The Shine Project is, I highly suggest you take a moment, click on over to her blog and read up on all she does to make the world a better place.
I was a sponsor of hers in April and loved feeling "a part" of that community.  After working with her for that month I decided that I wanted to continue to contribute and made two exclusive signs in my Etsy shops for The Shine Project and am donating 10% of each sale of the signs to her Shine Scholarship fund. 

What she's giving you: 
One Yellow TSP shirt (as seen in the picture above) ($20 value) 

The Shine Project's purpose is to inspire you to live the highest quality of life obtainable,


and to motivate you to join our efforts in making this world a better place.
We have many events set up around the country, and would love for you to get involved!
The Shine Scholarship Project is a non-profit that was created by TSP
to put our beliefs in action.
Its mission is to improve the lives of at-risk teens through service, education, and family involvement.
We do service projects with inner city students every other week to teach them
the leadership skills that are necessary for them to succeed.
The money we raise goes to sending these leaders to college, so they can give back to society.
You can read more about how to get involved HERE. 

Cindy of Blessed Design Studio


Why I love Cindy of Blessed Design Studio:
Where do I begin? Cindy is a bloggy bff of mine.  We've been close for quite some time... and I can say we're legitimately close because we share secrets via email that are BFF worthy status!  We came across each others blogs way back in the beginning.  She was the winner of one of my giveaways, I in turn came to her for some design ideas for my blog, and we've just been going back and forth supporting and helping each other grow ever since.  She has redesigned my blog twice, she's guest posted for a couple of times, I'll be hanging about 25 of her printables in my son's new gallery wall (if and when I ever get that motivation). 

What's she's giving to you:
$25 Store Credit to her Etsy Shop
 
 
Cindy is a proud stay at home mom to 2 wonderful children. She started off designing birth announcements in 2006 when her son was born, then she went on to graphic design services for businesses. She loves to design anything from banners to blogs and ads. 


Rachel of Saressa Designs




Why I love Rachel of Saressa Designs:
Rachel was one of my first Etsy shop owners I reached out too when I started blogging to do a giveaway with because I had purchased a necklace from her and was absolutely in love with it.  She was so wonderful to work with she was truly the one that gatewayed me into shopping on Etsy more and more as I loved the connection shoppers can make with the store owners.  I've watched her beautiful shop grow over the past year and she has done some amazing work.  Her gorgeous jewelry pieces have even landed in the hands of celebrities!  All her pieces are handcrafted with such detail and care, you can truly see her dedication in her work. 

What she's giving to you:
$40 Store Credit to her Etsy Shop


Saressa Designs features wire wrapped gemstone jewelry designed and hand crafted by Rachel Hughes. Her jewelry is primarily composed of precious/semi-precious metals & gemstones and also incorporates brass, copper, Swarovski crystal and glass. She strives to create quality jewelry that is both classic and contemporary; that you will wear time and time again.

Pamela (THAT'S ME!) of PB&Jcreations



I could not join in on the fun and be a part of at least one of my giveaways this week! As I've said, this week of celebration is truly about YOU guys, my readers, my followers, my supporters.

What I'm giving to you:
$50 Store Credit to my Etsy Shop


Now for the chance to win! One winner will take all, a $135 value!
Giveaway runs from May 24rd to May 31st 11:59pm EST.
(Quick shout out to the other giveaways going on: My Must Have Products and Big Blogger Blowout ! Join those too!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Big Blogger Blowout Giveaway!

I am so honored that so many amazing fellow bloggers have joined me in for my One Year Celebration!!  These women have meant so much to me my first year of blogging, each has helped me in their own way and I am grateful for all I have learned from each of them.  I am speechless they're all here helping spread the love to my readers and joining in the celebration.  Once again, you'll get an introduction to each amazing talented ladies, I'll chime in with why I heart them oh-so-much and what they're sharing with the big winner! This giveaway bundle is so so amazing and can truly help anyone that has their own blog, or even small business!  The winner will win all these prizes with a total value of over $200 !!!! 

Kristen Duke Photography

pbjstories one year giveaway

Why I love Kristen Duke Photography
:
Dear Kristen, you commanded, I listened, I improved.  A few months after I started blogging I started researching how to take better pictures for my blog and I stumbled upon Kristen and her AMAZING photography blog.  I purchased her "Say No to Auto" EBook as my first step to dedicating myself to my blog, to my readers.  I wanted better pictures, and she was right, I was using Auto.  Her EBook was the first step I took to taking better pictures.  It's easy to understand, she writes to every day people, to me, to you, to anyone.  It's the first step I'd recommend to ANYONE looking how to take better pictures!


What she's giving to you:
Say No to Auto Ebook & Get Focused Ebook ($22 Value)



Kristen Duke is married to the man of her dreams, mother of 4 energetic children, lifestyle photographer in Austin, Texas, and blogger worldwide. Her site is a showcase of her portrait work, home projects, favorite recipes, and photography tips. She teaches camera workshops, and is the author of Say NO to Auto, an easy-to-understand photography book on learning the basics of a "big fancy" camera. Her daily musings can be found at www.KristenDukePhotography.com

Jenna of SAS Interiors

pbjstories one year giveaway


Why I love Jenna of SAS Interiors:
Where do I begin?  Jenna is a dear close friend of mine, yet we've never met.  She is someone I would call on in any situation.  She's been a mentor of mine for quite some time and I've been lucky to work with her on our second blog, DailyDoItYourself.com.  She is better than my "good conscience" she is one of my biggest supporters.  Her interior design company is AMAZING and she has talents as a blogger, as a designer, as a person, and as a momma that I can only dream I could reach.  


What she's giving to you:
125x125 Ad spot on SAS Interiors for one month ($35 value)

Based in Upstate NY, Jenna is an Interior Designer and Home Decor Blogger of SAS Interiors.  Through her business and blog, she strives to inspire and deliver smart, stylish, and sophisticated design solutions for the home. Whether you are looking for an experienced Designer to assist you with your next project or searching for some do-it-yourself inspiration and creations, SAS Interiors is the right place. While Jenna offers an array of design services to local homeowners, you can also take advantage of her expertise through her E-Design services no matter where you live.  And if you're simply in need of some interior design inspiration, decorating tips, or do-it-yourself ideas, the SAS Interiors daily blog will get your creative juices flowing. 


Kristin of Simply Klassic Design


Why I love Kristin of Simply Klassic Design:
Kristin has been a bloggy bud of mine for quite a few months and I adore her.  We stumbled upon each others blogs way back when and I could tell we appreciated each others styles even though they differed.  She is one of the bloggers I envy (but in a supportive uplifting way), she always acts like she has priorities in order.  She is able to balance an amazing blog, an amazing family, and an amazing design company.  How do these amazing women do it?


What she's giving to you:
Basic Blog Layout for your blog ($60 Value)
(includes: custom header, column formatting, solid color background, grab button, signature, color-coordination of links, text, and titles, removal of blogger navigation bar, design installation)


I am a thirty-something working mom enjoying life in beautiful Southern California. I am a mother to my spirited son and daughter, who both take my breath away each and every day. I love to cook and bake, and craft when I have the time. I enjoy decorating and organizing my home, and I have a passion for digital design. 

For me, blogging started as a way to share recipes, and soon evolved into a collection of my favorite recipes, craft & decorating ideas, photography and stories about motherhood and adoption. I have shared and gained so much more than I ever thought I would. I have made many friends, found some amazing inspiration for recipes, photography, crafts, parenting and just life in general.


I am self taught in blog design, and the design process has proven to be immensely rewarding. Simply Klassic offer competitive pricing on blog designs that are tailored to your unique personality and taste. For details and pricing information, visit my website simplyklassicdesign.com


Ann Marie White House Black Shutter



Why I love Ann of White House Black Shutters:
Have you ever read a blog and thought to yourself, "This girl and I could rock the streets together!"? No? Hmm... well Ann & I could rock the streets together!  She is someone that I felt an "instant click" with via blogging.  However, I may not be able to stop applauding her long enough to rock those streets due to the fact she has three kids (under 3!), AND an amazing blog.  She is the DEFINITION of true balance!  How much do I love this girl? I'm just so willing to share a bed with her -- that's right.  In a month we'll be snuggle buds being roommates at the Haven Conference!!!


What she's giving to you:
Facebook Timeline Design Package ($100 Value)
(Includes:
cover photo, thumbnail, about me description, 10 featured stories images on their page, and six tab images)

Ann Marie is a mathematician turned DIY gal, who blogs about renovating and decorating her 75 year old home while raising her three kids (who are 3 and under). She likes bonfires, margaritas, spray paint, flip flops, and Queen. She loves graphic design and has designed her page and others on Facebook, Blogger, and Wordpress.


Now for the chance to win! And win BIG! One winner will take all, a $217 value!
Giveaway runs from May 23rd to May 30 11:59pm.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My Must Have Products Giveaway

It's time for the first of three amazing giveaway bundles I have planned for this week!  The first to kick off this celebration is prize bundle of some of my most FAVORITEST products I've used my first year of blogging & DIY's.  I'm here to celebrate these companies and to share them with you.  I want you guys to experience some of the most amazing top of the line products that once I used them once, I'll never switch from them.  You'll get a little introduction to each company, I'll chime in and let you know why I love each and every company.

Purdy Brushes
Purdy Brushes

"Purdy® has been making quality handcrafted painting tools since 1925 and is the choice for those who want to enjoy their painting experience and get the project done right."

Why I love Purdy:
I have used Purdy brushes for about 6 months now.  These are my ALL TIME FAVORITE brushes ever.  When I first started doing DIY painting projects, I purchased whatever brush was the cheapest.  I didn't buy into the higher end brushes being truly better at that time.  I thought it was the painter not the painting brush.  Well, then I finally purchased my first one - a 1.5" XL Glide.  I honestly could not believe how comfortable they were, how much easier painting was with them, and the best part - how easily they cleaned and kept their shape!  I've been using that first one I bought still, 6 months later, and it still had it's initial shape with no frayed bristles or anything.
They are by FAR my must have painting brush.  I've also recently used their roller brush on my son's bathroom make over which I loved too!


What they're giving to you:
A 2.5" XL-Glide brush ($14 value)


Purdy also sponsors YouCanSaveTheWalls.com - site where consumers can go to get painting and decorating advice from HGTV design star Lisa LaPorta. There is a lot of creative ideas offered plus a great tool to help you pick which brush is best for your project.


Cutting Edge Stencils

pbjstories giveaway, cutting edge stencils



Why I love Cutting Edge Stencils:
Working with a stencil can be quite difficult, and it was one of my first biggest DIY projects I took on after starting PBJstories.com.  I ordered their Moroccan Dream Stencil for my Painted Curtains and was so impressed with their high-quality stencils.  Shortly after I did my first giveaway with them and loved the turn out from it.  It was one of the first companies I ever contacted as a new blogger and was quickly relieved how kind and courteous they were, not only to me as a customer but as a blogger to work with.  My second project I did using their stencils was my Kitchen Pantry Makeover which I used the Fuji Allover Stencil and LOVE the pattern.  They truly love their customers and are always willing to go the extra mile to help them with their projects.  They even have an entire YouTube channel filled with informative videos to help you with your stenciling projects! 

What they're giving to you:
A $50 value towards any stencil of your choice + a stencil essentials kit which includes dense foam 4" roller with red handle, Natural 5/8" White Bristle Stencil Brush, Clip-on Stencil level
($70 value!)
Cutting Edge Stencils is the offspring of the professional decorative painting company, Spec Fin Designs. After using stencils as part of their decorative finishing company for years, Greg Swisher and Janna Makaeva wanted to shift directions and share their incredibly user-friendly and cost efficient designs with the world. Janna Makaeva is the real driving force behind Cutting Edge. Janna ran her own decorative art business before joining forces with Greg. Her Masters degree in Zoology and Botany allow her to design incredibly accurate animal and plant stencils. Janna also has a love for pattern and ornament and has studied both graphic design and fine art.
As experts in the field of decorative painting, Greg and Janna offer a number of How-To-Stencil tutorials on the Cutting Edge Stencils website for free. They strongly believe in sharing years of experience with their customers at no cost so that everyone and anyone can see how fun, easy and rewarding stenciling can be. Together, Janna and Greg have a common goal. To produce the best stencils available today to give You the Cutting Edge at an affordable price.

   
Everyday Vinyl

pbjstories one year giveaway


Why I love Everyday Vinyl:

Everyday Vinyl has been a personal favorite and my go to company for all my vinyl needs!  I've had my Cricut for almost a year and make monthly purchases from them.  They've also been PB&Jstories longest standing sponsor too! They offer fast shipping, great prices, and such a variety of vinyl color selections.  They also offer the new Silhouette Cameo from their website, which you could use your winning Gift Card value towards!


What they're giving you:

$25 store credit


Now here's the chance to win all these amazing prizes!
Giveaway will run May 22nd until 11:59 EST of May 29th.  One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter and will win all the prizes offered in this giveaway.  Giveaway is for US residents only.


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Monday, May 21, 2012

From Then to Now: My Favorite Projects of PB&Jstories


It's been a YEAR ... a whole year of blogging.  A year of me rambling, and you guys listening (.... are you crazy? Who wants to listen to me for a whole year?)
Well, let me tell you how GRATEFUL I am... or let me say how grateful my husband is... finally someone else to listen to me go on and on and on

Well, what other way to jump start my ONE YEAR CELEBRATION than to reflect.  Reflect on what I've done around this brand new home we've lived in.... I could let the list go on and on... But I'd like to keep you guys around for another year.

I'll keep my favorite projects limited to a list of 5 (+1 sssshhh)). 

Have you been around the whole year?  Are you already familiar with all these projects?  If so, I applaud you - this is why my one year celebration is about YOU guys.. and not me.  I handle myself everyday, I'm celebrating the fact YOU GUYS have listened to me for a whole year :)

My most favorite of favorite projects:

The Kitchen Pantry Makeover
kitchen pantry organization labeling food
Why do I love it? 
Functional
Organization
Beautiful

Master Bedroom Makeover
master bedroom yellow grey diy projects

Why do I love it?
The color scheme
I still smile at it every night when I am crawling into bed
Pushing myself to start and complete so many DIY projects

J's Locker
kids bedroom organization red furniture

Why do I love it?
Bright bold color
Functional
A fun piece made just for J

Lyrics Wall Art
wedding song lyrics wall art

Why I love it
Jump started my love of making signs
Personable piece of art
One of a Kind

Hide Away Printer
 office bedroom printer storage organization

Why I love it?
Functional
Innovative
Saves space

Painted & Stenciled Curtains
Cutting Edge Stencils painted stenciled curtains

Why I love it?
Thrifty
Beautiful
Trendy

It's been a good year! I cannot WAIT to see what else I cross off my To Do list in the next year of blogging.  It was a good year, I hope to make the next one even better!

Thanks for all the love and support from each and every one of you.  While I may do these projects even without this blog, it's you guys that keep getting me off my bum and get to these projects, so Thank You!

I have an awesome week lined up for you guys!!! I truly wanted my One Year Celebration to be about my favorite experiences, people, and companies of my first year of blogging and to share them with all my readers.  I have three amazing giveaway bundles over the next three days.  Each day will be a new giveaway with one winner – each giveaway is jam packed with amazing prizes from amazing people.

Here’s the schedule:
Tuesday May 22nd: “My Must Have Products Giveaway”
Guest Line Up: Purdy Brushes, Cutting Edge Stencils, Everyday Vinyl
Wednesday May 23rd: “The Big Blogger Blowout Giveaway”
Guest Line Up: Kristen Duke Photography, SAS Interiors, Simply Klassic Design, White House Black Shutters
Thursday May 24th: “Etsy Shops I Heart Giveaway”
Guest Line Up: Blessed Design Studio, Saressa Designs, The Shine Project, PB&Jcreations

Plus, I’ll be finishing off the week with some more end of the year reflections and looking back on my year and sharing how far I feel I’ve come, and what I’ve learned.
Hope to see everyone back here tomorrow and the rest of the week for all the exciting things coming! Let’s get this party started Winking smile


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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Road Trip to Luckett’s Spring Market 2012!

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Bucket List Item # 41: Go to Luckett’s Spring Market
I was so excited to be able to go up to Luckett’s this year!  I’ve been counting down the days since a year ago when I first heard about it when I got into blogging. 
I drove up from Virginia Beach and drove the 3 & half hour drive up to Angie’s house where I stayed Friday night.  It was the first time we’ve met, it was the first time I’ve met a “blogger” I’ve become friends with in real life, it was the first time I’ve demolition a shower (what? Yah – that happened!)
Side note for Angie’s Family: They’re big, and wonderful, and full of energy.  I loved meeting them with my whole heart and grateful for their hospitality.  However, if you ever journey to their home, be ready to be put to work.  Let’s just say that we ended up at Lowe’s that night, and demolitioned a shower that her hubs originally started THREE YEARS AGO.  Apparently I just give off DIY energy and make things happen!)

Alright back to Luckett’s, so here I am all packed up and ready for my drive! ROAD TRIP!

PBJ portrait

Angie and I headed up to Luckett’s Saturday morning and it was beautiful out! 
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Let’s get our shopping on!

Okay enough rambling here’s a full line of pictures from our day!
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How cute would this be in a kids room!!?
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In LOVE with these mirrors and lights:
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Card catalogs make me swwwwwwwwooooooooooon:
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And finally we stumble upon Miss Mustard Seed’s booth! YAY!
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{She’s in disbelief} AND probably going to shoot me for posting this hahahaha.

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Gorgeous signs, gorgeous furniture, gorgeous products! She’s one talented lady!

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Me, Marian & Angie

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Her adorable Tshirts!

And some snap shots of the scenery and set ups:
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I was LOVING these frames:
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And these signs:
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I someday will have an entryway that can handle the size of that orb as a pendant light:
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And I will have a room filled with industrial letters:
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One of my favorite purchases, a MASSIVE frame:
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And a cute smaller one:
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Here’s some of the other goodies I got too!

lucketts fair goodies

Stay tuned for posts with those items because they’ll be put to GOOD use in my home!

If you went to Luckett’s and wrote about your awesome time & shared your loot be sure to share with me in the comments!

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