Book giveaway winner...

Tuesday





Thank you everyone for participating in our first giveaway featuring the novel, "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet". This was an amazing read and lead to a fantastic adventure for me, exploring Seattle in a new way. I hope you all have a chance to read it!



Kathy, please email me at blog@designonce.com and let me know where I can mail your new book!

Free holiday label printables!

Monday


Do you have any good friends that you've been thinking about lately, but haven't been able to get together with?

I do. And I feel terrible and short on time during the holidays. So I'm sending them all one of these...



If you want to make these too, all you need is this:

treat + bag + sticker + stamp

In my bags, I put hot cocoa (I bought the Starbucks™ trio from Costco - different flavors and incredible packaging), my favorite sweets from See's and Ghirardelli and a few mini marshmallows.

I used up my ribbons I had from other crafty projects and created a few fun stickers to seal the bags. Each little package is so small they can even be mailed in an envelope. Who doesn't LOVE getting mail?



The labels are formatted as a pdf available to you immediately. Click here to download the file.

Once you put your labels (Avery #8293) into your printer you will be able to print from Acrobat rather than downloading any complicated templates. I've done the work for you!  If you need Acrobat Reader you can download it here.

I hope you enjoy these fun stickers as much as I did and use them to brighten up your holiday gifts!

Color inspiration is everywhere!

Wednesday



I am often asked if I have any advice about how to choose the right colors for a home. Whether furniture, walls, or a front door, that's an easy question to answer.

My advice...just look around you. Color inspiration is everywhere!



The circles above represent colors that I've sampled from the photos above. All of these objects made me smile! The yellow Vespa looks like a fun ride and the warm colors of the changing leaves are inspiring. Nature really is the best teacher when it comes to color.

Objects like these can help you on your path to choosing colors for your home. You can see exactly how the color inspiration above translates into a color choice for a home in the picture below. What a gorgeous front door!



Can you imagine this conversation?

Homeowner: "I have a gray house, what color do you suggest for our front door?"

Paint store: "Orange. Definitely".  (not likely)

This homeowner was not just daring but brilliant in their color choice for their front door.

My advice:

I always choose colors that make me feel good. It may sound corny, but it works. If you are trying to decide on a color for your interior, exterior, furniture or accents, be sure to ask yourself a few questions first. What do you want to feel when you see it? Calm? Inspired?

For example, I am usually trying to crank out creative work in my home office so I need to feel inspired. I decided on warm yellow walls to inspire me and all white furniture to act as a clean palette for each new project. The wall color makes me feel awake and ready to work while the bright white surfaces keep my mind uncluttered.

Of course, I had to make a mistake first in order to learn this lesson about color. I used to love the cinnamon walls at my favorite cafe. I loved them so much that I came home and painted my office that exact color hoping to elicit the same relaxing feelings I had at the cafe. When it was done, it looked amazing. Unfortunately, it was all wrong. Why? I enjoyed the cafe interior because it made me feel calm and relaxed, which was not the intended goal for my home office. Shortly after I painted the walls a cozy cinnamon color, all I wanted to do was sleep at my desk! Luckily, I learned an invaluable lesson about color that I can pass along to you.

I hope these ideas help you to find your color inspiration for your next project! I'd love to hear about it.

Emily Post's Etiquette book, in blue.

Monday



It has been alleged, by unnamed persons, that I purchase my household goods/needs based on color & design. Everything from Kleenex boxes, my iPhone cover - even the scissors on my desk.

This is my defense: I am charged with the duty of keeping our house stocked with necessities, I cannot be faulted if I'm drawn to...a certain color palette, allegedly, of course.

Last week when I was browsing the book section at Costco, this leapt out at me! I know, surprise. I had to walk down the aisle, you know, just in case I needed it. Turns out, it was a book I have wanted for years but I wasn't ever sure how it related to my life.

Emily Post's Etiquette book, in blue. Bonus.



Now that I am in my thirties and in charge of teaching said etiquette to my children - this book naturally fell into the "necessities" category and so, was quickly placed in my cart for checkout.

With the torrent of holiday parties that will soon be filling our calendars, it is the perfect time to pull out some helpful etiquette tips.

Look forward to "Mind your manners" week!

Plants and pumpkins? You bet.

Wednesday



Plants and pumpkins? You bet.

If you're like me and not sure what to do with your assortment of small pumpkins left over from Halloween, here is a great idea. Spruce up your outdoor container pots by adding your pumpkins, squash and gourds.

This is so simple and will add a bright touch of color perfect for fall just as your perennials begin to die back!

A book giveaway!

Thursday



This is one of those books that was almost impossible to put down.

I don't get much time to read anymore so when I get the chance to cozy up with a book, it has to be good. If I'm not captured in the first chapter I don't bother. This book did not disappoint!

About the book:

The story is a journey through the eyes of a young Chinese boy, Henry, growing up in Seattle during World War II just after the attack at Pearl Harbor. Although Henry's parents are very traditional Chinese, they insist that he attend an "all-white" private school to become more "American". He doesn't fit in. He faces all of the usual struggles of a 12 year old boy combined with the reality of discrimination and bullying as an after affect of Pearl Harbor. Eventually he meets "Keiko" a girl his age, at his "all-white" school, also there at the insistance of her parents who are Japanese. This becomes the premise of the entire book. An innocent but forbidden love. A struggle between respect for his parents wishes and becoming the man he has chosen to be.

The hotel referenced in the title is the Panama Hotel in Seattle. This is where Japantown and Chinatown were said to intersect.  Although this is a fiction piece, there are many references to actual places and historical facts. The video below narrated by the author, Jamie Ford, helps to explain the background of this story.







After reading this book I felt compelled to go on an adventure with my friend and see what "Japantown", or "Nihonmachi", looks like today and to visit the Panama Hotel. Here is what I found...



Jan Johnson, the owner of the Panama Hotel just happened to be sitting nearby. She was so gracious to spend some time sharing her experience with us and how she has worked to preserve Panama's history and treasures. I didn't realize that the hotel was fully functioning still and I am dying to go back for a tour of the basement!

Jan, the owner of Panama Hotel holding photos of the original space
The tea and coffee shop was such a cozy and relaxing atmosphere that I didn't want to leave.



If you visit the Panama Hotel Tea and Coffee House you will meet the sweetest bilingual barista with her notes beautifully handwritten in Japanese...



Below is a slideshow of photos from today's adventure at the Panama Hotel.

[slideshow]

You can read more about Jan, and what she has done for the community here.



To enterpost to your facebook account and let me know in the comment section.

To enter again: tell me one of your favorite books.

For double points: support the local community and go visit the Panama Hotel (or Tea & Coffee house), sign the guest book and tell me about it!

I will announce the winner in 3 weeks!

by mlekoshi