12.19.2014

The Work-In-Progress Room

Also known as the guest room, the storage room, and the Alexa Z Design production room! Previously known as the do-not-disturb room, for safety reasons of course. The door was typically shut (tight!) because this room used to be a complete and utter disaster. As in, don’t even try to walk in because you can’t see the floor. Seriously. ;) I’m trying to find a good picture, it was a mess. It also wasn’t the best set up for a guest room and was nowhere near organized, so working in there was a disaster. I finally invested in a few key organization pieces (thanks Ikea!), gutted the room (aka got rid of a lot of boxes and junk), and now it’s so much more functional! While I choose to do most of my creative work at my desk in the playroom (as seen here!), this is where the real action happens! Printing, packaging, mailing, you name it. While this isn’t a complete before & after post, here’s a little sneak peak in one of our extra, work-in-progress bedrooms:

Alexa Z DesignAlexa Z Design business cards Alexa Z Design work room

This little room currently houses a desk/working station, a guest bed, dresser, and about five hundred other things. I still haven’t gotten around to painting this room (though I do love how white and bright it is! just needs a little touch up) We did manage to replace the dark green carpet with our laminate flooring and this cheap rug (from Walmart!) adds a great pop of (a way nicer green) color! I’m still on the look out for a good stool or something to fit right under the desk (though, most of the time I end up standing, so maybe I don’t even need one at all!)

you've got mail mug

My DIY You’ve Got Mail mug houses any writing utensils and supplies and I like to keep a stack of mailers, business cards, and other packaging handy on this desk.

alexa z design work room

While I don’t have a good system down for organizing inventory quite yet, I do have an actual inventory! Which is crazy, because when I started, I cut and print each print individually as they were ordered. (=time consuming!)  Now it saves so much time having each print all ready to go!

Little Explorer Print from alexa z design ikea wall organizer - alexa z design

Above my printer, I keep a supply of a variety of papers, stickers, and mailing labels for easy access. I used to keep them in drawers but this is so much more convenient!

green geometric rug from walmart let them be little print from alexa z design bird pincushion made by lara office and guest room office and guest room ideas

Our poor guests get to share a room with all my junk, but at least they get a super colorful bedspread, right? :)

don't freak out print from alexa z design stay flat kraft mailers packaging supplies

I keep hundreds of these stay flat mailers and plastic sleeves with chipboard on hand at all times. When I first started my little business, I bought thirteen of each and thought that was SO many. It’s amazing to see how much this little business has grown since then (all thanks to you guys!! :) Oh, and that Don’t Freak Out sign hangs directly over my printer for a reason. Me + electronics don’t always mix well. ;)

office and guest room space you are my favorite human being ever card mailing and packaging supplies alexa z design office

And of course, my favorite helper! She helps fill each plastic sleeve with chipboard (even if it does take ten times as long!) and adds price stickers to the back of each product (and all over herself!) Not to mention, she’s utterly adorable to work with.

And thus concludes our sneak peek and behind the scenes look at the production / guest room! I’ve had quite a few emails and questions lately about starting and running a business, and other questions about design work. If you have any questions you’re just dying to ask, leave me a comment below! :) I’d love to do a Q&A (and share some of my Etsy secrets) in a future post!

Frames, drawers, desk, baskets, bins, and wall organizer: Ikea
Yellow Dresser: Thrifted
Striped Duvet Cover: PB Teen (old)
All Prints:
Alexa Z Design

12.16.2014

Hi!

Oh, hey! Remember how I’ve been a real slacker about blogging lately? Yeah, me too. Let’s face it, blogging five times a week this holiday season has been an impossible feat for me. Ellie has been feeling under the weather (and Brian and I have been too!) We also have all the fun (and craziness!) that comes with the holidays: parties, events, shopping, you name it! And holiday orders in the shop have been insane (a good thing!) plus I’ve been finishing up my portfolio so I can actually graduate. Finally! So, while this month I may not be as consistent, I’m still here! And I’ll be popping in to say hello, just mayyyybe not as often as usual. ;)

Anyway! While Ellie has been sick at home for some the last week, we tried to cross off as many holiday activities as we could (ok, maybe two? Baking. And gingerbread houses!)  Here’s what we’ve been up to (you know, when we’re not watching Mickey Mouse in our pajamas at 4 o’clock in the afternoon ;)

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On the days we’re feeling better, we’ve bake. A LOT. But because we don’t want to spread any germs, we’ve kept them all at home and MAN ALIVE, we have too many! Too many I say! (And I’m a big believer in never having too much dessert. That’s how much we have!)

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Ellie loves play dough. As in, she sat at the table for hours one sick morning, squishing that salty dough around. We made snakes, and balls, and rolled it out, and she couldn’t have been more entertained. Also, her hair has become even more wild. Send help!

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Taken only moments after she fell asleep eating her dinner at the table, and was THIS close to falling smack out of her chair. Poor tired girl had her daddy catch her and put her in her bed….at SIX O’CLOCK IN THE EVENING! Being sick threw our entire schedule out the door.

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Annnnnd ginger bread houses. I was too lazy to make homemade graham cracker / homemade icing houses, so a store bought pink hello kitty house did the trick! Ellie COULD NOT stop eating the icing (it was really good!) and then we played “house” with the kitty and tree marshmallows for a good hour after. Until we decided they needed to go inside the house and it crumbled to pieces. The end of the gingerbread house (mostly because we were out of frosting…)

And thus ends oh so adventuresome week we had at home. Ha! Be back soon! XO

12.10.2014

Ugly Sweaters Welcome

It wouldn’t be the holiday season without a chance to wear a hideous sweater, right? We co-hosted a little Ugly Sweater party last weekend and had a blast! (Ok, it wasn’t really little, we had over 12 kids under the age of 6 running around! ;) We managed to NOT pick the live goldfish at the white elephant gift exchange (whew!) and stuffed ourselves with all kinds of delicious food. Unfortunately our last minute ugly sweaters from Walmart didn’t win the ugly sweater contest, but they were close. So close. ;)

Christmas Ugly Sweater Party
Printable Holiday Banner from Catch My Party
Christmas Ugly Sweater Party Christmas Buffet Table, recipes IMG_4270Christmas Ugly Sweater Party Ugly Sweater Party Voting Printable Holiday Ugly Sweater Party IMG_4279Holiday Ugly Sweater Party Christmas Party Buffet Table Funny White Elephant Gift - Live Goldfish! Ugly Sweater Party Printable

Ugly sweater printables from The Dating Divas, winter banner from Catch my Party, and bulb light banner from Paging Super Mom.

12.09.2014

How I wore it

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Oh, hey! Happy Tuesday! I’m doing something I rarely ever do on this blog….a fashion collaboration. Whhhhat? I know, I know, I’m NOT a fashion blogger by any means. But when Brooke invited me to participate, I couldn’t say no. I mean, I’ve solely been wearing yoga pants and leggings for the past two months straight, it’s about time I stop being so lazy when it comes to my wardrobe, right? ;)

For this collaboration, we were all given the same starting image as inspiration, with the idea being that we recreate the outfit with whatever we could find in our closets. No extra shopping involved. Here’s what we started with:

via

via Suburban Faux-Pas

And here’s what I came up with. I loved the pairing of plaid and fur, mixed with some boots. While a hat would have sealed the deal, I’m still on the lookout for the perfect one! (I have an insane addiction to hats. I love them. A whole lot.) Best part about this outfit? These jeans are almost as comfy as my typical yoga pants, and the plaid shirt and vest? So cozy. Perfect for a winter day.

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Shirt: American Eagle Vest: H&M Jeans: Forever 21 Boots: Hmm..somewhere online. (Cannot remember where for the life of me!)

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Looking for more outfit inspiration? I’m loving what all these ladies came up with, such darling outfit ideas. Check them out:
Brooke at Silver Lining | Kaycie at Redhead Memories | Meghan at King and Ford | Krystle at Krystle, Darling | Sierra at Sierra's View | Deidre at Deidre Emme | Danica at Danican Skywalker | Kyla at Fordology | Bri at Breezy Days | Aubrey at Dreaming About Someday | Megan at And Here's To You, Mrs. Robinson

12.08.2014

Mini Caramel Apple Pops

  This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TasteTheSeason

mini caramel apple pops

When it came to neighborhood gifts last year, I failed miserably. We were so busy preparing to leave for Christmas to visit my family, that I completely spaced any type of gift or treat for our generous neighbors and friends. This year, I’m determined to deliver something to everyone on our list (which seems to grow longer and longer every year :) So instead of buying store-bought treats (or caramel apples that cost $5 a piece!) we spent an afternoon making homemade mini caramel apple pops. Not only are these absolutely mouthwatering and delicious, they saved us some extra cash too!

mini caramel apple pops peanuts

Supplies Needed
we purchased all our supplies at Walmart
Caramel Apples4-5 Large Apples Sliced
Kraft Caramels or Caramel Bits
Lollipop Sticks

Toppings
White Baker’s Chocolate
Cinnamon Sugar
Planters Peanuts
Crushed Candy

Packaging Treat Bags
Ribbon

mini caramel apple pops mini caramel apple pops

STEP ONE: Wash apples and slice the outer edges into thin slices. Discard the middle section with the seeds. Attach each slice to a lollipop stick.

making caramel apples

STEP TWO: Melt Kraft caramels over stove (or in microwave) according to directions on bag. (Note: read all directions on the bag! I’ve had a few years of failed caramel apple making due to lack of following these instructions, haha) We did add a tiny splash of milk to thin out our caramel slightly.

kraft caramel bitsmini caramel apple pops

STEP THREE: Carefully dip each apple slice into the melted, ooey gooey delicious caramel. Make sure each side is coated evenly. I learned that if your caramel is too hot, it will not stick to the apple. Instead it just slides right off! To ensure that it doesn’t slide all over the place (and make a big mess!) let the caramel cool just slightly before dipping. Set aside on wax paper. Repeat with all remaining apples.

white chocolate caramel apples

STEP FOUR: Melt white Baker’s Chocolate in microwave for thirty seconds at a time, stirring in between. (Once upon a time I learned my lesson and tried to melt the chocolate for two minutes without stirring. Baaaaaad idea!) Once chocolate is oh so smooth and melted, dip each caramel covered apples in chocolate. Sometimes I like to leave a tiny bit of the caramel showing, to add some depth and layers.

white chocolate cinnamon sugar caramel apples

STEP FIVE: Before the chocolate has settled, dip into desired toppings. Some of my favorites? Cinnamon sugar, crushed candies or cookies, and Planters peanuts! I love having a variety of toppings, so when we gift them to large families, there’s always something for everyone!

white chocolate cinnamon sugar caramel apples

STEP SIX: Let chocolate harden on wax paper. Let me repeat, let chocolate harden. There’s nothing worse than putting your delicious, perfect looking treat into the bag and having it smear all over!

Mini white chocolate caramel aple pops

STEP SEVEN: This is the fun part, package it up pretty! I prefer to package my mini caramel apples in little treat bags, tied with a ribbon at the bottom. You can also poke a few in a little mason jar for easy delivery.

Holiday gift ideas

STEP EIGHT: Hand deliver! Congratulations, you just saved yourself some heavy $$ by homemaking these darling mini pops AND you probably made someone’s whole day.

Holiday gift ideas

If you need more inspiration, check out the Cooking Up Good website to find recipes, sweepstakes, loyalty programs, coupons and more. If you're looking for a holiday dessert to wow a crowd or a chance to win some awesome prizes, be sure to check it out.

Crhistmas Caramel Apples Gifts

P.S. Only TWO more Friday’s until Christmas!!!!!
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