Easter EGG-celence!

Well, the preparation for Easter has commenced! And it's bunnies and baskets and candy - oh, my! But really, we're all about the sentiment and meaning behind holidays. Where is the heart in all the candy and egg-hunts?!  Easter is such a spiritually rich holiday.  And although the pastels and chocolates can be sickening, we must admit we have a true affinity toward the Easter Egg, as a symbol. It signifies rebirth and new life. Even the act of dying the eggs reflects the transformation that happened with Christ and in our own hearts. 

And the Easter Egg is a beautiful outward physical expression of our NEW life in LIVING COLOR! What a glorious display of this vivid new life in Christ we live! And boy, did we ever find the most BEAUTIFUL hand-painted eggs! We believe these GORGEOUS Easter Eggs are the perfect purchase in light of the holiday. Wouldn't they be a great reason to start a new collection?! Or how about a different egg each year as a sweet gift to a loved one? They are truly worthy of a glorious display, just like our heart for Christ. Show off those vibrant new-life-colors!!!

"Therefore, if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone--and see--a new life has begun!" - 2 Cor. 5:17

These beautiful eggs were designed and hand-painted by Katya Trischuk. If you'd like to see into her design process, you can watch this video.

Five Chunky Knit Blankets to Keep You Warm

It's dreary and cold in Dallas today. So while I'm stating the obvious, let's just talk about how we are ALL ready for Spring to be here! But in the meantime, we sit in the reality that is crazy Texas weather that has surprised us by frosting our windshields and "blessing" us with a snow-day or two. Honestly, even though I'm getting a little bit of cabin-fever, and ready for a few days of warmer weather this week, I really have been enjoying posting up on the couch next to the fire (that my husband so graciously started for me (since I have a habit of forgetting to open the chimney flue...). And there's nothing better than having that perfect go-to blanket (and of course, your furbaby) to snuggle up with on the days when you're trapped inside, left to cozy up to a good book (or lets be real, binging on the new season of House of Cards).

Here are five of our FAVE Chunky Knit Blankets that we are seriously swooning over! Stay cozy!

xoxo - Ali

Plum & Bow via Urban Outfitters

Plum & Bow via Urban Outfitters

via Ohhio

via Ohhio

via Ohhio

via Ohhio

Plum & Bow via Urban Outfitters

Plum & Bow via Urban Outfitters

 

Now on Bloglovin!

First things first - I'm now on Bloglovin!  Follow me here.

Just a quick update for all of you out there (a grand total of probably 10 people at the moment) who have been following, or are interested in following, my creative journey with me:

I have been reflecting A LOT lately about Thistle & Red. About blogging, about being creative and doing more of what I love. Even though Thistle & Red, in theory, started as a blog, in the upcoming months and years I believe it will evolve into so much more. And I've very excited about everything that is in store! I have so much to share and show you, and you will get a front row seat on this crazy ride that is starting a creative adventure. I'd LOVE for you to join me!

I'm going to shoot you straight: I don't know how consistent I will be in my blog posts at first. Not because I'm non-comital, but because I want to make sure you are getting GREAT content, and not just mediocre "junk." Which is why my last post was months and months ago. The timing just wasn't right. 

But really, I've come to realize, these things, they're a process. They're not always perfect, or refined, and I have so much to learn. And I'm ready to get the ball rolling, even if that means a very slow roll to start.

Thistle & Red as a blog will just be insight into my creative musings. You will get to see this thing evolve over time, and I'm anticipating it's going to bloom into something BIG & BEAUTIFUL. 

So here's to watching our dreams grow! I'd love to hear about how you're dreams are growing, too! Feel free to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!

xoxo,

Ali

DIY Pillow Project

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Sometimes I get this itch. A creative itch. Like this itch inside that screams "If I don't do something creative I'll just be miserable until I do!" And I have this habit of having great creative ideas, going out and purchasing everything I need to start my project, and...that's as far as I get. So, I was determined to start and finish this project in the same day. My lovely mom was coming over to spend some time with Asher (my little man of 15mo), so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to dust off the old sewing machine (she so nicely let me borrow the last time I had the itch).

We put our brains together on what would be quick, easy, and cheap (Lord knows my husband is at his end on all the lost investments in my past itches) - and we, and when I say we I really mean my mom, came up with the brilliant idea to make an envelope pillow cover. They are quick (if you don't get crazy and add pom pom trim), super simple, and easily accomplished in an hour or two (or 5 like it did me).

I love how this little pillow turned out! The painterly paisley fabric, and the bright blood orange pom-pom trim bring a nice playful pop to the room- exactly what I needed to compliment the painting behind the bed. I have a small obsession with pom pom trim at the moment, so I had to incorporate it...which made the project take 5x longer than it should have. I am a bit of a perfectionist, so sewing around those poms posed a bit of a challenge and slowed me down A LOT.  But it was SO worth it! Isn't she a beauty?!

If you have a sewing machine handy, and a few extra hours on the weekend, this is a great beginner DIY sewing project to add the perfect accent to any chair, sofa, bed - you name it!

Here are the instructions (adapted from iheartstitching, if you need visual step by step instructions):


DIY ENVELOPE POCKET PILLOW COVER

MATERIALS:

  • Sewing Machine
  • Fabric (and coordinating thread) of your choice (mine was an on-sale steal from JoAnn's) - amount of fabric should be measured based off of instructions below
  • Trim of choice (mine was from JoAnn's but found a better selection of colors for less on Etsy)
  • Pillow Insert (mine was a 13"x21" from Restoration Hardware)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cut front piece: 1 inch bigger (all around) than finished pillow size (mine was 14" x 22")
  2. Cut back pieces: Cut 2 pieces 2.5" smaller in width than the front piece (mine were 10.5" x 22")
  3. Fold and Iron back pieces: One long side on each back piece, fold and iron 1/4", fold over again 1/4" and iron
  4. Sew 1/8" seam on ironed part of back pieces
  5. Pin trim to back side of front piece and do a baste stitch to hold trim in place
  6. Pin back pieces inside-out to front piece (overlap in center) with the trim on the inside (not showing once all pinned)
  7. Sew 1/2" seam allowance all the way around the pillow
  8. Cut corners at 45 degree angle (make sure you don't cut into your stitch!) to allow the corners to be less bulky when turned right-side out
  9. Turn right-side out & iron seams flat
  10. Enjoy!
 

xoxo - Ali

Wallpaper Wonders

Pinapples, peonies, and city toiles - OH MY!

In my dream home, I WILL have Rifle Paper Co. adorning my walls! So beyond excited for this recent and much anticipated launch with Rifle Paper Co. and Hygge & West! It is the perfect blend of metallics, color, and pattern with dreamy subject matter. I could only imagine a different pattern in every room! Peonies in my kitchen (persimmon or mint, I can't choose!), Pineapple ebony in my powder room, the romantic Queen Anne taupe in my bedroom, safari sky blue in my kids room, city toile in the office - The ceiling, a feature wall, all walls floor to ceiling - the options are limitless!

Enjoy basking in the painterly whimsy of Anna Bond's strokes of genius! 

xoxo - Ali

Wearable Tech | Part 1

So, you should feel super special today. Why? Because I'm sharing information that I secretly like to keep to myself. It's the selfish side of me that says "This is insider info! You could be the "cool" little fashionista, the FIRST with the awesome new product! The envy of all your friends!".  And then I think "But SHARING is SO much more fun!" So cheers to sharing fab finds with friends! Ya'll are going to love these little gems I dug up! Take a looooong look at these beauties (and try not to drool):

@getringly #wearables

@getringly #wearables

The wave of wearable technology is growing, ya'll! And I can't be more excited to share where we're headed! From the over-advertised Samsung Galaxy Gear Smart Watch to the Nike Fuel Band and everything in between, wearable tech got off to a great start, wowing and wooing us to be the great consumers that we are! I myself, just received a Jawbone UP24 band for my birthday, and love it!  After a good run of fitness and techy-friendly wearables, the wearable-tech world has started to take a hint from the fashion universe. The thoughts from all the fashionistas out there (including myself) was "We love that your stuff can do cool things, but how am I ever going to wear that black rubber band around my wrist next to my beautifully elegant Hermes bracelet while carrying a chic Kate Spade clutch?"  It just doesn't work.

Enter Beacon & Lively and Ringly.

These two companies have got the right idea! Beautiful fashion-friendly jewelry with the technology to boot! The fashion and tech worlds have officially collided - hallelujah! Now, these pretty baubles don't sport any fancy screens, but their function AND beautiful design, I think, is quite genius for the lady consumers.  The premise is that we as women, tend to keep our smart phones in our handbags, on silent...therefore we often miss important phone calls, updates, the latest tweets from our friends and celebs, etc. But now, we can get a buzzzzzzzz vibration notification from our jewelry letting us know when our husbands are trying to get ahold of us to find out what's for dinner, or when your boss shoots you an important email, or when your BFF sends you an event invitation on FB. Sheer genius. And did I mention, they're GORGEOUS?! 

Both sport similar functionality - one a ring, the other a bangle. Ringly offers wearable-tech rings with beautiful semi-precious and precious stones that any average on-looker would never know there was a tiny byte of genius in such a small and chic package! Beacon & Lively offer a sleek & modern bracelet bangle that vibrates and gives off a colored glow, depending on who is trying to reach you.

Only downside - neither are available for purchase...YET! There is hope on the horizon! Beacon & Lively are running a Kickstarter campaign to make their bangle a reality. If you have to have one, support the pledge! The Ringly will be available soon, and you can preorder now!  Don't mind if I do!  Now that you've got the dish on the up-and-coming, we can be totally techy-chic together :)

xoxo - Ali

Watch Hunger Stop

So, I know I already posted about fashion for a cause, but really, I can't help it.  When I stumble across a major name in the industry with a philanthropic campaign, my heart leaps!  So in honor of the Halle Berry and Michael Kors partnership with the World Food Programme for the Watch Hunger Stop campaign, I'm wearing my MK watch today!

For every watch sold, MK will donate $25 to the World Food Programme to help feed hungry children around the world. That's the equivalent to 100 meals! Your money goes toward what you value, so why not choose a timeless jet-set beauty-of-a-watch that will help alleviate hunger?!   

You can purchase one of the fabulous watches below, or you can text MKHUNGER to 50555 to donate $5 to help reach the 5 million meal goal!  Buy a watch (and look fabulous), spread the word, help stop hunger!

xoxo - Ali

Not So Plain Interiors

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Sometimes, the unexpected happens and you find a true diamond in the rough! I can't tell you how thrilled I was to find this little giftshop in Plain City, Ohio. And let me tell you, the home interiors here were FAR from plain! 

Being on a family vacation for our wonderful 4th of July weekend in Ohio, I did not initially expect to find great shopping (I had never been to the state, and made a quick assumption based on all the farms and such). Boy, was I in for a great surprise!

Every arrangement, all the detail, had me swooning! What I expected to be a quick little walk through a backwoods-country gift shop after brunch, very quickly turned into an hour (maybe more) of oooh-ing and ahhh-ing over every little nook and cranny.

There were green-lattice patterned urns, ikat and aztek needlepoint throw pillows that spoke to my wanderlust, whimsical weiner dog bookends, chambray and gold-leaf lamps, paintings, chevron, convex mirrors, kantha quilts - I could go on for days! I was in heaven in Ohio, of all places! Just goes to show, you never know what surprises can come when you least expect them.

Here are some homewares I love, inspired by my not-so-Plain City, Ohio experience. Enjoy!

Ikat Pillow, Branch Lamp, Kantha Throw Blanket, Greek Key Crewel Pillow, Jonathan Adler Dachshund Bookends, Hobnail Glass Vase, Ceramic Lantern, Mercury Glass Hurricanes, Beaker Flower Vase, Dip-Dyed Blue Lamp Shade

xoxo - Ali 

Happy 4th of July!

PRODUCTS FOR A CAUSE

In honor of the Fourth of July Weekend, I always take a moment to reflect on the freedoms we have in the great USofA. We are beyond fortunate to worship freely, to have access to clean water and medicine, we are truly blessed to live with very few worries compared to that of the rest of the world.  And I think about so many of the needs this world has, and what are we doing to help alleviate burdens and bring freedom (financial, physical, mental, emotional) to others? 

I've always loved and been inspired by non-profits and companies that are meeting a major humanitarian crisis' or needs through fashion, art or everyday homewares.  Not only do I as a consumer feel GREAT about my purchase, because it's a beautiful product, but I also feel I get to be a part of a bigger story.  When I wear jewelry by The Brave Collection or Made With Love, or when I'm rocking this clutch or this water bottle, I get to talk about a need this world has. Whether it be human trafficking, social sustainability, or providing for basic needs like water - by purchasing one of these goodies I get to raise awareness (because something that looks that stylish can't go unnoticed). I get excited that I have contributed to helping and impacting a cause for the betterment of this world, and I get to inspire others to do the same.  Because let's be honest, this world (even though I like to see it through rose-colored glasses) can be ugly sometimes.  So why not make it a better place with pretty things that can truly make a positive social impact and bring real freedom to others!

Here are just a few of my favorite products and their causes that are a part of the movement towards a better world:

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(clockwise from the top)

Not For Sale, WHIT Peru Dot Clutch - fighting human trafficking 

Ashley PittmanMwanga Bangles & Shaba Light Horn Bronze Pyramid Stud Earrings - rural Kenyan village support for social sustainability

Kate Spade On Purpose, Solid Bow Tote & Luxury Pom Pom Scarf - helping provide economic stability for a village of women in Rwanda

S'well Water Bottles, Glitter Collection in Sparkling Champagne, Satin Collection in Electric EelMatte Collection in MatadorTextiles Collection in Santorini - partner of charitable organizations such as WaterAid, American Forests, and Drink Up

The Brave Collection, Limitless Collection Sand Bracelet & Brave Bracelet in Cerulean - fighting human trafficking in Cambodia

Warby ParkerMadison Rum Cherry Sunglasses - providing glasses to those in need

Happy Birthday Thistle & Red!

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Something has been growing inside of me for awhile...and now it's time for the birth of something great! I've been so fortunate to have wonderful friends and family that have inspired me to start a blog as a creative outlet, but also to just have a way to share and celebrate all life has to offer. I don't claim to be the most interesting, stylish, or fashionable person, but I love sharing what I love!  So, in honor of my country's birthday, I invite you to the celebration! Welcome to my new "home" - Thistle & Red, a blog centered around celebrating all of life's beautiful offerings - from fashion to interiors and everything in between!

xoxo,

Ali