fall house tour

Fall is my favorite. Truly it is. So naturally, I like a cozy decorated-for-fall home. This year, I am just coming off of quieting the house and it felt really good. When putting accessories back in to each room, I was really selective and picky – nothing made it back that is not practical, pretty or meaningful.

It was a mad dash to get the house photo-ready, but I made it (just barely!).


I’m so pleased to be joining an insanely-talented group of bloggers on the Finding Fall Home Tour. You can start at the beginning here and I’ll link below to the next stop.


Today I’d love to show you the front of our house (the entry, half bath, my office and the dining room). Next week, we’ll continue the tour with the living room and kitchen (I’ll give you a few sneak peeks of those rooms today because I’m terrible at waiting). As you will see from the photos, I’m slightly addicted to neutrals and try to keep things interesting by adding a ton of texture. Pattern, sheen, metal, varying wood tones – all of these elements are the base of how I love to decorate.

Shall we begin?! Welcome to our home …

// E N T R Y //

When you step into our house, we have a nice open entry. A full mirror, graphic rug and sturdy bench work well in our busy household.




// S M A L L   B A T H //

Right off the entry is the small bathroom our guests use.


Lots of mixed metals in there! (and a big pumpkin painting that I still can’t believe I painted).

// O F F I C E //

Of all the rooms in the house, my office is my favorite. It feels cozy and fresh and is where I go to work, create and just be emily.


I recently pulled out the carpet (!) and have yet to replace the floor. I honestly like it one hundred times better even with just the painted sub-floor. The rest of the carpet in our house better start counting it’s days because soon it is all coming out.


(see more of my office and the painted wallpaper here and here).

// P I A N O   N O O K //

Off the entry and across from the dining room is this bump out where the stairs are that fits our piano perfectly. Last week, I painted it white. It was a pain, but it looks great and it was well worth it (tutorial coming with tips for how to paint yours if you are so inclined).



// D I N I N G   R O O M //

Our dining room doesn’t get a ton of use but it’s one of the first rooms you see when you walk in the house, so it’s important that it sets the tone for the rest of the house. It’s currently decorated with neutrals (of course) and a pretty mix of textures.







In the corner, the bar cart is host to our annual thankful tree (see the first year here, and last year’s updated look here).


The tags are ready for the kids to write on earlier than we usually start, but I think it will be nice to spend the whole fall season being intentional about giving thanks.



As promised … here’s a little peek at what’s happening in the rest of the house:


Stop back next week for the full details.

Thanks for coming by today! Up next on the tour is my cutie friend Ashley from The Handmade Home. If my house feels a little too neutral to you, you’ll love Ashley’s because she is not afraid of color and uses it so beautifully. Can’t wait to see what personal touches she’s added to their home.


You can see the whole line-up of fall house tour bloggers here, get fall decorating ideas galore on the BHG + Finding Fall pinterest board, and be sure to sign up for Better Homes & Gardens 100 days of holidays list.

p.s. a new WEEKLY GIVEAWAY is open today … click here to check it out and enter to win!

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artwork for Audrey’s room

Remember how I was re-doing Audrey’s room? Here is the cute inspiration board:

Well, it’s still unfinished.

I made some progress back in March, but since then, nothing has happened. I am waiting on the biggest part of the project which is a whole wall of built-ins to go around the window. I have it designed in my mind but I haven’t pursued anything because I know what I want will be more than I want to spend on having it built. We could try to do it ourselves, but again, that takes time and we don’t have a ton of that laying around right now either. And then there is the option of doing a good ikea hack and building in pre-made bookshelves (something like this) but I haven’t found items with the correct dimensions for the space. So that’s what’s holding me up. One of these days I’ll figure it out.

In the meantime, I’ve been collecting artwork to hang on her walls. Audrey is fun and full of personality and I’d love for her room to reflect some of that through a whole wall filled with art.

The collection started with Miss Paige’s (as Audrey calls her) horse canvas.


Paige has such a beautiful collection of photographs-turned-canvas prints to choose from so I let Audrey take her pick and she selected the horse (whom she named Clover). Any of the prints would have been beautiful, but I’m so glad she chose sweet clover.


Paige has offered JDC readers a discount on all of her gorgeous canvases – hop over to her shop to see them all.

We also chose a few favorites from Minted.


This illustration reminds me of something out of the Madeline books – so cute. Adding in a graphic black & white drawing will work well for tying in the striped rug.


And this is a fun print as well with the personalized name and pretty watercolor look. I ordered it with the frame for only a few dollars more and it was well worth it.

Minted has nailed the market for holiday cards, but did you know they also have a great selection of artwork? Lots of choices for kids and adults alike. I also like that minted supports independent designers and gives them a platform to showcase their artwork.


From now until September 21st, take $25 off your order of $200 on any art orders.


And, of course, I’ll be using some of my own designs in Audrey’s room.


Like the love one another print and a twirl print (lettered by Lindsay Letters).


You can see all of the artwork in my shop here and take 15% off your order with code GRATITUDE. Also, shipping is always on us!


I’ll keep adding cheerful artwork to her collection and someday (hopefully soon!) I’ll get the whole gallery hung on her walls. I’ll be sure to post photos along the way.

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DIY Seahawks birthday invitations + graphic design class now open!

If you haven’t gathered this from countless previous posts, let me tell you a not-so-secret secret about me: I am an in the moment kind of girl.  Casting vision, long-term goal-setting, meal planning, scheduling posts – these are not my forte. I’m a night-before, whatever is right in front of my face or on the to-do list today type which mostly works out fine. I like being flexible and I’m pretty good at pulling things together at the last minute.

Like my son’s birthday party, for example.


It’s coming up this weekend and we just figured out what we’re doing for his party. It’s been on my radar – just not glaring enough to do anything about it (see? not very forward-thinking). But we’ve come up with a plan (Seahawks watching party!!!), planned out the food (football game snacks, gatorade to drink, chocolate covered s’mores for dessert) and written the guest list. All that’s left are goodie bags (a big deal for a nearly-nine-year-old) and decorations (I’ll figure those out later – see below).

Oh, and invitations.


There are countless ways I use graphic design in my everyday, but making my kids’ party invitations ranks at the top of reasons I love knowing my way around Adobe Illustrator.

First, I like that I’m not limited by what’s available in stores as far as themes go. Any design/colors/motif is possible.

Second, I prefer an invitation where I don’t have to hand write in the details. By making them myself, I just type it all out which makes them easy to read and less time-consuming for me.

Third, invitations always set the tone for the party and even if it’s not over-the-top extravagant, it’s nice to put some personal touches into kids’ parties.

And finally, there’s no need to think weeks ahead (thank goodness!) and spend extra money ordering custom invitations online. All it takes is a little time in front of the computer, a printer and a few pieces of nice paper.


Now, I’ve been designing invitations for quite some time (see a bunch of examples here), so the process is pretty quick for me. And it can be for you, too. This invitation is a mix of a free printable background (the playbook diagram – so cute!), free kraft paper digital scrapbook paper, and a Seahawk icon copied from the internet. Nothing too fancy! I made the yard line markers/numbers with a font called Stamping Nico (from dafont.com) and the main text is Trend Sans (from myfonts.com). The design is simple, but playful and I like that it is seahawk-y/football-y without being obnoxious.  I also like that they were finished in time to give out a few days before the party.


I know not everyone wants to make their own invitations, so my feelings will not be hurt if you click away at this point …

* BUT *

… for those of you who would like to create invitations and stationery and logos, blog graphics, artwork and postcards for your husband’s (or your own!) business, I’d love to help you learn how.


This past spring I launched a great online class called Simplified Graphic Design teaching beginners how to use Adobe Illustrator. I LOVE THIS CLASS! I love teaching it and answering questions and hearing about how it is helping ladies finally feel confident using a seemingly complicated program to unleash their creativity. The class is made up of 12 video lessons that all take place online. You can go at your own pace and have access to the videos for as long as you’d like (no pressure to hurry through!).

I teach the most common and practical tools/steps/techniques needed for everyday design and share all of my best resources for fonts, graphics, inspiration and tools.

If you’ve been wanting to learn a new skill, need a refresher course on Illustrator, or have been dying to know how people make all those awesome graphics, this is totally for YOU!

>> For all of the details and to register, click here <<

p.s. space is limited and the class has sold out each time it’s been offered, so be sure to grab your spot.

p.p.s. I’ll be browsing pinterest for great football party decorating ideas, but if you have any brilliant ideas, I’m all ears …

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NEW! weekly giveaways

If you were with me from the beginning, you’ll remember the monthly giveaways we offered. They consisted of unique items grouped together in a creative collection and were so fun to win. I took a break for way longer than I meant to and to make up for lost time, we’re switching things and starting Weekly Giveaways!

Each tuesday, we’ll put together an assortment of favorites to give away. We definitely want you to enter to win (and there will be plenty of chances for that!) but I also hope the collections inspire gift ideas, color combinations, accessories for your home or office and introductions to new great products. Ready for the first one? I’m calling it IT’S IN THE BAG.

1. leather tote // mission lazarus
2. set of three journals // paper source
3. key chain // urban outfitters
4. lip gloss // laura mercier
5. zip pouch // target

The giveaway ends saturday so be sure to share with your friends for extra chances to win!

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my new (easy!) approach to meal planning

You know what time is not typically the high-point of my day?

4 o’clock.

The kids are home from school, my work day is over (at least until bedtime), and the next big thing on my task list is dinner. Ugh.

It’s not the actual cooking that is problematic and not the eating or even the clean up. It’s the part where I have to figure out what to make that gets me every time.

Except when I’ve taken the time to meal plan.

Each time I schedule out our meals, shop for all the necessary groceries and know ahead of time what I’m preparing, I’m good. But stand me in the kitchen with four hungry children staring at me asking what’s for dinner? when I don’t have a preset plan and my mind goes blank. There are many things I’m good at, but whipping up healthy dinners on a whim is definitely not one of them.

I have tried coming up with a monthly schedule of meals (this was one of my more valiant efforts) and while it does go smoothly, it just doesn’t stick. I’ve joined meal clubs where they create menus for you, and that doesn’t always work for our family either. If we could we would eat out or get take-out every night, but that is not the most practical solution, nor financially feasible.

So what’s a terrible meal-planning mama to do?

Make it SUPER easy.


Here’s the plan: we’re eating the same 5 meals every weeknight.


This was actually Ryan’s suggestion and I’m fully on board. It really couldn’t get any more simple and I’m excited to see how it works for us. We like good food, we like variety, we like seasonal options, but goodness, I just can’t keep up. Limiting our weekly meals to five of our go-to basics will *hopefully* reduce that stressful 4 o’clock what’s for dinner madness.


The five meals I chose for this season are decidedly fall-ish and proven family favorites. We’ll grow tired of them, I’m sure, so the plan is to switch out the meals every couple of months.


Here’s our menu:

MONDAY// Turkey Chili, salad, cornbread (or flatbread)

This is our busiest weekday so we’re doing a favorite soup that can cook all day and be ready for us in between ballet class and soccer practice. This turkey chili is delicious and can be doubled or tripled and then frozen. Each week I’ll pull out a frozen batch, put it in the slow cooker on low, serve it with a quick green salad and cornbread.


TUESDAY: Taco Soup + chips

Another favorite soup that is also very healthy and great the next day for lunch. The kids like crunching up blue corn tortilla chips and sprinkling with grated cheese, sour cream and cilantro.


WEDNESDAY // grilled chicken + mediterranean quinoa salad + grilled flatbread

While the weather holds up, we’ll keep grilling the chicken outside but once it starts raining, I’ll switch to baking it. The quinoa salad recipe below is great, and so is this one.


THURSDAY // burrito bowls

We eat these once a week usually, so everyone will be happy keeping burrito bowls modeled after Chipotle’s on our weekly menu. I make cilantro lime rice (like this), add black beans, refried beans, lettuce, salsa, avocado and sour cream. Shredded rotisserie chicken, grilled flank steak or seasoned ground beef are all options (just depends on what’s on hand or what sounds best).

FRIDAY // pizza night

I’m excited to start a new tradition and make our own pizza like Myquillyn & her family.

As for other meals, I have a bunch of ideas jotted down to help the kids figure out what they want packed in their lunches and what (besides cereal) they can eat for breakfast. Having this list helps me keep our refrigerator and pantry stocked with healthy choices. Anything to make this feeding a big family thing easier!


So that’s the plan. Nothing fancy and probably a little boring after a while, but it will simplify a task I don’t excel at, removing stress and extra unnecessary eating out. If you’d like more ideas for dinner ideas, check out my dinners pinterest board.

Now it’s your turn … do you have a favorite meal you eat weekly? Or a meal planning strategy that works for your family?

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