Between You and Me


We Love Between You and Me Signs


Love

Pretty Girls are the Happiest Girls

Do Justice - Love Mercy - Walk Humbly

Home is Wherever I am with You

These are just a few of the words and sayings on the beautiful handmade signs made by Between You and Me. Their company has over a hundred signs to choose from, and they offer a custom design option if you can't find the quote you are looking for. Wouldn't it be fun to create your own words or quote to meet your family, business, or personal style on one of these gorgeous boards? I've been scrolling through their shop for months now, making a wish list of all the signs I need and want.  I love the inspiring and positive messages each sign holds. The next sign pictured is probably a favorite among most mothers!





My boys need this cute reminder in their bathroom! Tara and Andy have created a wonderful business with products that are fresh and beautiful. Between You and Me was born when they felt a nudge to make decor for families and homes that bring a positive, uplifting message in a beautiful way.  Tara and Andy say "Our family is our greatest work we will ever accomplish.  In the sweet and sour, we have each other.  Our signs are an attempt to help other families accomplish their greatest work." 

We are so happy to offer you a special 15% discount if you want to place an order at Between You and Me. Use the coupon code, HAPPYNESTER15 for you special price. This coupon is not valid on custom orders.

I had a chance to ask them a few questions and it was wonderful to have the opportunity to become more acquainted. The Happy Happy Nester and I are excited to share this special interview with you. But, first we thought you might like to see a photo of Tara and Andy and their beautiful family. :o)





The interview:



HHN: What theme or quote inspired you to make signs for the home?

Tara: It all started a few years ago because we wanted to inspire our children with out family values. We wanted to speak into their lives the foundations that make our family unique. Words are vital, and we know that they have power to bless and bring life.

God promises that he will do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine, and we stand amazed that He would birth this business out of the dreams we had in our hearts for families. Andy has been a pastor for nearly 16 years, while I've been doing the hard work of being mom to our three kids. We are so honored that he would allow us to creatively work together doing something that we are so passionate about... families living out the mission that God has called them to.

HHN: What is your favorite saying on the signs that you make?

Tara: I wish it were that simple! I have a deep, genuine love for words that bring life and encourage. There are too many to count that mean something to me, which is why we have signs in nearly every room in our house! :)

HHN: What advice would you give other families who are trying to create a business together?

Tara: Andy and I say often that God granted us a dream we weren't even aware was in our hearts. I think when you're passionate about something, ANYTHING, God will often give you a platform, whether it's big or small. We are passionate for families and all that they represent. Somehow, that passion turned into a business. It happened organically for us, and honestly, neither of us think it could have happened any other way. I know that's opposite from the world's version of a business plan. As the business has grown, we've both stretched as business owners. We've learned everything we know from the ground up.


HHN: You use so many different fonts, do you have a favorite? (I love their mixed font medium).

Tara: We love a real simple, classic font because it's timeless, but we also love our new hand-lettered series. We commissioned a hand-lettering artist to do a few signs for us, and they are absolutely beautiful.

HHN: Do you have any quotes that bombed? 

Tara: We haven't had any quotes or signs that have totally bombed, but we've had some that we just knew would be best sellers, and they never made it quite to that status. Likewise, we've had signs that we never thought would make it, and they've been the biggest hits!


HHN: Why did you pick cedar as the wood for the signs?

Tara: The boards that the signs are on aren't cedar, but the frames are. We really just did it for the texture.


HHN: How often do you change the signs in your own home? You must have so many choices, that would be fun!

Tara: We have our family rules sign that started the business, and we have a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote broken up into two signs, and we have a sign in each of our kids' rooms, and none of those have been changed out at all. I do switch up the sign that we have in our dining room. Right now, I have our "Love Grows Best" on a 2x2 square in there.


HHN: What's the farthest place you've shipped one of your signs to?

Tara: I think that would be Canada.


HHN: Do your children have a favorite sign?

I wouldn't say they have a favorite, but we love to go to our shop and see what other people create for their homes through customization.  It's REALLY cool to see the quotes, music lyrics, and scriptures that mean something to our customers.  We get emails regularly telling us that the story of their sign and what it means to their family.



So we at Happy Happy Nester would love to show you how beautiful our Between You and Me sign looks in the Nester's home!











I would like to thank Tara and Andy for taking the time to chat with us about their inspiring and creative business. I am so grateful that they listened to that little voice in them to create and share. Please check out their Etsy shop and we are so happy to offer you a special 15% discount if you want to place an order. Use the coupon code, HAPPYNESTER15 for you special price...note that the code only has one "happy." This coupon is not valid on custom orders. Glad to pass along this savings to you, and Happy Shopping!

Cheers,



Cute DIY Cookie Bouquet


Cookie Bouquet!
Happy Spring, everyone! Here in Northern California it appears that our weather has turned warmer and my family and I are always amazed how beautiful the rolling hills of the Bay Area become in March and April. Flowers are abundance in the stores, yards, and hills of San Francisco. So, lately I’ve had a cookie bouquet on my mind! What better way to celebrate spring than with cute flower cookies popping up from a fun festive basket! I love to bake, but I decided to consult the authority in the industry, Marian of Sweetopia. I knew that she would have the best sugar cookie recipe. She said the key to preventing the cookie from spreading is to eliminate the baking powder from the ingredients. As predicted, the recipe was perfect and not only is the cookie pretty and securely holds a lollipop stick, but it is also delicious. My husband is a shortbread cookie snob and this recipe passed his test with flying colors. So, next I made Marian’s Royal Icing recipe and the results were amazing! I replaced the icing sugar with powdered sugar and it still came out great! Her very helpful 10 second knife rule works and is the best test to get the right icing consistency. Her theory is that if you take a butter knife and cut one inch down into the icing, the mark should smooth over in about 10 seconds. She has a helpful video (here is the link: Video) that is worth watching. If it takes less than 10 seconds, then the icing is too runny and you should add more sifted sugar. If it is too thick, you just keep adding little amounts of warm water. My icing came out too thick and so, I added water until it got to the right consistency. It spread on the cookie quite nicely and also harden perfectly.
As you can tell in the above photo, I also decorated a cookie with edible pansies! I saw this on Pinterest and I really wanted to give it a try. It was pretty easy to make and probably the hardest part was finding organic edible pansies. I did find them at our local grocery store, which was awesome! If you grow your own pansies without pesticides, you could use your own flowers. Also, there is a great online store that sells them: edible flowers

~ A funny note about the Nester ~
When I was a child, my mother could tell when we had our hands in our family cookie jar. She could totally hear when we were opening up that glass container! Now as a mom, I do watch my kid’s cookie consumption but not quite with the ears that my mom had. My children can empty a whole container of cookies in one day!


Here’s what you’ll need for this project:

A basket
Lollipop sticks
Floral foam
Moss
Edible flowers
*Sweetopia’s Royal Icing Recipe



Here is the link to the recipes: The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe
Yes, this is how thick you want your cookie dough.




The dough cuts nicely and makes pretty defined edges.





My dough got stuck in the cookie cutter, so I had to gently push the dough out with my fingers. Just make sure to push the dough gently, since you don’t want to leave your finger impressions in the cookie.





Yes, this gives you an idea of how thick you should make the cookies.






The crafter stick goes in nicely, be careful not to puncture the top or bottom of the cookie. Just place it straight into the dough.








Royal Icing:

Here is the link to the Royal Icing Recipe: Royal Icing Recipe
And here is the helpful video: Video





Here is the Meringue Powder that I used for powdered egg whites.






On Sweetopia’s website you’ll learn how to outline the cookie and then fill in the middle with icing. As you can see in this photo, the icing isn’t too smooth. So, Marian said to shake the cookie a bit to get it to smooth out. Check out the photo below. It’s so smooth… I couldn't help but think of what my father used to say, “Just like downtown!”




 Ta-da, it’s magic!



Here is an alternative method to the cookie on a stick!

*If you want to take a short cut on this project you can buy the cute ready-made store bought cookies. The only thing you’ll have to bake is a tiny bit of sugar cookie that you bake onto a stick. 






Here is the piece of cookie on a stick with the store bought cookies. They are now ready to attach to each other!





Once you have these cookie sticks, you can attach ready-made baking fondant on the back side of the cookie and attach the cookie stick to them. They hold quite nicely.












Pansy Cookies:


Now for the pansy flower cookies. You’ll want to buy or grow an edible flowers that are organic and don't seep pesticides into the dough. I found my package at our local grocery store! I was so surprised that they carried them.  But if your local grocery store doesn’t carry them, here is the link to the online store that does: edible flowers

Next, mix 1 tablespoons of dried egg whites (meringue powder) and 2 tablespoons water. Then, dry the pansies on a paper towel. Make sure not to leave them out too long, they quickly start to shrivel up and dry out in the open air. It only took them a few minutes for this to happen! Next, spread the egg mixture onto a cooled cookie. Add a pansy onto of the egg white mixture and press them so that they adhere to the cookie. Then brush the top of the pansy with the egg mixture and cover thoroughly. Sprinkle sugar on top of the flower and cookie. Place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 2 minutes. Now be sure to watch the cookies closely, since the flowers can dry out. Place them on a drying rack and let cool. When the cookies come out of the oven they tend to be a little soft, but once they have cooled on the drying rack they hardened right back up. So don’t panic…














To Make the Basket:

Place floral foam on the bottom of a basket. Make sure that it fits tightly, so the foam doesn’t move around in the basket. You will place the cookie sticks into the foam. I found it held the sticks in place quite nicely. Once you place the cookies into the foam, you’re ready to decorate and enjoy! Add moss or Easter grass to cover up the foam. You can add cute bows, chocolate eggs and bunnies if you like. I had bought a cute yellow chick, but forgot to put it in the basket when I took the photos. Oh well, next time. Decorating the basket is the fun part… well, eating the delicious cookies is fun too!








I hope you enjoyed this cookie bouquet as much as I enjoyed making and sharing it with you. It may look like a difficult project, but if you make the cookies ahead of time and then decorate them with icing and flowers on another day you'll find it isn't too big of a project. I spaced this project out over two days and this made somewhat easier. I was also thinking this could be a cute table decoration for a baby or wedding shower! Of even if you used some pretty pastel colors, it could be nice for wedding tables! Add a few candies, bows and sparkly decor and you have a beautiful bouquet. I hope you are inspired to give this little cookie bouquet a try! It sure seems like every family has a favorite cookie… My husband loves shortbread, and I do love them too. Do you have a favorite sugar cookie recipe?

Cheers,



Living Room Remodel



Our Living Room

Spring is upon us and I've been having a lot of fun decorating our home. We have lived in our Northern California home for five years. It has been a long road, and lots of rooms have been transformed. One of the biggest changes happened in the living room. I probably should give you a little history about this room. I guess the main reason we began our remodel is that my husband wanted to redesign the fireplace. Every month I had to stop him from taking a mallet to the pink bricks over the fireplace. So, after two years of living in our house, we got our design in order to redo the kitchen, dining room, family room and living room. 


~ A Funny Note About the Nester ~

My husband bought our home without me! I never saw it in person, I totally trusted his choice! It was the first time our friend and realtor had ever seen this! We thoroughly know each other's taste in homes. It all turned out great and we all are happy with his choice!











Sorry about the poor photo quality. This is the view from the living room to the dining room. Note the wood framing the windows and sliding glass doors. We had them all painted white which gave the room a new lightness! If you are interested in other remodels here is a link: remodel







All right here is the infamous pink brick. We all referred to it as our Taco Bell fireplace! Notice the hammer on the hearth to the right. :o)   Also, all our furniture was pretty dark, our last home in Seattle had a nice coffee house decor. But, now that we live in California, I'm ready for sunshine inside and outside!







The entertainment center got a fresh paint of white. I also, bought some Ikea Ektorp slipcover chairs on Craigslist. Our coffee table was too dark and way too small for the room.

Of course I had to look up the Ikea company history:

The founder of Ikea, Ingvar Kamprad was quite business savy from early on in his childhood. Did you know that he founded Ikea when he was just 17 years old? Amazing! He founded it at his uncle Ernst's kitchen table. His business was mostly mail-order in the beginning. The acronym IKEA is made up of the initials of his name, Ingvar Kamprad plus those of Elmtaryd, the family farm, and the nearby village of Agunnaryd. He is 89 years old and is quite an interesting man. He is very frugal despite being the 11th riches person in the world. For instance, he drives his 1993 Volvo 240 and flies only economy class. I love that he recycles tea bags and is know to pocket the salt and pepper packets at restaurants. He sounds like a character!






Here is my great friend, Daidri. She is the most amazing photographer and you need to check out her work and website: Daidri Smythe. We took a trip to Ikea and both of us bought these wonderful rattan footstools. When she brought her stools home, her husband fell in love with them immediately. My husband on the other hand wasn't too fond of them and kept asking when was I going to return them. Like everything in our home, I kept the price tags on them just in case I needed to return them. But, I liked them and they just needed to be paired with a white coffee table rather than the current dark one. The Ikea stools have a natural summer look and they beg for white decor. 







I was hoping to find one of those trendy poufs, but couldn't find one that was the right color and design. I'm kind of happy that I found these neutral rattan ones that easily go with most decor.







I searched on the internet and in stores for an area rug. I was almost ready to give up when I found this rug on Pier 1 Imports website. I went into our local store and found that it was actually prettier than I had expected. It is made of polyester but has the feel of plush wool. So far, we haven't stained it and it looks great!







I just love this fun little pillow from HomeGoods. 







I bought a white Ikea Hemnes coffee table. To insure that we don't damage the white stain, I had a glass table top made. I just love that I don't have to worry about the table, and the glass is so easy to clean. Also, I love that I can easily clean it down from germs and grime!







I'm currently putting up some drapes and I placed both grey and white ones up. I had a tough time deciding and I came to the conclusion that I would keep both drapes and change them out with the seasons. The grey linen drapes are from Ikea and the white velvet are from Target. Both these stores carry textiles that are so inexpensive and I love that we didn't break the bank on these drapes. Don't forget to check out my discount on the right column.

I still have a few more touches for the room, I would like to get a little ladder shelf to organize our mail, keys, and latest projects. So, the mission continues and stay tuned. Do you have a project that you are working on? I would love to hear from you! Thanks for visiting!

Cheers,


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