Sunday, August 23, 2015

Three years of Jack.

This sweet, curly-haired boy turned three years old this last week. I can't imagine our home without him in it, yet I can hardly believe he's already lived three years! We often joke that he is the most rewarding, yet demanding child. Always by my side, and most likely attached to me in some way, this boy brings me so much joy. It's a lot of work, but I love our relationship. I've never met another child who will (gently) turn your face towards their own just to make sure they can "wook in your eyes" while you talk to each other.

Over the years, my birthday party philosophy has evolved from all out-shindig, to simple parties with a few fun elements, but a focus on people and simplicity. This time around we made a large and in charge golden whale piƱata, and a few zigzag streamers and called it good.

We also ordered a few extra swimming friends to play with at the party and send home with guests. For the record, it took about 20 minutes for this water display to get out of hand (with Jack leading the way) and be removed, but it was fun while it lasted.

Watching Jack's face and reaction to everything from the cupcakes to the presents was so fun. I forgot how easy it is to knock the socks off of a three year old (it's a little harder with those older kids)!

We love you Jack and can't wait to see how you grow this next year!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


These days blogging and spontaneous crafting have been a bit on the back burner due to my design work. I've been pretty terrible about sharing some of my favorite design based projects, but now I'm resolving to start a portfolio series here because I would love to have a record of it all somewhere.

One of my favorite projects from 2015 so far, has been a series of paper cuts designed and made for the Playful Learning Studio-a brick and mortar expansion of the website I work for Playful Learning. It's amazing how fun it is to see designs go from screen to paper shapes! I kind of want to do this with every project now.

The most complex piece involved looking at an actual picture of the (adorable!) studio and first making a vector design from scratch, and then figuring out how to combine the pieces so they could be cut out. Here's a picture of the studio...

And here is the simplified, paper cut version!

The rest of the project included titles for each of the different subject areas offered at the studio.

If you happen to live in the Montauk/ East Hampton area, I encourage you to check out the studio! You can find more information here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Springtime Flowers Party (sponsored by Cricut) Reveal

A little over a year ago, I hosted a little shindig in honor of (and sponsored by) the kind folks at Cricut and their new machine, the Explore. Unfortunately, I didn't snap a lot of pictures during the party, but couldn't resist taking a few after it was over. Life goes on, and those pictures have sat on my memory card for a a year in hopes that I would have the time to put together a little tutorial before sharing.

I am still in love with these paper flower arrangements-they totally made the cut for keeping around in the party closet! I made everything using the Explore, but all of it utilizes basic shapes, so don't despair-no machine needed! Although, I must say, having the machine saved me from some major hand cramping.

A handy tip I discovered when using paper flowers, is to fill the container you're using with sand. It holds the paper upright and keeps everything in place really nicely.

For the flowers: I used this tutorial, which uses a million little circles (here is where a Cricut comes in handy!). I wanted something different than glitter in the center, so I pushed a small dowel through the middle and added a wooden knob on the end that I have painted yellow using acrylic craft paint.

For the paper succulents: I used this tutorial with my own drawn shape.

For the snake plants: Cut various sizes of a long leaf shape out of green card stock. Fold each leaf in half to give it dimension.

For the yellow craspedia: Paint wooden knobs from the craft store yellow and place on the end of plant stakes or small dowels.

Thank you Cricut for such a nice time!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Private Art Dealer is my Fave

Melanie from You Are My Fave is always snapping pictures of her latest art finds and generally being cool. A while back I decided my very bare walls needed her help! I love art, but have a terrible time narrowing down my picks and putting it all together.

Melanie swooped in and with the help of Minted and a few nails, and made two different walls in my house shine. Something about a good gallery wall just legitimizes a space (so much better than randomly hung art), and she did a fantastic job.

To see more, head over to You Are My Fave! P.S. She's also kinda giving away a $500 gift card to Minted on Instagram today, so you might want to head there too!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Change of pace.

I almost forgot how good it feels to sneak out of town for the day. On Mother's Day, we packed the picnic basket and piled into the car for a little day trip to Spokane.

Sometimes these trips work out well, sometimes they just end up being a mess of cranky children and piles of garbage in the car, but I like to think that the memories and moments spent together make the hassle fade into the background. I hope we all look back on our spontaneous adventures with a special fondness, battles included.

This day was a good one. I can't help but be thankful for this season, and for these crazy people I get to live with.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Cleaning House.

Little bits of spring have started to arrive here and I can feel my motivation rising. Pockets of afternoon sun work like energizers for me and I find myself making lists and accomplishing things like crazy!

Every new living environment and stage with children seems to require a different approach to cleaning house. Since moving into our home a few months ago, we have settled into a nice routine. When it comes to maintaining a home, I have tried everything from rigid schedules to a fly-by the seat of our pants and hope no one shows up unannounced-approach.

The truth is, I hate cleaning. BUT I love a tidy home and can hardly function and work in a disheveled environment. I'm not good at daily maintenance and this tends to lead to one big cleaning day a week in which I must spend my whole day doing chores (not fun). If I had more dollars, I would absolutely hire a cleaning lady, like today.

In order to keep the order, I came up with a daily checklist of bare minimum tasks, as well as a weekly one. For those of you who are good at daily maintenance, it may seem absurd to write down these tasks, but for me it has worked wonders. As long as I accomplish the majority of these lists daily and weekly, we never spin into chaos or have to dedicate a day to cleaning. Hopefully this list can help someone out there like me who hates cleaning but loves a clean home!

With two adults working from home and three children with various schedules, everyday looks a little different, but for the most part, this is what we strive to do (I made them into pretty prints so I would want to maybe do all of this more):


-Vacuum the floors. We have a big black dog-enough said. Bare minimum-vacuum the hardwoods upstairs so we wake up to a fresh, crumb-free kitchen and living area.
-Wash dishes. This one seems obvious, but I love me a good checklist! With everyone home most of the day we sure know how to fill the sink! Missing a day on this (literally) stinks.
-Empty garbage. Bare minimum-take kitchen garbage outside.
-One load of laundry washed, dried, and put away. Sometimes it's two, but at least one keeps us on top of things.
-Toys put away. Great one to have the kids help with! Our playroom is also our relaxation place after bedtime, so this one is a must.
-Wipe down common surfaces. This includes kitchen table, counters, sink and cook top, and drips on the floor. Sometimes I go in the powder room and quickly wipe sinks too.
-Put shoes away. Shoes love to pile up in the entryway. I like to throw them in the right rooms before bed.


-Wash windows/mirrors. Mainly the ones we see and use all the time.
-Wash bedding. I like to do this on the weekend, as well as any extra loads that need to be done like towels.
-\Scrub bathrooms. I give 'em a good cleaning once a week, sometimes twice for the powder room.
-Dust. Quick run through the house with my feather duster does the trick.
-Water plants. I check them everyday, but usually water them all at the end of the week.
-Polish wood furniture. I love wood wipes for this task. After dusting quickly wipe down.
-Wipe floors. I use a microfiber cloth and Method's squirt and mop on the hardwoods. For tile I use Method's all purpose spray and a different microfiber cloth. Sometimes this happens a few times a week in common areas like the kitchen. I find that if I'm doing well with vacuuming, the mopping is a quick job.
-Wipe down kitchen. Similar to the daily task, but including appliances, possibly the inside of the fridge, cabinet fronts. I just discovered that wiping a bit of olive oil on my stainless steel appliances does wonders and gets the fingerprints from the week off!

I couldn't resist taking a picture of this little bed head, just because. In case you're cleaning schedule looks a lot like mine, I've made a download of my daily list and weekly list to be printed at home.

I would love to hear how you do things at your house!


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Color By Number Valentine's Poster

Last year we made some giant coloring posters to bring to a class Valentine's party and had so much fun doing it that we decided to do it again this year!

I saw a kilim rug recently featuring a fantastic pixel-y floral design. I spent the last few nights making the image above, and then thought it would make for the perfect color by number page or poster for kids (and adults too!)

So I removed the color added numbers in and had it printed at my local Staples for only $1.99 (this is an 18x24 size-bigger sizes available too).

I colored one as an example and it reminded me of buying those velvet posters and coloring them as a kid back in the '90's, remember those? If I could find a way to add some fuzzy black velvet to this guy, I totally would.

We plan to give a letter-sized version away as valentine's with a little bundle of colored pencils and a color guide at school this week! I also made a folded card out of the original colored design to use for other friends and family.

If you would like to make one of you own, here you go (click on links below to download):

-Color by Number Valentine Coloring Sheet*
-Color Guide
-Pixel Flowers Valentine's Card

*This is in a standard letter size to be printed at home, or you can go to the Staples website and select "Engineer Prints" and upload this file to be printed in multiple large sizes starting at $1.99. I was able to order mine online and pick it up a few hours later.

Also, a note on coloring...the larger areas to be colored have a numbered border around them and everything within that border is meant to be that color. Color the border first and it will be clear what goes inside it :)
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