Entries Tagged as 'create'

faux letterpress tray for toddler room.

Posted on: Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Faux Letterpress Tray for Displaying Miniatures | Ann-Marie Loves

John and I are moving this week and possibly having a baby next week, so I figured, what better time to ignore all my responsibilities and work on a project I pinned? Ha! All I have to say is, when you feel the need to make something, MAKE SOMETHING. You’ll feel so much better once you give in to your creative urges. Even if it means ditching your to-do list for a few hours ;)

Faux Letterpress Tray for Displaying Miniatures | Ann-Marie Loves

I have been obsessed with the idea of filling a letterpress tray with miniature animal figurines basically from the moment I knew I was having Briar, but I haven’t been able to track down a cool letterpress tray for a decent price. So! I decided to do the next best thing: buy a $6 divided wooden tray from Michaels and paint it myself!

Faux Letterpress Tray for Displaying Miniatures | Ann-Marie Loves

This tray is pretty shallow so it didn’t take too long to cover it with white paint. I think applied maybe three coats? As usual, it’s not a perfect paint job but that’s more than fine with me.

Faux Letterpress Tray for Displaying Miniatures | Ann-Marie Loves

While the tray was drying, I painted each of the animals’ ears pink and added a little heart to the donkey. Because why not?

Faux Letterpress Tray for Displaying Miniatures | Ann-Marie Loves

And once everything was ready, I styled it up! The animals fit into the slots perfectly, plus a few of the recent Instax photos of Briar make for a fun addition to the overall look.Faux Letterpress Tray for Displaying Miniatures | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m so happy with the way it turned out and I’m already excited to swap out the animals for bottle brush trees in a few months! Yay for procrastination crafting!

diy magic foam.

Posted on: Thursday, September 1, 2016

DIY Magic Foam | Ann-Marie Loves

Yesterday was one of those days where I felt like I exhausted every one of my tried-and-true toddler activities by early afternoon. We played with play dough. We watched many an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. We read several of her favorite stories. We went to Gymboree and Target and Starbucks. We did just about everything (including her taking a much-too-short nap) But nothing seemed to hold her attention long enough for me to get a little work done. So! I finally realized that I needed to call for backup and consult Pinterest for new ideas. Lo and behold, I spotted a recipe for creating amazing colored magic foam and knew we had to try it!

DIY Magic Foam | Ann-Marie Loves

The ingredients are pretty basic: 1/3 cup of water, 1/3 cup of Dawn soap, 1 tbsp of cornstarch, and a few drops of food coloring mixed together at a high speed. I used a KitchenAid stand mixer but I know that a hand mixer would work just as well.

DIY Magic Foam | Ann-Marie Loves

With Briar as my trusty assistant, we made the first round of magic foam. I’m not sure who was more impressed: the toddler or her mom! It’s so much fun to watch simple ingredients turn into such a cool sensory experience.

DIY Magic Foam | Ann-Marie Loves

I made about four batches which was enough to create a shallow layer around Briar’s water table. She had a blast playing in the colored magic foam with her water toys. That is, until she got a taste of it. I should warn you that this is a very cool diy just so long as your child knows not to put it in her mouth. Just ask Briar ;)

DIY Magic Foam | Ann-Marie Loves

Luckily, her first (and hopefully last) taste of soap was not enough to deter her from playing. This simple activity proved to be a big hit (minus the minor taste test snafu) and it bought me a nice chunk of time to get a little work done. It’s all about the small victories, right?

instax camera love.

Posted on: Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Instax Camera Love | Ann-Marie Loves

I recently found my old Instax camera and it has been a blast taking photos of Briar and sharing my love of photography in all forms with her. With the instant gratification of iPhones and digital cameras, the novelty of having to wait and see how an Instax photo turns out is super exciting. As soon as Briar saw the first photo pop out of the camera, she was intrigued. And THEN when it finally developed, well, let’s just say she was pretttttty impressed. (Toddlers make for the best audiences.)

Instax Camera Love | Ann-Marie Loves

This particular roll of film has been in the camera (and exposed to heat and cold) for over two years, so I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the photos turned out! The only minor imperfections are those three vertical dots on each photo but I kind of love them.

Instax Camera Love | Ann-Marie Loves

The reddish photo in the middle is of Briar’s thumb – ha! I tried to set up the shot and just have her press the button but clearly she had a different idea for the art direction ;) I can respect that.

Instax Camera Love | Ann-Marie Loves

This past Sunday was a particularly rough day in the land of raising a two year old, but the minute I busted out the Instax and let Briar play with it, both of our moods changed for the better. She toted the camera around, pretending to take photos of her toys and of plants and of mama, while I got to use the big camera to capture her in all of her adorableness. I’d say that’s a win-win.

Instax Camera Love | Ann-Marie Loves

Instax Camera Love | Ann-Marie Loves

Instax Camera Love | Ann-Marie Loves

John and I have talked about buying Briar her own camera one day soon. Nothing too fancy or expensive, just something that could capture the way she sees the world and foster her creative spirit.

Instax Camera Love | Ann-Marie Loves

Instax Camera Love | Ann-Marie Loves

Cheeeeeeese!

peach + strawberry mini pies.

Posted on: Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Strawberry + Peach Mini Pies | Ann-Marie Loves

The other day I was scrolling through my Instagram Stories feed and found myself mesmerized by Leah of Freutcake’s making of mini pies. I must have rewatched her short videos at least five times because not only did her cute little mini pies look delicious, but they looked DOABLE to someone like me who usually lacks the patience for baking. So yesterday I picked up the supplies to make mini pies and tried it out for myself!

Strawberry + Peach Mini Pies | Ann-Marie Loves

Using Leah’s recipe as my guide, I stuck as closely to her instructions as possible but instead of rhubarb, I used peaches to go with the strawberries. P.S. How pretty do these fruits look together?

Strawberry + Peach Mini Pies | Ann-Marie Loves

Creating the pie filling was my favorite part. It’s a mix of strawberries, peaches, lemon zest, cornstarch, and sugar cooked over medium heat in a saucepan for about six minutes and it smells divine! Of course I had to sample it after turning the heat off and I then realized it would make for a super easy, super tasty jam for rolls or biscuits. I’m adding that to my repertoire for future reference…

Strawberry + Peach Mini Pies | Ann-Marie Loves

Next, I applied a large spoonful of the pie filling onto the dough. I should mention that I used a Pillsbury pre-made dough that simply had to be rolled out and cut into circles (I used a mug since I didn’t have a circular cookie cutter on hand). Maybe one day I’ll be adventurous enough to make my own dough, but for this time, the pre-made stuff was perfect.

Strawberry + Peach Mini Pies | Ann-Marie Loves
Strawberry + Peach Mini Pies | Ann-Marie Loves

After the filling was added, I placed a same-sized dough circle on top of each bottom and used a fork around the edges to secure the two layers together. Then I brushed an egg mix over the top of each pie and placed a tiny bit more of the filling along with chocolate chips over that for a bit of embellishment.

Strawberry + Peach Mini Pies | Ann-Marie Loves

After baking in the oven for twenty minutes at 375 degrees, I was thrilled to see the final product! These mini pies turned out SO well and totally boosted my confidence as a novice baker! I don’t know why I’ve always viewed pie-making as a difficult baking endeavor but I am now happy to report that although it’s time-consuming, it’s very easy to do!

What should I make next?

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baby boy album.

Posted on: Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Baby Boy Scrapbook | Ann-Marie Loves

Happy Tuesday! Today I’m back with another installment in my ongoing baby boy album. I kept things pretty simple (as usual) so I could get more done in the short bursts of time that I have to create.

Baby Boy Scrapbook | Ann-Marie Loves

Baby Boy Scrapbook | Ann-Marie Loves

Baby Boy Scrapbook | Ann-Marie Loves

Baby Boy Scrapbook | Ann-Marie Loves

Baby Boy Scrapbook | Ann-Marie Loves

Supplies: Baby On Board Digital Stamps // BasicGrey Spice Market Waterfall Pack // Project Life Page Protectors // Photo Paper

Baby Boy Scrapbook | Ann-Marie Loves

This book is getting bigger and bigger all the time and that thrills me to no end!

2016 album.

Posted on: Tuesday, August 16, 2016

2016 Album | Ann-Marie Loves

Happy Tuesday! I’m writing this blog post as one baby kicks me in the ribs, the other baby tries her hardest to hit the power button on my laptop when she thinks I’m not looking, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse plays in the background. Real life, y’all.

I’ve received a few questions regarding the printer I use for my photos, and honestly you guys, it’s a cheapo HP Deskjet 2130 that I bought on Amazon for $40 last year. Seriously. I’m a firm believer in maximizing the printer you have (no matter how basic or how fancy) by choosing the right settings for photo printing and using quality photo paper. I find that printing my photos and printables at home is a million times easier than ordering prints from a store because I can customize the size of each picture exactly to my liking AND squeeze in more creative time, as a result.

Here’s my latest pages that I made for my 2016 album:

2016 Album | Ann-Marie Loves

I have so many BasicGrey supplies that I’ve completely forgotten about and am now realizing are perfect for Briar pages. I’m guilty of only wanting to use the latest + greatest products on my projects, but this industry moves too fast to keep up! I love the colors in this line and am so happy to have rediscovered the Spice Market line from a few years back.

2016 Album | Ann-Marie Loves

Supplies: Studio Calico Page Protector / Patterned Paper / Die Cuts / Gold StaplesBlack Pen

2016 Album | Ann-Marie Loves

This particular page was completely inspired by the “Wish This Could Last Forever” card from Push Print Studio. I adore the colors and I knew I had the perfect photos to fit the sentiment. I made the little four-photo collage of Briar’s many cheesy faces in Photoshop and then threw in the photo of John wearing Briar’s sunglasses (much to her delight). Those two crack me up.

Supplies: BasicGrey Divided Page Protector / Journaling Card / Floral Patterned Paper

2016 Album | Ann-Marie Loves

And as always, my little photo assistant needed to sign off on the project before I posted. She approved ;)

diy play dough for toddlers.

Posted on: Wednesday, August 10, 2016

DIY Play Dough for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

I have loved many stages of Briar’s baby and toddlerhood (6 months and 18 months were particularly sweet) but this current stage at two years is a whole new version of fun! Not only is she able to tell me (in full sentences, no less) what’s on her mind, but her attention span has lengthened considerably! Now I can sit her down at the table with an interactive activity in front of her (i.e. coloring, sorting pompoms, etc) and let her play for extended periods of time while I get work done on the computer. It’s kind of unreal just how self sufficient she is! So naturally, I decided that play dough would be an excellent activity to have at the ready.

My mom made homemade play dough for my brother and myself when we were younger so I was excited to give her recipe a try for my own little one. There are so many cool play dough recipes on Pinterest but the reason I prefer this recipe is that it is completely edible. When Briar gets a little bigger and less inclined to put everything in her mouth, I definitely want to try the recipes with hair conditioner and glitter!

DIY Play Dough for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

Here’s what you need to make toddler-friendly play dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • Food coloring

Begin by stirring all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.

DIY Play Dough for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

Once you have thoroughly mixed the ingredients, add in drops of food coloring until you reach your desired hue.

DIY Play Dough for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

From there, add the mix to a non-stick pot and stir it over medium heat on the stove until you reach a play dough consistency. (This took about three minutes for me.)

DIY Play Dough for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

Finally, remove the play dough from the heat and let it cool. Once it’s no longer too hot to touch, knead it with your hands and introduce it to your toddler!

DIY Play Dough for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

It took Briar a few minutes to get accustomed to the feeling of play dough in her hands, but once she was acclimated, she loved it!

DIY Play Dough for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

We showed her how to roll the dough into balls and attach pieces together and poke holes in it with our fingers.

DIY Play Dough for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

She was a quick study ;)

DIY Play Dough for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

Once you are finished playing with your play dough, store it in an airtight container for future use!

diy heart crayons.

Posted on: Tuesday, August 2, 2016

DIY Heart Crayons | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar is at the age where she is constantly requesting to draw. “Colors? Colors” is what I hear on repeat until I break out her box of crayons and colored pencils and let her draw to her heart’s content. It’s a super exciting phase of life (my little crafter!) so I’ve been dying to make heart-shaped crayons after spotting a few tutorials on Pinterest.

DIY Heart Crayons | Ann-Marie Loves

The process is pretty simple: you take existing crayons and melt them down into multi-colored crayons using nothing more than a mold and an oven. Easy, right?

DIY Heart Crayons | Ann-Marie Loves

So I stocked up on two boxes of Crayola crayons at Target and took advantage of Briar’s nap time and the new season of Real Housewives of New Jersey to peel off the labels. This was definitely the longest part of the process but I barely noticed because, hello, Teresa just got out of prison and was reuniting with her family! I was riveted.

DIY Heart Crayons | Ann-Marie Loves

Once I had all the labels peeled off, I broke up the crayons into small pieces and laid them in an old IKEA heart-shaped silicone mold (similar one here!) that I had on hand. I tried to keep the color palette for each crayon pretty analogous, mostly for my own visual benefit ;)

DIY Heart Crayons | Ann-Marie Loves

From there, I baked the crayons in the oven for 20 minutes at 235 degrees and then took them out and let them cool down for a bit. After awhile they were still kind of runny, so I popped the mold into the fridge for about 10 minutes and that seemed to do the trick. (Next time I’ll probably leave them in the fridge for even longer just to make sure they completely harden because they were still a little pliable when I popped them out of the mold.)

DIY Heart Crayons | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar immediately took a liking to her new “colors.”

DIY Heart Crayons | Ann-Marie Loves

DIY Heart Crayons | Ann-Marie Loves

DIY Heart Crayons | Ann-Marie Loves

DIY Heart Crayons | Ann-Marie Loves

DIY Heart Crayons | Ann-Marie Loves

Clearly there was lots to talk about!

DIY Heart Crayons | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m fairly certain that I enjoyed this project just as much as she did! It was an easy, mindless task that yielded the cutest crayons! I can totally see myself replicating this DIY with different molds for different occasions.

Next on our crafty to-do list: make homemade play dough!

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baby boy album.

Posted on: Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Baby Boy Scrapbook | Ann-Marie Loves

Remember when I said that Briar has become my biggest motivator for keeping up with my ongoing scrapbooks? I totally wasn’t kidding!

Baby Boy Scrapbook | Ann-Marie Loves

She pulls the albums off the shelf and drops them in my lap every chance she gets so that we can go through them together. I not so secretly love it :)

Baby Boy Scrapbook | Ann-Marie Loves

So in an effort to keep her happy (ha), I realized it was high time that I added another page to our ongoing baby boy album.
Baby Boy Scrapbook | Ann-Marie Loves

This spread is all about shopping for baby boy gear. What I once thought to be a hopeless endeavor (so dramatic) has quickly become my new favorite challenge! (Related: I may or may not have done some damage on clearance items at Zara for our little guy yesterday…)
Baby Boy Scrapbook | Ann-Marie Loves

Initially I wasn’t going to use this family photo in the spread, but after playing around with it for a bit, I decided that the overall design needed something substantial in the bottom left corner.
Baby Boy Scrapbook | Ann-Marie Loves

For the right page, I used one of my favorite design tricks: adding a title over an image. Also, I ran out of “O” letter stickers for that particular green font, so I had to get creative with the wooden embellishment. I think I actually like it more this way than if I had had the full alphabet!

Supplies: Project Life Page Protectors // Amy Tangerine Project Life Journaling Cards // BasicGrey Flair Badge // Green Chipboard Thickers // White Letter Stickers

You can see more of this album here!

getting back into regular blogging.

Posted on: Monday, July 25, 2016

Getting Back Into Regular Blogging | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m in a good season of life right now as a mom and as a creative. Like I’ve mentioned before, as soon as Briar began sleeping through the night and her daily nap subsequently became a consistent thing, I felt like myself again. Sleep is hugely important in my world and even though I had grown accustomed to interrupted sleep with a baby, I hadn’t fully realized the toll it took on my whole life. I was basically running at half speed! Now it’s no wonder my creativity took a serious nosedive and my general outlook on life was, well…dim. I say all this knowing that I’m about to reenter another sleepless season, but this time I have the foresight to know that this too shall pass. That one day I will put both of my kids down for bed, turn off the light, and know that I have a good ten to twelve hours before they will wake up again. My baby is almost TWO and I swear to you, I feel like John and I just brought her home from the hospital. Time flies.

Getting Back Into Regular Blogging | Ann-Marie Loves

So anyways, back to blogging.

A few months back, I had a super productive weekend in which I took photos for blog posts and sponsored Instagram posts way ahead of time (with lots of help from my husband) and I felt SO GOOD about myself for the whole week after. I knew then and there that I needed to take advantage of having John around on weekends, not only for watching Briar but for taking photos of me that I could use for upcoming projects and posts. Now it’s become a regular occurrence. I keep a running list of blog posts I want to write and photos I want to take. Then on Fridays, I’ll write out the blog posts that I want to shoot over the weekend in my planner and prepare ahead so that my time and John’s time is used wisely and we can focus on more important things…like taking Briar swimming! I love sitting down at the computer on Sunday night and editing all the photos from the weekend and dropping them into blog post drafts (with the words to be added later). It has become one of my favorite weekly rituals as it not only helps me feel like I’m staying one step ahead but it also keeps my creativity humming consistently.

Getting Back Into Regular Blogging | Ann-Marie Loves

I’ve also really been enjoying the challenge of partnering with various brands to create occasional sponsored content. Of course I love being compensated for my time and ideas but I also really love having to push myself to create posts that feel in line with my own style and voice while showcasing another brand. It’s an exciting creative challenge, for sure! I get pitched potential collaborations on a regular basis but I’ve finally come to the point where I refuse to work for free, UNLESS it’s for a product that I would already be buying or for a really good friend / cause that I believe in. Like everyone else in this world, I have bills to pay, and sadly I can’t pay for them with free shoes. I don’t say this to sound pompous or self-serving; I say this to empower anyone who is in a similar boat as me. It’s taken years and a lot of encouragement from others, but I’ve finally realized that I deserve to be paid for my time and effort, just like every other non-blogging professional. I want the same for you!

Getting Back Into Regular Blogging | Ann-Marie Loves

But most importantly, blogging on a regular basis has been FUN. I’ve been writing about the things that interest me instead of worrying about whether my content is on trend or what I may have written about in the past, and it has definitely helped to keep the momentum going. I’m sure my pace will slow down over the next couple of months, but for now, I am enjoying this creative challenge all over again!

P.S. What kinds of posts would you like to see here?

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