diy front door weaving.

Posted on: Thursday, April 17, 2014

DIY Front Door Woven Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

On Tuesday night, while burning through episode after riveting episode of House of Cards, I decided that our front door needed a little facelift. Considering the fact that we’ve had this festive wreath hung up since the holidays (and now it’s, oh, mid-April?), it was definitely time for something new. After going back and forth between creating a dream catcher or a weaving, I decided on the latter. In case you haven’t seen my recent ‘grams, I’ve been on a major weaving kick, so I figured I might as well ride the wave while it lasts!

DIY Front Door Woven Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

Using my Martha Stewart loom, my favorite thrifted yarn colors, and a better understanding of how to create a quality weaving, I got to work on making a little decor for the front door. The whole weaving process took maybe three hours tops (or more accurately, three episodes of House of Cards) and then I tied it off the bottom strands and strung the top loops through a sturdy stick I found on a neighborhood walk. It was easily the most satisfying DIY project I’ve created in a very long time and it inspired me to create two more additional wall hangings last night!

DIY Front Door Woven Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

A few things I learned about weaving this time around:

- Adding new yarn colors is best done one or two columns into the warp (assuming you want a more uniform look). Last time I introduced new colors by knotting the ends of the the warp and I wasn’t a fan of all the extra strands that hung down the sides as a result.

- It’s best to leave an inch (or more) between the top of the weaving and the point where you introduce your first strands of yarn. I had to push the cream color at the top of my design down with my fingers because I hadn’t accounted for the size of the stick until the very end.

- Minimal tension on the yarn strands is required in weaving. In fact, the less tension, the better.

- This weaving is actually much smaller than I thought it would be, considering I used the entire length and width of the loom. I’m fine with the size, but I was definitely surprised.

- Thrifting yarn is the best way to stock up on fun colors while still saving a ton of money! My local thrift store sells big bags of yarn for only a few bucks each, so I pick them up whenever I see my favorite colors included. Eventually I want to create weavings with unexpected materials, such as leather, pom pom ribbon, and tinsel!

DIY Front Door Woven Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

There’s something to be said about crafting victories. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve attempted to make things only to feel less than thrilled with the end results. This project not only made me so incredibly happy to make, but now every time I walk up to the front door, I am overcome with those happy crafty feelings all over again. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving ;)

P.S. Here’s my first attempt at weaving!

workspace wednesday | finding a happy medium.

Posted on: Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Finding a Happy Medium in a Workspace | Ann-Marie Loves

Finding a Happy Medium in a Workspace | Ann-Marie Loves

Finding a Happy Medium in a Workspace | Ann-Marie Loves

Finding a Happy Medium in a Workspace | Ann-Marie Loves

Finding a Happy Medium in a Workspace | Ann-Marie Loves

Finding a Happy Medium in a Workspace | Ann-Marie Loves

At any given moment, my office is a hotbed of projects and piles.

These days it’s equal parts workspace and storage unit, especially as we make the transition into 50% office, 50% nursery. There’s a big part of me that desperately wants to work in a clean, pared-down space and absolutely despises these creative messes (and myself for being a magnet to so many supply-intensive hobbies!). But there’s another part of me that loves having a sizable craft stash on hand for those times when a big project rolls around and I have the necessary products ready to go. (This was especially helpful while planning a DIY-centric wedding…I barely had to buy any extra crafting supplies since I already owned almost everything!)

Finding that happy medium has proven to be my holy grail, time and time again. I realize I may never permanently strike that balance and maybe that’s okay. But in the meantime, I’m going to keep trying!

How do you find your happy medium?

pom pom bunnies.

Posted on: Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pom Pom Bunnies | Ann-Marie Loves

Over these past couple of months, I’ve developed a serious penchant for bunnies as as a motif for all things baby. I’ve always thought bunnies were adorable (and even had a rabbit named Button as a child!), but I never really thought twice about them until now. I don’t know if it’s the Easter effect or some strange gravitational pull spurred by pregnancy, but good lord, I have become OBSESSED with finding well-designed rabbit ephemera to sprinkle throughout the nursery. It’s like Bunny Watch 2014 over here.

Pom Pom Bunnies | Ann-Marie Loves

So now that I’ve pinned just about every rabbit-related craft idea that the internet has to offer, I’ve decided to get down to business and start making all these projects! First up: pom pom bunnies to hang from the baby’s Easter basket. (Oh yes, the child isn’t even here yet and she already gets her own basket.) I got the idea from this tutorial, but instead of using a pom pom kit, I just wrapped yarn around a fork to create the head and then yarn around four fingers to create the body. Simple enough.

Pom Pom Bunnies | Ann-Marie Loves

The next few items on my crafty to-do list include: designing a mobile (most likely of the bunny persuasion), finishing the woven wall hanging, making a bunch of baby-sized headbands, and attempting a pair or two of baby moccs! I will be sure to keep you posted on my progress :)

creating routines + getting things done.

Posted on: Monday, April 14, 2014

Thoughts on Creating Routines and Getting Things Done | Ann-Marie Loves | Quote by Pearl S. Buck

I go through phases where I spend my last few minutes every evening either scrolling through Instagram + Pinterest or by reading a book on my Kindle. Lately I’ve been turning the former way more often than the latter, but last Thursday, I decided to revisit my Kindle and ended up purchasing Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind by Jocelyn K. Glei. Turns out, it was exactly what I needed to read! (What’s that saying about when you’re ready, the teacher will appear?) I quickly burned through half the book in a single evening and felt so inspired by the quote above, that I decided to create a new tradition: Friday morning coffee dates with my laptop and my to-do list. I am 100% guilty of waiting until my mood is “just right” or when inspiration strikes or when a deadline is dangerously close before I actually begin, so you better believe this quote was the kick in the pants that I desperately needed ;)

P.S. Normally I save work / life balance posts for my Workspace Wednesday series, but this quote just felt like the right note for kicking off of a killer Monday!

baby bump | 25 weeks.

Posted on: Friday, April 11, 2014

Baby Bump | 25 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

Here’s something my pre-baby self never thought I would say: I love being pregnant.

There’s a lot of responsibility on me to keep the show running, but I am more than happy to play that role. At nearly 25 weeks, this baby is beginning to feel like a REAL baby. Not only can I feel her kicking all day long, but I can actually see her jolt my stomach! (If ever you want to kill thirty minutes straight by staring at a moving baby bump, come on over.) I feel like I’m in that sweet spot of still being able to live a normal life while simultaneously enjoying all the perks of pregnancy. Aside from intermittent bouts of heartburn, having to use the restroom every fifteen minutes, and getting tired more easily than before, I feel pretty darn good.

Baby Bump | 25 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

And then there’s the shopping.

I don’t know if I’ve ever known such shopping joy as I have while looking for clothes, toys, books, furniture, and all kinds of gear for this tiny little person growing inside of me. I’ve loved being able to share this experience not only with John, but with my mom as well. She is beyond excited about adding a little one to the family and has been incredibly giving. Every time I see her, she has a new outfit or toy or book that she picked up for her granddaughter, “just because.”

Baby Bump | 25 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

Striped Dress by Old Navy

These past couple days have been spent putting together my baby registry, which like all baby shopping, is so much fun. I’ve been turning to my favorite new mamas for their sage advice about what I should buy vs. what I don’t need. Never in a million years did I think I would be so excited about bottles and burp cloths and Bumbo seats!

Every chapter of life has it’s perks, but this one seems to be especially sweet.

weaving a wall hanging.

Posted on: Thursday, April 10, 2014

Weaving a Wall Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

While casually browsing the thrift store earlier this week, I stumbled upon a giant bag of neutral colored yarns for only three dollars…! As someone who has been dying to try out the recent weaving trend taking Pinterest by storm, I interpreted it as a sign from the crafting powers-that-be that it was high time for me to give the hobby a whirl. After all, I already had a loom kit, PLUS pink and aqua yarn from previous projects, PLUS a whole board seemingly dedicated to weaving ideas…there was no way I could pass on the opportunity. So I snagged the bag, picked up a coffee, and headed home to get to work.

Weaving a Wall Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

Here’s a fun fact about me: I hate reading instructions. I simply refuse to do it unless it is my very last resort (and even then…). So instead of reading the manual that came with the loom kit, I turned to a couple of blog posts (this one, this one, and this one were particularly helpful!) and a few videos to give me the gist of how the weaving process works. Once I figured out how to create the foundation (aka the “warp”), I fell into a flow and began to weave different yarns in and out out of the loom. Mindless crafting at it’s finest!

Weaving a Wall Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

Since I have zero interest in perfection, I felt free to experiment with different amounts of strands on each row and various knotting techniques. For example, the first couple of rows only use a single strand of pink yarn, so the look is much tighter. For the next several rows, I used two strands, followed by three strands, etc. The more strands you use at a single time, the more you will be able to see the “warp” strands (in this case, the vertical cream yarn) underneath. Another thing I quickly learned was that I really did not need to create such tension when I reached the end of each row. As you can see above, the righthand side of the loom is starting to curve inward because I pulled the strings way too tight. Lesson learned. Because I eventually want to hang this in the nursery, I’m thinking of going back and redoing some of the rows. I’m not striving for perfection by any means, but if I can clean it up a bit, it will make those late nights and early mornings with the baby a little bit easier on my eyes ;)

Weaving a Wall Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

There are so many amazing fiber artists out there whose work inspires me tremendously! I would love to learn new techniques for building texture and incorporating different media into my designs.

Any weavers out there? I would love to hear your tips!

workspace wednesday | how I organize my files.

Posted on: Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How I Organize My Files | Ann-Marie Loves

A few weeks ago when I posted about three tips for faster blogging, I received a lot of comments and e-mails asking me how exactly I keep my files organized. So today, I am sharing a brief overview of my system and why it works so well for me.

How I Organize My Files | Ann-Marie Loves

To begin with, I only keep one item on my desktop: a folder that says ALL. Within that folder are all of my files, broken down into smaller folders. Much like having too many tabs open in my browser window, I can’t stand desktop clutter. Whenever things start getting out of hand, I take a few moments to put files in their proper places and trash anything that I don’t need. The cleaner my digital workspace can be, the happier and more productive I am!

How I Organize My Files | Ann-Marie Loves

For the most part, I keep my personal photos and my blog photos separate, so within the 2013 and 2014 folders, I store all of my personal photos from each month of the respective year. Each month then gets broken down into events that I will remember by the name I assign it (i.e. Balboa Park).

How I Organize My Files | Ann-Marie Loves

Since I edit nearly all of my photos (at least, the ones that I plan on using), I always make two folders when importing files from my camera to Finder (by way of Image Capture): EDITS + ORIGINALS. Everything starts out in the ORIGINALS folder, but once it’s been edited, it gets moved the EDITS folder. Pretty self-explanatory, right? This makes the process of finding my favorite photos so much easier since I don’t have to dig through every single file in search of “that one image.” Once I’m done going through all the originals, I chuck the files that I know I will never use and back up the rest on my external hard drive every month or so.

The secret to having a system that works is to make it as fool-proof as possible. The more you can narrow down your folders (i.e. 2013 > 01 | January 2013 > Rose Bowl Flea > ORIGINALS > EDITS), the quicker you will be able to pull up any given photo at a moment’s notice. I will admit that I have not always been so organized, but now that I have this system in place, I can’t imagine ever going back!

happy at home.

Posted on: Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lately John and I have been commenting on how nice it feels to be “home.”  After a weekend spent with family, it felt great to return to our Pasadena abode and get re-settled back into our daily routines. We’re both well aware that in just a few short weeks, this place will become even more baby-central than it already is, so we’re enjoying every last minute of the limbo phase while it’s still just the two of us.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

This basket went from holding laundry to holding blankets to holding rolls of paper and I’m sure it will one day hold toys. I love to repurpose!

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

Our daughter’s wardrobe is already bursting at the seams! I need to start taking inventory of which sizes I have and which sizes I need before I fill an entire closet with 3-6 months.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

Instax photo from our engagement photoshoot which feels like, oh, five million years ago.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

The ever-changing bench! It’s still my favorite flea market find to date.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

Most of our shoes get kicked into the closet as soon as we get home, but I dig this little pop of hot pink as part of my “decor.”

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

Overflowing copper cans of pens, pencils, scissors, rulers, bone folders, paintbrushes, xacto knives…

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

The most difficult part of the apartment to photograph! SO MUCH GLARE. But we love curating our fridge displays on a regular basis. Currently it boasts an Artifact Uprising calendar with wedding photos (thanks Katie!), well-wishes on our wedding from the President and First Lady, random photographs, a holiday card from Go Forth Creative, a recipe for homemade waffles, and a hilariously accurate description of our relationship.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

This is by no means my favorite vignette (decorating is always a work in progress, no?), but I love being able to incorporate the gold-fringed letters from our wedding into our home.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

You guys. I thrifted this glider for $65 the other day…! Every time I find a killer deal on baby ephemera, it feels like the universe is rewarding us for jumping the gun on the baby train five seconds after getting married. Eventually it’ll get moved into the nursery, but for the time being, we both kind of dig it’s current location.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

So many stacks of paper around here. I feel like my life is an endless exercise in corralling stacks of paper.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

And finally, the baby goods that are slowly but surely taking over the whole office (soon to be nursery). Can you believe those little shoes? They are SIZE ONE. I don’t care if she only wears them for fifteen minutes of her life for the sake of a photo op…they’re irresistibly cute!

P.S. All of these photos were edited using the Photoshop fade tutorial I shared last month!

styled shoots.

Posted on: Monday, April 7, 2014

Over the past couple of months, I’ve had the opportunity to help style, design paper goods, and put my thrifted glassware to use on two very different but equally exciting wedding inspiration shoots.

For the first shoot (Modern Watercolor Wedding Inspiration as Green Wedding Shoes dubbed it), my wedding photographer-turned-good friend Katie Pritchard invited me to help style various vignettes at the OC Mix Mart, alongside a talented team of vendors (including gorgeous paper goods designed by Alex Choura!). Not only was it a great way to meet new people, but I learned so much about what goes into a pulling together a shoot of this magnitude. So inspiring! Here are some of the beautiful photos from the day, as captured by Katie:

Modern Watercolor Wedding Inspiration | Photos by Katie Pritchard Photography | Assistant Styling by Ann-Marie Loves
Modern Watercolor Wedding Inspiration | Photos by Katie Pritchard Photography | Paper Goods by Alex Choura | Assistant Styling by Ann-Marie Loves
Modern Watercolor Wedding Inspiration | Photos by Katie Pritchard Photography | Assistant Styling by Ann-Marie Loves
Modern Watercolor Wedding Inspiration | Photos by Katie Pritchard Photography | Paper Goods by Alex Choura | Assistant Styling by Ann-Marie Loves
Modern Watercolor Wedding Inspiration | Photos by Katie Pritchard Photography | Assistant Styling by Ann-Marie Loves

For the second styled shoot, I worked with another good friend, Kate Doherty of La Rousse Photo, to bring a romantic, elegant, and slightly untraditional wedding inspiration shoot to life. After meeting up for coffee and exchanging e-mails back and forth to nail down the details of the shoot, I designed the paper goods, pulled aside some of my favorite thrifted pieces, and the had a blast pairing everything together on the big day. Not only is Kate an absolute dream to work with, but all of the other vendors and models were a delight as well! Here are my favorite photos:

Styled Backyard Wedding Shoot | Styling + Paper Goods by Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by La Rousse Photo
Styled Backyard Wedding Shoot | Styling + Paper Goods by Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by La Rousse Photo
Styled Backyard Wedding Shoot | Styling + Paper Goods by Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by La Rousse Photo
Styled Backyard Wedding Shoot | Styled by Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by La Rousse Photo
Styled Backyard Wedding Shoot | Styled by Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by La Rousse Photo
Styled Backyard Wedding Shoot | Styled by Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by La Rousse Photo

If you’re looking to collaborate on a creative project, let me know! I love helping others bring their creative visions to fruition :)

baby album | part four.

Posted on: Friday, April 4, 2014

Baby Album | Ann-Marie Espinoza

Whereas last week was full of nonsense + frustration, this week is positively brimming with possibility and victory. What does this have to do with scrapbooking, you ask? Welp, I have no idea. But it sure makes everything easier when you have a skip in your step.

The latest pages of my album are all about two of my favorite pregnancy-related things thus far: baby bumps + miniature clothes. (Sidenote: I just compared my 13 week bump with my 23 week bump and it. was. shocking. I can only imagine what another 10 weeks is going to look like…!)

Baby Album | Ann-Marie Espinoza
Baby Album | Ann-Marie Espinoza

The lefthand page features an awesome letterpress card from one of Kelly Purkey’s amazing kits and a feather that I die cut from gold foil paper with my Cameo.

Baby Album | Ann-Marie Espinoza
Baby Album | Ann-Marie Espinoza

The righthand page is my 20 week bump shot from our recent trip to San Diego, printed at 6 x 9″ and tucked into a BG Capture page protector.

Baby Album | Ann-Marie Espinoza

On this spread, I pretty much only used what supplies were already on my desk. Sometimes it’s easier to just use those pieces up then it is to put them back where they belong ;)

Baby Album | Ann-Marie Espinoza
Baby Album | Ann-Marie Espinoza

The lefthand page includes a sheet of one of my favorite new Capture papers and more gold letters (which peeled and stuck down like a dream).

Baby Album | Ann-Marie Espinoza
Baby Album | Ann-Marie Espinoza

And finally, the righthand page features a mix of KP’s journaling cards and a fabric feather adhered to one of the tabbed pages that comes included with the Capture album.

I’ve started thinking about what kind of album I want to use to document my daughter’s life once she actually arrives and I’m definitely leaning towards photo books (something like this!) vs. scrapbooking. I’ll probably end up doing a mix of the two, but I’m still up in the air about it. Decisions, decisions.

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