diy yarn tassels.

Posted on: Tuesday, April 22, 2014

DIY Yarn Tassels | Ann-Marie Loves

Things I am loving these days:

- Sandwiches.
- Long walks + good podcasts.
- YARN CRAFTS. YARN CRAFTS. YARN CRAFTS.

Aside from the occasional knitting project, I’ve never really been much for any sort of fiber crafting. Paper was definitely my medium of choice. But ever since I fell in love with weaving last week, I’ve been on the hunt for even more ways to put my growing stash of yarn to use! So on Easter, I decided that I would start making yarn tassels for various nursery decor projects, including a mobile to hang over the changing table and a garland to string along her crib. They’re incredibly easy to make and so satisfying to hold in your hands!

Here’s how you make a yarn tassel:

DIY Yarn Tassels | Ann-Marie Loves

Gather together a ball of yarn, sharp fabric scissors, and a surface to wrap your yarn around (in this case, I used a thick book, but it all depends on how big you want your tassels to be; the bigger the surface, the bigger the tassels).

DIY Yarn Tassels | Ann-Marie Loves

Wrap your yarn around the book several times. If you plan on making a bunch of similar-sized tassels, it helps to remember the number of times you wound the yarn.

DIY Yarn Tassels | Ann-Marie Loves

Carefully slide the yarn off of the book.

DIY Yarn Tassels | Ann-Marie Loves

Fold a new string in half (the length depends entirely on how long you want your “hanger” piece to be), and place it in the center of the wound yarn.

DIY Yarn Tassels | Ann-Marie Loves

Pull the ends of the strings through the loop, making sure to keep an equal amount of yarn on both sides.

DIY Yarn Tassels | Ann-Marie Loves

Pull the strings tightly to secure the knot.

DIY Yarn Tassels | Ann-Marie Loves

Using another piece of string (approximately the same size as the surface in which you created the yarn cluster), tie a double knot around the width of the yarn to create the tasseled look.

DIY Yarn Tassels | Ann-Marie Loves

Slice through all of the loops and trim where need be to create an even, uniform look. Ta-da! Now you have a yarn tassel! The more you make them, the faster you get.

DIY Yarn Tassels | Ann-Marie Loves

With a little bit of my favorite mint masking tape, an adorable bunny printable from Made by Cay, and a handful of photos, I created a temporary vignette to hang in the baby’s nursery. I’ve already begun the mobile and the garland for the crib…I can’t wait to show you the finished results!

diy wrapping paper.

Posted on: Monday, April 21, 2014

DIY Stamped Tissue Paper Gift Wrap | Ann-Marie Loves

Happy Monday!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend. Mine was filled with brunch in Los Feliz with my BFF, working an awesome event with Amy, spending quality time with family at home (the baby’s first Easter basket…!), eating more than my fair share of egg-shaped candy, and of course, crafting up a storm (the weaving obsession continues!).

In other words, a perfect weekend.

My good friend Lindsey is sharing my tutorial for creating your own stamped wrapping paper on her blog! (There may or may not be a heavy dose of hot pink involved…) While you’re there, be sure to check out her awesome shop full of impeccably-designed printables. Enjoy!

baby album | part five.

Posted on: Friday, April 18, 2014

IMG_1247

I recently mentioned on Instagram that I have had quite the tumultuous relationship with scrapbooking over these past couple of years. There are times when I love it so much and can’t wait to play with paper and then there are times when I want to get rid of everything and never hear another word about it. But as for my feelings on the hobby at the moment? I’m a big fan.

Here are the most recent pages I created for my ongoing baby album:

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

For the first page, I used a mix of my favorite patterned papers and more of that amazing adhesive-backed gold foil paper that I die cut with my Cameo. The “You Had Me” stamp from Kelly Purkey’s shop could not have been a more fitting title prompt…I’m obsessed with crafting for baby decor!

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

For the next page, I decided to take advantage of the heavyweight paper backing that came with BasicGrey’s packaging and repurpose it as a unique page insert. I also used my favorite yellow and aqua washi tapes (love the way they look when overlapped!) in addition to a few BG feathers and candy buttons.

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

On the backside of the repurposed packaging page, I used a sheet of woodgrain paper to act as the background and then incorporated a few of my favorite stickers (including the gold heart that I die cut) as well as a strip of pink patterned paper trimmed with fringe scissors. I was never quite sure how to use those scissors for anything other than crinkly packaging, but then I realized that a little fringe on a layout goes a long way to bring in an element of texture!

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

For the last page, I used one of my tried-and-true techniques for breaking up the grid on divided page protectors. I have no qualms about gluing anything atop a page protector; in fact, I prefer it! I think it makes a layout so much more interesting, both visually and tangibly. On this particular page, I used aqua felt, patterned papers, journaling typed on vellum, and a title cut out with my Cameo to bring it all together.

In case you missed it: Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four

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!

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