Entries Tagged as 'create'

briar’s first birthday party album.

Posted on: Thursday, August 27, 2015

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Since having Briar and accumulating a never-ending supply of baby paraphernalia, I’ve been much more conscious about not bringing extra “stuff” into my life. I used to raid the Anthro sale section for cute housewares and hit the thrift store for awesome deals on home decor, but I just can’t do that with the same abandon anymore. So when I spotted this three dollar binder in the dollar spot at Target (knowing it would be the PERFECT catchall for holding the cards and photos we have from Briar’s first birthday party!) I went back and forth over whether I needed it. I walked with it all around the store and almost put it back, but in the end, it came home with me.

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

I made a deal with myself that I wouldn’t spend any longer than two hours on the project and I certainly held up my end of the bargain! Armed with a few basic supplies, I whipped out an entire mini album in a single naptime. BOOM.

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

To keep things simple, I only used the cards and envelopes that Briar received as the pages to the book; no extra patterned paper necessary. I was then able to quickly add them in with the help of my handy dandy Crop-A-Dile tool. Here are some of my favorite spreads from the book:

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday Party Mini Book | Ann-Marie Loves

This project could not have been easier! It feels great to have Briar’s first birthday party documented and in the books (literally). I’m so glad that three dollar binder found its way home with me.

SUPPLIES: Kelly Purkey Wood Alphabet Stamps // Gold Foil Thickers // Gold Foil Number Stickers // Washi Tape // BasicGrey Aurora Element Stickers // Amy Tangerine Transparent Stickers // Enamel Dots // Die Cut Shapes // Tape Runner // Crop-A-Dile

 

briar’s first birthday party invitations.

Posted on: Thursday, August 20, 2015

Briar's First Birthday Party Invitation | Ann-Marie Loves

With an active toddler, a busy workload, and a million other things I need to get done these days, I decided to save my sanity and send out Briar’s first birthday party invitations via e-mail. As much as I love paper and sending out physical happy mail, I knew it was way more important to spread the word about the party ASAP than to worry about packaging / addressing / stamping, etc. Plus, I figured if anyone (i.e. grandparents) really wanted a hard copy of the invite, they could easily print it out themselves. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past year, it’s to avoid needlessly overcomplicating simple tasks whenever possible!

Briar's First Birthday Party Invitation | Ann-Marie Loves

However, just because I sent out the invites via e-mail, it doesn’t mean I scrimped on design. If you remember back a few weeks ago, I happily spent an afternoon hand lettering Briar’s name and then scanning it in and formatting it in Photoshop. I also was super picky about the photo I wanted to use, so it took many a photoshoot (and many bribes with treats!) until I was able to capture Briar just the way I  had envisioned. Once I had my photo, my handlettering, and my text in place, it wasn’t hard to pair them all together to create the finished product.

http://annmarieloves.com/2015/07/13/briars-first-birthday-invitation-progress/

If you’re planning on sending out an invite via e-mail, here are a few tips for making sure you get your message across successfully:

Make sure your file is sized appropriately. I have made the mistake of sending out GIANT files before and as a result, many people were not able to open the file. This time around, I made sure that my file was small enough to easily open and read.

Include your message in the body of the e-mail. Just in case your recipients can’t (or choose not to) open your attached image / PDF, include all the information from the invite in the body of the e-mail. Also, be sure to create a catchy, informative subject line so that people open your message promptly.

BCC. If you plan on sending your invite to multiple recipients, use the bcc function of your e-mail to quickly reach everyone without having to worry about the dreaded “Reply All.”

Include links (if necessary). The benefit to mailing out an invitation via e-mail vs. snail mail is that you can include appropriate links (i.e. registries or wish lists) in the message. While I wouldn’t recommend sending out wedding invitations or maybe even shower invitations through e-mail, I think it’s a great option for birthdays or informal gatherings.

 

staying present in motherhood.

Posted on: Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Creative Options + Thoughts on Staying Present in Motherhood | Ann-Marie Loves

From the moment you find out a baby will soon be joining your life, it’s hard to keep yourself from constantly fantasizing about the future. What will my baby look like? What costume will she wear for Halloween? How are we going to pay for college?! In fact, most of last year, I made all of my decisions based off of the timeline of “Pre-Briar” and ‘Post-Briar.” Pre-Briar life meant attending loud concerts on a whim, spending a whole day of working without interruptions, and sleeping in on any given Saturday BECAUSE I COULD. Post-Briar life means lining up babysitters when I want to go out, squeezing in work during naptimes, and not sleeping in on any given Saturday BECAUSE I HAVE A BABY. I think it’s only natural for moms to be preoccupied with the future; after all, we’re the ones steering the ship!

Creative Options + Thoughts on Staying Present in Motherhood | Ann-Marie Loves

However, I am now on a mission to stay in the present moment as often as possible and enjoy each fleeting second exactly as it is. Sure, it’s not always how I envisioned it would look or feel, but that’s all part of the fun, especially as a mom of a young toddler. Briar is growing up SO FAST (so fast, you guys!) and I want to live every minute with her, instead of wishing for a more “perfect” scenario or mentally plotting out the distant future. This is why I am now bucking my to-do list for a short time everyday and really allowing the both of us to enjoy time together.

Creative Options + Thoughts on Staying Present in Motherhood | Ann-Marie Loves

This past weekend, we spent some time outside so I could work on her scrapbook and she could play with her toys. Even though we were only going out in the backyard, I found it was so handy to pack up my craft supplies in a Creative Options’ Two Tray Box and Briar’s toys + books in a fabric Craft Caddy.

Creative Options + Thoughts on Staying Present in Motherhood | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar’s caddy was filled with all of the essentials for briefly occupying a girl on the move: her favorite books, her BlaBla doll (whom we named Olivia), her gold Saltwater sandals (should she decide to venture off the mat) (which she immediately did), and plenty of Cheerios!

Creative Options + Thoughts on Staying Present in Motherhood | Ann-Marie Loves

My box was stocked with all the essentials for a crafty gal: neon pink ink, sharp scissors, wooden alpha stamps, colorful pens, and lots of washi!

Creative Options + Thoughts on Staying Present in Motherhood | Ann-Marie Loves

Our joint playtime was certainly not perfect (as it turns out, mom’s “toys” are way more fun than Briar’s toys!), but it was a great way for the two of us to spend some structured quality time together. Plus, when it was time to go back inside, all I had to do was pick up our caddies and our mat…no extra clean-up necessary! Life is good, you guys. Let’s embrace it just as it is!

P.S. For more ideas on how to incorporate Creative Options’ products into your life, be sure to check out their Facebook page, Amy Tangerine’s blog, and this fun video!

diy wooden cacti.

Posted on: Thursday, August 13, 2015

DIY Wooden Cacti | Ann-Marie Loves

While brainstorming ideas for Briar’s birthday party a few months ago, I kept mulling over different ideas but always came back to the theme of “summer fun.” Truth be told, I never wanted to have a baby in the summer. When I was growing up, I always felt bad for the kids in my classes who couldn’t celebrate their birthdays during the school year. I also worried that my child would be super old or super young in comparison to her fellow classmates.  Plus, it’s HOT…way too hot. Needless to say, it was a road I didn’t want to go down. But as we all know, things don’t always go according to plan (whoops!) and as a result, I am now the proud mom of an August baby. So in the spirit of embracing Briar’s summer birthday, I wanted to throw a party for her that would embody all things related to summer and warm weather. My sister-in-law actually came up with the idea of incorporating cacti into the decor and I instantly jumped on the bandwagon!

DIY Wooden Cacti | Ann-Marie Loves

With the help of my dad and his carpentry skills, we took a rough sketch of three cacti and cut a huge sheet of wood into party decor.

DIY Wooden Cacti | Ann-Marie Loves

In true Ann-Marie fashion, I waited until the day before the party to paint each cactus (the pink flowers shown above didn’t dry in time for the big day), but I’m so happy I followed through with the plan! I painted the cacti using a mix of Handmade Modern craft paints from Target and love the way they turned out. For the polka dots and prickly spine details, I didn’t have a small paintbrush handy, so I just used a bunch of q-tips dipped into the lid of the paints.

DIY Wooden Cacti | Ann-Marie Loves

I love the way they helped to accentuate the tribal-print rug and the large teepee! I’m pretty sure Briar could not have cared less about the cacti (she was too busy living that water table life!), but I received a ton of compliments of them from other partygoers, which helped to make the whole creative process worth it.

DIY Wooden Cacti | Ann-Marie Loves

Eventually when we have a house with a backyard, I plan on putting the cacti near the cute playhouse (a la Lay Baby Lay!) that I’m going to build for my little ones. But until then, we might just bust them out for every summer birthday party ;)

diy watermelon banner + free cut files.

Posted on: Tuesday, August 11, 2015

DIY Watermelon Banner | Ann-Marie Loves

When I was in my second and third trimesters of pregnancy with Briar, I could not get enough watermelon. There was not enough watermelon in the world that could satisfy my cravings! It was like clockwork: every afternoon I would get a serious hankering for watermelon, so I would chop one up and scarf it down before heading out on my daily walk. INSANE. I’m pretty certain that Briar is made up of 75% watermelon (the other 25% being the bagels I lived on during my first trimester), so it’s no surprise that she loves watermelon as much as I did. In honor of Briar’s favorite fruit, I decided to make a watermelon banner for her birthday party.

DIY Watermelon Banner | Ann-Marie Loves

The supplies are basic: neon cardstock, my Cameo die-cutting machine, adhesive, and a black Sharpie pen. I designed and cut out the shapes using the Cameo, adhered them together, and then added seeds with the pen…super simple!

DIY Watermelon Banner | Ann-Marie Loves

I hung the banner behind the teepee and I love the way it added an extra pop of neon to an already colorful scene! It now lives above her changing table where she can admire it (read: try to rip it off the wall) as I change her diapers.

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

I created a free download of the watermelon cut files (for use in Silhouette software) that you can find HERE. If you use them and take a photo, tag me on Instagram! Enjoy!

briar’s first birthday!

Posted on: Monday, August 10, 2015

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

On Saturday, we celebrated Briar’s first birthday in my parents’ backyard. I have to say, as excited as I was to throw Briar a party, I was dreading the fact that my little baby was officially making the jump from infant to toddler. I may or may not have cried my eyes out the night before as I was putting her to bed, but by Saturday morning, I felt like a new person with a renewed excitement for all the good things still to come. Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

We had a loose “summer fun” theme for the party, so I made wooden cacti, a paper watermelon banner, colorful tissue paper tassels, and a few other handmade details. I also busted out the cotton canvas teepee, my favorite colorful rug (a Rose Bowl find!), a thrifted rattan horse rocker, and various inflatable toys.

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar has never met a baked good that she didn’t like, so to have a whole cupcake to herself? Best day ever. She dove right in and didn’t stop until she was completely covered in frosting.

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

My favorite part of the party decor was definitely the wall of Briar photos from her first year of life. I had such a great time going through thousands of photos on my computer, having my favorites printed, and then taping them up on the wall. Being able to see a whole entire year’s worth of memories in one place is pretty incredible. I definitely want to do this every year!

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

However, the real hit of the party was most certainly the water table! Every time I looked over, there were babies screaming and splashing and living it up over at that table. (I seriously think it’s one of our best investments in baby gear thus far!)

Briar's First Birthday | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar skipped her nap, ate a whole chocolate cupcake, and got to celebrate her birthday with her favorite people…it was a good day, indeed! But I think the best part of all was that she slept through the night (the whole night!) following the party! I don’t want to jinx anything, but I sure hope this habit sticks!

It’s hard to believe that a whole year has come and gone, but I’m so grateful that we made it this far. John and I can’t remember life before we had our sweet girl!

diy cheerios necklace for baby.

Posted on: Friday, July 24, 2015

DIY Cheerios Necklace for Babies | Ann-Marie Loves

If your baby is anything like my baby, she likes to snack. A LOT. From the time we introduced Briar to solid foods, she was pretty adamant about taking matters into her own hands (literally) and feeding herself. While this was frustrating at first, I’ve learned to view it as a huge help (I can eat my food while she eats hers!) and an amazing way to foster self-sufficiency.

Most of the time, I can plop Briar in her high chair, place her meal in bite-size pieces on her tray, and let her happily munch away. But when we are out and about or when she’s stuck in her car seat for an extended period of time, it’s not so easy to let her feed herself. The solution: Cheerios necklaces!

DIY Cheerios Necklace for Babies | Ann-Marie Loves

The supplies are pretty self-explanatory: Cheerios, twine, and scissors. Just string the Cheerios onto the twine until you feel like you have provided your baby with a decent sized snack and then tie a knot and place it over your baby’s head. If I know we are going to be out for awhile, I like to make a couple of necklaces so I can swap them out as need be.

DIY Cheerios Necklace for Babies | Ann-Marie Loves

It didn’t take much convincing to get Briar on this bandwagon — she’s a believer!

handmade greeting cards.

Posted on: Thursday, July 23, 2015

Handmade Greeting Cards Using Dear Lizzy Products | Ann-Marie Loves

As much as I LOVE well-designed greeting cards (especially of the letterpress variety!), I will almost always resort to making a card by hand versus buying one in a store. It’s just something I have always done and I will probably always do, as I’m more than happy to sit down with my favorite paper supplies and craft up a love note for my favorite people! Here are three cards I made for the special women in my life in celebration of this past Mother’s Day:

Handmade Greeting Cards Using Dear Lizzy Products | Ann-Marie Loves Handmade Greeting Cards Using Dear Lizzy Products | Ann-Marie Loves
Handmade Greeting Cards Using Dear Lizzy Products | Ann-Marie Loves Handmade Greeting Cards Using Dear Lizzy Products | Ann-Marie Loves
Handmade Greeting Cards Using Dear Lizzy Products | Ann-Marie Loves Handmade Greeting Cards Using Dear Lizzy Products | Ann-Marie Loves

Supplies: Dear Lizzy Serendipity Patterned Paper Pad // Dear Lizzy Serendipity Sticker Roll // Dear Lizzy Serendipity Puffy Stickers // Dear Lizzy Serendipity Pleather Bows // Dear Lizzy Fine and Dandy Sticker Roll // Multicolored Chipboard Thickers // Gold Foil Thickers // Craft Scissors // Tape Runner

I look forward to the day that I can recruit Briar to help me make cards and show our nearest and dearest just how much we love them :)

briar’s first birthday | invitation progress.

Posted on: Monday, July 13, 2015

Hand-lettered Birthday Invitations | Ann-Marie Loves

This past weekend was a big one. There was a sprained ankle (Mine! Zumba! Gah!), first steps for Briar (I’M SO PROUD I COULD EXPLODE), and lots of fun working on my almost-one year old’s birthday party invitations! It’s hard to believe that in just a few short weeks, Briar will have made a full trip around the sun. I could swear we just brought her home from the hospital?

Hand-lettered Birthday Invitations | Ann-Marie Loves

But instead of wallowing in the fact that my baby is getting older, I am focusing on all the fun things ahead. Namely, birthday crafting! For the invitations, I’m jumping on the hand-lettering bandwagon and pairing my handwriting with a little watercoloring. (There will also be a photo involved, if only I could just get her to stay in one place for five seconds…)

Hand-lettered Birthday Invitations | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m pretty sure I could write out her name all day, everyday. I used to FILL notebooks with lettering just because I loved playing with my handwriting and trying out different words in different ways (anyone else?). The thing about hand-lettering is that I need a marker with a wide tip to achieve my best look, so I busted out my forgotten Copic markers and went to town. Those markers are expensive but they really do work like a dream.

Hand-lettered Birthday Invitations | Ann-Marie Loves

I also had a great time creating full page watercolor washes to use as a background texture. I am by no means an expert painter, but I do find it to be incredibly relaxing, especially with a fun podcast on in the background.

Hand-lettered Birthday Invitations | Ann-Marie Loves

I’ve already scanned in all of my favorite samples of the lettering and watercoloring (using this method!) and I am so excited to pair them together to create a finished product. Stay tuned for more party updates coming soon!

briar’s scrapbook | part five.

Posted on: Friday, July 10, 2015

Baby Scrapbook | A Beautiful Mess Messy Book | Ann-Marie Espinoza

So here’s why I love digital stamps: this entire spread, from start to finish, took twenty minutes. Twenty. THAT’S IT. In fact, the hardest part was choosing which photos to use…! When I first started scrapbooking, the concept of “digital scrapbooking” could not have been less appealing to me. I mean, who would want to their supplies to be on the computer? Wasn’t the tangibility of traditional scrapbooking where all the joy of the hobby lived? But as the years have passed, I’ve come to think of myself more as a hybrid scrapbooker. While I still love physical products and shuffling papers between my hands and holding a tangible layout before my eyes, there’s definitely something to be said about using the computer to streamline and expedite my scrapbooking process. I love adding titles or journaling to my photo BEFORE I print it; not only does it expedite the situation but it also looks good. The minimalist graphic designer in me love love loves it.

For these two pages, I used my new (or should I say old?) digital brushes to add titles where I saw fit. Here’s how it all turned out:

Baby Scrapbook | A Beautiful Mess Messy Book | Ann-Marie Espinoza
Baby Scrapbook | A Beautiful Mess Messy Book | Ann-Marie Espinoza

Photo by La Rousse Photo

Lord knows I love a massive photo, so for this page, I sized one of my favorite images to 8 x 10,” added a pink gradient and the “Let’s Go On Adventures” brush to the top, and then mounted it onto a sheet of patterned paper. Couldn’t have been easier!

Supplies: BasicGrey Aurora Paper // Yellow Washi Tape // Aurora Die Cut Tag // Amy Tangerine Heart Sticker // Greatest Hits Digital Brushes

Baby Scrapbook | A Beautiful Mess Messy Book | Ann-Marie Espinoza
Baby Scrapbook | A Beautiful Mess Messy Book | Ann-Marie Espinoza

For the second page, I used a mix of photos (when did my baby get so big?!) and digital brushes, with a few physical embellishments as well. It’s funny…I designed most of these rubber stamps-turned-digital brushes waaaay before Briar was born, but now the sentiments are SO FITTING for our parent / child relationship. I love how that works.

Supplies: Greatest Hits Digital Brushes // Amy Tangerine Epoxy Stickers // Amy Tangerine Die Cut “Love”

So maybe I was wrong about the whole digital scrapbooking thing way back when I was a newb; now I can’t imagine my style without the computer close at hand!

P.S. Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four of Briar’s scrapbook album!

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