She’s my new favorite subject. But I think you already knew that ;)
Good news, guys: the nesting instinct is still live and kicking! (Insert a million “thumbs up” emojis here). My free time may be more limited these days, but I am still very much obsessed with making this house a home for my little family.
The other day, I decided to take advantage of one of Briar’s midday naps and paint the back wall of our dining room hutch. It was a simple project that took maybe an hour and only required a single bottle of Martha Stewart craft paint + a paintbrush. As a new mom, I’ve learned that any kind of task that can be started + finished in a single stretch is a major victory!
How it looked before painting the back wall.
The back story behind this hutch:
A few weeks after moving to Pasadena, I spotted it abandoned on the curb and instantly knew it had to be mine. I had SO MANY pieces of glassware from our wedding just sitting in boxes…needless to say, the timing could not have been better! Sure, the hutch wasn’t perfect and the brown paint job was, well, not exactly my favorite. But the price point! (Or lack thereof.) It was truly meant to be. So I convinced John to help me lug it in the house and it’s been sitting in our dining space ever since.
I still have grand plans of painting the whole thing white + then wallpapering the back wall, but in the meantime, the bright pop of aqua is totally filling that void. I love the color that it brings to our dining room and I am so thrilled with the way it showcases my glassware!
Nesting instinct, feel free to stay forever.
There’s a mix of everything, from Halloween (guys, what should Briar’s costume be?!) to my favorite phrase to general sentiments that are perfect for all kinds of paper projects! Here they are:
During the great “I’m going to be pregnant forever so I might as well organize this house” situation in early August, I put together fifteen grab bags stuffed with paper craft supplies. Now that I’ve finally figured out how to balance a baby in my arms while I work (literally!), these bags are now in my shop! I hope they bring you many a happy crafternoon :)
Whenever I’m asked to package my blog into a neat little description, I always struggle a bit. I mean, really, what is this blog about? I talk about everything from wedding planning to productivity to crafting to having babies. There’s no single topic that drives my blog; it evolves as my life evolves.
Blogging is like exercising: the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Coming up with things to blog about is definitely the hardest part of the process, but also the most rewarding. I can’t tell you how good it feels to finish a post that I am proud of and then wake up excited to go look at it again the next morning. 2014 has been a good year for me, blogging-wise. With the exception of an informal “maternity leave,” 2014 has been the year that I committed to posting on a daily basis. It has been the year that I’ve found my blogging stride + style. It’s the year that I’ve pushed myself as a creative, both through photography + writing.
Even though I have been blogging in various capacities since I was in college, I feel like I am just now getting started.
You can read more about my thoughts on blogging in the Autumn issue of Artful Blogging magazine :)
P.S. Today is OFFICIALLY the last day to stock up on my August limited edition stamps. Yes, I realize I totally skipped over the month of September (whoops!), but a certain little someone was stealing my attention away. Plus, I wanted to give you extra time to snag my most favorite stamp I’ve ever designed ;)
One of the most surprising things I’ve noticed since having Briar is that although my roles + responsibilities have changed, I still feel like myself. For some reason, I had assumed that being a mom would essentially turn me into a brand new person with brand new likes + dislikes, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Instead, I’m still the same ol’ Ann-Marie, who wants to make stuff and decorate my home and go thrifting for treasures, just with a lot less time (and no free hands!) to actually do those things. If anything’s changed, it’s that I’ve learned to seize those short bursts of free time and get things done as fast as possible. They may be infrequent but they’re perfect for squeezing in quick projects that satisfy my need to create + make my living space a happy place for the three of us.
One of my recent projects: a gold fringe mobile to hang over Briar’s crib!
The gold fringe was leftover from our wedding and I had no idea what to do with it until it hit me to cut it into 3 foot increments and turn those pieces into tassels. Then I stapled each tassel along a lengthy strand of baker’s twine and somehow managed to fold it in half enough times to create this cool chandelier shape.
The best part of all (aside from the fact that I was able to incorporate my beloved GOLD into the baby’s room) is that it’s super lightweight, making it both easy to hang from the ceiling with super tape AND earthquake-safe.
Briar is still sleeping in a bassinet in our bedroom (where she will stay until she’s at least 18), but we spend a lot of time in the nursery / office. As the sunlight shifts throughout the day, the golden light reflecting off the mobile bounces around the room like a disco ball, completely captivating both the baby and myself.
Long live gold fringe!
Before Briar arrived, I went into serious laser focus mode and cranked out as many projects as I possibly could. In fact, the night before I was induced (I didn’t know I would be induced), I stayed up late mopping the whole house, deep cleaning the kitchen sink, reorganizing the coat closet, and crossing items off my to-do list like nobody’s biz. I don’t know if I’ve ever been (or will ever be again!) so productive in my life! Now I’m thanking Pregnant Ann-Marie for plowing through those projects because lord knows that Mom-of-a-Newborn Ann-Marie considers having her coffee before 4pm a major accomplishment. But it’s all good, I promise :)
Some of my favorite projects that I managed to eke out pre-Briar were these three tutorials:
Woven Ribbon Wall Hanging. I think we all know by now that I love a good weaving project. Using ribbon instead of yarn was definitely a bit of a challenge, but with colors like those found in this ribbon set, it was well worth the extra effort!
Clothespin Wall Decor. Decorating Briar’s nursery will forever be one of my all-time favorite ongoing projects. I love adding new touches here and there, so when I saw these adorable clothespins, I knew they would bring in a little playfulness to the spot above Briar’s changing table.
Geometric Banner. When it comes to pretty patterned paper and my Cameo, I simply cannot be stopped. I found this awesome shape designed by Amy Robison in the Silhouette store and had to give it a whirl. Now the banner hangs in my office (next to the much-asked-about bunny vase!) and makes me happy :)
I recently put together a tutorial on how to create a landing spot for all of those well-designed greeting cards that I amass at a rather alarming rate (and then have no idea where to store!). You can see the full shebang over here via Dear Lizzy. Enjoy!
So much of these past few weeks have not gone as I had anticipated, but I’m making the best of it! My house is cleaner than it’s ever been, I’m getting as much rest as possible, and I’m still burning through my to-do lists on a daily basis. So really, win-win ;) Thanks to the extra time I was given, I was able to put together five new limited edition stamp designs for the month of August:
You can find these stamps + more over at my shop! xo
Earlier this year, I treated myself to a subscription to my favorite print magazine, Anthology. Previously, I had always purchased the publication at Anthro, but I finally decided that receiving a copy in the mail would make reading it extra special. Turns out, I was right. My first copy arrived on Monday and I am in love.
Like I mentioned in this episode of Elise Gets Crafty, freelancing has definite benefits, including being able to write off inspiring reads as research materials when tax season rolls around. And let me tell you, I definitely turn to this publication time and time again for creative and business inspiration!
It’s magazines like this one that make me grateful for print, especially since my growing collection of back issues makes for a fun visual display on my living room bench. Paper, you guys. My love knows no end.
P.S. A friendly reminder that today is the LAST DAY to purchase any of my July 2014 rubber stamps! They will be gone by midnight :)
As a longtime user of Photoshop actions, I’ve been wanting to create my own set for, like ever? And really, there’s nothing quite like the impending arrival of a tiny human being to light a fire under my butt to get such things done! I decided to start with a group of “basics,” if you will. These are the kinds of editing treatments that I apply to all of my photos, whether they’re for my blog, my shop, or personal projects.
Here’s what my sample image looked like straight out of the camera:
…and here it is when the six unique actions included in the set are applied:
This set includes:
No. 01: The Basics | No. 02: Warm It Up | No. 03: Cool It Down | No. 04: B+W | No. 05: Fade Away | No. 06: Color Pop
Here’s why I love actions:
- With a single click of a mouse, you can elevate a dull, lifeless image into a refined, polished photo that you will be proud to share with others.
- You can always dial back an action by clicking on the various steps (in the History palette) to achieve your desired look.
- Mixing + matching actions is a fantastic way to create your own look.
- Even with the same action, every photo will look completely different, so the possibilities are truly endless!
P.S. From now until next Wednesday (8/6), you can save 30% off your purchase of this set of actions using the code: ACTIONS30. Enjoy!
P.P.S. Don’t forget that this Thursday, July 31st is the last day to purchase any of the July 2014 stamps before I retire them forever! ;)