(Bed head in full effect ;)
Admittedly I’m an impulsive person. Once I get an idea in my head, there’s no stopping me until I can scratch that itch (just ask my husband). In this case, I had been on the hunt for a little table for Briar to use with the mini chairs that I thrifted a few years ago. Then I remembered the simple eight dollar side tables that I had used in former apartments and knew they would be the perfect size and color for the art station I envisioned. So on the day before Thanksgiving, I packed up the kiddos in their car seats and braved the holiday traffic, all in the name of IKEA!
I always get a little tooooo ambitious at IKEA and think that I can fit more in my arms (and my car!) than I physically can, but since I had two babies in a giant stroller with me, I was forced to keep my priorities straight. This impromptu adventure was well worth the effort because that eight dollar side table has not only been great for meal and snack times, but it has allowed me to live out one of my wildest dreams: watching my own child color and create.
You know the saying “out of sight, out of mind?” Well, that’s definitely the case with toys and art supplies. I have a basket filled with art supplies in Briar’s closet that I often forget about so I am making a much more concerted effort to bring it out and set up an art station everyday. If Briar can see it then she’s much more likely to pull up her chair and start coloring instead of begging me to turn on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. (Although, God bless that Mickey Mouse and the wonderful babysitter that he is ;)
Typically Briar likes to rope others into coloring with her (“draw a mommy triangle! draw a baby triangle! draw a Nana triangle!”), and even though I don’t always want to join in, I inevitably feel better if I do. It’s like when we go to the park and she wants me to play in the sand with her. I mean, I don’t really want to be a sand monster by the time we leave, but there is something incredibly therapeutic about these simple childhood pleasures. When it comes to coloring, I love to use the multicolored heart-shaped crayons that I made for Briar this past summer. They’re so satisfying!
I’m always looking for toddler-friendly crafts I can do with Briar, especially anything that requires minimal set-up and clean-up. Any suggestions?
What does a quinoa recipe have to do with the week before Christmas, you ask? Good question. I have no idea. All I know is that I’ve been running myself ragged the past several weeks and all the germs that my family has been passing back and forth have finally caught up to me. I also know that moms aren’t allotted sick days (especially during the crazy holiday season!) so I’ve been trying to take extra good care of myself whenever possible. As a result, this recipe has become my go-to lunch option since it’s packed full of healthy ingredients AND it only takes five minutes to make AND it leaves minimal dishes for me to wash afterwards. BOOM.
Everything that goes into this meal can be purchased at Trader Joe’s (or any grocery store of your choice) and used for a variety of meals. Here’s what’s included:
+ Cooked quinoa (I cooked this batch with vegetable broth)
+ Handfuls of spinach
+ Cherry tomatoes
+ Frozen mushrooms (or you can do fresh if you’re feeling fancy!) (I’m never that fancy.)
+ A little bit of feta cheese (or A LOT of feta, if you’re me)
+ Olive oil
+ Pepper to taste
The process is pretty simple: Cook over low to medium heat on the stove with a little bit of olive oil for few minutes and then top with feta cheese and pepper. It really is that easy!
When it comes to holiday packaging, I take my job verrrrry seriously. I love wrapping presents and as a result, I am a firm believer that the packaging is just as (if not more!) important the gift itself. While ordering holiday cards through Minted, I added a few rolls of this XO gift wrap paper to my cart because, well, it’s PERFECTION. Not only is this particular pattern great for Christmas, but it’s also perfect for showers or birthdays throughout the rest of the year.
Each gift is topped with a plethora of colorful pom poms (never enough poms!) and simple tags that I quickly whipped up in Illustrator.
I also picked up gold foil polka dot paper from Target and am making a mental note to stock up on this pattern during the after-Christmas sale! It’s so good.
I’d like to think my packaging obsession is rubbing off on Briar. She grabbed the hot pink washi tape when I wasn’t looking and helped to herself to a rather generous strip of it, which she promptly added to her own gift – ha!
Clearly I wasn’t doing it right. She kindly fixed it for me ;)
I have an abundance of crafting tools that admittedly collect dust most of the year. Sometimes they involve too much set up or maybe they’re on a high shelf that I don’t feel like rearranging to get to or maybe I just plain forgot about them. Regardless, there are only a handful of tools that I use on a constant basis (hello, heavy duty paper trimmer!). But since I’ve been obsessed with pom poms for a few years, I figured there had to be a tool out there that would help me improve on my creations. Enter: this handy dandy pom pom maker. For only $8 on Amazon, I received two different sized pom pom makers in one pack and they produce perfect little poms in a snap!
So in the spirit of adding toppers to holiday gifts, I thought I would share how awesome this little gadget is:
Wind one side of the pom pom maker with your yarn color(s) of choice.
Repeat the winding on the opposite arm.
Move both of the arms towards the center of the maker.
This is what it looks like once it’s closed.
Grab a pair of sharp scissors and trim down the center of each side of yarn.
Once you’ve cut all the way through both sides, it will look like a yarn sandwich.
Cut a short string of yarn and wind it around the center of the pom pom maker and secure it with a double knot (this is what binds the two arms’ yarn together.
Pull the pom pom maker apart.
Here’s what the pom pom looks like! Pretty cool, huh?
Finally, give your pom pom a little hair cut.
With a toddler who is constantly redecorating the tree, I love using these pom poms as ornaments AND as gift toppers! I never have to worry about them breaking or being so valuable that I would be sad if they went MIA. I’m just now thinking that I might thread them on a string and hang them as a garland in Briar’s room when the holidays are over…hmmmm. So many possibilities!
Every time we move, I curse myself for having so many scrapbooks and craft supplies. They’re so much fun to play with but good lord, they are such a pain to move and find room for. That being said, I decided to take a more practical approach with my December Daily this year. Instead of starting a new album, I am just adding a December Daily portion to my ongoing 2016 album. I figure that this will be the easiest way for me to stick with it AND save some space in the closet. Additionally, Briar loves paging this particular album so I know this will get a lot of attention long after December passes.
Here’s the first spread:
It wouldn’t be complete unless there was a ton of color!
For the introductory page, I am using one of my all-time favorite papers from Amy Tangerine’s Oh Happy Life collection. As soon as I saw it, I put it aside for this particular project knowing that it would be the perfect palette for my version of Christmas. I also used a die cut tag, a Crate Paper pinwheel sticker that I’ve been hoarding for years, and Amy’s holiday stamps.
Instead of doing a strict daily format, I’m doing an “almost daily” format. Basically, I’m too scatterbrained at the moment to be that disciplined with documenting everyday so I’m just going to wing it and call it good ;) For this page, I used three different photos and added the “love,” “merry,” and yellow paint swipe using my Hand-Lettered Holiday Digital Brushes. I only had about an hour to pull all this together so using the brushes on my before I printed helped to bring in fun design elements without having to dig through my stash.
I woke up this morning excited to look at what I made last night. I’m eager to add more to this album! Stay tuned.
Two months into parenting two kids and I finally feel like I am hitting my stride. Sure, there’s plenty of room for improvement but the initial overwhelm has faded. I can now have everyone dressed, fed, packed, and buckled in the car and only be running about half an hour late! (ha!) I have days where I feel like I am killing it in the mom / wife / work-from-home department and I have days where all I can do is count down the minutes until John gets home and I can lock myself in the bathroom with a glass of wine. Life, right?
But for the most part, I’m feeling pretty darn good and when I feel good, I want to make stuff! Yesterday we spent the day at my parents’ house and while both babies napped, I sat outside in their backyard and whipped up a quick rosemary wreath. Here’s how I made it:
The supplies are pretty basic: lots of fresh rosemary branches, sharp scissors (or pruning shears, if you prefer), gold wire, and neon pink cording.
Gather a thick stack of rosemary branches, approximately 10 – 12 inches each.
Piece the ends of the rosemary branches together and secure the center with gold wire. (I also wrapped a long strand of gold string around the wire because I had it on hand and wanted to use it all up.)
Cut a long strand of the hot pink cording and tie it to two of the upper branches to act as the hanger. Pro tip: Make sure you choose sturdy branches near the front so that your wreath doesn’t tip too far forward or backward when it’s hung.
There are maaaaaany areas of my current life where I feel that I am falling behind. I can never seem to stay on top of the toddler toy tornado. I wash my hair maybe (?) once a week. I basically wear the same nursing-friendly outfit every single day. My daily to-do list seldom gets finished. But every once in awhile, I pull off a solid victory. Case in point: our 2016 holiday cards!
A few weeks ago I managed to get several photos of my little family. It was quite the effort trying to convince everyone to cooperate (I’m looking at you, John) but we pulled it off and now I have a little time capsule of this crazy time in our lives. So in a rare moment of peace and quiet, I sat down at the computer with a glass of wine and whipped out our holiday cards using Amy Tangerine’s holiday collaboration with Mixbook. My favorite thing about Mixbook is how customizable their designs are. Being able to manipulate each design element to my exact liking to fit each photo makes the graphic designer in me very happy.
Here’s what the original layout of the “Merry Christmas” card design by Amy Tangerine looked like. I really love this look but with the centered family photo that I was going to use, the diagonally-oriented layout wasn’t going to work.
Luckily Mixbook makes it a piece of cake to rearrange and resize every single element. So I started the process by deleting all of the phrases and floral element and then reintroduced the ones I wanted to incorporate by using the Stickers panel on the left hand side of the screen.
I placed “Merry Christmas” in the upper center and then flanked the phrase using mirrored versions of the floral patterns. So simple to do!
Once I was done with that, I worked on the back of the card which was equally as easy to put together. I can’t emphasize enough how much I love being able to customize!
Now that it’s the day after Thanksgiving, we can OFFICIALLY send these cards out the door! Let the holiday madness begin!
P.S. You can save 45-55% off everything at Mixbook from now until November 27th using the code BFRY16! Happy card making!
Sometimes I go through these obscure crafting phases where I feel compelled to buy supplies that I don’t normally gravitate towards. Case in point: wooden beads. Initially I bought a variety of wooden bead shapes so that I could make Briar a necklace, but then I realized that I kind of wanted to make one for myself!
The supplies are about as easy + cheap as they come: a pack of small wooden beads, white twine, acrylic paint, and q-tips.
By a very happy accident, I came to the realization that q-tips are the perfect way to hold beads in place for painting. Just make sure you don’t let the fuzzy part of the q-tip come in contact with the paint, unless hairy beads are your jam.
For the polka dot bead, I painted it white and then once it was dry (like, four minutes later…I love acrylic paint), I added dots using a regular black Sharpie.
Once all five beads were painted, I strung them on a long strand of twine and tied a knot to seal off a circle shape.
And here’s the finished product!
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 ;)
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!
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.
While the tray was drying, I painted each of the animals’ ears pink and added a little heart to the donkey. Because why not?
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.
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!
Recently I was asked what my favorite snack is and it took me a moment to figure it out. I’ve been through many different snack phases but right now I am deep in an apple and peanut butter “cookies” stage of life. They’re basically the perfect combination of sweet and crunchy that sometimes I forget I’m not actually eating a real cookie! Okay, that’s a lie. I never forget ;) But honestly, I feel like these are even better than a real cookie!
I think the reason that I love this particular snack so much is that it takes approximately one minute to make and that’s about the max amount of time that I am willing to invest in a snack. All you need is an apple, peanut butter, chocolate chips, and Craisins…that’s it! I take the apple, cut it into thin slices, and then layer it with all the aforementioned toppings.
This is a great snack food but I’ll also eat it for breakfast or for dessert!