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
You guys, I won’t even begin to tell you how ridiculously expensive it is to have an annual pass to Disneyland. It’s beyond the point of ridiculous. But in spite of the steep price point, John and I continue to renew our passes year after year, because, well, we love it! And soon we will have another person to take along with us (for free!), so of course, we’re in too deep to quit now ;)
Last year all annual pass holders were sent a calendar booklet complete with vintage prints from all of the big attractions and something told me that I should hang on to it for future use. Well, high five to me, because when I rediscovered the booklet while cleaning out my office the other day, I knew that three of the pages would be perfect for nursery decor! The only problem was that the dimensions of the pages didn’t exactly lend themselves well to traditional frame sizes.
So, I had to get a little creative. I went through the frames that I already had on hand and realized that if I used this simple white IKEA frame and made a custom mat with my Cameo die cutting machine, I could easily accommodate the prints! Boom. That was all it took to get my wheels turning…
To make the custom mat, I measured the prints and then created a slightly smaller-sized rectangle in the Silhouette Studio software and centered it within the 8.5 x 11″ paper allotment.
Once the mats were cut out, I turned the prints over and adhered them to the backs of each mat using scotch tape (washi tape would probably work well too!). Then I popped each print into the frame and mapped out where I wanted to hang them on the wall.
Initially, I was reluctant to hang anything above the crib given the high likelihood of earthquakes, but I managed to find a few workarounds. First of all, these frames are super light and the covers are made of plastic, not glass. Secondly, I pulled the crib away from the wall so that should the prints fall, they won’t come in contact with the baby. And thirdly, I wreak more havoc simply by running my clumsy body into things than any earthquake could ever cause, so maybe I’m the one who needs to be baby-proofed? HA!
When I designed the guestbook cards for our wedding, I knew I wanted to do something untraditional with them, but honestly, I didn’t have a clear vision of what that would be. Flash forward several months later to when I stumbled upon an old recipe box at the thrift store and instantly knew what to do with those cards!
Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography
During our wedding, we used a thrifted wooden cassette tape holder to house the cards that our guests so sweetly filled out during the reception. When we got back from our honeymoon, we had the BEST time reading them, so I am thrilled to finally have an easily accessible landing place where we can revisit those happy memories whenever we like! Here’s how I customized the box:
Using my Cameo die cutting machine (bet you didn’t see that one coming! ;)), I cut out two liners for the insides of the box and the word “Guestbook” for the lid from printable gold foil. Sticking each of the liners down took a little finagling (and reapplying), but I love the way it adds an extra layer of visual interest every time the box is opened.
I then lightly applied the word “Guestbook” to the lid, making sure it was on straight before I pressed down to secure it into place. The good thing about this gold paper is that it’s sticky enough to hold up once enough pressure is applied to it, but not so sticky that you only have one shot to get it right.
From there, I gathered all of our cards together and placed them in the box. (Love the designer humor from Sarah!)
Many of our guests not-so-subtly encouraged us to jump onboard the baby train ASAP. We took the hint ;)
And now our guestbook cards live happily on the bench in our living room!
If you’re currently in wedding planning mode, I encourage you to think outside of the box when it comes to components such as guestbooks! Don’t worry about what everyone on Pinterest is doing (easier said than done, I know!) or how your ideas will come across to your traditionally-inclined guests. The more you can tailor the details of your event to your own personal tastes, the more your wedding will feel like you and your fiance. And isn’t that the whole point? :)