Entries Tagged as 'tutorials'

quinoa with mushrooms + veggies.

Posted on: Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Five Minute Meal | Quinoa With Mushrooms + Veggies | Ann-Marie Loves

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.

Five Minute Meal | Quinoa With Mushrooms + Veggies | Ann-Marie Loves

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

Five Minute Meal | Quinoa With Mushrooms + Veggies | Ann-Marie Loves

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!

pom pom maker.

Posted on: Monday, December 19, 2016

My Favorite Pom Pom Maker | Ann-Marie Loves

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:

My Favorite Pom Pom Maker | Ann-Marie Loves

Wind one side of the pom pom maker with your yarn color(s) of choice.

My Favorite Pom Pom Maker | Ann-Marie Loves

Repeat the winding on the opposite arm.

My Favorite Pom Pom Maker | Ann-Marie Loves

Move both of the arms towards the center of the maker.

My Favorite Pom Pom Maker | Ann-Marie Loves

This is what it looks like once it’s closed.

My Favorite Pom Pom Maker | Ann-Marie Loves

Grab a pair of sharp scissors and trim down the center of each side of yarn.

My Favorite Pom Pom Maker | Ann-Marie Loves

Once you’ve cut all the way through both sides, it will look like a yarn sandwich.
My Favorite Pom Pom Maker | Ann-Marie Loves

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.

My Favorite Pom Pom Maker | Ann-Marie Loves

Pull the pom pom maker apart.

My Favorite Pom Pom Maker | Ann-Marie Loves

Here’s what the pom pom looks like! Pretty cool, huh?

My Favorite Pom Pom Maker | Ann-Marie Loves

Finally, give your pom pom a little hair cut.

My Favorite Pom Pom Maker | Ann-Marie Loves

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!

diy rosemary wreath.

Posted on: Monday, December 5, 2016

DIY Rosemary Wreath | Ann-Marie Loves

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:

DIY Rosemary Wreath | Ann-Marie Loves

The supplies are pretty basic: lots of fresh rosemary branches, sharp scissors (or pruning shears, if you prefer), gold wire, and neon pink cording.

DIY Rosemary Wreath | Ann-Marie Loves

Gather a thick stack of rosemary branches, approximately 10 – 12 inches each.

DIY Rosemary Wreath | Ann-Marie Loves

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.)

DIY Rosemary Wreath | Ann-Marie Loves

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.

DIY Rosemary Wreath | Ann-Marie Loves

And now…enjoy!

customizable holiday cards.

Posted on: Friday, November 25, 2016

Creating Holiday Cards with Mixbook x Amy Tangerine | Ann-Marie Loves

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!

Creating Holiday Cards with Mixbook x Amy Tangerine | Ann-Marie Loves

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.

Creating Holiday Cards with Mixbook x Amy Tangerine | Ann-Marie Loves

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.

Creating Holiday Cards with Mixbook x Amy Tangerine | Ann-Marie Loves

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.

Creating Holiday Cards with Mixbook x Amy Tangerine | Ann-Marie Loves

I placed “Merry Christmas” in the upper center and then flanked the phrase using mirrored versions of the floral patterns. So simple to do!

Creating Holiday Cards with Mixbook x Amy Tangerine | Ann-Marie Loves

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!

Creating Holiday Cards with Mixbook x Amy Tangerine | Ann-Marie Loves

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!

diy polka dot wallpaper.

Posted on: Tuesday, September 27, 2016

DIY Polka Dot Wallpaper | Ann-Marie Loves

There’s nothing quite like the threat of a new baby arriving at any time to light a fire under your butt and compel you to NEST SO HARD. Two week ago I had one of those days when I woke up feeling so invincible that I loaded Briar up in the car and headed to IKEA where I proceeded to wrangle her and a huge bag of unwieldy items for two hours. In the back of my head I knew I was pushing my luck but when the desire to take on IKEA appears (even at 38 weeks pregnant), you don’t ignore it! It was definitely an adventure complete with sweat, tears, and a $2 plate of macaroni and cheese. So overall, a success!

DIY Polka Dot Wallpaper | Ann-Marie Loves

Well, once I got a taste of the nesting bug, I decided to tackle another semi-big project that I have been thinking about forever: DIY polka dot wallpaper! I’ve had my eye on removable wallpaper for months but decided to do the next best thing and make it myself. I was really inspired by these loose, freeform dots and was determined to try it a different way! I figured, if it’s a total bust, I can easily remove it. But if it’s a success, I could revel in my crafting glory until the end of freaking time.

DIY Polka Dot Wallpaper | Ann-Marie Loves

To cover this long wall, I picked up three rolls of black vinyl and freehand cut out circles. I had thought about using my Cameo to expedite the process, but I kind of love the look of the imperfect circles. So scissors it was! Sometimes low tech is the best way to go.

DIY Polka Dot Wallpaper | Ann-Marie Loves

The whole wall took about 4-5 hours from cutting the vinyl to applying the last dot. Not too bad! I had many podcasts to keep me company and a wonderful father in law to entertain the toddler while I got to work.

DIY Polka Dot Wallpaper | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar’s room (that she will eventually share with her brother) was the very first room I tackled when we moved in. I wanted to make sure she had a fun and welcoming place to play and read and get acclimated to her new surroundings. Somehow it has ended up being the room that all three of us love to hang out in! It sadly doesn’t get great natural light so we have filled it with warm lamps (including this heart-shaped beauty!) and lots of bright, happy colors to make up for the void. I’d say she’s pretty happy with the results :)

diy painted wooden bead necklace.

Posted on: Friday, September 23, 2016

DIY Painted Wooden Bead Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

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!

DIY Painted Wooden Bead Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

The supplies are about as easy + cheap as they come: a pack of small wooden beads, white twine, acrylic paint, and q-tips.

DIY Painted Wooden Bead Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

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.

DIY Painted Wooden Bead Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

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.

DIY Painted Wooden Bead Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

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.

DIY Painted Wooden Bead Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

DIY Painted Wooden Bead Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

And here’s the finished product!

how i edit instagram photos.

Posted on: Thursday, September 15, 2016

How I Edit Instagram Photos | Ann-Marie Loves

I’ve seen a handful of people write this post and each and every person (all of whom have impeccable taste!) has a completely different method for achieving her beautiful images. I love learning new tips and tricks so I figured I might as well chime in and share my personal take on getting Instagram photos to my liking.

How I Edit Instagram Photos | Ann-Marie Loves

Here is the photo I took using the built-in Camera app on my iPhone. I always try to make my photos look as good as possible from the very start so that when I go to edit them, I don’t have to make any major cosmetic changes. In the case of a flat-lay like this shot, I used a white foam board (a must if you take a lot of overhead shots!) and placed it near a window with plentiful natural light.

How I Edit Instagram Photos | Ann-Marie Loves

01. Once I have my photo, I open up the VSCO app. Not only does VSCO make my favorite iPhone photo app but they also sell my favorite Lightroom filters that I use with my DSLR images. Needless to say, I’m a big fan! To begin, I almost always use the C1 filter and adjust it to suit the needs of each particular image.

02. Bumping up the Exposure is a must. I try not to go higher than 2, however, because it quickly diminishes the quality of the photo.

03. Sharpen is a handy tool for bringing in a little more polish and drama to the image.

04. For a colorful photo like this, I love using Saturation to really exaggerate the bright colors.

05. I prefer that all my images have a warm quality to them, so a little bump of red from the Shadows Tint feature makes my eyes happy.

06. In the case of this image, I felt that the overall picture could use a little more depth, so I ended the VSCO editing process with a slight bit of Contrast.

How I Edit Instagram Photos | Ann-Marie Loves

And here’s how the image looked once I exported it from the VSCO app. I adore the way this photo looks but I knew I could make it even more eye-catching if I used two small tweaks in Instagram.

How I Edit Instagram Photos | Ann-Marie Loves

07. I bring my edited photo into Instagram where I apply a small degree of the Clarendon filter. I love how sharp and white this filter makes my photos look! You can still see a little bit of the pink-ish hue created in VSCO, but the overall image is much brighter and more striking.

08. Finally, I use the Brightness feature to pump up the image even further. I really love how far Instagram has come with their built-in editing features!

How I Edit Instagram Photos | Ann-Marie Loves

And here is the final image! Pretty crazy how a few small changes can really elevate a photo, no?

What are your favorite photo-editing apps?

faux letterpress tray for toddler room.

Posted on: Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Faux Letterpress Tray for Displaying Miniatures | Ann-Marie Loves

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 ;)

Faux Letterpress Tray for Displaying Miniatures | Ann-Marie Loves

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!

Faux Letterpress Tray for Displaying Miniatures | Ann-Marie Loves

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.

Faux Letterpress Tray for Displaying Miniatures | Ann-Marie Loves

While the tray was drying, I painted each of the animals’ ears pink and added a little heart to the donkey. Because why not?

Faux Letterpress Tray for Displaying Miniatures | Ann-Marie Loves

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.Faux Letterpress Tray for Displaying Miniatures | Ann-Marie Loves

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!

apple + peanut butter cookies.

Posted on: Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Apple + Peanut Butter Cookies | Ann-Marie Loves

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!

Apple + Peanut Butter Cookies | Ann-Marie Loves

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.

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This is a great snack food but I’ll also eat it for breakfast or for dessert!

diy doll necklace.

Posted on: Tuesday, September 6, 2016

DIY Wooden Doll Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

Last week, after hitting a few deadlines and finally having a few hours to myself, I felt that old familiar urge to visit Michaels for the first time in a long while. I didn’t have any specific project ideas in mind but after a quick scan of my pin boards and a leisurely (i.e. toddler-free) stroll up and down each and every aisle, I came up with a few concepts that made me excited to get home and start creating.

The first project I felt compelled to take on was a spin on these adorable keychains. I mean, how cute are they?! Instead of making keychains, I decided to try making a necklace modeled after my favorite little gal. Briar is going through a major jewelry phase at the moment plus I knew she would love seeing herself in wooden bead form.

DIY Wooden Doll Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

To begin, I chose a handful of acrylic paint colors, small round wooden beads, candle cup beads, colorful pony beads, and white twine.

DIY Wooden Doll Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

I decided that one round bead would make the head and one candle cup bead would make the body, so the first step was to tape off half of the candle cup bead for painting. I wrapped a strip of thin washi tape around the bead a few times as evenly as possible, but as always, perfection is never my goal.

DIY Wooden Doll Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

Once I had the bead taped off, I painted one side and let it dry. Once that step was complete, I tore off the washi tape and reapplied it over the first paint job so that I could then paint the other half.

DIY Wooden Doll Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

While the body portion of the necklace was drying, I tackled the heads. I quickly discovered by happy accident that q-tips work perfectly for holding the small wooden beads in place while you are trying to paint. Love when that happens.

DIY Wooden Doll Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

For the blonde hair, I used yellow paint and for the black hair I used a Sharpie pen. Both options worked really well. Then for the faces, I used a tiny bit of pink paint for the lips and pens for the eyes. Holy moly, I had to hold my breath for that step! Those teeny tiny facial features are just that — teeny tiny!

DIY Wooden Doll Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

Once everything had dried, I began assembling the necklace.

DIY Wooden Doll Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

And here’s how they turned out!

DIY Wooden Doll Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

DIY Wooden Doll Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

DIY Wooden Doll Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

DIY Wooden Doll Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

After making these necklaces, I got the ball rolling on a few other wooden bead projects…stay tuned!

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