Entries Tagged as 'create'

diy front door weaving.

Posted on: Thursday, April 17, 2014

DIY Front Door Woven Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

On Tuesday night, while burning through episode after riveting episode of House of Cards, I decided that our front door needed a little facelift. Considering the fact that we’ve had this festive wreath hung up since the holidays (and now it’s, oh, mid-April?), it was definitely time for something new. After going back and forth between creating a dream catcher or a weaving, I decided on the latter. In case you haven’t seen my recent ‘grams, I’ve been on a major weaving kick, so I figured I might as well ride the wave while it lasts!

DIY Front Door Woven Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

Using my Martha Stewart loom, my favorite thrifted yarn colors, and a better understanding of how to create a quality weaving, I got to work on making a little decor for the front door. The whole weaving process took maybe three hours tops (or more accurately, three episodes of House of Cards) and then I tied it off the bottom strands and strung the top loops through a sturdy stick I found on a neighborhood walk. It was easily the most satisfying DIY project I’ve created in a very long time and it inspired me to create two more additional wall hangings last night!

DIY Front Door Woven Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

A few things I learned about weaving this time around:

- Adding new yarn colors is best done one or two columns into the warp (assuming you want a more uniform look). Last time I introduced new colors by knotting the ends of the the warp and I wasn’t a fan of all the extra strands that hung down the sides as a result.

- It’s best to leave an inch (or more) between the top of the weaving and the point where you introduce your first strands of yarn. I had to push the cream color at the top of my design down with my fingers because I hadn’t accounted for the size of the stick until the very end.

- Minimal tension on the yarn strands is required in weaving. In fact, the less tension, the better.

- This weaving is actually much smaller than I thought it would be, considering I used the entire length and width of the loom. I’m fine with the size, but I was definitely surprised.

- Thrifting yarn is the best way to stock up on fun colors while still saving a ton of money! My local thrift store sells big bags of yarn for only a few bucks each, so I pick them up whenever I see my favorite colors included. Eventually I want to create weavings with unexpected materials, such as leather, pom pom ribbon, and tinsel!

DIY Front Door Woven Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

There’s something to be said about crafting victories. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve attempted to make things only to feel less than thrilled with the end results. This project not only made me so incredibly happy to make, but now every time I walk up to the front door, I am overcome with those happy crafty feelings all over again. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving ;)

P.S. Here’s my first attempt at weaving!

pom pom bunnies.

Posted on: Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pom Pom Bunnies | Ann-Marie Loves

Over these past couple of months, I’ve developed a serious penchant for bunnies as as a motif for all things baby. I’ve always thought bunnies were adorable (and even had a rabbit named Button as a child!), but I never really thought twice about them until now. I don’t know if it’s the Easter effect or some strange gravitational pull spurred by pregnancy, but good lord, I have become OBSESSED with finding well-designed rabbit ephemera to sprinkle throughout the nursery. It’s like Bunny Watch 2014 over here.

Pom Pom Bunnies | Ann-Marie Loves

So now that I’ve pinned just about every rabbit-related craft idea that the internet has to offer, I’ve decided to get down to business and start making all these projects! First up: pom pom bunnies to hang from the baby’s Easter basket. (Oh yes, the child isn’t even here yet and she already gets her own basket.) I got the idea from this tutorial, but instead of using a pom pom kit, I just wrapped yarn around a fork to create the head and then yarn around four fingers to create the body. Simple enough.

Pom Pom Bunnies | Ann-Marie Loves

The next few items on my crafty to-do list include: designing a mobile (most likely of the bunny persuasion), finishing the woven wall hanging, making a bunch of baby-sized headbands, and attempting a pair or two of baby moccs! I will be sure to keep you posted on my progress :)

weaving a wall hanging.

Posted on: Thursday, April 10, 2014

Weaving a Wall Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

While casually browsing the thrift store earlier this week, I stumbled upon a giant bag of neutral colored yarns for only three dollars…! As someone who has been dying to try out the recent weaving trend taking Pinterest by storm, I interpreted it as a sign from the crafting powers-that-be that it was high time for me to give the hobby a whirl. After all, I already had a loom kit, PLUS pink and aqua yarn from previous projects, PLUS a whole board seemingly dedicated to weaving ideas…there was no way I could pass on the opportunity. So I snagged the bag, picked up a coffee, and headed home to get to work.

Weaving a Wall Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

Here’s a fun fact about me: I hate reading instructions. I simply refuse to do it unless it is my very last resort (and even then…). So instead of reading the manual that came with the loom kit, I turned to a couple of blog posts (this one, this one, and this one were particularly helpful!) and a few videos to give me the gist of how the weaving process works. Once I figured out how to create the foundation (aka the “warp”), I fell into a flow and began to weave different yarns in and out out of the loom. Mindless crafting at it’s finest!

Weaving a Wall Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

Since I have zero interest in perfection, I felt free to experiment with different amounts of strands on each row and various knotting techniques. For example, the first couple of rows only use a single strand of pink yarn, so the look is much tighter. For the next several rows, I used two strands, followed by three strands, etc. The more strands you use at a single time, the more you will be able to see the “warp” strands (in this case, the vertical cream yarn) underneath. Another thing I quickly learned was that I really did not need to create such tension when I reached the end of each row. As you can see above, the righthand side of the loom is starting to curve inward because I pulled the strings way too tight. Lesson learned. Because I eventually want to hang this in the nursery, I’m thinking of going back and redoing some of the rows. I’m not striving for perfection by any means, but if I can clean it up a bit, it will make those late nights and early mornings with the baby a little bit easier on my eyes ;)

Weaving a Wall Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

There are so many amazing fiber artists out there whose work inspires me tremendously! I would love to learn new techniques for building texture and incorporating different media into my designs.

Any weavers out there? I would love to hear your tips!

happy at home.

Posted on: Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lately John and I have been commenting on how nice it feels to be “home.”  After a weekend spent with family, it felt great to return to our Pasadena abode and get re-settled back into our daily routines. We’re both well aware that in just a few short weeks, this place will become even more baby-central than it already is, so we’re enjoying every last minute of the limbo phase while it’s still just the two of us.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

This basket went from holding laundry to holding blankets to holding rolls of paper and I’m sure it will one day hold toys. I love to repurpose!

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

Our daughter’s wardrobe is already bursting at the seams! I need to start taking inventory of which sizes I have and which sizes I need before I fill an entire closet with 3-6 months.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

Instax photo from our engagement photoshoot which feels like, oh, five million years ago.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

The ever-changing bench! It’s still my favorite flea market find to date.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

Most of our shoes get kicked into the closet as soon as we get home, but I dig this little pop of hot pink as part of my “decor.”

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

Overflowing copper cans of pens, pencils, scissors, rulers, bone folders, paintbrushes, xacto knives…

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

The most difficult part of the apartment to photograph! SO MUCH GLARE. But we love curating our fridge displays on a regular basis. Currently it boasts an Artifact Uprising calendar with wedding photos (thanks Katie!), well-wishes on our wedding from the President and First Lady, random photographs, a holiday card from Go Forth Creative, a recipe for homemade waffles, and a hilariously accurate description of our relationship.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

This is by no means my favorite vignette (decorating is always a work in progress, no?), but I love being able to incorporate the gold-fringed letters from our wedding into our home.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

You guys. I thrifted this glider for $65 the other day…! Every time I find a killer deal on baby ephemera, it feels like the universe is rewarding us for jumping the gun on the baby train five seconds after getting married. Eventually it’ll get moved into the nursery, but for the time being, we both kind of dig it’s current location.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

So many stacks of paper around here. I feel like my life is an endless exercise in corralling stacks of paper.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

And finally, the baby goods that are slowly but surely taking over the whole office (soon to be nursery). Can you believe those little shoes? They are SIZE ONE. I don’t care if she only wears them for fifteen minutes of her life for the sake of a photo op…they’re irresistibly cute!

P.S. All of these photos were edited using the Photoshop fade tutorial I shared last month!

styled shoots.

Posted on: Monday, April 7, 2014

Over the past couple of months, I’ve had the opportunity to help style, design paper goods, and put my thrifted glassware to use on two very different but equally exciting wedding inspiration shoots.

For the first shoot (Modern Watercolor Wedding Inspiration as Green Wedding Shoes dubbed it), my wedding photographer-turned-good friend Katie Pritchard invited me to help style various vignettes at the OC Mix Mart, alongside a talented team of vendors (including gorgeous paper goods designed by Alex Choura!). Not only was it a great way to meet new people, but I learned so much about what goes into a pulling together a shoot of this magnitude. So inspiring! Here are some of the beautiful photos from the day, as captured by Katie:

Modern Watercolor Wedding Inspiration | Photos by Katie Pritchard Photography | Assistant Styling by Ann-Marie Loves
Modern Watercolor Wedding Inspiration | Photos by Katie Pritchard Photography | Paper Goods by Alex Choura | Assistant Styling by Ann-Marie Loves
Modern Watercolor Wedding Inspiration | Photos by Katie Pritchard Photography | Assistant Styling by Ann-Marie Loves
Modern Watercolor Wedding Inspiration | Photos by Katie Pritchard Photography | Paper Goods by Alex Choura | Assistant Styling by Ann-Marie Loves
Modern Watercolor Wedding Inspiration | Photos by Katie Pritchard Photography | Assistant Styling by Ann-Marie Loves

For the second styled shoot, I worked with another good friend, Kate Doherty of La Rousse Photo, to bring a romantic, elegant, and slightly untraditional wedding inspiration shoot to life. After meeting up for coffee and exchanging e-mails back and forth to nail down the details of the shoot, I designed the paper goods, pulled aside some of my favorite thrifted pieces, and the had a blast pairing everything together on the big day. Not only is Kate an absolute dream to work with, but all of the other vendors and models were a delight as well! Here are my favorite photos:

Styled Backyard Wedding Shoot | Styling + Paper Goods by Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by La Rousse Photo
Styled Backyard Wedding Shoot | Styling + Paper Goods by Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by La Rousse Photo
Styled Backyard Wedding Shoot | Styling + Paper Goods by Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by La Rousse Photo
Styled Backyard Wedding Shoot | Styled by Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by La Rousse Photo
Styled Backyard Wedding Shoot | Styled by Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by La Rousse Photo
Styled Backyard Wedding Shoot | Styled by Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by La Rousse Photo

If you’re looking to collaborate on a creative project, let me know! I love helping others bring their creative visions to fruition :)

baby album | part four.

Posted on: Friday, April 4, 2014

Baby Album | Ann-Marie Espinoza

Whereas last week was full of nonsense + frustration, this week is positively brimming with possibility and victory. What does this have to do with scrapbooking, you ask? Welp, I have no idea. But it sure makes everything easier when you have a skip in your step.

The latest pages of my album are all about two of my favorite pregnancy-related things thus far: baby bumps + miniature clothes. (Sidenote: I just compared my 13 week bump with my 23 week bump and it. was. shocking. I can only imagine what another 10 weeks is going to look like…!)

Baby Album | Ann-Marie Espinoza
Baby Album | Ann-Marie Espinoza

The lefthand page features an awesome letterpress card from one of Kelly Purkey’s amazing kits and a feather that I die cut from gold foil paper with my Cameo.

Baby Album | Ann-Marie Espinoza
Baby Album | Ann-Marie Espinoza

The righthand page is my 20 week bump shot from our recent trip to San Diego, printed at 6 x 9″ and tucked into a BG Capture page protector.

Baby Album | Ann-Marie Espinoza

On this spread, I pretty much only used what supplies were already on my desk. Sometimes it’s easier to just use those pieces up then it is to put them back where they belong ;)

Baby Album | Ann-Marie Espinoza
Baby Album | Ann-Marie Espinoza

The lefthand page includes a sheet of one of my favorite new Capture papers and more gold letters (which peeled and stuck down like a dream).

Baby Album | Ann-Marie Espinoza
Baby Album | Ann-Marie Espinoza

And finally, the righthand page features a mix of KP’s journaling cards and a fabric feather adhered to one of the tabbed pages that comes included with the Capture album.

I’ve started thinking about what kind of album I want to use to document my daughter’s life once she actually arrives and I’m definitely leaning towards photo books (something like this!) vs. scrapbooking. I’ll probably end up doing a mix of the two, but I’m still up in the air about it. Decisions, decisions.

everybody dance now.

Posted on: Thursday, April 3, 2014

"Everybody Dance Now" Banner | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

I’m going to be honest.

Most of the big handmade projects created for our wedding were done with less than a month to go before the big day. BECAUSE I AM INSANE. But somehow, some way, by the sheer grace of the crafting gods, they turned out far better than I could have ever expected! Perhaps the project that packed the biggest punch at our reception was the “Everybody Dance Now” banner draped over the dance floor. I had known all along that I wanted something hanging overhead, but it wasn’t until the very last minute that I decided to get cheeky and go with the most appropriate party phrase of all time.

"Everybody Dance Now" Banner | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

"Everybody Dance Now" Banner | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

Like I’ve mentioned before, I relied on my Cameo die cutting machine heavily to pull so many of my crafty ideas together. With a stack of white cardstock, a long strand of baker’s twine, scotch tape, and my Cameo, the banner came together in less than hour. Super simple. The hardest part was finding a way to prevent the letters from twisting and tangling before they had a chance to be hung, but somehow we made it work.

"Everybody Dance Now" Banner | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

The translation from day to night was wonderfully seamless. The white letters looked electric when they were lit up by the market lights! Definitely one of the happiest surprises of the evening.

"Everybody Dance Now" Banner | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography
"Everybody Dance Now" Banner | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography
"Everybody Dance Now" Banner | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography
"Everybody Dance Now" Banner | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

And judging by all the action on the dance floor, I’d say our guests got the memo ;)

Photos by Katie Pritchard Photography.

P.S. You can see more of my wedding-related posts here!

styling | shooting | sharing e-course is live!

Posted on: Monday, March 31, 2014

Styling | Shooting | Sharing // An E-Course by Ann-Marie Espinoza

Happy Monday everyone! It’s been a busy weekend over here as I’ve been working hard to create my third e-course: Styling | Shooting | Sharing!

Styling | Shooting | Sharing // An E-Course by Ann-Marie Espinoza

In this class, I share all of my favorite techniques for styling, shooting, and sharing your photos + your personal voice to create blog posts that represent the amazing person you are! I divulge all of my top secret tips and tricks, including:

- six video tutorials on my most frequently used Photoshop editing techniques, ranging from adding text to photos to using the clone stamp tool to experimenting with the Gaussian blur filter
- lessons on how to style and compose photos to best fit your personal aesthetic
- my tried-and-true approaches for shooting and editing quality photos that you will be proud to share with your readers
- ways to hone your personal style and boost your blogging speed
- developing your online voice and expanding your reach

Styling | Shooting | Sharing // An E-Course by Ann-Marie Espinoza

As my blog has grown and evolved over the years, I’ve picked up several habits that have not only made my images (and in turn, my entire blog) much more visually appealing, but have also taught me how to blog smarter and quicker than ever before. I’m thrilled to be able to share my best-kept secrets with you!

Styling | Shooting | Sharing | A Blogging E-Course

*Please note: Although this e-course features tutorials and ideas using Photoshop CS3, a digital camera, and a WordPress blogging platform, you do not need any of these things to take this class. It’s also ideal for anyone looking to simply better their photo styling and shooting tips!

You can purchase Styling | Shooting | Sharing HERE.

P.S. This week only, all e-courses (including this one!) are 25% off with the discount code: SPRINGFEVER

my favorite fonts.

Posted on: Monday, March 24, 2014

The number one question I get asked on a near-daily basis is “what font is that?” And I totally get it. I’m completely font obsessed myself. Here are some of my favorite typefaces that I use regularly:

Favorite Fonts | Ann-Marie Loves

Trend | Thirsty | Novecento | St. Ryde

All four of these typefaces were purchased through MyFonts, though there are plenty of amazing free fonts out there as well. Whenever I’m in the market for new font families to add to my repertoire, I look for typefaces that will work well with a variety of projects and media (i.e. everything from stamps to blog posts to design work for clients). It might just be the advice of my college professors echoing in my ear, but I find that paying for a font family that I love is always a worthwhile investment (plus, as a freelancer, it’s also a tax write-off!). Not only do I have killer typefaces to pull from at my discretion, but paid fonts also tend to be significantly less overused than free fonts. Win win.

P.S. One of my favorite tools for pinpointing the names of cool fonts that I stumble upon is the What The Font app for iPhone. While it’s not always 100% accurate, it’s helped me to discover so many awesome typefaces along the way!

my freelancing story.

Posted on: Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My Freelance Story | Ann-Marie Espinoza

I should start off by saying, I never intended to be a freelancer.

While it’s the lifestyle I’ve always dreamt about, it’s not something I imagined I would ever really have the guts to dive into headfirst. But life has a funny way of throwing you into situations you never expected and showing you that you are capable of so much more than you know.

A little about my background: I graduated from San Diego State in 2009 with a degree in Multimedia Design. At the time, I had no clear direction as to where I was going to go with my career. Using the economy as a blanket excuse for any and all problems is a tired justification, but if I can be real for a moment, graduating smack dab in the middle of the recession was terrible. TERRIBLE. I had zero job prospects when I was handed my diploma. Not a one. I moved back home with my parents and took on odd gigs here and there (medical billing, anyone?). I remember interviewing for temporary work at the mall that following November and going up against people who were far more qualified and far more educated than the job would ever require. And the result of those interviews? Futile. I couldn’t even get part-time, minimum wage, seasonal work! Needless to say, it wasn’t a high point in my 27 years.

But then in 2010, I applied for an In-House Scrapbooker / Product Designer position as American Crafts. I was absolutely positive that I would never get the job (I lived in Southern California, the position was based in Utah), but within three weeks, John and I were living in Orem, Utah. Life is weird, you guys.

Working at my (then) dream job was an amazing, invaluable, unforgettable experience that taught me so much about design, marketing, and finding things to do on a Sunday in the Mormon bible belt. But almost two years into the job, I was unexpectedly laid off. I was crushed. I was shocked. I was panicked. There was no way in hell that John and I were going to stay in Utah a single minute longer, but how in the world were we going to pay for all of our moving expenses and still have money left over once we got to California?

Out of desperation, I posted a few rubber stamp designs (that I had previously made for myself) in my online shop, not expecting anyone to buy them. Within an hour after posting, I had a handful of sales. I couldn’t believe it! People really wanted to buy my designs? This was incredible! And that’s where the ball got rolling. The sales continued to grow and grow and for the first time ever, I truly believed I could support myself without the steady financial backing of a company. I had cash flow and confidence. Things were looking up.

By the time I returned home to California (peace out, Utah), I begin working part time with Amy Tan, taking on various freelance design projects, and selling more and more stamp designs in my shop. I was lucky enough to receive some press from big names including Swiss Miss, Oh Hello Friend, Fab.com, Cup of Jo, Uncovet, and a handful of others, which helped launched my business even further than I ever imagined. Each day was a new adventure and I couldn’t believe I was actually getting to live life on my own terms!

Over the past two years, I’ve grown my business in different ways. I’ve expanded my shop to include new products. I’ve put my graphic design background to work on various freelance projects. I’ve tried my hand at producing e-courses. I’ve creatively collaborated with various individuals and companies. I’ve blogged professionally. I’ve delved deeper into photography and styling. And as always, I’ve continued to craft and make things with my hands. I’m nowhere near where I want to be professionally, but I have full faith that I will get there in due time.

Now, living in Pasadena with my husband and a baby on the way, I’m still freelancing and enjoying the adventure that it is. I will admit that life is getting more and more expensive all the time (private health insurance, car repairs, and baby expenses are a few of the big culprits) and there are many occasions when money can be tight. I’m fortunate that my husband works a steady 8-5 job as a graphic designer, so the consistency of his paycheck helps to balance out the unpredictability of my income greatly. But the truth is, we are a team. I feel just as responsible for our financial future as John does, so we both do our part to make sure we are creating a solid fiscal foundation month after month.

Even though everyday is a different experience and I often ask myself “WHAT AM I DOING?!,” it’s an amazingly gratifying life and I’m so happy to be along for the ride.

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