Recently, I’ve been enjoying a resurgence of creative energy and I can’t even tell you how happy it makes me. Being crafty and using my hands is how I make sense of my world, so I am beyond excited to be back at it again. Yesterday as I was roaming the aisles of Target picking up the essentials (faux-Birks and loose tanks, as one does), I decided to try out a few new paints from Handmade Modern. I had a few crafty projects in mind and I couldn’t wait to get started!
A few years ago, I purchased a handful of these small zippered bags from the dollar section at Target with the intention of using them to hold bridesmaid gifts. But as it turned out, I was never able to collect all six, so those plans were thwarted (sorry b-maids) and they’ve been sitting in my craft stash ever since. However, when armed with new paint and a need to corral Briar’s stuff in my backpack, I was able to turn those bags into something usable!
To paint the bags, I used a mix of small brushes and different patterns. I allowed each side plenty of time to dry before I flipped them over and painted a similar pattern on the back of each respective bag. Super simple.
Let me just say, I’m kind of thrilled that loose + free-form is where the current style trends are pointing to because I have never been one for straight lines. (There’s nothing that kills my creative mojo more than having to use a ruler!) I’ve also been making a concerted effort to just experiment strictly for the sake of experimentation. The more I can play around without any preconceived notions, the more fun it is to craft!
Even Briar wanted to get in on the action, by slyly dipping her hands in my black paint when I looked down for half a second…! Ay yi yi. But I guess it just goes to show that she’s a girl after my own heart ;)
The other day, John was recounting just how upset I was when I first discovered that our Utah apartment did not have a recycling bin on the premises. I had totally forgotten about that! To combat the issue, I kept a huge box of recyclables in our place and then when it was full, I would force John to help me take them to a recycling center a few miles away. It was a major hassle, but it pained me more to throw away anything that I know can be recycled, or even better, upcycled. You can take the girl out of California…
So recently, as I neared the end of a spool of Dear Lizzy baker’s twine, I knew just how to give it new life.
To begin, I pulled the labels off of the baker’s twine spool using an xacto knife.
Next, I took baker’s twine from a different spool and wrapped it all the way around the spool until it was completely covered.
From there, I busted out my Cuttlebug and cut out feathers using a nesting die and a few sheets of Daydreamer paper.
Once I had the feathers cut out, I tied long strands of baker’s twine to each shape.
Finally, I tied each strand to the upcycled ribbon spool and hung it in Briar’s room! Easy to make and easy on the environment.
You guys. The day I have been dreaming of since I first saw two faint lines on a pregnancy test has finally come! (Well, kind of.) Yesterday I introduced Briar to the wonderful world of crafting! Truth be told, she wasn’t as excited about it as I was (CLEARLY), but I intend to slowly wear her down until she becomes my little crafting sidekick. #persistence
A few weeks ago, my good friend Angie posted a photo of her infant daughter “painting” through a Ziploc bag and I knew I wanted to try it out with Briar as well! The supplies are about as basic as they come: cardstock, various craft paints, Ziploc bags, and scissors.
Place a sheet of cardstock in the bag (I folded a sheet in half, like a greeting card) and squeeze in a few drops of paint. Make sure the bag is completely sealed and then let your little one mash it up as much as they want! I used two different shades of yellow and two different shades of pink to build on the visual interest, but I’m pretty sure I was the only one that cared about that (ha!). Briar was far more concerned about trying to pull the red fasteners off of the bags ;)
Once the masterpieces are complete, carefully take them out of the bags and let them dry.
After Briar’s artwork was dry, I cut them in half and taped them up to the wall above her crib for her to admire.
As you can see, she was very proud of herself ;)
As a major breakfast food aficionado, I am always on the hunt for new and exciting ways to start my day. Thanks to this video via Instyle, I recently discovered the magic of chia seed bowls! Not only are they insanely nutritious, but they take less than five minutes to put together…win-win! I also love that I can prepare a bowl the night before so my hectic mornings are simplified. Here’s how I make mine:
Gather chia seeds (I get mine at Trader Joe’s), milk (any kind), pomegranate seeds, almonds, raisins, hemp seeds, and banana slices.
Combine one part chia seeds (I usually do 1/3 cup) with two parts milk and stir until evenly mixed.
Leave the bowl in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours until the milk has been absorbed and the consistency is thick. (The seeds will end up looking gray if you use cow’s milk.)
Once the chia seeds + milk are ready to pull out of the fridge, add in the toppings and enjoy!
P.S. My oatmeal routine and my daily coffee!
Valentine’s Day has always been a favorite of mine, significant other or not. I love the candy (heart-shaped Sweet Tarts, what what!), I love that everything is pink + red, and I love love love the paper goods. Since I am big on ideas but short on free time these days, I decided to go as simple as possible with my V-Day cards. Less is most definitely more.
Thanks to Photoshop, I was able to take a recent photo of Briar, make it pink, and add a few phrases (that I turned into digital brushes!) to pull it all together. Then I printed them out, sliced them up, and glued the fronts to the backs…all before Briar woke up from her nap. Bingo bango bongo.
If you enjoy a good eleventh hour holiday crafting sesh like myself, feel free to download these digital brushes for yourself! Happy love day, everyone!
P.S. Other holiday digital brushes found here!
Given the fact that I just had Briar’s birth announcements made a few weeks ago (did you know I had a baby?), the idea of designing, printing, addressing, and shipping Christmas cards felt like an insurmountable task. But! As I was experimenting with gift tag ideas using my new digital brushes, I realized that it would be SO SIMPLE for me to bust out a quick holiday card design. Beyond simple, actually.
I started by dragging one of my favorite Instagram photos into Photoshop. Since it was already cropped nicely into a square, I left it as is.
Then I chose the “happy holidays” brush and stamped it on the center of the photo. Next, I added a text layer with the words “Love, The Espinozas” to finish it off. Three steps and I was done.
I decided that I would make just enough copies for our immediate families (knowing that they would appreciate a Briar pic more than anyone else), so I grabbed some photo paper and printed them out at home. So easy. So fast.
(If you have any questions about how to use my digital brushes, let me know!)
If you’ve stepped foot in an Anthropologie in recent days, then you know. You know that once again, they have NAILED the holidays. It was like they took the best of the blog world + Pinterest and filtered it through their magic machines to churn out the “handmade yet refined” aesthetic like only Anthro can do. Needless to say, I’ve been visiting my local Anthro for holiday inspiration, oh, once every two and a half days? (Or so it seems.) (Just ask Briar.)
I look forward to the day that I become their target demographic and can buy everything in sight, but until that day, I’ll continue to take inspiration from Anthro’s impeccable merchandising and put my own spin on their products. Case in point: woven ornaments.
Technically I’ve been on the weaving bandwagon for quite some time, so it wasn’t too much of a stretch for me to break out my loom and get down to business creating mini woven ornaments for the tree. I kept my colors pretty simple: pink, mustard, a few shades of white, and of course, a little bit of my favorite glitter eyelash yarn.
I then created a small warp that ran the whole length of the loom. To save on time and yarn, I wove two different weavings on both ends of the loom. Once I was finished, I threaded twigs through both of the weavings and then cut the yarn strands (from the warp) to separate the two designs. So simple!
I love how fun and easy these were to create! Plus, if I decide that I am so over the yarn trend on trees next Christmas (WHAT!), then I’ll just pass them along to Briar to use for her dollhouse or add them to the top of a package. No craft goes to waste around here ;)
Remember paper bead necklaces, guys? I totally revisited the idea using Dear Lizzy paper and I have to say…I love how it turned out! Sometimes it’s the simplest of projects with the most humble of supplies that reap the biggest successes. (I need to remember this.) (I tried scrapbooking again yesterday and it was an epic fail.) (More on this later.)
Supplies: Dear Lizzy paper // Tape Runner // Baker’s Twine // Wooden Skewers // Mod Podge (Optional)
You can read more about it on Liz’s blog!
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!
Card Box | Kraft Cardstock | Cuttlebug Die Cut Machine | Project Life 3 x 4″ Cards | White Thickers