Entries Tagged as 'tutorial'

diy no-sew nursing cover.

Posted on: Tuesday, April 4, 2017

DIY No-Sew Nursing Cover | Ann-Marie Loves

Let the record show that six months is my favorite infant age. It’s the BEST. I remember loving this age with Briar and I am enjoying it all over again with Landon. They’re just so squishy and interactive but not too mobile yet. I am trying my hardest to savor this sweet spot (and every spot!) of infanthood since I am all too aware of how fast it’s going to fly.

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diy inflatable charm necklace.

Posted on: Wednesday, March 15, 2017

DIY Inflatable Charm Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

As I sit here typing this, my two and half year old is singing at the top of her lungs while playing in her playhouse on the patio. Normally it’s the type of thing that would drive me b-o-n-k-e-r-s but today it means I can sit uninterrupted at the computer for five minutes and I WILL TAKE IT.

This age has been tricky to say the least; some days Briar is sweet as pie and other days she is…not. But when she is sweet, oh man, I could just eat her up. She is obsessed with necklaces and bows and dresses and all the things you imagine when you find out you are expecting a girl. It’s kind of my dream come true. So when she excitedly discovered these inflatable shapes in my craft stash, I knew I had to make her something special with them. Enter: the inflatable charm necklace!

DIY Inflatable Charm Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

To make the necklace, I used supplies that I already had on hand: wooden beads, pony beadspink cording, and cool tassels that I found for a buck in the Target Dollar Spot.

DIY Inflatable Charm Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

Since some of the charms didn’t have pre-punched holes, I added holes where needed using my Crop-A-Dile. I’ve had that tool for-e-ver and I still use it regularly!

DIY Inflatable Charm Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

Next, Briar and I picked out our favorite beads and started threading them onto the pink cording.

DIY Inflatable Charm Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

Once the necklace was juuuust heavy enough for a two year old neck, I tied it off and handed it over to Briar.

DIY Inflatable Charm Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

And she loved it!

DIY Inflatable Charm Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

We immediately had to head to the park so she could wear her new necklace and I could get some cute photos. I’m sure you think that I styled her outfit for the sake of the photo, but I am here to tell you that she chose EVERY LAST PIECE. Girl knows what she likes.

DIY Inflatable Charm Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

She drives me insane but I can’t get enough of her.

SUPPLIES


tips for dealing with anxiety.

Posted on: Monday, February 20, 2017

Tips for Dealing With Anxiety | Ann-Marie Loves

Yesterday was one of those days where I felt overwhelmed about everything. There was nothing in particular that made me stressed; rather it was a mix of ongoing anxieties and new stressors paired with postpartum hormones. I’ve always felt things pretty deeply. I don’t cry at the drop of the hat like I used to (puberty was a cruel biotch), but I am acutely aware of energies and emotions around me, and every once in awhile, they knock me down. Thankfully, I’ve picked up a few tricks in my thirty years that help me to regain control of my thoughts. Here are my top five solutions:

1. Exercise. I know, I know. Nobody wants to hear that they have to get their body in motion to get their mind right, but I promise you, IT WORKS. One of my favorite way to exercise is about as simple and inexpensive as it gets: a long walk in the fresh air. Yesterday I loaded Landon up in the stroller and went for an hour long walk to meet up with John and Briar. It wasn’t super scenic and the threat of rain was upon us the whole time, but it felt good to get outside and get my body moving. Walks are even better when you have a favorite podcast or playlist to keep you company.

2. Meditation. I’m finding that meditation is hard to come by with two babies in the house but I need it now more than ever. Sometimes when I take a shower at night, I’ll let the water run for a few minutes while I sit on the floor of the bathroom and close my eyes and breathe. It’s nothing fancy but it resets my looping thought patterns and brings me back to the present moment. I have a few favorite ways to meditate:

a. I close my eyes and focus on the bridge of my nose and breathe slowly in and out.

b. I close my eyes and slowly direct my attention from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet, consciously relaxing each body part as I work my way down (i.e. my head is tingly, my jaw is loose, my hands are limp, etc).

c. I listen to guided meditations (so many free podcasts and YouTube videos out there!) and / or instrumental music or nature sounds and focus on what I am hearing.

My all-time favorite meditations are the ones done after a yoga class when you lay in shavasana. In fact, my dream-of-all-dreams workout class would be 45 minutes of a high-energy Zumba workout followed by 20-30 minutes of restorative yoga followed by a 20 minute guided meditation. I would be a new person by the end each class. (Somebody please invent this.)

3. Clean up. There’s nothing quite like having my living space in disarray to make me feel like my life is completely out of control. I find that the act of getting things organized and put back in their proper homes can shift my mood dramatically. I’ve also noticed that the act of cleaning (especially folding laundry) is meditative in and of itself.

4. Change of scenery. Sometimes all it takes to break a negative thought cycle is to change up my environment, which can be as small as taking the trash out or as big as a day trip to one of my favorite places. A change of scenery almost always equals a change of perspective.

5. Journaling. I’ve been obsessed with journaling for as long as I can remember (which might explain why I love blogging), so when I’m feeling particularly drained, I’ll get all my thoughts out of my head and onto paper. I’ve also started writing letters to my intuition after listening to this podcast and watching this video. It’s such a helpful tool for really getting to the root of my anxiety…I can’t recommend it enough!

On a related note, I recently heard this quote by Glennon Doyle Melton from this book, via this podcast, and had to stop what I was doing to write it down:

“We can choose to be perfect and admired; or real and loved.”

I choose the latter. xo

diy geodes + free valentine’s printable.

Posted on: Monday, February 13, 2017

DIY Geodes + Free Valentine's Card Printable | Ann-Marie Loves

A few weeks ago I created a little dress-up area for Briar in the corner of her room. She’s been obsessed with pretty dresses and jewelry and crowns (or “prowns,” as she calls them) for awhile and I wanted to have a dedicated space to house all her fancy things. At the time, I only had two wooden branch wall mounts (purchased from Alder + Co. on our honeymoon!), but two hooks were not enough. So! I thought for a minute about what I wanted to use and decided that geodes would make for awesome wall decor / hangers. Being the cheap person that I am (ha!), I knew there had to be a way to DIY geodes, so I did a little digging on Pinterest and found exactly what I was looking for!

Truth be told, I still have yet to create the hooks BUT in a moment of sudden genius, I realized that DIY geodes would be the perfect Valentine’s card toppers.

DIY Geodes + Free Valentine's Card Printable | Ann-Marie Loves

To create the faux geodes, you will need:

Borax
Metallic Pipe Cleaners
Jar
String or Fishing Wire
Pencil or Wooden Skewer
Boiling Water

DIY Geodes + Free Valentine's Card Printable | Ann-Marie Loves

First, roll your pipe cleaner into a ball. Next, thread a piece of string through a small portion of the pipe cleaner ball and tie it to a pencil or wooden skewer. This will ensure that your geode doesn’t touch the bottom of the glass so it can keep a round shape.

DIY Geodes + Free Valentine's Card Printable | Ann-Marie Loves

Combine one cup of boiling water and 3 tbsp of Borax and stir until it is completely mixed (takes a minute or two). Then, place your pipe cleaners into the jar and loosely cover with a cloth.

DIY Geodes + Free Valentine's Card Printable | Ann-Marie Loves

After a few hours, you will start to see the crystallization. I let my first batch of geodes sit in the jars for a few days and they turned out great!

DIY Geodes + Free Valentine's Card Printable | Ann-Marie Loves

The geode color is a direct result of the color of the pipe cleaners. Based on my own experience as well as the reviews of others, metallic pipe cleaners work best although you could use plain pipe cleaners and add food coloring to the jar for a similar result.

DIY Geodes + Free Valentine's Card Printable | Ann-Marie Loves

Once you take them out, let them sit on a paper towel for a little bit to soak up any excess water.

DIY Geodes + Free Valentine's Card Printable | Ann-Marie Loves

Once your geodes are all set, you can start your V-Day cards! For this particular design, I wanted to attach the geodes with a string instead of glue, so I used a paper piercer to punch out four holes for threading. I also decided to use a little yellow distress ink with my go-to blending tool for extra visual interest.

DIY Geodes + Free Valentine's Card Printable | Ann-Marie Loves

How crazy are those rocks?! I had no idea if they would even work out but they are better than I could have predicted! Not only would these be fun for room decor or Valentine’s card toppers, but they would also be fun to bury in sand and use as “hidden treasures” for little ones to find. (In fact, I might have to try that this week with a certain toddler…)

DIY Geodes + Free Valentine's Card Printable | Ann-Marie Loves

P.S. You can download these V-Day cards here! Happy Love Day, everyone!

diy fairy wands.

Posted on: Friday, February 10, 2017

DIY Fairy Wands for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

This past December I nearly lost my freaking mind when I stepped foot into the new Cotton On Kids at one of my local malls. I walked through the store with my eyes wide open and exclaimed “oh my gosh!” every thirty seconds because I wanted to buy ONE OF EVERYTHING. (I honestly don’t remember the last time I felt that excited? Maybe when I was in my scrapbooking heyday and took a tour of American Crafts’ showroom for the first time…now that was a happy day.) I ended up buying quite a few things for my kiddos, including an adorable fairy wand for my two year old. When it came time for her to open her gifts on Christmas morning, she was just as enthused about her new fairy wand as I was about shopping for it.

Since she loves it so much (despite snapping the stick in half in a moment of intense princess playing – ha!), I decided to try making her a few new wands myself. Here’s how I did it:

DIY Fairy Wands for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

S U P P L I E S

Felt Sheets

Heavy Duty Straws

Sharp Scissors

Pony Beads

E6000 Glue (or other heavy duty adhesive)

Multicolored String or Yarn

DIY Fairy Wands for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

Apply the E6000 glue to a small portion of the straw and begin to wrap it with the string. Continue to add glue and more string as you work your way down and let it dry. This is definitely the most tedious (and least fragrant) part but it goes by pretty fast.

DIY Fairy Wands for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

Next, cut out different shapes from felt and layer them together to the front and back of the straw to create the topper. I freehanded these floral shapes but feel free to measure or map out your design first.

DIY Fairy Wands for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

To create the strands that hang down from the top of the wand, cut a 12″ strand of string and add pony beads to both ends. Knot each side and place a little adhesive inside the bottom beads to secure them into place. Then tie the string to the top of the straw in a double knot. Finally, when the toddler wakes up from her nap and is overjoyed to see what you are working on and eagerly wants to “help,” have her sort the pony beads by color ;)

DIY Fairy Wands for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

The entire project took about thirty minutes and it was so much fun to make!

DIY Fairy Wands for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

DIY Fairy Wands for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar is quite the dichotomy as she is equal parts tomboy and girly girl. She’s fearless and seldom shies away from a physical challenge or a tall play structure (much to my terror). She loves playing catch and splashing in puddles and digging in the dirt. On the other hand, she’s also a sensitive soul who idolizes “Princess Minnie and Princess Daisy” and never leaves the house without her jewelry. She loves wearing pretty dresses and baking cookies (real and pretend) and showering her loved ones with spontaneous hugs and kisses. I adore these opposite aspects of her personality and am making a conscious effort to let her be herself without imposing too much of my own judgement on her. I want Briar to be as authentically Briar as she can possibly be without feeling like she needs to ascribe to any stereotypes placed on girls. I am a big believer in the fact that the future is most definitely female :)

chickpeas with spinach + yogurt.

Posted on: Thursday, January 19, 2017

Chickpeas With Spinach + Yogurt | Ann-Marie Loves

This blog is fast becoming a food blog, no? Ha! My cooking skills are still basic AT BEST so anytime I learn something new or come up with an easy recipe, I feel the overwhelming need to share my insights ;)

Chickpeas With Spinach + Yogurt | Ann-Marie Loves

Chickpeas with spinach and Greek yogurt is one of my favorite and — most importantly — fastest lunch time staples. In total, it takes about seven minutes to put together which is huge when you’re starving and you have a toddler and an infant clamoring for your attention. Here’s how you make it:

Chickpeas With Spinach + Yogurt | Ann-Marie Loves

Cook chickpeas over low heat for a few minutes until they have been cooked to your liking.

Chickpeas With Spinach + Yogurt | Ann-Marie Loves

Throw in a giant handful of spinach. You can chop it up finely or you can leave it whole and treat it as more of a salad base. Your choice.

Chickpeas With Spinach + Yogurt | Ann-Marie Loves

Next, put a whopping spoonful of Greek yogurt on top. (Good lord, I love Greek yogurt.) If I have it on hand, I’ll often use feta cheese in place of the yogurt. Just depends on my mood that day.

Chickpeas With Spinach + Yogurt | Ann-Marie Loves

Mix it allllllll together now.

Chickpeas With Spinach + Yogurt | Ann-Marie Loves

And finally, add in hot sauce (the spicier, the better!). That’s it!  A healthy meal in a matter of minutes.

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!

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