september recap

Sept recap graphic

Where did September go? That was a quick month. whew.

Despite the fact that September means the end of my favorite season, it’s such a beautiful month with the changing weather that I can’t help but love it too. It’s like a mini new year with the start of school, change of seasons and preparing for the holidays. Here’s a little recap of the blog happenings this past month. I’m also including some additional inspiration I found elsewhere. So sit back, grab a cup of coffee or warm apple cider and enjoy. I hope you’re inspired too.

In case you missed it, here’s recap of my posts and blog activity for this month:

on the blog art

• Reluctantly, I embraced fall & shared some of my fall decorating.

• I designed some new fall art prints that were free!

• My DIY upcycled gold desk organizer was a big hit with my daughter and was featured on the following blogs: A Pinch of JoyBumble Bree BlogAdventures of MelOrganized 31, and Dear Creatives.

• I showed you how to make your own die-cut star & washi tape note cards and this fun craft was featured in Family Magazine.

• Did you see all the good stuff I’m reading?

• And I created another free art print in honor of the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

• My DIY monogram & pom-pom pillow was so easy to make and was featured at Posed Perfection.

• Have you tried any of the 10 yummy pumpkin recipes including my pumpkin-squash soup? yum and yum.


…and things I found elsewhere that inspired me:

inspiration elsewhere is a great source for home design ideas!

• Love this DIY project from Hawthorne and Main and it looks pretty easy.

• I heart plank walls – check this one out or this one.

Oh So Beautiful Paper is a website that is not only provides serious eye candy but it also has such… well… oh so beautiful paper creations.

And this kitchen. Everything about it. Especially the plank wall accents.

I hope you all had a wonderful, memorable September!


10 yummy pumpkin recipes

pumpkin squash soup image

Happy Friday everyone! I usually do a little recipe round-up at the end of each month highlighting 4 recipes I tried and loved. But I have a confession… I haven’t been doing too much cooking, or at least not a lot of “new” cooking. It’s been a lot of the same old stuff over here but I’m chalking that up to getting back into the school routine and kids’ activities. Let’s just say we we’re lucky that dinner was made at all.

But this time of year is one of my favorites for all things pumpkin. And I especially love pumpkin-squash soup. I always order it whenever I can find it on a restaurant menu but I never thought it was something I could make. So I decided to give it a try. I combined a few different recipes I found online and created my own version. And I found it is one of the easiest recipes to make and it is so, so yummy. It’s a great option for dinner, lunch, or something you could serve at a football-watching party. I wanted to share it with you in case you’re a little pumpkin-shy too.

pumpkin squash soup recipe

Click here to download and print the pumpkin-squash soup recipe.

Now that I’m feeling brave, I’m going to try some more pumpkin recipes. I’ve included a few other good ones here. Just click on each one’s link to go to the original source and get the full recipes. They all sound so good!

pumpkin recipe montage 1. pear & pumpkin bread from Pint Sized Baker  //  2. pumpkin ricotta stuffed shells from Country Living  //  3. pumpkin spice latte from The Gruntled Gourmand  //  4. pumpkin cornbread pancakes from Iowa Girl Eats  //  5. pumpkin salsa from Little Figgy  //  6. great pumpkin dessert from  //  7. apple pumpkin muffins with cinnamon cream cheese slather from Iowa Girl Eats  //  8. pumpkin chili from Olivia’s Cuisine  //  9. pumpkin bars from Paula Deen

I hope you enjoyed my pumpkin round-up and try one of the yummy recipes. Have a wonderful weekend!


embracing the f word again {fall}

I did a similar post last year about the start of the fall season. And I know it’s not a swear word, but every September fall comes along and takes the wind out of my sails. It’s not that I don’t like this season. I love it. But my problem with fall is that winter comes next. I’m a summer girl and the cold is getting to me. But just like last year, and the year before that, and the year before that… I’m going to try and appreciate the fall for the amazing things the season brings us and not think about what’s to come.

In addition to the fall colors, comfy sweaters, football games, hearty dinners, apple pie and everything pumpkin, I love to decorate for fall. Pumpkins, gourds, berries, acorns, leaves. oh, I could go crazy. Have you noticed the delicious colors of the gourds? Peach, salmon, sage green, lime… yum.

But I’ve been a little hesitant to decorate lately. We’re right in the middle of putting a small addition on our home and things are a mess. But, I couldn’t help adding some fall touches and I figured I’d share them with you because our homes don’t have to be perfect to be enjoyed. am I right?

So here are a few of the fall touches in our not-so-perfect home. Some of the decor includes fun DIY projects – click on the links to take you to the how-to for each.

Welcome to our home….


This is our foyer with an armoire that’s always fun to decorate.

armoire detail

I went with some real and fake gold pumpkins for a little pop. The white fur pillow warms up the space. Here’s my DIY tutorial post on how to make antique type signs.

dining room

Our dining room. I used a handmade rosette {DIY tutorial here} to add interest to my hutch and stenciled some plain baskets for pretty storage {DIY tutorial here}.

dinig room cpiece 2

I love the randomness of this centerpiece versus one larger piece. Most of the items are things I had around the house: vases, books, candlesticks, candy jars. I added some sticks for height, painted and monogrammed a pumpkin from Michaels and decoupaged another one. If you’re doing a centerpiece like this, I suggest keeping the pieces in a similar color palette and varying the textures {wood, metallic, canvas, burlap, etc.}. Also vary the size and height of the items so your eye moves through the centerpiece. Use lots of natural elements {acorns, sticks, pinecones, shells} to ground the arrangement and keep the items very close to each other – they become more of a unit if they’re almost touching and interacting. 

family room

Our family room. I get so happy when I can add orange to a room. And candy jars – see DIY tutorial post here on making these pretty upcycled jars.

mantle detail 2

Our mantle is always quite a challenge to decorate with the TV directly above it and the shelves on either side. I tried to stick with natural elements for color and texture. The gourds are from… wait for it…Walmart {thanks, Mom}. The prettiest ones I’ve seen and super cheap! And there’s that delicious peach color.

mantle detail 4

My daughter and I made a super easy, fall leaf garland last year. Check out the original DIY post here from The Handmade Home. She’s good!

mantle detail 1

I heart birch logs. I found these at our local farm stand.


Fall colors are just so pretty but you don’t have to do the obvious color palette of orange, gold and reds. I also like to pair contrasting colors, like orange and blue or lime green and salmon.


I love the addition of the deep teal green pillow. The brown fur pillow again adds warmth and texture.


I added rolled paper flowers to the stag – click here for the tutorial from Jones Design Company. Fall print by yours truly. Make one yourself: use a real or fake leaf and glue it on a print out you make on your computer with the words: fall. in. love. Easy art!


More gourds and pumpkins. And a twig vase – which I use all year long. Click here for the DIY tutorial. And don’t forget to download and print my free fall art prints here.

bar detail

Lots of textures going on.

kitchen table

Our kitchen table with a simple pumpkin arrangement. I made the burlap table runner last year with my limited sewing skills. See that post here.


This is a little space that’s always hard to decorate. But adding the pouf {$25 at HomeGoods} makes it a great little reading spot for the kids.


I had some random faux leaves and flowers – which I usually don’t use – but I loved the colors. So I arranged them in a wood bin with some vases and candles and I have an instant fall centerpiece.


A little shelf with a toy truck that gets seasonal cargo. Hay bales and pumpkins for the fall. Paired with a simple type watercolor.


I painted all of our interior doors black a few years ago – see that tutorial here and I love them!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed the small peek into our home and enjoy this lovely season! The weather has been beautiful but I do know that living in the Northeast, the winter will be here soon enough. ugh. But we’re not there yet so I’m going to enjoy the brisk {not freezing} air, the light {not winter} coats and the falling leaves {not snow}. 

Be sure to click on the DIY links that were included in this post in case you’re feeling it! And remember, our homes don’t have to be perfect to be enjoyed!


FREE fall art prints

Fall is officially here, and I’ve been slowly switching gears and getting ready for the cooler weather, football games and hearty meals. I’m also changing up my wardrobe and home decor for this beautiful season. I will be showing you some of my home fall touches next week but today I wanted to share with you two art prints I created to help bring fall into your home. And they’re free! You just download them and print them onto white card stock or photo paper for a glossier look. They’re both 8×10″ and fit in a standard frame.

leaves print

The leaves print uses a painting I did last year that also appeared on my 2015 calendar. I love this quote and the unexpected colors.

Easy tilable (you see 4 tiles) natural color canvas fabric repeat pattern (print, seamless, background, wallpaper). Flat colors used, horizontal and vertical threads are accurately matched on their ends.

The Happy Fall print is a new one and it’s just so simple and pretty.

happy fall print

Print and display them as you’d like. I’m a big washi tape fan and use it to hang lots of artwork and photos. Click on the links above to download and print or visit my freebies section on my blog to get all the good stuff.

Have a wonderfall weekend! he he…


upcycled gold desk organizer

gold desk organizer main

I have admired this gold desk organizer at Anthropologie for some time now and I just saw that a very talented DIY blogger did her version for much, much cheaper and I was inspired. My daughter does her homework in one spot but she’s always scouring the house looking for supplies like pencils, erasers, markers so I thought I would make her this organizer that’s not only pretty but will also help keep all her things in one place.

desk organizer detail 3

I changed this version up a bit by adding some pink to the mix. There’s just something about pink and gold…


Recycled tin food cans {4 different heights}, gold spray paint, pink spray paint {if you want to add a color to the inside of the cans}, liquid nails, a piece of wood slightly larger than the cans and some sand paper.

Here’s what I did:


1. Remove the labels from the tin food cans and clean throughly.

cans pink

2. Spray paint the inside of the cans your desired color. I used several coats of the pink to get it to a good color.

cans gold

3. Once the insides are dry, flip the cans over and spray the outsides metallic gold. While those are drying, sand your piece of wood so the edges and top are smooth. Then spray the wood piece gold too.

liquid nails

4. Attach the cans with liquid nails in the order you like. Let it dry for 24 hours.

spray with cover

5. Once the cans are securely attached, cover the tops of the cans with pieces of cardboard then do one more coat of gold spray paint to cover the residue from the liquid nails and give it an overall finishing touch.

desk organizer overview

Add your favorite accessories and enjoy! I love the poppin line found at Staples. They’re a little more money but they’ll be a colorful addition to your desk and the pens write like butta.

scissors final

I also gave my dingy black and silver scissors an upgrade with the remaining gold spray paint by taping off the silver part and spraying the black handles gold. Now I have a nice pair of chic, mixed-metal scissors!

desk organizer detail 2

desk organizer detail 1

What do you think of this knock-off? It would only cost $7 for the 2 cans of spray paint – versus the $48 Anthropologie version. And I had some gold spray paint already so it was a true DIY bargain. Plus now my daughter has everything she needs in one place. Bonus.

die-cut star & washi tape note cards

greco design_diecut cards B

Happy Friday! Today I’m sharing my DIY Die-cut Star & Washi Tape Note Cards. Boy that was a mouthful! These note cards are super easy to make and I have even provided a star template that you can download, print and use as a guide.

Die-cutting is a process used in many different industries to cut specific shapes into a thin flat material {in our case, paper} by using a steel cutting die {in our case, an X-acto knife}. In other words, it’s a way of making a hole in paper in a desired shape. This is usually done in the same process as printing but since we’re going DIY, we’re also doing our own die-cutting. Pretty advanced, huh.

I always seem to need a card for things like birthdays, a thank you, a school message, or just a simple card to send a note to a friend. Cards are so expensive and store-bought ones can be so impersonal. Being a graphic designer, I have made a lot of my own cards and stationary but when my daughter needed to send out thank you notes for her birthday, I wanted to make something a little different.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Blank note cards & envelopes. You can find this pack of 10 blank cards and envelopes from Michael’s for $3.99. Or, you can use plain letter sized card stock and make your own blank cards. Just trim the card stock in half to make 2 cards that are 5.5″ x 8.5″. Fold them in half to 5.5″ x 4.25″ and you have your own blank note cards. If you make your own note cards, you’ll need to buy A2 sized envelopes at any paper or art supply store. I love these from Paper Source.
  • An X-acto knife
  • Washi tape in a variety of colors
  • Pencil & thin black marker {if you want to add text}
  • My star stencil {if needed}

And here’s the step-by-step instructions:

greco design_diecut template

1. Download and print this star stencil by clicking here. I used the smallest star for this project. Feel free to use them for any other needed projects too.

greco design_cut template

2. Cut out the star and trace it onto the front of the note cards. I drew my star on the top center of the card so there would be room for writing inside. This also allows space for a message – like “thank you” or “hello” – to go on the front under the star if you choose to include one – or you could keep the front blank.

greco design_star card stencil

3. Using your x-acto knife, trim the the star out carefully. I didn’t use a ruler because it made it harder to see where the lines started and ended. Erase any pencil marks.

greco design_star card diecut

A little tip about cutting a straight line: always look slightly ahead of where you’re cutting and it will be much straighter than if you look directly where you’re cutting. 

greco design_star card washi tape

4. Open the card and apply 4 strips of washi tape on the inside bottom half of the note card so that they show through the star die-cut.

greco design_star card writing

5. If you want to include a hand written message on the front of the cards, simply print out a font that you like and either trace it onto the card or freehand it with a pencil and then a thin black marker. Mine’s not perfect but it adds to the homemade look of these cards.

greco design_star cards

6. Make a bunch in a variety of colors and patterns.

greco design_star card with message

7. Mix these note cards with colorful envelopes so they stand out nicely. Add even more interest by sealing them with a strip or two of washi tape. Now you have your own, die-cut washi tape note cards to use for any occasion!

greco design_diecut cards E

Feel free to make your die-cut in any shape you’d like: hearts, arrows, scallop edges. I hope you’re inspired to make your own cards and have fun with it. And I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

what I’m “reading”

reading quote

Reading is something I don’t do enough of. I love reading but I also hate reading a bad book. So I’ve half-read a lot of books. Maybe I’m too picky. Maybe I’m just lazy. But when I find a good book, I get excited and I like to share it. And right now I’m reading 3 books. whoa. I guess when it rains, it pours.

The first book I’m reading is The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. It’s not my favorite but my son had to read it for his sophmore English class and I like to read what my kids are reading so I can talk to them about it, review their assignments, and just stay connected. It’s a memoir about the author’s deeply dysfunctional but incredibly unique family. Like I said, it’s not my favorite but it’s interesting and I’ll stick with it mostly for 15 year old conversation subject matter.

The second book I’m reading is my 13 year old son’s soon-to-be 8th grade reading assignment, To Kill a Mockingbird. I’m giddy. I actually bought this book over the summer along with Go Set a Watchman, also by Harper Lee. Like almost everyone else, I read To Kill a Mockingbird in high school and even though it’s a book that will always stay with me, I wanted to read it again before I read Go Set a Watchman. So this is my kick in the butt. Not that I really need a kick in the butt to read this classic. I recommend reading it, or re-reading it for the majority of us. Then I’ll move on to Go Set a Watchman. There’s a little bit of controversy around the release of Go Set a WatchmanAlthough written before To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman was originally promoted as it’s sequel. But I’ve read that it was actually an early draft of To Kill a Mockingbird that was rejected. Whatever the case, I’m reading both. My dad who’s a retired high school English teacher loved it. That’s good enough for me.

The last book I’m “reading” is For the Love by Jen Hatmaker. I’m on chapter 5 and it’s awesome. I put reading in quotes because I’m actually listening to the book via Audible, an iphone app that I just discovered. So not only do I love this book but I also love reading it this way. I listen to a chapter or two either at night or while making dinner. It’s a Christian book but it’s not at all an in-your-face-religious book. She’s smart, funny, sarcastic, and self-deprecating. Kinda like the people I like to hangout with! The full title is For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards. She says we put ourselves – and others “on the hook” too much. We judge too harshly. We have to let let ourselves – and others “off the hook.” And I think she’s dead on. Just to give you an idea of what to expect, I was listening to this book in bed with my ear buds on, laughing my arse off. My poor husband didn’t understand. Chapter 4 about yoga pants. Hysterical. If you’re a 30+ woman it’s a must read.

So that’s my reading list. It’s a lot for me at one time but I’m excited about the opportunity to think and learn – and laugh too. And they all give me material that will foster conversations and interactions with others – including my kids. And that’s priceless.

never forget

flag print

My heart aches when I remember this day, 14 years ago. But I am reminded that I live in the greatest country in the world.

We’re planning a trip to NYC this fall and would love to see the 9/11 Memorial. Click here to visit the 9/11 memorial website to support their mission to honor the memories of those killed on 9/11 and educate generations to come in an effort to build a brighter future.

art hanging

I have included an art print here that you can download and print to display today – or anyday – to show your pride and remember those who suffered. Also, if you have a flag, hang it proudly. Immediately after the tragedy on September 11, 2001, I remember seeing so many American flags and it was an amazing display of unity. I hope to never forget how terrible that day was and never take my freedom for granted. Let’s all keep that pride and never forget this day.

Click here to download your free print.

DIY monogram and pom pom pillow

monogram pom pom pillow text

I made this monogram pillow with pom poms and I wanted to share it with you not just because it’s super sweet but also because it took me less than 2 hours to do it. I love quick, clever projects – and if you can find an inexpensive pillow, it’s a cheap one too.


pillow – I got a cream colored one on sale at Michael’s and it has a nice burlap-like texture to it.

yarn – I bought yarn at Michael’s too – I wanted to keep with a neutral palette so I used this one called stone washed.

fabric pen – you could use fabric paint too but I found the pen was perfect for outlining the monogram and filling it in.

pom pom maker – there are many ways to make pom poms, but this tool makes it super easy and keeps them all the same size and shape. I included a YouTube video on how to make pom poms below.

scissors, X-acto knifeneedlethread, computer to print out monogram template.

cutting monogram template


Make a monogram template by printing out your letter on the computer as an outline. My pillow is 15″ square so I made my monogram letter about 5″ wide x 7″ high. This proportion seemed good to me but feel free to make yours larger or smaller. With scissors or an X-acto knife, cut out the letter.

tracing with fabric pen


Position your template in the center of the pillow and trace the edges with your fabric pen. Then, if you have a letter with cut outs, like my g, it’s best to cut out those sections and trace around the outside of those so that if your pen slips, it will be on the inside of the letter where you’ll be coloring it in. Once the entire letter is outlined, use the fabric pen to fill in the letter. You can use fabric paint here instead of the pen if you want your color to be more dense. I liked the textured, almost gray coloring from the fabric pen.

pom pom making


After you admire your lettering skills, you’ll need to make 4 pom poms. I bought the Clover pom pom maker last year and love it. I’ve made lots of pom poms for things like winter hats, Christmas decorations and a fun garland for my daughter’s room. I’m also thinking of making some pom poms to add to the edge of a blanket. Endless pom pom ideas…

Here’s the YouTube video on how to use this tool and make your pom poms. Believe me, it’s super easy and once you do one, you’ll breeze through the rest.

sewing pom pom


Once your pom poms are done, take your needle and matching thread and stitch through the center of the pom and sew one onto each corner of the pillow. Be generous with your stitches so the pom pom is secure.

monogram pom pom pillow detail

For about $20 and a few hours, you end up with this personalized, super cute pillow.

monogram pom pom pillow

And it might be a little early to think about Christmas but this would make a great gift. I’ll remind you later!

August recap

Aug recap graphic

I loved August. Hot, beautiful days at the beach or by the pool that I didn’t want to end. But we’re on to September and, gulp, the start of fall. Boy that was fast. In case you missed it, here’s a recap of what was happening at greco design company {besides soaking up the sun}.

A recap of my posts and blog activity for this month:

on the blog art

• I was accepted to be a member of Deco Art’s Blogger Outreach Program. If you’re not familiar with Deco Art products, check them out here. I use a lot of their paints and decoupage in my projects already but I can’t wait to explore more of their products and share the results!

• made some school and lunch box notes that you can download and print for free.

• created a typography art print after I saw a similar one out shopping that really spoke to me.

• shared some yummy crock pot recipes to help us all get back into the school routine.

• hosted a giveaway of amazing products from Bought Beautifully and shared their enlightening message {see winner announced below!}.

• made inexpensive initial art with just scrap paper and decoupage glue.

• I signed up to participate in Michaels Makers online classes. They feature expert crafters and bloggers to bring us monthly projects, tips, do-it-yourself decorating and entertaining ideas, and more. The online classes are offered through Creativebug® and a bunch are free – or you can pay $4.95/month and have hundreds more classes to choose from. I’m thinking of taking Calligraphy, Macrame and Fabric Brush Painting!! Check them out here.

• and finally, I did some blog organizing which was both a learning experience and hopefully useful.

In the studio, I worked on some fun design projects:

in the studio

• Fall is such an amazing time of year on Nantucket Island. Even though it’s a big summer vacation spot, the fall is equally beautiful here and the island draws crowds to it’s many seasonal attractions. I get to design lots of fun advertising materials for Nantucket Island Resorts and these fun events. In addition to several wine tastings, concerts, and book and author talks, the following events are happening on Nantucket this fall and winter:

• I painted three new art prints featuring images of lemonade, watermelon and a flamingo and added them to my Etsy shop. I’m working on 2 new calendars for 2016 and these paintings will be perfect for those too!

And here are some other places greco design company was featured this month.

featured elsewhere

• My third post as a contributor at Kenarry: Ideas for the Home was on August 3rd. I shared my DIY die-cut star and washi tape note cards – I’ll be sharing them here on the blog later this month too.

• My Watercolor Art Prints were featured at Bumble Bree Blog, and Dear Creatives.

• My DIY Cut Paper Initial project was featured at Sparkles of Sunshine, and DIY by Design.

• My DIY Type Art was featured at Close to Home, Mostly Food & Crafts, Sizzling EatsPlace of my TasteThe Blissful Bee, The Happy Housie, and The Turquoise Home

• My Back to School Freebies were featured at Home Crafts by Ali and Dear Creatives.


And now, the winner of the Bought Beautifully Product Giveaway is:

BB winner graphics

Congratulations Sandy!! If you didn’t get a chance, check out Bought Beautifully here. They’re an online company who sells products that are ethically made. They feature unique and beautifully crafted items which are also reasonably priced! They currently represent 36 different organizations from around the world – all of which follow their mission to inspire interactions that enrich lives, restore hope and empower people. 

I’m reluctantly saying good-bye to August because it means the end of summer to me. But as long as winter isn’t here yet, I’m ok. Enjoy!

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