valentine’s card freebies & preparing for the storm

valentines cards

Valentines Day always seems to sneak up on me so I’ve made some kids’ valentines that you can print out at home and your little ones can decorate themselves. One more thing to check off your list! They’re good to give on their own or attach them to a cute valentine’s treat. I did these cards last year and added another one to the mix. I didn’t want anyone to miss out!

Click here to download the color-your-own cards.

The store bought cards are just fine – but I love the handmade option, too. And these cards are a great excuse to do something fun with the kiddos! They might just make your life a little bit easier. Plus they’re free!

owl detail

cupcake detail

For this one, we got some fun pencils and I made these “flags” to wrap around them – a simple alternative to the candy option. You can also use washi tape to add some personality to the pencils.

pencils 2

Click here to download the pencil flag cards.

So now we’re hunkering down waiting for a big storm. I’ll be trapped in my home for at least a day, probably two. And even though I have lived in the Boston area all my life and I’m used to these crazy winters & the blizzards that come with them, I still don’t have any love for them. But I have to admit, I am a little excited about this storm because I have some much-needed jobs to be done around the house and this will give me the time and excuse to get them done. So, between decorating valentine’s with my daughter – and shoveling – I’ll also be doing the following:

• cleaning and organizing our pantry. I want a whole new pantry but that won’t happen in the next two days so for now, I’ll just do a little purging and organizing.

• reorganizing our spices. I just bought all new clear jars and a stacking shelf so now I can see what we have and get them more organized. Maybe that will make me cook better. maybe.

• cleaning the fridge. I hate doing it but I do love the results.

• hanging a mini gallery wall in my son’s bedroom. This is long overdue. We have all the pictures and now we’ll have the time to hang ’em!

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• And I’m going to try to make these heart shaped crayons with my daughter. I saw this fun project here at The Inspired Home – she always has such clever, great stuff.

So, the fact that I’m a little excited about the cleaning and purging makes me a bit of a dork but I’m ok with that. I’ll be an organized dork. But come Wednesday night I’m sure I’ll have a bit of cabin fever. Or I may ditch all these plans and just plop myself on the couch with {lots of} wine and catch up on my Showtime series shows {so bad, but oh so good}. That should help the cabin fever, as long as we don’t lose power. Oh, give me strength!

XOXO

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floral initial DIY | valentine’s decor

initial on shelf

This DIY project originally started out as something I was making for Valentine’s Day. I was going for a subtle, pretty flower initial that was feminine and funky at the same time. I thought I’d use all white, pink and red flowers to fill the shape of the initial – perfect for Valentine’s Day, right? Then I thought, that color combination might be a little limiting and I really wanted something that could last through any season or holiday, including Valentine’s Day. These floral initials could also be used as a beautiful wedding decoration done in the couple’s initial. Or look so chic in a girl’s bedroom. Whatever it’s purpose, this DIY is a super easy and super cute project you should try!

Here are the materials needed to do this project:

materials

A piece of cardboard
scissors or an x-acto knife
glue gun
faux flowers {I bought 8 flower bunches at Michael’s which cost about $12. I just sort of eyeballed how many flowers I needed and got all different sizes and shapes. Tiny flowers are good to fill in the gaps at the end}

Steps:

cardboard initial

1. Draw your initial on the piece of cardboard {you can even take a box apart for the cardboard}. I printed out our initial from my computer and drew it freehand onto the cardboard. I thought it was best not to use any fancy fonts – just good old Arial bold. You can cut the initial out of the paper and use that as a template too. You don’t need to be too fussy – the flowers will extend slightly beyond the edges of the form so it’s very forgiving. My initial is about 12 x 15″.

2. Cut the initial out of the cardboard using scissors or an x-acto knife. I found the knife to work better on the cardboard.

all elements

3. Next, cut all the flowers off the stems leaving very little of the stem on them.

glueing flowers

4. Arrange the flowers on your initial to get a rough idea how they should look. I used my faux hydrangeas as the main flowers and then spread out the more colorful flowers. Glue them down when you like how they look.

glueing flowers 2

5. Keep holding your initial up as you go so you can see how it looks and make any changes as needed.

6. Be sure to cover all the cardboard – even around to the edges and any bare spots. This is best done with the smaller flowers. I added a few of the leaves too.

on black door

Once you get it to how you like it, hang it with a ribbon – or on it’s own if the initial allows – on any hook, knob, etc. Or lean it on a shelf. I love it hung on my black doors but I’m also loving it on my bar shelf. Oh what to do.

shelf far away

As I was writing this post, I thought these floral initials could be done in smaller sizes and spell out the word LOVE or XOXO for a true Valentine’s decoration. I hope you enjoyed my Valentine’s – or anytime – floral initial DIY!

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home office purchases & sources

  home office finds ree

laugh sign – similar here // parsons chair slipcover // starburst mirror – similar here // lamp // poufs – similar here // coat rack // blue table – similar here // red bookcase // wire hanging file holder – similar here // rug – similar here

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We got some great finds for my sister’s home office. We started with a few big pieces in the room already (desks from Ikea, bulletin board – similar found here, leaning ladder shelf, and hanging multi shelf – similar here). Then we went shopping. And shopping. And more shopping. We knew we needed a little more storage along with some seating, lighting and of course, the pretty stuff. All the items should have a purpose, look nice and be reasonably priced. Easier said than done. But I think we did a great job of staying within these limits. Click on the links above to find the sources. If the items aren’t available online, I provided a similar option.

And here are a few pointers when shopping for new items for your home:

1. Always keep your paint and pattern swatches with you. This will come in handy as reference when you’re out shopping.

2. Don’t rush. You won’t find everything you need for your new space in one weekend. All these items were bought over about a 9 month period. We had trouble finding some of the items and we didn’t want to settle for pieces just to finish the space.

3. Remember your budget. Again, we could have just gone on a crazy shopping spree or had slip covers and the poufs specially made in the fabric we wanted but we needed to stay on budget. Most of the time, I think limitations force creativity and often produce even better, more unique solutions.

4. Measure. If you need a specific piece like a table or a lamp, be sure you know what size and shape you’re looking for. And if you’re not sure what size would best fit in your space, try setting up different “test” pieces – things you already have around your home – that you can use as a guide for size and shape. This will give you a good idea of what works well in that space.

5. Go with your gut. If you really, really love something and think it would work perfect in your space but you’re just not sure where it will go or what purpose it will have, get it and you’ll find it’s purpose. Sometimes those are the best finds – the ones you didn’t really plan on. And if it impacts your budget, do some refiguring and save money in another area.

6. Don’t forget the details. For a home office, this means things like desk accessories and small organizational items. We didn’t go with your standard pencil holder or paperclip container. We used things like kitchen bowls and dishes. Target is a great source for these sort of pieces. I also have a lot of luck at thrift stores.

Here are a few of the smaller items we purchased:

office accessories

small geometric plate // scallop dish // poppin’ accessories these are the best – a little more money but they’re like little pieces of art and the pens are so smooth – never thought I’d ever say those words // wooden bowls // number 5 dish // gold paper clips

What a fun project – and I’m sure it will keep evolving. If you have a redesign project you’ve been putting off – my advice is to just start it. It might come together quickly or take you over 9 months. But it will get done. And get a friend – or family member – to help you or just give you some extra input. It makes for a much better experience and probably a better result!

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home office reveal {finally!} & all the DIY

home office montage

It was over 9 months ago that my sister asked me to help her redesign her home office. I know it’s been enough time to actually have had a baby – but instead we created a space where her whole family can work, hang out, and keep their lives organized – and we didn’t have any morning sickness!

office before a

overview

We had so much fun doing this project together. If you didn’t catch the original post, check it out here. We came up with a color palette and inspiration board. We painted. We rearranged furniture {and rearranged it again}. We bought a few new items that we just couldn’t pass up – and we kept some existing pieces. And we did a lot of DIY projects to add some unique touches to the space. And we only spent – drumroll please – $500 including new purchases, all the accessories and all the DIY supplies. Boo-ya!

DIY headline

stencil detail

1. hand painted one wall in a quatrefoil pattern
After painting the walls a more neutral tan {Benjamin Moore Lenox Tan}, we painted the stencil on the wall facing the entry. This really set the tone for the entire room. We found the large wall stencil on Etsy. The paint color we used for the stencil pattern was Benjamin Moore Black Jack – a rich, almost-black gray. I didn’t do a DIY post on this project – but it was super easy to do and adds so much interest to the room. One tip: use very little paint and just dot it on with a stencil brush. And have patience.

Click here to get the stencil from Etsy.

chest

2. refinished the wicker chest
We used two different colors of spray paint {black and dark red} and worked in layering these two colors until we got the look and color we wanted. A little silver touch up on the hardware and it was a whole new piece! After this transformation, we moved the chest to the center of the room and put it on a diagonal. A new black & white rug was added too. These pieces placed on an angle in the center of the room allowed for a better flow and a little bit of the unexpected.

Click here to go to the wicker chest redo DIY post.

art wall

art shelf

3. wall art
We gave a small wall a gallery look with a mix of different styles of artwork – all DIY projects – and all having a similar color palette and feel. We added some art to the shelf across the room to tie the two areas together. The art includes the & and @ canvas paintings, multi-medium collages, scrabble letter sign, the lovely L’s, inspirational typographic art, and my dog art print. You really don’t need to be an artist to make any of these!

Click here to go to the wall art DIY post.

lamp mouse pad detail

4. refinished folding chairs
Her kids seemed to love these as their desk chairs so we just gave them a brighter, cleaner, more modern look. These also make great extra seating for a party or any special occasion.

Click here to go to the folding chairs DIY post.

final four

5. hanging paper rosettes
Not originally intended for this home office project, these ended up being a great solution for an awkward wall space. We also made a miniature one and attached it to the new desk lamp with a paper clip. adorable!

Click here to go to the paper rosettes DIY post.

plugs

6. decorated light switch & plug outlet covers
Leftover scrapbook style paper and some spray mount. It’s the little things…

Click here to view the post on DIY light switch covers.

multi shelf 2

7. refinished a multi-unit shelf
I didn’t do a post on this project but we just took the dingy beige covering off the back of the shelf and replaced it with different coordinating papers. So much prettier.

tray

8. refinished a wooden tray
Another banged up piece I had never thrown away – and it makes a great holding spot for office accessories. I heart trays.

Click here for the post on how to refinish a wooden tray.

mpad finish 1

9. cute DIY mouse pads
Great idea for kids, students, teachers, or… a home office.

Click here for the mouse pad DIY post.

As you can see, none of these projects were extensive – or expensive – but they all helped to make the room feel very personal and unique. I encourage everyone to look at their current surroundings and items with an open mind when creating a new space. For example, we debated on throwing out the wicker chest. It was very old, very dated looking and we didn’t know what purpose it would have in the room – originally it was used to store blankets. But refinishing it and moving it to the center of the room, it is now one of the focal points of the space. Plus the kids bring the comfy new poufs up next to it and use it as a table. The same goes for the folding chairs. A little metallic spray paint and some left over material I had from an old project made these chairs look so modern and chic. And don’t forget the details. Small accessories and design elements like decorative light switches and circle wall decals can make a big impact.

sitting area

desks 2

I’ll provide a list of all the items we purchased with their sources including storage, those comfy poufs, the starburst mirror, and all the accessories in my next post. We got some great finds! I’ll also be sharing some tips on redesigning a room. Stay tuned!

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new art prints PLUS 20% off calendar & prints

prints

This winter weather has given me a little cabin fever so I decided to do some painting and make a few new art prints for my Etsy shop. And I’m giving a 20% discount on all art prints along with my watercolor calendar until the end of this month. 

dream

This dream art print features a lilac and purple color palette painted around the word dream. Great for a bedroom or a common area like a mudroom or foyer.

blue stag

the blue stag… a version of this stag with flowers.

gray skies

I’ve always loved this saying/song and perfect for these dreary winter months.

These prints kind of remind me of the winter months. And since we’ve all {hopefully} taken our holiday decorations down, maybe your home could use a fresh print. They all come in 8×10 and 11×14 but just let me know if you need a different size.

calendar 2

This calendar was a big hit over the holidays and I have a few more left so get ’em while they’re hot – and while you can still hang up the January month! The calendar consists of twelve 5×7 cards featuring a watercolor for each month. They can be put in a standard frame or they also come with a silver magnet clip so you could hang the calendar on your fridge or a locker – or just washi tape the cards to anything!

calendar cover with clip

calendar frame

calendar & tape

Click on the link below to go to my Etsy shop and be sure to enter the discount code: JANUARY for your discount. Offer ends on January 31st!

Etdy shop button sm

Hope you enjoy the rest of your week!

Lilly Pulitzer | Target’s latest designer partnership

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With all this cold weather here in the Northeast, the feeling of a little Palm Beach is welcomed with open arms. And no other designer can bring the look and feel of Palm Beach like Lilly Pulitzer with their resort wear and accessories. If you’re not familiar with this brand check out the Lilly Pulitzer website here. And it was just announced that Lilly Pulitzer is partnering with Target to bring us some new prints and patterns – all original works of art – created by Lilly Pulitzer artists. yeah!! 

I’m a big Target fan – they always have unique, current styles and designs in home decor, clothing, accessories – all at reasonable prices. And I’ve loved their past design partnerships with such royalty as Zac Posen, Isaac Mizrahi, Nate Berkus and Marc Jacobs.

The Lilly Pulitzer line will include women’s & girl’s apparel, accessories and shoes. There will also be home accents, outdoor entertaining accessories, beach gear, travel essentials and more. Mark your calendars for April 19 when the 250-piece collection will be available to the public.

Here are a few of the pieces we’ll be seeing. I have my eye on those gold starfish sandals!

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Click here to read the full announcement by Target. I didn’t know Ms. Pulitzer’s empire all started as a small juice stand she set up to sell fresh-squeezed orange juice using the oranges from her husband’s citrus groves. She made stylish, multi-print shift dresses to wear so they didn’t show the orange stains. People must have admired her dresses, and the rest is history!

Now we just need the Palm Beach sunshine!

how & why to make pom poms

hanging 4 with type

I just made this pom pom garland and I’m all giddy at the results. I thought I’d share this tutorial with you because a) it’s super easy to do – no crafty skills are needed and b) it’s super cheap! I love these kind of DIY projects.

mats

First, I made my own pom poms. And before you get all, “what is she crazy” – it really is a super easy DIY. All you need is some yarn, sharp scissors and a pom pom maker {get at any arts & craft supply store}.

pile

There are several ways to make a pom pom – with or without the pom pom tool – but I found it safer to use the tool. It’s called the Clover Pom Pom Maker. Two sizes for about $7. It’s a little funky tool with no written instructions and rather than try and recreate the steps, I found a YouTube video that did it perfectly.

Here’s the video:

I made about 12 medium sized pom poms and tied them to a piece of the same yarn to make the garland.

in line

When I got the length I wanted, I hung it in our daughter’s room. Done!

hanging 3

Now, here are a few more reasons to make your own pom poms {click on the links to go to the original sources}:

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pom pom napkin rings from Art Bar

pom-blanket-tutorial

pom pom blanket from Jones Design Company

DIY-Pom-Pom-Magnets

pom pom magnets from AO Life

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a super cute pom pom chandelier at small for big

What do you think? Are you loving pom poms as much as I am?? And I feel like super mom now – I just made a new pom pom for my son’s Patriot’s winter hat. The original one came unraveled. Mass-produced crap. pffft.

favorite posts & highlights from 2014

Happy New Year everyone! The start of a new year is always exciting and I look forward to a bit of change. But it’s also nice to look back and reflect on the past year and see the good, the bad and all the in-between’s.

This year had it’s share of ups and downs – as do most years I guess. We remained healthy and continued to laugh so for that, it was all good. This was my first official year blogging. So I decided to go through the posts from the past year and recap what I did. Here’s a highlight and favorite posts from the past 12 months. Enjoy!

JANUARY

Doors comp A

I took the bold step and painted all of our interior doors black. I had a few friends and readers tell me they decided to paint their doors too and loved the results.

FEBRUARY

shop samples

I got my shop up and running which was a big leap of faith! It contains mostly art prints and stationary items. Since then, I’ve switched my shop from my blog to Etsy.com – an online e-commerce website focused mostly on handmade or vintage items. One day I dream of having a real store where I sell not only my own art but also creations from other artists, along with an actual workshop area for kids and inspiring artists. And we’d sell coffee and yummy treats too. Someday….

MARCH

4 recipes photos

I shared a few of my favorite oh-so-simple recipes…

dinner and list

Along with a monthly dinner menu planner that I designed to help with that never-ending task.

APRIL

liquor cab detail 2

I showed how our home was decorated for the Spring…

art wall

and started my sister’s home office redesign with lots of DIY projects including wall art, homemade mouse pads, a wall stencil, a refinished wicker chest, redesigned folding chairs, and a wooden tray made pretty. We just finished this room only 8 months later – stay tuned!

MAY

overview

A month of bathroom redesigns. First, I refinished our small bathroom vanity…

shelf

Then gave our kids’ bathroom a refresh.

JUNE

finished

I had fun designing our daughter’s 9th birthday party invitation. A pink flamingo spinner invitation.

cupcake tower final

and worked with my niece to create a DIY cupcake tower display for a graduation party. {My talented niece made the amazing cupcakes.}

JULY

patio details

Finished our patio redesign with DIY projects including a firepit, tin can lanterns, refinishing an old table and adirondack chairs, and a homemade table runner.

AUGUST

cart after 4

My most favorite DIY project: converting a mid-century record cart into a chic bedside table and mixing metals.

arrow collage

And I jumped on the arrow trend bandwagon and made some arrow art of my own which is now on Etsy.

SEPTEMBER

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Gave my tips on being a runner – something I love and slowly getting back to after a few minor injuries.

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And redesigned our gallery-style wall with some fun DIY art projects for an overall more colorful and eclectic feel.

OCTOBER

Target collage

Followed the white & gold trend.

table & under

And made my own not-very-pretty-but-purposeful wrapping station – #readyfortheholidays

NOVEMBER

stag print

Participated in my first giveaway on a fellow blogger’s site {so honored!} showcasing my stag with flowers watercolor. Also organized my own first giveaway of the same artwork on my own site. Both contests got great response and gave me the opportunity to connect with some amazingly talented and wonderful people.

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And designed our Cape Cod Thanksgiving table centerpiece.

DECEMBER

tree

This was the month of all things holiday. Starting with a gold reindeer DIY hackwreath makeovers, my holiday art prints, my DIY holiday gift ideas, our holiday decorated home, and my holiday gift wrapping and free gift tags.

Whew! Thank you for staying with me through this past year and I can’t wait to share more with you in 2015. Your comments are always appreciated, so keep ’em coming. And Happy New Year to you all!!

festive cocktail recipes

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas and a happy holiday season! We spent a great couple of days with my family and my in-laws. Lots of delicious food, laughs and thoughtful gift giving. We also had some very yummy cocktails and with New Year’s right around the corner, I thought I’d share some sure-to-please drink recipes with you to help ring in 2015. Go to the links to get the full recipes. We’ve tried a few of them and {twist my arm} plan to try a few more.

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Cranberry Kir Royale // A little prep work is needed for this cocktail but it’s a festive alternative to the standard champagne.

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Cider Jack Cocktail // I’m a big hard apple cider fan – add cinnamon sticks and it sounds like the perfect winter warm up.

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Raspberry Mojito  // Could be my favorite signature drink. 

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Bourbon Punch // A bold citrus concoction with a refreshing touch of mint, this would make the prettiest New Year’s Eve punch bowl.

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The Ninth Night // Named for the conclusion of Hanukkah festivities but would also make a great New Year’s Eve drink. A combination of citrus, cranberry, & lemon lime but the drink is clear – add a garnish or colorful straw to make it match your color scheme. 

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Candy Cane Cooler // What to do with all your candy canes from Christmas? Break them up and make a yummy cocktail and use them as stirrers. 

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Christmas Coffee Cocktail // It might be called Christmas Coffee but I would drink this treat anytime. And although I’m an iced coffee drinker – add amaretto, butterscotch schnapps and whipped cream to hot coffee and I’m sold.

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Red Sangria // I make this all year round and it’s always a big hit. Put in a clear pitcher and let your guests serve themselves. Easy peasy.

What are your signature cocktail drinks? Send along any recipes you may have. I just might have to try them. Enjoy!

gift wrapping & free gift tags

gifts 1 type

Have you been busy wrapping? Since I just finished {well, almost finished} my shopping, I just started my wrapping. I’m really loving my new wrapping station but I must admit, I am not a very good wrapper. I think it just takes patience – something I am definitely short on. But the wrapping station helps a ton. Check out that post here. It’s not the prettiest wrapping station, but it’s organized and gives me the space I need to get it done. Now I just need the time – and patience.

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gifts 3

photo

I went for a simple paper this year – brown kraft paper that you can buy at Staples or Michaels. I think it’s about $6 for a roll of 100 feet. That’s much cheaper than most traditional wrapping paper. I’ve picked up a few embellishments along the way including some fake flowers, small ornaments, alphabet stickers, ribbon, string, material bows, even some mini bird figures to add some life to the neutral paper. I kept with a basic color scheme, the kraft color paired with other beige/tan colors, some green and mostly reds. These little touches really make the gift a little more special – and I had a lot of fun figuring who got what. Plus, it meant I didn’t have to tie any bows. Bonus.

tags

I also made these gift tags from some of my original paintings and I wanted to share them with you. You can download them for free here and use them as you’d like! All you need is paper, scissors and a hole punch if you want.

Click here to download the gift tags.

  gifts Averys

Before I get back to wrapping, I wanted to share with you a gift my daughter wrapped for her dad. The present might be for him, but seeing her want to do what I do, made this also a gift for me. This is what it’s all about. Enjoy your wrapping and the rest of your weekend!

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