my pad

lolo’s nursery

September 30, 2014

When Lolo’s birth mom chose us to be the parents of her little one she didn’t know if she was having a girl or boy but when we found out it was going to be a little girl, I must admit my whimsical soul did a little dance.

You think I would have my fill of decorating happy places since we have three fun shops, but this space was special.    There is no theme but it’s quite evident that I like my share of patterns, pom poms, posies, pennants and polka-dots  (and if you couldn’t tell… alliteration ~ I do love that too;-)

diy girls nursery If I had to name my design partner for this project, it would be Pinterest.  Plenty of inspiration came from a variety of pins but I had fun making it my own.

I can’t say I’m a huge fan of slip covers but I was pleasantly surprised how this canvas stripe number transformed our old living room chair and ottoman.  (plus it’s machine washable which I’m sure will be helpful when it comes to future spills)

The photo ledges are from Ikea and are perfect for showcasing the current bedtime story selection.  I bought the bean bag so I could easily prop Lolo up for photos but I have a feeling it will turn into a comfy reading spot soon enough.

Once I decided on the main color of the room, I dressed up old dressers with some paint and decorative knobs.  The other color inspiration came from a pack of quilting fabrics I found that featured patterns and tones that appealed to me.  I used that fabric to create a polka-dot nook using embroidery hoops and a string of pennants throughout the room.  The pennants were the last thing I added to the nursery… fearing they might be a little too much but I ended up keeping them (because ultimately I’m a too much kinda gal & if you’ve shopped in any of our catching fireflies locations, you know what I mean ;-)

diy baby nursery While shopping for our store at a wholesale show this summer, I saw a pom pom mobile that stopped me in my tracks.  I took a mental picture and headed to the craft store and created my own version.  With the same yarn selection I also wrapped this giant M and adorned it with some felt flowers.  The other pretties above the crib include our personalized baby print and a magnet board from our sister store, Yellow Door Art Market.  Also since the nursery is so sunny in the afternoon, I placed one of our solar rainbow makers in the window which creates a flurry of small rainbows dancing on all of the walls.

baby girl nursery gallery wall

One trend that I am loving are these gallery walls.  They are the perfect way to create a little vignette of special goodies.  The majority of this collection was curated from treasures I found at our sister store, Yellow Door Art Market and a delightful shop in Traverse City called The Red Dresser.

The anchor artwork’s message, “love is bigger” really spoke to me and it is also by an artist I admire and have exhibited next to before.  I fell in love with Jane’s crocheted animal heads the second I saw them & am so happy she is part of our Yellow Door family of artists.  I also can’t get enough of Jennifer’s little felt embroidered gems.

diy nursery ideas

I dolled up the curtains a bit (and I’m sure those curtain ties are gonna have to go once she is mobile considering her super human grip she has at only 4 months) I was also happy to bump into Sarah Miller of Moon Forest Studio at an art show this fall for some additional cuteness (because… you know, it wasn’t quite at capacity yet)

I know the “something old, something new” doesn’t apply to nurseries but since my mother is a serial packrat, she did give me this sweet sun pillow that I had when I was a tot.  I’m looking forward to many sunny moments shared on this chair as lil’ Lolo grows.

So there you have it ~ a small room packed with as much love and whimsy it can hold.

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pennants, posies and pom poms

September 29, 2014

I’ve slowly been working on some fun DIY nursery projects over the past few months to make Lolo’s nursery a wonderland of whimsy.  There is no particular theme for her room but I will say pennants, posies and pom poms are well represented.

The first project was dressing up our curtains.  I liked the look of our office curtains so I snatched up some butter colored ones and added pink pom poms to girly them up a bit.  The curtain rods are just wood dowels striped in washi tape.

diy nursery curtains

I do love the colors and textures of yarn but don’t have the patience to be a knitter so I resort to wrapping.  I got this large letter M at a crafts supply store and popped over to pinterest to learn how to make felt flowers.

diy yarn letter Big surprise ~ another yarn project.  This mobile doesn’t have sound or light, but Lolo does love watching it.  I chose the yarn based on color but the textures are all a little different which I think makes the mobile a bit more playful.  I had a general plan for this project, but decided on lengths and sizes of pom poms as I went along.  The base is a 14 inch embroidery hoop.

diy pom pom mobile

And now for the pennants… because they make everything more festive!  This fabric pack actually inspired the colors of the nursery.  I love how these fat quarter assortments have a color theme with complimentary patterns.  A perfect place to build a color story for a room.

I’m not a huge fan of sewing, which is why I love stitch witchery!  I grabbed this pattern, a sharp scissors, iron and was off!

diy pennants

Now that you’ve got the behind the scenes craft pass… stay tuned for the nursery tour tomorrow!

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our latest firefly family member

September 9, 2014

With much anticipation and excitement we are happy to introduce you to our adorable addition, Miss Marlo.  This small bundle of love arrived in our lives this spring and stole our hearts.


After 15 years of marriage our parents were beginning to wonder if fireflies and four-legged furry friends were going to be their only grandchildren from us. We surprised them with the news of our adoption plans last Thanksgiving and six short months later this lovely lady arrived!

9 days

Every adoption story is special including ours and that’s why I want to share it with you.  Steve & I love our life and we were both fully aware that adding a baby to the mix was going to completely change it (just ask any parent… they tell this to all couples without kids repeatedly)  So we really were fine with it being just the two of us.


In the meantime to mix things up we took a small jump of faith and started hosting high school exchange students. We ended up really enjoying mentoring and helping these girls navigate through their year in the US.  Believe it or not, choosing to open our homes to TEENS grew our hearts and planted the seed for something more permanent.  Just a bit of proof that God does work in mysterious ways.

happy bean bag

Neither of us wanted to entertain going down the road that science has paved knowing we could be the yes to someone saying no to abortion. However, the decision to adopt was a journey for us as we heard many wonderful, scary, amazing, hard, beautiful and heartbreaking stories from families who have gone down that road.

Over the years, I feel we got used to taking small, more calculated jumps but this was a whole new game of hopscotch we were being invited to.  Ultimately we both knew we were ready for the next adventure so we just had to close our eyes and take that far larger leap into the pool of faith.

bunny smile

We chose an open domestic adoption plan which means Lolo will see her birth mom a few times year and we also share photos and updates via text and phone.  Choosing adoption is one of the hardest choices a birth mother has to make and selecting us to raise her child is a privilege that cannot be measured.  Inviting her into our extended family only makes sense, plus it also allows even more people to love Lolo and the last time I checked… that is a good thing.

3 months

We are only at the very beginning of this new chapter and we know it’s going to be a beautiful, messy, wild and unforgettable story… but aren’t those the best kind?  So far the swimming has been fine.  It’s the learning to float on God’s faithfulness in times of uncertainty that continues to fine tune how we handle what life presents us.


I’m sharing our story because I believe in small steps.  It’s how we grew our business and now our family too.  Looking back at the last half of our lives ~ it’s all the little intentional risks we took that have painted the pretty picture of our current whimsical world.  While we’re humbled by our success and are proud of that story, the colors of this next layer are already jumping off the page.  We are looking forward to living out (and blogging about) the many striking and subtle strokes in the years to come.

delightful diy wedding shower

August 9, 2014

I enjoy hosting parties… especially girly ones so when my friend, Suzanne got engaged recently I volunteered my nest for some wedding shower fun.

tulle pom pom garland

First, the garland.  I believe this sets the tone for a festive environment.  Whether it’s party pennants, paper streamers, or puffy posies… stringing this happiness through the house says ‘party time’.

diy tulle garland

I chose to make my pretty puffs with tulle.  I’ve made poms with tissue paper before, but honestly using tulle was quicker and it’s less fragile so I’ll be able to use this garland again at future functions.  For 7 inch puffs I wrapped the 6″ wide tulle ribbon around a 7 inch book 16-17 times and tied it in the center with yarn.  20 yard spools of tulle will give you 3 puffs.

tulle pom poms

After tying in the middle leave the strings long so you can tie it on your garland.  Cut each side of the tied tulle and fluff.  Repeat accordingly.  Then tie your puffs to the yarn or ribbon you plan hanging them on.  String wherever you want a bit of happiness.

zinnia flowers

Flowers also always fancy things up a bit and I was so happy it was zinnia season because I scored 4 giant bouquets at our local farmers market for less than $20!  These pretties looked perfect in aqua tinted mason jars and I gave a few of our guests these arrangements if they scored a lucky plate with surprise markings on the bottom. washi tape wreath supplies

Now on to more crafting… Suzanne’s wedding colors are coral & aqua.  So the original plan was to have all the shower guests apply washi tape to clothespins to create this memory wreath.  I played around with it at first to make sure my vision would work and quickly realized that I better do it ahead of time instead.

diy washi tape wreath

It’s easy enough to apply the washi tape to the clothespins, however positioning and gluing them to the embroidery hoop was where technical difficulty occurred.  Even after drawing out the 10.5 inch circle size on a pizza box and testing out the spacing… it was still tricky hot gluing the 56 clothespins on.  I tried to stay consistent in where I glued each pin and also staggered every other one so the clip part was facing in and then out.

washi tape clothespin wreath

It did end up turning out okay but some pins were definitley more slanted than others.  I hung it with a ribbon tied through the top of the embroidery hoop and had each guest write down a few words or a sentence about a special memory they had with the bride.   We clipped them to wreath for a lovely keepsake gift.  There are plenty more spots on the wreath to clip future memories or blessings the bride will want to remember or celebrate.

washi tape cards

Since Suzanne was a guest at a baby shower I hosted last fall, she did have a couple requests for her special gathering — one of them involving crafting.  This gathering was considerably larger than the previous baby shower so I did some serious pinterest perusing and found something hopefully everyone would feel comfortable doing.  I came up with these diy favors.  Everyone got a pack of 4 colorful blank notecards (one card already washi taped up), 3 clothespins with magnets adhered to the back (one already covered in washi tape) and a party pennant pen.

wash tape card ideas

I did up a variety of card designs so the guests would have some ideas with what to do on their other 3 cards.

washi tape Each table had a bowl of assorted tapes and scissors and I was totally impressed with the creativity of our guests!  The clothesline design won my blue ribbon… how cute would that be for baby card!? I also love that Suzanne’s mom’s flower card totally matches her blouse ;-)

cookie bar Since all my crafting got a little out of control, I delegated the dessert to a few of our friends who graciously offered to help out.  I remember seeing this ‘cookie bar’ idea for graduation open houses and thought it was so clever.  So I we had six different delicious cookies the guests could indulge in.  Knowing we would have many left over, I purchased cello treat bags they could fill up and take home with them along with the recipes of all the cookies offered.  Steve was hoping to come home to feast on these leftover sweets, but I have to say the gals only left him a few crumbs.  This worked great as an additional favor for our guests.

wedding shower food Other eats included fruit kabobs, chicken pasta salad, artisan greens with feta, strawberries, grapes, candied walnuts and dried cranberries with poppyseed dressing, berry cups and lemon blueberry muffins.

girls wedding shower

tiaras and mustaches wedding shower game After dining & crafting we returned inside for a silly game of mustaches and tiaras.  Another friend worked out all the game details and I transformed kabob sticks and fun foam into amusing props our guests needed to participate.

suzanne and  nathan All in all it was a fun and memorable afternoon celebrating Suzanne and the exciting next chapter of her life with best beau Nathan.

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I like exchange students

July 29, 2014

Three years ago about this time Steve & I made the decision to host our very first exchange student.  It was a little scary and exciting all at the same time considering it had been just us two since we tied the knot over 10 years ago.   Now we are happy to say our little international family consists of three lovely European daughters… Tessa, Jule and Iitu.

It’s been over a month since Iitu returned home to Finland and her exit was definitely not without tears… but it didn’t start out that way.  Iitu was the first girl we hosted that let us know being an exchange student wasn’t necessarily her idea.    This made me a little nervous about our upcoming year together but it wasn’t long until she stole our hearts with her silliness, seriousness and her full rainbow of other characteristics in-between.

iitu blog

So when it came to creating a going-away gift, this quote leaped off my pinterest page.  I’m all for carefully plotting out safe and secure plans but sometimes when a wise person suggests you make a right turn down a road you’ve never been on before… that’s often when your trip gets more interesting… more rewarding … more rich… more memorable.

That’s why I like exchange students.  What do you like?

i like giving

You don’t need to have teenagers live with you for 10 months to make that right turn (but if that does interest you… check out YFU)  This inspiring book and website is jam packed with loads of simple stories that change the direction of your normal routine.  A quote from the book reads, “When we choose to give, we change, and the people around us change.  When we move from awareness to action, miracles happen.  When we allow giving to be our idea, a world of possibilities opens up before us, and we discover new levels of joy.”

the girls

And I definitely can attest to that.  This summer, both of our German daughters came to visit and I enjoyed some fantastic times I would have never experienced if they were not here.

I know I’m in the business of selling gifts, but I’ve found that often giving is one of the the best gifts you can receive.

my office makeover

April 15, 2014

Steve and I will have lived in our 1950’s cape cod for a total of 10 years this summer.  We have done some remodeling and moving things around a bit over that span of time but one room was always ignored… our office.  It had an old love seat (aka our basset hound’s bed), extra coffee table, Ikea saw horse desk and a small file cabinet.  It worked but it was over crowed and not so pretty.

home office ideas

I think it was a combination of our office organization blog post, a way too long winter and our Rochester store facelift that inspired me to change it up finally.

office makeover First… the inspiration.  When I remodeled the shops recently I always began with a blank sheet of graph paper so I can see the space with fresh eyes.  Even though this is a much smaller project, this helped me figure out what my options were for desk & furniture placement.

I’ve had this funny Kathleen Taylor canvas in our office for a while and have always loved the color story.  It’s what made me paint the walls aqua and the desk top orange.

I like to collect other complimentary paint sample cards for accent color ideas.

And then there is my chair fabric.  I know traditional office chairs are probably far better for body posture but I opted for the cuteness factor instead with this sweet slipper chair from target online.  My friend chose something similar for her home office and after seeing it I knew I needed to say goodbye to my old office depot roller.

office color story The colors I went with were from Miss Martha and were called Feldspar and Butterscotch.  We wanted a double desk so we ended up buying two hollow doors and three filing cabinets to lay them on top of.  I also rolled  thin coat of poly acrylic over on the desk so it will wear a little better over time.

office makeover I originally planned on spray painting the used file cabinets an olive green, however the place I found on craiglists actually had three matching Steelcase ones that were already a muted teal green so they worked.  (Please ignore the dirty window.  Storms are coming off  as soon as it stops snowing in April!  arghhhh)

diy tie up curtain Speaking of windows… since the desk was flush against the one window I improvised by creating a my own ‘tie-up’ curtain.  I’ve found Cost Plus World Market to have the cutest curtain collection.  These were light weight so I  folded them in half & safety pinned the bottom to the top.

I cut two 5 foot ribbons and looped them over the top.

make your own tie curtain I accordion folded the curtain from the bottom a few times, clipped it in place then tied the ribbons to the desired length.  I slipped a 1/2 inch dowel through to give it a little weight and voila ~ a cheap and easy tie shade with no sewing involved.

office makeover It was fun mixing up the patterns with complimenting colors.  It just makes the office feel happy.  The turquoise dresser was a flea market find and came naturally distressed painted that fabulous color.  The rug and dog pad came from Home Goods.  Steve’s office chair came from my mom’s basement (which could double for a flea market/antique shop)

diy home office decor I couldn’t say goodbye to my old (Martha inspired) ribbon bulletin board I made in college so I snuck it in behind the door that is usually open all the time.  I did add three colorful clipboards I got at our shop to display some quotes that currently speak to me.  I like how easy they are to change out and update from time to time.

Gus has finally adjusted to being downgraded to a dog bed since he lost his couch.  (He’s quite comfortable with his masculinity so he’s ok that with his pad being a little girly)

diy window frame

Since we removed all the old windows from our Rochester store during the facelift, I took some of them home to create large frames.  This one was perfect for showcasing our four shops.  The sculpted ceramic heart in the middle reads, catching fireflies and was made by my talented friend, Karen Fincannon.

diy window frame All I did was put a couple picture hanging hooks on the back of the window.  I sized & printed photos to fit the panes and taped them to the backside of the window with scotch tape.  For aesthetics I covered the scotch tape by adhering washi tape on the front of the window so it appears that it’s holding the photo in place… even though the image is really behind the glass.

office decor I’m sorta on a Ikea photo ledge kick lately.  I like stacking a variety of frames, art and objects together in an organized, yet artful way.  Steve commissioned this lovely painting of our two shops in Berkley by Kandy Myny of Bit O Whimsey for me a few years ago.  It fits perfectly in our new office paired with with some vintage and new a.i. paper design wares.

This low cost makeover did take some energy and effort, but it has completely changed the feeling of the room.  I spend quite a bit of time in this space and don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner.  You should love where you spend your time.  Sometimes all it takes is a gallon of paint, a few thrift store finds and a trip to Ikea to give your nest a new look…. well that and maybe a few fun treasures at catching fireflies too. ;-)

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our own celebrities take on hollywood game night

December 31, 2013

At the end of every holiday season, we like to throw a party to celebrate another year of making days brighter.  The past couple years we tested our team’s skills with minute-to-win-it challenges which proved to be quite fun and entertaining.   This time, we decided to play some fun games from Hollywood Game Night… after all these gals are the super stars of our little company.

Take a Hint Hollywood Game Night

Take the Hint: Select one player from your team to do the guessing while the other players need to give one word clues to get them to guess the word.   The host holds the cards up so only the team members giving hints can see them.  For example if the word is Santa…. the first team member would say – PRESENTS, the next team member – JOLLY, the next – BEARD and so on until they guess the right answer.  The guesser only gets only one guess per answer and each correct answer scores a point.  This round lasts 90 seconds.  You can see a video clip of how this works here.

Here are some words you could use for this game: popcorn, E.T., Rome, Diet Coke, bulldog, Empire State Building, Abe Lincoln, Starbucks, Superman, volcano, tattoo, Texas, Snoopy, parrot, U2, blender, Christopher Columbus, Snow White, microwave, Rolling Stones, Victoria’s Secret, dragon, daffodil, Nutella

Cereal Killer Hollywood Game Night

Cereal Killer:  Each team sends up one player and the image of cereal is revealed.  Whoever hits the ringer first gets to guess the cereal.  If the first player is wrong,  the opponent can answer correctly and get the point.  Each correct answer scores a point.  You can download cereal images for Raisin Nut Bran, Life, Kix, Golden Grahams and Trix here.  You can download cereal images for Grape Nuts, Fruity Pebbles, Corn Chex, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Captain Crunch here.

How Do You Do? Hollywood Game Night

How Do You Do?: Each team has 90 seconds to guess as many songs as possible, using only the word “doo”. Once a teammate guesses a song, they must perform the next one.  Players can pass on songs they don’t know or if their team is having a hard time guessing.  Each correct answer is worth five points.  You can see a video clip of how this works here.

Here are some songs you could use for this game: Pretty Woman, Stop in the Name of Love, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, U Can’t Touch This, Row Row Row Your Boat, YMCA, We Didn’t Start the Fire, Hit the Road Jack, I’m Bringing Sexy Back, Sweet Caroline, I Just Call To Say I Love You, Born to be Wild, Lean on Me, Like a Virgin, Stayin’ Alive, Heard it Through the Grapevine, I Love Rock-n-Roll, LaBamba,  The Lion Sleeps Tonight, I’m Coming Out, Thriller, Celebrate Good Times, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, We are Family,  She Works Hard for Her Money

TV ID Hollywood Game Night

TV ID:  A player from each team is shown a TV show title and must buzz in and bid as to how few words as possible it’ll take to get their team to guess.   If the first player says they can do it in 2 words, the other player can choose to under bid them if they think they can get their team to guess it in one word.  If the team who guesses gets it wrong, the points go to the other team.   A correct guess wins two points. Players are not allowed to use  character or actor names on the show.  You can see a video clip of how this works here.

Here are some TV shows you could use for this game: The Bachelor, Glee, Oprah, Modern Family, Sopranos, Duck Dynasty, Dancing with the Stars, Friends, Ellen, Seinfeld, The Office, Amazing Race, Price is Rice, Family Feud, Big Bang Theory, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, Simpsons, American Idol, Downton Abbey

Hollywood Game Night Timeline

Timeline:  The team has 90 seconds to place 6 images in chronological order from the earliest to the latest. When they are done,  they hit a button nearby and the host tells them how many are correct. Every time they get less than six correct, they can go back and make some changes.  When time is up or if the team gets them all right, they score 2 points for each correct placement. After both teams play the game, a five point bonus is awarded to the team who got them all right or had the fastest time in case of a tie. You can see a video clip how it works here.

You can download the sexist man alive magazine covers here.

Brad Pitt 2000, Ben Affleck 2002, Matthey McConaughey 2005, George Clooney 2006, Johnny Depp 2009, Channing Tatum 2012

You can download popular toys here.

rubiks cube 1980, cabbage patch kids 1983, transformers 1984, care bears 1985, gameboy 1989, tickle me elmo 1996

I love a charade Hollywood Game Night

I Love a Charade: This game is a 90 second tag team round and all subjects in this round fit under a specific category.  Once a teammate guesses a correct answer, they must perform the next charade.  Players can pass if they don’t know it or if their team is having a hard time guessing.

Each correct answer is worth five points.  We chose movies by Tom Cruise for one team and movies by Tom Hanks for the other.

Here are some Tom Hanks movies you could use for this game: Turner & Hooch,  The Money Pit, Castaway, You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, Forrest Gump, Toy Story, Polar Express, Splash, Apollo 13, Catch Me if You Can, A League of Their Own, Davinci Code, Big, Green Mile

Here are some Tom Cruise movies you could use for this game: Last Samurai, Rock of Ages, War of the Worlds, Eyes Wide Shut, Rain Main, Top Gun, Risky Business, Interview with a Vampire, Cocktail, Mission Impossible, A Few Good Men, Jerry Maguire, Days of Thunder, Color of Money

Celebrity Name Game Hollywood Game Night

Celebrity Name Game: In the show this is considered a bonus round, however we play it a little differently.  The goal is to get your team to guess as many celebrities as possible in 90 seconds.  The chosen player describes a different celebrity as best they can until the team guesses correctly.  Player can pass they don’t know or if their team is having a hard time guessing. Every correct answer is worth one point.

Here are some celebrities you could use for this game:  John Mayer, Selena Gomez, Mark Zuckerberg, John Hamm, Clint Eastwood, Steven Speilberg, Charlie Sheen, Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, Betty White, Demi Moore, Lady GaGa,  Tiger Woods, Honey Boo Boo, Tom Cruise, Tina Fey, Paula Abdule, Tyra Banks, Kevin Bacon, Mike Tyson, Molly Ringwald, Will Smith, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Angelina Jolie, Kayne West, Simon Cowell, Paul Rudd, Linsdsay Lohan, Beyonce, Denzel Washington, Katy Perry, Jimmy Fallon, Ellen, Cameron Diaz, John Stewart, Justin Timberlake

hollywood game night at home

We had loads of fun playing these games and would highly recommend it for a party activity if you you have 8-12 people along with someone to host the shenanigans, and keep the time and score.  If you want to follow our lead, feel free to download our score sheet here.  Besides that, all you need are some blank index cards & a sharpie to create your game cards, our image downloads and a couple desk bells for ringers.

Cheers to a Hollywood Game Night to remember at your next get-together!

Also thank you to our very own super stars who made this a most memorable night!

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walking in a winter whimsyland

December 23, 2013

Creating clever and fun Christmas cards is sorta my thing.  I take it on as a creative challenge from year to year always fearing I will someday run out of ideas.   Luckily my international daughters have been my inspiration the last few years with our campy Christmas sweater picture and also with our fun North Pole photo booth.

The spark for this year’s card was ignited when our Finnish exchange student, Iitu started working on her fashion merchandising project for finals.  She had to construct a miniature version of what kind of clothing store she would like to create.  This is what she envisioned…

shadow box fashion shop

Her attention to detail is crazy impressive… I mean ~ making an Ikea cube shelf out of copy paper?!  Not to mention even creating logo for her small shopping bag.  And you can’t really see it, but she even drew a keyboard on the computer :-)

shadow box retail shop

After seeing this impressive project, my imaginary winter wonderland wheels started turning.

creative christmas card

First, the box.  Then the doodles.

I’m a big fan of Claudine Hellmuth’s work and she is the other half of what inspired this card.  If you love this look, I encourage you to create your own family winter scene with one of her kits.

creative christmas card

After doodling our little family unit, I scanned them into photoshop then sized and grouped them to fit the box.  I also cut out photos of our heads and added them to our bodies.

unique family christmas card

I chose to color in the bodies by hand for a more homemade look.  Iitu was in charge of creating our little village of homes and oh-s0-sweet snowflakes.  This girl could easily doodle me right out of a job!  She is one talented chica.

creative holiday card

See what I’m talking about!  Even right down to the snow covered bush with colorful Christmas lights.  Oh, it was also her idea to create our sparkling tree out of pipe cleaners.

family holiday card

I cut out snow drifts and hung the snowflakes to create depth.   When I photographed the box for our card image, the sun happened to shining bright, which added shadows to our little world so that was a bonus detail!

creative family christmas card idea

Here is the image I chose for our card.  You might notice a change of color in Steve’s wardrobe.  This was done with a little photoshop magic since he was not so fond of the colors I originally chose for him.  I get it… this is a very girly card ~ he wanted blue pants at least ;-)

unique family christmas card

Here is the end product.  I had color copies made, then cut and washi-taped our winter whimsyland to colorful card stock for a most non-traditional Christmas card.  I hope it brought smiles to many faces.  After this accomplishment…. I don’t even want to think about what to do next year!  I might have to collaborate with Iitu on Skype to top this one.

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darling diy baby shower

November 4, 2013

A good friend of mine will be welcoming her first little one into the world next month and we wanted to celebrate this happy time with a few of our  friends. I haven’t had the opportunity to host a baby shower since Pinterest came into existence so I was a bit excited to explore and get inspired.

baby shower diy decorations

For the decorations, I came across loads of pom pom tissue cluster photos but I decided to keep it a bit more simple and made this colorful bunting from dyed coffee filters.  It was fairly simple and inexpensive to put together. (That cute striped clothesline is from Dollar Tree!)  I already had the colorful filters at our design studio since we use them in some of our a.i. paper designs.  I draped it all around the house and it really gave the environment a festive feel.

I also strung a little clothesline of onesies with colorful letters taped to them that spelled out ‘baby d’.  These will be used later for an artsy activity.

baby shower decorations

For food, I went with a sweet salad that included spinach, pears, dried cranberries, chicken, feta and candied walnuts topped with creamy poppyseed dressing.  Since autumn is one of the mom-to-be’s favorite seasons, I also baked up some cranberry orange muffins, mini no bake pumpkin cheesecakes and caramel apple spiced cider.  (Thank you Pinterest!) For favors each guest received a scrumptious fall scented bar of Cellar Door Soap.

no bake pumpkin cheesecake

Since it was a small gathering, in lieu of games or trivia, I thought it would be fun for Sarah to take home cute onesies made by each of us.

decorating onesies shower

I headed to Joann’s and picked up a pre-bundled quilter’s pack and some EZ Steam fusible web.  There were loads of cute fabric collections to choose from.  Luckily I found this great gender neutral color selection since the baby’s sex is going to be a surprise.

diy onesie party free printable

Next I drew some simple animals that would be cute on a onesie.  Most of these will work well for any gender, but there are even more options if you know the sex.  I love the idea of neckties for a boy and strings of pearls or fun flowers for a girl.  You can print the above traceable patterns HERE.

onesie decoration party

Next just select your pattern and trace it on the fusible web.  Peel off the back side of the fusible web and adhere it to the back side of the fabric, then cut out your pattern.  I washed the onesies prior to applying the fusible fabric so there would be no shrinking surprises.

decorate a onesie baby shower

Peel off the other side of the fusible web (this can be tricky sometimes so I recommend using an edge of a small sharp knife if your fingernail won’t do)  and place it where you want it on your onesie.  Place a damp cloth over the design and iron it with high heat for 10-15 seconds.  I love how Suzanne added a second layer of patterned dots on her turtle shell and also a couple surprise starfish on the bum.

decorate a onesie shower Having the patterns available makes it easy for everyone to participate even if they don’t consider themselves creative.  We had some crafty chicas in our bunch though… I like how Anna added the water under her whale and Steffanie cut out a play ball for her pooch.  She also sneaked in a surprise dog bone on the back side.

onesie decorating baby shower

They all turned out so stinkin’ cute and now Sarah has seven adorable onesies for her brand new babe.  It turned out to be a delightful fall crafternoon with great girlfriends.  Now we can’t wait to see the little Desjardine in some of these designer onesies soon!

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a toast to great neighbors

September 20, 2013

Once September arrives we like to host a little backyard party for the neighborhood.  It’s a great time to reconnect and catch up on summer adventures.  Everyone brings a little something to snack on and here’s what we served up.

ladybug appetizers

This festive recipe for ladybug crackers called for black paste food coloring that I couldn’t find so super small diced olives had to work for the spots.  Luckily Iitu is the master of splicing and dicing.

cider sangria

Next on the list… super tasty cider sangria that turned out to be a big hit.

Here’s what you need:

1 bottle (standard size) of pinot grigio
2 1/2 cups fresh apple cider
1 cup club soda
1/2 cup ginger brandy
2 honey crisp apples, chopped
2 pears, chopped

I served it over ice for slightly lighter taste and the crunchy apples and pears were also great to munch on after finishing the delicious drink.

It was a most lovely afternoon filled with great conversations,  lots of laughter, a few new introductions and many old connections too.

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April McCrumb

I'm April McCrumb ~ a creative gal from Michigan that loves to share clever gift ideas, simple recipes, my favorite tunes & all things crafty. Thanks for stopping by my whimsical world. I hope you enjoy your visit.

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