Archive for Paper

Memory Books

Perhaps you remember the photo album I made for my niece, Ensley Grace last year.

Well, 2011 saw the addition of more little babies into our extended family. It was only fair that they get their very own memory books, too!

Today’s post is a showcase of the baby photo albums I’ve made this year.

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My newest nephew, Ethan Craig, was born on August 3. Let me tell you, boyish fabric is hard to find!! Even the prints that are blues and greens are usually paisleys or florals. Then there’s camouflage and trucks, but there’s not really any fabrics in between the two extremes. That said, I was able to find a geometric patterned one for Ethan’s album.

I just love these circular letters! They worked so well with this fabric, too!

Despite the fact that this album is for a boy, I couldn’t resist adding a little bling to the spine. :)

Black ribbon ties hold the memories inside.

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Niece Madilyn Rose arrived on October 21st…the first girl in a household of three older brothers! As you can imagine, her mommy was excited to finally have a baby to dress in  frilly, girly PINK things!

Her book was ultra-girly as well. Lots of pinks…the letter brads, the tie ribbons, and the rhinestones!

The inside pages were a fun orange-sherbet color. I LOVE how this turned out with the outside pattern. This book may be one of my favorite combos that I’ve done. In fact, I liked the cover fabric so much I bought extra yardage so I can use it again in future projects.

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In addition to the books I made for our family members, I was also hired to design books for other people’s loved ones.

This gender-neutral jungle book was created for a grandma to house all her photos of her grandkids.

The inside paste pages were chocolate brown, and each page held 4×6 photos, 2-up.

The spine was made of reinforced Davy board wrapped in leafy cardstock. The two patterns complemented each other perfectly!

Ahh, the memories that will be contained in these pages. Makes my heart smile just thinking about it.

Photo albums are among my most prized possessions. I treasure the memories they contain and I would love to make a one-of-a-kind album for someone special in your life! Email me for more details.

Woodland Birthday: Part 2

The day of Beau’s first birthday, I woke up excited and nervous. Sort of the same way I felt on the morning of my wedding. Is that weird? I’m sure some would say it is.

I’d also like to mention how much of a thrill I get out of planning a party on a limited budget. It forces me to get more creative! Maybe that’s why it reminded me of my wedding…I did the same thing with that event: achieved the biggest WOW possible for just a fraction of what other brides spend.

At any rate, I had been planning Beau’s woodland party for months and wanted everything to be perfect!

I’m SO GLAD I thought to book the amazing Abi Martin as the party-day photographer. There is no way I would have been able to corral my kiddo, play the part of hostess with the mostest, AND capture all the details and precious moments of the party. Abi is not only a talented photographer, she is also incredibly fashionable, VERY personable, and a dear friend to my family. Abi, thank you for capturing our day. I am speechless over these photos.

Beau’s birthday banner was one item I was able to create WAY in advance. It’s hard to tell, but I added glitter glue around each letter. I also attached each circle to the ribbon using tiny brads. That way, the skunk and the number could be changed out for future parties, or I could even sell it to someone with a different name! :)

Remember my sketch from Tuesday’s post? Messy though it was, it helped me pull off this spread:

I LOVED deciding which snacks we should include for this theme. These chocolate nests were one of the first things I thought of. Because one of our guests has a peanut allergy, I substituted butterscotch chips for the peanut butter called for in the recipe.

I framed 12 photos, one favorite from each month of Beau’s life, and interspersed them among the decor.

Stanley the Gnome helped hold down the fort.

I found this cool jar at a Hobby Lobby outlet store here in town and filled it with rocks, moss, and a doe and her fawn.

Here’s a shot of the goody bag contents: one finger puppet, one bird whistle, two colored pencils, two magnets, all contained in a burlap bag.

And since I believe in EVERYONE getting a party favor, I made acorn cookies for the adult guests.

Another shot of the food table, this time, with my cake topper included as the centerpiece. You’ll notice the cake stand is perched on top of  a log. FREE! from my in-laws’ woodpile! :)

Me and my birthday boy. He’d just woken up from his morning nap, so he looks a little stunned. But, MAN, if he isn’t just the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! :)

The cupcakes below are exactly what I envisioned as I was planning out the food table. I’d never covered cupcakes in fondant before, but the technique worked perfectly for creating smooth mushroom tops. The white polka dots were made out of royal icing that I blopped out and dried several weeks in advance. The risers were borrowed from my friend Mikie and covered in green Canson paper that I cut to look like grass. The cool thing? Mikie used these same risers (sans grass) last summer at the baby shower she co-hosted for Beau and me.

For those who aren’t huge fans of fondant, we also had a handful of buttercream-topped cupcakes with paper toppers I made.

To balance out the sweetness, I made sure to include some good ol’ Chex mix!

Another easy (read: inexpensive) centerpiece I made was a 14″ tall cylinder vase full of acorns (picked up off the ground at my in-laws’ house!) and topped with a friendly gray squirrel.

“Trail Mix” is a necessary component of any woodland party, wouldn’t you say? I made Fawna’s version using peanuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, mini marshmallows, and Reese’s Pieces. Sweet AND salty. Mmm.

Here’s the cake topper from Tuesday’s post. Doesn’t he look right at home on top of that two-layer chocolate cake? :)

 

Whenever I host a party, I’m always looking for new ideas for cute displays. I used B’s party as an opportunity to try another technique I’d seen: creating paper cones to hold snacks.

Interesting side-note: this “grass” is actually the bottle drying rack we received as a shower gift when Beau was born! I just added a thin hunk of styrofoam to the base so I could insert the sticks that held up the cones.

I also made my little birthday boy a shirt, using scraps of fabric that my mom and mother-in-law already had in their attics. I’d only made two other shirts before, and the design for them was much easier. I was curious to see how easy it was to create a character using multiple pieces and interfacing. It worked well! And now that the shirt has been through the wash a few times, the canvas I used for the beard and eyebrows is beginning to fray a bit around the edges, making it that much more beardly. :)

Seeing as how it’s been over 100 degrees every day for the past month (or since time began, it seems!), I made sure to have icy-cold drinks. I had a simple ice-water-with-lemon combo in a huge cookie jar I’ve had for years and I made cherry limeade punch in a cool drink dispenser I borrowed from my friend Natalie.

I received many compliments on the punch. And it couldn’t have been easier to make! I used this recipe, with a slight alteration. I started with a double batch, following the recipe as written. Then, because it was a bit tart for our liking (and I needed to make sure we had plenty), I added an additional two bottles (2-liters each) of Sprite. Perfect!

Beau’s little pals were so cute in their swim suits. Check out this guy: such a poser! :)

One of my artsy-mom friends has the cutest kiddos! We were so glad they could come to our party!

We had a puddle pool available and B and his little friends had the best time filling up cups, containers, and squirty fish.

After swimming, it was time for cake! And, boy, did Beau like it when we all sang “Happy Birthday to You.”

He started with a small nibble of fondant, before realizing that the entire cake in front of him was not only destructible, but tasty, too!

And he wasted NO time tearing it up!

The last picture is one my sister Sonny captured. It’s so fun to see the pure joy on his face!

Oh, what messy fun it is to turn one!! :) I love you, baby boy. It’s an honor to be your mama. Mwah!

Woodland Birthday: Part 1

In my last post, I mentioned how much I LOVE planning parties. So, you can imagine my excitement when 2011 started and I realized my baby would be turning one year old.

In June.

Nevertheless, I began brainstorming early because, as any artist-mom knows, there isn’t a lot of free time for being creative (unless coming up with an idea for dinner counts).

The first thing I did was choose a theme. I had seen enough buzz on Facebook to know that many of my fellow moms were doing zoo, farm, or jungle themes for their babies’ first birthdays. I wanted something a more unique for B’s first birthday party, but I liked the idea of an animal-based theme. So, after plenty of lost sleep (WHY does my brain go 100 MPH when I’m trying to fall asleep at night?!), I landed on “woodland” as my focus.

I scoured the web for ideas and began constructing my inspiration board. I found photos of things I knew I wanted to include and also made a list of buzzwords I felt related well to the theme:

I knew I wanted to make favor bags for all of B’s little friends, so I began by contacting a friend of mine who had used burlap for her wedding (table runners, etc). She had scraps that she was more than happy to part with, so my mom sewed little square bags to contain the favors (picture coming in Thursday’s post).

Then, I began ordering a few specific items off Amazon, including these warbling bird whistles (probably more familiar to us parents than our kiddos!) The whistles came in four colors and we made sure no siblings received the same color.  I included a note with the whistle so people would know to “just add water.”

I found a picture of woodland critters online that I thought were darling, so I used the image as a template and re-drew them in Illustrator so I could use them throughout the party. I made these magnets using flat gemstones. Each guest got two magnets in their goody bag, and, again, no siblings received the same ones.

I also managed to find some really awesome colored pencils that were made from twigs! Each guest got two pencils apiece.

One of my favorite items in the goody bags were some woodland finger puppets. I found the instructions for sale on Etsy and ordered both sets of woodland animals (10 in all). My mom made two of each critter and I’m kicking myself now for not getting a photo of all of them together! Each child received one puppet. The leftovers (below) will be going in a time capsule for Beau to play with when he’s older.

Next, I began to focus on the food table (isn’t that everyone’s favorite part of a party?) I knew I wanted to make some signs describing the food, and though I’d made table tents in the past, I had always wondered if they could have a more 3D aspect.

They CAN! After messing around with some scrap paper, I felt confident that my little woodland signs could be more like pop-ups than flat pieces of paper! Most people probably wouldn’t notice the difference, but to me, this experiment was a big success!

Naturally, I wanted to have a great cake for Beau’s first birthday! What sort of baker would I be if my own son didn’t have a cool smash cake to destroy?! Since I have limited experience with fondant, I enlisted the help of my friend Anya, who is a fondant figures GENIUS! She came over to my house and gave me a lesson in figure-making. Since the party details didn’t include the eager beaver, I decided he would be perfect for the cake topper.

I did learn how to cover the cake board on my own, and added some chocolate-covered chow mein noodles as a dam…they also served to hold up the beaver’s tail since our 100-degree weather and high humidity kept making it want to break off! (ACK!)

And, of course, no party of mine would be complete without some sort of schematic. HA!

Since the party was going to be held at my in-laws’ house, I transported all my decor the night before and planned how I wanted the table to be set. Naturally, in my rush to get out the door, I had left my camera at home. So…I drew a sketch that would embarrass my art school professors. :)

But, it got the job done and made the day-of prep MUCH easier. It also gave me a spot to write down what else I needed to grab from my house…something that would not have been possible with a photo.

Come back Thursday and see how all the elements came together! I couldn’t have imagined the party would go so well!

Shower for Arica

Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE hosting parties and showers?! Well, I do! So you can imagine my excitement when my sister had her first baby and my aunts and I could start planning a shower!

My sister Arica is very eco-minded and I had great ideas for her shower based on that ‘theme’. I wanted the decor to be very natural and earthy, so I began with a limited color palette (brown, white, and green, plus some subtle blue accents).

I created large and small paper pinwheels, as well as double-sided circular cutouts that spelled “DANE”. I knew my sister would love that her decor could either be reused or recycled, rather than thrown in the trash. ((In fact, she did take it home after the party and put it up in Dane’s nursery!))

Rather than playing the typical (read: wasteful) shower games like “Guess what kind of melted candy bar is in this diaper” (yuck!), we opted to do more sentimental, lasting activities.

We bought this plant, a green charger, silver Sharpies, and black river stones. Each guest was asked to share advice or a prayer that would help Arica navigate her journey through motherhood. Then, they wrote a one word summary on the rock and placed it in the dish around the plant. It was so neat to see the variety of advice: humor, joy, patience, perspective, wonder, wisdom, etc.

Everybody knows that the FOOD TABLE is a big draw for a lot of shower guests. :) And, since that happens to be one of my favorite parts, I planned out things that not only fit the theme, but thrilled my sister as well. We had a variety of healthy snacks as well as sweet treats. Could fruits and veggies be more “earthy”?! :)

Despite loving healthy snacks, I also love SUGAR! :) And…sugar happens to be one of my favorite media for designing. The following cookies were probably my favorite detail from the shower.

I got this baby bottle drying rack at my own baby shower last summer and thought it would fit perfectly with our theme. I also had some lollipop sticks and wired silk leaves from a past project, so all I needed to do was bake and decorate the cookies!

This particular design was my favorite:

Though this one was pretty neat, too. It was fun coming up with all the different color combos and details for them.

Marigold, perhaps?

In addition to the cookie lollies, I also made some bagged cookies that guests could take home as favors.

Arica: So excited to watch you develop as a mom. It’s been a wild year for the two of us hasn’t it?! Beau is so lucky to have a cousin like Dane, and I am lucky to have a sister like you! Thanks for letting me plan your special day! Love you!

Dane’s Memories

My younger sister, Arica, found out she was pregnant just a few days after I delivered my first baby, Beau. We both chose not to find out what we were having, so you can imagine our excitement when we both had boys!

I love making photo albums as baby shower gifts, and the following album was even more special since it was for my first nephew on my side of the family!

I just LOVE how these marquee letters look on album covers! And doesn’t my nephew have such a fun name?!

My sister decorated the nursery in greens and browns with a tree theme as the main focus. I knew she’d love the green crosshatch pattern of the photo pages and the rich chocolate-brown color of the paste papers.

A satin brown ribbon ties it all together.


I love you, seester, and I’m glad we have each other to lean on as we navigate this journey called “motherhood!”

Dane is awesome. It’s been so fun watching him grow the past several months, and that sentiment is something I’m sure I’ll repeat a million times over the coming years!

Check back this Thursday for a photographic journey through the baby shower I hosted for Arica and Dane. You won’t want to miss it!

Donna’s Turn

I know a gal named Donna who is one of the sweetest, giving people you could ever hope to know. She’s always putting others before herself, so I was ecstatic when she asked me if I would make a custom journal for HER. Just for her.

Her thoughts.

Her prayers.

Her struggles.

Her dreams.

Her gratitude.

Her frustrations.

Oh, the many things we can write in a journal that is for our eyes only!

Donna wanted a journal that was artsy and fun and had a biblical Scripture inside the front cover to set the tone for her journaling. Donna chose Psalm 51:10.

I just love this wild (but not too crazy) patterned paper, don’t you?!

Donna is a mom to four very energetic and imaginative kiddos and I wanted to make sure they knew this journal belongs to Mama and no one else! I added marquee letters to the front to personalize the cover.

As any parent knows, it’s good to occasionally have some ‘me-time’, whether you use it for journaling, exercise, gardening, reading, or just drinking a glass of wine alone! :) I am sure Donna has already begun filling up the pages of this book with the contents of her heart, soul, and mind.

Donna, when this book is full and you’re ready for another, let me know. From one mom to another, I want to help make sure you have the space you need to ‘roam free’…at least on paper!

Teeny-Weeny Baby Books

I was one of the first people to know that my friend Shonda was expecting her first baby. In fact, I knew before her family did! She called me up to see if I could make some fun little announcements for her to give her family as surprises. SO FUN!

She needed 15 books so I settled on a 3-inch x 3-inch size so I could make the most of the materials I had purchased for her project.

I started by cutting 30 squares from Davey board, which was no small job:

Each square was covered with green polka dot paper. A brown ribbon was added to the back cover that would serve as a tie closure.

All 15, tied with bows, in nice neat rows.

I love miniatures, don’t you?!

When family members untied the ribbon, this accordion message would unfurl, letting them in on Shonda and Chris’s secret.

We added this to the end in case someone was a little slow on the uptake. :)

As you can tell by the message, their baby is now several months old. And she is such a doll!! Congratulations again, Chris and Shonda. You are such wonderful parents and I have no doubt you are enjoying every second with your baby girl!

Day 17 AEDM: Petal to the Metal

I’ve had a huge box full of silk flower petals for over 2 years (or has it been three years?) It’s time to do something with them. Today I figured out what that is…a book cover!

I still need to glue in the book block, so this isn’t technically finished, but I wanted to show the progress so far…

Photo 257

I ripped the flowers off their stems, pulled the petals apart, then stuck a sequin and a mini brad in the center of each one. The mini brad was then stabbed through the pleather cover fabric and fastened.

I’m excited to continue working on this…once it’s done it will be available for purchase under the “For Sale” tab in the top right corner.

Day 15 AEDM: Baby Girl Photo Album

I hinted about it and gave a couple sneak-peek shots in this post.

Here’s the final product…a personalized photo album that I made for my SIL Ali and her soon-to-arrive (in January) 3rd little girl, Ensley Grace.

I’ve been waiting for the perfect reason to use this fabric!

cover

I love adding names to the front of albums. There will be no mistaking to whom this book belongs!

ensley

Satin ribbon tie closures:

ties

The back cover. The paste pages and the photo pages both coordinate with the cover fabric.

guts

Day 14 AEDM: Baby Shower Decor

Remember the paper pinwheels from Day 5? Here they are in action!

Small ones adorned the mantel:

fireplace

Large ones hung in the dining room windows around the snack table:

table

Come back tomorrow and see the gift I made for my SIL and her baby.