July 2017 archive

France-Inspired Crafts

| Decor, DIY Home, Everyday Crafts, Favors, Gifts, Halloween, Jewelry and Fashion, Parties

Bonjour, mes amis! If you follow along on Instagram, you may know that I spent the last month in France with my husband and two kiddos. Michael and I both live the freelance life, so we realized that if we don’t take advantage of this freedom that we have, then what’s the point of all this next-gig and health-insurance stress?

So after 28 days of baguettes, sunflowers, Ed Sheeran sing-a-longs (we spent long hours in the car and he became our go-to soundtrack), chocolate croissants, and free-range country escapades, I can’t get the joie de vivre of France of my head!

So here’s a little love-letter to France, in the form of craft. Stay tuned for more posts on our adventures in the coming weeks!


Madeline, France, Costume, Yellow HatIs it wrong that I want to dress my daughter like Madeline all the time? Maybe I’ll be reasonable and wait till Halloween to try out Making Nice in the Midwest‘s adorable costume version.


bisou bisou balloons, french party balloons,

Bisou-bisou; kiss-kiss. It’s hard to get used to the double-kiss, but then it’s hard to forget it too! If I could make this awesome balloon installation fromMartha Stewart Weddings permanent on my wall, I totally would.


French goodie bag, french flag, candy flag It’s hard to get more patriotic than these French flag goodie bags from Oh Happy Day. Fill clear pouches with red, white, and blue jelly beans, tie on a paper Eiffel Tower and voilà!


Macaron photo holder, faux cookie photo holder, French Macaron photo holder, diy macaron photo holderFrench desserts that will stay fresh, and help preserve your memories too! How cute are these macaron-photo holders from A Kailo Chic Life?


Giant airmail envelope, diy recycled airmail envelope, french mail, diy oversized envelopeIs there anything more nostalgic than air mail? My Poppet shows you how to turn an empty cereal box into a giant french envelope perfect for saving photos, love notes, or paper souvenirs.


Paris landmarks, Paris Magnets, Clay Magnets DIYThese cheery clay magnets from Cakies embrace the bold profiles of Paris’s best looking buildings. Perfect for holding up trip photos (or giving grocery lists a little pizzaz).


french sachet, lavender sachet diy, Scent is the ultimate memory jogger and, while I save up for the next plane ticket, I’ll use a lavender sachet to transport me to the French countryside. These are an easy sewing project for little hands so my kids can make them with me. (via Pink Pistachio)


Carousel centerpiece, diy carousel, mini birthday carousel If you ask my kids about their favorite part of Paris they’ll definitely say the carousels! It seemed like there were play structures everywhere we went, especially the classic French carousels. This mini version from Oh Happy Day has all the charm of the real thing, it even spins!


mini paper paris, travel size paris, Made by Joel gives you another way to embrace little landmarks. With his free printables you can literally carry the city in your pocket and re-create your memories wherever you go.


eiffel tower snow globe diy

It’s hard to leave Paris without scooping up at least a few little Eiffel Towers. The iconic souvenir comes in all sizes, which makes it the perfect material for all sorts of nostalgic crafts. Add a little blue and red glitter for Paris in a jar. (via Pinterest)

Or, add hooks for super simple earrings like these from Hello Glow.

And what’s more French than an Eiffel Tour + a tart tin? Glue them together and add a coat of spray paint to make a nostalgic trinket dish (featured at the top of the post).

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A Modern Baby Shower

| ad, Decor, Food, Games & Activities, Gifts, Parties

Thank you VTech for sponsoring this post. Check out the VTech VM342 Video Monitor with Wide-Angle Lens and Standard Lens to keep an eye on your little one!

baby shower friends oh baby garland

I’m at the stage where most of my closest friends have had their babies, so when Jane, my frousin (friend AND cousin-in-law), announced that she was pregnant, I was elated! First because, obviously, we’d have a new baby doll to love and play with, and second because I knew I’d get to throw her a shower. (Little fact…I set up Jane and her husband Micah, my husband’s first cousin. Jane and I worked together at Parents magazine and now she’s the Editor-in-Chief of Junior Scholastic magazine.)

Jane is definitely not the traditional baby-blue booties or pale-pink pacifier type, so my co-hosts and I knew that we wanted a more modern baby shower experience for her. So we…

  • …invited the men! Child-rearing is not just the momma’s job, so why shouldn’t the dudes get to enjoy the yummy party food and the shower of love?
  • …colored it neon! For as long as I’ve known Jane, one of her defining characteristics is her impeccable taste and ahead-of-the-curve style. Baby blue and butter yellow (they’re having a boy!) was not going to fly, so we went with brights!
  • …designed our own shower traditions!


baby shower book gifts library

When I had my son, I loved how my seasoned parent-friends gave me all of their favorite books, so on the invite we asked the guests to each bring an unwrapped book to start this little guy’s library. At the door, everyone placed their book in a cute little book caddy that Jane and Micah got to take home.

baby shower book activity

In addition to the classics that friends and family brought, we also wrote our own collective baby book for Baby SommBaum (a combo of their last names!). Here were the instructions at the book-writing station:

  1. Pick a word from the bag.
  2. Write and illustrate your page of the book using that word. You don’t have to draw the word, but the word must appear in the text.
  3. ONE RULE! You can only look at the ONE PAGE preceding yours.
  4. Write your name(s) on the top line.
  5. Draw in the blank space.
  6. Write text on the lines.


baby shower book game activity

Friends mingled about and took turns illustrating and writing their pages. (I promise to do a post on the final board book once it’s done!)

And then of course, it was gift opening time! In between each gift, we went around the room and offered advice to the parents-to-be…either advice as a parent or advice from having parents (there were some childless friends in the room). It was a sweet, and often laughter-inducing, way to give our friends a personal intro into parenthood.

baby shower vtech video monitor

In addition to cuddly lovies, cute onesies, and awesome books, I got to give Jane and Micah a gift that kept me sane through my kids’ babyhood…a VTech VM342 Video Monitor with Wide-Angle Lens and Standard Lens.

This well-designed monitor doesn’t sacrifice style for functionality, and there is nothing more comforting than knowing you can always have eyes and ears on your little ones, even when you’re not in the room. Most VTech baby monitors come with up to 1,000 feet of range, so you can be downstairs in your kitchen blending carrots and mashing bananas, while still hearing, seeing, and even being able to talk back to your baby from right where you are. And that gift is priceless!

vtech baby monitor baby shower

Now I’m ready for more shower action…wedding, baby, I’ll take whatever I can get!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Craft a Personalized Party

| ad, Birthdays, Decor, Favors, Food, Games & Activities, Gift Wrap, Gifts, Invites, Parties

I can’t begin to count the number of parties that I have crafted in my lifetime. From the pretend ones I would throw for my dolls when I was young to the holiday and birthday parties I’ve styled for magazines to the celebrations that I throw IRL for my own kids…I lost count ages ago. And as any stylist, party planner, or home entertainer would tell you, we are always looking for new and different ways to make the personal, creative details shine like they haven’t before.

carnival party ptouch embellish

When Brother asked me to partner with them on the launch of the P-touch Embellish, their new ribbon and tape printer, I jumped in headfirst. I’m always eager to get my hands on a new tool that can add personal touches to parties, crafts, gift wrapping and more. For the P-touch Embellish launch event in New York City, I designed projects for a birthday party (my fave, of course), a bridal shower, a baby shower, gift-wrapping, general crafts, and a festive brunch.

ptouch embellish balloons kids partycarnival party balloons

I first saw the P-touch Embellish at the Creativation Show (the mecca of all things crafts) back in January, where I watched a demo of the ribbon printing at the Brother booth. This little machine that you can hold in your hands as you’re binge-watching your favorite shows can print 14 fonts, over 90 text borders, and over 400 little symbols to add detail, style, and personalization to your projects. There are 5 satin ribbons and 9 adorable patterned tapes to choose from, so to find one that matches your event is super easy. You can buy the P-touch Embellish machine, the ribbons, and 6 of the patterned tapes at Michaels.com and select Michaels stores; the other 3 patterned tapes are available at Brothermall.com

This carnival birthday party that I crafted got me excited because in addition to the personalized lollipop-favor ribbons and the custom-printed balloon strings, I used the P-touch Embellish to craft cute party activities…A Spinner Game, Fishing Game, and a Can Toss Game (see below for the how-to instructions).

kids party carnival games diy

Whether you are designing your daughter’s unicorn party favors, your bestie’s baby shower tablescape, or wrapping gifts at holiday time, the P-touch Embellish has everything you need (and then some) for those sweet, heartfelt, personalized touches.

kids party carnival spin the wheel fidget spinner game

fidget spinner spin the wheel carnival game


What you’ll need:


  1. Trace the cardboard circles onto the scrapbook papers and cut them out. Hot glue the paper to the cardboard.
  2. Divide the circle into eight sections. Print the words “SPIN THE WHEEL” on 4-inch piece of the red gingham tape and adhere in between each pie slice. Print the prize or action words on the mint chevron tape and adhere in each slice.
  3. Hot-glue 3 beads to the three points of the fidget spinner, and hot glue the cardboard coaster to the beads. Hot-glue the center of the fidget spinner to the center of the 12-inch game board.
  4. Print arrows onto the yellow star tape and adhere to the small cardboard circle. Glue the red star in the center.
  5. Hot-glue rope around the outer edge of the game board and create a loop at the top for hanging.

kids party carnival diy fishing game


What you’ll need


  1. Using the continuous text function on the P-touch Embellish, print “CATCH ME IF YOU CAN” on a 30-inch piece of ribbon. Tie one end to the dowel and hot-glue a magnet onto the other end.
  2. Cut out 6-8 fish from scrapbook paper. Hot-glue the washers as the eyes.
  3. Print point values on the various patterned tapes and adhere them to the back of the fish.

kids party diy carnival game can toss


What you’ll need


  1. Cover each can in a 3-inch band of scrapbook paper.
  2. Cut six 3/4-by-2-inch pieces of solid scrapbook paper.
  3. Print out point values onto the various patterned tapes and adhere them to the small rectangles, and then to the cans.
  4. Set up the game by stacking the cans.


Thanks to Brother for sponsoring this post and providing crafters with a new tool for our trade!


*TZe tape in Mint Chevron is available at Michaels.com; TZe tapes in Red Gingham and Yellow with White Stars are available at BrotherMall.com.


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French Craft Goodies!

| Animals, Decor, DIY Home, Everyday Crafts, Kids Rooms, Yarn & Fabric

When you’re a crafter and you travel to a different country, naturally you check out the craft supplies there. And when that country is France, your expectations are high because of the elegance, style, and tradition of the handmade.

We discovered the store Cooleurs and there I fell in love with the products and kits made by Rico Designs. Check out their gorgeous style, photos, and craft supplies!

And don’t even get me started on these DMC animal embroidery hoops! These were designed by No Paris de Cosir (found on Instagram), and I can’t wait to design my own. J’aime!

Now what should I make first?

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Nature’s Flower Crown

| Easter, Everyday Crafts, Jewelry and Fashion, Nature, Spring, Summer

I’m always writing how-to text where I say “just pop into the backyard and grab a stick”…or a pinecone…or a bunch of leaves, but, my experience with nature crafting just isn’t like that IRL. I live in an urban setting where I have to walk a few blocks to get to a park, so for me to just “pop” outside and grab the perfect stick is really more of an excursion than a “pop.”

So while in rural France for a month (oh yeah, if you don’t follow along on Instagram, you may not know that I’m with my family in France for a month), I can literally pop, hop, or skip outside to get anything that I could possibly want, including these weeping willow vines, fresh cut lavender, a vast selection of wildflowers, and the most beautiful roses I’ve ever seen.

Sommer and I did some scavenging and, with no help from anything human-made, we made a crown and a necklace from everything in our glorious backyard. She became a serious gatherer of Mother Nature’s treasures, and she art-directed me as I put the pieces together.

Full disclosure, this project makes me yearn to have these free craft supplies at my fingertips at all times…instead of buying pinecones at Michaels, I’m loving the fact that there’s a much cheaper source out there!

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