Tag Archives: diy

Merry (Belated) Christmas, From Us to YouDecember 30, 2013

This has been the longest holiday celebration we’ve ever had – almost a week full of dinners and family and long visits. The season was made longer by an ambitious Advent calendar and plenty of handmade gifts (like this, this, thisthis, and this – yes, there were plenty more not documented). I’m not complaining – we certainly made the most of our last one-child Christmas. While we wind down, I wanted to share my family’s holiday video (in lieu of cards). Catch a peak at my huge belly, some Bowie cat, and our humble tree decor. Many thanks to my husband for putting this together… and revising it to include some my favorite ornaments.

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A Simple Cookie BasketDecember 20, 2013

Yesterday I posted this little project to Instagram. It was so simple (and delicious), I thought I’d share the recipe and how-to for you last-minute gifters like me.

  • Chocolate peppermint cookies: I’ve been making this Martha recipe for years, and they’ve become my most requested recipe. Lucy helped by having fun smashing candy canes.
  • Paper plate baskets: I used baker’s twine in place of washi tape and it holds together just fine.
  • Final touches were bits and bobs from around the house: unbleached parchment paper, plain tags, and some greens cut from our Christmas tree.

I even got to making some more with Lucy last night, though we dressed hers up with some watercolors, pretty ribbon, and tissue paper (we used sandwich bags for her to package the cookies). With our baked goods in the freezer, we can put together a cookie basket when she’s ready to gift.

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A Rustic, French-Inspired Bridal ShowerMay 21, 2013

A few weeks ago, I co-hosted a bridal shower for my sister-in-law Beth. I’ll admit that I’m not a huge fan of weddings and all the hoopla that goes along with it, but I really wanted to help host a special and unique event for Beth. She’s helped me so much with watching Lucy and being a big sister when I needed one most. She’s literally one of the nicest people on the face of the earth. Seriously, like, all the time. It’s really annoying, but I love her anyway…

What started as a semi-potluck brunch somehow escalated into a French-themed cocktail party. Rightly so, I’ll admit, because Beth has always had a soft spot for la Paris ever since a trip post-high-school. Also, I’m pretty sure a cocktail party is what her extremely classy mother would have put together for either of her daughters’ bridal showers. So I pushed my sappy wedding critic aside, and pulled out my resources to help my fellow (five!) bridesmaids put together an event so very… Beth. It was fun yet elegant and the food exceeded my (already high) expectations. I just had to share the results.

In the wondrous age of social media, the five of us – hailing from New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Florida – were able to keep in touch throughout the preceding months. We kept a private Facebook page to keep in touch, share documents, and vote on menu items, craft ideas, etc. Pinterest was also quite handy to throw a bunch of ideas together and see what worked best.

With so many crafty ladies, I arranged a craft day where I literally pulled out any and every tidbit of ribbon, tissue, and paper to assemble a resourceful (aka free) arrangement of decor. Amidst tissue poufs and tassels to paper- and ribbon-wrapped glass vessels, we reminisced about our own weddings – the good and the bad. (Mine was definitely allowing my mother to “just pick up some flowers” for the church. I’m glad I have a sense of humor because multi-colored mums on a kelly green carpet might throw another bride into a fit of tears.) The arrangements were easy as pie to assemble before the event – a fellow bridesmaid and I cut fresh, local cherry blossoms and forsythia in bloom to fill the vessels, lemons gave a pop of yellow about the place, and I drew up some pretty labels to identify the French menu and cocktails.

The food was amazing! I was utterly impressed with not only the presentation and quality, but the custom menu so perfectly created. Justin Lingl from Root Catering Co. had spent time in rural France teaching English (and gathering culinary inspiration) so he was more than happy (and experienced) to craft a cocktail party menu for us. Baked goat cheese dip with handmade herb crackers, gougeres, crostini with olive and asparagus tapenades, veggie tartlets, and freshly broiled croque monsieurs and forestieres – each equally delicious. He paired the dishes with  French-inspired, yet crowd-friendly, cocktails (and mocktails) including a basil lemonade, mojito, and a few Kir Royale varieties.

For dessert, Justin recommended his friend Tish Smith, owner of Foam Floaterie, an ice-cream and soda shop in Philadelphia with delicious and experimental pairings of homemade goods. Despite my own fondness for ice cream and floats, she is quite adept with all manners of baking and suggested a more authentic French cookie platter – citrusy madeleines, meringues topped with chocolate and sea salt, and limoncello macaroons. With our bellies full of Root Catering’s savory dishes, I was surprised so many had room for dessert – those cookies flew off the plate so fast, I barely had time to snap a photo! The perfect end of the evening was a delivery of fresh brews from my family’s Harvest Coffee Roastery.

The shower was so nice and simple. We used what we had and put on a great show. Beth loved it so much, she’ll be borrowing some of the ideas for the wedding itself – handwritten flags and markers, simple arrangements in pretty glassware… I’ll be sure to share photos after the big day next month!

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Moleskine Photo BookSeptember 25, 2012

Until my daughter’s preschool required printed photos of her a few weeks ago, I realized we hadn’t physically printed a photo in over 2 years! I always mean to, but there’s always excuses – the USB drive didn’t work at Target (argh!), the account login page at Walgreen’s was down the day I tried, my printer was out of ink… But 2 years? C’mon, Jamie. Get it together.

Well, now I’m smitten over Moleskine‘s newest collaboration with MILK Photo Books – aptly named the Moleskine Photo Book. Since we upgraded the family camera to a DSLR, we’ve snapped some pretty amazing shots of our kid and such. [Wait – rewind that a little – since we upgraded our lens for a larger aperture, we’ve captured some great non-blurry images of our running toddler.] While I’ve used other book-printing services in the past, the combination of both companies’ signature details make it a truly unique collaboration. Moleskine’s classic black journal, with its sleek lay-flat binding and rounded edges, gets an inset cover photo and a linen sleeve (with the plus upgrade) from MILK for a perfect modern family album.

Production starts in October, but you can pre-order right here. They’d also make for a great portfolio, yes? Or custom storybook for the little one? Oh, the possibilities!

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What I MadeDecember 2, 2011

My husband and I were recently reminiscing about Christmas traditions. He told me how much he loved his family’s Advent calendar, where each day they would hang a new ornament on a little tree. Now I grew up in the Catholic school system, and remembered lighting a candle a week on the little wreath, but had no idea what an Advent calendar was or what the purpose of them. I did a little bit of (last minute) research and threw one together last night for my family. And because I was late to the game, I admit to cheating on the first day… “Make a wreath” was first on the list and accomplished at the DesignSponge event last night.

Want to see how to pull off your own calendar? Click below for instructions.


– paper
mini envelopes
– string
(see “notes” at the bottom for a simple alternative version)
– scissors
– pen

1. Write a list of Christmas-like things to do. Examples include:
    – Sing three Christmas carols.
    – Drink hot cocoa.
    – Watch “Elf.”

2. Cut the list into strips or print onto cards if you are that fancy (and have time).
3. Number your envelopes for each day – I did the 1st up through the 25th.
4. Fold and put the slips or cards into each envelope – do NOT seal yet.
5. Flip the envelopes over so the flap side is facing you – be aware that they are backwards so you will lay out the cards starting with the highest number on the left and the lowest on the right. Arrange the spacing evenly to determine the length of string you will need.

6. Once you’ve laid the envelopes in order, lay the string so that it tucks into the crease of the envelope flap. Leave about 24” or more on either end to hang.
7. Lick the flap and close, being careful to keep the string tight to the crease.
8. Lay a book or something heavy for a minute or so until the seal is dry.
9. Repeat the process until all the envelopes are done.
10. Once all envelopes are dry, hang up and enjoy.

A few helpful notes:
– When you open the envelopes each day, just be careful to tear the envelope open and not disturb the string too much. Ripping it off will surely bring the whole sucker down.
– If you don’t have mini envelopes around the house like I do, take a wide strip of paper (about 2.5” x 6”) and fold in half to make a 2.5” x 3” folded card. Write your holiday note inside. Hang from the string and seal with a staple or sticker.

I made mine in only one episode of “Cheers” (Tom and my current nightly Netflix obsession). I hope you enjoy and if you are a day-late, dollar-short crafter like me and get this done, send me pictures, k?

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What I MadeAugust 22, 2011

Two years ago this week I was 60 pounds heavier and the house was clean and quiet. Now I find myself slimmer, but only due to cleaning up and running after a “high energy child,” as my nanny puts it. My Lucy Bear is getting bigger and smarter everyday. So, of course, we need to celebrate her 2nd birthday in grand fashion! I spent the weekend scouring thrift shops for fun decorations and such, as well as finishing up a little project:

After seeing How to Make a Number Pinata on Oh Happy Day! I thought, I could do that! Furthermore, I had just taken down the tissue pouf mobile over her bed that was actually made from decorations from her 1st birthday. Being the resourceful craftsperson that I am, I turned 16 poufs (I’ve made more over the year for other occasions), into a pinata!

I simply disassembled the poufs, cut off the 2-3” edges that were already scalloped, and glued them on with a gluestick. And, yes, it was pretty simple, though quite time consuming.

Lucy approves, which is quite important. You have no idea how long it takes for this kid to dress herself, pick out what to eat, or choose a bedtime book. She takes after her Mama… always wanting the best and never settling. It’s exhausting. I love the Wilco tee, hot pink short-shorts, and Crocs she put together this morning. Style.

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DIY Ombre UtensilsAugust 17, 2011

A lot of eye-catching cutlery going around the interwebs these days. Here’s another with an easy DIY – grab some old silverware from the local thrift shop (clean it first, of course!), some neon spraypaint, and go to town on the handles! I’m sure there is sanding or something involved. And that ombre effect takes a bit of skill. But if you can score some cutlery for cheap, experiment and see what you can make. Then send me photos, saying, “Look what I made, GM!!”

via Sania Pell at Home via hwentworth

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Cotton and CurlsJuly 25, 2011

Just came across this site – how remarkable is this lady? Seriously! Lizzie is quite talented refashionista and has inspired me to finish up a pile of vintage and secondhand clothes I’ve picked up this summer. Check out her Granny Chic contest from last week – some truly amazing refashioning happening there.

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Beard: The Gift that Keeps on GivingJuly 20, 2011

Last year for Lucy’s birthday, my friend’s son, Bubba, was obsessed with our photo booth – especially all the silly props (see here, here, and here). So, for his 6 1/2 birthday party this weekend (what fun is a birthday on a big holiday like Christmas?), I made him a beard. I figured he was getting all old anyway and could use some facial hair. Kids grow up so fast these days.

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DIY PendantMay 15, 2011

Make your own pendant kit! Pinha by Raw Edges for Materia is a 2-part cork pendant base that lets you cut and pin your own shade at different diameters. My husband would totally approve of this in our home with my ever-changing style. One day I’m all, “I want this REAL baaaad.” I finally get it and then my 2-week timer goes off and then I’m all, “I sort of hate it. We should sell it.” I do this with furniture, paint, carpet, etc. Being a designer just makes you want the newest, coolest stuff ALL the time. But this pendant I could always revamp with pretty papers or fabrics! Too bad I can’t find it for sale – sad.

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