coral frames

Hi all!  Just wanted to share a couple frames I’ve painted recently.  I’ve been trying out a coral pattern for a summery + beachy look.

This frame I made for my dear friend Amy’s engagement…

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…..and I did an aqua/turquoise color scheme for my mother-in-law’s birthday.

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Happy Wednesday!


diy frames

Happy Monday! Just wanted to take a moment to share a frame I made recently as part of a shower gift for my friend Molly and her husband Jason.

They were married just a couple weekends ago and hosted a beautiful ceremony and reception in Bay Ridge, Maryland.  They did a lovely job of integrating a nautical theme, which is meaningful to both of them  {as Jason is a boatsman and the event was right on the Chesapeake Bay, where they currently reside}.

So, I attempted to integrate the same theme into the frame’s design:

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For more frame ideas, feel free to take a look here & here at past posts.  🙂



Hi, all!  I can’t believe Christmas is fast-approaching, AND in less than a month our daughter will be two years old! What’s that over-worked cliche about the passing of time….? 😉  I know everyone has so much to do over the holidays, so thank you for taking a few moments out of your busy day to check out my blog. 🙂

My good friend Alison recently brought her second beautiful daughter into the world, and this week I ran dinner and a baby gift by their house  (our  friend Evan set up a schedule of meals to be carried to her family…such a wonderful thing, and I remember how helpful that was a couple years ago for us!)

I made Alison’s sweet Emily a monogrammed frame, and I wanted to share it with you.  I decided to do a simple grey background with a giant pink monogram. Hand-painting the monogram was a bit tedious, but well worth it–I was very pleased with how it turned out.



Pardon the glare….after almost a year, I am still very much learning how to work my DSLR!

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I hope you all have a lovely Friday and a happy weekend!  My in-laws very generously offered to watch Emmeline, so I am off to do all the things that are never easy/enjoyable with toddler in tow…. 😉

tassel how-to

What a dreary week!  Is this rain/dampness/ all-around grey-ness going to stop?! The forecast calls for a sunny weekend, so fingers crossed!

I had promised in my birthday post I would give instructions for the tassels featured on the paper lanterns.  So, I thought I’d cheer you up with a cute, super-easy, practically free diy project.  All you need is a pair of scissors and some string (or yarn, or embroidery floss–whatever medium you’d like to use)!


Before I begin, I’d like to give credit to my extremely creative sis Kate for the tassel instructions, since she taught me! Thank you Kate!  Also, please excuse my cadaver-esque hands featured in the pics…fair skin + dead of winter = ghastly combo for Claire.

Ok, here we go:

1. Cut two pieces of string, approx. 1 foot long each.  Set these aside for now!


2. Take the end of the string (still attached to the spool), and lay it across your hand like so:


3. Continue to wind the string around your four fingers. I did it about 30 times for a fairly thick tassel, but obviously you can adjust according to what you want.

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4. Once you’ve wound the string to your liking, snip at the bottom of your hand.


5. Carefully remove the string from your hand, and using one of the foot-long strings cut earlier, tie a double knot at the top of the loop. _DSC0038 _DSC0039 _DSC0040 _DSC0041

6. Take the second foot-long string, and about a half inch down, alternate tying single knots front, back, front, etc.

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7. After you’ve done this approx. 8-10 times, double-knot and snip as close to the knot as you can.


8. Put one blade of the scissors through the bottom loop, and cut through the string.  This will create your tassel’s fringe.

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9. Your fringe will most likely be uneven, so trim with your scissors ’til you have your desired evenness.  Then give it a good fluff!

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Now you have your tassel!  Perfect for paper lanterns, jewelry (my mind is racing with ideas! earrings? necklaces?), or if you are very patient, a bunch of them would make for uber-cute pillow trim!

Happy tassel-ing!

birthday diy, part two

Here is the rest I promised from ECB’s big day!  Now that I’ve recovered (it was a lot of work, but so worth it), I feel as if I can type with eyes NOT held open with toothpicks.

I’ll leave you with that lovely image as you glance over these pictures…Image

As you can deduce, there was lots of *pink* that day!  Since we were surprised by Emmeline’s gender, it was my way to really go all-out girly. (Like I don’t do that every single day.) The garden stools are borrowed from my parents, but it is my dream to one day own a pair! : )


The invitation…there were two versions I mailed.  The other had a predominantly pink & orange lattice border.  I was excited to do this very inexpensively!  I found the blank cards in the sale bin at Paper on the Avenue in Richmond, then just added the wordage and cute elephant motif at home.


Pardon the lame food spread at the point at which this photo was taken…had to get a few snapshots in before all the food was laid out and the guests arrived!  The full menu included chicken teriyaki skewers, sesame noodles, potstickers and mini egg rolls (both Costco purchases!), edamame salad (a recipe I just “wung” but turned out well; I’d be happy to share!),  an Asian cracker & nut snack mix (also a Costco find), and of course birthday cupcakes!



I made the food labels on Word, then taped them to napkin rings so they’d stand upright.  The how-to for the cupcake sparklers is featured here.

The smaller elephants were a World Market find, painted white and donated to me for the day (thanks Mom!).  I found these pink “theme-appropriate” lotus votives at Hobby Lobby.


Disposable paper products were a must, with 30+ adults and nearly 15 children in attendance!  The pink square Chinoiserie plates had been stockpiled from my Mom, and she kindly gave them to me when she heard I was in search of just those!DSC_0533 DSC_0556I was rather proud of my centerpiece, seeing as how I am a complete nincompoop novice when it comes to flower arranging.  I had ordered 2 1/2 dozen pink carnations (January’s birth flower), and fearing that they wouldn’t be enough, ran to Trader Joe’s and picked up 2 bunches of white mums ($3.99 each).  I’m glad I did, because they were certainly needed! I used Dollar Store floral foam and plenty of pebbles to get them to take shape, because I learned you don’t by Dollar Store floral foam…it will undoubtedly float.



TThe paper lanterns were sort of a last-minute idea, when I realized the tablescape needed a bit more.  I relied on my first grade teacher crafting skills, and with scissors, scrapbook paper, tape and a hole punch, created these beauties!  Kate gave me a tutorial on how to create VERY easy tassels, which I will share with you in a future post! I used string leftover from my pennant banner.


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Drinks for guests of all ages…

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Smash cake for the birthday girl was created using a giant cupcake mold I found at Five Below.  It was rather easy to bake & assemble, but I hit a wall when it came to frosting the bottom half…sooo instead I crafted a “cupcake liner” out of aluminum foil, folded accordion-style.

At first, Emmeline was quite tentative when it came to eating her cake.  How can she be my daughter? But after a short time she dug…and I mean DUG…in.

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Wrist-deep in pure, unadulterated sugar heaven!

After we got her cleaned up (which required an outfit change), we were ready for presents!  Lots of lovely, special gifts from wonderful friends.

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You might notice the slight exhaustion mother and daughter were both feeling at this point…

Party favors for the guests!

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I have to credit Jason here for coming up with the idea of giving out fortune cookies…when the thought came though, we found it was too late to order online. So, we went to our neighborhood Pei Wei where they kindly sold us a box of 300 for $5! Speaking of which, if you have any, and I mean ANY need for fortune cookies, we have about 250 in our basement.

I dressed them up by dipping each in pink Candy Melts, and dusting them with two different kinds of pink sprinkles.  Tags created on Microsoft Word.


Now Emmeline won’t remember her first birthday, but we sure will! And we’ll gladly tell her all about it and show her pictures from her special day.  Jason & I felt greatly rewarded by how it turned out, and to be surrounded by friends & family at this important event was the true icing on the cake! : )

sunburst mirror

Oh this project.  I’ve had all the materials to create a “sunburst mirror” for over a year now, but I’ve never mustered up the energy/brain power/desire to actually roll up my sleeves and create. So, a box of stuff has been gathering dust in our workroom for months and months.  Until last week!  When I finally decided to spread out a drop cloth (I’m always spreading out drop cloths, it seems) and make this darn thing!  I must admit, I had good reason to wait so long…the end result was good (thank goodness!), but holy moly, was this a brain melt!!! For me, at least.

If you decide to attempt this project–and I do recommend it because the outcome is good!–my advice to you is this: just go with it.  If things aren’t lining up perfectly, just do your best and trust that if you like the overall “look” of your sunburst shape, it will translate well to the wall upon which it’s hung!

Ok, so. You’ve probably seen mirrors like these over the past year or so…meaning I’m over a year late on the trend!  They are usually pretty expensive, but they are very cool (I think) and create a lot of impact hung on a wall.

ballard knock off mirror

I’ve read lots of how-to’s to make a DIY sunburst mirror (for around $20), and below are my adapted instructions.

What you’ll need:

Two wooden floral rings (mine were 18 and 12 inches), 2 packs of cedar shims (courtesy of your fave home improvement store), a mirror (mine was 10″ from Michaels), a hot glue gun, PLENTY of hot glue sticks, and some wood glue.

I began by laying out my shims.  I decided to create four different “lengths” of shims by staggering them along the two rings.  Seems simple enough, but brace yourself for the mind melt to occur in a few moments.

The first length “layer” of shims I lined up along the inner edge of the larger ring.

The second “layer” of shims I placed along the outer edge of the smaller ring.

Now here’s where it gets tricky.  The third and fourth “layers” I tried to stagger along the smaller ring.  Everything looked okay when I laid it out, but then I started to glue all the shims down (using my glue gun), and I just got so confused! I have no other explanation for it.  I thought it would be more formulaic (rectangular shims laid out along circular rings), but things didn’t all line up, causing me to have to overlap, eyeball, move, eyeball, move some more, until finally I screamed “I’m going insane!” and just went with it.  Maybe your eyes will not bug out like mine seemed to do.  Oh well, it turned out okay in the end, as you will see.

When I used up almost every glue stick I had affixing the shims to the rings, I was ready to attach the mirror to the center.  The hot glue gun worked well on the shims, I just ran into snags having to pull the shims off again and again, trying to re-align them to look right.  See “eyes bugging out” as previously stated.

(Sorry for the blurry pic.)  Remove plastic from the mirror (obvi), and glue down using wood glue–hot glue will dry too soon!

Allow ample time to dry (I used big books and free weights to weigh it down in place overnight).  Then it’s ready to hang!  You may decide to use a picture hanging kit, but Jason was able to hang it simply on a nail drilled into the wall.

We decided on a wall in our living room, that has been empty since taking plates down that had hung in our “old” living room.

Here it is!

I’ll admit, I did need reassurance from my husband and various friends I dragged in to show, but I am finally convinced that it doesn’t look totally wonky.  I’m actually very happy with it.  And hey, $20 for some wall art?  Can’t beat that with a stick.  Or shim.

DIY Duvet

Well, my energy cooperated with me today, and I was itching for a project to do…plus, keeping busy makes the time go by faster until the baby decides to arrive!

Our lack of guest room bedding has been bothersome as of late…I have been looking high and low for an inexpensive duvet or quilt to put on the bed, but to no avail.  We still have more work to do in the room–new paint color, chandelier prints to hang, and a new bed skirt needed…but I figured sprucing up the bed was a good start.

I had seen a sheet set at Kohls that was out of my price range, and just sheets.  But today I searched for DIY comforters/duvets on Pinterest and it led me to an easy tutorial using two flat sheets on Martha Stewart’s website.  So I decided to give it a try!

I went back to Kohls, and the queen sheet set was on sale.  And with using an additional 15% off coupon, a gift card, and merchandise credit….my grand total came to $2.02.  For sheets that started at $90.00!

I liked the funky black and white geometric print of the sheets, and thought it would look good in the guest room.  I am hoping to achieve an art deco/graphic/masculine-meets feminine look. Sounds like a lot going on, doesn’t it?  But I have a vision in my head and hopefully it will translate to real life when all is said and done!

For the underside of the duvet, I used a white sheet from Pottery Barn that we had on hand.  I pinned the sheets right side together, and stitched the two long sides together using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

For the bottom of the duvet, I pinned the edges together, leaving a 3 foot gap to put the comforter inside.  The white sheet was slightly longer than the printed one, so it left a longer hem after sewing.  This was fine because the actual comforter was a little bit shorter than the sheets themselves, and I didn’t want it swimming in there!

Once these edges (minus the gap) were sewn together, I turned the duvet right-side out.

For the top edge of the duvet, I stitched along the outside, right underneath the top seam of both sheets. (Pictured here is the other side of the duvet, not the black and white side, obviously!)

To close the 3-foot gap once the comforter is inside, I used fusable Velcro strips–new sewing required, just an iron!

I evenly spaced the Velcro and followed the instructions in the package for ironing them on…it was very simple.

Pictured above is after I ironed on the fuzzy side of the Velcro. I stuck the loops side directly to the fuzzy side so I could make sure they were lined up before I ironed them on.

I placed both sides of the gap together, then ironed on the Velcro strips.

This is probably obvious to most, but just keep that iron moving so it doesn’t scorch the fabric, and make sure to give the Velcro ample time to cool before you start pulling open the gap to insert the comforter.

So….$2.02 for the sheets, and $1.50 for the Velcro (I used a 50% off coupon at Michaels) helped me create this cute duvet for a whopping $3.50!

Here are some close-ups of the pattern, and both sides of the duvet:

For a sewing novice like myself, I am proud of my handiwork and the finished result! Now our guests will have a warm and cozy place to sleep. : )