Seeing Spots in the Foyer: My New Animal Print Lampshade

As much as I liked the gallery wall in our foyer, I was never happy with the lampshade that came with the black lamp I used on the table. It's a sort of flat looking shade of gold and I knew I wanted something else.

I found a black and white animal print from Ballard Designs that was exactly what I wanted and waited for months to find one in the right size at the outlet. They often had it in the chandelier shades but it took a few trips and several phone calls to find the large drum I wanted. Here it is:

I got such a great deal on it and love the new shade so much it's hard to resist looking for more to use somewhere else in the house.

One last look at the table with the old lamp:

And a look at it now with the new lampshade:

What do you think? Do you the like the new look better than the old gold shade?

Deviled Eggs Easter Appetizer

Trying to think of something to bring to your Easter gathering?

A deviled eggs platter is an appetizer that signals the start of warm weather eating to me and goes so well on Easter brunch or dinner menus. But let's face it, it's not always the prettiest looking part of the table. To fix that problem, I make a normal batch of deviled eggs and then top them with a variety of colorful toppings.

I always mix horseradish into my filling and pipe the filling on with a frosting tip but also top some of the eggs with shredded beet and horseradish. It adds a nice bit of flavor and color.

I also like to chop dill, chives, pickles, and green onion and sprinkle the eggs with all of the different toppings. Just a little extra effort makes what can be an overlooked dish more interesting to eat and look at.

Everyone has seen the platter of deviled eggs sprinkled with paprika so next time jazz it up and bring these on your egg plate. I found this egg plate at TJ Maxx and love the honeycomb like pattern!

What do you like to top your deviled eggs with?


Baby Shower Gift Card Bouquet for the Mom to Be

I was looking for an idea for a baby shower gift that focused on pampering the mom to be and loved the idea of gift card bouquet.

I thought about some of the things that became my reality when my babies were born. Aside from a Starbucks habit to combat my sleep deprivation, I spent time wondering how to make myself look presentable by way of beauty shortcuts and exercise. I decided to find some gift cards to meet those needs for her!

The Starbucks gift card is great for any mom but especially for the mom of a newborn. Because I know this mom is super fit and anxious to start getting back in shape, I included an Itunes gift card so she can download some new workout music for days that only new music will motivate a tired body off the couch. 

I included a Sephora card because I remember searching the site myself when my littles were newborns for new makeup, concealer, and moisturizer to hide the new mom face that I'd find in the mirror after a long night of no sleep!

I also included a gift card for Buy Buy Baby so that she could grab something from her registry.

Instead of buying a gift card to a spa or for a massage, these cards could all be used from home. I know when I had a newborn, as nice as a massage sounded, I just didn't feel like I'd be able to enjoy myself going out and leaving him. I was always up for online shopping though!

To make the bouquet, I used a small yellow bucket and fit a yarn covered styrofoam ball inside. I cut flowers from scrapbook paper with my Silhouette Cameo and attached them to stick 'stems' pressed into the styrofoam ball to look like flowers.

I wrote this little ditty to go with the bouquet and explain why I chose the cards that I did:

Your new baby boy will be here in no time,
So I got you some cards and wrote you some rhymes
And as your nights run into your days,
I hope this bouquet helps in a number of ways:

When you’re tired, dragging, and been up all night,
These ‘bucks’ will revive you and make it alright

When your patience is dwindling and it’s all going wrong,
Just login to Itunes and buy some new songs

When it’s time for a shower but the baby won’t let you,
Use the Sephora card to buy dry shampoo

When all else has failed and the madness non-stopping,
Just go to BuyBuy Baby and have some fun shopping!

I  love that the gift card bouquet was a way of treating the mom after the long months of pregnancy and to help her ease into the new schedule that is sure to be a challenge. 

The poem I wrote might be a little on the silly side but what better way to welcome her new role than with a sense of humor?!

How to Use Engineering Prints to Decorate at a Party

One of my favorite decorating touches at our daughter's first birthday party was the photo collage I made with engineering prints and poster board. Just as I did with my son, I took photos of her every month of her first year wearing numbered onesie stickers. 

At my son's first birthday party, I hung a banner with his photos from each month. 

I knew that I wanted to do something similar for her party. Instead of a banner, I made a collage of the 12 photos with PicMonkey and then had a large engineering print of the collage made.

Here is the engineering print of the photo collage on black poster board and on the wall. I used felt roses for some extra pops of red and to disguise the tacks that I hung the board with.

I loved the way it turned out so much, the was process so simple, and the cost so low, that I decided to choose several of my favorite photos of her from birth to a year and make prints of them to use at the party as well.

A lot of people have asked me how and where I made the prints for the photo wall so I'm going to show you how I did it.

I used Staples and was really happy with the quality and how fast they were done but you can do it at other copy/print/mail centers as well. Follow these instructions if you want to do it using the Staples website.

When you get to the Staples Copy & Print online store, click on 'Oversized Prints'

I selected 'Engineering Prints in B/W'

You'll need to click on Media (Blueprints...) to select the size you want. I chose the 18X24 size. Check the box at the bottom that says 'Fit content to Paper'

Click on 'Add Files' in the upper left corner and select a photo from your computer or disk that you want to print. This is the photo that I used to make a poster for the mantel.

After previewing your photo, just add to your cart and order! All of mine were ready for me to pick them up within an hour. 

For the wall collage I used a combination of washi tape, heart clothespins, and clear tacks to affix my prints to poster boards. Because the paper for the prints is so thin, you might not want to use any kind of adhesive that could bleed through the paper and stain the photo. I hung the prints with a LOVE sign that I made out of leftover paneling and vinyl lettering and it made for such a sweet Valentine's Day first birthday photo wall.

The engineering prints are perfect for a party decoration or something like a word art print but are not meant for high resolution photo printing. Photo canvases are still my favorite way to display my pictures.

That said, I'm going to order one of these engineering prints before purchasing photo canvases in the future. Because it's difficult to visualize how a photo will look when it's really large, this is a perfect way to determine what will look good before paying big bucks for the canvas that can't be returned.

Preppy Bunny Silhouette for Spring

Even though my oldest stopped napping, an enforced 'quiet time' while the baby takes her afternoon nap leaves me a small window of time to get things done. That something varies from cleaning to crafting but whichever it is, it has to be fast. 

This rabbit silhouette for spring and Easter decorating was a super easy and fast project that I made mostly with materials I had on hand. I bought the fluffy yarn for the cottontail and the furniture nails.

First I used a staple gun to cover a small canvas I had with a piece of an extra drop cloth we had. I hammered bronze colored furniture nails all around the border of the canvas.

I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut the rabbit silhouettes out of cardstock and then used spray adhesive to apply them.  I already had the cut file for my Silhouette saved from a project I'm working on in my son's room but there are a ton of free printables that could be used if you don't have one. Just print one out and trace it onto the fabric or paper that you want and then cut it with scissors. 

For the preppy look I made the bunnies in navy and green and gave one a little pink ribbon around her neck.

For the cottontail I thought I would cover a small styrofoam ball with the yarn but it was too big. Instead, I just wound the yarn around my finger until it was the right size and hot glued the ball onto the rabbit. 

The canvas is going to bring a sweet and preppy spring touch to the mantel (when I take down the Valentine's Day decor) and will be a perfect Easter decoration. Not bad for a project that took less than an hour from start to finish!

For now it looks so cute sitting on the front room table.

A Sweet February

Mirror decorated for a Valentine's Day party

I'm not sure how it happened. Not only did the last month pass in the blink of an eye but I don't see how we celebrated our baby's first birthday already. 

Valentine's Day decorating with an adorable felt hearts garland

A girls (and baby girls) getaway weekend to the mountains, two parties, and three snow days capped off with a stomach flu made our cold month fly by.

When my daughter was born a year ago I knew starting another 'baby phase' meant potentially two more years of a nursing baby dependent on me and the schedule that entails. I'm so grateful to have friends that not only wanted me to come away for the weekend with them but also didn't blink an eye at letting me bring a baby on a moms' getaway trip! 

We stayed at a beautiful house in Cashiers, NC. Although I'm sure it would've been more relaxing to go alone, I'm just not at a point in my life that leaving my baby home would feel like a vacation. She enjoyed all of the attention that she got and the chance to be spoiled. The house had a sandy beach and dock and I enjoyed the chance to take some photos in the sunshine.

February was just filled with sweet smiles, sweet friends, and so many sweet desserts! I made three cakes this month, 4 dozen cupcakes, rice krispie pops, cookies, and polished off a box of chocolates. 

A few of our friends and their littles helped us celebrate a 'Bee Mine' first birthday on Valentine's Day. I made this beehive cake with little sugar bees and a heart door and topper.

Adorable beehive cake for a bee mine Valentine's Day birthday party

I also made a little strawberry smash cake for the ever adorable 'first taste of cake' photos.

Sweet little smash cake for a Bee Mine themed first birthday party

I made cupcakes with marshmallow frosting and fondant bee toppers.

I had way more fun with the 'Bee Mine' theme than I thought I would and was left wondering how I waited this long to have a Valentine's Day party. 

Decorating with giant photos for the Valentine's Day first birthday party

I covered our living room wall with giant photos from the baby's first year including a collage of 12 months of photos. I'll share the details on how I did it for less than 10$ and other details from her party soon!

The month of sweet moments ended yesterday with a beach themed baby shower and I made this 'baby footprints on the beach' cake for it.

Adorable Beach theme baby shower cake with starfish and baby footprints

I'm looking forward to March with plans to do a ton of spring cleaning, organizing and projects, helping out at my son's school, warm weather (I hope) and taking a short break from parties.

I'll share more photos and details from the 'Bee Mine' party this week and also some new projects I've been working on soon!
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