Archive for the ‘sponsored’ Category

Sponsored: Penelopes Studio Revisited

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This post is sponsored by Sprout furniture for kids. This flat-pack, eco-friendly furniture is easy to assemble and transport.

The friction fit makes for a sturdy piece that will last for hours and hours of imagination and creativity. Connect with Sprout on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.

For Penelope’s birthday in 2013, we converted a utility closet into a studio just for her. Her own little space. Needless to say that it’s been a huge hit. Neighbor friends of all ages (and genders!) have flocked to this space to make many a creative masterpiece. It’s heavenly to hear the quiet whispers of creative plans among friends. However, the space hasn’t been perfect. We’ve found a few issues with the space that we’ve had to remedy.

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  1. The narrow space was really only inviting for 1 person. Maybe a friend, but not more than one.
  2. The closed off, one directional seating made Penelope feel separated from everything so she would often spend time crafting on the floor in the hallway. Tiny shreds of paper in the carpet drives me nuts.
  3. While the little pink boxes were cute, Penelope rarely put things in their own boxes to keep them organized.
  4. The pink boxes would roam the house (as would the loose supplies).
  5. Her completed artwork would typically pile up until I would recycle it or put it in a storage box. Rarely on display.

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Thanks to Sprout Kids, we replaced the two tables and chairs with one table and three stools. We got rid of the filing cabinet so it opened up room on the sides for friends to come sit. The sturdy stools make it easier for older kids (and adults) to join in the fun, too.

Tangent: Assembly was a breeze. Even Felix and Penelope helped. I had to bust out our trusty rubber mallet to get the pieces to squeeze together, but they’re fabulously sturdy. Especially the stools. I want grown-up sized stools like this for having company over!

I was nervous about the exposed MDF with Penelope’s watercolors, but so far it hasn’t been an issue. I plan to seal the exposed edges with beeswax, but I haven’t had the time yet. 

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Now that the filing cabinet is gone (it’s now in Chris’s office closet), Penelope can sit with her back facing the wall so she feels less secluded and more involved in family happenings.

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Those tip-prone pink boxes had to go. I cleared out her unused supplies as well and fit all her good supplies in a little plastic caddy she can take with her anywhere. All of her supplies go and everything has a place. Since the compartments are clear, it’s easier for her to keep track of where things are supposed to go.

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No more stray supplies. They stay contained!

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I found some cork drawer liner with an adhesive backing. I plastered that onto the wall so now Penelope instantly has a place to display her gorgeous drawings and sculptures. She’s really gotten into sculptures lately. And the tooth fairy (that’s a whole different blog post, though).

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The updates are very subtle, but have made such a huge difference to keep the hallway clear of debris. It’s so great to walk to my room without stepping on scissors and shards of paper!

It’s been a thrill to see Penelope’s artistic side flourish, particularly in these last few months. She has such a wild imagination, I hope she keeps going in this awesome direction!

This post is sponsored by Sprout Kids, but all opinions and thoughts are my own. 

 

 

Sponsored: 6+ Ways to Address an Envelope

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This post is sponsored by Tiny Prints. They provide excellent quality printing and amazing printing options to make your holiday cards stand out this year.

I’ve got 6+ easy ways to embellish your envelopes this year. Don’t get stuck with boring print labels or chicken scratch! Make your snail mail pop with a few tips that require little to no technique. :)

If you want to get some technique under your belt, check out 5 Easy Steps for Improving Your Handwriting, or take my calligraphy class!

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Getting fun snail mail is possibly one of my favorite aspects of this time of year. I love getting something other than business offers and bills! Colored envelopes will certainly help make those invites pop.

I went through Tiny Prints for my Christmas cards this year and got one of their laser-cut designs (See all of their offerings here). It’s unique, well designed and I didn’t have to spend a million hours getting it squared away. Major win! I’m dedicated to having enough time to enjoy the holidays this year. No chicken with her head cut off over here, please!

I’m incredibly partial to Kraft envelopes (greengrocer kraft is fabulous). They work well with both light and dark pens and they stand out in a pile of mail. The envelopes featured in this tutorial are from Tiny Prints. I’ve been incredibly impressed how well they handle ink and how easily I can write on them with my super sharp calligraphy nibs.

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Next up, gather all random scrapbook supplies you own. Heck, head over to Walmart and browse their crafty section. You’ll find some great stuff for next to nothing.

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To do the techniques seen above, you’ll want to collect a few things:

You’ll want a few different patterns of washi tape, and perhaps a few different widths, too. When in doubt, collect all the black, white, gold and silver washi tape you can get your hands on. It goes with practically everything and every season.

You can use any kind of pen for these techniques. I used dip pen and ink for many of these samples, but just use any kind of pen you have. Ballpoint pens, however? NO. Throw all of those out of your house right now. They’re terrible. Shame on you for having them around. :)

Learn how to use a pointed pen with my online calligraphy class: IStillLoveCalligraphy.com. I’m happy to teach you! Side note: our kit makes for the perfect gift. 

So let’s get going, shall we?

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When doing your addresses on a straight line, use the chalk pencil and the clear ruler to mark out those lines. Otherwise:

DECORATIVE GUIDELINES

Use washi tape as a decorative way to keep your lines straight.

Tape a vertical and horizontal strip and write in the bottom right section OR use it to slant your baseline. Layer multiple strips of tape for more depth.

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RANSOME NOTE

Use alphabet stickers to draw attention to different letters.

For a cursive style, use block letter stickers for the first letter of each name. For block style writing, replace a random letter with a sticker.

I found these stickers at Walmart for about $1-2 each. I’m sure you can find them at just about any craft supply store as well.

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AROUND AND AROUND

Use circular sticker labels (I used Avery 2 1/2″ labels) to structure your envelope’s layout.

Print or letter just the address within the label (this is great if you want a hand-lettered touch, but you have LOADS of addresses to do) and write the name outside the sticker.

In the top version, I used the border of the label as a baseline and wrote the name around the diameter. It looked a little empty so I drew a little holly berry illustration on there. You could draw something there, or keep it simple and stick the circle in the center of the envelope.

Wrap the label around the back and write the name on a large scale all the way across the envelope.

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GLITTER GLUE DETAILS

Glitter glue is my best friend. It’s all the sparkle of glitter without the mess of loose glitter everywhere (I swear that stuff multiplies). My favorite brand is Stickles. Sparkliest of them all.

Pipe out a wavy line in glitter glue. Use that line as your guide for the baseline of the recipient’s name.

Or Letter out your address and use glitter glue to add accents on hairlines and at the terminals of each line.

 

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LARGE-SCALE NAME

Grab a marker and go to town! Write out the first name as large as the envelope will allow. Cursive styles work best. I used a Tombow dual brush marker here. You can use a casual, grungy style nicely. Then letter the rest of the address in a normal style, save for the ZIP. Make the ZIP huge.

ADD SOME BLING

Letter the address as you would prefer then stick some rhinestones on it. Yup. Simple. But it’s so fun go get in the mail! I like to use PVA glue to fasten them on. It’s a strong glue that dries clear.

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I hope you have some fun sending out mail this year!

*This DIY is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without my consent. Altering any files is NOT ALLOWED. If you would like to use this freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

Sponsored: DIY Elastic Banded Receiving Blanket

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This post is sponsored by Lily Jade. Their bags are fabulously fashionable and oh-so-amazingly practical. With their one-of-a-kind inserts, there’s a pocket for every on-the-go-essential and they’re a breeze to launder.

The top-notch leather construction will have you looking polished while still being prepared for just about every baby contingency!

Connect with Lily Jade on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.

I feel like we’ve been out of the little baby phase for so long, I’ve had to re-learn how to pack a bag to leave the house!

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Spare outfit, food, snacks, toys diapers, wipes. And now it’s like I have to pack for two babies. Felix will be in diapers for the next foreseeable future, so double the wipes and diapers.

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With winter in full-swing around our house, I’m finding that I need to pack extra warm goodies. There have been a couple of times that we’ve left the house to find that Penelope and/or Felix underdressed for the weather. In one case we had an extra blanket in the car for Penelope. The other, I gave her my extra layers. There’s nothing I won’t do for my kids. I’m a-okay with shivering if I know my kids are toasty warm. But it’s not ideal with how windy and cold it’s been.

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This gave me an idea. Instead of packing multiple outfits (one for each kid), I’ll just pack a onesie and an extra blanket. ‘ve made a blanket that rolls into itself quite small, but it’s large enough to wrap a nearly-7-year-old that’s crazy enough to forget a coat before leaving the house.

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I made this blanket with flannel on one side and a soft vintage shirting on the other. The shirting has a fairly tight weave and the flannel is warm. The two together cut out quite a bit of wind, providing for a surprisingly warm layer that isn’t ridiculously bulky.

And with the added elastic, it doesn’t unravel in my purse. It stays small.

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The size of the blanket makes it perfect for a tight swaddle. I can wrap her twice so her arms and legs can’t get out. On Friday, we went to see lights at a local shipping center. I wore her in a wrap, but to keep her extra warm (since I couldn’t zip up my jacket at that point), I wrapped the blanket around her and me, tying it in the back. She kept toasty warm during the below-freezing temperatures.

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I have to say, using this purse has been amazing. It’s got something like 20+ pockets in various sizes so everything has a space and it doesn’t get jostled around. I keep thinking, this would also double for the perfect weekender bag.

The leather is incredible, the interior insert is washable! My purses’ interiors tend to get so hashed, it’s great to be able to take it out and clean it up. The multiple handles provide great variety so I can sling it cross my body or just on a shoulder.

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So back to the blanket. It’s ridiculously easy to make, just requires a few simple things. Let’s get started, shall we?

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SUPPLIES

  • 1.5 yards of top fabric
  • 1.5 yards of back fabric
  • 15 inches of elastic (1 inch wide)
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • seam ripper
  • pins
  • sewing machine
  • matching thread

Click through for the full instructions!

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Sponsored: Leather Folio Tutorial

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jo-totes

This tutorial is sponsored by Jo Totes. They have a wide selection of fashionable camera bags in both genuine and vegan leather. My favorite of all is the Siena bag - an italian leather bag that ages beautifully. I use it as my every day bag. It fits all of the essentials! The structured body allows me to easily find all of my purse’s contents quickly.

Stay up to date with Jo Totes on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.

My purse essentials (beyond baby stuff): my instax camera, a notebook, pen, chapstick and gum.

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For a while I had my notebook just floating around my purse naked. The problem with this was that the top page would frequently break off, wrinkle and just get disgusting. To remedy the problem, I hand-bound a folio where I can just insert the notebook I’m using and protect it from the contents of my purse. I’m constantly ripping out pages and tossing them, so it’s nice to have something reusable instead of having to bind a new journal every time I run through my pages.

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The original version I bound was a traditional 3/4 rounded back bind with cutouts and pockets. I thought about sharing how to make this, but as I broke down each step, I realized that I had very specific bookbinding tools and the steps would take 5+ hours to photograph and explain. I ditched that idea for a simpler sewn version. It’s not as rigid, but it’s still quite sturdy and can be completed in well under an hour. You could opt out of real leather and use an industrial felt instead. I’m not sure I would recommend a vegan leather as it doesn’t tend to wear well over time.

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This would be a great gift for a guy or gal. Christmas gift perhaps? It’s just over 2 months away, so time to start planning! I’ve already taken care of a couple of Christmas gifts already. I feel way more on top of things this year. Don’t worry though, I have plenty of time to procrastinate and get behind on my gift-giving.

So would you like to make one with me? It’ll take you about 20-30 minutes. If you’re making a bunch all at once (which I would totally recommend!) it’d take less than that for each one.

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Supplies:

  • ruler
  • rotary cutter (and mat)
  • bulldog clips
  • thread
  • leather needle (or topstitch needle)
  • elastic
  • button
  • hand-sewing needle
  • x-acto knife
  • pen
  • bonefolder
  • leather
  • sturdy canvas or a fabric wallpaper*
  • notebook**

* I used fabric wallpaper for this. I scored some years ago from design centers in SF. Just ask an interior design company if they have any wallpaper samples that are being discontinued that you can have. Alternatively you can fuse any kind of fabric to Ultra Hold Heat ‘n Bond with regular copy paper.

** My favorite paper is the Rhodia pad or Clairefontaine Triomphe paper. They come in plain, grid, dot grid and lined.

Read more for the full tutorial.

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Sponsored: Nesting with The Honest Company

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This post is sponsored by the Honest Company. They’re a fabulous resource for safer home products such as cleaning supplies, personal care and baby essentials. They’ll even deliver all that awesomeness to your doorstep through their bundle and save subscriptions.

Also, how cute are their diapers?

 

Has anyone ever asked you the question: Would you rather have a cleaning service or a landscaper?

I was thinking about this the other day, I’d much rather have a landscaper. I can’t stand all the weeds in our yard and I have no idea what to do to make our yard look pretty. It’s been a source of internal contention for some time. I can’t seem to keep the real plants alive and the morning glory seems to love whatever it is I’m doing wrong.

And the truth is, I don’t mind cleaning. Doing the floors and dishes aren’t my cup of tea (Chris does those, thank heavens), but I get strange satisfaction out of cleaning bathrooms.

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After some reflection, I think I know why:

  • The bathroom is a small finite space (unlike floors which go on FOREVER).
  • You know when it’s clean because of how it smells when you walk in.
  • A clean bathroom seems like a much brighter, open space.
  • It’s easier to keep a bathroom relatively clean/tidy for a longer period of time than to keep the kitchen sink tidy (unless you just never cook).

I’ve slacked off in my bathroom duties with this pregnancy because of the tight spaces, little air circulation and how those two play into basically suffocating me when cleaning out the toilet with bleach. I’m sure What to Expect When You’re Expecting has some warning about cleaning agents alongside with germophobic warnings as well. Let it go on the record that I absolutely hate that worthless book. I read it once while I was pregnant with Penelope. It induced moderate to severe paranoia about everything I came into contact. Worthless.  I digress.

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See my slacking duties? You can see smears on the mirror and all of my junk out with no particular purpose. Honest Company sent me a bunch of cleaning supplies which were just the motivation I needed to get cleaning and jazz up my bathroom a little bit.

Did I mention these cleaning supplies didn’t send my lungs into a panic? The eucalyptis mint bathroom cleaner works as nicely to remove bathroom grime as it smells. And it smells soooo good.

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Taaa Daaaa!!! Look at that transformation!! This is no amazing before and after. Quite pathetic really, but Chris noted a very dramatic change when he first stepped foot into my bathroom.

At some point, we’re going to demolish this bathroom and give it the finish it deserves (or should I say I deserve?). We want to replace the vanity with double sinks (so Chris can actually use this bathroom, he’s currently stuck with the one down the hall). I want to tear down the wall to the “toilet closet”, who needs a 3′ x 8′ closet for a toilet? Open that floor up, baby!! I also want to tear down the wall to the linen closet and have open teak shelving there. Add subway tiles along the floor and walls and a giant soaking tub and I’ll be a happy woman.

Until that happens (cough, $$, cough), I’ll be happy with my minute upgrades. :)

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I started out by designing and cutting out vinyl decals of random geometric outlines to add some fun texture to the wall. I organized my nail polishes on the little rack to keep them away from Penelope and around for frequent use. This is a spice rack I scored from Ikea for $4. Chris originally put one in his bathroom so I copied the idea. It’s perfect for storing bathroom stuff up high.

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I end up taking my cosmetics around the corner to the bedroom mirror and work on applying my face while sitting on the floor. It’s much easier than trying to manage my giant belly around the counter top to get close enough to the mirror to curl my eyelashes. I was previously using a wire basket, which would frequently lose pencils because of the wire-y-ness of the basket. Switching to a real tray made a difference. It’s prettier, too.

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I decanted my hand soap to a pretty dispenser and bought mis-matched containers for my toothbrush, tumbler and plant.

The light in this bathroom really stinks, so the plant is now happily living in our bright master bedroom instead. I miss the greenery in my bathroom, though.

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I got a new curtain that allows a little more light in and has more of a neutral spin to it. The geometric pattern plays well with all of the different textures.

A while back we were using regular towel rods, my towels never seemed to migrate off the floor. Chris cut out some wood, stained it and added hooks to the wall instead. It’s much easier to hang towels when in a rush to get kids out the door in the morning.

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I created a little piece of artwork that reads, “Hello Gorgeous”. I already feel gross with this pregnancy and I know it’ll only get magnified when the postpartum body comes into play. I need a little reminder that I’m gorgeous no matter what my body may look like. It’s sad how media distorts perceptions of how our bodies are supposed to look like after a baby. I’m a believer in trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but a healthy outlook is also important.

Other than that, I haven’t done as much nesting as I would have liked. Next up is organizing artwork; making sure it’s all framed and hanging it on our bare walls. I’ve got 2 boxes and a pile about 5 inches tall of art that’s waiting to find a home on our walls. My mom will be in town next week to help with the baby, so maybe she’ll be able to help. :)

This post is sponsored, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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