Home + Design · Motherhood

DIY: Personalized Christmas Ornaments

Ornament Collage

At the beginning of this year I cried FREEDOM (as only myself and a blue-faced Mel Gibson could) as I walked my two youngest children into preschool.  It marked what would be my first time home alone in what felt like…ever. Granted, it was technically six hours a week, but us desperate moms take what we can get!
At every drop off I saw a sign up request for “room mom”. I screamed in my brain, “NOT IT!!!” and went sailing past. It’s my personal belief that mothers of 4+ children should be exempt from all such acts of volunteer work.
However days passed and weeks passed and, ugh, why is no one signing up?!!!
Finally. They cornered me. Like a gang in the school office. They told me how easy it is and how low commitment it would be… before I knew it they had me signing forms.
Christmas time is upon us now and, I, the room mom, the one with no spare time and an already low tolerance for projects and to-do’s suggest we should also add a personal gift from the kids.
I scoured Pinterest and she failed me. Nothing was jumping out and everything that looked somewhat intriguing also looked really hard and annoying.
I found myself walking Michaels aimlessly when, voila – the perfect personalized gift appeared to me as if in a dream! Well – it was the sale section- which is like a dream.
My idea was to create 1 ornament for each of the teachers with a collaboration of quotes about her from each of the students.
I picked up these super cheap ornaments that are plastic balls that open up:

Open Ornament

I interviewed all the kids and gathered adorable quotes like “I like her shirts”, “she gives me hand soap” and “I can tell she loves me”. I printed them at home in various fonts (remember I don’t do fancy!) and cut them out by hand into little strips.
I sprayed the inside of each side LIGHTLY (do too much and it will look like a snow globe) with this amazing Scotch Super 77 spray adhesive.

Scotch Super 77

And then laid the quote strips in in random order. I did the same with the other side and let them both dry 10 minutes or so.

Inside Ornament

Then I filled the one side with this precut holiday looking ribbon stuff:

Festive Filler

And closed the ornament!
I added gold string as the ornament hook on top and – boom – my project is complete!



Total time: less than an hour
Cost: under $20- (use a coupon on the spray adhesive)
Supplies needed all at Michaels:
-Celebrate It™ Plastic Snap Ornament, 100mm – Ball (Sku 10426141)
Scotch Super 77 spray adhesive
-Festive filler
-String for ornament
-Paper for printing words

Cheers to the Holidays, Mommies!

Home + Design

Ikea Hack: Latt Children’s Table Set!

Throwback Thursday! Jenelle’s awesome Ikea Hack has inspired many over the last year (it is our most popular post!). This fun project is particularly timely right now: school is out soon so why not create a fun space for your little one to do art projects, read books, snack or simply enjoy a ‘just my size’ spot?! Helping to paint or assemble can make them feel like they made it too. And something new in the house can go a long way during the summer months of tapered-off activities.

Thanks again for your crafting guide, Jenelle!

Table 3

Auburn is at the age where she is obsessed with furniture that is her size. Every time she sees a child’s chair she runs to it, examines it and then gets in and out of it for the next 20 minutes. I originally wanted to make a table for her out of pallets (I blame Pinterest).  The reasonable part of my brain told me it was too complex a project for my very impatient self.

I’ve been infatuated with Ikea hacks. (Again, I blame Pinterest). I love the idea of taking something that is inexpensive and whipping it into a one-of-a-kind piece that becomes sentimental and unique. Adding a decorative spin to furniture is also much easier than building it from scratch. And, at $19.99, the Ikea Latt Table is affordable enough that I could mess up a couple of times and not feel too bad about it!

Originally I planned on…

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Home + Design · Motherhood

DIY: Rustic Wooden Crate Toy Box

DIY Toy Box

Kindergarten is about to start and I’ve been working to organize our house before we hit the “Autobahn” that our family calls life. My daughter and I just recently purged her toys, so I wanted to take advantage of having less stuff by finding a neater way of storing her things. I also wanted to create an opportunity for us to do a fun project together to complete the toy-purge process. Having just finished going through my stuff in the garage, I happened to come across a couple of crates that I saved. They are perfect for toy boxes! They are shallow enough to fit under the bed or coffee table, inexpensive, customizable, and I love the rustic look! Here’s what WE did:

You Will Need:

  • Wooden crates or boxes (If you don’t have the old ones, you can find wooden crates at the hardware store for around $10-15.)
  • 4 Casters per crate (hardware included, $8 for a set)
  • Sisal Rope for the Handles
  • Drill
  • Optional – additional wood if needed to secure casters (we used wooden floor spacers)
I used a couple of old crates that I saved just for this occasion.
I used a couple of old crates that I saved just for this occasion.
Buy four casters per box at any hardware store.
Buy four casters per box at any hardware store.

It’s such a simple project and is a perfect DIO (Do It Ourselves) for the kids to help! Build in the extra 30 minutes to involve them to make it an educational and fun family experience. Teach them safety while working with tools, show them how to use a measuring tape, and have them practice math. They will gain confidence in their ability to build and create things and will learn pride of ownership: I made that!

Always wear eye protection!


Secure casters to crate. We used left over flooring spacers to give us extra support.
Secure casters to crate. We used left over flooring spacers to give us extra support.


Measure and mark where you want your wheels to go on the crate before you drill. Get out the measuring tape and show your little one how you find the center, and measure equal distance for your wheels. Explain out loud what you are measuring, and write down any math that you would normally do in your head to show them the steps that you are taking. Let them help by marking your locations. Show them your measuring tape and how to find the “center” or mid-point. Ask them questions as you go along: What numbers do you see on the measuring tape? Can you help me count? Can you place a mark where you see the number 9? …and so on. Cater the experience to your child’s age and level of interest.


Voila! Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy! Now you can stop here or add handles, whatever you prefer.
Voila! Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy! Now you can stop here or add handles, whatever you prefer.

After securing the casters, all that’s left is the handles. Drill two holes where you would like the handles to go. I used some Sisal rope that I had on hand for the handles. It was free and I think it looks great with the wood. My daughter helped me count and measure out the rope to cut for the handles. She measured out 4 pieces (2 for each box) that were 18″ long. Then I took that finely measured rope and strung it through the holes. I finished by just tying a knot in the rope to secure it in place as a handle.

Life is filled with learning opportunities. Allow the kids to help where ever possible.



That’s it, you’re done! Don’t you just love how they turned out?! My cost was $8 per box (the cost of the casters) and they look like $48 boxes. My daughter is so proud of them and it hides her toys perfectly!



Home + Design

Ikea Hack: Latt Children’s Table Set!

Table 3

Auburn is at the age where she is obsessed with furniture that is her size. Every time she sees a child’s chair she runs to it, examines it and then gets in and out of it for the next 20 minutes. I originally wanted to make a table for her out of pallets (I blame Pinterest).  The reasonable part of my brain told me it was too complex a project for my very impatient self.

I’ve been infatuated with Ikea hacks. (Again, I blame Pinterest). I love the idea of taking something that is inexpensive and whipping it into a one-of-a-kind piece that becomes sentimental and unique. Adding a decorative spin to furniture is also much easier than building it from scratch. And, at $19.99, the Ikea Latt Table is affordable enough that I could mess up a couple of times and not feel too bad about it!

Originally I planned on using the decorative paper for the seat of the chairs and painting the table top with chalkboard paint. I did do a coat of chalkboard paint on the tabletop but it didn’t adhere well. I was frustrated because I followed the directions to a T! So I used the decorative floral paper to cover it and I’m really glad I did. It’s too pretty to cover up and now I get to see it more since I used it on the tabletop instead of the seats of the chairs. My change-of-direction design also worked out well because the acrylic sheet is very easy to clean, I can switch out the decorative paper underneath, or I can showcase some of Auburn’s artwork.

For the seat of the chairs I decided to paint stripes. I used painter’s tape to create my lines. Here’s a tip: be meticulous in making sure the painter’s tape is securely adhered to the surface before painting. I wasn’t and had to go over the stripes freehand to clean it up.

This project can be really inexpensive, especially if you have paint and other materials left over from another project like I did. I’m very pleased with the finished product and, as you can tell by the picture below, my little customer is totally satisfied too.

Materials List:

* Ikea Latt Children’s Table and Chair Set for $19.99

* Drop Cloth or old sheet

* Painter’s Tape

* 2 sets of the Tiny Trim-It Roller Tray Set (found at Home Depot) for $1.97 each

* Benjamin Moore’s Seacliff Heights Paint

* Papersource Mint Floral Wrapping Paper for $5.95

* 2 inch Paint Brush (if painting stripes on chairs)

* 18 x 24 Acrylic sheet at .080 thickness available at Lowe’s for $9.78

Minwax Waterbased Polycrylic Protective Finish in Clear Satin, $8.98 for 8 oz. can


1. This project is easiest to do when the parts are unassembled. I took out all the pieces from the box and prepped them for paint by wiping them down. I didn’t find it necessary to sand down the pieces beforehand. Some Ikea Hacks do recommend it however.

2. Next I used the Trim-It Foam Roller to paint all the wood pieces with my Benjamin Moore Seacliff Heights paint. Using the roller makes it so easy and fast!! Wait for the paint to dry for a few hours and then apply a second coat.

3. If you want to paint stripes on the seat of the chairs it is easiest to do when the chair is unassembled. Use blue painter’s tape on the seats (I just eyeballed the straightness and space between) and then paint between the lines. After letting it dry, very carefully pull the painter’s tape off, revealing the lines. This is easiest to do with spray paint but I wanted the stripes to match the rest of the set.

3. Leave the pieces to dry overnight. Then use your second Trim-It Foam Roller and Tray Set to apply the Polycrylic Protective Finish to the painted pieces. This protective finish makes the set more durable and resistant to scuffs, nicks and scratches. Wait 2 hours for the first coat to dry then reapply. Make sure to wash your rollers and set to dry in between paintings for next use.

4. After the pieces have completely dried it’s time to assemble! Completely assemble the chairs and table.

5. Cut the decorative paper that you will use for the tabletop to 23 3/8″ by 17 3/8″. I used the Mint Floral Wrapping Paper from Papersource. The Latt table is built so that the tabletop is held in place by grooves within the side panels. This makes the table top about a little more than 1/8″ lower than the side panels. This is perfect because the decorative paper and the acrylic sheet then ‘fit into’ the table.

6. I bought a 18 x 24 acrylic sheet at Lowe’s and had them cut it down to 23 3/8″ by 17 3/8″. Lowe’s offers free cutting! Before placing the sheet on the tabletop you have to cut small squares out of the corners for a perfect fit.

Happy Crafting!


Table 4

Table 2

UPDATE: Looking for a gender neutral or more masculine inspiration? The sky is the limit with your paper backdrops! Check out this sweet creation using Papersource Bicycles Wrapping Paper and painted with Behr Blue Gray Sky:

Bicycles Hack Table

Home + Design

Nursery Inspiration: Yellow, Grey & Wood Safari

One of my favorite things to do is to tour model homes. Luckily for me I live in a new area so there are new homes debuting every few months. I particularly love the nursery and kid rooms featured in model homes. It’s like a Pinterest board come to life! I always get great decor and organizational ideas from these rooms.

Below is a yellow, grey and wood safari themed nursery which was too fun not to share. The bright yellow plays well with the more masculine grey and wood palette. Because I am an avid window shopper I included the links of where you can purchase some of the items that I have seen in my shopping travels. This room is a great inspiration for a gender neutral nursery.


1. The Babyletto Hudson Convertible Crib is at a great price at $379. It’s sleek and minimalist lines are perfect for the mid-century modern parent. The grey color adds a perfect pop to any room.

2. If your nursery is small in space, then the Vinnie White Cradle Chair is for you. I found it on Overstock.com for only $122.39!

3. The baby zoo lion and giraffe wall decals are from the Etsy shop LeoLittleLion, the same place as one of the prints you will see in the next picture.

4. Not A Peep, yellow and polka dot crib bedding sheet is from Land of Nod.

5. The Jaipur Flatweave Geometric Rug anchors the whole look.

Wood Theme Mobile

1. I have always adored this Safari Friends Bamboo Mobile. Find it at Petit Collage.com 

2. The Little Lion Studio Animal Alphabet print is perfectly displayed in a dark wood frame. Get the print at LittleLion Studio website here.

3. The personalized name lion print can be found at the Etsy shop LeoLittleLion.


Wood Theme Nursery 1

I am bummed I could not find the curtain panels. But here is what I did find:

1. Yellow Wilco Glossy Side Table is from LikeModern.com

2. Full Bloom Floor Lamp from Land of Nod.com


Wood Theme Nursery


1. The grey and white Babyletto Changer Dresser is shown above without the changing tray. It is the matching piece to the Babyletto Hudson Crib.

2. The table lamp is also a matching piece to the floor lamp at Land of Nod.

The colorful wood paneled mirror is another piece that I am sorry not to find. However, I did find a Pinterest tutorial on how to create your own! This DIY mirror was made from wood shims from Home Depot and a round mirror from Hobby Lobby. The tutorial is from the blog The Lettered Cottage which I am so happy I stumbled upon!

Wood Mirror

Happy decorating!



Home + Design

Quinn’s Nursery – Part III: Complete!

Searching Pinterest for nursery inspiration made for hours of nesting fun during the last part of my pregnancy.  I think it’s a little presumptuous to post my daughter’s nursery, but I’m awfully proud and hope that an item here and there might be what someone is looking for in their own online prowling of nursery design ideas.

As I shared in Parts I & II of the design posts, my color palette was lavender, grey and light yellow and the theme something of a chic India bazaar/yoga/elephant aesthetic.  I love finding great deals and utilized Craigslist, TJ Maxx Home Goods, the sales section at Z Gallerie, and online flash sales as much as possible.  The hunt for a deal is half the fun for me but it also helped me feel like I could splurge on a couple items that were a bit more expensive.  I hope you enjoy the photos and some of my finds!

I was interested in patterns that would have an eclectic but cohesive look once they were meshed together.  I also wanted to mix the strong patterns with some elements that would soften the room and give a feminine look (insert ruffled curtains!).

I loved Jenelle’s idea to add a reading nook in the space between the curtain wall and the crib.  The Ikea spice rack bookshelves painted purple and the Land of Nod Lavender Crocheted Pouf made for the simplest part of the room design!

Land of Nod came through again as the winner for my bedding choice.  The fitted crib sheet and quilt are from the same Bazaar Crib Bedding set.  Even though I had plans to mix and match from various sets these were really the perfect example of the combination of a modern and feminine pattern I was going for.  My mom’s seamstress skills gave me the opportunity to order the valance from the Lush Ruffle window collection to be made (with love by Nana) into the ruffly, girly crib skirt I had my heart set on!  An unexpected perk was that the Lush Ruffle collection is listed as “ivory” but the color is actually this soft, buttery yellow.

An old dresser painted a fresh grey makes for a perfect changing table-dresser combo.  Add knobs from Anthropologie (and imagine a changing table pad and bright purple cover) and I think the whole look is super fun!  The hanging basket was a friend’s great idea – she noticed she wanted diaper gear easily accessible and on the same level as the changing pad, rather than in a drawer or up on a shelf.

The lanterns from Z Gallerie were the item in Jenelle’s original inspiration board that inspired the entire theme for me.  Love them!

And (below) a little collage of artwork featuring my finds from various Etsy artists, and the “Q” wall hook was an irresistible find at Anthropolgie.  The artwork shares a wall with Quinn’s closet (not pictured) and I have a hard time deciding what makes me smile more: her cute tiny clothes or the sweet prints.

Designing a nursery for a baby girl was such a fun experience.  But it didn’t start out that way.  I was completely overwhelmed and appreciate M+M contributors, Jenelle & Kelly, for their inspiration and endless patience as I took photos and videos of EVERY SINGLE idea and required their approval before purchasing.  Luckily that left for quite the electronic paper trail – so below is every item in this room!  Happy shopping and thanks!


Window Wall

Curtains: Lush Decor Ruffle Curtain in Ivory, $30 from Joss & Main flash sale

Artwork: Mom & Baby Elephant prints, $25 from Etsy artist, lulusimonSTUDIO in Z Gallerie clearance Stella frames, $10

Nightstand: TJ Maxx HomeGoods, $39 (was bright red and we painted it grey)

Glider: Best Chairs Mandy Swivel Glider Rocker & Ottoman, $125 on Craigslist

Pillows: Ruffle Grey Surya Melodie pillow, $24 (set of 2) on Joss & Main flash sale; JOYN Gray Chevron Pillow Cover, $24 from Toms (purchase provides employment, education & medical care for artists in the Himalayas)

Rug: Safavieh Barbour Rug in Silver, $107 from Joss & Main flash sale

Light Fixture: Kenroy Home Radcliffe Pendant, $132 from Joss & Main flash sale

Crib Wall

Bedding: Land of Nod Bazaar Purple Print Crib Quilt, $89 and Purple Pendant Fitted Crib Sheet, $29

Crib Skirt: Lush Decor ‘Belle’ Ivory Valance, $26 (made into a crib skirt by Nana!)

Crib: Pottery Barn Kids Peyton Crib, $50 on Craigslist

Pouf: Land of Nod Lavender Crocheted Pouf, $69

Bookshelves: Ikea Bekvam Spice Rack shelves, $4 and we painted them purple

Dresser Wall

Dresser: previously owned

Knobs: all from Anthropologie: Lenten Rose Knob in Lilac, $12; Ceramic Peg Knob in Cream, $8; Simmered Glass Knob in Silver, $10

Hanging Basket: Ikea Fintorp Wire Basket, $13 and we painted it purple

Lanterns: Z Gallerie Casablanca Lanterns in Gold, $15 for large and $8 for smalls

Artwork: customized Elephant & Heart switch plate cover and Elephant & Heart print, $15 for both from Etsy artist, LilysNurseryShop (frame: Aaron Brothers Napa Home Vintage Rustic Linen Frame, $30)

Shelf Decor: all from Z Gallerie clearance: Vienna Gold & Silver Ornaments, $4; Crystal Flower Branch in purple, $15 (vase previously owned); Ceramic Tealight Lotus in Cream, $5

Artwork Wall

“Q” Hook: Anthropologie Marquee Letter Hook, $18

Burlap Canvas “Life is Beauty Full” Elephant, $15 from Etsy artist, ModernRusticGirl (we wrapped the canvas ourselves)

“Be You” Elephant Print, $24 from Etsy artist, PaperPlanePrints (frame previously owned)

Purple Frame: Z Gallerie Malibu Aubergine clearance, $12

Home + Design

Quinn’s Nursery – Part II: Elephants On Parade

pink mom and baby elephant

My dear friend (and M+M contributor), Jenelle, is brilliant.  Her talent for design is just one of her areas of brilliance, and is one I am lucky enough to benefit from and, therefore, must share!

She sent me inspiration boards for every facet of designing a nursery: bedding (which you’ve already seen, if not click this link), wall art and curtains, rugs and decor…and inspire me they did!  My last six weeks of pregnancy were spent in nesting mania with a nursery design focus. Yes, if you read that right it means I hadn’t done a thing to get the nursery ready until January…for my mid-Feb due date.  I had zeroed in on a color palette of lavender, grey and light yellow and a theme I was calling “India Bazaar Chic”.  I wanted to capture lanterns, lotus flowers, intricate patterns and elephants.

The elephants came to life best for me in the artwork.  It was so much fun to hunt for prints that were sweet but not babyish, whimsical but not overly eccentric, and had the dash of love I wanted to convey to my little girl.  Every piece hanging in Quinn’s room was done by an Etsy artist and was customized – some in their entirety and others just in the particular colors used.  I love working with artists on Etsy, (1) because I love to support individual, talented artists, and (2) because the good ones will communicate and work to create exactly what I’m looking for.  In my nesting craze of online shopping and Etsy hunting, I found a handful of these fantastic artists who created the perfect collection of elephants for Quinn’s room.

My first beloved elephant print (two prints in this case) was found at lulusimonSTUDIO.  Artist, Lindsay Johnson, had these prints of a mom and baby elephant displayed on her Etsy shop in hot pink (shown at the top of this post).  The sweetness of the illustration caught my eye immediately.  

mom and baby elephant

Lindsay made sure the shade of purple was exactly what I wanted – sending me online paint swatches first and proofs of the print for final approval.  The result (with a little pizzazz from these Z Gallerie frames) was perfect.


I stumbled upon these great vintage dictionary prints but the artist was unable to change the color of the hearts (and red wasn’t going to work in the room).

dictionary heart elephant

I found a similar aesthetic at LilysNurseryShop and artist, Donna, was able to create her own take of the print for me with light yellow hearts.

quinn art work 1b

She also created an adorable light switch cover:

quinn lightswitch cover

This print is a reminder to my daughter to be herself (color coordinated to compliment the room, of course). Thank you, Meka, of PaperPlanePrints for making this “Be You” piece the oddball size I needed for my snazzy gold frame! (see below)

The last elephant to join the parade was a completely customized burlap print by ModernRusticGirl!  I was thrilled by this creation because the inspiration piece was a few hundred dollars and far out of budget (or reason for a nursery!).  Artist, Paula, makes beautiful burlap pillows and agreed to create a large burlap print for me that my husband wrapped around canvas to mount on the wall.

quinn artwork b

Between the brilliance of these Etsy artists and Jenelle, Quinn’s nursery really did come to life in a unique way for me.  And the elephant prints paved the way for the rest of my design choices…final nursery post to come!