Tag Archives: creative
One Christmas years ago, my husbands grandmother asked me if I would like to make the holiday cake for their family’s christmas dinner. For as long as GranNana has had her own family she has made them a special coconut cake for christmas dinner. So, YES I was very honored and nervous she was passing the torch on to me. This was very early in my cake making life but my red velvet Snowflake cake knocked the socks off everyone!
Being an interior designer I had high expectations for myself to create a nursery for my son that was beautiful; being a craftswoman I had high expectations for myself to create a nursery for my son that was custom-made. For Hudson’s nursery I delivered both. I named this nursery design and the owl on the quilt Oliver the Owl after Hudson’s middle name. Although I was inspired by the Dwell Owl bedding that was brand new at the time, I decided to design and make all of his softgoods myself. The bumper, quilt, sheets, canvases, drapery & rug were created by my hands. The framed art, mobile and dresser were also customized to better fit into my design.
This nursery started with the gray Sparrow crib from Oeuf that I had choose whether I was having a Hudson or a Olivia. Second came the fabric, a F.Schumacher called Zeynatta Mondatta. Actually the fabric came years before, as it was a sample I held on to from my D&D Building fabric trips. I just had to have it but didn’t know what I would ever do with it, it was fate! I ran across it one day going through tear sheets and files and I instantly knew I’d found the inspiration for his room. In designing his bedding I had an allowance on how much of the zig zag fabric I was going to invest in, it was a very expensive fabric and luckily a fellow interior designer was able to get her hands on a yard sample for me (perks of the trade) and that helped out a bunch with the cost. In sourcing the other fabric locally in North Carolina I was tipped on a gem of a fabric store in the middle of nowhere. Mary Jo’s in Gastonia, NC, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I went there and it takes a lot to impress me. After the foundation theme and colors were decided, I started with product research and created an inspiration board and a board for his bedding design. I was proud to show them off at our baby shower, it was the only way for people to know what we were up to.
Here’s how his nursery came together:
- To make the bumper I went to several baby boutiques to inspect the custom designs that were displayed. I took a hundred measurements of my crib and every bumper I ran across and I spoke with other designers about how they specify construction to workrooms.
- The quilt is composed of minky on one side and heavier weight fabrics on the other, its meant to be more of a top piece, decorative quilt.
- The owl applique is hand embroidered.
- The crib sheet (and later a pillowcase) was made from a twin sheet in just the right aqua color from Bed Bath and Beyond.
- The tab top drapery was modeled after another window panel my daughter has (super easy project).
- The rug is faux fur that I stitched heavy weight canvas to the back so that it would lay flat!
- We paid homage to Hudson’s namesake with artwork of a subway map of NYC, it was from a calendar that we already had and it was just the right colors.
- The RAR rocker was on my list of must have chairs (being obsessed with designer chairs), but I was on the fence whether to go with a color or white. White won for future versatility as it often does, but I also really love white furniture.
- His mobile was from CB2 but I had to paint a few of the pieces blue.
- The Koppang dresser is an Ikea Hack, customed painted in a Ben Moore oil paint that was an exact match to the Ouef crib.
- Its fun to stumble upon something that you know is just perfect: the Foo Dog bookends are from target, the FADO ball lamp from Ikea, the Where the Wild Things Are pillow is from Urban Outfitters and my husband insisted on having an Ugly doll.
- The paint is Laura Ashley-Apple 6 from Lowes
- The initial frame is another project of mine that I will talk about soon
- Newspaper tree canvases – modge podge, paint and newspaper, check out how I made these here
Lastly to be decided were in his room were the canvases. As you can imagine I had a lot on my plate making the bedding and in the back of my mind I had an idea for newspaper trees but I just couldn’t get to it before he was born. The canvases and (as well as few other items) were completed a few weeks after we brought Hudson home but he’ll never know we didn’t have everything ready for him!
Just a few weeks before Hudson was born my sister photographed me and incorporated his special fabric. Now a year and a half later she photographs a lot of people. You can check out her site www.capturedbyjes.blogspot.com
I created this Rose Petal Barbie Cake for Macy’s 7th birthday. She was my first Barbie cake using the Wilton Doll Cake mold. This design is simple but creating all the petals are tedious. To make them I made three colors and three sizes. They are formed by starting with a circle and then curling it and thinning out the edges to give it a natural shape. My sister actually helped me crank them out and she added the leaf around the waist idea to conceal the area where doll waist meets cake. Her dress is completed with a flower necklace. I dont like to write on most of my cakes and it has become my signature to make a plaque to write a simple name. For this Barbie I used the Wilton doll pick but changed the head with one of Macy’s real Barbie’s. We snuck her to dinner that night and she was brought out by the wait staff singing Happy Birthday, Macy was so proud for everyone in the restaurant to see her fabulous Barbie cake!
I have a few other Barbie cakes that you’d love to see too!
Perfectly Pink Barbie and the Perfectly Pink Pool Party (coming soon)
My baby girl turns 9 in just a few days. I always like to look back at old photos around this time of year and now that she’s older we look together. It’s amazing that places and things I thought she’d never forget, she has forgotten. I decided write a post showing the transformation of her room from Nursery to Tween; it would be fun to do and great for her to look at too. I came across some decent vintage photos last week, although I never had publishing them on a blog in mind when I took them, I think they are good enough to share. What is most important from this post is that you will see how I took Macy’s nursery design to a toddler design; to a whirl wind of changes during our moving adventures; to what she is now an: 9-year-old on the brink of a being a teenager or whats now called a tween. Her colorway has not changed in these 9 years but amazingly enough I have made it work and grow with her. We’ve had some major transitions in our lives but I’ve always made sure that no matter the space, size or shape she has had a familiar room that she was proud of. Now that she has become older with less toys and her own taste we have promised her a design change this winter. She wants blue and I dont blame her! She’s been surrounded by pink for 9 years & I want a change too!
There was no theme for Macy’s nursery. I simple picked what I liked based on colors. Her bedding was Summer Fruit by Pottery Barn Kids and although it set the colorway for her room I didnt add fruit anywhere else. I had a logical reason for choosing a butter yellow color for her walls, I knew the rest of the room would have entirely enough pink in it. From toys and clothes to accessories and art, I didnt need to be surrounded by it on the wall too! But I couldnt resist, the top 20 inches of her wall was a cotton candy pink! It said “baby girl” without screaming it.
Macy’s Toddler Room
Out with the baby gear, in with toys! While Macy was still in her toddler bed I created a toy storage unit to vertically house her bulging toy boxes. This is a copy from a storage unit in Land of Nod but mine was custom designed to match her room by me! It was available for years but is gone now so if you like it you’ll have to make it and dont worry, its sew easy! I bought the wire shelving from Bed Bath and Beyond, its not cheap but its sturdy and can be used anywhere later on if you decided to do away with the cover. I made the cover out of 2 pairs of cotton duck cloth drapery. I actually only used 3 of the panels and opted to not cut the 4th because I only needed a small section for the top of the unit. (I saved the 4th panel and used it a few different ways in her room you will see) I added a coordinating stripe fabric on the top, scallop and inside front, but that was all extra and not necessary. I came up with the idea to use drapery because it has a good hanging weight and its already hemmed on the sides and bottom. It also proved to be cheaper than buying fabric by the yard.
When Macy was 3 1/2 she got a big girl bed. The Madeline canopy bed from Potter Barn Kids. To avoid changing the wall colors and the rest of the rooms accents, I went with a quilt and sheeting that had the same yellow, light pink and dark pink combinations. I guess I made a good choose because her Kasey quilt and Madeline bed are still a staple of PBKs collection. The transformation of her room literally happened in a few hours. The white glove delivery put together the bed and we rearranged the room. I made a few additions like the dress up wall but that was basically it, everything else already matched! Her dresser became the nightstand, the rug was a neutral, the shades with ric rack that I sewed on still matched and the yellow fabric and striped fabric on the toy unit were a perfect match to the quilt! Here I used the extra drapery panel on the canopy at the headboard to block an unsightly electric panel.
Macy takes Manhattan
Not long after Macy got her big girl room we had to pack it up and put it in storage :( We moved to NYC and lived in corporate housing that was fantastic but not meant for a child. Macy was small enough that she could fit back into a toddler bed temporarily and we were able to give her a slice of her bedroom design in the corner of our one bedroom luxury apartment in Lower Manhattan. Look at how cute she was! She only had to endure this “mini bedroom” for 5 months until we made NYC our permanent home and transferred our own furniture there. I feel that decorating in a small space is more about editing than adding and although I didnt attempt to do any painting to the 13 foot walls, her beautiful furnishings made her room her own.
Macy’s 2nd Manhattan Bedroom
While on our first tour of NYC we moved into a second apartment within the same building and Macy got an even better bedroom. This was her view! A 13 foot window and balcony view of Trinity Church. It was breath-taking during all the seasons, especially winter when it looked like a gingerbread castle dusted in powdered sugar. Her room was similar to the first apartment just bigger. Big enough that we put the christmas tree in there instead of in the living room. This time I did do some decorating on the walls, still not painting but a gallery wall that also had an Ikea shelf as a writing ledge. But most fantastic about this apartment is that Macy got a playloft! Lucky Duck!! It was her little hide away or tree house we called it sometimes. She had so much fun up there!
Macy’s Tween Room
For our 14 months in North Carolina, Macy’s room was updated from a toddler style but had the same foundation in colors. She had new polka dot sheets instead of fish but we kept the Kasey quilt and pink gingham duvet. We gave her a bolder pink wall and a fabulous chinese lantern installation over her canopy! The largest lantern was illuminated with a switch that she could operate while in bed. We gave her PBK kitchen to my niece Emma, but Macy kept the food and dishes, I couldnt get her to give those up as she still likes to play pretend sometimes! The toy unit was still in use but its near the end of its life and the girly cafe set from Target that she got for her 2nd christmas is soon to be replaced this christmas with a modern boy version for Hudson. And I finally used that 4th drapery panel on a window!
Now that we are back in NYC, Macy and Hudson share a room but their bedroom styles remain separate. She has her half of the room and he has his. We have painted his side but are refraining on hers since she will get an updated look very soon. Check back this winter to see how it turns out!!
Initial frames! This is a very old project of mine, but it still proudly hangs in my childrens’ room and in the rooms of the loved ones Ive created one for. It is a very simple and inexpensive project, I once made about 10 at one time as Christmas gifts for all the children in our family and in Macy’s playgroup.
Supplies for this project:
- a wooden 8×10 frame – cheap, from anywhere like a craft store or ikea
- acrylic paints – super cheap again, a $1 bottle is enough
- a wooden letter – there’s a trend here… cheap from a craft store
- fabric scrap at least 10×12 – free! if you are a crafter that has it lying around
- a 1/2 yard of ribbon or twine – again you know you have some somewhere
- a slightly smaller than 8×10 cut of mat board – in the framers aisle at craft store
- hot glue gun – the classic
- staple gun – you can do it without this, but if you dont want the letter to fall off and hit the baby in the head then barrow one.
First step is to remove the glass from the frame but save the backboard as you still want that so that it looks nice and finished when its done.
Next paint the letter and wooden frame. Just like any project with wood you might decide that it needs a little sanding prep before the paint. Use your discretion. Acrylic paint dries in a matte or chalky finish. If you dont like that you can use a spray gloss sealant to give it a sheen. But be cautious: some of the glosses will turn the paint a yellowish color. I had a pink letter turn an unusable color. So I play it safe and just leave it like it is. Or you can buy higher quality paint that has a gloss finish already.
While your paint is drying you can begin the fabric covered mat board. Make sure the board is slightly less that 8×10 because the fabric will need space to live tucked in the frame too. Wrap the fabric onto the mat board and hot glue the long and short sides. Leave the corners for last and either fold down one side then the other or make a pinched triangle like miter cut and glue down with lots of hot glue. The fabric covered board should fit snuggly into the frame the same way the glass did before you removed it.
Next position the letter in the center of the board with hot glue. ***And here’s where Im making the safety disclosure** Hot glue is temperamental. Its not really a glue right, its plastic and when its cold it lets go of what it should be holding onto. In my practice with these initial frames I found a super easy way to make sure the letter doesnt pop off no matter what type of fabric you have tried to adhere it to. After you have the letter glued into place, turn the board over and fire a few staple gun staples through the back of the mat board, into the back of the wooden letter! Yes, its that easy. Now the letter isnt going anywhere. Put the board back in the frame, put the backboard of the frame back on and fasten it closed.
You may have a frame that came with an easel back or no easel and a saw tooth hanger. You can still hang this initial frame on the wall regardless of its backboard type. Staple your ribbon or twine to the back to use as a hanger. If you borrowed a staple gun, you might realize by now that its a really good tool to have and they are not expensive so grab one on your next trip to Lowe’s. Just remember to keep in out of reach and locked away from little hands, I even keep ours unloaded.
For my daughters 5th birthday the theme was Under the Sea. I am only sharing the invitation and cakes from the party, but this was a fantastic pool party and a success with my daughter who is my biggest fan and littlest critic!
This party’s invtation is a very unique “shaker” card that we really sent through the mail. As you can see from the profile shot above it is a thick card that required extra postage but arrived to our guests fine. I believe I did write “hand cancel” on the envelopes to help them receive some TLC at the post office but who knows if that really helped! These cards where on the complex side to create but they were worth it and were an impressive surprise for our guests to receive. Heres how they came together:
- 1/4 thin foam core board
- colored scrapbook paper
- transparency film
- glue stick
- xacto and cutting mat
The informational side of the card was designed and printed as a 5×5 square. 5″ squares were also cut out of the foam core, transparency film and unprinted scrapbook paper. A center circle (a square would work too) was cut from the foam core and scrabookpaper. And then it was like a sandwich, stacked up with the info face down glued to the foamcore, confetti sprinkled inside, transparency film to seal it and the scrapbook paper to cover and complete it. Being our theme was Under the Sea, this was meant to look like a fish bowl but it could be reinterpreted for any theme.
I have mentioned before that my spoiled little mice get more than one cake for their birthdays because there are usually separate days of celebrating. Macy had two parties her 5th year with this theme, one at school and one with family and friends. On her actual birthday she enjoyed Under the Sea character cupcakes at school and a Mermaid Kelly Doll cake at home with us. This was my first Barbie type cake. Little Kelly was easy to turn into a mermaid by simply covering her legs with individual scales made out of fondant, all her Sea friends were fondant also. These characters were on the simple side of creation, by todays standards it takes much more complex cupcake toppers to impress. (You can see some of my current cupcake work in my Yo Gabba Gabba cupcake masterpieces here)
There is an interesting story behind the real Under the Sea party that year. It was one of a few times that we decided to return back home to Tennessee to celebrate with family and friends. Flight delays and ultimately a flight cancellation nearly kept us from getting to TN. When we did get there it was just a few hours before the party and without our luggage full of party supplies. To save this party I picked up two pre-made cakes from a big box store, I think they were the Carebear cloud designs but they worked as ocean too. I grabbed a new Barbie and some fondant and within an hour the cake was complete! I hope that my emergency cake experience for this party can one day help someone else out if they are in a pinch to produce a custom cake. Dont panic, just add to a ready made and no one will be able to tell that it is a impromptu design!
I have a dear little niece named Emma that is like one of my own mice. She is only three but has already been the recipient of many of the creative works that will be featured on NikkiikkiN. Last year this little cutie won her first beauty pageant at the age of 2! She was the Little Queen Sunsburst of Michigan! To commemorate her title I made her an embellished shirt that would announce it to all. This shirt was made with a few different crafting techniques: iron-ons, embroidery and appliques.
The state of Michigan is one of the most recognizable states in America with its mitten hand shape. As preschoolers we were all taught how to point out on our own hand where in Michigan we lived, ask any Michigander what part they’re from and they’ll probably still do it, lol!
I wanted to incorporate that mitten shape with a crown and came up with an applique design of the mitten being crowned. I didnt need to purchase many supplies for this project. Being a crafter and interior designer you can only imagine all the fabric I have access to, fabric samples and embroidery thread are both staples in my crafting boxes. I used Wonder Under fusible web on all the appliques to give them staying power and then did a blanket stitch around the upper and lower portions of the state. The crown was made from a wool felt that wasnt going to unravel so I only did a straight stitch around it. For the front of the shirt I wanted the word “queen” to stand out and used glitter iron-on letters from Michael’s craft store. The rest of the words were hand embroidered in a rope stitch, which didn take that long after I lightly drew the words in pencil.
I used a great online site Stitch School to refer to for instructions and tips. I also have the The Embroidery Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden to look at while I work. An embroidery hoop is a must for embroidery work and luckily they are still an inexpensive craft tool. I have a small one from childhood and a larger one that I bought to work on Hudson’s Owl quilt. (I recently have seen the wooden embroidery hoops being used to display fabric as art on walls, what an innovative and economic gallery wall that makes, maybe ill try it one day!)
Of course Emma loved her shirt, my sister was excited about it too and she proudly saved it as a keepsake with all of Emmas trophies and crowns from her big day.
Its HOT! Its summer here in the city and as we begin planning Macy’s 9th birthday party I thought it would be a great time to post her 8th birthday party, Aloha! A Luau Pool Party. I bet there is alot of people planing a luau party this time of year, its the perfect summer theme and I hope you find ours inspiring! We had her party at our community pool and it was a such beautiful venue that it didnt take much to decorate.
When it comes to buying party supplies, there are a lot of Luau and Hawaiian themes to choose from. I tried to keep ours simple and I was very careful to not go overboard or cheesy. Lots of color is a given when you are do a luau, but since this was a girl’s party it was easy to add in more pink and orange to give it a focus. A few plain white tablecloths were a great investment I made a few years back and this was another party that I was glad we were able to use them. The grass table skirt was safety pined to it and because it was cloth I didnt have to worry about the weight of it tearing a plastic tablecloth. The party and favors included a lei and hibiscus hair clip and a flower printed tote to stuff with candy & treats from the pull string (the only kind I do) pink flamingo pinata. Cool treats like fresh fruit served in a half pineapple and Hawaiian Punch in a coconut shell cup was all that was needed to entertain these girls. I could hardly keep them at the table long enough to even sing happy birthday, because they were very anxious to get in the pool and just have fun.
This week I celebrated my tenth wedding anniversary! As I reminisce of my wedding and the planning that went into it, I think fondly about the excitement I found in researching and sourcing the details. I guess it was my first Celebration to plan, as it probably is for most young brides. This was before every product you can imagine was on the internet, I actually had to buy books and magazines to find inspiration. Most of mine came from Martha Stewart Weddings, which I still adore today. Theknot.com had just launched and I was chosen to receive one of their planning kits in the mail. I filled it with clippings, articles and brochures that I pulled or found at bridal shops. I made a real scrapbook of things that I liked, as the digital inspiration boards that anyone can do today was only done by graphic designers in the magazines. I still have all of those scrapbooks and keepsakes but not in a location that I can pull them out and look through today.
So I thought it would be a fantastic idea to recreate my wedding dreams, ten years later, in the medium I would do today. Some of the pictures I found online are similar to what I choose & some are the same item (thank goodness MS website has archives!) Overall this is the feeling of my wedding I created ten years ago at the tender age of twenty!
For my dress I was smitten with ballerinas and a favorite picture of Marilyn Monroe. Mine had to be a tulle ball gown and the bigger the better! Madonna had just worn this tiara to wed Guy and I sourced one nearly identical for myself. Our color started as a dark purple but since it was a spring outdoor wedding I lightened it to lilac. My bridesmaids wore a dress of organza overlay with a satin sash and carried my favorite flower, the hydrangea. My hand tied bouquet was made of sweet peas, purple tulips and white roses. Jacob and his groomsmen wore white stephanotis. Many of our decorations were in a spherical shape such as the paper lanterns that hung from the trees over the reception tables, the vases filled with hydrangea and the topiaries that were scattered about. We were married in our home town, on the front steps of Elm Springs, an Antebellum home built in 1837 and our reception was also in the home and on the property. For favors, we discovered candied violets to order from France in a MS Weddings issue, they were packaged in a gift box with a purple ribbon. This is our invatation, it is square vellum with silver dots and silver envelope lining. My cake was also out of a MS Weddings issue and the baker did a fabulous job! It looked exactly like this! We did a sparkler farewell and by luck a photo was captured that has been our most favorite from the start. My wedding portrait was done a few days before the wedding, with a photographer that has been photographing Jacob’s family for more than 50 years! This black and white proof is now a full oiled portrait on my wall and it is breathtakingly romantic! (you can see the portrait on my living room gallery wall here).
Although she looks like a City Girl, Macy is my Country Mouse. She loves nature and animals. Give her a stick and she’s happy. She tells us that she will move back to the country when she grows up but right now she appreciates the culture and beat of the city. While we were away, it was her asking, “where’s the dinosaur museum?’ and to do other activities that only exist in NYC that made us realize that if she missed it too then it’s where we belonged.
Hudson is my City Mousebut he doesn’t really know the difference yet. Because he never lived in Tennessee he only has us to introduce him to country life on our visits back home. He was named for the river becasue we could see it from our rooftop when we were expecting him. He also loves the beat of the city, he will grab his coat and climb up in his stroller to ask me to go for a walk or to our courtyard. He constantly carries around his bouncy ball and is just as full of energy just as Macy.