Tag Archives: kids

Red Riding Hood Cape

For my niece’s 4th birthday I made her a red riding hood cape.  Macy sat by me and drooled the entire time I made it.  Only because I promised her that I would make her one next did she not complain that Emma was getting such an awesome gift.  Although the gift was a surprise, I think that my sister had mentioned she wanted me to make emma a red cape one day, so I already had a little  bit of direction to get started.  Im not great at making clothes, I can do basic skirts and dresses.  Im better at embellishing pre-made clothes but I figured a cape couldn’t be that hard.  I was right, it wasn’t hard, it turned out great and I can’t wait to make Macy’s soon.  (she has already picked out the colors – navy with a kelly green lining)

I ordered the fabric for this cape from Fabric.com.  Its a great resource if you want to shop from your sofa and are not too worried about seeing the fabric first hand before you buy.  They offer free shipping after $35 and all of their fabrics seem to be discounted (at least they seem discounted compared to NYC prices).  I choose a red wool but it was the patterned lining that I had more fun looking for.  I’ve been an admirer of Amy Butler fabrics for a while but I haven’t had a project in mind for them.  This was the perfect time to try one out.  I choose Passion Lily Cerise Pink from the Soul Blossoms collection.  Which by the way, you can also get in a blue colorway wallpaper from Graham and Brown

I’m brave enough to come up with my own patterns for most projects including a cape but I decide to give the internet a whirl and see what DIY offerings were out there.  I stumbled across a crafty site called FleeceFun.com that offers free printable pdf patterns.  It had the perfect cape pattern all ready for me to download and a video tutorial to walk you thought how to do it! So how does a printable pattern work? When you download this pattern its about 15 pages to print out, you line them up and tape them together to have a full scale pattern ready to cut out.  Although I liked the fleece fun pattern, there were a few details that it lacked for me. I wanted my entire cape lined, this pattern just shows you how to line the hood.  Also I wanted Emmas cape to function more as a coat, so the edges needed to overlap not just meet.   I can’t tell you how I made all that happen for me, I just did.  Thats how most of my projects are, I just do it.

Isn’t it beautiful?

And isn’t she beautiful in it?

Happy Birthday Emma!

P.S. You can see my sister’s photography site here!

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Filed under Baby + Child, Paper + Fabric

Macy’s New Years Tea and Cookie Party

A couple of years ago Macy hosted a New Years Tea Party to celebrate with and get to know her new friends from school and girl scouts.  Besides having treats and tea, the girls decorated cookies and played games.
 
 
 
 
 
 
The invitation for the party was a sparkly paper cookie in a treat bag with metallic lined envelopes, super easy to make on thick watercolor paper and so fun for the girls to receive in the mail! 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We choose traditional and chic New Years colors silver and gold and picked up just a few decorations at a Party City to decorate the table.  Metallic paper plates, doilies, stars, large sequins, party hats and confetti bursts.  I rolled metallic paper into cone shapes & decorated with glitter for the girls to use as mock megaphones.  Each girl had a glittered place card that we later used as tags for their cookie bags.  And since this was a tea party, Macy and I searched at a  few thrift shops for traditional tea cups for everyone.  For the rest of the table I used my real serving pieces for finger sandwiches and other mini snacks.  
 
 
After tea was served I demonstrated how to use royal icing in a piping bag for cookie decorating and we had several waxpaper bags filled for the girls to use.  Each girl got a circle, butterfly & a crown sugar cookie that Macyand I made the night before to decorate. 
 
 
As parents came for pick up we served coffee and my famous red velvet snowflake cake, it’s always nice to invite the parents to come back early at pick up to socialize and have a treat too.  I hate when pick up is rushed and hectic, I like to spend some time chatting with the other parents.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Macy was the Hostest with Mostest at her tea party, she made time to play with everyone and entertained from the head of the table.
 
I wish there was one more picture to share….I was just weeks away from having Hudson at this party!  At 35 weeks pregnant, I was running around in my party dress, apron and no shoes (I was afraid I’d trip over the constantly moving 7 year olds in my heels) serving tea and teaching the girls decorating tricks.  I’m sure I was a sight to see and sorry I dont have a good picture from it!
 
Wishing you a wonderful New Year!  Cheers!

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Filed under Celebrations, Holiday

Easy Christmas Candy Houses

Easy Candy Houses

 
 

Making Candy Houses. Macy age 6

 

Candy House Scene

 
 
 

For years we have made candy houses for a christmas craft and decoration.  Just like traditional gingerbread houses ours are decorated with candy, cookies and royal icing but I dont have to sweat building the structure.  Our candy houses are built with a sturdy cardboard box base. Juice boxes, milk cartons, cake boxes and other small boxes are perfect to use as long as the cardboard is not too thin because it has to hold alot of weight from the icing and candy.  Its a super easy craft that lets kids jump right in and build their Sugarplum Dream House without fear of the house breaking.  And most importantly the sky is the limit when you are using cardboard….every year we do a skyscraper! 

 
 

Candy house villages

 

Candy houses arranged on a cakeplate

Pepermint cottages

 

The only tricky part of this craft is the getting the correct consistently with the royal icing.  You need it to be thick and full of meringue powder to dry quickly holding the candy pieces in place.  I work the boxes on their side, one side at a time, so there is some drying time involved before you can complete one house.  This craft will take a few hours.  We usually build entire villages and display them as sets on separate cake boards or I arrange them on cake plates. 

 
 

Brooklyn Candy Houses

 

Candy House Party

 
 

We have hosted Candy House Parties and asked that everyone bring 2 bags of candy and a few boxes.  The more variety the more creative you can be, but some candys are a must.  Definately pick up M&M’s, pepermints, gumdrops, Neco waffers and graham crackers.  Creating additional trees from gumdrop covered styrofoam cones or paper can turn a few houses into a village scene.  Dont forget the paths, mailboxes, lamp posts and ponds and add Schleich animals or Lego men to inhabit the village.  My favorite part of this craft is it is one that I let go of my perfectionist tendency and just let the kids create, our houses never look like a storybook gingerbread house and I dont mind a bit because its candy and no matter how they turn out they always look colorful and fun.

Dont miss my favorite Winter Candy Craft, Sugar Cube Igloos here.

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Manhattan Cowgirl Birthday Party

Macy's 6th Birthday Cake

Fall is on its way and it has me thinking about cooler weather and fall parties.  Hot cider & cinnamon doughnuts, hay rides & barn parties.  A Cowgirl theme seems like a perfect fall birthday party theme to me.  Macy’s 6th birthday was Cowgirl themed…..but in NYC….in August…. and those city kids loved it! This is the first birthday party she had in NYC.  We had flown back home to Tennessee the previous 2 years.  If we had went to Tennessee for this party, it surely would have been in a barn, as we have plenty of family and friends with barns!  But Macy’s party was a “Manhattan Cowgirl” party, on a beautiful roof top garden of our apartment building in Lower Manhattan. This was the last party that she invited both boys and girls from her class.  Besides the heavy dose of pink the party it was gender friendly in games and activities and of course I didnt send the boys home with the pink boot favor bag…I got red ones for them and I used red and blue in some of the decorations too.

Macy's Cowgirl Birthday Cake

Cowgirl Cake

The centerpiece of the party was her Cowgirl cake made with layers of cow print, handkerchief paisley and rope detail.  The topper was a fondant Cowgirl hat.  For this cake I did a buttercream and fondant combination on the icing and decorations

Cowgirl Hat Invitation

For the invitation I choose a water colored hat by Julia D. Azar Designs.  I promise I really do make her invitations myself almost every year, but this was the year after the very labored Under the Sea shaker invitations and I needed a year off!

Lower Manhattan Roof Top Party

Macy's 6th Birthday On Our Lower Manhattan Roof Top

Who needs a barn with hay bales when you have this view for a party?  We were proud to host many parties on the roof top and club room of our building at 71 Broadway.  The view is amazing!  In the top picture the water beyond is the Hudson River and the New York Harbor.  In the bottom picture is the space that Trinity Church sits in and just to the right of the large black building you can see the Empire State building. Not visible from this picture, but we have many others, is a view right into Ground Zero.

Cowgirl (and Boy) Games

To keep the kids busy we played a few games.  “Lassoing the Horse” was tossing a hula hoop over a stuffed horse.  There was a “Stick Horse Race” in which they had to gallop (skip) to win. And a pull string pinata, I only do the pull string kind for safety (I was the kid that got hit in the face with the pinata stick growing up).  We’ve had some funny pinata stores over the years, this year the kid that grab hold of the magic string pulled so hard the pinata horses body came detached from its head.  Jake and I thought it was halirous….a few other parents watching…not so funny.

Cowgirl and Cowboy Dress up pictures

During the party I photographed many of the guests in Cowgirl or Cowboy costumes that we provided.  Some of the girls even showed up in their own cowboy boots, that made it even better.  My sister changed the color of the picture to sepia and added their names in a cowboyish style font in Picnik. Macy sent the prints as keepsakes in their thank you notes.

Macy's 6th Birthday Cowgirl Party Wear

 Planing for Macy’s party outfit is always apart of the party process.  This year she was ecstatic that we ordered her a real hat and boots from Texas!  Pairing them with a tutu and embellished tank made them more her style and her Cowgirl Party outfit was so cute that we had her picture made in it.
YA’LL COME BACK, YA HEAR!

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Woodland Fairy Birthday Party

Macy’s Woodland Fairie Party

I am so pleased to share this birthday party with everyone!    Macy’s 9th birthday was a Woodland Fairie theme.  I think that you will find it an inspiration for a Woodland Party theme for a boy or girl.   In the previous 8 years of Macy’s birthday parties I had not done a fairy theme and I wanted to get one last little girl party in before they all became Hollywood Glamour and Spa Day parties. My vision was inspired by our favorite cafe and I felt that this type of fairy theme was more appropriate for a 9 year old girl than the tutu and wings type. As always my children’s parties are a big production in our home, we begin planing sometimes months in advance and I design and make nearly everything myself.   I hope you find an inspiring idea for your next party in this post.

Woodland Fairy Invitation

After the party theme was  approved by the birthday girl, I started with searching for the invitation that would set the style.  I usually make them myself but when I discovered the perfect invitation by B. Nute productions, I was very glad to let someone else take care of it for me.  I was interested in a invitation that was a more graphically lavish than what I can create and her whimsical and vintage style was exactly what I had in mind to set the tone for the party design, you can see her site and with many other beautiful designs here.

Macy’s Woodland Cake

This Woodland Cake is an original that I designed and created.  The bottom layer is a dummy cake covered in fondant, carved and hand painted to look faux bois.  It turned out fantastic!  Painting fondant is super easy, just the color gels and lemon extract is needed.  I enjoyed rendering in watercolor in design school and found painting the fondant to be a lot like that.  In fact I enjoyed painting this dummy cake so much that I think I’m going to do a little bit of real watercolor soon!  The top cake is chocolate (macy said to represent earth!) and has a white chocolate ganache layer before I added fondant.  I started doing ganache under my fondant cakes last year and I love everyone of them!  It gives the cake a more solid surface to except the fondant and Ive found it easy to build up any uneven sides or corners in the ganche.  I achieve an almost flawless fondant covering every time!  The number 9, toadstools and grass are fondant, the flowers are purchased from my favorite cake supplies store NY Cake on 22nd street in the flat iron district and the butterflies are hand piped chocolate from this tutorial from http://www.chefmommy-brandao.blogspot.com.

Woodland Fairie Dessert Table Details

The details really do make up this dessert table, I put a lot of thought into the display and vessel type to make sure the theme was strongly represented.  Fairy Dust in glass tubes hung from the branches and were part of the favors going home with the guests, printable straw flags cut to length made a perfect label.  I found this birch covered bowl at a shop in the NYC flower district and placed florist foam in it to display the Sparkly Fairy Wand cake pops.  The soda of choice for Woodland Fairies must be “root” beer!  Mine were served with a paper straw that I know you have never seen displayed like this before! The idea came to me to place the straws in tags by B.Nute productions simply out of need, as I had not found the perfect vessel to hold them all in a group!   Wood slices are a must have on any rustic or woodland table display.  Adding decorative stones and moss, it becomes a very complete Fairy Cake display

There were a few other support areas around our home that received some party decorating as well. Favor bags of simple paper sacks and printed labels sat at the door to pass out as guests left.  I choose to not clutter the dessert table with the extra Fairy Cakes and paper goods, but still thoughtfully displayed them on our kitchen island.  Guest were greeted with a small display of nature from a cake dome full of pine cones and other dried naturals, a birds nest and flowers.

Le Petit Cake Brooklyn, NY

For brunch we walked two blocks away to the cafe that inspired the Woodland theme.  This cafe design is so amazing, I cant believe that it is only two blocks from our home, it looks like it was imported from Disney World.  I padded the party time an extra hour to work in the walk and wait for our table.

Woodland Party Decorations

To make ordering easier on us and our server I gave the girls the choose of 5 basic brunch items and wrote them on little menu cards before we headed to the cafe.  The girls just showed the card to the server to place their order, genius right?   The menu card and welcome sign I designed were compliments to B. Nute productions Woodland Fairie tags.  I found the stick boarder on a web site offering public domain images from old books called http://www.fromoldbooks.org.  The Twig pencils were part of the favors the girls took home.

Macy and I brainstormed the idea of a Treasure Hunt for lost things.  Inspired by stories of Peter Pan and Tinkerbell, we came up with the idea of trinkets and magical fairy items to search for.  My favorite item was the Rattle which represents “a baby’s first laugh”.  From the story of Peter Pan, this is when a fairy is born!  Gathering the items for the treasure hunt was a treasure hunt for me!  It was a lot of fun to do and most of the items were found in craft stores.  I used a border image from http://www.fromoldbooks.org again to design the sign and treasure hunt card that complimented our other party decorations.  The images on the treasure hunt card came from http://www.graphicsfairy.blogspot.com, I love her images!

Fairy Houses Craft

The girls did a craft decorating fairie houses.  Macy has made real fairie houses in the woods at camp with Girl Scouts.  Those houses were made out of all natural materials like twigs and leaves.  We pre-painted small birdhouses dark brown to give a natural material feel but I felt that the girls would have more fun if the decorations were sparkly.

Woodland Fairy Dessert Table

Now that Macy is 9, she helps out a lot with the preparation of her parties (she made all the toadstools on the cake!).  She is a crafter like me and during one of our working days she sat beside me while I made the fabric bunting, turning my sewing scraps into fairy clothes,  They were quite impressive!  She also loves to share her opinion and ideas, for this party table she came up with the idea to place small sparkly pompoms hiding in the branches to represent our Woodland Fairies.  Our fairies were shy but you can see one of them above tucked in the berries.

What gave this dessert table its woodland presence was the sticks and wreath on the wall.  The Queen Fairy looks over the party with such grace!  I also found her from Graphics Fairy and spray mounted her to the same kraft paper as the table runner.  Tying it to a grapevine wreath made it look like a Woodland Portrait. Wondering how I got those sticks (that my wonderful husband gathered in Prospect Park for me) to hang on the wall?  I have some great pictures of how I made that and the wreath hang  that I will share in a Behind the Scenes of the Party post. I also made the felt toadstools for the dessert table and now sell them by the set on my Etsy Shop.

I hope you have enjoyed my daughters party pictures!  I have designed her parties for 9 years and my son’s for 1 year, as well as a few years of my nieces parties.  I am slowly getting all of my previous parties into blog posts, so be sure to check back often to see whats new!

 

UPDATE:  Due to much demand  I have decided to give away my treasure hunt printable for free!   You may download the file HERE

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Hudson’s Oliver the Owl Nursery

Oliver the Owl Nursery

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.

 

My Initial Frame

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!

Hudson's First Shoes

35 weeks along with Hudson, Captured By Jes

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

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The 9 Year Evolution of Macy’s Bedroom

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!

Macy's Nursery 2002

Summer Fruit Bedding From Pottery Barn Kids

Macy’s Nursery

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 2006

Kasey Quilt and Madeline Bed from Pottery Barn Kids

My DIY Version of a Land of Nod storage unit

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's Mini Bedroom

Macy's Full size Manhattan bedroom

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 2nd Manhattan bedroom with the view of Trinity Church

Trinity Church bedroom view at Christmas

Macy's 2nd Manhattan bedroom gallery wall

Macy's Manhattan Playloft

The Pottery Barn Kids Kitchen in the Playloft

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 2010

Macy's Tween Room Storage Unit and Cafe Table

NC children's bedroom gallery wall

Chinese lanterns over the canopy

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!!

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The Initial Frame

 My sister has reprimanded me, she says that I have to do my postings more tutorial like.  Well I promise when I get to a new project that I will photograph it step by step.  But right now im still playing catch up with about 9 years worth of fabulous projects that Ive done!  I have always photographed the final results but never the process, this one is easy enough that I can recreate the process in a tutorial way without the step by step pictures. S0 Jes, this ones for YOU!

Macy and Hudson's Initial Frames

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.

Initial Frames for 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.

Hudson's Initial Frame

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.

Cowboy Initial Frame

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.

Macy's Initial Frame

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.

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Embroidery fit for a Little Queen

 

Little Queen Sunburst 2010

Emma wears her shirt from Aunt Nikki!

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.

Commemorative shirt for my pageant queen niece

The back of Little Queen Sunburst's shirt

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.

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Hawaiian Birthday Party

Aloha Macy!

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.

Macy's 8th Birthday Celebration

Hawaiian Party Table

There are a few consistent elements in Macy’s birthday parties, I always make the cake and the invitations are handmade.  This year was no exception,  hand cut hibiscus flowers were the front of the invites and the party info was on a medallion on the back. In her earlier years, our parties included a lot of  friends and family & I had to make about 5o invites.  But now that she’s older and we dont live near friends and family anymore her party guests are school friends and total less than 20 guests.  This years cake was a Hula Girl Barbie and she was so easy to make!  (I’ll talk more on her in a future SugarCoated post)

Luau Party Invataion

Hula Girl Barbie Cake

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.

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Hudson’s Elmo Cake

Elmo First Birthday Cake

I have such spoiled little mice!  They often get two fabulous birthday cakes each year.  Its because their birthday parties and their actually birthday don’t always fall on the same day.  If this happens, we still celebrate on their birthday even if it’s just for us.

Elmo First Birthday Cake

 

The day Hudson turned one we celebrated his birthday at home, just us, his big birthday party  with friends and family happened a few weeks later ( and 900 miles away ) and it was an entirely different theme, “Arctic ONEderland”.    Hudson loves Elmo and I wanted to make him happy for his first cake.  Elmo’s fur was easy to create by piping out a thinned squiggly line of icing in a furry pattern.  But before I got going with that I had to make a few pieces of his face in fondant.  It was super important to me to get the shape of his eyes and nose perfect or he would look like a knock-off.  I often shy away from doing well known characters if I don’t think I can make them exact.  What made this Elmo more special was the 3D feeling of his eyes and nose coming forward and his mouth beneath the fur piping.  As I’ve said before when I do cakes that are just for us at home I usually do some experimenting. Sometimes I like to color my cakes as a surprise when they are cut & served. (you can see my white snow flake cake in red velvet in a future post)  I used a white cake mix and mixed a few of my blue gels to see if I could get an exact shade of blue that I use in his room.  It worked perfectly, but Hudson wasnt worried about it either way.  He was very excited to dig his hands in that yummy Elmo, no matter the color inside.

Inside the Elmo Cake

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Gallery Walls

Doing gallery walls are like working a puzzle to me.  It’s very satisfying when the pieces fit together just right, with a balance of scale and an aesthetic relationship. I have a huge assortment of tear sheets and photographs of gallery walls.  Retail stores and hotels are great resources to find them.  I often look to them for ideas but mine never end up exactly like what I’ve seen.  Thats what makes them an inspiration, they just get my creative juices going!  With several moves in the last few years, I’ve had the opportunity to do several gallery walls.  Sometimes when I do one, it begins as a starting point that I know I will be adding to or swapping out pieces later.  Other times I put it together with no intentions to make any changes.   

Macy's Manhattan bedroom gallery wall

 
 

NC children's bedroom gallery wall

 
Nikki Berry Nikkiikkin

Bklyn childrens room grouping

 
My first wall was Macy’s bedroom in Manhattan. We had 13 foot ceiling, so I had a huge space to work with.  Luckily I had enough floor space too because I laid all the frames out on the floor and moved them around until it was right before I attempted to put any on the wall.  This was the same technique I used for Macy and Hudson’s combined wall in NC and Brooklyn.  Our Brooklyn apartment also has 13 foot ceilings and the children’s room has two full walls of windows, so it was hard to find a good space for a gallery wall.  I ended up disbursing most of what we previously used to other areas and putting a small grouping over the closet doors.
 
Nikki Berry Nikkiikkin

Bklyn living room grouping

  In our Brooklyn living room I was unsure of what art or pictures I wanted to use on a huge 12 foot wide x 12 foot tall wall.  This ended up with me procrastinating for a few months until I broke down, photographed all the pieces and the wall, put them in Photoshop and worked and edited the space just as I would have (and have done) for an interior design client.  This was just the way to do it and it made complete sense to me. But it had my husband and friends rolling with laughter that I would go to this length and put so much effort into it.   My effort will pay off again because on this wall I already have two large portraits to add,  so it will be tweaked in few months and I plan on doing it using Photoshop again!  It is my intentions that this wall will always be changing and growing as we wish to start collecting local art.

Bklyn bedroom grouping

For the next gallery wall in our Brooklyn bedroom, I told my husband that I didn’t want anything to do with it, that he should take a stab at it  as punishment for laughing at me!  And he did, but the way a man would.  He just started nailing and hanging it all up without a plan.  Of course he showed me up because it worked perfectly and it looks just a good as mine with a lot less fretting.   
 
 

 

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A cake for ME!

 

Cake by Nikki Berry

My 29th birthday cake

 

 

Cake by Nikki Berry

Butterfly Cake

 

 

Cake by Nikki Berry

Swirling rainbow of butterflies

I love the month of May!  And it’s not just for the fantastic weather it usually brings, it’s a month of celebrations for me. Besides Mother’s Day I also have my wedding anniversary and birthday.  A couple of years ago I was itching to create a cake with butterflies, I found my birthday a perfect excuse to indulge in this.   My three-tiered cake of  buttercream cream frosting was the backdrop for a rainbow of swirling fondant butterflies and fondant letters that were inspired by paper quilling.  I had to allow time for the butterflies and letters to harden overnight, but other than that it was a piece of cake to create.  I even did a shortcut (that I would never do for someone else) and iced the layers all stacked together instead of individually before assembly.  I am often less of a perfectionist when I make cakes for myself or my husband.  I use these opportunities to experiment on flavors or techniques.  

So I have no problem making my own birthday cake, but Macy does have a problem with it.  She says that “you shouldnt make your own birthday cake” and has given me a hard time about it ever since I made that butterfly cake.  Last year I got lucky and attended a wedding on my birthday,  I had my fill of cake that day and didn’t need another.  This year I wanted to try a cake combo that I’d never made before, I found it a perfect time to create a cake anyway. Devils food cake with cream cheese icing, yummy! Cream cheese is my favorite icing, I love it with many different cake flavors besides carrot and red velvet.  Its delicious with a strawberry or a chocolate cake and it sets up firm in the fridge, so when it’s served it makes the perfect cut piece of cake. I made a point not to overdo the decoration on, I didnt want to make Macy angry with me. It work, she didn’t have a problem with the plain little pink cake, (that took me no time to make) that sparkled so prettily with just a coarse sugar topping.    

 

Cake by Nikki Berry

My 31st birthday cake

Cake by Nikki Berry

Devils food cake with cream cheese icing and coarse sugar topping

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My Mice

Easter 2011

Bklyn GirlIn Dumbo

 
 

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 @ 12 months
Blue Eyes
Hudson & Jack Skellington

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.

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The Initial Canvas

Madeline & Whitney

I’ve been experimenting with canvases for about a year, for this project I did a complete decopauge with scrapbook paper and acrylic paint.   These canvases were birthday gifts for the daughters of friends.  I used their existing bedroom bedding, pictured to the right, as my inspiration for style and color.  The initial is hand drawn and painted, but I enlarged and traced embroidery patterns to make the letters look more unique.. 

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It’s Yo Gabba Gabba Cupcake Time!

50 cupcake masterpieces take a long time to make!  But they were a labor of love and passion that I put into all of my cake creations. Each character was individually crafted with fondant and icing faces.  This set also included a simple boom box cake that was a snap to make. For the display, I duplicated a set up I used for Emma’s cupcake party a few years ago.  Bakery boxes that are used to transport the cupcakes are given some interior support by books and some exterior style with paper.  I wasnt very familiar with Yo Gabba Gabba before this order, they debuted after Macy’s preschool years.  But I’m a fan now and so is Hudson!

50 cupcake masterpieces and one little boombox cake

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