Design Mom » make something The Intersection of Design & Motherhood Tue, 24 May 2016 12:00:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 DIY: Easy Alphabet Toothpicks for Sweet Treats Wed, 04 May 2016 15:00:40 +0000 Amy Christie

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By Gabrielle. Photos by Amy Christie.

Here it is. The best idea for last-minute celebrations and forgotten holidays! You’ll want to bookmark or pin this one and keep it handy. It’s awesome because it looks special but only requires kindergarten-level crafting. Can you cut basic shapes out of paper with scissors? Then you’re good.

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Let’s take Mother’s Day for example. It’s coming up on Sunday. Have you thought about what you are doing for the moms in your life? Even if you’re out of time, you can manage store bought cupcakes topped with a cut letter message. A simple project that happens to look cool. Extra points if you spell out something sassy!

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Just about anyone (including little hands) can cut out letters, so this can be a family effort, or a surprise the kids make for Mom or Dad or a friend’s birthday. And, I promise, the recipient will love it.

Pick up some baked goods at the grocery store. Cupcakes are cute, but donuts or muffins or brownies (or cake or pie) work too. Grab your sweets and let’s get to work!

print this


- card stock paper
- text printed in reverse (if you like ours, print this!)
- stapler
- scissors
- hot glue
- toothpick

This project is super simple and the only skills required are to cut out paper letters and glue them to toothpicks. Easy peasy. Here are a few notes:

- Card stock is a better choice for this project. Stiffer paper will hold its shape.

- You can use any kind of text you want! As stated above, if you like ours, print this. If you have something else in mind, type it and then print it in reverse.

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To cut out the letters (and make it really colorful), we find it best to take the printed text and cut out the letters in rectangles. Use the stapler to attach the letter paper rectangle to the card stock color.

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The staple holds the letter in place during the cutting.

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Use hot glue to attach the letters to toothpicks. It only requires just a drop of glue.

From there, stick them into sweet treats for anyone you want to celebrate! It works for graduation, new babies, mother’s day and father’s day, birthdays, new jobs, new houses, and on and on.

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So simple and easy, right? It’s like a card and a treat all in one. My kids will be all over this — I can picture Maude writing out a celebratory message for the whole track team! How about you? How will you use this project? What will you write?

P.S. — Lots more fun + pretty projects.


Credits: Images and styling by Amy Christie.

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DIY: Tree Branch Planter for Succulents Wed, 20 Apr 2016 18:44:54 +0000 Amy Christie

tree-branch-planter 1.1

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

Hooray! I’ve got another gorgeous DIY to share with you. And it coincides so nicely with the gorgeous spring weather we’ve been having. This project is the perfect excuse to get outside and interact with nature.

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I’m so delighted with how these turned out. Completely over the moon! They would be gorgeous inside or out. I can picture them in our living room, and also on the balcony. I really want to make like 35 of these and line my front walk with them! I think they’re so cool.

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I’m going to tell you right now, that this project takes a few bona fide tools and some muscle, too. But it’s actually pretty easy and straight forward. If you can handle a drill, than you can handle this project.

Before we jump in to the instructions, I have one question: Do succulents do well outdoors in your neck of the wood? Or do you consider them houseplants? They flourish like crazy here in our Oakland landscaping, but I don’t remember seeing them as outdoor plants in France (although it’s very possible I wasn’t paying attention). How about you? Do you have any succulents at your house? Indoors or out? And do you find them to be as carefree as their reputation? I’d love to hear!

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Here’s Amy Christie with the how to:

We have lots of trees in our back and side yard (which are all of a sudden covered in green buds! Hooray!) and the children are always finding “the best walking stick”, “the coolest stump”, “the most interesting chunk of bark”. It inspired me to check out the woods and I found found lots of “bests” and “coolest”. One of my favorite bits of interior design advice was the suggestion to have a piece of nature in each room and because of that, I’ve been thinking about how to get these natural pieces in my house.

Because of my love of succulents, I used a branch to make a planter for the little green cuties. You ready to get started? Head out into nature and let’s make something!

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- tree branch
- hand saw, table saw, sawzall
- cleaner brush
- power drill
- forstner bit — we used bits ranging from 1″ to 1 5/8″
- polyurethane or polycrylic
- mini succulents (or air plants, if you wish)

Find a tree branch. We picked this one because it was already on the ground, it wasn’t too weathered (aka. falling apart) and was the right size. Our branch is about 4-5 inches in diameter and had cool bark!

Using your preferred saw, cut the branch down into varying heights, your choice. The pieces pictured here are between 5 and 7 inches tall.

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With the forstner bit on the power drill, hollow out a space for the succulents to sit. Note, this produces quite a bit of saw dust, so do this in a place where you can make a mess.

Succulents don’t need much water so the branch doesn’t need to be completely hollowed out. However, to keep the mini plants supported and surrounded by enough soil to keep them happy, the diameter of the hollow space should be wide and deep enough to fit the root system and some soil. Make the holes based on the size of mini succulents you wish to use: itsy bitsy plants can live in a 1″-1 1/4″ space. Larger ones need the 1 1/2″-1 3/4″ size. If you want to make them even bigger, combine two hollows together.

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A couple things about forstner bits:

- Bring your patience. Forcing a bit into wood is challenging, especially a non-manufactured piece of wood with its natural knots. Concentrate initially on just getting the circle space set, as opposed to making it to the center of the wood instantly. Once a shallow hole has been formed, then concentrate on going deeper.

- You will need some muscle to hold the piece of wood in place (or equipment like a vise). We will be forcing a wide metal object into a log. There is going to be a little kick. Make sure you have a good grip on the branch piece and have some power behind the power drill.

- It gets hot! The drill, drill bit AND wood will get hot. If you see or smell smoking wood, pause for a bit and let things cool.

- It doesn’t need to be perfect and the wider in diameter the forstner bit is, the more challenging perfection will be. It’s okay. The succulent will sit in it and no one will know if the hole doesn’t have perfectly clean lines!

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Use a stiff brush to clean the branch segments and hollow space. Use polyurethane or polycrylic to seal the branch everywhere but the hollowed out space.

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Transplant mini succulents to their new home. We find it easiest to spritz our little green friends with water each day.

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See what I mean? Aren’t these gorgeous? Thank you so much for the awesome tips, Amy! And I love that you started with a found branch. Such a great use of resources.

Okay, Friends, if you make one (or more) or these, I want to hear about it! And I want to know where you would display these as well. Are you thinking the family room? Master bedroom? Kitchen windowsill? They’d be so cute pretty much anywhere!

P.S. — Enjoy making things? Here’s a link to other fantastic DIY projects.

Credits: Images, styling & text by Amy Christie.

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DIY: 3 Simple, Beautiful Clay Earrings — Even Kids Can Make These! Wed, 13 Apr 2016 14:00:30 +0000 Amy Christie

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By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

Homemade earrings that don’t look homemade at all! And so easy that your kids can get involved too. How does that sound?

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Amy Christie, who is the established queen of polymer clay, sent me this idea for 3 different earrings and I loved it immediately. I’m perpetually on the hunt for sweet, pretty, usable, handcrafted projects. Ideas that are perfect for a rainy afternoon, or for a Ladies Crafting Night, or for a birthday party activity, or to make as a gift. And this project definitely fits the bill!

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Before we jump into the instructions, I’d love to hear: have you ever made your own jewelry? In my experience it takes a particular patient frame of mind from me, because the elements are so small and can escape my fingers easily. Maybe that’s why kids take to this kind of project so well — they have smaller hands!

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Here’s what Amy says:

Earrings are my jewelry of choice. I rarely wear necklaces and bracelets because as a mom of toddlers, they are either a nuisance, in the way or irritating on my skin. Little hands like to pull on them as well which is no good. So earrings, I love them. As it is, polymer clay, another one of my loves, is a fantastic medium to make earrings from (as well as other jewelry pieces, if you are so inclined).

I put together steps for 3 easy earrings made with polymer clay. These are so simple, little hands can do them with a small amount of assistance from an adult.

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1) Circle Posts
A very simple circle earring post with little hatch marks for interest.

You need:
- polymer clay (we like Sculpey Premo)
- rolling pin, brayer or pasta machine
- small shape cutters or punches, optional
- dull edge
- earring posts
- strong adhesive (a two-part epoxy or E6000 is best)

1. Roll the polymer clay. Thick is good. If using a pasta machine, use the 9 setting.

2. Cut out shapes with a cutting blade or clay punch.

3. Using a dull edge, make hatch marks radiating from the center.

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4. Bake according to the manufacturer’s directions.

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5. Allow to cool before attaching the earring posts with glue.

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2) Cut “Gems”
I love these post earrings because they are so easy, they look really fancy and they don’t have to be perfect!

You need:
- polymer clay (we like Sculpey Premo)
- cutting blade
- gold pen
- earring posts
- strong adhesive (a two-part epoxy or E6000 is best)

1. Cut down the unconditioned block of polymer clay into a cube by removing the outer edges of the clay.

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2. Next, cut the cube into a “gem”. We gave ours 6 sides but the number is up to you.

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3. To make the facets, lay the gem on its side. Take the cutting edge and, setting it at a 45 degree angle, slice a facet. Repeat for each edge.

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4. Bake according to the manufacturer’s directions.

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5. Once cooled, use a gold pen to trace the edges.

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6. Allow to cool before attaching the earring posts with glue.

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3) Gold Crinkle Disks
A little shimmery shine.

You need:

- light colored polymer clay (white or pearl) — we like Sculpey Premo
- rolling pin, brayer or pasta machine
- gold leaf
- circle cutter
- spoon
- earring posts
- strong adhesive (a two-part epoxy or E6000 is best)

1. Roll the polymer clay very thin. If using a pasta machine, use the 1 setting.

2. Add gold leaf to the polymer clay.

3. Use a circle cutter to make two circles.

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4. With the backside of a spoon, gently thin the edges even more. This makes the clay even more flexible.

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5. Using your fingers, gently pinch and squeeze the clay into a wavy, crinkled circle.

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6. Bake according to the manufacturer’s directions.

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7. Allow to cool before attaching the earring posts with glue.

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Aren’t those fantastic! Thank you, Amy. I think the faceted “jewels” are my favorite, but I really love the crinkled gold ones too. I can’t wait to make some!

P.S. — Looking for more projects? Find all our DIY posts here.

Credits: Images, styling & text by Amy Christie.

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DIY: Painted Bricks for the Garden Mon, 04 Apr 2016 15:25:43 +0000 Amy Christie

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By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

It’s April! Are you ready to think about working in the yard yet? Maybe planting some flowers, doing some landscaping, setting up the hammock? I’m am for sure ready! In fact, last weekend we cleared out the shed. Every single thing. Bikes, tools, buckets, rakes, old lumber, dutch ovens, camping lanterns, unused tile, and on and on. We dusted and de-cobwebed. We re-ogranized. We free-cycled the building materials. We bought hooks to make use of the pegboard wall. The whole family helped!

And the entire time, my eyes kept going to the gardening tools. The trimmers and trowels and gloves and watering can. I’m craving yard work like crazy!

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So when Amy Christie texted me a photo of some painted bricks she was creating for her garden, I said, “DIY please!”

I’m super delighted I get to share them with you, because I find them so darn happy-making. Can’t you just picture a little brick village nestled in among the flowers? Adorable!

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I also love that this DIY is a great way to use-up extra materials — the random bricks and cinderblocks left over from earlier landscaping projects.

Before we collect the materials and get started, I’m curious. Do you find yourself gravitating toward little villages? The kind people put out at the holidays? Or even toy village sets? I love them! I feel like when I’m shopping for travel souvenirs, I’m drawn to items that reflect that local architecture. How about you?

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Here’s what Amy says:

We found a small collection of random bricks in the backyard from the previous owner and of course, I had to use them somehow. It’s springtime here but I’m a bit impatient for the color to arrive. With a little paint and those random bricks, the children and I created a fun cityscape in my favorite hues — berry reds!

This project is ideal for children. The painting can be done OUTSIDE!!! Hooray! No elevated blood pressure here, wondering where the paint will end up. Also, painting bricks does not require precise painting. Again, hooray! Just let the kids paint. They will love it. An adult can go back later and add the details. There is no right or wrong and the details can be really, really simple.

Don’t have loose bricks laying around? Check a local home and garden stores and bring your little ones to help. There are so many options, they will definitely love picking out their own “houses”.

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- collection of bricks or cinderblocks
- acrylic paints, colors for the brick, colors for the details
- paint pens, optional
- clear coat, optional

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Make sure the bricks are dirt-free and dry. Paint the bricks. One coat is typically enough, if the paint is good quality. Add as many coats as you think necessary.

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Use more paint (or a paint pen) to add house and building details. You can copy the ones I’ve made here, or design your own!

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If you’re nervous, draw out the details on paper first for a reference. And don’t worry if you mess up — you can always repaint!

The last step is optional: If you’ll be using outdoors in a place they will be subjected to the elements, seal with a clear coat like a clear spray paint. Allow to fully dry.

Want to use them indoors? Use hot glue to attach felt on the bottom side or the bottom and back side to prevent the brick from scratching indoor surfaces.

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Arrange and enjoy!


Oh my goodness. I love these! Thank you, Amy. I can picture these on a porch or patio or sunroom, constantly being rearranged — almost like outdoor building blocks for the kids. And I can picture them directly in the garden — like a little gnome village — with plants growing up around them.

I think the reds would look lovely in contrast with green plants, but I also think making these in a variety of colors would be a really fun way to add some excitement to a boring patch of the yard — maybe a shadowy spot where flowers don’t do as well.

If you make these, please send pics! I’m dying to see your creations. And I want to hear where you’d put them too!

Credits: Images, styling & text by Amy Christie.

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Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Turmeric & Cabbage for Green Wed, 16 Mar 2016 15:00:28 +0000 Amy Christie

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Turmeric & Cabbage for Green

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

We’ve used beets to get shades of red. We’ve used onions to get shades of orange. We’ve used turmeric to get shades of yellow. We’ve used cabbage to get shades of blue. But what about greens? Did we forget about greens? Never!

Today, we’re going to mix up one batch of turmeric dye and one batch of cabbage dye, and show you how to dip eggs in both to achieve shades of green. It’s like a lesson in color theory, plus a lesson in Easter egg dyeing, all in one!

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Turmeric & Cabbage for Green Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Turmeric & Cabbage for Green

For this finale in our natural egg-dyeing series, Amy Christie once again took the gorgeous photos, and she’s got all the tips for us too.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Turmeric & Cabbage for Green Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Turmeric & Cabbage for Green Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Turmeric & Cabbage for Green

Let’s get to dipping.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Turmeric & Cabbage for Green


Batch of blue dye made from cabbage
- 1 head of purple cabbage
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 4 cups water

Batch of yellow dye made from turmeric
- 6 tablespoons turmeric
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 4 cups water

- eggs, empty or hard-boiled
- strainer
- large saucepan

To make blue dye, begin by heating water on the stove in the large saucepan. Roughly chop the cabbage and separate the leaves. When the water comes to a boil, add the cabbage and the vinegar and simmer for 25-30 minutes. (It stinks a bit!) When ready, strain the cabbage from the mixture, leaving the liquid dye.

To make yellow dye, add the turmeric and vinegar to 4 cups of extra hot water. Stir the turmeric until it has dissolved.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Turmeric & Cabbage for Green

To create green, first soak the eggs in the natural yellow dye. When they’ve been dyed the intensity of yellow that you would like, add the eggs to the blue dye and let them soak. When they’ve reached the hue you’d like, set them in the egg carton to dry.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Turmeric & Cabbage for Green

Here are the things we learned about dying things green:

- To make green, you must have both yellow and blue natural dye.

- To keep the yellow dye clean, first dip the eggs in the yellow, then in the blue. It doesn’t really work the other way around.

- The intensity of the color depends on how long you leave the eggs in the dye. The more time they sit in the dye, the brighter and more intense the colors will be. Yellow seems to level off after 20-30 minutes but the blue deepens and deepens. The darkest hues were achieved after about 12 hours in the blue.

- The springy green was made by dying it yellow and then giving it a blue bath for between 5-10 minutes.

- The crazy designs are all due to cracks and the individual shells themselves.

- To dye the eggs overnight, put the dye in disposable cups inside a plastic container to avoid staining your own.

- If your eggs are hollow, you will have to use something to weigh them down. We suggest using another disposable cup with a little bit of water in it and setting it down on top of the hollowed egg. If your eggs hard-boiled, they’ll sink by themselves.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Turmeric & Cabbage for Green Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Turmeric & Cabbage for Green


Thank you so much, Amy. This is delightful. Dear Readers, if you’ve been following along with this natural dye series, then like me, you’ve now concluded that with four batches of dye — made from beets, onions, turmeric, and cabbage — we can achieve pretty much any color we like!

The trick in my mind, is splitting up each dye batch into separate bowls — like two or three bowls of yellow, and two or three bowls of blue. Because if we start moving eggs from one color to the next, the dye is going to get a bit corrupted. So one bowl of yellow could be just for yellow. Another bowl of yellow could be for double-dipping from orange, and the third bowl of yellow could be for double-dipping from blue. Does that make sense?

And what fun color theory and chemistry lesson for the kids! If you give this a try, or have any of your own tips, I’d love to hear. Feel free to comment below.

P.S. — Find the other natural dye posts here: Red, Orange, Yellow, and Blue.

Credits: Images, styling & text by Amy Christie.

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Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Onion & Turmeric for Orange & Yellow Mon, 14 Mar 2016 17:04:01 +0000 Amy Christie

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Onion & Turmeric for Orange & Yellow

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

Oh goody! I’ve got more natural egg dyeing for you today. We’ve covered using cabbage to get shades blue. We’ve covered using beets to get shades of red. And today, we’re going to use turmeric and onion to get shades of yellow and orange!

Hit the grocery store for eggs, onions and spice, and you’re all set to become a natural-dye pro.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Onion for Orange Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Turmeric for Yellow Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Onion for Orange

Once again, Amy Christie took the gorgeous photos, and she’s got all the dyeing tips we need below.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Turmeric for Yellow Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Onion & Turmeric for Orange & Yellow Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Onion for Orange Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Onion & Turmeric for Orange & Yellow

Another day, another color. Let’s go!

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Onion for Orange Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Onion for Orange


- the outer skins of 6 yellow onions
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 3 cups water
- eggs – empty or hard-boiled
- saucepan
- cups (to dye the eggs in)

To make natural orange dye, start by boiling the water on the stove. While the water heats up, peel the outer skin off of the onions. Add the onion skins along with the white vinegar to the boiling water and simmer for 20 minutes. Pour the mix through a strainer to remove the onion skins.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Onion for Orange

Now, you’re ready to dye! Soak the eggs in the dye mixture until they reach the hue you like. Our dye times ranged from 5 minutes to almost 24 hours. 30-40 minutes is a nice sweet spot. Set them in the egg carton to dry. Note: We found rinsing the eggs after the dye bath really diminished the color so we recommend pulling the eggs from the dye and setting them on the carton to dry and letting the dye soak in.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Turmeric for Yellow Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Turmeric for Yellow

- 6 tablespoons turmeric
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 4 cups water

To make yellow dye, add the turmeric and vinegar to 4 cups of extra hot water. Stir the turmeric until it has dissolved.

Get the eggs in the dye! Add the eggs to the dye and soak them until they reach the desired hue. Our dye times ranged from 5 minutes to almost 24 hours but the yellow dye alone seemed to peak at about 20 minutes. We found rinsing the eggs affected the yellow dye the most so we recommend pulling the eggs from the dye and laying them in the egg carton to dry is best. When dry, dust off any residual turmeric powder.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Turmeric for Yellow

Here are the things we learned about dying things orange and yellow:

- The intensity of the color depends on how long you leave the eggs in the natural dye, to a point. The yellow dye peaked at about 20 minutes but dropping it in the orange or red dye changed the tones.

- Weirdly enough, the yellow dye was the hardest on the bowl that we were working in! If you’re worried about stains, be careful with this one. (We scrubbed ours baking soda and it worked like a charm).

- The orange intensity leveled off after 20-30 minutes of soaking, though the really deep tones were achieved by almost 24 hours in the dye.

- The orange color wasn’t very exciting (it almost makes the eggs look like natural brown eggs). To add interest, you can dye the eggs yellow, then orange to get a brighter hue. Another alternative would be to dye the eggs in orange, then dip them in the natural red dye.

- What was the most exciting was how the dye looked on the individual egg shells. One looks like it has metallic spotting and one looks like a banana peel. If the shell happens to be cracked a bit, it really adds to the loveliness.

- In order to dye the eggs overnight, we put the dye in disposable cups (inside a plastic container) to avoid staining our own.

If your eggs are hollow, you will have to use something to weigh it down. We suggest using another disposable cup with a little bit of water in it and setting it down on top of the hollowed egg. If your eggs hard-boiled, they’ll sink by themselves.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Onion & Turmeric for Orange & Yellow Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Onion & Turmeric for Orange & Yellow Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Onion & Turmeric for Orange & Yellow  


I’m loving this series so much! Thank you, Amy. We’ll be dyeing eggs next week. On the grocery list: beets (red), onions (orange), turmeric (yellow), cabbage (blue). But we still need to cover greens — watch for the green post this week. And if you have any of your own natural dye tips, be sure to share in the comment below!

P.S. — Find the rest of the dye posts here: red, blue, green. Find all the Easter posts here.

Credits: Images, styling & text by Amy Christie

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Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Beets for Red Thu, 10 Mar 2016 21:20:34 +0000 Amy Christie


By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

This is awesome! Awhile ago, there was a post here on Design Mom about how to dye eggs in a range of blues, using only cabbage. It was such a great post! Totally simple, totally doable, and filled with helpful information.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Beets for Red Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Beets for Red

So I was chatting with Amy Christie, and we decided to continue the series! We’ve got red today, and two more colors to share over the next week or so. I know you’re going to love these posts — and the photos are so gorgeous!

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Beets for Red

Here’s what Amy says:

The post on blue-hue cabbage-dyed eggs from a few years ago is one of my favorite I’ve ever done. Colored eggs happen to be very photogenic. I still have all of them, minus the broken ones (I finally accepted that they would never be whole again). Now, working on the other colors of the rainbow, I am again blown away at their beauty. The hues are stunning and rich and the texture of each shell, unique. I wish I understood more about the chemistry of the egg shell to understand some of the textures and patina and spotting but since I don’t, I’ll just enjoy their beauty.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Beets for Red Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Beets for Red

Ready to dye? Let’s get cracking.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Beets for Red


- 6 medium beets
- 4 cups water
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar (extra to deepen color)
- eggs, emptied or hard-boiled
- large saucepan
- vegetable peeler, knife, slotted spoon/strainer
- cups (to dye the eggs in)

Begin by adding the water to the saucepan and bringing it to a boil. While the water is heating, peel and chop the beets into chunks. When the water is boiling, add the beats and the vinegar and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Remove the beets with a slotted spoon (or pour through a strainer), leaving just the dyed water.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Beets for Red

Then dye the eggs!! Soak the eggs until they reach the desired hue. Our dye times ranged from 5 minutes to almost 24 hours; lighter colors, less time, deeper tones, more time. 30-40 minutes is a nice sweet spot. Remove the eggs and set in the egg carton to dry.

Note: We found rinsing the eggs after the dye bath really diminished the color so we recommend pulling the eggs from the dye and setting them on the carton to dry and letting the dye soak in. Also, this is a deep red dye so be careful not to spill on anything you don’t want to alter to a pink hue.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Beets for Red, then dip in Turmeric to Create Orange

Here are other notes we took while dying things red to pink:

- We used the dye when it was still warm and when chill. If we had to pick, we thought the slightly warm dye worked faster but maybe it’s just because we were so excited about it.

- With how lovely and dark the beets are, we were a little disappointed with how deep the tone of the red became. It didn’t really intensify any more after 30 minutes of dying, even when left overnight. We did add a splash more vinegar to the dye and it helped deepen the color a little. (That complaint aside, we love the tones we did get.)

- To get an orange-red, first dye the egg in the turmeric natural dye, then add it to the red.

- To get a purple-red, dye the egg first in red, then add it to the . Make sure you have a strong red before adding it to the blue, as the blue can easily overpower the other dyes.

- For an even deeper purple, we dyed the eggs in the red, then the blue, then the red once more to really give the color a push.

- In order  to dye the eggs overnight, we put the dye in disposable cups (inside of a plastic container) to avoid staining our own.

- If your eggs are hollow, you will have to use something to weigh it down. We suggest using another disposable cup with a little bit of water in it and setting it down on top of the hollowed egg. If your eggs hard-boiled, they’ll sink by themselves.

- If you are using hard-boiled eggs, unintentional (or intentional) cracks add to the beauty. And don’t worry about the dye getting inside (because it will), it’s natural!

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Beets for Red Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Beets for Red Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Beets for Red Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Beets for Red


Aren’t these gorgeous! Thank you so much for the fabulous photos, and for all your notes, Amy. I can’t wait to try this! How about you, Dear Readers — have you ever tried dyeing eggs using foods or plants? Any luck getting a really deep red? Last year, I heard that yellow onion skins will make a red dye, but when I tried it, it was more of a brownish-red. How about you?

P.S. — More Easter posts here. Also, more dye posts too! Blue, Green, Orange, Yellow.

Credits: Images, styling & text by Amy Christie

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DIY: Coding Jewelry Wed, 02 Mar 2016 17:03:35 +0000 Amy Christie

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By Gabrielle. Photos by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

Last month I went to a lecture about girls and tech given by Cynthia Bailey Lee of Stanford University. Cynthia is a mom of two, and teaches C++ programming, computing theory, processor architecture, and number theory. Specifically her lecture was about getting our daughters and nieces and any other young girls in our lives to get more excited about working with code, and making the coding world more accessible.

One idea she had was making jewelry based on ASCII code. (And if you don’t know what ASCII code is, no worries. It’s all explained below.) I was really taken by this idea! I called Amy Christie and we brainstormed options for both kid jewelry and grown up jewelry (because hey! it’s not too late for us grownups to learn coding either).

The basic idea is to use beads to write your name or initials or a favorite word or a secret message in code. It’s so cool!

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I adore how these pieces turned out. I think this would be a really fun activity for a girls night out or a birthday party. This project is the perfect combination of smart, nerdy and pretty. : )

Amy is a jewelry pro and added clasps and hooks to all these pieces, which really step them up quality-wise. But if you find jewelry work intimidating, or try to avoid anything that requires needle-nose pliers, you can still make similar versions. Just use elastic thread and knot it well when you’re done. Easy peasy!

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Before we jump into the DIY, let’s talk a little bit about code and share some learning resources for the kids. Here’s what Cynthia, the lecturer, writes about ASCII:

“As I’m sure you’ve heard before, inside a computer, EVERYTHING is numbers — specifically, binary numbers. As far as the computer is concerned, every photo in this post is just a bunch of binary numbers. This blog post, your grandma’s voice and face on Skype, all the movies you watch on Netflix — all these things are just binary numbers.

The computer doesn’t actually distinguish between these things in storing the data or performing computations. Software imposes our human interpretations on the data — it could interpret the exact same binary number as a high pitch sound in one case, as a shade of dark green in another, and in yet a third case as a letter of the alphabet.

When people agree on what interpretation we want to impose on different collections of binary numbers, it gives them meaning in that context. We call these agreed-upon interpretations encoding schemes or just encodings. This activity explores an encoding named ASCII, which is one common way of interpreting binary numbers as letters of the alphabet.”

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And here is more from Cynthia on ASCII specifically:

“ASCII is abbreviated from American Standard Code for Information Interchange. ASCII codes represent text in computers, communications equipment, and other devices that use text. Most modern character-encoding schemes are based on ASCII, though they support many additional characters. ASCII was the most common character encoding on the World Wide Web until December 2007, when it was surpassed by UTF-8, which is fully backward compatible to ASCII. The ASCII code for capital letters is shown here:


Unlike base-10 numbers, which can have the digits 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, binary (base-2) numbers can only have the digits 0 and 1 (we usually call the binary digits bits). On this cheat-sheet card, the black squares represent 0 and the white represent 1.”

We also made a printable sheet for you to make things really easy and the link to that is below.

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Okay. I think we’re ready. Let’s get nerdy!

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Anything you already have around for jewelry making, can be used to create code jewelry. We went into detail for the specific pieces we made but search through your supplies first! Just about anything works. Here is a basic list of the possibilities:

printable alphabet code
- beads — glass, plastic, pony, wood, seed, shell
- cinch beads
- clasps — all varieties
- jump rings
- stringing material — nylon thread, elastic, wire, leather, cording,
- scissors
- wire cutters
- needle-nose pliers
- head pins, eye pins
- earring hooks, kidney wires
- charms

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First, let’s make the simple earrings. We used kidney wires, glass beads in two colors, and a dangling bead.

Pick your initial (or two different initials) and check the chart for the bead pattern. Use 2 different color beads — one color to represent the black squares on the chart, another color to represent the white squares. Each letter will have 8 beads. Place beads on kidney wires.

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Add a dangling bead to the u-notch on the kidney wire. And that’s it!

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Next, let’s do the Looping Bracelet. We used, jewelry wire, black and white beads, cinch beads, and a claw closure.

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Spell out a name or message on jewelry wire. We used cinch beads to separate the words. You could also use cinch beads to separate each 8-bead letter if you prefer.

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Loop the ends of the jewelry wire through the rings of a claw closure and double back through cinch beads. Squeeze with needle nose pliers to cinch them.

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Now, let’s make the Statement Necklace. We used a metal chain, a jump ring, a claw closure, jewelry wire, cinch beads, and glass beads in two tones.

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First, create three coded lines of beads. We did initials, one initial per strand with each letter separated by a cinch bead. The ends of each strand should be looped back and cinched in place to create a loop. These loops are then strung onto jump rings, one on the left, one on the right. This jump ring is also connected to the metal chain.

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Cut the wire down to equal lengths (depending on where you want the necklace to hang) and attach jump rings and a claw closure.

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Done and done.

And last, the Long Necklace.

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On a length of cording, use multiple color pairs to spell out a name or message. For each letter, we chose a set of two colors. We didn’t use any spacers or cinch beads in this one, because you can easily see a new letter starts when the color-pair changes.

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Because it’s long, this necklace can be simply knotted together and then slipped over the head to wear. If closures are your thing, add one in using cinch beads and a closure.

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What do you think? Isn’t this a fantastic idea!? I’m so excited about it. I can’t wait to make some coding jewelry with my own kids. Would you like more info on this topic? You can see a video of Cynthia Bailey Lee’s lecture here. Additionally, I spoke with Cynthia after the lecture and asked for more kid+coding resources. She said for ages 8-100, Kahn Academy’s Java Script Games are great. For older teens, try MIT’s App Inventor. And for younger kids, ages 5-10, try Scratch — it has drag and drop coding.

Do you have other resources on kids and coding you’d like to share? I’d love to hear!

Credits: Images, styling & text by Amy Christie. Graphic design by Annie Galloway

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Recycle Old Jars into Succulent Planting Pots with Color-Block Twine Mon, 29 Feb 2016 16:23:12 +0000 Amy Christie

Block-Color Wrapped Jar Pots for Succulents | Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

Craving spring? February lasting just a bit too long (Hello, Leap Day!)? Well here’s a happy, easy project to bring a little sunshine and color into your day.

These little twine wrapped planters are perfect for brightening your home. I like the idea of a collection of them on the coffee table, or perhaps lining a windowsill. And they would also be darling as party favors or anytime gifts. Another idea: I can picture these as place-setting holders — you could hang the name name cards from an extra length of twine.

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However you choose to use them, you’ll be glad you made this easy project! Amy Christie shot the gorgeous photos for these pretty little pots. Here’s what she has to say:

I live in Minnesota and the weeks of “acceptable winter time” have passed. We’ve now entered “it needs to be spring immediately” time. We’re getting there but it’s slow progress. In the past week, we’ve experienced sunshine and gray skies, rain, snow flakes and frost. So I’m trying to channel my inner springtime by filling my home with living things. Succulents are my favorite and so simple to care for. All the variations are so cute!

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I love to tuck succulents into little jars. I always seem to have a variety of sizes laying around because I wash and save empty jam jars, pickle jars, and peanut butter jars, knowing I’ll be sure to find a good use for them at some point. And this is the perfect sort of project!

To make them really pop for spring, we wrapped them with colorful jute string we found in the craft store. It’s really easy and they are easy on the eyes, right? : )

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Let’s get to wrapping.

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- various colors of string like twine, hemp, yarn, jute
- white glue – Elmer’s or Modge Podge
- glass jars (or containers from the recycling bin)
- scissors
- old container or bowl
- optional: wax paper & tape to cover your workspace
- optional: clear coat spray

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First things first. Soak the stringing material in the glue. It’s important that the fibers are soaked in the glue so they will stick when wrapped.

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Choose two colors of string. Start by looping each color, separately, a few times around the whole jar like in the image above. Doing this will prevent the two colors from separating down the middle.

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Continue by wrapping the top half of the jar with one of the colors. The thickness and cover is up to you.

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Finish by covering the bottom half with the other color. Make sure to tuck the ends in and then set it aside to dry completely. An optional step is to coat the threads with clear coat to further protect them from dirt and water.

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Fill the jars with soil and a cute plant or two!

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Oh my goodness. They turned out so cute, Amy! Thank you for the gorgeous photos. I think this post is a sign that I need to add to my succulent collection.

I’d love to hear from you, Dear Readers. If you think of a cute use for these pretty wrapped jars, I want to hear it!

P.S. — If you like to make things, we have tons of awesome projects here.


Credits: Images, styling & text by Amy Christie

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DIY: Animal Track Valentines — Plus a Free Printable! Wed, 10 Feb 2016 21:06:17 +0000 Amy Christie

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By Gabrielle. Photos by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

Here’s another super cute option for your Valentines this year! All it’s an easy one too. Print and trim the free printable, and attach an inexpensive rubber stamp. That’s it! Yes, it’s candy free, and yes, it’s appealing to all sorts of kids. Who wouldn’t love a little stamp with animal feet!

And bonus, the printable is a little ruler, so your kids can measure any real animal footprints they come across. Best valentine ever!

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Before we jump into the instructions, I have a quick question. How are your schools handling Valentine’s Day this year? Since it’s on Sunday, will your classrooms be celebrating on the Friday before? Or the Monday after? For us, it depends on the teacher. One is skipping a Valentine’s party altogether (though the kids are allowed to exchange valentines), another is having the celebration on Monday, and I’m not sure what the third one is doing. I better go check!

Now, let’s get to it!

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Amy Christie photographed this project and here’s what she says:

My children love animals. We talk about them, read about them, watch shows about them and have an abundance of stuffed animals to pretend play with. Along the way, we’ve collected a few little animal track measuring tools which my children adore. Afternoons are spent pretending to track various living creatures throughout the house, measuring their supposed tracks. We thought we would share this cool tool with our valentines this year and add an animal track stamp for good measure!

You can find animal track stamps in the craft store or follow this link to the 18-pack we purchased on Amazon.

Print, cut, stick and you’re done!

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Free printable animal track measuring cards
- rubber stamps
- glue dots or double-sided tape or regular tape

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Print the cards, cut them out and then use two glue dots to stick one stamp to each card. The stamps need that extra dot to make sure they stay in place.

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Sign names on the backside and they are ready to go!

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So cute, right? These are perfect for classmate valentines.

Credits: Images, styling & text by Amy Christie. Graphic design by Annie Galloway

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DIY: Chocolate Alphabet Wraps — Plus a Free Printable! Tue, 09 Feb 2016 17:45:04 +0000 Amy Christie

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By Gabrielle. Photos by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

Oh my goodness you guys. This is the cutest little project! I’m basically in love with it. And even if you are not crafty, this is doable, I promise. Can you print things out? Can you buy chocolate? Do you have scissors and tape? Then you can make these! You’ll love writing sweet messages with them, and so will your kids.

As you can guess with the timing of this post, these wraps were originally brainstormed as a Valentine’s Day project. But once the chocolates starting getting wrapped, it became clear that these wraps would be adorable any time of year! Write messages for Mother’s Day, for birthdays, for book club, for a baby shower. Wrap up initials as place markers at a dinner party. Drop off a sweet chocolate note for a friends who is having a hard day.

You simply can’t go wrong with these happy little wraps!

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Amy Christie led out on this project and here’s what she says:

This project is probably one of my favorites ever. It’s the colors, the cuteness, all the possibilities of messages to write and it’s chocolate!! #winning to the max. And while this week is all about Valentine’s Day, like Gabrielle said, these sweet treats can be used for any occasion throughout the year! New babies, dad’s day, kid’s day, after-surgery day, teacher gifts, a treat for the mail carrier. Even a ho-hum date night. Everyone, EVERYONE, will love this.

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We picked fab colors and all you have to do is print, cut and wrap. If you sneak a few chocolates while you’re working, that’s okay too.

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Brush up on your proofreading skills and let’s get going.

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- chocolate miniatures — the letter wraps are sized to fit just perfectly over Hershey’s miniature chocolates
- printable letter wraps — pink, orange, chartreuse, teal, chartreuse
- glue dots or double-sided tape or tape
- optional: printable cards for messages


- The letter wraps can be printed at home, of course, however, the color will be probably be better from a copy shop.

- Each color set has 40 pages — all letters, numbers and a few punctuation marks. Printing them all gets a bit spendy. To save time, money and paper, take a few moments to plan out a phrase or two and the colors you’d like and print only those.

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To wrap the chocolates, we found it easiest to center the wrap on the front of the chocolate first.

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Then wrap the flaps around to the backside, gently pressing the paper to form around the bar.

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Add a glue dot (or double-sided tape) to the inner flap.

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Fold the other flap onto the glue dot. If you’re using regular tape, add it here.

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Done and done.

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Wrap up the rest of the phrase and toss in a treat bag for your Valentine. A little love puzzle? Or, if you want to SHOW the message to your loves, use the printable card.

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Using glue dots or double-sided tape or regular tape rolls to hold the chocolates in place.

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See what I mean? They are so dang cute. Definitely irresistible. Thank you, Amy! Okay, Dear Readers, if you make these you know we want to hear about it. Happy chocolate messages to one and all!

Credits: Images, styling & text by Amy Christie. Graphic design by Annie Galloway

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Creating a Bathroom Pantry Mon, 08 Feb 2016 17:00:49 +0000 Design Mom

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Photos and text by Gabrielle. Photos of me were shot by Maude Blair. This post is brought to you by IKEA.

So I’m totally into this project! I can’t wait to tell you all about it. IKEA issued the Daily Creativity Challenge: Take one area of your home, and organize it or make it more efficient, so that it frees up a few minutes of your day. Then take those minutes and use them to focus on a creative pursuit. Awesome, right?

I love this, because I’m always up for making the house run more smoothly, and because making the most of small chunks of time is something that has been on my mind. I have a lot of very different projects I want to take on this year, and I’ve been thinking about how to divide my day into small segments — each segment dedicated to a different project — in order to move them all forward. So this challenge really came at a perfect time.

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I thought about this challenge for awhile, and decided that at our house, something that could really help free up some brain space, and keep our mornings running smoothly, would be to create a “bathroom pantry” for the kids. If we don’t stay on top of our supplies, it totally causes preventable stress — like having Olive realize mid-shower there’s no more conditioner, or hearing Oscar report that we’re on the last role of TP and wondering if it will last until I can get to the store that evening.

Historically, we’ve been pretty good about staying stocked up on bathroom supplies, but in this house, we don’t have much in the way of cupboard space in the kids’ bathroom, and it’s been more challenging. So I figured we could use some blank wall space to add some shelving and create a bathroom pantry.

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Yes, it’s out in the open, which is tricky, because bathroom supplies aren’t necessarily handsome, but IKEA is actually perfect for that sort of challenge — they’re all about affordable storage solutions! That fantastic red shelf? It’s called VITTSJÖ and it’s $49 bucks! That green rubber laundry basket? It’s called TORKIS and it’s $4.99!

And it turns out there’s actually a big benefit to having everything out in the open: It’s much easier to stay aware of our stockpile. I’ve instructed the older kids to text me whenever they see any bathroom supply hit the 50% mark. Then I just copy the text to my ongoing grocery list and — tada! — we’re doing a much better job of staying on top of our supplies.

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If you’d like to use this idea, here are the products we’ve found most helpful. The VARIERA bins. We used these for the TP, and for general supplies. I like the red and blue interiors combined with the high gloss white — such a fun way to add a color accent. I don’t know if it’s intentional, but they coordinate really well with these GESSAN boxes. Plus I really like the nesting blue PALLRA boxes. These are great for storing things like first aid items and ointments that call for more privacy.

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I’m also in love with the yellow additions — the LANGESUND mirror and the GLOTTEN stool. Adorable, right? Other products pictured: green FRÄJEN towels, white KARDEMUMMA pots, white TOFTBO bathmat.

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Little silver GRUNDTAL knobs to hang the towels, green TOMAT spray bottle (only .99¢!). Everything I used was totally affordable. That’s a nice thing about refreshing a bathroom — you don’t have to spend a ton to make a big impact! Here are the before and after shots:

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Much better use of space!

And now, the best part. What is the creative pursuit I’m working on for this challenge? Textile design! A few months ago I was talking with my sister Rachel when she was in town for a wedding. She’s a quilter and we discussed collaborating on some baby blankets together.

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I would design the fabric, and Rachel would make the blankets. So I’m using my freed up minutes to start working on possible designs!

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Okay. That’s my report. Now it’s your turn. First of all, I’d love to hear how you handle bathroom supplies. Do you stock them deep? Or prefer to keep just one bottle/tube/roll at a time? If you have a good system, please share!

Also, would you like to take the Daily Creative Challenge? Go for it! Take 20 minutes every day for a week (or a month!) doing something creative that is out of your ordinary routine. Ideally, do this in the morning or evening, so you can see how a quick creative exercise affects the start or end of your day — and if you need to, you can free up those minutes with clever IKEA products to get yourself organized. Then snap a photo of your creative pursuit and share it on Instagram using #iamcreative.

I can’t wait to see what you share! It’s always fun to see the cool things you are working on.

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DIY: Easy Envelope Wraps for Valentine Sweets – Free Template! Mon, 01 Feb 2016 17:26:00 +0000 Amy Christie

Edible Monogram Cookies for Your Valentine! | Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

Happy February! Pull out your red construction paper and your pink glitter and your heart stamps, because for the next two weeks it’s all about Valentine’s Day. Are you excited? Neutral on the subject? No interested at all?

Well, wherever you fall on the Valentine’s Day spectrum, you’ll like this project. It’s all about how to print out and fold this handy little wrap-style envelope. Yes, this envelope is perfect for gently wrapping up a Valentine sweet, but it’s also useable any week of the year, and can be printed on any colored or patterned paper you like.

Edible Monogram Cookies for Your Valentine | Design Mom Edible Monogram Cookies for Your Valentine | Design Mom Edible Monogram Cookies for Your Valentine | Design Mom

Use these simple envelopes to wrap up a note, the pony bead necklace your son made for his aunt, cookies or chocolates, a set of coasters, friendship bracelets — really, anything that’s small and relatively flat. These are so simple and so useful! You’ll want to make a stack to have at the ready.

Bonus: Amy Christie shot the photos for this project and made awesome initial cookies from font printouts. So you can learn how to do that in this post too!

Edible Monogram Cookies for Your Valentine | Design Mom Edible Monogram Cookies for Your Valentine | Design Mom

Before we jump to the how-to, I’m curious. When prepping for Valentine’s Day, do you make valentines for your friends? And have you ever heard of Gal-antines Day gatherings? The idea is to celebrate your gal-friends on February 14th instead of focusing on who does or doesn’t have a love interest at the moment. I’m thinking these little wraps are perfect for cookie deliveries to your circle of friends.

Okay. On to the instructions!

Edible Monogram Cookies for Your Valentine | Design Mom

Here’s what Amy says:

Making friends and favorites sweet treats for Valentine’s day is something I look forward to each year. And when I can personalize a treat, say, with a initial, it makes it all the more special. Conclusion: Monogram cookies are the personalized sweet treat you’ve been searching for! Paired with the printable paper wrap, it’s going to be a very happy Valentine’s day indeed.

Let’s get to frosting!

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- letter cookie cutters (these are great) or printed letters (see below).
- favorite sugar cookie recipe. (This is our favorite. Cut-outs keep their shape through baking.)
- favorite frosting recipe. (We are buttercream fans and this is our fave.)
printable paper envelope template
- card stock
- ribbon, twine, tags

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There are 2 ways to do the letters:

1. Use letter cookie cutters. Easier, less time consuming. These 3″ letters are perfect.

2. Use a computer document program and print out the desired letters. Our letters were about 3.5″ tall (which fit just perfectly in our envelopes. A sans serif font is best, although we found lower-case scripty fonts look good and aren’t too much trouble.

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Cut out the letters. Bake. Cool. Then frost. As a buttercream fan, I should warn you there is a chance the frosting will get smooshed a bit but I’m willing to deal with that.

Edible Monogram Cookies for Your Valentine | Design Mom

Print the paper envelope. Cut out and fold on the lines.

Edible Monogram Cookies for Your Valentine | Design Mom

Place the cookie inside and gently close the edges. Wrap with ribbon or twine.

Edible Monogram Cookies for Your Valentine | Design Mom

Add a tag and it’s ready.

Edible Monogram Cookies for Your Valentine | Design Mom


Thank you, Amy! The photos are terrific, and I love the idea of using a favorite font for the cookies. Even better, if I’m not up for baking, these little wraps would work just as well with store bought cookies — and make them feel a whole lot more special. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Credits: Images, styling & text by Amy Christie.

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DIY: Snow Paint Made From Old Markers Thu, 28 Jan 2016 17:20:56 +0000 Amy Christie

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By Gabrielle. Photos by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

Facing another snow day? Well I’ve got the perfect activity to keep the kids active and happy — and the main thing you need is old markers. Emphasis on the old! Before you throw away that set of neglected/mostly-dried out markers, give them one more shot at artistic glory. Use them to make snow paint!

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As you can imagine, Oakland is not snowed in at the moment (or ever), so I asked Minnesota-based Amy Christie, to help us out with this DIY.

The photo turned out so wonderfully! They make me want to load up the car and head to Tahoe so we can have a snow day too — snow painting, sledding, making a snowman. Hmmm. We don’t have school tomorrow because of a teacher prep day, so maybe we can really make this happen!

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Before we jump into this very easy DIY, I’d love to hear the snow situation in your part of the world. Are you snowed in? Stuck at home? Or are you seeing all the snow photos on social media and wishing you had an excuse to pull out your mittens and snow boots?

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Here’s what Amy says:

Did you get hit by the snowstorm last week? We didn’t get anything extra here in Minnesota, but we weren’t exactly hurting for more anyway. Friends of mine on the East Coast have reported they are on their fifth snow day! Holy cow! I’ve been a mom for long enough to know a snow day as a parent is a bit different than a snow day as a child. Parents everywhere are asking: how will we fill the time? Outside activities are imperative and I’ve got a fun idea that everyone will enjoy.

One of my favorite things to do is to weed out old, crusty markers. Who wants to keep the duds, right? Earlier this winter, instead of tossing the old markers, I soaked them in water, put the water into spray bottles and then we all headed out to add some color to our white world. The children went all out. My favorite part was the color they added to the piles at the curb. It was a bright spot to see when we come home.

It’s just so happy seeing bright coloring on the white snow. Grab your old markers and let’s get started.

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- old non-toxic markers* **
- water
- jars or plastic containers
- spray bottles
- snow!

*Please make sure the markers are non-toxic. Colored snow is super fun but it will melt and the colors will soak into the ground. Be kind to Mother Earth.

**Don’t have old markers? Use food coloring or non-toxic liquid watercolors. Add desired amount to water-filled spray bottles and you’re set.

Gather up old no-toxic markers. Bent tips, dried out and crusty? Doesn’t matter. It all works. Separate them into colors.

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Place the markers, uncapped, top down into jars, half filled with water. Allow to soak for at least 8 hours and up to a day. The longer they soak, the denser the color.

A couple things to note:

- You will need more than one marker to make a dense enough color spray.

- Think about combining similar tones together. Unless red is very strong, nearly opaque, it looks very similar to pink on the snow so combine them together to make a stronger, deeper rosy hue (we did that!). Other good combos are black and gray, teal and green or teal and blue, yellow and orange.

- All hues are not created equal. Blue, green, purple, black, brown, orange — strong, potent colors. Yellow and a true red are more of a challenge (though we resigned ourselves to a pinky red above). Purple can appear purple-ish pink.

- When spraying, set the bottles to the spray or mist setting instead of the stream. The stream setting pierces the snow and could damage a fantastic snow sculpture.

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When the markers are finished soaking, pour the colored water into spray bottles and use!

I had to make a second batch immediately because we used it all!

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Oh my goodness! This is so much fun. Thank you, Amy! The colored snow is really stunning. What a happy thing to see on a gloomy day.

Hey Friends, looking for more winter activities for your kids? Try these colored ice ornaments and these DIY ice luminaries.

Credits: Images, styling & text by Amy Christie.

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DIY: Wood You Be My Valentine? Etched Heart Flair Pins! Thu, 21 Jan 2016 16:00:10 +0000 Amy Christie

Wood You Be My Valentine? | Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

It’s been a whole year since I pulled out my wood burner/etcher. But I’m feeling the burn once again! So I was brainstorming possible wood-etched crafts with Amy, and she happened to mention there are metal initials you can use with your wood burner. They attach to the wood burner, heat up, and then “brand” the wood.

Well, that pretty much blew my mind, because trying to write with a wood burner is super hard and I generally avoid it, but now that I know about wood burning letters, it opens up all sorts of awesome possibilities!

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Awesome possibilities like these wooden initial pins! We’re calling them heart flair. (Did you ever see Office Space?) And the concept is pretty simple. Take pre-cut wooden hearts, burn in the initials of your true love (or all your 3rd grader’s classmates), and then glue a brooch pin on the back.

Wood You Be My Valentine? | Design Mom Wood You Be My Valentine? | Design Mom Wood You Be My Valentine? | Design Mom

You’ll find links to all the supplies below. Plus! There’s a super cute FREE printable to go with the pins!! Wood you be my valentine?

Get your etching tool plugged in and let’s get started.

Wood You Be My Valentine? | Design Mom

Here’s what Amy says:

Let’s do some more wood burning! Remember our wooden spoons? Cutting boards? Keychains? Using the same etching tool, plus a metal alphabet set, initial-etched hearts are a cinch. Hot glue a brooch pin to the back and it’s a bit of flair to share with your Valentines.

Wood You Be My Valentine? | Design Mom Wood You Be My Valentine? | Design Mom

Little wooden hearts are just the thing for school mates, friends, family and neighbors. Grab the class list and burn it out. Print off our free Wood You Be My Valentine card, and attach the pin for a sweet, but candy-free, Valentine treat.

Wood You Be My Valentine? | Design Mom


- Wood You Be My Valentine printable — available in pink rectangles, tan rectangles, pink squares, and tan squares
- wooden hearts
- wood burner tool
- metal alphabet for wood burning
- brooch pin backs
- hot glue

Wood You Be My Valentine? | Design Mom

1) Use the wood burner tool and the metal alphabet to etch the initials of classmates, friends and other special Valentines onto the wooden hearts.

Our alphabet set measures 5/8″ tall which allowed us to put two perfectly spaced letters on our 2″ hearts. To attach the letters, insert the threaded post on the backside of each letter into the threaded port on the etching tool and twist. It’s really simple. Allow the heat tool to heat the letter. It takes a little time but not too much.

Once the letters are hot enough, take a look at the heart. For two letters, visually divide the heart into two parts, right down the middle. Think about placing one letter on one half and the second letter on the other half. Also, work to set them level. If you only want to do one letter, place it smack dab in the center of the heart.

Press the letter to the wood and hold. Depending on how hot the letter is (depending on how patient you are!), the time it takes to burn will vary. You can lift one corner of the letter and peek how it’s doing. We were able to pull the whole letter and tool off, assess the brand and replace it exactly to burn it a little longer. Once it’s dark enough, it’s done. Repeat with other letters.

To remove the letters, we found it easiest (and most efficient) to use a rag towel to twist the hot letter off and a second rag towel to lay the still hot letter on until it cooled. Use a rag towel because it will burn some when it comes into contact with the stamp and tool. Using another towel to lay them on will protect your work surface from getting burned.

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2) Use hot glue to add a brooch pin on the backside.

Wood You Be My Valentine? | Design Mom

3) Print the Wood You Be My Valentine printable on cardstock. Choose from rectangle cards in pink or tan, or square cards in pink or tan. The square ones have a little arrow to go through the heart.

Wood You Be My Valentine? | Design Mom

4) Attach the wooden hearts to the cards with the brooch pin.

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Give to all your friends!

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Thank you so much, Amy! I think this project is adorable. It makes me excited to pull out my wood burner! And thank you for introducing me to the metal letters. Very cool! I think these little hearts will be so cute on my kids’ backpacks.

What about you, Dear Readers? Have you tried a wood etcher yet? I’m a fan. They’re not expensive and they don’t take up much space.

P.S. — More Valentine posts here!

Credits: Images, styling & text by Amy Christie.

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DIY: Chunky Knit Wool Seat Pads Tue, 12 Jan 2016 17:43:27 +0000 Amy Christie

Knitted & Felted Seat Pad | Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos by Anette.

Remember that big knit mega scarf that I shared in November? Well, Anette sent me another chunky knit project, and I immediately wanted to share it with you. I continue to find big knit everything hugely appealing.

In this case, the project is for your home. It’s a thick wool cushion for your chairs, and it looks so cozy and easy to make — Anette knits these with her fingers!

Knitted & Felted Seat Pad | Design Mom Knitted & Felted Seat Pad | Design Mom

I want 8 of these, pronto, for our kitchen chairs. Or maybe to use as a stack of floor cushions!

Before we jump to the how-to, I’d love to know, have you ever knit something with your fingers? And do you know how to follow knitting instructions — chains, rows, casting on, etc.? I have experimented a bit with knitting, but I’m a complete novice. I usually depend on my daughter Maude to help me with knitting projects because she’s taken more lessons. What’s your take on knitting?

Knitted & Felted Seat Pad | Design Mom

Here’s what Annette says:

Did you read my recent post about our chair-odyssey? In that post, you can see a photo of our table and Adelaide chairs with little sheepskin pads. I ordered those little fur pads because the plastic chairs seemed a bit cool, especially in wintertime. However, I was unhappy with the little sheepskin pieces when they arrived.  I do not like artificial treatments on natural product, and unfortunately the white ones had been bleached and the grey ones dyed. However, we kept them anyway because we needed something in the chairs.

But then, I came up with a new idea for seat pads because chunky wool is always on my mind :) Using my spare 500gr samples of un-spun wool roving, I  knitted seat pads with my fingers in stockinette pattern. Of course, you can also use large (25mm thick) needles for knitting these.

Knitted & Felted Seat Pad | Design Mom Knitted & Felted Seat Pad | Design Mom

The roving and large needles I used are from where I am located in Germany which I wrote about here. I chose these varieties of wool simply because they were less expensive. I would recommend using any type of wool, except the Herdwick! It looks interesting, BUT it’s extremely linty — even after felting.

I started by chaining 7 or 8 with just my fingers. This number can change depending on the thickness of your roving and on how large you want your seat pad to be. Last year, I made a video showing how to chain with your fingers. Out of the back of this chain, I cast on my stitches. Knit about 9-11 rows, or until almost all of the yarn from the 500r ball is gone. Now, cast off and weave in the endings. (I just left the endings as is because I think it looks kinda cool.) When deciding the size of your pad, keep in mind that the finished product will shrink a bit in the washing machine during felting.

Here you can see how large mine were before felting. I put my flip-flops next to it so you get an idea about the actual size.

Knittingandfeltingaseatpadfromunspunwoolbylebenslustiger4(500) Knitted & Felted Seat Pad | Design Mom

I felted with a normal, but shortened 30degree celsius cycle. Since the seat pads must regularly support more weight, this shortened cycle increases the durability. It is still a good idea to start felting in the wool cycle though, because you can always run another cycle over your piece if it is not felted enough. However, you can’t undo it if you already felted too much. Also, remember that every washing machine will be a bit different. If you are going to use the normal 30degree short cycle like I did, your felted pice will look pretty crumpled when you take it off the machine. Don’t worry!

To bring the still wet pad back to its original square or rectangle form, pull strongly on all sides. It’s easier to do this with another person so you can both pull in opposing directions. Once you have brought it back to the preferred shape, lay the pad flat and let it completely dry.

Here you can see my finished felted seat pad.

Knitted & Felted Seat Pad | Design Mom Knitted & Felted Seat Pad | Design Mom

This was the first one I made a few weeks ago and I am using it in my Muuto chair. You can see my original post here.


Thank you so  much, Anette! I truly adore how yours turned out. I can’t wait to try making my own!

Credits: Images, styling & tutorial by Anette. Assistance by Amy Christie.

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DIY: Lacy Punched Paper Votives Thu, 07 Jan 2016 19:20:57 +0000 Amy Christie

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By Gabrielle. Photos by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

I was brainstorming DIYs for this month with Amy Christie, and she brought up craft paper punches. And I basically responded, “Paper punches? I think I have like five. I used them to punch the edge of some stationery once, and now they’re just collecting dust.” And Amy told me she was about to blow my mind, because she’s been playing with hers and figured out how to really maximize their possibilities. To which I replied, “Bring on the DIY!”

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So think of this as a double DIY. Yes, you’ll learn how to make pretty votives, but even more awesome: you’ll learn a whole bunch of new tricks that you can do with your paper punches.

And dang I love stuff like that! I love making the most of tools I already have, and re-thinking how I might use them.

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If you are the proud owner of paper punches, then this tutorial is especially for you.

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Here’s what Amy says:

I’m one of those people who packs up holiday decor the day after Christmas. It sounds a bit “bah humbug” but by that time, with little ones in the house, I’ve had my fill of protecting the tree, resetting decor that has been re-purposed during play and gathering up the nativity scene characters day after day. The tiny baby Jesus is the hardest to find! Haha! I’m ready for my house to go back to non-holiday normal.

Also, my birthday falls between Christmas and the new year and I like to separate the two celebrations as much as I can. So the holiday decor has to go. January, however, provides a strange middle ground as far as seasonal decorating goes.

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In my neck of the woods (Minnesota), January is usually fiercely cold and the outdoor color palette ranges from the fresh white of new snow to deep dark black of the muck in our tires. Oh, and it’s dark. For it’s shortcomings, I don’t outright dislike this time of year, but it’s not my favorite. To counter the dark and cold and monochromatic colors, I often use candles in January to add light, warmth and color to my home. So I wanted to make some pretty votive holders this month.

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I also love punched paper. The lacy, patterned paper is so elegant looking it makes me go all heart-eyed. The lacier the better. In fact I’ve purchased a number of sheets of paper lace over the years, with the idea to use them for something or other in the future, but in the end, I can’t part with them, so in the folder they sit. Still beautiful, still lovely.

Then, a while back, I discovered I could make my own gorgeous, lacy paper using paper punches, which quickly led to a sizable collection of paper punches.

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With these paper punches and a hand-picked paper color palette, the dark, cold and almost colorless January will be alleviated. Grab some paper and warm up your muscles. Let’s get to work.

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- paper punches*
- paper
- votives & cylinder glass candle holders
- tissue paper
- cutting blade or scissors
- tape or hot glue**

*There are so many paper punches to chose from! From a deep embroidered edge to a screw punch just to make circles.

**Tape or small dots of hot glue work for holding the papers in place. I used tape because it was easier and since the backside of the votives wouldn’t be visible. However, if your paper wraps will be seen from all sides, dots of hot glue might be a better choice.

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Now, you might be thinking, “A DIY about punching paper with a paper punch? Seems rather simplistic.” However, the idea here is to stretch the usage of the paper punches beyond simply reforming the edge of paper. Creating punched paper rectangles provides lots of variety. These banded wraps can be manipulated, adjusted and layered to make gorgeous wrapped candle holders.

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For a votive like this, cut a band of paper to the height of the votive and then punch the top edge of the rectangle. Wrap around the votive and tape in place.

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Make a belt for the votive by punching both sides of a strip of paper narrower than the votive.

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To making a paper edge that is very lacy, sometimes it needs to be punched from both sides. Simply layer or stack the solid piece on top of the punched piece and tape in place.

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To create even more texture, wrap the punch paper band around the votive more than once. The lacy layers will make even more loveliness.

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Punched paper designs can be altered to create something new. For this one, I wrapped the bottom of the votive with a punch band then punched out two more strips. I cut off the bottom circle of the punched design and then layered them, offset a bit, to create a scalloped pattern. I love this one!

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My favorite are the really lacy pieces, trying to get as much lacy goodness on the strip. These pieces can then be layered, laid edge to edge or altered to create the designs. Some punches afford deep punched designs. While these punches are made to create circular cut-outs, they can be used straight (or perpendicular to the paper’s edge) to create thick bands with thick pattern. The design can be spaced out and then layered like the design above.

Tissue paper can be added to diffuse the light in the cylinder and create a more elegant look.

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Or the punch can be used on both sides of the paper band. To get this look, first wrap a tall glass cylinder with a layer of white tissue paper. Then stack the paper bands, edge to edge, taping them in place. When they are all together, it really resembles a piece of lace!

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Using a screw punch is one of the more simple designs but it’s so pretty. Use the punch to add lots and lots of holes to a paper band sized to the votive or cylinder. Then tape in place.

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Thank you so much, Amy! I can’t decide which technique is my favorite. I really love how you made the “belts”. So simple, but they get my imagination going on other possibilities. Wouldn’t these be gorgeous for a party or a wedding?

Here’s to cozy candlelight on cold winter days! And here’s to dusting off our paper punches! If you know any other techniques we should try, be sure to let us know.

P.S. — Craving candlelight? Here are a few more DIYs: colorblock cement candleholders, plaster flower votives (these are stunning!), and easy gold-leaf votives.

Credits: Images, styling & text by Amy Christie.

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Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String Thu, 17 Dec 2015 16:30:21 +0000 Amy Christie

Have a plain brown paper package? Here's a few ideas how to dress it up! | Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

I’m in love with this post! It’s not really a how-to or a DIY post. Instead, it’s designed to inspire and spark ideas. It’s all about how to embellish simple brown wrapping paper, and it’s chock full of examples.

How to Dress Up a Brown Paper Package | Design Mom

Even if you don’t have any of the add-ons featured in the photos, you probably have something similar. Raid the junk drawer and the craft cupboard. Scour your yard and the recycling bin. There’s a good chance you’ve already got everything you need to wrap your gifts up gorgeously this year.

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Ribbons, paints, jingle bells, pom poms — dressing up the wrapped gift is almost as fun as giving it in the first place! Let’s get wrapping. This is going to be fun!

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The amazing Amy Christie put together this post and here’s what she has to say:

For all the colorful, fancy and beautiful wrapping paper I own, I find myself pulled towards plain, kraft wrapping paper (if you need help, here’s how to wrap them perfectly). I buying at least one roll of brown paper each season. A gift wrapped in plain brown paper is so full of potential! And a simple bow won’t do.

I use the paper to make my own stamped paper (which can be made for birthdays too) but there is much more.

Dress up a brown paper package | Design Mom

Below, I break down some of the ideas into categories to help spark your imagination. The ideas here are just the beginning; the possibilities are endless. I’m hoping the ideas are inspirational and a jumping off point for you.

How to Dress Up a Plain Brown Paper Package | Design Mom

Paint it

Even if you don’t have time (patience, space) for making rolls of hand-stamped paper, small paint detail can be added to an already wrapped gift. A design on top or a pattern to cover the whole thing.

Supplies: paint, paint brush, foam stamps, sponge

Design ideas: polka dots, brush strokes, plaid , Xs, Os, lines, herringbone pattern, splatter

Time: dry time makes this option take a little longer

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Tie it

Dig into that ribbon and trims drawer and tie it (or hot glue it) on the package.

Supplies: ribbon — all kinds, trim, twine, cotton string, streamers, fabric, paper punched ribbon

Ideas: big bows (here’s how to do it perfectly), continuous wrapping, a basket weave (as seen with the metallic streamers), mini box pattern, a multitude of bow

Time: depending on how quickly you move, this idea is good for last minute gifts

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Stick it

Sticky things add another fun dimension to a basic package.

Supplies: stickers, washi tape, glue stick/hot glue, confetti, glitter, pom poms, wooden shapes

Ideas: Use stickers to create a pattern. Take alphabet stickers and spell out a holiday message or just the name of the gift’s recipient. Form a pattern with washi tape (the holiday stuff is so fun!). Apply glue to one end of a package and dip it in glitter or add a blob to the top and sprinkle on confetti.

Time: count on this concept taking a bit of time and concentration with the spelling and pattern making

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Add to it

This variation is kind of my favorite. It’s kind of the kitchen-sink-bars of the gift-wrap world. From simple to complicated, add to it is all about, you guessed it, adding stuff on.

Supplies: All the random things you can find! Gift tags, wooden tags, laser-cut wood, homemade tags, evergreen shoots, Christmas baubles, jingle bells, mini clothespins and so much more.

Ideas: Think in layers. Start with the base — painted design, ribbon/trim. Add another layer — more ribbon, tags, baubles. And another — more ribbon, evergreen shoots, gift tags, laser-cut wood pieces. Keep adding until you love it.

Time: the more complicated, the longer it takes but I promise, it’s worth it.

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In the end, the gifts end up being little works of art. So much so that it’s a little sad when it’s opened and dismantled. The good news is, you can dress up more packages next year!

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See what I mean? So much inspiration! Thank you, Amy. I’m off to make a sweep of the house and gather a bin full of odds and ends that I can add to packages. I love this sort of thing!

Tell me, Friends. Do you get into wrapping? Or do you dread it — and maybe opt for gift bags whenever possible? : ) And if you do Santa at your house, does Santa wrap the gifts or leave them out, unwrapped? We do a combo — one present unwrapped for each kid, and the rest wrapped.

P.S. — Wrapping 101 and Bow-Tying 101. Also, 10 last-minute, thoughtful + stylish gifts you can get at the grocery store.

Credits: Images, styling & text by Amy Christie.

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What Are Your Christmas Colors? (Plus Free Printable Gift tags!) Tue, 15 Dec 2015 20:40:08 +0000 Amy Christie

Colorful Bauble Gift Tags - Print them yourself! | Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos by Stephanie Lee for Design Mom.

Let’s talk holiday colors for a minute. When you pull out your boxes and bins of decorations, what is the main color you see?

At our house, I would say brown is one of the key colors since we’ve moved to the treehouse — wooden ornaments, pinecones, kraft paper wrapping, burlap ribbon — that sort of stuff. But I’ve tried a few different things over the years. Gold was definitely the key color for the first years of our marriage, and I still have the gold-gilded, papier-maché fruit ornaments I made for our first Christmas together. I also have a long-standing thing for the traditional red and green — in fact, if you were at my house right now, you would see a lot of red and green mixed in with the brown.

Free Colorful Printable Bauble Gift Tags | Design Mom

In addition, there’s one big ornament bin that has less-traditional colors. Pink and turquoise and yellow and purple. It started with a string of lights. In the late 90s Nordstrom based their holiday decor on the book, Olive The Other Reindeer, and they had these awesome lights to match. Globe bulbs in really interesting color combinations. (Does anyone else remember these?) I bought a string and wrapped it around a wreath, and hung it in the kids’ room.

Then, my friend Denise Daniel gave me several boxes of vintage ornaments she found in the very old house she bought — an assortment of gorgeous metallic pastels. I still have every one. They are like treasure! More recently, our daughter Olive added strings of pink lights that she used in a Taylor Swift costume.

Free Colorful Printable Bauble Gift Tags | Design Mom

It may be too late for this year, but I keep thinking I want get one of those bright white artificial trees and fill it with all my pinks and yellows and vintage blues. It would be a totally different look than what I’ve got going on right now, but would look fun in our family room against the colors in this wall map.

And speaking of non-traditional colors, Stephanie Lee, a maker in Australia, sent over these awesome printable gift tags in sherbet shades. They would be perfect under a pink-lit tree! Plus, they make a really good last-minute addition to your packages. Just print, trim and go!

But before we get to printing out gift tags, I’m curious. Do you have a particular color scheme you prefer for the holidays? Do you lean more traditional or more non-traditional? And have you ever switched it up?

Colorful Bauble Gift Tags - Print them yourself! | Design Mom

Here’s what Stephanie says:

Some of my fondest memories of the holidays consist of my family decorating our house at the start of December. Christmas is my mum’s favourite time of year and ever since I can remember, she took great pains to ensure it was special for us too. Decorating in particular became a household tradition that we all looked forward to doing together; we’d put the carols on, the tinsel would come out and the brightly coloured lights and baubles would be strung up for all to see.

Despite having long since moved out of the family home, to this day I can’t look at a string of tinsel or prettily coloured ornament without feeling a little bit nostalgic (corny, I know!). So I thought I’d add some of that sentiment to my gift wrapping this year with these hand lettered bauble gift tags. After all, just because my tree is now 1ft tall and only holds 5 ornaments at a time (the joys of living in a small house!), that doesn’t mean I have to miss out on the decorating fun right?


- letter sized white card
printable bauble gift tags files
- scissors
- 3mm hole punch

Printable Bauble Gift Tags | Design Mom

Print out the bauble gift tags file onto white cardboard and cut out each of the gift tags with a pair of scissors.

Printable Bauble Gift Tags | Design Mom

Printable Bauble Gift Tags | Design Mom

Punch a hole at the top of each bauble gift tag (where the white dot is).

Once all your baubles have been cut out and hole-punched, simply thread a piece of twine or ribbon through each one and tie them onto your gifts.

Free Colorful Printable Bauble Gift Tags | Design Mom

If you’re feeling a bit creative, try using these to decorate your home as well – I have a feeling they’d look pretty good strung up in a garland or as paper ornaments on your tree!


Thank you so much for sharing these, Stephanie! They are adorable. Happy making to everyone out there!

Credits: Images, styling and text by Stephanie Lee. Assistance by Amy Christie.

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DIY: Stamped Wrapping Paper Wed, 09 Dec 2015 17:00:21 +0000 Amy Christie

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By Gabrielle. Photos by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

Oh my goodness. Amy Christie texted me a photo of some stamped wrapping paper she was working on and I fell in love! I immediately begged her to share it on Design Mom. It looks so dang cool — that perfect combination of handmade and chic — and it’s made using pretty much the easiest (and kid-friendliest!) technique in the world: stamping.

Even better, the simple “stamps” are made from bits of cardboard! There’s probably some sitting in your recycling bin right this minute.

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Here’s what Amy says:

As you can imagine, I love when things look handmade which means I love the look of hand-stamped wrapping paper. It looks a little more rustic and imperfect and it feels like it means just a little more because someone spent time on it. (This is not to say I don’t love store-bought wrapping paper. There is some gorgeous stuff out there!) At least once a Christmas season, I try to make a few versions of hand-stamped wrapping paper. I don’t always use it all each season so I have a small collection of paper I’ve stamped. I’ll be honest — some of it I’m finding it hard to part with. Haha!

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This time, when I went to my craft cupboard to make some stamped wrapping paper, I didn’t have the supplies I thought I did so I improvised. And they turned out great! Just proves you don’t need lots of fancy supplies to make cool things.

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Stamped wrapping paper is a great project for everyone in your family. It’s a basic process — covering the stamp in paint and pressing it on paper — and there is no stress to make it perfect. Irregular prints and patterns just make the paper more interesting. If children are joining in, think about protecting the work surface with paper, and the ground below (just in case). Then let them stamp. It will be enjoyable for all!

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Roll up your sleeves and let’s get started!

Stamped Wrapping Paper | Design Mom


- plain wrapping paper (I got mine at Target!)
- cardboard, mat board, craft foam*
- scissors
- hot glue
- paint
- scrap paper or piece of wax paper for excess paint

*I used cardboard because I have a lot of it sitting around (too much online shopping!). Mat board works too as do the sheets of craft foam. The mat board can be manipulated like the cardboard below. The craft foam should be cut to shape and then mounted on a chunk of cardboard or mat board to give it firmness.

Stamped Wrapping Paper | Design Mom

Cut out your desired shapes. I stuck with geometric shapes and traced objects around the house. Measuring cups are perfect for a variety of circle sizes.

Stamped Wrapping Paper | Design Mom

To give the stamps strength, use two pieces of cardboard and glue them together.

Stamped Wrapping Paper | Design Mom

Stack a few pieces of cardboard on the backside of the stamp to act as a handle. Glue in place.

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Then start stamping! Put the paint in a flat container (like an old pie tin), and dip your stamp. Spread out the paper on a surface and press the cardboard stamp on to it. You can follow a strict pattern or stamp randomly, it all works!

As you work, use a scrap paper or a piece of wax paper as a place to work off the excess paint to ensure a clean print. And you’ll notice, you will get a better print using a rolling motion with the stamp instead of pressing it straight down.

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Allow the wrapping paper to complete dry and then use to wrap your gifts!


Thank you so much, Amy! I really adore how your prints turned out. I am trying this for sure. I don’t know if I’ll have time pre-Christmas, but this is one of those tutorials I would love to use throughout the year.

How about you, Dear Readers? Have you ever made your own wrapping paper? Or your own stamps? Would you kids enjoy something like this?

Credits: Images, styling & text by Amy Christie.

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