Saturday, February 28, 2009

TomKat Studio Photo Frames: Evelyn

Meet Miss Evelyn! I have decided to "name" each frame that I make. That way if you ever see one you like, just remember her name and I'll know which one you're talking about! Plus it is just plain fun to look at the style of the frame and come up with a fitting name!

Evelyn was made using my favorite square 12x12 frame. The paper used to dress her is a green and white damask, with a worn look. The base of the frame is painted white. Swarvoski crystals outline the center opening for a 4x4 photo. She is topped with a beautiful white & green flower sparkling with crystals!

I am gearing up to officially launch an Etsy shop to sell invitations and frames! I am planning on making each frame unique, although if someone requests a certain style I can duplicate it, as long as the materials are available. I am also open to making custom frames to fit your nursery, child's room or home decor. Just say the word....

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Reader Question: Family Photo Arrangements

{image via hgtv}

Hi Kim! We had the kids pictures professionally done last September and have yet to frame them. Do you know a good place or what's the most cost effective way to get something framed? They are way too nice to just stick in any frame. :) - Lorie
Hi Lorie! Thanks for asking, this is a great idea for a post!
If you are lucky enough to have a large wall space to dedicate to a collage of frames, this would be my favorite way of displaying family photos. A few years ago, I purchased these black thick border 8x10 frames from Joanns. I have arranged them several ways depending on the size of the space. In one of our houses, I did a grid of 3 across and 3 down. Very symmetrical (which is more my style). In our last home, pictured below, I had more space, so added a few other sizes of the same frame and created a collage. (I promise they weren't crooked, it's just the photo)
If you are creating a collage of frames like this, it is recommended to trace & cut the frame sizes out of wrapping paper or newspaper, and hang on the wall before nailing. My favorite places for inexpensive wall frames are Michaels, Aaron Brothers & Ikea. They all carry a wide variety of wall frames to match any decor. I personally prefer either a thicker frame or if a thinner frame use with mattes. I prefer to stick with the same color/style frame, just use different sizes. However, if your style is more eclectic, you can mix colors and styles to create something that works for you!

Here are a few other ideas for arranging:

{image via west elm}

I love the wall arrangement above from West Elm (and so does my blogging friend, Sarah :), and it would be fun to incorporate art and personal photos in a wall collage like this. Use the same style frames in multiple sizes.

{image via domino mag}

{image via aaron brothers}

{image via designmom}

{image via designmom}

SiDe NoTe:

Need beautiful family photos to put in frames? If you are in the Phoenix area, two of my best friends are both available for hire!

(CLICK LOGOS to view their work)

Like their logos? I designed them both! :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Invitations: Happy Jack Birthday

I decided it was time to start working on some BOY birthday invitation designs! I tend toward PINK....I can't help it, I'm a girly girl! These little "jacks" were inspired by some decals my crafty friend, Thuy had used on a really cute birthday card she made the other day! I love finding inspiration in strange places. I read an article about blogging once that said "ideas are all around, you just have to open your eyes and notice them..." (and write them down, in my case or else I will forget :) {tommy photo by vicki lynn photography}

Monday, February 23, 2009

Happy 50th Birthday Barbie!

I ran across an article last week in the Tribune, "Fashion World Celebrates a Birthday for Barbie". It's Barbie's 50th Birthday! I've always been a fan of Barbie, especially the vintage Barbies with their fabulous outfits. I mean, she's tall, thin, glamorous & beautiful....what's not to like?

Here's Barbie's birthday website: Click Here

Barbie even has a BLOG now: All Doll'd Up

I bought Kate her first Barbie doll for Christmas, but Tommy likes it more than she does. He told me it looks like the love of his life, his aunt Nicole. ;)
{images by Robert Best}

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Baby Shower Idea: Divas & Diapers

Looking for a fresh idea for a Baby Shower? Last fall, I hosted an evening soiree baby shower for my best friend, Kristi. A friend of mine, Kelly had told me about a baby shower she planned a few years ago themed "Divas & Diapers" and I had always wanted to use that theme. It fit perfectly, considering our little group of girlfriends are dubbed the "Domestic Divas." We were also celebrating the upcoming wedding of another Diva with drinks out after the shower, so I coordinated the invitations and mailed together if the guest was invited to both.

In the invitations, the guests were encouraged to all wear black. The guests of honor were given boas to wear (pink for momma, white for bride). Since it was an evening event, I tried to create a warm, romantic feel with lots of candles and soft lighting. It was fun to create something different than the usual baby shower brunch (although I do love those too!) We snacked on yummy appetizers (courtesy of the other Divas), and delicious desserts including my favorite, cupcakes. A classic champagne sherbet punch was served to drink.

{photos by}

I created a game, "Famous Divas" that was really easy to make. I downloaded photos (from google images) of real divas (singers, actresses, etc). I converted them all to black and white, and printed them out at about 4x6 size. At the party, I went around and taped a "Diva" to each guests' back. The goal was to figure out WHO your diva was. Each guest could only ask ONE yes or no question about their diva from EACH of the other guests. The first and last guests to figure out who their diva was, won a prize. For the prizes, I gave girly gifts like makeup cases & crystal pill boxes.

For favors, I found fabulous votive candle holders at Ikea. They were in packs of 5, and about $4/pack. They varied in design with clear/pink/white/black, so they were perfect for this party. Ikea also had a perfect variety pack of pink votives to fill them. I put them in cellophane bags and tied with black ribbon and a Thank You tag.

Need invitations or more ideas for a DIVA baby shower or bachelorette? Email me!

For more on the party CLICK HERE

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Heather Bailey - Creative Genius Among Us

Do you ever feel like the world is so small? When I was on my quest for decorating ideas for the TomKat Studio, I was searching "craft room" photos on Google & Flickr. Mostly I saw cluttered, messy craft rooms with the exception of one perfectly bright, lovely space. From my search, I saved ONE photo. This was it....

So as many of you know, my room doesn't look anything like this, but this one sure makes me drool. Fast forward a couple months, and I'm on Facebook chatting with Sondra Barr, the editor of Go Gilbert! magazine and notice that the publication has finally gone online. Sondra & I "met" last year when my last house in Gilbert was featured in the publication. Since I live in Chandler now, I miss Go Gilbert! and decided to see what was new. To my amazement, one of the recent covers of the magazine features a trendy-looking mom, Heather Bailey and her two kids in THAT craft room!
Weird...this amazing girl with this amazing room happens to live practically next door! What are the chances? So, I visited her website, read about her many experiences on her path of success, and drooled (some more) over EVERYTHING that she creates. (fabric, scrapbook supplies, hair "trash ties", name it) She is a creative genius! And lucky for her, her husband is an amazing photographer that documents all of her fabulous projects.

I'd think we could be friends....although I might get REALLY jealous of her, because I already am! Congratulations Heather on your creative success! And thank you for being an inspiration!

TomKat Photo Frames: Miss Marley's Room

My best friend, Kristi decided she wanted to make three frames to hang over her new baby girl's crib! So, she picked out the paper and I showed her how to make the frames. With three in a row, we decided they didn't need any extra embellishments besides the Swarovski crystals! They turned out adorable and match her drapery fabric and crib bedding perfectly!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Invitations: Girly Girl Birthday

Please don't mind all my posts on invitations lately! I have set some goals for myself to have a certain number of designs before I open shop! And I am so ready to open shop! So here's my latest:
{chloe photo via vicki lynn photography}

Kid Fun: Snake Hunting

I thought I'd share a little fun game we've been playing at our house lately. Sometimes the days get long and the kids need something fun to keep them excited and occupied.

Enter....plastic snakes and a game I like to call "Snake Hunting". This is very basic really, you hide the snakes around the house, and the kids find them! They get SO excited when they find one..."Momma...I found one! I found one!" Give them a basket to collect their finds. This little game could work with any small toys, but snakes are just fun. You can find them at Target in the garden section. You might want to count them before you hide them or you may keep finding creepy crawlies around the house for days!

Great practice for the Easter Egg Hunts coming soon!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Invitations: Lollipop Birthday

I am working on some new invitation designs so I have something to post when I open my Etsy shop one day! (Hopefully soon!)

This design was inspired by Kate's birthday coming up, which is lollipop themed! I'm not sure if I'm going to go with this, or create something in a lollipop shape with my new Martha circle cutter! We'll see.....

When I set up shop, I'm thinking about offering a "party set" that would include invitations, matching favor tags, thank you notes and a hanging decorative banner. What do you think about this idea?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Invitations: Sweetheart Birthday

My favorite little red-head is turning three this month and I designed these invitations for her "heart" themed party!
{photo by vicki lynn photography}

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Decorating: Serena & Lily SALE!

If you are not familiar with Serena & Lily, you should be! This weekend, 2/12-2/16 they are having a 25% off everything sale! They offer gorgeous baby & children's bedding, furniture, gifts for moms and babies, accessories, and many other fabulous things. Here is a mix of my favorite items available!

Request a catalog HERE or shop online for this great sale!

Fave Decorating Blog: Decor8

I've become a little obsessed with blogging and reading blogs. Well maybe more than just a little. My husband has to pry me away from my computer these days. I just feel like I've discovered a world of people, information, thoughts and ideas on topics that inspire me.
{image via decor8}
My favorite decorating blog is written by Holly Becker, and it is called Decor8. Holly is a writer and interior design consultant, and you can find her everywhere in the decorating world, including Simply Stated, Real Simple Magazine's blog. Everyday without fail, I receive an email from Decor8 full of the most beautiful rooms, decor items, photography, art and more. One of my favorite features that she writes is Take 5 Tuesdays, when she features 5 fabulous Etsy shops and their products. She also recently started a series called Creativity: Just Do It, which walks us through exercises on exploring our creativity. (perfect for me at this time in my life!)

{image via decor8}

Check it out! Subscribe! You'll thank me for it!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

TomKat Photo Frame - Black & Cream Damask

I recently made this frame, and I think it's my favorite so far! I used a black & cream damask patterned paper, paired with a deep burgandy rose. This time, I took the paper all the way to the edges, which gives it a nice finished look. Swarovski crystals outline the outer edge, as well as the inner square around the photo. I'm so proud of a few of my readers who have been inspired to make their own! If you make one, send me a picture!

Next project.....Time to setup an Etsy shop for my invitations and frames! Any other Etsy users out there have any advice?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Project Nursery: It's Official!

I was officially announced as a contributor today on Project Nursery! I am so excited to be blogging for them and can't wait to connect with their readers! Yippee! I love their website and blog so I am happy to be a part of it!



If you have any exciting baby products, fabulous rooms, baby shower ideas, or birthday party ideas, send them to me! I promise you'll get something special from me if your suggestion makes it on Project Nursery!

SUBSCRIBE to Project Nursery on their home page!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Valentine's Day: Little Love Bug Craft Party!

The Little Love Bug party went great yesterday! I think everyone had a great time! I hired my neighbor girls, Kathleen & Christina to help the kids craft, so the moms could relax (or try to at least!) Tables were set up for both the moms to craft, as well as the kids. It was a really easy party to host, as the main activity just entailed pulling out all my craft supplies, picking out red/pink papers, stickers, etc and letting the guests go to work!

My three year old & I made the heart garland and hung it around the house. It is so easy to make. Just find a heart (I used a chipboard one) or draw and cut one to use as a template. Cut out hearts in different papers, punch two holes and string with ribbon. Simple, inexpensive & cute! I've been noticing paper lanterns as party decor a ton lately, so I picked a couple up at Pier One (they only had white), and stuck some hearts on them.

What's a party with yummy treats? Cupcakes are always a must, so I did strawberry with strawberry frosting, and topped them with M&Ms. I also made heart-shaped brownies, scotcheroos (my fave) and had Valentine candy scattered around for nibbling! The heart shaped fruit pizza cookie (Kristi), strawberries & cream (Sarah) & yummy muffins (Kim) all fit right in!

This was the invite for the party, a quickie I designed and emailed out! Thanks to everyone who came and I hope you all had a great time!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Valentine's Day: Eat Your Heart Out!

{photo by me}
I can't remember why, but a very long time ago I really wanted a "heart waffler"....maybe I registered for it? Anyway, my mom bought it for me for some occasion and it has been gathering dust in a drawer. With Valentine's day getting close, it came to mind and I finally pulled it out and made some for the kids! I figured they could finally appreciate the heart shape, since they are seeing hearts everywhere around the house for Valentine's Day. They loved them! Yum!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Love from Marblehead!

This pretty polka dot package and its fabulous contents arrived yesterday in my mailbox, from my dear friend Meredith in Marblehead, Massachusetts.
Let me tell you a little bit about her. We met through our husbands, who were fraternity brothers at ASU. I remember our first date with the "Nelsons", you're always just a wee bit nervous, meeting the other half, and hoping things go well. I knew that night that Meredith & I would be fast friends and had so much in common. She is an amazing decorator, loves crafting, and is an avid photographer. We started hanging out with them all of the time, as Meredith is quite the planner and was always coming up with fun things to do. A few years later, Meredith & I started a group, Domestic Divas, which is a group of girls who get together every few weeks to get away from daily life, to craft, chat & relax. Danny & I took many crazy, fun vacations with the Nelsons, before we had babies!

While Meredith was pregnant, they decided to move back to her hometown of Marblehead, Massachusetts. Though I was devastated, I understood the need to have family nearby to help with the kids. We had the opportunity to visit them this past summer, to finally meet their two boys and see their charming town. We had a great time!
Meredith is just one of those genuine, sweet, honest people. The Nelsons have been through quite a bit the last couple years, with their son, Drew being diagnosed with mild autism. Drew is a lucky child to have parents like Ryan & Meredith, who would go to ends of the world to help him. You can visit her blog about her experience HERE.

Even with her hectic schedule, Meredith finds time to send me the sweetest gifts. Whether it's a thank you for something or just for fun, I am always excited to open a package from her! So yesterday, she made my day with these adorable notecards ( and photo album. I love them, they couldn't be more perfect. And of course, she coordinated with the new decor in my TomKat Studio!

Thank you Meredith, for everything.

Monday, February 2, 2009

My Hot Pink Little Coach Bag!

I bought this little treat for myself when I was Christmas shopping. I couldn't help myself! Dillards was having a 30% off sale on all their Coach purses (rare!), but for some odd reason, this little baby was 50%, and screaming my name! This is part of Coach's Madison line and I love the soft, satin gathered fabric and of course, the hot pink color!

Although it's not practical for everyday use, it would be perfect for a night out for Valentine's Day, don't you think?! (hint, my hubbie :)