purposeful playdate: invitation + photo prop (free download)

Posted by . March 29th, 2012 at 6:00 am. Leave a comment.

Thank you for all your comments, pins, and Facebook shout outs about the Easter Purposeful Playdate. I really appreciate it! And as promised,  I will share a few downloads and tutorials in case you choose to host your own playdate.

You can find the invitation download here. Print on card stock, cut, and write in your information. You can also use a small hole puncher to punch out the date and time. The hip hip hooray photo prop is also available for download here. More downloads and tutorials to come! 

 

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handmade business cards

Posted by . February 22nd, 2012 at 6:00 am. Leave a comment.

I finally grew tired of scribbling my blog information on the back of church programs or random receipts and created a card. While they’re not the rounded corner letterpress cards that originally danced in my head, these handmade cards were pretty easy on my pocketbook . I ended up creating two designs but I need your help deciding which I should move forward with, as both still need a little work.

this card includes a safety pin at the top…just in case you find yourself with an emergency wardrobe malfunction and in need of a modest solution. Also, the safety pin represents my attempt to “connect” faith, style, and creativity.

this card has been machine sewn and can be folded, torn, and shared…each half has the same information on it (thanks to the reverse double sided design) so you can share meek+chic with a friend and keep half for yourself.

So dear readers, if I met you in the grocery store and passed you a card which of these designs would make you want to check out my blog? 

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happy hearts

Posted by . February 16th, 2012 at 6:00 am. Leave a comment.

I hope you all had a Happy Heart Day.

Valentine’s Day is over, but we’re still celebrating love around here! I am signing off from blogging early this week but will be back next week to share some of the things I love— and give ideas on spreading love beyond Februray 14th.

Also, if you are in the Chicago area you should bring your children to the Chicago Children’s Museum this weekend– I’m the visiting artist this month and will teach children how to make their very own “wearable art.” More information’s available on the museum’s website.

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guest post: the blessed birthday girl

Posted by . January 18th, 2012 at 10:27 am. Leave a comment.

 

From the day I learned what a golden birthday was I knew that I wanted mine to be special. I was in high school at the time and thought that since turning 30 would be so many years away I had more than enough time to plan the party of a lifetime. Well, thirty came rather fast. As my big day approached I found myself married with four kids and another on the way. Life was happening at the speed of light and it seemed like my big day would not happen as planned. My husband told me he had plans for my big day and although I wanted to be thankful I was very disappointed. I knew he would plan something nice, but I wanted a party. Not a huge party but a small dinner party with my close friends. Something pretty. A day without kids. The day I had been planning since I was fifteen.

Although I had already told my husband what I wanted the reality of it happening was slim. We had a daughter that had just graduated from high school and was headed to college in a month. In the three months leading up to my birthday rather than planning a party I was planning college visits, a graduation dinner, and a going away party.  Our one income family could only afford so much in a short period of time, so I had braced myself for reality: the reality that parents make sacrifices for their children. Little did I know that my husband had been (successfully) working behind my back with my closest friends to plan a party that I would never forget.

The day had come and I was blindfolded wearing the beautiful dress my friend Tiffany made. I didn’t know where I was going, but when I opened my eyes I was shocked! It was as if I had planned the party myself. It was everything that I would have asked for all the way down to the little details. Pink linens,beautiful decorations, great food, cupcakes, coffee ice cream, a song from my wonderful husband, words of blessing from my friends, and an overnight getaway with my husband. As if that was not enough, everyone chipped in to get me the best gift ever. A Kitchen Aid mixer! I felt like I was on Oprah’s favorite things show…They just kept coming out with more surprises!

Some dreams we have seem foolish to others, but this party taught me that God truly cares about everything that is important to me. I am His child and just like I want to bless my children He wants to bless me. There is no good thing that He will withhold from me, if I walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11). As mothers we make many sacrifices for our children and families, but GOD sees them all. He loves me and has blessed me with a wonderful husband, a beautiful family, and great friends. I’m living a blessed life!

 

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encouraging words…with pancakes

Posted by . January 5th, 2012 at 10:20 pm. Leave a comment.

A condiment bottle + pancake batter + a griddle and  a little creativity= a message in a pancake.  I “wrote” the letters on the griddle first, let them set, then filled in around the sides.  BUT please remember to write the letters backwards! As you can see, I got a little confused on the letter “r.”

Slather on some butter and syrup and encouraging words never tasted so good.

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meek confessions: life happens

Posted by . December 27th, 2011 at 11:22 pm. Leave a comment.

Christmas ornament cookie turned Angry Bird when the dough and cookie cutter wouldn’t cooperate.
Real Christmas-y, huh?  
 

This year (like most others) I had high hopes for Christmas. Entertaining family, making homemade gifts, baking cookies, drinking hot chocolate, making snowmen, etc. I think my intentions were great, and I may be a little late to the party, but I am realizing more and more that  no matter how great your intentions … Life Happens.  And while some of the things that don’t go well could be avoided with proper planning and time management, there a slew of things that are completely out of our control.

We had a great Christmas and good family time but the truth is:

  • We had a trip to the emergency room.
  • The cookies didn’t come out as planned.
  • The kids hated the hot chocolate and just wanted the marshmallows.
  • It didn’t snow, so no snowman.
  • We had about a week of advent activities before runny noses and fatigue brought that to an end.
  • I spent almost an entire week sewing a gift for my daughter … that she refuses to wear.

And, I’m okay with the things that didn’t go as planned. I think the only time I am not okay is when I visit some of my favorite blogs and it seems no one else’s kids get sick, every craft project comes out exactly as planned (or better), and every husband (except mine) is completely fine with the crafting, picture taking, and tutorial writing while the family eats undesirable meals and stumbles over crafting materials.

Recently, I was talking to a friend who loves to bake and she confessed that while she made her tasty treats for her family and friends flour was all over the floor, some of the cupcakes had caved in, and the baby cried (a lot). This made me wonder, how many cooking blogs have I read that have chaos going on behind the camera? How many times have I finished a recipe feeling completely defeated because it wasn’t as beautiful as the staged dish I tried to mimic?

Sometimes, the sites I visit for inspiration can also be places of great discouragement and comparison. But, are things really as they seem? Is everyone else seamlessly following a schedule, cooking from scratch, cleaning meticulously, homeschooling their toddlers while nursing their infants, having productive and loving marriages, with time to spare for entertaining, crafting, and volunteering all the time? Or, does life also happen, only this part of the story isn’t shared? If readers only see post after post of beautiful projects and great family stories how can one compete relate?

Its my hope that meek + chic will be a place of inspiration as well as transparency.  Yes, I strive to have a schedule, cook healthy meals, teach my children,  observe date night, clean, and craft but the truth is sometimes things don’t go as planned. So, this meek confession is my way of saying if things haven’t gone the way you wanted, join the club. And join me as I dismiss the idea that anyone has it all together all the time (no matter how their beautiful site is). Going forward, I’m committed to doing a better job of planning and an even better job of being flexible, picking up the pieces, and moving forward when things don’t go as planned. Care to join me?

 

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the evolution of christmas pictures

Posted by . December 20th, 2011 at 2:57 am. Leave a comment.

Taking Christmas pictures has become a stressful tradition for us.  Every year I try to figure out how to get the amazing pictures I dream of, for the lowest cost possible. When it comes to planning and executing this tradition it has been nothing short of stressful, but things have evolved…in a good way.

Christmas 2011:

This year I thought I’d try something new…we invested in a good camera;  I took this photography class;  we got the kids dressed; and  leisurely walked around a beautiful park on a warm October day. I took pictures, we played, and when the demanding-my-pictures-must-be-perfect mean mommy came out I stuffed her back into my diaper bag and  we continued on our merry way. I am pleased with the pictures as well as the low stress level. (Stress Level: 3- the default level when traveling alone with two toddlers  and a specific goal in mind). Fortunately over the years I have learned how to make this tradition more enjoyable. Check out our past Christmas pictures and the stories behind them.  Continue reading »

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christmas decorations

Posted by . December 1st, 2011 at 4:39 pm. Leave a comment.

It’s December 1st, do you have all your advent activities ready?  Well, if you’re anything like me you will be at Joann or Michael’s today trying to figure something out:( Why oh why does this happen every year? I have such high hopes for Christmas activities but it usually gets lost in Thanksgiving festivities. You know, when I wasn’t the parent, the shopper, the one hosting, or the one cooking I never realized how close Thanksgiving and Christmas were!  Well, I am thinking about my Christmas decorations, even though I haven’t unpacked them yet.  And for yet another year,  I am loving the blue and green combo. Here’s some of inspiration:

The House of Smiths

Martha Stewart

Hostess Blog 

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thanksgiving recap

Posted by . November 25th, 2011 at 8:34 pm. Leave a comment.

Is Thanksgiving over already?! After weeks of planning and days of cooking we really enjoyed our thirty minute meal. It was over way too quickly. However, thanks to my husband’s grandmother, head Thanksgiving chef, we will be able to enjoy it over and over again since the fridge and freezer are well stocked with leftovers!

I’ll admit it was a tad bit ambitious to host dinner for 10 adults and 2 children only seven months after moving into our house, but it really forced us to unpack and get settled a lot sooner than we would have.  And no matter how much planning, cleaning, and shopping had to be done I found time (in the wee hours of the morning) to craft.


Artificial pumpkins, gold spray paint, floral wire, green card stock, alphabet stamps, and ink pad helped create the place cards.

Continue reading »

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Posted by . October 25th, 2010 at 1:18 pm. Leave a comment.

Our personalized runner was by far my favorite wedding detail. A few weeks before my wedding I wanted to incorporate something personalized into our wedding decor. I came across the Original Aisle Runner and from the moment I saw it, I knew I had to have one. Back then I didn’t know of anyone else really making them and well, since they were the “originals” I went for it. These women did an amazing job in a short amount of time. They were so helpful and flexible–I really did adore the final result as well as working with them. The runner for our wedding was gorgeous.

Anyway, fast forward three years and a bride I know wanted a personalized runner but was dealing with some tight budget constraints and even less time (a little over a week before the wedding). She saw some things I had made in the past and wondered if I could personalize a runner for her. Although I had never made one before, I was so excited about the challenge! My mind raced thinking, “should I use a projector to project the image on to the runner? Or, trace the image then paint?” Then, I remembered! I should try the freezer paper technique I saw over at MADE. ( Dana gives great directions, so I suggest you go over there to get a full understanding of the process from her blog.)
There are many techniques to use, but I knew my hands weren’t that steady, especially after a couple shots of caffeine and holding my cuddly infant all day. So I decided I’d rather use my shaky hands to cut out a stencil rather than paint freehand on the runner and ruin it. Below is how I used a freezer paper stencil to create a personalized aisle runner.
Materials:
Runner
Poster sized Monogram
Fabric Paint
Exacto Knife
Tape
Freezer Paper
Paint Brushes
Iron
Patience (and maybe a baby sitter)

Create a monogram and have it blown up poster size. I had this done at Staples for $4.

Trace your image on the freezer paper (shiny side down). I did this in two sections. Because the middle initial and scroll would be a different color than the other initials.

While tracing the letters I wrote “save” on the inside areas of the letters I needed to keep- I also noted what letter they belong to. As you are throwing away paper these can easily be mistaken as scraps.

See why its important to keep those inside parts…those little scraps can make or break the whole thing!

Measure the aisle runner and decide where you want the monogram placed. Then unroll your runner and measure. As I unrolled one end I rolled up the other to protect it from little toddler feet waiting to trample it.

I ironed down my first stencil. And replaced the “inside pieces.”

Next I began painting, being sure to place something underneath to protect my work surface (wax paper, freezer paper shiny side up, or cardboard should prevent leaks and sticking. Don’t use a towel like me! ). Now, the hardest part was drying because my daughter is a cat napper I had to move quickly. I decided to use a blow dryer to dry between layers. I would suggest avoiding this if possible, I believe the dryer made the freezer paper buckle making more touching up necessary.

When it was all dry I peeled the freezer paper and did a happy dance. As expected, there were a few places I needed to touch up.
(Also, note the towel underneath my runner: do not copy … I had to learn the hard way).

I then lined up my second stencil and ironed it on, being careful not to iron directly on the painted area.

Painted my second stencil… blow-dried, peeled, and happy danced.

The final product.
Addition:
I wanted to add a little more to the runner, so I took the last part of a poem from the wedding program and painted it towards the top of the runner. I tried to make a stencil but quickly gave up because of all the small pieces. Instead, you can trace your letters SHINY SIDE UP, place it underneath your runner, tape it down and paint directly on top. This way worked out well for the smaller font but I think I prefer the stencil for the larger letters.
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