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Wayfair Homemakers

Fan Girl Friday: Pencil Shavings Studio

"Aren't we weird human beings?" read my text message, "Us and our 'celebrity' crushes on people who are just regular humans like us."

Paige, Approaching Joy Creative

I don't think there's a definition of a fan girl floating around on Merriam Webster's pages, but if there were, I think it might include a high level of admiration for someone you have not met.

I have met Rachel Shingleton. We met in January at Alt Summit in Salt Lake City. Rachel's totally down to earth and easy to talk to, and there is potential that she didn't know I was a big fan girl, but she probably did. Upon meeting her, I told her I couldn't wait to collaborate on something. Sometimes, I kind of get really excited.

As you can see in the image below, I've been a fan for a few years. When I first saw her logo - the name, the colors, the stripe - I thought it was so brilliantly done. I still think so, except now, Rachel has taken her style and color blog to a whole new level.

She's received a lot of honors, including the Better Homes & Gardens Top 5 Decorating blogs (and look at the kicking graphic she made for her award). In her shop, she's grown and expanded to retailers like The Limited and Nordstrom's. 

Rachel says that she's never met a color she didn't like. And she does such an amazing job of making those colors work together in energetic, blissful ways.

Her home tour with Gabrielle of Design Mom is a must see. The vibrancy of each room just hums. Mixing in bold tones with fresh white all throughout the home, Rachel is a whiz with pattern and texture. She partnered with The Land of Nod to reimagine her office and playroom. It's such a spectacular finished space that beckons creativity to come on out. 

I've followed her personal story as well which she tackles head on with her blog. And I'm delighted for Rachel and her family as they welcome their long-awaited second child!

From hair-styling and fashion, to home decor, to cute gifts and great ideas, Rachel always have something fresh to offer.

Rachel, thanks for your myriad of awesome work.

I'm a fan girl.

xoxo, MJ


Ali's Birthday Extravaganza: the place cards

We partnered with Tiny Prints to bring you these projects. We were compensated for this post, but all ideas and opinions are our own.

**Ths post is meant to reflect a celebration of life. We honor and remember all those who lost their lives in 9/11. We will never forget.

Kids aren't the only ones who deserve incredible birthday parties. All this week, my Endless Summer Project gals - Alexandra HedinAmy of This Heart of MineJennifer of Classic Play, and Melissa of Lulu the Baker, and I have been throwing a glam-tastic party for Ali! She is the weeknight party girl so we had to go big. I mean, this girl is a big deal. Check out her TV spot, highlighting some of the details from the party.

We were inspired by a pink and gold party invitation from Tiny Prints to set the stage for a night of great music, delicious appetizers, cool decor, a cocktail to write home about, and, yes, you need to tune in tomorrow for the amazing cake.

I wanted to create some unique placecards to celebrate Ali. Building off her cherry skewers, these name kabobs make fantastic bling for just about any party.

These place cards are super easy to make, and you can pull them together while the crostini is in the oven and the cake is cooling.

When the party involves a sequined tablecloth, you have to go over the top. So, for the creating, you'll need:

  • Skewers (like the wooden ones you use for grilling)
  • Wooden beads of various sizes
  • Gold leaf paint 
  • Hot glue gun
  • Gold scrapbook paper or small letters

Taking wooden beads from uncoated to gold leafed is more than kind of amazing. Instant sparkle. First paint your beads. I painted mine on the skewers so that I could easily cover all sides.

Next, the letters. I cut mine using a die cutting machine, but store bought letters work just as well! Cut out a thin strip of the paper, fold it in half lengthwise. This is the paper on which the letters will be mounted.

Glue it on to the center of the skewer. Then glue the very bottom of the letters to that piece. The scrapbook paper is heavy enough to allow the letters to stand on their own.

Add beads to either side, on the skewer. With end beads, squirt a small dab of hot glue into the center, to keep the row of beads secure.

These name skewers look great on top of chargers or cocktails! Or as an introduction to dessert like Ali has them. Also, I might make one for my desk at work. Just because.

And Amy is bringing the cake. It's pretty spectacular - champagne cake!

Happy birthday, dear Ali. Happy birthday to you!

xoxo, MJ



A Family Objective

Photography by Brittani Renee Photography

In teaching, I wanted to be clear about my objectives. Write it on the board, "Students will be able to..." Let them know what our end goal was. No need for mysteries or secret reveals. This is what we want to learn.

I've been thinking a lot about this question that Sara Moore posed to me,

What do you hope your children will learn from you?

In the list of 11 questions that she asked, it was the one that took me the longest to answer. The question made me reflect upon my thoughts on sharing my parenting objectives. 

  • Do my children know what I want them to learn?
  • Do I know what I want them to learn? What is it again?
  • Why am I keeping it a secret to be uncovered at a later point?

The question is as deep as it is simple. The whole cycle of parenting involves the activity of what we want our children to learn from us. Our ideals, our beliefs, our dreams become a part of their upbringing. These things "rub off" in our interactions. 

Are there other areas and lessons that I want my children to learn that might not come up so naturally?

My husband and I created a family mission statement late one night when my second daughter was an infant. During one of our innumerable sleepless nights with C, we felt like we were veering off course, or, at least, meandering a bit more in our parenting than we wanted. We wrote out these simple statements to remind ourselves of these goals as we changed diapers and soothed teething cries.

Now two of our three children can read, and they can all express themselves quite clearly. They are perceptive; they are good listeners. I wonder how I am communicating these broader and more important family values. To Sara, in her interview, I said:

I hope my children learn that they are always loved by us, their parents, and by a generous God. I hope they learn to go after their passion and to work consistently to point that passion towards the greater Good. I hope they learn that tenacity and enthusiasm can accomplish almost everything you need. I hope they learn to laugh at themselves (a lot) and help other people do the same.

And now I'm feeling challenged to revisit our original statement or post this new one for my children to read. And to remind me, everyday.

What do you think? How do you let your children know what is most important?

xoxo, MJ


Welcome to a Wonderful Year Teacher Presents & Free Printable

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Office Depot, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #inspirestudents

Pineapples are all over the place these days. They're trendy now, and during colonial times, the pineapple symbolized the warmest welcome you could extend to a guest. It has continued to evoke a sense of hospitality and sweet goodness throughout the generations.

Extending welcome is a primary job for a teacher in the first month of the school. Around here, we're already in the third week of school, and the newness is beginning to wear off...which means... it's the perfect time to give your children's teachers a present that they want.

Sharpies! Smelly markers! Window markers! Great pens! The list of fantastic school supplies is a long one. Children aren't the only ones who love these colorful tools. Show the teachers in your life that you look forward to what the next months hold with a Welcome to a Wonderful Year present. You and/or your children can create these gift tags or notecards using pencil erasers and stamping pads. 

We bought fun school supplies at Office Max. Right now, you can save $5 off your purchase of $20 or more on select Newell Rubbermaid brands which include all of our favorites (PaperMate, Expo Neon Window Markers, Sharpie, Uni-Ball, & Mr. Sketch) And, you can cash in on Office Depot Rewards for shopping at Office Max as they are owned by the same company! It's kind of hard to resist...Head over to your Office Max or Office Depot and take advantage of the deal while supplies last.

You'll need some pencils with fresh erasers, an inkpad, and some paper to make these pineapple prints. Draw simple shapes on your erasers, like the ones shown above. With an X-acto knife, cut around these shapes. We made two sets of these shapes so that one of each could go into the yellow and green.

The pineapple shape is a breeze once you get the hang of it. Using a combination of diamonds and triangles, you can create a charming geometric design.

Or, if you aren't ready to take the project right now, click here to download your own pineapple printables.

Wrapping up a bundle of these fun supplies with a parachute cord or ribbon and a tag, lets our teachers know that we appreciate them, and we're looking forward to working together!

My oldest (9) and I created these together in less than an hour. Holding her back from using all the colorful markers was the hardest part....

Happy making!



For the Love of Pumpkin

I haven't purchased any yet this season, but it's almost time for pumpkins. The crafting, the eating, the cooking, and the carving - so many wonderful projects coming all from one little gourd! I have been falling in love with pumpkin over and over again through a group board that I collaborate on called Pumpkin Recipes, Crafts, and More. Come on over and check it out...

I'm sharing 9 super ideas with pumpkin that will get you into the spirit of fall and delight your taste buds, too...

Mini Pumpkins:

I created these for Gina's Month of Pumpkin. She's a master with pumpkin recipes, and she let me join in the fun with this super easy pumpkin craft. These balls of yarn are topped with small pieces of pipe cleaners and stacked inside a shadow box. They make great additions to a tablescape and a delightful garland, too.

How about two great uses for pumpkins?

Pumpkin Pinata:

A balloon, yes! And a pinata! Perfect. What an awesome way to begin or end a night of trick or treating. You get all the info on how to fill the jack o'lantern over at The Gunny Sack.

Chalkboard Pumpkin Planters:

Also, I'm not over chalkboard (I hope you aren't either), and I love this pumpkin turned potted vase for colorful mums. This is a super easy and approachable (quick) project that can make any front door warm and welcoming for fall. Chelsea shows off how-to over at Making Home Base!

Memorable pumpkin treats...

Easy Pumpkin Krispie Treats:

Rice Krispie treats are always a family favorite around here, and these are too cute as pumpkins. The simplicity is right on for the kids to join in on the creation stage, too. Jen has her creations over on Yummy Healthy Easy. Can you guess what she used for the stem? 

Pumpkin Pie French Toast:

Pumpkin pie French toast? A total yes! This recipe is from Erin Chase over at $5 Dinners which means it's also incredibly affordable. We make pumpkin swirl French toast every Halloween, and I love this variation on it. But why save it just for Halloween?

And two classic desserts...

Pumpkin Cookies:

When I think of baking with pumpkin I think of these two recipes. Crissy of Parenting Pretty has gorgeous and uncomplicated Melt in Your Mouth Pumpkin Cookies. The texture and moisture of pumpkin is just perfect for these delicious desserts.

Pumpkin Donuts:

Everything tastes better as a donut. Well, almost everything. But for sure on pumpkin. Rolled in sugar... The Blue Eyed Bakers are genius. Click over and make Petite Pumpkin Spice Donuts.

An unexpected must try...

Pumpkin Pie Spice White Chocolate Caramel Popcorn:

Though I've never eaten this particular flavor combination, I think we'd be fast friends. I'm excited to give it a try. Cooking Classy serves this popcorn in a clever way, too. Go check it out!

And finally for the kids...

Hammer the Pumpkin:

Something to occupy and entertain the young hands in your house is this simple pumpkin activity. Once the gourd has reached a certain ripeness, it's perfect for hammering. Grab a golf tee and a plastic toy hammer.

Okay, it's your turn! What's your favorite way to use pumpkin?

xoxo, MJ