More from the Banister House


I’ve been working on catching up from our Disneyland trip (will share more on that soon! including what we recommend doing when you go with your family!). I thought I’d share a few scenes from the Banister House (our newly purchased historic home) such as this great one of Miss M dancing away on Easter morning (she ditched her Easter dress for this tutu and we just went with it).FireplaceBanisterhouseMerMag

We also have a great deal of work to do in the bathroom (floors need help, new tub, vanity, sink, fixtures, etc.). But it’s got a lot of potential. My favorite aspect of it is the fireplace (seen above) which was from the original cabin kitchen (the back part of the house was an 1860’s cabin which was built onto in 1897 in a revival gothic manor giving inhabitants more room to grow). I look forward to long bubbly soaks in a claw-foot tub with a once again working fireplace. Dreamy right?! Now to find the perfect tub, tile (the wood floors are shot in the rest of the room :( ), vanity, sinks and more. Any suggestions on great places to find these items? I’d love to here. Oh and this room also houses our washer and dryer…so it’s good it a somewhat decent size room because it’s got a lot of tasks it has to perform for our little family! PasadenaAntiqueCenterMirrorFind_MerMagAfter our trip to Disney we drove through our old haunts in South Pasadena (where we lived 3 yrs again and where little O was born), stayed with my uncle and went to the Pasadena Antique Gallery. This was my first time there! And I’m obsessed. I already want to go back. I found this vanity mirror there and managed to get it home in one piece (not an easy task with three rowdy kids but we did it!).


Spring is for Birthdays


We have a couple of spring birthdays in the house. In fact my oldest has a birthday exactly a week before mine so spring always means fun, flowers, balloons and cake! I can’t believe Mr. A has turned 9?! (I however am totally still the same age ;)).MerBalloonsAJnewhaircut

He wanted to meet up with friends at a trampoline park this year (he thinks he’s growing out of the simple at-home cake and ice cream parties – insert sad tear here) so we went with it. I made the invite below for  him to hand out (which we also printed out and used as a cake topper later on).comehangwithmeSQ9thbirthdayBThe day itself was loads of fun as well. His school just happened to be having an inservice day ON his birthday so we have a “super awesome A fun day!” where he got to pick what he wanted to do that day (within reason). He picked Burger King for lunch and Five Guys for dinner. I asked if that wasn’t too many hamburgers and he resoundingly say “no way!”. Well it was his day so we went with it.

As for my birthday, Jon surprised me with an iphone 6+ on (whoohoo!!! I’m super in love…like maybe too much) so I was more than good to go! Oh and we went to Disneyland the day after so I was sitting pretty. I’ve always loved having a spring birthday. The signs of new growth and blossoms is perfect timing for thinking of a new year of life and what I want to do with it! (which hopefully involves a lot fun home improvement and loads of travel yet to come!).


We’re off to Disneyland!


We surprised the kids with tickets to Disneyland on Easter Sunday. We hid them under their plates at brunch. I had made Mickey Mouse necklaces (from my Playful wooden doll face necklace DIY) and given them to each child. We asked them why the Easter bunny would bring these to them and they just shrugged. So we prompted them to look under their plates to find vintage tickets that I had printed out for them (as place holders of course). The went crazy! We then told them that we were leaving that night…which was followed by looks of unbelief and squeals. So much fun!



Excited to share more when we return. In the meant time feel free to follow along with me on Instagram. xo

Fill your Easter basket with Playful goodies this year!

Cardbaord Easter Bunny Ears | Mer Mag

We’ve been having fun playing with PLAYFUL at our house as of late. You might notice that I love to use holidays and celebrations as great ways to encourage creativity with kids. So why not make a Playful themed Easter basket this year!?

Playful Easter Basket | Mer Mag

Start by filling the baskets with little DIY goodies from the book, such as a few paper puppets (which you could make on the small side such as we did here with the cake toppers) and have them poking out of the basket. Fun DIY materials such as wooden balls and a disc for your little one to paint their own doll face necklace would be so cute too! Add a few other fun trinkets (we love vintages finds such as this sweet bunny, plastic plane & car and necklace), creative supplies (such as these fun Yoobi pencils and clay) some tasty treats along side the book Playful: Fun Projects to Make With and For Kids, and your little bunny will be all set for a creative and playful Easter! Playful Easter Basket | Mer Mag

All the kids in our house have been crazy about our bandit bunny mask so it was only natural that our Playful trapeze doll get one too! You can download a template for mask sized just for her here! (and of course if you decide to make your doll a different size than the patterns in the book adjust the mask accordingly).

Trapeze Doll Bunny Bandit Mask | Mer Mag

Playful Easter Basket | Mer Mag


We like to have one fun “wow” item in each basket so this doll would be perfect. There is also a little bunny pillow DIY in the book too which would be darling as well. If you purchased the printable fabric (I found mine at Joann’s) today or tomorrow you could still totally sew these in time for Easter! (Or you could just trace/paint the designs right onto the fabric as some have done. Works out nicely too).

Playful Easter Basket | Mer Mag        Playful Easter Basket | Mer Mag

I think Miss M literally thinks Playful was made just her and her alone. Every time she see’s it she opens it up to the bio page with her on my lap and points each of us out. She then goes through the book craft by craft pointing crafts and toys out that she loves to play with and friends and family members she recognizes. It’s a bit adorable – I’m not going to lie.

Playful Easter Basket | Mer Mag Playful Easter Basket | Mer Mag

And just a quick note on the banister house. This here is our Master bedroom and I love love love the light that streams in so soft and moody like. Only problem is that this is where I work as well (on the opposite side of the room) and it’s often tempting to turn around and just snuggle into bed for a wee nap. When we get my office in order down stairs (which will be awhile as it’s one of our last projects – its big and has some wall/floor issues that need to be worked out) I won’t be tempted to nap as much I’m sure but for now I just have to fight the urge ;).

Make a Bandit Bunny Mask for Easter

Bandit Bunny Mask | Mer Mag

My boys are getting older and therefore getting more opinionated about what they will and will not wear/do/etc. Anything cutesy is pretty much off the table. Bunny ear headbands are in the banned group. Solution? Put a bandit mask on the bunny ears and suddenly it’s no longer cutesy but cool! And I get to still see him as a cute little bouncing bunny. Win win.

Bandit Bunny Mask | Mer Mag

To get the template and full DIY instructions for this bandit bunny mask head over to Julep.

Bandit Bunny Mask | Mer Mag

I termed this a bandit bunny mask but he quickly informed me that he was a ninja bunny. Way cooler…

Bandit Bunny Mask | Mer Mag

(oh an he’ll still wear overalls thanks to Mario. Just don’t call him cute or he’ll go all ninja on you ;))

Bandit Bunny Mask | Mer Mag

Pencil Holder Heads from PLAYFUL

Pencil Holder Heads from Mer Mag's book PLAYFUL

To get my kids to more excited about doing their homework I put a set of freshly sharpened pencils into one of our Pencil Head Holders from my book Playful: Fun Projects to Make with and For Kids. It totally works! They pick their favorite pencil and get down to business! You can also store your kids (or your own!) set of colored pencils into each head making for a fun and colorful addition to your art station! You can learn more bout how to make these in my book Playful.


photo by Nicole Gerulat for Playful

Out of the Mouth of Babes

bansiter house sillies and snuggles | mer magbansiter house sillies and snuggles | mer mag

My little O said the silliest thing to me the other day after I asked him to finish his food. He responded with “Mom, I can’t eat anymore right now. I have to wait until the food in my stomach finishes downloading.” Ha! What a little goof. Silliest kid I know.

The Banister House



If you’ve been following me on instagram you’ll know that at the beginning of the year we purchased a historic home we lovingly call The Banister House (after it’s standout banister-photos of which I’ll show at a later time). It’s been a long time coming for us as we’ve been housesitting for in-laws for the past year and a half, and renting and constantly moving from state to state prior to that. So having a place to really call home (hopefully for more than 2 years?) has been priceless for our family. And we LOVE it. Like love it. I don’t like to admit sometimes that i’m so influenced by my immediate surroundings but I am. A lot. I know we are all are and that is why good design is so important for moral, but I know that I’m extra sensitive to it. And really we all need a place to call OURS, right? I know it’s also been so good for the moral our kids to have a place that they know is theirs too.


The house has incredible bones. Over the Christmas break we painted and plastered up a few walls (after knocking down 70’s paneling, closets, tearing off moldy wallpaper, and much more). We got to work on the upstairs rooms first as well as the dining room so that we had places to live. I’m in love with the tall arched ceilings and the tall baseboards.


We’ve since settled in a bit while still working on the downstairs rooms.


It’s been nice for the kids to have a space to spread out and play (oh and do boys ever make their beds?).

banisterhousepProcessed with VSCOcam with t1 preset  banisterhousejthe banister house

Jon and I are in the room just across the way from the kids.


I’ve had to put my office (which is already so messy! eep! Works waits for no home renovator right? ;)) in our room for now as we try and figure out how to plaster our crumbling walls downstairs.


For the dining room downstairs we had to remove old 70’s wood paneling and shag carpet. I painted one of the walls with black chalk board paint. This room is fun because it’s actually part of the very first original house witch was just cabin. The front 2 story victorian portion of the home was added years later. The old kitchen is now the bathroom and the patio is now the kitchen.

banisterhouseothe banister housebanisterhouseSnuggles

This last photos shows a bit of what we’re up against with our downstairs rooms (which consists of our living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom and my office). You can see that when trying to tear off the old wallpaper the plaster walls just started to crumble down (a few more before’s here). There is no lath – just adobe brick – so we’re trying to get in a plaster expert to see what our options are. It’s a bit of a longer road ahead of us for these rooms than I had hoped but I’m excited to get it taken care of and done right. We also have a big bathroom remodel in our future which will be exciting. ;)


Stay tuned as I continue to share more before and afters of our Banister House progress! (and please if you have any tips for historic home owners we’d love to hear them!).

DIY Flower Stamps


Spring is just around the corner and we can feel it in the air! So we’re celebrating by getting our DIY stamp making on and creating and playing with a new set of floral stamps – made just for the occasion! (and you can me over on Studio 5 presenting these stamps today too at 11:00).


I pulled my little 2yr old in on this project with me and let me tell you she LOVED it. It was really fun to experience her excitement and involvement and definitely left me giddy with anticipation for the many more mommy-and-me crafts that await us!


We made these DIY flower stamps the same way we made our geometric and silly face stamps sets. Got here and here for the full diy on how to put together these simple stamps with just wood blocks and craft foam found at your local craft store. And to make this flower set, you’ll need to download the flower stamp templates here.


I’ve found that stamps are such a great craft for ALL ages. Toddlers and preschoolers just be introduced to color and shape and be left to just play and experience. Older kids can start become more intentional in their approach and design, even adding their own touches with pens and markers, such as what my boys did with our geometric stamps. And let’s be honest, us moms will be playing with these long after the little ones are in bed! I know I did!


This particular set of floral stamps is great for so many things. I love the idea of encouraging your little one to make a simple work of art or even a card – say for Mother’s Day?! But I’m also crazy about the idea of making patterns which can be applied to fabrics and totes bags and more! I say this so much on this blog but I truly mean it when I say, “the options are endless!” ;).


And how about this little flower fairy? Can you tell she’s a big fan of all things pigment? She loves colorful paints, inks, markers and yes even (if not especially) make-up. This is her own handiwork on her sweet little face. We had to buckle down and get her her own set of kids play make-up because she would go on a full scale mole hunt for mine almost all day every day. Like Seriously. So we try to run with the playful dress up side of make up – making it all apart of the fun art we create. And she’s pretty thrilled with it.


Isabel Garretón Spring Easter Dress and Doll


We love finding sweet little dresses, especially around spring/Easter time, so when Isabel Garretón contacted us about their line of dresses we were so excited to find this darling coral pink Color Block dress just perfect for little M. And then when we discovered that they offer a service where your little one can design their own matching doll, well…Little M and I were all over that!


Little M is a great combination of free spirit, stomping and romping wild child and sweet doll loving delicately dancing sprite. (Yes I was a lot like that too but I’ve learned to never assumed your children are like you ;) The surprises they bring to the table are the most exciting of challenges that we wouldn’t change for anything). She loved picking out her doll adorning her with long black curls and matching little coral pink dress.



One minute she’ll be quietly sitting and playing sweet songs for her doll…and then tossing her up in the air the next. I’m so excited for Easter with her this year as I think she’ll really get into the egg hunt and all the fancy dress wearing.