You’re Invited to A Midsummer Mingle!

A Midsummer Mingle party!

Friends I’m so excited to invite you to A Midsummer Mingle, an event the following amazing ladies and I have been planning! Join myself, Brittany of The House that Lars Built, Meta of One More Mushroom, Sarah of Sarah Jane Studios, Melanie and Alma of Caravan Shoppe, and Eva of Sycamore Street Press. I feel so lucky to be able to do what I love and I owe so very much of that to you! And I want to thank you!! We all feel similarly and have consequentially decided to put together a beautiful celebration on the the longest midsummer day of the year! June 21.
The event will take place in a lovely garden here in town and each of the hosts will be sharing a little bit of magic with you all. And Cricut is our lovely sponsor so we’ll have a making station with lots of different things to create in addition to entertainment, food, and merry making!

 

Spots are limited so don’t delay! Grab a babysitter and RSVP early because once we’re booked, we’re booked.

 

This event is sponsored by Cricut as well as many other vendors like Save on Crafts. Email me, merrileeliddiard [at] hotmail.com, if you’re interested in providing swag or would like to provide additional sponsorship to the event.

We’ve got the blues!

mer mag King of Sleep with shak-shuka

I don’t know about you guys but we’ve got a solid case of the blues around here! But don’t worry, it’s not bring us down. Just the opposite in fact. We’re loving anything and everything blue lately and are particularly in love with these picks from one of our favorite online shops, Shak-Shuka.

This little King of Sleep loves to get all snuggly and these items do just the trick: Sky Clouds Blanket (used as a cape); Raccoon Sweatshirt, Blue Stripes Casual Pants, DIY Poster board crown.

mer mag King of Sleep with shak-shuka

We’re loving these blue inspired toys from Shak-Shuka as well:

1. Magnetic A-Z 2. Fearne Fox, 3. Blue Stripes Casual Shirt 4. “Chien” MIBO backpack 5. Blue Sailing Boat

skak-shuka Bluesmer mag King of Sleep with shak-shuka

 

And to make this crown, we simple used a large sheet of blue poster board , cut some points for the top, painted a few circles on it and then taped it together. Fun and simple.

Needless to say, Little O loves to be the king. Clearly he’s a little ham too. Doesn’t take much to get him to strike a pose…or two. Such a fun loving sweet little boy and I’m crazy about this stage (he’s still 100% convinced he’s going to Mario when he grows up. Seriously convinced) . I always think it’s so unfair that we can’t bottle up these moments as mammas. But these little pics will just have to suffice.

DIY Play Kitchen with cardboard and duct tape

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I’m so excited share that I ‘m teaming up with the amazing Lauren Bradshaw to create a seres of fun and repurposed play items for her absolutely stunning Walnut Animal Society dolls! We’re crazy about all animals in the society but are especially keen on having Mr. Chester the Raccoon and Margaux the Kitty with us today (Kitty is sporting our very favorite Magnolia the Bunny Easter dress. You might recognize our bitty bunny fabric on it. So fun!).

DIY Play Kitchen with Walnut Animal Society Friends

Today we are sharing a simple kitchen set made with cardboard and duct tape. It’s the perfect size for our stuffed friends but would really work great for any 18″ doll or stuffed animal. Or, even for little 18 month old’s who seem to fit perfect in this little space! (She loves it and I couldn’t get her to leave! She now plays with this set almost daily. Her older brother is happy to play along too).

 

From just one large box we were able to make a stove and a refrigerator.

  1. To start we cut the box down the middle and used each side – one for the refrigerator and the remainder for the stove. But if you have boxes that are already relatively the size of what you want your items to be, that would work even better (In fact the Walnut Animal Society friends come in a really great box that could be used for this too – we just ended up using for something else). Basically our refrigerator ended up being 2′ tall, 9″ wide and about 8.5″ deep. The stove is 11″x9″x8.5″.
  2. Construction was pretty simple. Just decide where you want your doors and shelves etc. Cut them out and then tape them on. I have a huge roll of brown kraft paper carton tape on hand which makes cardboard construction easier (and conveniently matches) but really you could use any packing tape (even duct tape) to adhere the shelving, etc.
  3. Once everything is assembled how you like, you can now decorate with duct tape and paint, etc. We kept ours pretty simple but you could get as fancy as you’d like.

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You can also use scraps of cardboard to create a few extra play items such as little pot. Basically we just bent the cardboard around into a circle, threw on a bottom and duct taped the whole thing together. Perfectly imperfect repurposed pot.

 

DIY Play Kitchen with Walnut Animal Society Friends

And we can’t say enough about our new Walnut Animal friends. I’m quite fond of Chester. He’s just such a happy and dapper little fellow. But really we might just have to collect them all.

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Little Miss M is definitely keen on Margaux and can’t stop giving her loves and kisses. Really they are in heaven in their little kitchen together. Miss M is particularly interested in helping her cook up a delicious meal.

 

We have more playhouse items in store for our friends so stayed tuned. What would you like to see us make? We’d love to hear!

Style Influence: My Mother

Style Influence: My Mother

For Mother’s Day 2012 I shared a bit about my mom here on the blog. She has been such an amazing influence in my life in so many ways (the above pic is of her, my father and grandfather with my little sister – it’s hard to find a pic of her with me as I don’t have immediate access to all the family pics). As Mother’s Day was yesterday, I wanted to share a bit about the sort of influence she has had on me style wise. If you had asked me, oh about 5 years ago, whether or not my mother’s style is anything like my own I would have said no, not really at all. And still, today I would agree that we do have very different inclinations (she’s big into “overstuffed” furniture and I want my couches modern, thin and as streamlined as possible, etc.). But as I “mature” I can definitely see how her style, where we lived and the way she raised us has had a big impact on my own tastes and personal design style.

I grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado. Truly we lived on the very edge of town (it was technically called Laporte) and was only an hour away from Wyoming. I never considered myself growing up in the “country” because I was always riding my bike into town and basically lived in the bustling Old Town of Ft. Collins as a teenager. But as I look back, I realize that I really was raised as a country girl. We lived in a large ranch style home at the end of a remote street. Which meant that there was a ginormous field to the side and to the back of us as well as a ditch that was delight of many a summer inner tubbing trip. The neighborhood was very unique and was created for “ranchers” or “farmers” that wanted about an acre of land to raise a bit of live stock on while still being a part of a neighborhood community. I really haven’t found any neighborhoods quite like it since. So like just about every house on our street, we had an acre of land with a barn in the back and we raised different animals such as goats for certain portions of my childhood. This was mostly due to my father’s background of growing up on a farm. My mother moved away from South Pasadena California, sunshine and the center of vintage Hollywood Glam to raise her large family in a more mountain laden and colder Colorado. And according to her, she never looked back (although she could never kick her laid back Cali vibe).

My mother would classify her style as French Country/French Provincial with a cozy incorporation of overstuffed. When we were younger she wasn’t afraid of wallpaper or mixing patterns is a fun way that actually always seemed to work. She had a good eye for color and pattern. When she later renovated her home she insisted on all white walls with very little adornment. The addition of architectural details, which she had designed with the help of my architect of an uncle, did most of the talking. She’s always liked a bit symmetry and order when it came to design. Maybe a constant to contrast her laid back parenting style and all the craziness that nine messy kids brought to the table? Things had to come in pairs, or groups. One thing always seemed to inform another. I remember a friend saying to me in awe “it’s like everything goes together! How does she do that?”. At first I didn’t know what she was talking about. For me this was just home. But after looking around I did begin to notice my mother’s attention to detail in a way that I hadn’t before.

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(photos from Christmas 2011)

I asked her what were some of her key thoughts are when creating and designing a home. This was her short go-to list of “must haves”:

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  1. When designing a room I want it to feel beautiful. When a person walks in I don’t necessarily want their eye to go to one particular item. The entire room needs to work together as a whole. Then when one enters and sits down they then begin to see various treasures and little moments that delight the eye. It’s Ok to have a few items that pop but not so overwhelming so as to be distracting. A bit of opulences is OK but not so much that you don’t feel comfortable. Oh and I don’t put anything in the room that I don’t think is beautiful.
  2. I want everyone to feel welcome, like they have a place here. Now that most of my children are grown and have families of their own, instead of downsizing, I’ve converted each bedroom into a room for each family to stay in, complete with king beds and cribs. I want my family to have an easy time visiting, to enjoy themselves and want to stay. I want them to have FUN here! (It was my mom’s idea to put the boys in their sleeping bags and let them cuddle under the Christmas tree in the pics above. She’s always been keen on providing magical spaces and moments for children. I definitely have that same inclination because of my mom.)
  3. For family reunions, such as the ones we have every year on the 4th of July, I want the outdoors around my home to be magical. One year I even cut the branches out of inside of our large fir tree in the front yard so that the grandkids could have a hide-out play area for our pirate party. We called it Dead Man’s Tree. It’s still one of my favorite places in my yard.

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The above pics are from several different 4th of July reunions we’ve had at my parents house over the years. Every year my parents create something different for the “party” for us to enjoy. One year my parents made a miniature golf course for all the kids and grandkids to enjoy. You can see more pics from some or our past themed reunions at her home here, here, and here. She also loves prepping for her grandkids by acquiring things in bulk such as the red plastic picnic baskets for lunches seen above (I think after having 9 kids it’s probably no fun to pair things down for the few still at home. I really think she delights in continuing to provide things in mass for her large family).

She’s also a bit of a collector. Particularly of dishes. She has at least 4 sets of different ceramic dish sets - and counting ;). And she’s a collector of magazines. LOTS and lots of magazine. When I was little you could hardly step around her bedroom due to the many many stacks of interior design magazines she had adorning the room. She perused many of them while soaking in her jetted tub. It was a get away of sorts for her.

She’s a maker too. She sewed everything. And I mean everything. Loads and loads of Halloween costumes, prom dresses and all of her daughters wedding dresses. She’s always been a DIYer. She told me that she really loves “taking something and transforming in into something else. It’s more fulfilling than buying new. The transformation is magical”. She’s also a massive thrift store shopper. In fact we sisters love to thrift when ever we get together. It sort of doesn’t feel like home without a good thrift outing. And she adores toys. She’s very particular about them and is especially in love with dolls (she actually made her own dolls, including porcelain ones. I talk more about it here). She would sit and look at a dolls face, hands, eyes, etc. and then tell us which ones were made well and which were not. Which were unique and special and why. She didn’t care what was popular, just what was amazing to her and made well. And then she’d buy out the entire line so that she was sure to to have every item from that collection. She’d always inspect the way a toy was painted before purchasing it. She wanted to be sure she picked the very best version. So naturally, you can see where my love of toys come from.

As I’ve recently defined, my style is Play French Industrial. Very different than my mothers but I still take so many things from her.

Some ways in which my mother’s style has influenced me:

  • Modern Farmhouse: Even though I have a “city girl” personality in many ways (I adore museums, the theatre, boutique shops and cafes -Paris and NYC are some of my most favorite places on earth) I also have a strong country vibe. My dream would be to have a modern farmhouse with a bit of land where amber waves could flow, but situated just on the edge of town - so not too far of a drive to culture and a bit of bustle.

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  • Ceramics: My mother, the avid dish collector has rubbed off on me a bit. I actually have quite the love for unique ceramics (took a few obligatory classes in college which helped to feed the bug). I actually want to make my very on set of dishes at some point. Pin board of some fav’s here.
  • Tea Parties and Tablescapes: My mother and sisters have regular tea parties. It’s been a tradition for years. She loves to create enchanting tablescapes as well (a reason to break out all those dishes?). I’ve sort fallen in love with holding tea parties myself. See some from the past here, here, and here.
  • Magazine Horder: And of course I LOVE magazines. Blogs are great but nothing compares to the work and beauty that goes into creating a solid glossy. Curling up with a cup of peppermint tea, shortbread cookies and a stack of good magazine is the best way to beat a moody afternoon, any day.
  • Playful Living: Obviously I get a great deal of my need to live and cultivate a creative and playful environment from my mother. I too love to DIY, make something old new again and am always delighted by a really beautifully made toy. It’s so very important for me to raise my kids within a playful and creative environment.
  • Handmade Costumes: My mother is a queen bee seamstress. I haven’t inherited her amazing skills in the same way my older sister has but I do insist on making my kids costumes every Halloween. It’s great fun and tradition my kids have grown to love. They put in their orders just like we did as kids.MotherStyleInfluenceRoundup2

I could go on and on about my mother and her influence. She’s amazing. A bit crazy, a little unorthodox and totally passionate about her handmade life with her family.

To sum up how it felt to grow up in her household, I made this portrait of my momma and all of us 9 children for her this Mother’s Day. And I wrote this about it:

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Red Balloons For Ryan print

Red Balloons For Ryan print

Friends you may have been following on Instagram the tragic story of the family that lost this bright beautiful boy last Friday. Although I do not know them personally my heart breaks for them. Tears fall for them. We as mothers – as humans – ache for one another and we long to lift one another’s burdens if only in some small way. I wasn’t sure what I could do but I knew I had to draw a picture of the sweetest little red head boy, Ryan. I’m now selling this print, with all proceeds going to Ryan’s parents for whatever they might need. This print is also for us to always remember his beautiful life here on earth. To know that his happy life goes on as he’s met with his loving Heavenly Father and with other loved ones and watches over his mommy and daddy. It’s also for us to remember to cherish the beautiful moments and the unbreakable connections we make with our little ones, with our family, friends and loved ones. To remember to feel joy, to cherish – to live and to love in the moment and always. (more…)

Spring Style girl picks over on Pinhole Press

Girls Spring Mix

Head on over to the Pinhole Press blog today to see our girls spring fashion picks!

Girls Spring Mix

We’ve chosen some of our favorite clothing items for a Modern Peasant look, including one of my favorite dresses of the season, the Anais III, by Anais & I.

For more Modern Peasant looks and sources, head on over to Pinhole Press. (now if only they had these in my size….)

 

 

Make a Rock Portrait for Mom! and a Get Messy Contest!

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Rock paintings are such a classic craft for kids. Why not have them paint special rock portraits for Mom this Mother’s Day?!  Everyone is sure to have a blast (well at least we did!).

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As part of Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Get Messy Outdoors Contest we wanted to bring in the outdoors and craft with something from mother earth. So rocks it was!

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We had fun spending an afternoon painting rock family portraits. The boys really really loved it.

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We then packaged one up using a repurposed jewelry box to give away as a Mother’s Day gift. I made a label reading “Mom, you Rock!” and am offering it as printable for you to download should you want to use it. If you don’t have an old jewelry box lying around, you can make your own box using my sisters origami paper box tutorial. A couple of 12×12″ scrapbook papers would be perfect for this which would also alow your rock to be any size (not just thin so that it would fit into a jewelry box).

MomYouRock

Just click the image below to download.

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And to enter the Mrs. Meyer’s Outdoor Get Messy contest yourself, head on over to their site. You could win some really great prizes! I mean REALLY great! Now let’s get MESSY, shall we?!

 

 

 

Easter 2014

easter 2014

Friends i hope you all had a very happy Easter full of happiness, chocolate mouthfuls, family, fondness and renewal.

easter 2014

Ours was simply and positively lovely. I didn’t manage to make the boys Easter attire this year as I have in years past but I did make little Miss a hand painted dress last minute. We threw on her bunny ears from last year (it’s amazing how much they can change in a year)  and pulled out this little duct tape basket and off a hunting she did go!

easter 2014

The boys enjoyed hunting for eggs as well as helping their sister in the event (the boys wore clothing from past, such as this favorite sweater, which worked out just fine). And Jon and I enjoyed watching simple memories take place.

easter 2014

I think holidays like Easter and Christmas often “pause” time for a bit…allowing us to look at our life and what we have, sort of in slow motion. We are happy. We might not have a place of our own to call home, or a solid idea of what the future holds but what we do have a beautiful life. And the spring beckons me to begin again, find new pastures, plant new seeds and find beauty all around me. I love every minute of it.

DIY Play Birthday Cake with Duct Tape on Babiekins

DIY Play Birthday Cake with and oatmeal box and duct tape

March and April are big birthday months around here (My oldest turned 8 recently and I just might have turned another year older a week or so ago). So what better way to celebrate than with a DIY play birthday cake! And out of our favorite repurposed items such as an oatmeal box and duct tape makes this earth friendly, no-cal cake even better! I’ve actually had this DIY birthday cake in mind for some time, even wanted to use it in my book, but never could get it just right. I had ideas of covering it in fabric, or painting it and then finally resolved to stick with one of my favorite crafting items, the ever bright and endurable duct tape.

Head on over to the Babiekins blog for full instructions on how to make this DIY play cake.

DIY Play Birthday Cake with and oatmeal box and duct tape

It’s been fun playing around with duct tape again. In fact I’ve got a new batch of things in this medium to share with you soon. Can’t wait!

DIY Play Birthday Cake with and oatmeal box and duct tape

We had my darling niece over during her spring break to model for this cake. And how cute is this Miszko Maszko star printed skirt she’s wearing? I’m smitten.

DIY Play Birthday Cake with and oatmeal box and duct tape

I don’t know about you but I’m now seriously craving a real slice of cake..and since it is still my birthday month…