Category Archives: Decorate

{DIY} Playroom Chalkboard Wall

After a couple of years, you get to a point in your young parenting life when you relinquish the ideas of your former self. Last year I converted my old work/workout area into a inspired writer’s nook. A lovely thought, right? Over a year later, I believe I wrote from that spot a total of three times. If I got a chance to work on my writing, it was likely at the dining room table in between making dinner, doing some work and cleaning up crayons. Our once adult basement slowly transformed. With large plastic toys cluttering the basement TV viewing area, the man cave part of the basement was a man cave no more. So I threw up the white flag. Mommy surrender.

My once serene writer’s nook has been transformed into a toddler’s playroom. The sacrifice was worth the reward. We now have friends over to watch a game while the kids quietly (or not so quietly) play right behind us, and we know they are safe. I plan on showing the full playroom in weeks to come when I finish the cute sporty touches, but for now, I wanted to share a little fun art corner addition.

Our toy room is sectioned off by two three foot tall walls that divide the room. I decided it was the perfect height and length to turn it into a chalkboard wall for Lincoln and his friends. Originally, I just planned on painting the wall, until I discovered chalkboard contact paper. Much less fuss, much less smell, much less mess and hopefully easier to clean up if I decide I do not want it anymore.

I ordered the contact paper through Amazon. I needed two rolls to fill our wall space. It is easiest to have someone help you to reduce the amount of bubbles in the paper.

What you need:
Chalkboard contact paper
Single edge razor blade or Exacto knife
Credit card

The process is pretty simple. Cut your paper to the length of your space (I made mine a little longer and cut it off at the end). Peel of the back of the contact paper. Starting at the top of the wall, press across then down. Continue this until you reach the bottom. Pull downward and a little bit outward with the paper to avoid bubbles. Use a credit card to smooth the paper and adhere it to the wall. Cut the extra edges (if you have any) with a scissors. If you have any small overlaps over molding or at the corners, take an Exacto knife and simply slice off the extra pieces, being careful not to slice the wall. Repeat with as many pieces as you need to fill your space. Make sure to line up your paper and make as few seams as possible.

Lincoln was very excited to get to play on his new chalkboard wall and I am happy as a clam typing with my Mac in my lap or on the table. Life may not be what it used to be, but life is pretty darn good.

I’ve got something cooking for the other side, which I will share in the future. I plan to use the leftover contact paper for some fun projects too. Stay tuned!



Filed under Decorate, DIY, Family

{Inspired by} Peacocks

As far as birds go, it does not get any fancier than a peacock. It is no wonder these birds can reel in the ladies, bringing in several at one time with one swift spread of the feathers. I know I am not alone by being drawn into the iridescent array of colorful feathers of these beautiful creatures. I’ve been to a few events recently that have been peacock-inspired with beautiful blues and greens sprinkled throughout the room.

This past weekend, I attended a pre-wedding celebration bridal shower for my friend Jen. Being a bird-lover, she had a peacock themed shower with peacock invitations and a few peacock touches. As a bridesmaid, I wanted to help add an extra special touch to the day, so I created peacock name tags to hang from the water glasses and a few peacock colored tissue poms that rested on the mantle.

A little over a year ago, my dear friend Doug married his lovely bride Stacy and hosted one of the most beautiful wedding receptions I’ve ever attended. Peacock inspiration was everywhere from the flower girl to the name cards. It was elegant and sophisticated with a modern flare. To start out the peacock theme, I designed their wedding save-the-date with a little peacock touch. (You can find this design in my Etsy shop, Morning Star Designs).

A special shout out to Robb Davidson Photography for the photos from Doug and Stacy’s wedding. If you live in the Chicagoland area and are looking for a fabulous and inspired photographer, check out Robb. He is great!

If you have any peacock-themed events you’ve experienced, we’d love for you to share a link!

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Filed under Decorate, Entertain, Weddings

Lovely Little Lady Baby Celebration

Maybe it is the second child in me, but I feel like every baby deserves a celebration. So when we found out our very own Anne was expecting her second little girl this spring, we just had to throw a little soiree. We called this a baby celebration, rather than a shower. We gathered on a Sunday afternoon for some sweet treats and hot drinks in celebration of the newest lovely little lady!

Guests were invited with the bunting flag invites which set the scene for the pink sweets table (for sale in my Etsy shop here!).


We set up a sweets table in the basement that included thumbprint cookies, cherry chip cookies, fruit and fluff dip and a snickerdoodle cake. Little pink touches were added throughout with plates, napkins, ribbons and flowers. Homemade pink and white tissue pom poms hung from the ceiling. Guests were also treated to a hot chocolate & coffee bar with lots of fun mix-ins, including Bailey’s Irish Cream, Kahlua, Amaretto liquor, vanilla syrup, infused whipped creams, and hand-dipped marshmallows.

A Snickerdoodle Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream was served. It was topped with a little bunting flag printed on scrapbook paper, threaded and tied to bamboo skewers. The recipe for the cake can be found on Foodie with Family.

We had a great time chatting, eating, drinking and celebrating the upcoming birth of what we know we will be a lovely little lady! February was quite the month for parties and I was thrilled to end the month on such a bright cheery note! We wish Anne and her family the very best as they anticipate the arrival of baby number two!


Filed under Baby Shower, Decorate, DIY, Entertain, Treats

Breakfast at Tiffany’s Party

My niece Mallory recently celebrated her second birthday and her party was too sweet not to share! What girl, big or little, can resist dress up and fancy things?  This theme works great for a little girl’s birthday or for a wedding shower or adult birthday. Nothing wrong with teaching them young how fabulous that little blue box can be, right?

Guests were invited by an imitation little blue box with the words Mallory & Co. written across the front. The back read “Breakfast at Mallory’s” across the back along with the invitation details. (These invites are available for sale as a personalized PDF file at my Etsy shop, Morning Star Designs).

The house was filled with lovely blue touches, from the homemade tissue poms to the placemats to the balloons.

Tiny guests were given their party favors upon entrance to the party. This party was just for mommies and girls (minus Lincoln) so necklaces, bracelets and sunglasses were passed along for some dress up.

A beautiful Tiffany-inspired cake adorned the table. A breakfast of blueberry french toast, tomato egg strata and donuts was served. Along with mimosas for the mommies and blue juice for the kids.

Little fancy touches of pearls and china were strewn throughout the house. Simple and elegant!

I had a little fun with Photoshop and put Mallory’s face on the Breakfast at Tiffany’s movie poster, and changed the words to Breakfast at Mallory’s. It was a huge hit!

The birthday girl was beaming as we all sang happy birthday and blew out the candle like an old pro. Mallory wore a shirt designed by Lois Jean Linens, complete with an embroidered pearl necklace and a little black ruffle at the bottom.

Mallory and Sir Lincoln had a blast partying together! Happy Birthday to my darling niece!


Filed under Birthday, Decorate, DIY, Entertain

{Free Download} Valentine’s Day Typography Sign

I’m never super motivated to dress my house up in Valentine’s Day decor. We don’t do much to celebrate the holiday, but a little love reminder in the house is never a bad thing! Throughout the year, I periodically change out a frame that I have leaning on my bookshelf. This year, I took a quote from one of my favorite classics, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

And now you can have it too! Just click here to download a free PDF file of the print. You can print it at home on your computer and place it in a frame you have in the house. Or think about spray painting an old frame a pretty pink or red color. Home decor doesn’t come much cheaper than that!

Wishing you love this Valentine’s Day!

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Filed under Decorate, DIY, Holidays, Valentine's Day

{Before & After} An Affordable Kitchen Makeover

This post has been a long time coming. We moved into our house three and a half years ago with the intentions of doing a little bit of work in our kitchen. While dreams of tearing down walls and granite counter tops may be far off in the distance, my husband and I found some great affordable alternatives using a kitchen renovation cost estimator to turn a bland, dated kitchen into an updated, garden-inspired breath of fresh air. With most of the major portions being done over a year ago, nothing ever seems to be “done,” which is why it has taken me awhile to post this. But the last few finishing touches have turned a once uninspiring room to a place where I could stay and cook all day.

So here are some pictures of what our kitchen looked like prior to the changes:

How about that floor? Gross. My husband and I agreed. It had to go. But first, we decided to attack the walls and cabinets. And by “we,” I mean, I did some wall painting and my husband attacked all the rest. We followed the same steps that Anne and her family used for painting kitchen cabinets and it worked fabulously. It is a lot of taping and draping, but once the process gets going it is pretty smooth sailing.Though hanging cabinets back up is not fun, especially if they were not hung correctly from the beginning.

I had a vision of a bright garden kitchen. I decided to take a huge leap and paint the walls and backsplash a bright green. We used Behr Thyme Green paint. I was a bit nervous as we started slathering it on that I was transforming my kitchen into that of an over zealous Packers fan (being an avid Bears fan, this did not sit well). As you can see from the picture below, the green paint made the kitchen look very dated when next to the old wood work and dark blinds. We fixed that later by painting all of the trim and adding bright white blinds.

After painting the walls and cabinets, next came the floor. We have a bit of a strange set up with our kitchen/den like area. Before taking up part of the carpet from the den, we got used to the idea of eating in the “other” room. We moved the table over by the small bay window. In doing that, we had room to add a kitchen cart for storage and extra counter space (and maybe some day a whole wall of extra counter). Best decision we made! It makes the kitchen look ten times bigger and allows for much more space to move around while cooking.

My dutiful husband did lots of internet research and with no prior experience, tore up the old floor and installed new laminate wood flooring. We decided to go with a dark cherry laminate. It is easy to clean, saves money and is durable with the likes of a little Bam-Bam running around.

When the big stuff was complete, I moved onto the small touches. I switched out the old curtains for airy and flowery floor length ones. I received the adorable hanging fruit plates from my brother-in-law and sister-in-law as a wedding thank you gift. Perfect little space saver for all of our fresh fruit and vegetables.

I ordered the rustic mason jar key holder from the Etsy store Old New Again. I contemplated recreating this, but loved their version so much I decided to make the purchase. I did, however, create my own chalkboard from an old window I found at a flea market, similar to Katie’s post awhile back.

My friend’s sent me the awesome donut print for my birthday, something I had “pinned” from an Etsy shop. I’m not shy about my love for donuts and this just shouts it from the rooftops, with a slight bit of subtlety. I also designed a few whimsy kitchen prints to hang on the walls. I found I liked everything better on the green when surrounded by white. Hence, the white frames and matting.

While our kitchen is likely to undergo at least some other minor changes here and there, I am pleased with my new kitchen. Look for a future post on how I am filling that blank wall by our kitchen table.

A thousand thanks to my hubby for making it happen! A happy kitchen makes a happy cook!


Filed under Decorate, DIY, Fab Finds

DIY Monogram Holiday Gift Tags

Keeping with the theme of personalized gift tags that Stef started, I dressed up my presents this year with monogrammed tags. If Stef’s tags were perfect for the wee illiterate, mine are just a tiny step forward – equally charming for eager toddlers as they are for adults. And the best part is that they’re super easy to put together!

What You’ll Need:
scissors & Exacto knife
decorative papers
kraft paper or cardstock
glue stick

1. Choose your favorite bold font and type the letters of your gift recipients into a Word document. I used Book Antiqua in size 150 pt.
2. Print off the pages of letters and cut them out.
3. Flip the letter over so that it appears backwards on the side of the paper that you don’t want to show. This will prevent smudgy pen or pencil marks on the “good” side when the letter is flipped over and oriented correctly. Cut out the letter using a scissors and an Exacto knife for inside spaces.

4. If you wish to have another color or pattern as an outline, repeat by tracing and cutting slightly larger than the edges of the actual letter.
5. Use a glue stick to affix onto cardstock or kraft paper tags.
6. Using a hole punch, punch a hole in the top of the tag and tie twine through.

HAP Holiday: Cookies, Wrappings and all the Trimmings!

Looking for more holiday ideas? Check out these ghosts of HAP Christmases past:
Orange, Cranberry & Chocolate Chip Cookies
Christmas Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Valencia Delights
Lemon Ginger Tea Snowballs
Gingerbread Crinkles
Almond M&M Cookies
Easy Christmas Snacks
Gilded Lavender Butter Cookies

Unique Gift Wrapping Ideas
Last Minute Gift Wrap Ideas
Photo Gift Tags

Christmas Typography Sign
Quilled Paper Ornaments
DIY Winter Wreath
Holiday Tablescape


Filed under Christmas, DIY, Holidays