How To Make an Art Center for Children

This week in New Year New Home we focus on making your children an art center, while sticking to a budget.

We all know that with toddlers come a never ending amount of art paper, crayons, color wonder crayons, chalk, modelling clay...usually it all gets tossed in a basket and set out of reach of toddler hands, so as to avoid the inevitable mess they will make.

What kind of creative process is that?

I'm so excited to have given our son his own little creative corner. What used to be some pretty drab shelves and baskets for his toys...

Pretty boring, not a whole lot going on there since we rooted through all of the toys and got rid of anything that he really wasn't playing with.

But now? Oh it's a haven for reading and creativity!

My little guy has his own easel, from Ikea, with all of his supplies, colouring books and work books right at his level so he can foster his creativity and run wild with imagination.

The best part? By using the things that we already had on hand like baskets and supplies, the only thing new for this area was the easel. And was $20!

Stay tuned to New Year New Home as we talk toy storage and labelling with Lovable Labels in two weeks!


Write It Wednesday...Spotless Tan Carpeting

I've got to admit, the prompt for this week's Write It Wednesday creative writing challenge has me a little stumped. Steph did a great job coming up with it, so let's jump right in and see what happens!

The elevator opened, and she tumbled out onto the floor. Clutching her trench coat, shaking in her shoes, she clambered to her feet and walked briskly out to the lobby, leaving a trail of dark red foot prints behind her.

Trying to catch her breath, she tied up her coat tightly and let the building. Meanwhile upstairs, sunlight streamed into the room, illuminating an eclectic assortment of modernly angular furniture sitting astutely upon spotless tan carpeting. Carpeting that had been tirelessly scrubbed out of fear.

Fear of being ridiculed. Fear of being punished. Fear of being labelled a failure.

Her mind was completely scattered. She turned the corner, fearing that people could see the panic on her face. Fearing that they would somehow know what happened. 

She was frantic, trying to hide the panic on her face seemed like a pointless task. Wringing her hands, all she could think was to turn each corner and leave the tan carpet behind. 

She looked up, and there he stood. She wanted to vomit, seeing the look of disappointment on his face.

"I told you I couldn't do it," she said, turning her eyes to the ground.

"I knew you couldn't. You're pathetic. You're everything that I feared you were."

In that one moment, something in her snapped. Images flooded her mind and cluttered her thoughts. The dropped dish of cranberry sauce, splattered all over their tan carpet, the turkey black and burnt, the rolls strewn across the floor.

Without a second thought, she sprang forward and lost control. A strange light flashed in her eyes, and then he was limp.

She wiped her lip with the tip of her finger, and looked down to see a new shade of red, so much darker than the cranberry sauce he had worried himself over. 

That damn tan carpet. The ridiculous angular furniture.

Who was she kidding? She wasn't made for this life, wasn't meant to be a house wife and provide the perfect Thanksgiving meal to her darling husband.

She chuckled wickedly under her breath and licked her lips.

No. She was meant for so much more.

I really hope that I'll see some familiar blog amongst the linkup at Confessions of a Stay-at-Home-Mom. These challenges are so important to test the boundaries and see where our imaginations can push us. They make us better writers, better bloggers and they are fun!


Food&Wine Friday: Wine Bottle Centrepiece

I was looking around where else...Pinterest...for some wine bottle inspiration and stumbled across this amazing centrepiece.

It would be absolutely gorgeous at an outdoor wedding reception, romantic anniversary dinner, or even as the perfect setting for a proposal!

I love the way candlelight flickers off the simple, beautiful shape of a wine bottle. Add in the dripping wax down the side and it just becomes magical!

In this example, the bottles are completely clear, the candles white. I think this is a beautiful decision, because it allows you to play with colour for the table cloth and allow that colour to dominate the table. They've used a gold, but I think a raspberry, lime, turquoise or eggplant would look absolutely stunning with the black plates and the clear glasses. The silverware gives it a nice flicker of metallic when the candlelight dances across it.

What does it inspire for me? Well...a romantic anniversary dinner on the patio this September with my husband perhaps, or maybe the centrepieces for a fantastic birthday party this fall {it's a biggie!!}

Food&Wine Friday: Francis Coppola Cabernet Sauvignon

Taking a queue from my Hubs' favourite wine, the Francis Coppola Cabernet Sauvignon, this week. Just check out this label!

It's super simple, being in black and white, but what I find really inspiring are the vines and tendrils in the centre diamond graphic.

I absolutely love working tendrils into my pieces, especially the sculpted rings.

Be they abstract with a tendril or two on top for a three-dimensional effect....

or a sculpted flower with tendrils coming in and out of it, like it was intertwined in a flowering bush...

I find that it really makes a piece, or wine bottle, come to life!

Food&Wine Friday: Creamy Brie Cheese

While definitely not a cheese that screams summer with its melty, gooey goodness, there's something to be said for the colour and texture of a good brie cheese.

It's almost a rustic white on the outside if someone has tried to scrape it off. It reminds me of chalk...which takes me to a place of burlap, chalkboards, hay bales....a rustic vintage glam wedding.

When I see the brie pictured above, I see a rustic cheese board lined up with artisan breads, red wines and brie wheels...just waiting for wedding guests to dive in during the cocktail hour.

I also see a gorgeous wedding gown with a lace overlay....a sculpted dahlia in the brides hair...her bridesmaids with matching dahlia rings...

Layers and layers of delicate petals come together to create it, similar to the layers and layers of heavenly cream that come together to create a beautiful wheel of brie. What could be better at your rustic wedding...not many things, I tell ya...not many things.

Food&Wine Friday: Kim Crawford Savignon Blanc

Ooohh....this is my absolute most favourite wine! I first tried it when we were on holidays in Florida, and I've been in love ever since.

Crisp, refreshing notes of passionfruit with a clear finish...just delicious with, really, anything. If you haven't tried it, I highly highly recommend picking up a bottle {or two} the next time that you're out.

Where does inspiration come from with this delicious wine? Well, for me it's two fold. I really love that the bottle is very monochromatic - lots of different olive tones, paired with a gold piping...really lovely and classic.

Pair that colour with the brilliant tones of a passionfruit...

And you have a stunning colour combination of split compliments. I most definitely will be using these colours in some mini-triptychs that will be Hollywood bound this fall as I think they evoke such an amazing feeling of summer. They are playful, yet classic....bold, yet understated.

I think they'll pack a punch in a mini-triptych!

Food & Wine Friday: White Pear Pinot Grigio

Summer is here, and that means a new series for Friday's on the blog!!

Welcome to Food&Wine Friday, where I will be taking some inspiration from my favourite food and wine pairings, and translating them into some arty projects. Neat concept? Hopefully!!

Today, I want to talk about an absolutely delicious wine that I sampled last month, the new White Pear Pinot Grigio by Arbour Mist.

I am in absolutely love with the pastel citrus tones on the label. A frosted bottle mixed with crisp pear green, a splash of yellow and some white font. The light yellow wine in the bottle made me feel like, when the seal was cracked it should have sighed and bubbles should have poured out.

Just amazing, and for me, very inspirational! I've always said that inspiration comes in the strangest of places, and I am finding that in the labels, bottles and pairings of our favourite wines.

What did the White Pear Pinto Grigio inspire? Since the colours are pastel, light, citrus and lovely, I'm going to do a series of painted sculpted clay ruffles, that can be mounted on rings, hairclips or headbands!

Here's a peak at the blank canvas of one of the ruffles that you can expect to see in the shop this summer...

Sponsored Post: Change Up Your Bedroom on a Budget

Change Up Your Bedroom On A Budget

Article submitted by Christina Johnson

It helps to switch up your bedroom every so often. If you find yourself staring at the same thing every day, you can quickly become bored and uninspired. Not everybody can afford to do this with no budget in mind, however. If you want to change your room inexpensively, there are options at your disposal.

1. Paint the Walls

If you live in a home that allows you to change the color of the walls, consider painting them something a little different. Paint is not too expensive, and with so much available on the market you are bound to find something that fits your tastes and needs. A new paint job can make a room feel new again, especially if the walls were white, and it can be done in a short amount of time. If you do not believe that you can paint it yourself, ask loved ones for help or hire professionals.

2. Change the Bedspread

Sometimes, all it takes to make your bedroom feel entirely different is a new bedspread. If you have a room that does not have a lot of color in it, a bright bedspread can add something special. If you want to express your love for a certain hobby or interest, you can find a bedspread with characters or symbols that represent what you are into. If you do not want to stop at the bedspread, you can look for pillows and bedding that can add more depth to what you want to achieve. If the bedspread that you want is expensive, save up for it; there is no reason to settle for something that you do not like.

3. Swap Locations of the Furniture

Reinventing your bedroom does not have to mean driving to a store. If you want to make something different, go and look through the rest of your house. Perhaps there is a chair in the living room that nobody has ever sat on, or maybe there is a small table that would fit in a corner of your bedroom. With this option, you do not have to pay any money at all, and you can give seldom-used furniture new life.

4. Add Accessories

Another inexpensive change that you can implement involves hanging more art on your walls. The artwork does not need to be large and expensive; if you so choose, you can purchase a poster and frame it or simply place it on a wall. Wall art can be found just about anywhere, from furniture stores to department stores to garage sales. Your bedroom can feel different simply because you purchased a plant to put under your windowsill or a poster of your favorite movie to place over your bed.

Christina Johnson who works remotely for Elliman Prudential in the New York City Apartments and Rentals market. She is using her journalism major to combine what she loves most, writing and her career. Her specialties include home decor design and DIY home improvement projects.

Mompreneur Monday: Baily Belle

I had the pleasure a few weeks ago connecting with Vanessa from BailyBelle on Twitter. The lovely Daisy from Pixel&Hank connected us, as we were gushing about crying over Pampers commercials, silly mommy moments and wondering if our hormones would ever be the same again (quick answer: no).

Well!! Vanessa and I quickly started chatting, I looked up her Etsy shop and I'm now the proud owner of this beauty.

Have you ever seen something so unique and beautiful?? I haven't, which is why I snatched it up and got it for my Christmas stocking!!

I wanted Vanessa to be my first Mompreneur featured in 2012 because her vision and creativity just shines in everything that she touches. Truly and simply, she is an artist.

What do you do?

I design and create handmade accessories ranging in materials from fabric, paper, metal and Linkleather. I work in an eclectic manner producing sophisticated and playful pieces for you to enjoy! I run 3 Etsy shops (bailybelle, SoMichelle vintage and The Train Case supplies) with the main shop being bailybelle all while raising my 2 wonderful kids with my amazing husband Lucas.

How do you maximize your time as a busy mom running a business?

Ah the question worth a million dollars! Thankfully I have a great support system of family who help me out a ton, without them I'd be lost. I tend to create when the kids are sleeping or busy playing (my studio is situated so I face our living room and can keep an eye on them).

What do you see as your greatest challenge being a MOMpreneur?

My greatest challenge would have to be balancing my kids education and my work on a daily basis. My kids are small now but my son will be starting kindergarten next fall and as a homeschooling mother things will get tricky! I plan on making a lot of schedules and disciplining myself to stay on task to get everything done.

What advice do you have for other moms looking to start a business?

Take it slow! In the past I had a tendency to jump into things and then realize I was over my head. It's best to take baby steps and learn as much as you can as you grow so you create a balanced business.

Is there anything additional you'd like to share with my readers?

I do have an announcement to make! Yippee!! One of my pieces (my chalkboard necklace) is featured in the January issue of Sacramento Parent magazine! How fun is that and appropriate for your blog?! I will be receiving a copy of the magazine when it's out so I hope to be able to share photos on twitter/facebook and my blog!

I would like to offer a 10% off code to your readers as well so have them enter code SWEETNESS at checkout for 10% off any purchase in January!

MOMpreneur Monday: Cherry Tree Soaps

Just in case your weekend was a little ho-hum, I have someone very cheerful, lovely and sunshine-y to introduce you to today; Kristine Bessell from Cherry Tree Soaps! Kristine is kicking off the last series of MOMpreneur Monday posts for the year.

Each week, you'll meet a new mama who is crazy creative, juggles a busy family with a busy business, and get some advice from these incredible women about how you too could be a MOMpreneur in the making!

Kristine runs a lovely shop called Cherry Tree Soaps, and quite honestly...from the first look at her sugar cube scrubs, I was in eye-candy-heaven! She's fun, flirty, but oh-so-real and she comes from such a wonderful and honest's hard not to fall in love with her!

What do you do? I create fun, fresh, natural and gentle soaps, as well as other bath and body products that are good for your skin. All of my items are handcrafted with care, using only the finest natural ingredients available. You won’t find any harmful chemicals or harsh detergents in any of my products. And I have tons of fun dreaming up colorful, unique, and deliciously-scented soaps – the wheels are always turning, and you never know what I will come up with next!

How do you maximize your time as a busy mom running a business?
’s definitely a challenge! I have two very active little boys, ages 3 and 1 ½, who keep me on my toes all day long. I have learned to sneak in working time while they are playing nicely and quietly together (which is rare, LOL!) but mostly I work while they are napping or are in bed at night. I also have the absolute best parents in the world, who help watch the boys for me during very busy times with the business. I can’t yet say that my days flow perfectly with everything on my plate, but I continue to work hard at finding just that right balance between my family and my small business.

Dipped Candy Apple soap gift set

What do you see as your greatest challenge being a MOMpreneur? Most moms will agree that once you become a mother, your own needs fall to the wayside as you strive to provide for and take care of everyone and everything else around you. With two little boys at home and a husband who has a very demanding job, I am no different than these mothers I’ve described. Add a self-run small business to the mix, and it magnifies the issue. My biggest challenge right now is finding time for myself, and trying to take care of my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being, so that I can function at the top of my ability for my family and for the business. An overwhelmed, exhausted, and malnourished mom/business woman is not good for anyone, so I need to constantly remind myself that I need to be taken care of once in a while, too!

Ginger Orange Bar Soap

What advice do you have for other moms looking to start a business? Start slow. There’s always room and time to grow, and you want to make sure you do this right. The biggest mistake I’ve probably made is to jump in with too much, too quickly. From the beginning, I’ve had people all around me making requests to see this product or that in the online store, and in an effort to try and please everyone and accommodate every request, I quickly became overwhelmed. Trying to do everything all at once soon made me realize that I needed to take a step back, evaluate what my very best products were, scale-down a bit, and re-focus. I now have a much more clear vision of my brand, and where I would like my company to go.

Amarette Egg Nog Sugar Cube Scrubs

Is there anything additional you'd like to tell our readers?
Cherry Tree Soaps is currently having a giveaway! To enter, visit my blog and follow the directions posted there. You could be the lucky winner of TWO huge 15 ounce jars of our brand new Bath Salts in the scent of your choice!

Special Post: Just Something I Whipped Up

Joining a new blog hop today, courtesy of The Girl Creative...really really awesome blog, and I highly recommend that you follow it if you're into things that are wonderful, handmade and inspiring!

Here's a sneak peek on the new masks that I've been whipping up...y'know...the ones for the photo shoot in the morning!

My husband remarked that the mask looks sad...but in a really beautiful way. I can't think of a better compliment!

Link up your creative with The Girl Creative!!

The Girl Creative

Simple Things Thursday: First Bloom

I saw the most simple and amazing thing today when I rounded the back of the car after getting my on buckled up and ready to run errands...

My Japanese Anemone has bloomed and it looks fantastic!

Don't forget to link up with Simple As That...she was just on a fabulous vacation with her beautiful family, but the bloghop should be back soon!

How-To Tuesday: Cupid Kisses

Gosh...good afternoon!

Sorry I'm a little tardy with today's How-To, but I've been to the gym and grocery store, and finally have a few minutes to sit down and write.

Cupid Kisses


one 4 1/4"x2" piece of cardstock (pink, red, white, purple...whichever you'd like!)
coordinating patterned paper
1" paper punch
pop dots
scrapbooking glue
double sided scrapbooking tape
paper trimmer
one container of Tic-Tac mints
one 6" piece of ribbon (pink, red, white, purple...whichever you'd like!)

Step 1:

Round the edges of the cardstock, and score a 1/2" spine in the centre of the cardstock

Steps 2 and 3:

Using the circle paper punch, punch a circle in the lower left hand corner of the front flap. Next, glue down your length of ribbon above the punched circle on your cardstock.

Step 4:

Stamp your sentiment above the ribbon

Step 5, 6 and 7:

Punch out three circles of coordinating paper, and one circle of the cardstock (you will also use the circle that was punched out of the front flap in this step). Stamp flowers/hearts/your choice of stamp on the cardstock circles.

For the front flap, layer two coordinating paper circles with a cardstock circle on top. Affix to the front flap using a pop dot.

For the Tic-Tacs, layer one cardstock circle on one coordinating paper circle. Cover the Tic-Tac label with a strip of coordinating paper, using scrapbooking glue to hold it in place. Glue the stamped image on the front of the Tic-Tacs. Attach the Tic-Tacs to the back flap with double sided scrapbooking tape.

Step 8:

Tie the ribbon and give to your Valentine!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Mompreneur Monday: Courtney Price

Good morning everyone! I hope you all enjoyed (and survived) all of the Superbowl Parties yesterday!

This morning, I am very pleased to introduce you to Courtney Price, owner of Glamour Avenue Parties (and you all know how much I love party planning!)

What do you do?
I am the Event Designer and Owner of Glamour Avenue Parties, which is a party planning and design company specializing in children's parties, baby showers, and a variety of small scale events. Along with our event planning coordination, we provide candy buffets, dessert bars, and balloon art decoration in the Houston, Texas area.

Why do you love it?

Glamour Avenue Parties is less than a year old, and I love it because it gives me the flexibility to spend time with my 1 year old son, Aidan. I enjoy my role as a mom and wife but I still want to have an identity outside of those things and this provides me the creative outlet to do so. I have wanted to work as a children's event planner for years and I felt ready to take the chance following the birth of my son in 2009. Additionally, I love that I am constantly learning and challenging myself to succeed as a small business.

What advice do you have for other MOMpreneurs?
My advice for other MOMpreneurs would be to surround yourself with positive and supportive people who will encourage you in all of life's ventures.

Check out Glamour Avenue Parties on their blog, like them on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Youtube and Flickr!

And for being so marvelous, here is your button, Courtney!

Whimsical Wednesday

Happy Wednesday everyone! While my Monster is still snoozing, I thought I'd whip on for Wednesday's post.

Whimsical Wednesday.

Much thought went into the alliteration for today. Wholesome... Wellness... Whatever... Wonderful...ideas were plenty, but at the end of the day, I want to use Wednesday as a day to reflect on what inspires me, new products that I'm falling in love with, and hopefully inspire some creativity in all of you readers.

For our first post, I have a confession to make.

I have a paper obsession.

It's a healthy obsession, in my opinion, because just in looking at a coordinated paper pack from a fabulous scrapbooking company such as Close To My Heart, I can see the endless possibilities in products for Sweet Stella's. In truth, paper makes my imagination run a wee bit wild.

Paper is so versatile, so whimsical and absolutely lovely! I never thought that walking the aisles at Michael's and stumbling upon a 4 for $2 scrapbook paper sale would get me excited, but it certainly does!

In all honesty, paper is one of my absolute favourite products to go searching for. Thankfully, our fair city has two Michael's locations so I can buy them out at both when I find a great deal and beautiful paper for our store. If you give me an idea of the theme for your event, colours, or a pattern...I can find a paper to match it and coordinate all of your party decor! (*hint* to an upcoming new product to be unveiled next month!)

We're off on vacation come Christmas Day, and I cannot wait to get to some of the craft stores at our destination! Vacation paper!!

Welcome to Sweet Stella's

Well hello there!
I've got to say...I've been very busy this weekend really ramping things up with the store. From new products and packages, to ordering business cards, setting up new email addresses and setting up this's been a very very busy weekend.

So, welcome to the Sweet Stella's blog! It's a place to introduce new products before they hit the e-store...a place to blog about other Mompreneurs...a place to get the creative juices going and get feedback from my ever wonderful customers!

Feel free to write in the comments about what type of posts would be interesting to you. I'd love to hear from you!