Monday, June 20, 2016

Life Lately: Babies, Big Changes, and a Bridal Shower

Hey, it's been a while! It's been busy, busy, busy…

I've been taking a little break from blogging to focus on some more BIG changes coming up in my life. In about a month, I'll be moving with my little family out to Utah. It's both exciting and scary. On one hand, I like the prospect of starting a new journey, but on the other, breaking away from what has become familiar and comfortable is daunting. I'll be leaving my support system of extended family and friends, who have been so helpful in my first months as a mother.

My water baby. This photo captures my summer perfectly.

This move also means giving up my long-time office job. This could be a good change, though. I'm going to attempt a career as a freelancer working from home. I've been picking up small jobs on the side to get the ball rolling. At first, I stuck to the same type of book layout work I currently do in the office, but it has taken a pleasant turn into freelance illustration as well. On a whim, I started applying to some jobs creating designs for adult coloring and have already been hired onto a few projects. So it looks like I'll be able to start making a living doing more of the things I love. Most importantly, though, freelancing will allow me to stay home with my baby. Well, babies. Oh yeah, did I not mention that I'm pregnant again?! So there's THAT too.




I'm not the only one having a big year. My sister Shannon will be getting married in August, and I had the pleasure of helping out with her bridal shower this past weekend. It was a perfect day to celebrate outdoors with family and friends. My mom created a beautiful setup with fresh flowers and a yogurt and muffin bar. I was in charge of the game prizes, favors, and activities. I got my craft on, creating some tissue paper flowers with candy inside for the favors. I also put up a photo booth area, complete with cheesy props. It was a fun little party.

The bridal shower setup


Game prizes and party favors


The bride




Sisters


My silly aunts




Adelaide had fun in the photo booth, too!


I won't lie—this past month has been a stressful one, but I have had some beautiful moments as well. This summer is going by so quickly already, and it's hardly even begun. I am grateful for these happy memories I am creating every day. I look forward to these changes coming up. For better or worse, it will definitely be an adventure!

Niki




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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Floral Pattern Doodles for Coloring

For those of you who work at a computer a lot, do you ever have those days where your machine just cannot keep up with you, and everything goes wrong? Lately, I've been having issues with things moving so SSSLLLOOOWWW. It gets so bad sometimes that I begin to have fantasies of punching a hole through my computer screen or breaking my keyboard in half. Luckily, I found a more peaceful alternative to combat technology insanity—doodling.

I created these floral mandala-like patterns while sitting at my desk waiting for my computer to work on various things, like load programs, restart the system, save files, etc. What better way to pass the time and relieve some stress? I found myself not actually minding when my computer started to lag. Just breathe…and draw…

Here are some of my doodles:







Use the link below to download these patterns as free coloring pages.




Enjoy!
Niki



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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Real-Life Floral Patterns

I love, love, love floral patterns. Much of the time, I can be found doodling and painting them, but ever since I discovered people making art with real flowers (see links at the end of the post), I've been inspired to try it myself. And let me tell you, I LOVED IT. I picked up a colorful bouquet from my local grocery store and used the different flowers and parts of the flowers to create both all-over and round patterns. I can see potential here for incorporating photo prints of my favorite pieces into my home decor. See the results below...

The original bouquet

The bouquet disassembled
























I really enjoyed making these, and I plan to find time to do it again soon. I hope you are all enjoying the wonderful spring weather and take time to admire the colorful blooms of the season.

Make something beautiful today!
Niki



LINKS

Here are a few of my favorite Instagrammers who create wonderful pieces of art with flowers and other plants.
Flora Forager (@flora.forager)
Face the Foliage (@facethefoliage)
Helen Ahpornsiri (@helenahpornsiri)


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May Flowers



Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Flower Lunch



During the busy week, my lunch is usually reduced to a box of crackers that I munch on while I work at my desk. Quick and easy. But once in a while it's nice to treat yourself to something more satisfying and appealing. One day, I made a flower arrangement out of a sandwich for fun. This would be a neat way to present sandwiches on a platter for a party as well I would imagine. To round out the meal, I added a pudding "dirt" cup topped with a strawberry rose and a vegetable plate with sliced cucumbers arranged into "petals." See details and photos below.

Sandwich with rosettes formed from pieces of ham, sitting on a bed of assorted lettuces and sprouts.



Strawberry "dirt" cup—chocolate pudding and crushed Oreos with berry topper. See below for links to instructions for creating the rose and the flowerpot cupcake cups.



Cucumber veggie plate with feta cheese and grape center.




They say that you eat with your eyes, so why not make something beautiful for lunch?

Till next time, 
Niki



LINKS

(from Spend with Pennies)

Terra Cotta Silicone Cupcake Cups



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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mother's Day Bouquet


This Sunday is my first Mother's Day since becoming a mother myself. There is nothing more challenging, life-altering, and rewarding than becoming a parent. My little Adelaide just turned four months old on Saturday. A friend once told me in regards to parenthood, "The days are long, but the weeks are short." So true. I can't believe how fast these first few months have gone by, and she is growing every day.

My little four-month-old.

I love being a mom. Nothing makes me happier than to see my daughter laugh and smile. Whenever I am away from her, I can't wait to see her again. Of course, there are challenging times, like when she's sick or cranky or won't go to sleep at night. For example, it'll probably take me three times as long to write this blog post than it should because Ada wants my constant attention.




Whenever I'm tired or frustrated with the whole motherhood gig, I marvel at how my own mother ever managed THREE little babies at one time. My parents adopted my two sisters and I (we are triplets) when we were just six months old. She's told me stories about how she would squeeze three car seats into the back of her car, or carry all three of us in her arms at once up into her apartment before going back for the groceries. She must be Wonder Woman!


Happy Grandmother—my daughter Adelaide with my mother


I always make sure to treat my mom well on Mother's Day because she definitely deserves it. I try to make her something special. A few years back, I became obsessed with paper flowers, and I made her a handmade bouquet. So, to kick off my floral-themed month of blog posts, I thought I'd share the flowers I made. Follow the links for the original tutorials that inspired them.


Coffee Filter Roses (from Martha Stewart)




Paper Ranunculus (from The Elli Blog)





Tissue Paper Poppies (from Lia Griffith)



Tissue Paper Pom Pom (from Martha Stewart)



And the finished product...

My finished paper flowers and Mother's Day gift basket.

Being a mom is the best job in the world, but also one of the hardest. I hope you all take time this weekend to show all the mothers in your life how much you appreciate them.  

Happy Mother's Day!
Niki



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