trying my hand at martha’s petit collage

owl & pussycat
I’ve mentioned before the cavalcade of expectant mothers that have been parading through my life lately — but one in particular I am really excited about. For her shower a few weeks ago, I had fun finding some adorable stuff (some Hanna Andersson onesies and coordinating Baby Legs, to name a few), but I felt a handmade gift would mean so much more to the mom-to be. I remembered the super-adorable Petit Collage pieces a friend made for a new arrival in her world, using templates and instructions from The Martha Stewart Show. Being a huge decoupager in the past, this craft was right up my alley.

I loved Martha’s owl pattern, though the flowers the owl sit on are a bit girly, and since they are only 80% sure of a girl, I decided to change the owl up by adding a tree branch and crescent moon. But the elephant, though darling, just wasn’t my taste, at all. I had to free-form the second collage completely, and without hesitation, my mind went to a cat.


I sketched up a few shapes on my computer’s drawing software and used them as cutting templates, and then placed them on an 8×8 birch board to make sure it looked ok. I cut out my pieces using a combination of handmade papers, bleeding tissue paper, and even old takeout menus and got ready to decoupage.


The cat really needed to be sitting on something, so I decided to construct a fence out of strips of different papers — this was possibly my favorite part of the whole piece — the color combination makes me really happy. A little more Mod Podge and I was done! Two pieces of art done in about two hours, more or less, and they’d be something I’d love to hang up in my home. In fact, I just may end up making more! — Megan B.

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post off: what’s the best gift for a new mom?


Is it just me or is *everyone* having babies right now? I can count at least four of my friends who are expecting or just gave birth in the last 6 months alone. With this baby boom comes countless showers and parties, and I often feel like some of the things I gift may not be the most useful, especially with NO experience with babies outside of being a sitter in junior high/ high school. So when I ran across this post at Lilly and the Brothers (written by one of my favorite bloggers, Greta), I couldn’t have been happier with the timing. There, she linked to a list at doula Gloria Lemay’s blog of 10 things a family needs after a new birth — things like “come over at l0 a.m., make me eggs, toast and a 1/2 grapefruit. Clean my fridge and throw out everything you are in doubt about. Don’t ask me about anything; just use your best judgment”. A great set of ideas, yet not completely appropriate in my situation, as I live hours away from some of the expectant mamas in my life. So I look to you, faithful and awesome readers — what are some absolutely dynamite and fantastic gifts for new moms? — Megan B.

Image courtesy of Greta Eskridge

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site we’re psyched about:


As a child, one of my favorite activities included writing and illustrating the scenes to stories I made up and binding them into volumes that I crafted in my basement. Now as an adult with friends working in the book publishing industry, I’m constantly saddened by how hard it is to get a manuscript published by one of the traditional, big book publishers. That’s probably why the author in me is intrigued and thrilled by the concept of, a Barnes & Noble company that gives children and adults alike the opportunity to see the books they write published in a professional format. Creating a free account is the first step in the process to creating your very own hardcover, paperback or eBook. With prices starting at just $15 for a paperback with 7-8 interior pages and $0.18 for each additional page, a gift card to the site might be the perfect birthday gift for budding authors everywhere. What do you think, readers? Has anyone tried TikaTok? – Sarah C.

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custom baby showers made easy: polka dot design


When I received the invitation to the upcoming baby shower of one of my dearest old friends, I was delighted — due not only to the prospect of spending quality time with the mom-to-be and some of our old crew, but also because the invitation itself was breathtaking. Her mom had the invites printed at Polka Dot Design, a site specializing in custom stationery and gifts in fun, modern designs. Of course they’ve got everything from kids birthdays to weddings, but I was really impressed with the assortment of helpful personalized party collections for baby showers, like the fabulous, Mardi Gras inspired Festival du Bebe collection seen above. These coordinated accessories (like monogrammed napkin rings, favor tags, and thank you notes) are a super-simple and affordable way to add a touch of polish to that special day. — Megan B.

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happy valentine’s day! do you celebrate at work?

bud vases

Yes, Valentine’s Day is uber-commercialized and oft overdone, but one thing I do like about it, (besides the chocolate – my fave food group) is that it gives us a reason to celebrate each other. At work we have a Fun Committee (yes, my job is that awesome) that administrates fun events that help us to appreciate our coworkers every time a holiday rolls around. Today I brought in a bouquet of flowers and split it up between an assortment of Crate & Barrel’s bud vases ($2.50 each) to create personal mini bouquets for each of my coworkers in my immediate department. At less than $4 a person, the completed arrangements are just a small, inexpensive way to spruce up our space and let everyone know they’re appreciated. Of course, we’re also making personalized cards (the Fun Committee means business) but I’d love to know: Do you celebrate holidays at your job?

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, from all of us here at Shelterrific! –Sarah C.

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