Ombre Photo Backdrop DIY

There are some pretty amazing photo prop/ backdrop ideas out there. For my recent Valentine’s Day photo collab with Creative Wife & Joyful Worker and The Cheerio Diaries, we each pitched in to create a pretty & delicate party for 3 very cute little ladies and I offered to create a backdrop we would use for some of the photos (check out these sugar cookies by The Cheerio Diaries and this tassel garland cake topper by Creative Wife & Joyful Worker that they made for the shoot). After scrolling through trusty old Pinterest for inspiration, I decided on one made with dip- dyed coffee filters & streamers. Since this was a girly Valentine’s photo shoot, the obvious choice was pink, but I’ve seen other versions in different colours that are equally beautiful. This backdrop would be great for weddings, parties- pretty much any excuse you have to take photos. It costs only a few dollars to make and you can make it as full or spread- out as you like. All you have to do is run out to the dollar store for a few supplies and you’re good to go. My only tip is to give yourself a little bit of time when it comes to stringing this together- maybe pop in your favourite movie or Netflix so the process doesn’t get too repetitive. See the how- to (and some of the cute photos from our shoot!) below. 
Materials
Coffee filters (I just used a pack of 100, use more for a fuller look)
Food colouring
Fishing twine
Stapler
Cool glue gun
Optional:
Shower curtain
Streamers
Wooden dowel or wrapping paper tube

Directions
1. Start by separating your coffee filters into four groups; keep one pile aside that will stay white
2. Fill 3 separate bowls with approx. 2 cups of water. Add increasing amounts of food colouring to each bowl to achieve the vibrancy of colour you’d like (I used 15 drops, 10 drops, and 5 drops)
3. Take the coffee filters in groups of 3- 5 and fold them into a fan shape

4. Dip the coffee filters into the dyed water about half way, holding them in the water for a few seconds so they can absorb the colour. Set aside as you dye the others. Repeat the process with the other two batches of coffee filters and allow to dry overnight

6. When dry, begin making the coffee filters into cones. First fold them in half…

7. … Then fold in each side to create a cone

8. Staple to hold in place (you could also use a dot of glue or use double- sided tape so you don’t see the seam as easily)

9. Continue this process until all of the coffee filters have been shaped into cones (see why I suggested the movie/ Netflix? ūüėČ ). Then measure out pieces of fishing twine approx. 10 feet long and string on the cones from lightest to darkest to create an ombre effect; secure them on the twine by pinching the top of the cones with a dot of glue (this is why it’s best to use a cool glue gun, so you don’t burn your fingers). Vary the spacing, grouping some closer together and spreading others farther apart

10. At this point, you could simply use the strings of cones and hang them in front of a wall to create your backdrop. But if you’d like a solid backdrop where you can’t see what’s behind it (such as in front of a door, or to cover a non- photogenic wall), see the following steps
11. Attach a plain shower curtain to a cardboard tube or wooden dowel and then tape varying lengths of streamers to create a pretty layered effect (start with longer pieces, then add shorter pieces on top)
12. Once you’re happy with the streamers, layer on the strings of coffee filters, spacing them out based on how full you’d like it

12. Secure your backdrop where you want to use it (make sure the lighting is good/ away from shadows), find some cute models to pose & snap away! 

It was so much fun getting to work with two of my blogger friends for this shoot- we all had a blast and so did our little models. Make sure to check out The Cheerio Diaries and Creative Wife & Joyful Worker for more great blog reading.
Thanks to these great shops for helping us style this shoot (some aren’t shown in these photos):
Dresses- Over The Loom
Bracelets- Rachel Rainbow
Noisemakers, Fiesta Balloon & Tassel Garland- Fun Fiestas By Ili
Party Straws- Dixie + Twine
Glitter glassware & gold- dipped wood cutlery- Grace Miller & Co
January posts sponsored by

DIY Flower Monogram

I’ve been having fun adding some finishing touches to Ari’s room now that her big girl bed is set up and I couldn’t resist looking for some fun and easy DIY projects on Pinterest that I could pull off. This flower monogram was super easy and cost peanuts to make (I think I maybe spent $5 on materials at the dollar store- everything else I had on hand). To personalize, you just pick out fake flowers & colours you like (how pretty would this be to make with fresh flowers for a party or shower???). See below for instructions. 
Materials:
Cardboard tube* (I used a wrapping paper tube, but for tricky letters like ‘G’ a store- bought paper mache letter will work)
Scissors/ exacto knife
Tape
Fake flowers
Glue gun
*In one of the projects I saw, they used a paper- mache letter and cut off the top, which would be good for letters that are harder to shape out of cardboard
Directions:
1. Flatten the tube in half to create a crease, then do the same in the other direction so the creases from your first fold line up- when you hold up the tube it should be square- shaped instead of round. 

2. Using the exacto knife/ scissors, cut the tube into the pieces to make your letter. It may help to draw a letter on a piece of paper so you can lay out the pieces as you go. Tape together to hold shape.
3. With your glue gun, glue the pieces together and allow to cool. Then use your exacto knife or scissors to cut down the middle of the cardboard. Fold the edges in/ down and secure in place with more hot glue.

4. Now for the fun part! Trim the stems of the fake flowers so you can fit them into the letter (the tops of the flowers should sit a little above the cardboard). Place the flowers in the letter to check for spacing, then use the glue gun to secure them in place. Allow to cool. If you prefer a fuller look, add some smaller flowers to fill in the gaps. To hang, you can simply cut a notch in the back of the cardboard to go on a hook, or glue a loop of ribbon/ twine. These are also pretty displayed on vanities/ dressers. 

January posts sponsored by

Adding to Your Gallery Wall with Canvas Pop {+ GIVEAWAY}

How many Instagram photos do you have that you want to get printed? If you’re like me, they’re probably some of your favourites and deserve some space on your gallery wall. I like all the options out there for getting Instagram photos taken, and love that you can get them enlarged so you can ¬†add them to other favourites on display.
My favourite gallery wall style is one where a variety of items are incorporated: framed photos, shadow boxes/ framed items, and canvas prints. I also like to use different styles of frames; basically I like a gallery wall that looks like a wall- mounted collage. ¬†I’m in the process of adding to ours (finally!) after picking favourites of Liam, and got a few photos printed on canvas thanks to¬†Canvas Pop. Not only did they turn out great, they’re as easy it gets when it comes to hanging- no frame required. Canvas prints also make great gifts and save you having to hunt down a frame you like (or paying for framing- yikes!). Canvas Pop ships right to your door and¬†their prints come ready to hang with everything you need. All you have to do is pick the canvas size you’d like (some cropping may be required) and upload the photo(s) you want made into prints- they don’t have to be from Instagram, but I love having this option. The hardest part is figuring out your gallery wall layout! Check out one of the prints I had made below.

Just in time for the holidays- and the family photos you’ve probably just had taken for Christmas cards- I’ve got the chance for a reader to win a 16″ * 20″ canvas print shipped right to their door.¬†
Click here to see all the ways you can enter. Contest open from November 25- December 9, 2015. 
Canvas Pop has also offered TPB readers a 35% discount towards their print orders (does not apply to shipping costs or purchase of gift cards). Use promo code THPMPRDBB35  at checkout to receive your discount. Promo code valid until December 13, 2015.
Thanks to Canvas Pop for my beautiful prints & for sponsoring this giveaway!

Canvas Pop creates gallery- quality prints using archival quality canvas stretched by hand. With no additives or agents their canvas prints are created to last more than 100 years without fading. Canvas Pop are based in the United States of America. But, if you’re in Australia it doesn’t make logical sense to order from them when you could your canvas prints from companies like Blue Horizon Prints. Canvas Pop uses Canon printers and high quality laminates applied by hand to protect the finished print. This laminate is scratch resistant and protects against UV so prints don’t fade. Canvas Pop provides a 100% Love Guarantee with their products and service to ensure customers love everything about their experience. Visit the Canvas Pop website¬†to get your order started.¬†
Find them on social media: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

November posts sponsored by

Treats of the Holidays: 7 Ways to Have Fun With Candy at Christmas

If you haven’t already started decorating for Christmas, chances are you will be soon. It can be hard to decide what my favourite thing is about this time of year, but the festive atmosphere is definitely up there on my list. I love coming up with fun ideas each year for the holidays, and this year I’m collaborating with Karameller Candy Shop to add some sweet touches to the holiday season. Candy doesn’t have to equal a constant sugar rush (and it’s not just for kids!) and there’s more to the season than candy canes and chocolate coins. It can also be a colourful and cheerful addition to your Christmas festivities. I’ve got ideas for everything from the classic gingerbread house to party favours, and so much more. Read on for 7 ideas to have fun with candy this holiday season.
Candy Garland
We’re all familiar with the popcorn garland but for a fun and colourful twist on a classic swap in candy instead. Use twine, ribbon, or string and a needle to make a pretty garland with festive gummy candy. Lay out your pattern before stringing it so you’re happy with the design. You can make a solid garland or space the candy out. You can also use a glue gun to add gingerbread cookies or salt dough decorations to the mix (you’ll want to glue the cookies since they could crumble if you try to use a needle); colour- coordinated beads are also pretty to use. These are beautiful hung on the tree (I loved how mine looked on our mini live tree), from a mantle, or from branches grouped in a vase for a splash of colour. Tip: Use gummy ribbons to make pretty loops (see below).








Stocking Stuffer Shapes 

This is a cute way to include some sweets in your kid’s stockings without them getting a major sugar rush. Simply trace out a festive shape on 2 light- medium weight pieces of paper large enough to hold a hand full of candy (you’ll want it to be strong enough to fill with candy without tearing). Cut out the shapes and use a glue gun to glue around the edges, leaving about a 2″ gap to fill with candy. Once filled, glue the rest of the edge so candy can’t spill out (this would also make for a cute gift tag idea, just use a hole punch so you can thread through some ribbon).

Marshmallow Pops
How pretty are these??? Another simple & sweet treat idea for holiday parties, these also make cute gifts & stocking stuffers. Simply pop a large marshmallow (I used two of Karameller’s for each) on a straw and dip in some melted chocolate (pick colours to match your colour scheme- I went with white, mint & pink). Twirl & tap the marshmallows so the extra chocolate drips off and dip in something fun for a pretty treat (I used sprinkles and shredded coconut for mine). Allow to dry flat side down then pop in a pretty vase or wrap a bunch on cellophane for a marshmallow pop bouquet. I love how the white sprinkles pop on pink/ mint coloured chocolate.

Gingerbread House 

You can’t talk about candy at Christmas without a gingerbread house! The possibilities really are endless, but I love going with a theme. This is a classic Christmas activity to do with the kids, but why not grab some wine and make a date night out of making and decorating one? They’re a beautiful addition to your Christmas decor and easily customized to suit your style. Another fun idea is to have a gingerbread house party & set up everything guests (big or little!) need to decorate their own: graham crackers or gingerbread cookies, icing, and candy. Set up on a long table covered in craft paper for a cute decorating station and to make clean up super easy.

Party Favours

Send your guests home with a sweet treat! These candy cones are festive and so simple to make. Simply cut a piece of wrapping paper into 8.5 * 11″ and roll it up, securing with a dot of hot glue, washi tape, or a sticker. You can fold over the top and decorate with some ribbon or leave open so your guests can choose their own sweet filler. They’re beautiful when grouped together in coordinating papers and your guests will love the sweet token to enjoy after the party.

Candy Kebobs

Candy’s not just for the kids! How cute would one of these be with a Christmas cocktail? Swap out a swizzle stick and add one of these instead. Or serve up some sweet treats at your holiday party and include these on your dessert table. Display in pretty jars or vases & let guests pick their favourite. All you need are some cocktail picks & a variety of gummy candy. Wrap in cellophane or pop in Chinese takeout containers as a sweet party favour or stocking stuffer (just make sure to stick a candy on the sharp end!).


A big thank you to Karameller candy for collaborating on this post & providing the candy for all of the projects included! Their jars of candy make beautiful gifts and are great to give as hostess gifts.


About
Karameller is located in the Yaletown neighbourhood of Vancouver, inspired by owner Louise’s nostalgic memories of her childhood in Sweden. Each week she would bike to the local candy shop to splurge her weekly allowance on ‘l√∂rdagsgodis’, Swedish for ‘Saturday sweets’. Bringing this tradition to Vancouver, Louise stocks her shop with candy imported from Scandinavia, made from high- quality ingredients, and free of GMOs, trans fats, and high fructose corn syrup; there are even sugar- free and gluten- free options. Buy the candy by the bag or jar (great for gifting!), it’s perfect to stock your candy buffet or in pre- measured bags. Karameller also offers weekly office subscriptions and will put together candy bags curated around party themes- a perfect time saver for busy parents when planning kid’s birthdays. If you’re in the area, Karameller is worth the visit- you’ve never tasted candy like this!- and you can also purchase certain varieties on their website.

To learn more and order online, visit the Karameller website.

You can also find them on social media: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Photos: Catherine Hilcove Photography

November posts sponsored by

My Side of the Bed: His & Her Bedroom Decor

Let’s be honest, when you’re married with kids keeping the romance alive can get pushed down the list (hands up, who looks at their bed and yearns for more zzzzzs?). Our bed is usually a pile of blankets, pillows, books, and kid’s toys. A cozy, comfy nest it may be, but a sanctuary it is not. And I’ll confess: I love how a made- up bed looks, but rarely make ours. It’s just one of those things that has inevitably become less of a priority. 
But we can all dream of a perfectly tidy and styled bedroom can’t we?  Calming, cozy, and serene are three words I like to think about when it comes to this particular room of the house. And I think this room might have that covered. Thanks to Old Barn Rescue, I had the chance to style a bedroom around their ‘Mr & Mrs’ pillow shams which totally had me thinking back to my wedding registry and all of the fun I had picking out things for our home. I love having accents in a room that compliment the overall style while showing the individual personalities of the occupants. For example, using the same lamps but different night stands for a more masculine/ feminine touch. I hope you like these photos as much as I liked having an excuse to decorate this room! See below for all the details.
About Old Barn Rescue
The story behind the company goes like this: In 2003 a barn on one of the co- founders’  family farm had to be torn down, (the inspiration for the name), and  rather than letting the 120- year- old wood go to the landfill, the co- founders gathered it up and started creating unique pieces using reclaimed materials. They now source materials from a variety of sources to create upcycled vintage- inspired signs and decor. The company also offers vinyl wall decals and recently added clothing and fabric decor items to their stock. In Spring of this year the brand added their Threads line and now offers everything from onesies, t- shirts, pillow shams, and more featuring their heat- pressed vinyl designs. All of the products are lovingly handmade using vintage and new materials. 

Bedroom Styling Tips:
Make it cozy– Blankets and pillows are an inexpensive way to add colour and texture, plus are super cozy to snuggle into. This is the room you sleep in after all, and you want it to be somewhere you love to curl up. 
Easy update- If you don’t want to invest in an entire new set of bedding, sheets,  etc, buy some new pillow shams as a simple way to freshen the look of your bed. They are an easy item to replace and there are lots of options out there to suit your style. The same goes for your nightstands: swap them out and pair with some new lamps for a quick and simple update.
Colour vs texture-  A classic styling tip: If you love lots of colour, keep the shapes and textures in the room simple, so it doesn’t become visually overwhelming. The opposite is true if you like a simple/ monochromatic palette: add in textures and shapes to create visual interest (think faux- fur, fabric textures, and accent materials such as glass and wood for starters).
Show your personality- It’s your bedroom, so enjoy having some fun! Add in details that show you and your hubby’s tastes. To avoid it becoming too busy/ cluttered, pick accents that compliment each other, even if they are on opposite sides of the bed (see tip #3 above). Storage containers such as crates and boxes can also help store items to avoid mess and clutter.
SOURCES
Mr & Mrs Pillow Shams- Old Barn Rescue
Items provided by & available to buy at The Handpicked Home:
Arrow Toss Cushion- Raggy Girl Vintage
Throw Blanket- Forest & Waves
‘Choose Happiness’ Wood Sign- AllyBeth Design Co
Dreamcatcher and Candle- The New Mercantile 
White Antlers- Townsend Rowe
Mountain Clock- Florid & Fallow 
Wooden Crate- One Wooden Wall
Rugged Gentleman Spray- Happy Spritz
White/ Gold & Gold Wooden bowls
Jewellery Box
Initial Mugs- Chapters Indigo
Lucite Tray- Homesense 

Visit the Old Barn Rescue website to learn more and to view their complete product line.

A big thank you to Old Barn Rescue for these pillow shams and inspiring this post, and to The Handpicked Home shop for providing items to style this room. 


October posts sponsored by

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