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A Hip Handmade Holiday

I was in Salt Lake City last month to meet with Allison Faulkner and Susan Petersen of The Craft Pack, along with their fantastic designer Matt Mildenstein. I got a sneak peek at their new digital book, A Hip Handmade Holiday, which is filled with craft projects, ideas, and digital downloads, all to make gifts for under $10 a pop.

Alison Faulkner, Nicole Balch, and Susan Petersen

A bunch of us bloggers gathered and got our craft on, choosing different projects from the book. (I went with the Nutcracker Bowling League.) I have since decided that I ought to set aside entire days devoted to group crafting, because that is fun.

Getting Our Craft On

Video! Done in one take! Alison and Susan are naturals. (Oh, you guys. I’m totally going to be a pro at this some day. I’m working on it.)


The trip was made possible by Vivint. Styling and awesome background by Cayleen Haynie, and music by Pleasant Pictures.

“I kind of Sgt. Peppered them up a little bit.” See? Pro-talk. The nutcrackers are awfully cute though, aren’t they? I’m a little hesitant to let the kids use them as bowling pins. I think I need to make a few more, specifically to set aside as decorations.

The Nutcracker Bowling League

We got our party on* later that night, after our marathon crafting was over. I’m pretty sure 95% of the internet’s cute, crafty bloggers are based in Utah, including most of the ladies below.

* Parties in SLC are mostly fueled by Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper. Also, I got eyelash extension while I was in town! (Sadly, not before the video and photos though.) Utah, you’re a kick.

A Hip Handmade Holiday Celebration

A big thank you to The Craft Pack for having me out to Salt Lake City. Their book, A Hip Handmade Holiday is available now, for $10.

Scientific Botanical Prints

Would it really be surprising that someone as fond of pink as I am would also be fond of flowers? Even the less girly among us can appreciate a good bloom, no?

A few people, in writing about my keynote at BlogPodium, noted that I had dressed to match my blog. My branding. The truth is that I’m just consistent in what I like. My blog matches my clothes, my home… even down to some of the book on my shelves. For example, here are two of my favorites.

The Rose: An Illustrated History, and more recently, The Art of Instruction. My dog rose print is the same one featured on the latter’s cover.

I designed two themes for Making it Lovely, and if you’re on the default “Lovely” theme, you’ll see an abundance of flowers in the background. Even if you choose to view the blog in “Minimal” mode, you’ll still see my custom floral illustrations in the header. As much as I love a good, clean site with a true minimal aesthetic, it’s just not me. The flowers (and colors and patterns) I use aren’t part of a larger, calculated move on my part to reflect my branding (though it works as one), I just like them. Simple as that.

I saw that a flash shopping site was selling framed botanical prints a few weeks ago. I had enough credits to cover the cost, so I bought one. They’re no longer available on that site, but they can be found (unframed) at The Evolution Store.

I would have loved to hang two prints over the sofa (like this), but the picture rail in my living room doesn’t leave enough clearance.

These prints are huge. I love the scale of mine, but I don’t know if that corner of my living room is interesting enough to warrant art of that size. Something feels a bit off too, between the print, the plant, and the vase on the other side of the TV. I’m going to leave things as they are for a while to see if I get used to the print’s (rather commanding) presence, but I may play around with the placement. It’s beautiful though; I’m glad to have it.

Holly Becker’s Decorate Book Tour

The Decorate book tour brought Holly Becker to Anthropologie in Chicago last night. I had interviewed Holly about her book a couple of weeks ago, and I was looking forward to meeting her.

She spoke about creating mood boards, offering tips for creating them and several compelling reasons to do so.

Holly was one of my earliest blogging friends and supporters, so it was a real pleasure to finally meet her!

I spoke briefly after Holly about the way that I use and create digital mood boards. I was also the Vanna to Holly’s Pat Sajak during the mood board portion. It was fun, and an honor to be a part of her book tour.

After we spoke, Holly invited the audience to create their own mood board using fabric swatches, wallpaper samples, buttons, images from magazines, and other lovely things.

Holly graciously signed copies of Decorate after the presentation was over, and then a small group of us went out for dinner in my fair Chicago.

Holly is as smart and sweet as I had imagined, and I’m happy to see so much success coming her way. Decorate is in its third printing already! If you haven’t yet picked up your copy, please do. It’s an amazing book by a dear friend.

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