Category Archives: Uncategorized

Birthday hat pictures

Well, the hat was a big hit. And my niece looked adorable in it. And Steve never has to wear it again, so all is right in the world.



I am, in fact, a paper geek.

That being the case, why not share my obsession with the rest of the world?

Creativity is in the air in our house.  Andy recently blogged about his very cool canoe trip on the Wisconsin River and started picking up the guitar again.  And I’ve been crafting up a storm.  Why, you ask?  Well, it just so happens that I recently opened my own shop on Etsy – the website to buy and sell handmade items.  I’m huge Etsy fan and frequent shopper, so why not join in the fun?

Paper Geek is my pride and joy – a collection of some of my favorite items that I have been making and giving as gifts.  While I definitely won’t get rich off of it, I’m having a blast selling this stuff.  Another excuse to craft and another way to make people smile.

I’m currently in the process of re-stocking and listing items since being the lucky “victim” of a sneak attack by The Handmade Movement two weeks ago – I was humbled and honored to be “attacked.”  So anyway, stop by and have a look when you have a chance.  And if you know someone who might like my stuff, pass the link along. 

So that’s what I’ve been up to.  Stop back for updates.

But for now, back to my geekery. . .


Monkey business!

Ever notice how much CRAP kids have these days?  I will digress momentarily into one of those cliche “when I was a kid” rants, but bear with me.  When I was a kid we got a couple of gifts from our parents and a little cash from grandma and grandpa.  A cake, some streamers, and maybe a few balloons that my mom blew up herself — no fancy helium.  And we thought it was great.  So I am always amazed at the massive pile of gifts that my nieces and nephew get for their birthdays.  I have on many occasions observed kids opening a birthday gift and giving it about 5 seconds of attention before tossing it aside to open the next 25. 

So Andy and I are trying to move away from toys and other random stuff for gifts.  For our niece and nephew’s (the twins) 6th birthday, we decided to give them an experience — a day of fun with Uncle Andy and Aunt Meghan.  Who wouldn’t want that?!  It’s as much a gift for their parents as it is for them, really.  The plan is to take them to lunch then an indoor playplace called Monkey Joe’s.  We will finish out the day with ice cream.  Andy might be more excited than they are.

Anyhoo, I didn’t want to show up empty-handed to the party, so I made them these appropriately-themed bouquets.

They were actually pretty easy to make thanks to my Cricut and my Xyron 500.  I made the monkeys using the circle shape from the Celebrations cartridge — I think I did 5″ for the head, 4.25 for the mouth, 2.75 for the ears and 0.5″ for the eyes.  The other pieces were made using Celebrations and Doodletype.  I used an envelope template from Paper Source and banana print paper from the Reminisce Monkey Business line for the envelopes (4 bar).  A note in the envelopes told them about the plan for the day.

I decorated the pots with ribbon and put flower arrangement foam in the bottom of each.  I then attached the cutouts to wooden skewers with hot glue.  Once everything was arranged, I topped it all off with some yellow crinkle paper.  Since I used scrap for the cutouts and raided the kitchen drawer for the skewers, the whole project cost me only about $6.  It probably took me about two hours total over two days to make them.

This type of project is also great for centerpieces.  I have made them for baby showers and birthday parties — I included a few examples below. 

The monkey bouquets were a big hit and most importantly,  the twins are super excited about their big day!






I love spaghetti.

natalie dee

Decorating tip: Pottery Barn “on the cheap”

I won’t pretend that I’m not flattered.  I have had several friends tell me that they dig my taste when it comes to decorating.  Some have even asked if I would come over and decorate their houses.  I wish they weren’t kidding.  The idea of spending someone else’s money to redecorate an entire room is my idea of the ultimate fantasy.  While I am no professional decorator I have found that friends like my ideas so I have decided to share some of my favorites here on my long-neglected blog.

I get a few catalogs that I like to think of as my own version of porn.  One example is the aforementioned Paper Source catalog.  But paper isn’t the only thing that gets me hot.  Picture me turning a Pottery Barn catalog sideways, carefully eyeing the gorgeous subject of a photograph from every possible angle, mumbling “Oh yeeeeeaaahhh” to myself.  That, my friends, is the life of a home decor junkie.

But let’s be real.  Pottery Barn is generally pricey — some would say overpriced — and I sometimes just can’t bring myself to pay their prices for the objects of my desire.  So I find an alternative or — no surpise here — do it myself.

Take for example these framed photographs that caught my eye this past summer.  Lovely, yes?


But this set of six framed photos will run you around $199 (although I think they’re on sale now).  Since something like this was perfect for the family room I was decorating I decided to create my own framed photos of nature.

While on vacation in Marquette I did some hiking in the woods behind our house, snapping photos of pretty greenery.  I tried to take advantage of the sunlight whenever possible.  I also took some pictures on the beach of Lake Superior.  Back in Waukesha I took some photos of plant life while walking Steve at Minooka Park.  I am not much of a photographer, but when all was said and done I had several great photos to choose from.

I enlarged the photos to 8″x10″ and purchased simple black frames with a white mat from Kohl’s.  A grand total of $40 later, I had my own series of framed photos .  These photos are not only special because they were taken in a place that is important to me, they look pretty darn good on my wall (if I do say so myself).


I would advise that if you decide to do a similar project that you order matte prints.  They look much nicer in a frame.  I neglected to check that box when I ordered these and I couldn’t bear to waste these prints.

Anyway, if this idea floats your boat but you don’t want to wait until spring to take your own photos, feel free use these photos that I took and never used.  And if you love the look of the apothecary jars, go to TJ Maxx or Marshall’s.  They have a wide selection at very reasonable prices.

Happy decorating!





Steve’s Spot

Hope your Halloween is a DEVIL of a good time!


Forever seems like yesterday

9:37 a.m., 10/7/08

Two years ago today about this time I was getting bobby pins shoved into my hair while I tried to breathe deeply to calm the butterflies in my stomach.  My whole life I had wondered what my wedding day would be like.  I had always pictured a magical day.  As luck would have it that’s exactly what we got.

It was unusually warm and sunny for an October day in Marquette, MI.  The leaves were at their peak color and there was a slight breeze in the air.  On any given day this alone would have put me in a great mood.  The fact that I was marrying the love of my life made it the most awesome day I have ever experienced.

So happy anniversary, baby.  You are my forever.


Forever – Ben Harper

Not talking about a year, no not three of four
I don’t want that kind of forever in my life any more
forever always seems to be around when things begin
but forever never seems to be around when things end

So give me your forever
please your forever
not another day less will do
from you

People spend so much of their time every single day
running ’round all over town giving their forever away
but no not me I won’t let my forever roam
and now I hope that I can find my forever a home

So give me your forever
please your forever
not another day less will do
from you

Like a handless clock with numbers on an infinite of time 
No not the forever found only in the mind
Forever always seems to be around when things begin
But forever never seems to be around when things end

So give me your forever
please your forever
not another day less will do
from you