a craftsy giveaway is my fave

September 16, 2014


Last week I shared that I’m teaming with Craftsy to learn some new skills. Craftsy offers hundreds of online video classes in sewing, cake decorating, photography, art, cooking and many other categories all led by expert instructors.


The latest class I took was Scrapbooking With Style: Clean & Simple Layouts taught by modern day memory keeper, Kelly Purkey. I loved how in depth the class was yet it was easy enough to follow that a novice scrapbooker like me could actually make the pages look good. Since I love Craftsy so much, I want to give each of you a chance to win free registration for the class today.

In the class you’ll learn:
- how to create seven modern scrapbooking layouts
- foundational techniques for your pages
- how to use mist
- layouts for multiple photos
- how to use stencils
- how to layer patterned papers
- cluster technique
- how to mix vertical and horizontal photos

If you’d love free registration to this class, simply follow this link and enter to win. Winner will be chosen at random on September 23rd and will be sent a free class access link from Craftsy. Good luck!


Craftsy is a yamf sponsor but I would love their classes even if they weren’t. View their entire class catalog right here.

images: Kelly Purkey

an awesome party is my fave

September 15, 2014


Sometimes your husband is in a band in college and you go to the shows and secretly admire the dance moves of the girl in the front row and then you meet that girl and it turns out she’s crazy fun and then about eight years later that girl is famous and taking her dance moves on the road and asks you to help her throw a party and even though you’re hugely pregnant you say yes and it turns out a little something like this.

HeatherGrayPhotography.awesomewithbing.denver2014-37 HeatherGrayPhotography.awesomewithbing.denver2014-129 HeatherGrayPhotography.awesomewithbing.denver2014-73
PicMonkey Collage
PicMonkey Collage
HeatherGrayPhotography.awesomewithbing.denver2014-93 (1)

The great Alison brought her How to Be Awesome tour to Denver in June and I was lucky enough to be involved as the event coordinator. I call myself lucky for several reasons. First, I got to use the gorgeous Blanc as the backdrop for the event. Second, I got to work with Denver creatives like:

- Rebecca who did the flower arrangements (and is a jack of all trades)
- Paul who illustrated every guest and who makes the funniest cards I’ve ever seen
- Heather who took these gorgeous photos
- Rachel who taught us how to weave the coolest yarn wall hangings (and is the absolute sweetest)

And who could be more fun to host with than Alison who is a fire cracker and constant inspiration?! I want to be her when I grow up.

Thank you to both Alison for trusting me to pull this off and Bing for bringing the party to Denver.

Learn more about the event and see more photos right here on The Alison Show.

all photos: Heather Gray Photography

a pop-up birthday card + free class are my fave

September 10, 2014


While we’re slowly getting back into the swing of things since Margo’s birth, I’ve noticed I have a renewed enthusiasm for self improvement. One of the many areas I want to focus on is education, because there’s nothing quite like being sleep deprived from having a newborn and hearing jingles from Daniel Tiger for the hundredth time in one day to make your brain feel a bit like mush. So I’m happy to be teaming with Craftsy to help me learn some new skills (from the comforts of my own home) and share what I’m learning with you.

Craftsy offers hundreds of online video classes in sewing, cake decorating, photography, art, cooking and many other categories all led by expert instructors. One of the best parts is you can take each class at your own pace, anytime and anywhere you like.

The first (free!) class I took was Create Stunning Birthday Cards with Kimber McGray. Just because it was free doesn’t mean the quality lacked at all. In this class I learned how to create:

- a gift card pocket card
- a penny slider card (kids would think this one was so great)
- a shaker box card (the best way to incorporate confetti)
- a pop-up surprise box card

PicMonkey Collage

I used the techniques I learned from the pop-up surprise box card segment to make this birthday cake card.

Want to learn how too? You’re in luck because Craftsy is offering this class to yamf readers for free! Just sign up here for the free class and start crafting away. This is the perfect way to try out Craftsy, risk free. Fair warning, you might get addicted and become a full time student.

Craftsy is a yamf sponsor but I would love their classes even if they weren’t. View their entire class catalog right here.

a hip hip hooray sign is my fave

September 5, 2014

diy party sign
How do you let your guests know they’re in for a good time? Spell it out for them with this party sign. It’s easy enough that even a lady at 37 weeks pregnant can crank it out (the fact that the end of my pregnancy was in sight was why it says hip hip hooray).

Get the full tutorial right here on Julep.

a diy a-frame tent is my fave

September 4, 2014

from guest contributor Kelly Smith

diy play tent

When Beck was born, I had this grand idea to make him a teepee. I spent a ridiculous amount of time and effort failing miserably at the teepee making. So for Margo, I knew I wanted to make something simple, something she could grow with, something that was easy to store and assemble, and something that was Mel’s style. So here it is, an A-frame tent done my way!

Materials: a flat bed sheet, four 48″ long 1x2s, three 48″ long 3/4″ dowels, a drill and 3/4″ hole saw, sewing machine or fabric glue, pencil, and tape measure.


  • A-frame: in each 1×2, drill a hole centered at 4″ from top and 1.5″ from the bottom
  • sheet: cut (along the long dimension – think hotdog) the sheet to 48″ wide, slip one of the dowels through the hemmed edge at the top of the sheet, assemble the A-frame and pin the other end of the sheet to fit the frame tautly, disassemble the frame and hem the pinned, bottom edge (make sure to leave enough space to allow for the dowel to slide through), as well as the long edge.

Time: drilling the holes and assembling the A-frame takes about 15 minutes. If you want to sand and paint the boards as I did, allow for an extra hour. Measuring the sheet, pinning and either sewing or gluing the hem took me about 45 minutes. Giving this project a total of 2 hours. But I think I probably spent at least an extra two hours deciding on fabric and paint colors. Only the best for that little Margo!

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peach cobbler cookies are my fave

September 3, 2014

from guest contributor Rebecca Hansen
peach cobbler cookies
peach cobbler cookies
These cookies are the perfect marriage between summer and fall. For those of you savoring the last few weeks of summer, you get the taste of the juicy peaches at their peak. For those of you jumping on the arrival of pumpkins and boots, you get a warm baked good and crumble topping. A win/win in my book.

Peach Cobbler Cookies


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 2 peaches, peeled and diced

Crumble Topping

  • 4 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1/3 cup flour (add more if needed)
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons oats

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together the butter and both of your sugars until fluffy. On low speed at the salt, vanilla, and eggs. When that’s combined add in the flour, baking soda and cinnamon. Mix in the white chocolate. Chill the dough in the fridge for one hour.

While the dough is chilling, mix all the crumble topping ingredients together with a fork until small clumps form.

Preheat the oven to 350.

After the dough is chilled mix in the peaches on low speed. You only want to mix it briefly so you don’t mash up the peaches.

Use an ice cream scoop and drop on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Press down with a fork and sprinkle with the crumble topping.

Bake for 13-15 minutes. Enjoy warm!

peach cobbler cookies
peach cobbler cookies

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a baby shower in a box is my fave

September 2, 2014

from guest contributor Kersey Campbell

Since Melanie had a baby (yay!) I thought it would be appropriate to throw her a little baby shower in a box. It’s so her, right? If you know someone who is expecting, this would be a really fun way to throw a mini party just for them.

You can mix up the box to include a theme or color scheme to make it perfect for the mama to be. Since Melanie had a little lady, I went ahead and made this one for a girl with a few elements you might see at a baby shower.

First off, some simple and fun party decorations. Even just a few balloons and a garland can go a long way. The thank you cards are especially great since she will undoubtedly have a lot of notes to write. Add in the balloon animal figurines for a little element of fun (I have been giving these as gifts for a while now and they are always a hit, they’d be great party favors too). And of course, chocolate. If you don’t include some form of chocolate, don’t expect to get a thank you card.

And that’s it! Put it all into a cute box (or tin in my case) and send it on it’s way!


Sources: thank you cards, balloon animals, dress (Gap – no longer available), honeycomb balls, chocolate from Trader Joes

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toasted marshmallows are my fave

August 29, 2014

from guest contributor Kelly Smith

Okay, so we know that Melanie loves ice cream. And I mean, who doesn’t? In high school, we may have been keeping the local TCBY in business. Coincidentally, it shut down a year after we left for college. But listen, summer treats don’t end at the cone. This weekend celebrate National Toasted Marshmallow Day with the classic campfire s’more. Better yet, here are six nontraditional campfire s’mores for you to try out!

Coconut Delight | Salty Strawberry

Banana Nut | The Adirondack

Junior S’minty

Dark Raspberry

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kiwi crate is my fave

August 27, 2014


Have you heard of Kiwi Crate? They sell crates with crafting supplies for kid friendly projects that you receive monthly, delivered straight to your door. Beck and I just tried out our first crate and couldn’t have loved it more.

kiwi crate review

The timing really couldn’t have been better since as any parent of 2+ kids can tell you, once the littlest arrives the older child has a lot of downtime for the first few weeks. When I told Beck we had a project to work on he couldn’t contain his excitement. I was so happy I didn’t have to come up with the project or shop for the supplies, we just opened the box and everything was there for us to create animal finger puppets and a miniature garden. It occupied Beck for over an hour, which in toddler time is eternity. I think you can tell from these photos how enthralled he was with it all. Afterwards he said, “thanks for the fun project mommy!” Ummm, he’s two.

kiwi crate review
kiwi crate review
kiwi crate review
kiwi crate review

I’d recommend Kiwi Crate for a few reasons:
1. It’s really well executed. The branding is great and the projects are doable and cute.
2. It’s really easy. No coming up with the projects or shopping for supplies. I love doing hands-on projects with Beck but I’m unlikely to do it if too much work is involved. To me this is the biggest perk.
3. It’s well priced. If you added up the cost of going to the store and buying all the same supplies, it would be about the same price or more expensive.

Have a little at home that you think would enjoy Kiwi Crate too? Get 25% off your first month subscription with the promo code FAVEBTS. New subscribers also receive free shipping PLUS a bonus welcome kit.

Yay for innovative products for kids (that make the parents look good)!

Kiwi Crate is a YAMF sponsor but I would recommend their products even if they weren’t.

a sugar rush in a box is my fave

August 26, 2014

from guest contributor Kelly Lanza
candy care package

I’m going to let you in on a little secret… Melanie and I both love sugar. Ok, I lied… that’s definitely not a secret. Also not a secret: How much I love Mel’s “In a Box” series! So, I jumped on the bandwagon and combined all things awesome to bring you a Sugar Rush in a Box! BAM! Who wouldn’t want to receive a sprinkle filled box with sugary treats in all varieties!? Because we don’t want to just eat sweets, we wan’t to wear ‘em too. Let’s dig in.

candy care package
candy care package
candy care package

I think you would win all the awards if you gifted someone this for their birthday. All of ‘em. Happy Sugar High everyone! And most importantly, a very sweet congrats to you, Melanie! I know you’ll teach those babes of yours about the important things in life, like ice cream.

Sources: Striped Box from Target, Jumbo Quin Sprinkles, Ice Cream Balloon Weight, Candy Bracelet, Ice Cream Lollipop from Michaels, Donut Card, Cupcake Box, Dessert Erasers from 99 Cent Store, Rock Candy Lip Gloss, Sprinkle Tape from Target, Fruit Farts Candy (No really, that’s what it’s called.) Gummy Bear Box, Donut Necklace, Ice Cream Jump Rope from 99 Cent Store, Ice Cream Cups, Donut Sunglasses, Ice Cream Necklace (This was a favor from a party but you can get the cone in pillow form here!)


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