a birthday cake backdrop is my fave

September 24, 2014

Kelly recently threw a birthday party for her daughter Matilda and made a photo backdrop inspired by a yamf project. I loved it so much, I asked her to share the how-to today.

Having a best friend as a party planner always comes in handy – even when we are 2,000 miles apart. Mel’s advice of focusing on one or two big elements may be the best party advice I have ever received. So for Matilda’s second birthday party, I gathered inspiration directly from this YAMF birthday poster.

Matilda was meeting family and friends for the first time at this party, so a photo booth was a must. Here is how you can make your own:

Supplies: a large sheet of plywood (I got this one from my brother’s garage), paint (I used Martha Stewart craft paint), two paint brushes (one small for the candles and one larger for the cake layers), and painter’s tape.

Process: Tape off the cake and layers, paint each layer a different color, pull off the tape, free hand tall candles, alternating colors, and snap away!

Time: I painted the morning of the party and it took no more than two hours.

Follow Kelly:
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a patch banner is my fave

September 18, 2014

from guest contributor Kelly Smith

My son started getting random patches after each soccer practice and was excited to iron them onto something. But the thought of putting them onto something that he would grow out of, broke my heart a little. I mean, patches are cool and should be displayed. So we made a little banner that he can hang in his room and add to as more patches come his way. Here is how you can make one for your little as well.

Supplies: one sheet of felt, a pair of scissors, some fabric glue, a small wooden dowel, and some string.

Process: Fold your sheet of felt hotdog style, cut a triangle towards the center. Then put glue along the top edge of felt and fold over about an inch – hold for a bit until it sticks, then let dry. Stick the dowel through the top tunnel – add string. Iron on patches and hang.

Time: ten minutes tops.

You guys, I am totally excited to start collecting patches as souvenirs to fill this little guy up. And then you know I will have to make a bigger one. And so on and so forth. Enjoy!

Follow Kelly:
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beth allen is my fave

September 17, 2014

custom portrait

Instagram has become my entertainment of choice during round the clock feedings. Sometimes I fall down the rabbit hole of newborn pics and try to find the strangest baby name of the day. And sometimes I meet crazy talented people and I remember why social media can be so great. Beth Allen is one of those people.

How do I love her? Let me count the ways:
Pinkish (abstract art is always welcome to the fave club).
– I commissioned a portrait of Beck and he walks around the house hugging it and saying, “it’s me!” I love how she accentuated his curls (which were freshly cut before the top photo was taken).
– She teaches Thursday night art classes and I might need to make a trip to Arizona just to attend.
This print.
– She has one of my favorite Instagram streams where she sells a small, original painting every Friday.
– Also, her husband bakes.


Beth Allen, welcome to the tippy-top of my fave list.

bottom three photos by Angela Hardison for bethallenart.com

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
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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

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