diy triangle quilt for eloise.

we decided not to go overboard with presents for eloise when she turned one which is pretty much our gift-giving philosophy for our kids. we did the same at Christmastime – just a few small stocking stuffers and one bigger gift. this helps because not only do we not have the space for lots & lots of toys, but we like the idea of toy minimalism, other people are very generous at birthday time, & eloise is too young to really know about new toys (& we are taking advantage of that for as long as possible!). maybe we will change our mind in later years, but for now this is pretty awesome. {we did get her this cute little IKEA cart & this first mobile phone.}

but, I did want to do something special for eloise, & by “do something” I mean “make something.” & what I ended up making her was a quilt. it was my first one (well, other than this quilted playmat that I made her in the spring, but I really don’t consider that a quilt, especially after making this one!).

the idea of a quilt has been around for quite a while & it started when I picked out my wedding dress. yep. my dress had this tremendously long & gorgeous train. I knew that some day I wanted to have quilts made out of it for our future children, so I kept the train but not the dress. I honestly thought I would have to find someone to make a quilt for me since the fabric of the train is silky, but I challenged myself to give it a try first, especially since there is so. much. fabric.

I scoured Pinterest to find a simple quilt pattern & quickly found this triangle one. it was perfect! the pattern was simple & I loved the ombre. (I realized that I had my choice to do ombre or not, but I really liked the look of this original quilt). when I was buying fabric (at Jo Ann since I have trouble buying fabric online – I like to see it, feel it, & look at it along with other fabrics) I was less than excited about the color choices in solid cotton. I was really wanting to do a coral ombre & grey, & ended up having to go way pinker than originally intended. that said, in the end, I really like the pinks with the cream color of my train. instead of white fabric I used my dress train along with dark pink, pink, light pink, grey, small grey dots, & larger grey dots (for the back).

while I normally add a tutorial with my DIY posts, there is no way I qualify to write a tutorial for making a quilt. I learned SO much on this project, but spent SO much time re-doing a lot of the aspects of this quilt. the sewing of the triangles went pretty well & I used a basting adhesive spray to help keep the train material from slipping in my machine. it worked well keeping fabric together but was really sticky on the fabric; I had to wash the front of the quilt twice to get the adhesive off. {a sewing friend told me later to use tracing paper on top of the fabric to keep it from slipping & then rip it off once the stitches are in place – this is an awesome trick!} once I started quilting the triangles (the white dots & the grey), I realized that the batting I was using was WAY too thick (I used the same thick batting as the quilted playmat) but kept on quilting. & then I got 90% done & decided I didn’t like it, so I ripped all of the quilting out! I asked Amanda about what quilt batting she uses (see her quilts for us here & here) & ended up taking her advice, using this batting at her recommendation. quilting went so much better & looked so great! then I got to the binding & it was a lot more ripping of seams. I used pre-made binding (rather than making my own) but I had no idea what I was doing & ended up buying binding that was too thick. after binding one side, I ripped it out & trimmed the binding down by half. it went much better the second time around, though I wish I would have hand-stitched the second set of stitching on the back of the quilt (the idea of hand-stitching sounded so awful & tedious at that point!) but oh well. I am still really happy with the quilt. & there is SO MUCH fabric left fo future children’s quilts!

eloise was pretty pleased with the quilt when I first showed her & she pointed out the colorful triangles – it melted my mama heart!

have you made a quilt before? any tips you want to share?


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my weekend in pictures.


{eloise participated in a research study at the UW about fairness. she did SO well, even with this crazy, brain-wave-reading cap on!}

{our new car reminds me to take my cell phone! thank you VW for hiring a new mom to talk to your programmers about what your customers need in a car.}

{selfie with this mini me!}

{it took me well into the afternoon to figure out that eloise & I were dressed like twinners on friday – stripes & cuffs.}

{I will give you one guess who snuck into the house with muddy paws…}

{eloise was so interested in what papa was up to this weekend. oh power tools! & she looks like she has a mullet in this picture, but she really doesn’t!}

{I made these sweet potato waffles this weekend – a big batch! – to put in the freezer for quicker breakfasts in the morning. eloise was a fan this morning.}

{indian food family dinner at one of our favs Bengal Tiger. so good!}

{working on eloise’s thank you notes for her birthday. some day she will write her own!}

we had a crazy weather weekend – so much rain & storming. we had a low-key weekend which was good since we lost power for nearly three hours on saturday. luckily we have a white noise machine that is battery-operated & it wasn’t too hot (so no fan needed) so eloise slept for a lot of that time. it wasn’t horrible, but you never realize how much you use power unless you don’t have it! even though it was a nice reprieve from the heat & we got a sneak peek of fall weather, I am definitely not ready for summer to be over! how was your weekend?


friday I’m in love.

welcome back friday! be sure to pop over to see what kendra, mary beth, amanda, laura, aileen, jessica and ashley are loving! we would love for you to join us. leave a comment and we’ll come check out what you’re loving each week!

{one} white collar.

{via TBS}

during the summer when primetime shows are on hiatus, we usually binge on a few TV shows that we have been wanting to watch, but don’t have time to when other shows are running. we just finished white collar (on Netflix) & it was SO good! I was hesitant at first, but by about half-way thru the first episode, I was hooked. I didn’t love the way the show ended, but I never do! I like watching a few episodes each evening after eloise goes to bed & the kitchen is cleaned up; I prefer this to waiting for a new show to air each week.

{two} painted basket (IKEA hack).

{via Tell Love and Chocolate}

I have been on the hunt for toy storage for eloise’s toys (since I have so many that aren’t out because I am trying to rotate) but haven’t had a lot of luck. I am finding that everything I like is way too expensive, especially for toy storage. I came across this really cool IKEA hack though & think I might try it (too bad I just was at IKEA last week!). even though the basket is bigger than i would like, I love the fact you can see thru. I don’t want to get huge baskets that toys just get lost in. I am also thinking about these cool wire ones from West Elm.

{three} green smoothie.

I like the idea of green smoothies (yay for adding veggies!) but in reality I don’t like the really healthy ones… wah wah. they taste too much like vegetables or are too bitter. so I know that I can’t be SUPER healthy & need to have a higher fruit ratio. I recently tried this one from Merrick’s Art & really liked it! the ratio is perfect for me & it is super easy to make. the trick (that aaron taught me) is to run the VitaMix (or blender) on high for a bit right at the end to really make sure all of the spinach leaves are blended.

Green Smoothie (makes roughly 3 cups)

1/2 an apple (I use pink lady)
1/2 an orange
1 banana (slightly ripe is better)
2 large handfuls of spinach
7 or 8 ice cubes
unsweetened original almond milk (about 1/2 cup — more if you want it thinner)
4-5 pieces of frozen fruit (I usually do strawberries, and mangos)

Directions: Put all the ingredients in the blender (in this order), and blend until very smooth. Add water or almond milk until your desired consistency is reached (I sometimes add just a splash more milk). Serve immediately.

what are you loving this week?


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eloise {first birthday party DIYs}

now that I have shared eloise’s first birthday party pictures, I thought I would share all of the party-planning details & the DIYs (since a lot of you have asked!).

first birthday parties have become huge events, thanks mostly in part to pinterest. (yep, I am totally blaming pinterest for this one!) I have a girlfriend who likened a child’s first birthday party to a wedding… sometimes it seems that way, right? I LOVE to decorate for parties, but had to set realistic expectations for what eloise’s party would be like because it would have been so easy to get super carried away. plus, eloise is only going to remember this party from photos. first birthday parties are for parents moms (& same with nurseries!) so I was determined not to go overboard.

of course I had a pinterest board (it was secret though!) & I honestly started pinning ideas of things around the time she was 6 months old. once we got closer to the actual event, I decided on a theme: polka dots. I knew it would be easy & simple, & it was something that eloise loved too! for me the theme was one of the trickier parts because I am not a fan of party décor that is super matchy-matchy. I think blogs & pinterest has created this idea that every single thing at a party (food, decorations, invitations, etc.) have to be perfectly on theme. but I prefer a more subtle theme, so dots were perfect.

color was the very first thing that I thought of & I pinned a few different colorways before I found the perfect one (see below). I wanted something that was fun, a little girly, & sophisticated, & this was right on! the colors I ended up with were all of my favorite colors: navy blue, mint green, grey, hot pink, teal, & gold. {& if I would have had time to make those paper party blowers, I would have! next time.}

{image via}

I started with the invitation since that would be the first thing everyone would see &, let’s be honest, I adore paper goods. just like Christmas cards, I designed the invitation (using photoshop & illustrator), had them printed at my favorite local printers (Girlie Press if you live in Seattle!), & snail-mailed them to our guests. while sites like Paperless Post & Evite are really great (especially for managing RSVPs), there is something really special about a mailed card that you can hold in your hand & hang on your fridge. plus, after perusing the Paperless Post site for a few minutes, I quickly decided I would be so much happier if I just made my own invites since nothing seemed quite perfect. the other great thing about having designed the invites is that I could later make party signs that followed the same theme.

{sorry this is so pixelated!}

& since I was doing paper invites, I also decided I wanted to line the envelopes. this is a little something extra that I think is really fun & I never get to do with our Christmas cards since it would be so time consuming! after shopping around at a few craft stores, I opted to design a stripey pink envelope liner (& then the hot pinks matched perfectly!). in order to save time, money, & paper though I made the inserts half size so that they didn’t go down inside the entire envelope. it ended up working perfectly & I could even print two liners per page! since I did the liners later, I had them printed at my local Kinko’s (the online printing service is pretty cool!).

when it came to décor, I knew I wanted to DIY a few things, but I wanted to keep it simple. garlands, balloons, party hats. that was pretty much it!

going with the polka dot theme, these paper dot garlands were perfect. I have seen a lot of different versions in my pinterest feed, but I liked the ones with the same size dots just in different colors. I chose the colors based on the paper supply at Michael’s & ended up with a glittery gold (but the glitter didn’t fall all over!), grey, hot pink, & mint green. I decided on a 3 inch circle (I traced the lens hood on our camera which was the perfect size) & traced & cut out all of the dots. it took some time (a few evenings of White Collar) & I had cramped hands afterwards, but I didn’t want to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a 3 inch paper circle cutter just for these garlands! once I had the dots all cut out, I sort of randomly arranged them in order making sure there weren’t two dots of the same color together, or too much of a pattern. then I just sewed them together using a slightly longer stitch than I normally would for fabric. I left a long thread on both ends of the garland & used a white cotton thread (my go-to) to sew the dots together right down the middle of the dot. I didn’t leave room between the dots (though I could have) & found that putting down two pieces of washi tape on my machine helped to line up the next dot. {see dot garland pictures below with the ONE balloons!}

I also wanted to make a small garland to hang on the chalkboard. I found this great cardstock with gold polka dots at Michael’s & grabbed a few sheets since it was so on-theme! I ended up using some of it to make half of the chalkboard garlands (the other half I used plain cardstock). I like the look of little flags, so I used a simple rectangle & cut out the bottom triangle to make it a flag. I cut little slits with an exacto knife & then thread each flag onto white twine (with a gold glitter thread).

I ended up deciding pretty early that I wanted to make party hats since most of the kids at the party would be around eloise’s age. while a regular-sized party hat would have fit, I like the look of a slightly smaller party hat, especially on little kids. so I found this party hat template on Oh Happy Day! & printed it at 75% (or so). then I traced & cut out seven party hats out of plain cardstock, & one out of the gold polka dot cardstock (for eloise). I originally wanted to glue paper dots onto each hat using the same paper that I had used for the big dot garlands, but once I started one hat, it looked terrible. I could have probably painted dots onto the hats & it would have looked cute, but I opted at that point to leave the party hats plain. to make the hats look a little more festive, I added a small tissue pom pom to the top. there are lots of tutorials on how to make tissue poufs on pinterest & the interwebs. I used 5 sheets of tissue paper that were like 2 or 3 inches (small) & used very thin floral wire to wrap around & keep the pom poms together. I left the wire long on each pom pom so that I had something to tape onto the inside of the hat. I used gold & teal tissue for most of the party hats & hot pink for eloise’s polka dot hat. {sidenote: though these party hats were mostly intended for kids, they really weren’t super kid friendly. we didn’t have any issues with the hats, but the elastic & floral wire made them slightly dangerous. I made sure we had supervision while wearing the party hats.}

the other theme of the party (other than polka dots) was ONE since that was the age eloise was turning… so I thought it would be fun to have big balloons that spelled out ONE after seeing this adorable set-up with letter balloons. I ordered the O and N balloons from the Oh Happy Day! Party Shop in the large size (34 inches – they were huge!) because that was what was in stock. I was able to find the exact same balloon on Amazon for the letter E. there was a bit of a fiasco though once I had the balloons filled & while things didn’t go according to plan, I was able to make it work & was really pretty happy with it in the end. so if you are thinking about using giant letter balloons, learn from my story: on thursday evening before the party (which was saturday afternoon) I decided to run out to our local party store to have the balloons filled while aaron put eloise to bed so that I didn’t have to go out on friday & try to wrangle eloise plus three giant balloons. I was able to get the balloons filled (with helium) & home with no issues. I begged aaron offered to help me hang the balloons & the dot garland once I got home so we could check that off of my to-do list. we quickly figured out that filling the balloons with helium wasn’t ideal since I wanted them to hang near the top of the window, but didn’t want strings hanging down in order to keep them floating in the right place. so we taped them from the top of the window & weighted them down at the bottom with metal nuts (actually a really genius move by my husband!). all was well until 7 am on friday morning when I heard a POP! yep, the E balloon burst right at the seams & I was left with balloons that spelled out “ON.” perfect. Amazon Prime can get stuff to us quickly, but not that quickly, so I headed back to the party store later that afternoon (& luckily my mom was in town by that time so she watched eloise). while I was assured at the party store by multiple employees that the E balloon didn’t burst due to overfilling (I still question that, but I was picking my battles at that point!) they did make sure to tell me that the balloons sold on Amazon have about a 50% failure rate. that would have been nice to know. luckily this party store sold the same gold numbers, & the number 3 backwards looks a lot like a letter E. right before I was getting the 3 filled though, I noticed that it was a slightly different gold color than the original balloons. uh oh. but do you know what? the number 0 & the letter O are identical & I figured it may look somewhat purposeful if the O & the E were a different color than the N so I went with it. I also was talking thru the weighting process with the balloon fillers & they told me all of my problems would be solved if I just had the balloons filled with air. duh! so for the same price as helium (what?) I had the 0 & 3 balloons filled with air. once I got home, we took down the letter O & hung up the 0 & backwards 3. it was perfect (well as perfect as it was ever going to be!) & you couldn’t even tell the color difference! so all of that to say, if you are going to buy letter balloons, don’t buy them off of Amazon & buy a few extra just in case!

we had two cakes at the party – one for adults & party guests, & a small smash cake for eloise. the big cake was a vanilla one from Whole Foods & while I am certain it had the highest quality ingredients, aaron & I decided early on that we didn’t want to introduce eloise to sugar (just yet!). so I made her a little smash cake that was banana & blueberry with whipped coconut milk frosting. I really wanted some kind of cake topper too & made two sets (one for each cake) using this cake topper as inspiration. it was really simple to make. I cut different widths of paper strips (using the same paper as the big dot garlands) & glued them onto a wooden BBQ skewer (which I cut down in length after the flags were on it). once all of the paper strips were glued on, I cut out the little triangles from the ends, making each flag a different length. I added the writing with a gold paint pen, & added the gold-thread twine (which is the same I used to hang the chalkboard garland).

because of the smash cake photo op, I wanted to decorate eloise’s highchair a bit. nothing too elaborate, but I did make two little garlands that hung on the front of her tray. the first one was a tiny version of the dot garland. I used a small circle cutter that I have (it is about an inch and a half) & then sewed the small dots together just like I did with the bigger garland. the other garland used the same little cardstock flags as the chalkboard garland, & I added ONE to the middle three flags.

while perusing pinterest for party ideas, I came across a few pins for a party time capsule. I instantly fell in love with the idea & knew I wanted to do some type of time capsule for eloise to open on her 18th birthday. I found this great gold polka-dotted box at Home Goods & knew it would be perfect. the idea is that I am saving things from eloise’s first birthday party, storing the box, & giving it to eloise to open on her 18th birthday. pretty fun, huh? so far we’ve got all of her first birthday cards, the cake toppers, eloise’s party hat, the garlands from the highchair, the 3 balloon (since it doubles as an E for eloise!). plus, I thought it would be fun for each guest (well adult) to fill out a card for eloise so she could have all of them to read in 17 years (see picture below). I am hoping to add her ONE onesie that she wore on her birthday & for her first year photoshoot (still waiting on pictures from the photographer), a string that is the same length as her at one year, & perhaps some printed photos from her party & photoshoot.

& finally, I always put a Kraft paper tablecloth out on our dining room table (where we serve food) whenever we have a big group of people over. it gives me peace of mind that the table won’t be destroyed by water or food, & it makes clean-up so easy! plus, it usually goes with the party décor since I almost always incorporate Kraft paper somehow. I keep this huge roll of Kraft paper around for occasions such as these (& use it to make table runners, signs, wrap gifts, the possibilities are endless!). for this party, I also added some confetti to the table that I picked up here (apparently it is the BEST confetti ever!).


{this is the only photo we have of the table – birthday party aftermath!}

I had SO much fun planning eloise’s party! &, if I do say so myself, think I did a pretty good job managing the décor & not going too crazy.

did you plan a first birthday party for your kiddo(s)?


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eloise {first birthday party!}

eloise turned ONE & we had such a fun time at her party! we were surrounded by family & friends to celebrate the first year of our daughter, & it meant so much to us that everyone came over. surprisingly, I wasn’t as emotional at all about eloise turning one (even on her actual birthday!) & I really thought I would be a mess. lots & lots of people have been asking for party pictures, so here you go. {warning: there are a lot of photos!}

{we had lawn flamingoes & a dot garland to welcome guests (to our very dry lawn!). I meant to get the big flamingoes, but ended up ordering miniature ones instead (no longer available)!}

{this was a time capsule that I am doing for eloise’s first birthday. I asked each guest to fill out a card to include in the box. more details to come!}

{eloise’s smash cake & other birthday cake.}

{just brushing her teeth & playing with mama’s phone at her party.}

I didn’t take the words of advice to really limit the guest list because we wanted this to be a celebration that included all of the family & friends that are important in eloise’s life. however, I did want to keep things casual & not have a strict schedule of events, so we just did two things: a fortune telling & the cake smash.

in the Korean culture, first birthday parties are a very big deal – traditionally & in the modern day. one of the birthday traditions – the Dol – is that a child is set in front of objects & picks one. the object that is chosen is supposed to be representative of that child’s future. since eloise is half-korean, we thought it would be fun to do at her party. we also incorporated a voting portion & each guest put his or her name in a cup to vote on which object eloise would pick. once she had picked an object, I drew a name from that cup & had a little prize. I tried to stick to the traditional objects & keep the number minimal so she didn’t get overwhelmed. needless to say, she was overwhelmed & got upset at the beginning! (funny thing is that another kiddo who had a Dol at her party also cried when she had to pick!) at first eloise went for the thread/yarn, but after getting some reassurance from her papa, she ended up choosing the book. big surprise! so, eloise is going to be a scholar in her future!

{we had the objects set out so guests could see them & vote for which one eloise would pick! you can also see a shot of the slideshow we had going on the TV – all of eloise’s weekly & monthly pictures.}

{she set out for the thread first, but before she grabbed it she stopped, looked up at everyone, & started to cry. aaron gave her some snuggles & then sent her back on her way. she picked the book & was pretty happy with her choice in the end!}

after the Dol we decided it was time for some cake. I got a simple vanilla cake from Whole Foods for the guests to enjoy, but aaron & I didn’t want to introduce eloise to sugar, especially in that quantity, on this occasion. {sidenote: I realize that I won’t be able to keep eloise away from sugar forever, but I might as well while she has no idea what it is!} so I made a sugar-free banana & blueberry cake (it was similar to a banana bread) with a whipped coconut milk frosting. the recipe made two 9 inch cakes which was way too much & I ended up cutting two small circle cakes out of one of them & stacking them on top of each other (& I froze the other cake). in hindsight, I should have made a whipped cream cheese frosting instead since this was the first time eloise had coconut & she didn’t seem to be a fan. she wasn’t super interested in the cake (which was a huge surprise to us all) & I think it was because of the coconut. I gave her just the plain cake later & she gobbled it up!

{these smash cake pictures are like the many faces of eloise!}

{I am not sure which one of these family photos I like the best. & I love that eloise’s feet are blurry because she was wiggling!}

& a huge THANK YOU to our friend jess & my brother-in-law ben for taking pictures at the party! I made sure to leave our camera out (thanks for getting some snaps jess!) & asking ben to bring his camera to take photos so that I didn’t have to worry about taking the photos during the party. plus, it means that aaron & I are in them which is really special!

happy happy first birthday eloise!


my weekend in pictures.

{I am working with eloise on her utensil skills. my friend told me she puts almond (or peanut) butter on a spoon & gives it to her daughter to help her learn about how to use a spoon. I tried it with eloise this weekend & it works so well – genius!}

{this is my new favorite thing eloise does these days: she likes to read a magazine while I change her diaper!}

{eloise is also learning how to share & has started giving people things, like this Xbox game. thanks eloise!}

{eloise reading a pile of books with her friends at a birthday party this weekend.}

{I picked up these long-sleeved Ikea bibs last week & they are fantastic. easy to clean & I don’t have to strip eloise down to a diaper at mealtime!}

{eloise rode her first John Deere tractor this afternoon at a friend’s birthday party. I had to snap a picture & send it to her grandpa! also, doesn’t she look so old? a toddler already. sigh.}

{a sewing project that I have been working on for SO long is hopefully coming to an end this week. a very belated present for eloise that I will be sure to share once it is finished!}

we hit the first birthday party circuit again this weekend which is hilarious & so fun! I just can’t believe eloise & all of her friends are one. we didn’t have much else planned this weekend & were able to get a few things on the never-ending to-do list checked off (yard work for aaron & crafting projects for me). even without a jam-packed weekend, the two days still flew by! how was your weekend?


friday I’m in love.

welcome back friday! be sure to pop over to see what kendra, mary beth, amanda, laura, aileen, jessica and ashley are loving! we would love for you to join us. leave a comment and we’ll come check out what you’re loving each week!

{one} kerry washington’s self feature.

{via Self}

in catching up with some celebrity gossip (my complete guilty pleasure!) I came across an article about kerry washington’s feature in Self magazine. having just had a baby herself (her daughter is 15 months) I was curious what would be shared about her child or her life as a mother. and I was pleasantly surprised to her response about being “post-baby”: “I’ve been really focused on not being ‘back’ to anything, but being the best version of myself right now… My body is the site of a miracle now. I don’t want to be pre-miracle.” I think as mamas we are constantly being asked about how we are feeling & whether we are back to pre-baby (& I am totally guilty of this in asking my newly mama friends!). while I was really motivated to have my pre-baby body “back” I will never feel the same as I did before I had eloise, regardless of the way that I look. it is nice to have a reminder of that especially when it feels like all I hear from the media is: get rid of your pregnancy weight as fast as possible!

{two} the commission project.

{via The Commission Project}

I have always loved the idea of having painted portraits of our family. I know, I should have lived in the middle ages I guess, right? but there is something so special about a painting that doesn’t exist in a photograph. I first heard about The Commission Project a few years ago & have been dreaming about it ever since. paul ferney (who is jordan’s – of Oh Happy Day! – husband) paints portraits of pictures. so you send your favorite photo in & he turns it into a painting. swoon! some day…

{three} a travel bug.

{via The Autoimmune Traveler}

this pretty much sums up the way I feel about traveling. take me anywhere! I have definitely been getting the travel bug recently & have been daydreaming about a taking a trip. maybe next year? le sigh.

what are you loving this week?