Sprucing Up For Spring

Large Memo Pads

Spring has officially arrived according to the calendar and with sunnier days ahead it’s a great time to tackle some home improvement projects. Whether you are organizing your garage, undertaking a bit of spring cleaning or working more organization into your home, proper planning is key. Creating lists of needed supplies and jotting down the step by step process is always helpful when tackling a big project. Our handy memo pads were just what our colleague Traci needed when she tackled two adorable organization projects for her son’s room.

With her son’s love of books and stuffed animals came the potential for clutter, but Traci turned an opportunity for mess into eye catching room décor! Traci used rope, hobby wood and hooks to create an adorable hanging swing for her son’s stuffed pals.

Stuffed Animal Swing

And here she used fabric, dowel rods and curtain rod brackets to create colorful storage for all kinds of books!

Hanging Book Display

With the help of our small memo pads, Traci was able to gather her supplies with ease and create amazing projects for her home! What projects are on your list for this spring?

For complete instructions for these great organizational projects, read the links here:

Hanging Book Display
Hanging Toy Storage

Our safari animal baby shower

Corina's safari animal baby shower

Corina's safari animal baby shower

If you haven’t noticed from our other parties, we Expressionery.com girls love celebrating! We recently threw a baby shower for our own Corina Murray, and we wanted to share the fun with you.

Corina is expecting a baby girl this month, but she’s not a big fan of pink. Instead of sticking with the traditional pastel pink color palette, we thought it would be fun to spice things up with bright, bold colors. You can’t get much brighter than the animal suite:

Animal baby shower

Animal suite

The four designs are available as invitations, plates and more – plus printables we created for Corina’s shower. (Okay, so we snuck in a little pink here and there, but just as an accent color!)

For our safari animal baby shower, we made sure to include Corina’s favorite animal – giraffes – along with some other cute characters. Giraffe, elephant and crocodile cutouts were designed especially for her, along with a bold “Congrats” banner, and we’re sharing them with you as free printables!

Baby safari animal cutouts

Baby safari animal cutouts & "Congrats" banner

For the banner, just print out the PDF on card stock, then punch holes and tie the triangles together with ribbon.

To make the safari animals, grab some card stock or craft foam in the colors of your choice, print out the PDFs on everyday paper, cut them out and use them as stencils to trace the designs onto your card stock or foam.

Next, cut and glue on embellishments. (Hint: all the animals’ eyes, and the elephant’s toenails, can be created by using a hole punch, so don’t worry about trimming a perfect circle by hand!)

Finally, glue craft sticks onto the back and use your baby safari animals around the refreshment table, or tape them up to the wall.

We couldn’t resist throwing in these two “pregnant” animals we found at a local craft store:

"Pregnant" lion & elephant

"Pregnant" lion & elephant

Once we had enough animals, we tied the colorful shower theme together with tablecloths, place settings and ribbon. You might have noticed how we used green as the base color for the dessert table, then highlighted the animals with contrasting banners made by trimming vinyl tablecloths into strips.

We also found some zebra print ribbon at the craft store and tied it around the napkin holders and cake pop box. How simple and affordable is that?

Finally, we added to the safari theme by creating wild tissue-paper flowers. The blog craft team had a blast with these –

Elegant tissue paper flowers

Elegant tissue paper flowers

For your own party, you can use a single color of tissue paper for a natural look, or go wild by pairing several colors in one flower for a bright, bold safari theme like ours. You can find step-by-step instructions for these elegant flowers on Martha Stewart’s website.

Cake pops & gifts

Cake pops & gifts

Here are a few tips we learned along the way:

  • Pick 3 or 4 colors for your baby shower theme. Repeating several colors instead of just one makes the shower more fun and less frilly.
  • Not all your baby safari animals have to match. Throw in a set of these printables, then mix and match with ones you find at the store – like the adorable baby book Suzanne found (above).
  • Letting everyone in on the theme will help them select gifts that match too! Corina was thrilled that we followed her suggestion to have a giraffe and non-pink theme, since that’s how the nursery is being decorated. Now she has lots of safari themed décor – even a giraffe print diaper bag – which she’ll enjoy for months to come.
Gifts, cookies and the guest of honor

Gifts, cookies and the guest of honor - the stamp on the gift tag is available at Expressionery.com

Free safari animal shower printables

And now, for the best part – free printables for you! The “Congrats” banner, adorable baby animal cutouts, water bottle labels, place cards and hors d’oeuvre flags are yours to print and use at your own special occasion.

Pair them with the matching animal suite from Expressionery.com or mix and match with your own unique style – then don’t forget to share your creativity by posting a link in the comments!

Spring Tea Party Ideas

Spring Tea Party Ideas

Tea Party Ideas - photos by Corina Murray, Online Media Specialist for Expressionery.com

It’s never too early to start looking toward the sweet days of spring. While the weather outside might still seem frightful, the ideas for this Spring Sweet Tea Party will have you feeling quite delightful.

Your Expressionery.com gal pals from Texas have stirred up some fun for this atypical tea party. No raised pinkies or scones for this event! We’re serving up a variety of Texan favorites: sweet tea and Texas-sized cookies!

Set the tone for spring with these Sweet Tweet Invitations featuring blooming flowers, fluttering butterflies and birds in song.

Spring Sweet Tea Party

Spring Sweet Tea Party

Use personalized flat cards in a new way! Fold them in half to create a standing sign to label your food items and showcase the theme of your party.

Tea Party Decor

Tea Party Décor

We served lemon cake cookies, Very Berry Tea flavored with fresh raspberries and blackberries and Lemon Mint Tea garnished with bright yellow lemon slices and sprigs of fragrant mint. Mason jars replaced tea cups for our Tea Party and mini tart tins were the perfect serving dishes for chocolate candies in colors coordinating with the fresh flower centerpiece. The centerpiece vases were made using baby food jars wrapped in sheets of memo pad paper and secured with twine.

After you have checked everything off your To Do List, use a few pages from a Blushing Bird Memo Pad to create a one-of-a-kind decoration for your party. Simply adhere die-cut letters (or cut them yourself from scrapbook paper) to the center of each sheet of memo paper, punch holes at the top of the design and thread onto a length of ribbon for a custom banner highlighting the theme of your Sweet Tea Party!

Spring Party Banner

Spring Party Banner

Allow your guests to take home a piece of the fun with personalized recipe cards featuring the Spring Sweet Tea Party theme. Hand-write the recipe for one of the teas you’re serving and send your guests home with a favor they can use over and over again!

Sweet Party Favors

Sweet Party Favors

Finally, after the cookies have been eaten and the pitchers have been washed and put away, keep that sweet spring sentiment brewing with a note of thanks on a card that coordinates with your event’s invitations and sealed with a coordinating label.

Tea party notes

Tea party notes

Hosting and decorating for a tea party can be affordable and adorable! Simple materials used in new and unique ways create a memorable event for your guests. The spring season is just around the corner… who doesn’t need a fun excuse to be together with friends?

What to bring on spring break

bring on spring break

What to bring on spring break 2012

If you’re like me, packing is the least fun part of any trip. But if you pack wisely your trip can be so much more comfortable – no more lugging 20 pounds of extras, no more missing important items you forgot. Here’s a checklist you’ll want to keep handy while you pack for your family spring break trip:

entertain kids on the trip

Keep your kids entertained and everyone will be happier!

Things to entertain kids on the trip

  • Let each kid choose a few special toys to bring. Reserve a small backpack for each kid that they can fill with whatever toys they want for the trip.
  • Invisible ink coloring books are another must. They will prevent your car (not to mention the walls and carpet of the hotel room) from getting messy!
  • Games can help break up long stretches too. If your kids are old enough to read, try Games on the Go – each set includes Auto Bingo, Tic Tac Toe and License Tag game pads. You can also make up simple games – my family likes to call out Walmart stores and giant food (billboards, posters or anything else that has a picture of larger-than-life food). Each one is worth a point, and whoever has the most points at the end of the day wins.
  • New toys can work wonders. Whenever I took family vacations, my mom stowed away special toys like sticker books and small action figures, and every morning she doled out a new gift. The toys don’t take up much room but the excitement and surprise made us eager to see what was in store for that day.
  • Small snacks and drinks can make a big difference when your kids have to wait another hour before you stop for dinner. Try to avoid salty ones that will make them thirsty, which in turn will make you have to stop for extra bathroom breaks.
  • Music (whether you bring CDs for the car or iPods for everyone) can also help ease the tension. Load up with everyone’s favorite songs and take turns. Check visitors’ websites too – some destinations have podcasts to tell you all about the places you’re going to visit.
  • Download a few apps onto your smartphone or tablet. Games and flashcards are a great way for kids to entertain themselves quietly.

Spring Break packing list

Besides entertainment, you’re going to need the right clothes. Check the forecast for your destination a week or two in advance to avoid surprises. Here are some things you will probably want no matter where you’re traveling for spring break:

  • Clothes for the trip – pack just 1 outfit for each day, and try to pick clothes that don’t wrinkle easily. Shorts and t-shirts work great.
  • Swimsuits – bring a couple of suits for each person, so you don’t have to wear the same clammy wet suit every day.
  • A light jacket – even beach destinations can get chilly at night.
  • Comfortable shoes – everyone should have at least one pair of comfortable, broken-in tennis shoes. Dress shoes are optional – try to limit them to one pair per person since they take up a lot of space in luggage.
  • Luggage tags – Mark everyone’s bags with personalized luggage tags. If you’re traveling by plane and you plan to check old luggage, you might take it a step farther and buy colored duct tape (available at hardware and discount stores) to mark your last initial on all your luggage. When all the other brown bags come off the plane, you’ll know just which ones to grab – and the people around you will often spot this and grab them for you too!
  • A journal or small notebook – You may not find the time to write about all your adventures every day, but jotting down a few notes will make it easier to remember your adventures and write more about them after your trip.

If you’re flying this spring break, don’t forget to check on airline guidelines – especially for liquids. Many airlines now charge a fee for each piece of checked luggage, and you never know for sure if your bag is going to make it to the same place you are, so it may be better to carry on your luggage if possible. If you do check your bags, be sure to bring a small carry-on full of essentials like deodorant, medicine, passport and a change of clothes just in case your main bag disappears for a day or two.

If you follow these 3 top packing tips, you’re sure to have a great spring break:

  1. Keep your family comfortable.
  2. Keep them entertained.
  3. Make a packing list.
  4. Above all, pack as light as you can and leave some room in your luggage for souvenirs. After all, you’re going on spring break to get away from your everyday life, not bring it all with you, right?

    Do you have any other suggestions for what to bring on spring break? Share them in the comments!

Spring color trends 2012

2012 Spring color trend Tangerine Tango

2012 Spring color trend: Tangerine Tango

Whether you’re looking to spruce up your closet, punch up your home décor or add some “wow” to your stationery wardrobe, we are excited to share our favorite trends for Spring with you! Fresh colors and whimsical imagery are bringing new life to the trends of 2012.

Pantone’s Color of the Year: Tangerine Tango

One of the easiest ways to infuse the warmth of spring into your lifestyle is with Pantone’s color of the year, Tangerine Tango. This “hot” new color is an invigorating hue of reddish orange that exudes energy and vivacity. Add a burst of Tangerine Tango to your spring wardrobe with a statement necklace, handbag or pair of red-hot pumps. Perk up your pout or touch up your nails and toes in this exotic shade of Tangerine with a new lipstick or nail color!

Energize your home with throw pillows, frames, vases or paint in this eye-catching color, or brighten the day for your friends and family with a touch of Tangerine Tango on your envelopes. These are just a few easy and affordable ways to find yourself wrapped in 2012′s newest color trend.

Spring-Inspired Imagery

Spring Stationery 2012

Spring Stationery

Clockwise from upper left:

The warmer days of spring bring the return of blooming flowers, sweet bird songs and sunny afternoons spent outdoors. Spring is the time to resurface from under the blankets and start to move, explore and travel! It’s no surprise that is exactly what the new spring trends are showcasing!

Add a blouse in a bright floral print, send a sweet hello to a friend on a note card featuring a bike ride through Paris, or toss a new throw pillow onto the couch embellished with the ever-popular bird-themed accent and the trends of spring will put some pep in your step and a twinkle in your eye.

What is your favorite way to infuse a little spring into your life?