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iNSPiRE | A new adventure...

Monday, September 26

In a world where technology has the tendency to dehumanize our communication, our work, our relationships, our connections, our creativity and our overall life experiences, I'm finding myself choosing more and more of what makes me "feel"...

By that I mean I'm choosing things that uplift, inspire, touch, add joy to and give more meaning to the lives of those around me...and to myself.

Just like this sign says, I've been looking for ways to have my cake and eat it too and I finally decided it was up to me to put on my big girl apron and bake the darn thing!

My work has been shifting in small ways over the past couple of years...intentionally...pointing me in the direction of less time in front of the computer.

I've longed to do more hand-crafted projects that would marry my love of graphic design with my desire to give more life to the inspirational quotes I've been posting regularly on my Instagram feed. This desire, (along with some other life stuff), has given way to a new business adventure with my daughter, Ema.

Let me introduce you to the brand new...

This little creative division of Pen + Paper Flowers was something I started to dream about two years ago and just hasn't left me alone since.  Earlier this year I reached out to a couple of friends to run my ideas by them. I definitely had hesitation, especially with the signs, since I have friends that make signs already and I didn't want to come across as a copy cat.

However, one friend, in particular, pointed out what a natural transition all of this was.  And that's how my heart felt too. Using my graphic design talents to create handmade items that will add warmth and charm to any home seems to be the perfect extension to what I already do and love. much as I love the idea of having a cute storefront somewhere, I also know the long demanding hours something like that requires and I did not want to take more time away from my family.

I'm not really interested in another online store either. The purpose of Willow + Wildflowers Market is to get me out of the house and interacting with people in my community on top of getting me out from in front of the computer.

Insert Trader Mae's, a local furniture and decor market. 
My daughter and I are renting a small space to display the items we make and aside from restocking and keeping the space pretty, we don't even have to be up there.

Right now, (and by right now, I mean we literally just opened this past Saturday), we are doing hand-painted wooden signs. My goal is to eventually offer a line of pillows along with some signature homemade linen sprays I've been making for our own home.

The goal here is to keep things simple. Simple signs, simple pillows and simple linen sprays. That's it.

Willow + Wildflowers Market is a line of home decor items that I would personally have displayed in my own home. So yes, there are a lot of "nods" to my love for baking and my vintage farmhouse style.

Each piece is cut, sanded, painted, stained and hand-painted by Ema and I.
We didn't know what we were doing when we started. We just started.

Sometimes you just have to jump...and we did.

The "Love is always the Answer" sign above is the first sign to have sold. (thanks Mom)! *wink*
I have no idea what will become of Willow + Wildflowers Market or where this will take us.
What I do know is this is an opportunity to strengthen my relationship with one of my daughters as we work side-by-side. And it feels good.

It also feels good to have a paintbrush in my hands again...creating the small details of these signs. There's just something extra special about something handmade. And to think these signs will be hanging in the homes of people in my community...well that's just pretty special too.

I'd love to know what you all think of the signs!!
But more importantly, I'm wondering if you've been feeling the same way about technology and the influence it's having on the maker community.  I'd love to hear your thoughts and creative things you've been doing to step away from all of your devices.

If you love what you see and want to see more, follow the Willow + Wildflowers Instagram feed for behind-the-scenes sneak peeks of new items and our process for making these.

As always, thanks for being part of my journey...

Ema and I literally had one sign made when we were surprised with a phone call on Monday evening that we had an official space at Trader Mae's if we wanted it. We spent the next 4 days painting and creating 8 signs to have up just in time for the big Fall Festival on Saturday and Sunday. Eeks!

SHARE | The Evolution of the Fridge :: Big Chill

Thursday, September 15

While I'm finishing up a few things I'm working on and sooo looking forward to sharing with you
I thought you might enjoy looking over this "Evolution of the Fridge" infographic from Big Chill

Isn't it fun to see how far we've come?
So I'm curious...
Would you do color for your next fridge?

Have the best day ever friends!!
And remember, when I'm not here on the blog, you can find me HERE and on Snapchat most days!
(Snapchat handle is: pnpflowers)


My daughter Ema and I are making a small dream of mine come true behind the scenes.
She was looking for work...and I was looking for someone to help me make it happen.

SHOPPE | NEW! Caramel Apple Bar Collection

Monday, September 12

24x36 Caramel Apple Bar Chalkboard Sign

Have you all ever created a Caramel Apple Bar for a wedding, birthday or celebration?
I, personally, have NOT...but I've definitely been inspired to do so!

I think something like this would be so fun at a Fall PartyNeighborhood Party, Craft Night, Classroom Party or even as part of your Thanksgiving Day or "Friendsgiving" celebrations!!

I've had a lot of customers reach out to me to create a Caramel Apple Bar Collection for them and
today, I have made it available in the shoppe as an easy download! (It works just like the Chalkboard Popcorn Bar Collection!!)

Along with the printable 24x36 Caramel Apple Bar chalkboard sign you'll also receive...

Two different 8x10 "Directions" Signs 
"Take Home" edition + "Enjoy Now" edition

A set of Caramel Apple Bar Topping Tags
leave square or use a 2.25" circle punch to create round labels

If you need ideas for how to set up a Caramel Apple Bar, check out my APPLE EVERYTHING Pinterest board where you'll find tons of ideas! I personally think I would go with this "Apple Wedge" approach when setting up an interactive Caramel Apple Bar. It just seems more cost-effective and way more practical since I think kids and adults are less likely to eat an entire apple.

Besides that, I like the thought of being able to try a couple of different flavor combinations instead of being stuck with only one - who's with me on that? *wink*

If you are on the fence about whether or not you want to create a Caramel Apple Bar this Fall...I'm offering $5 off the NEW Caramel Apple Bar Collection for the next 24 hours!

EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS ENJOY $10 OFF - emails have just been sent!

Maybe that will convince you? All you have to do is go to the Chalkboard Caramel Bar Collection in my shoppe and enter CARAMELAPPLE during checkout!!

I hope you've been inspired!
I'd love to know if you've created one before and if you have any tips + tricks you think will be helpful as I scheme on what to do for mine this year!!


I took these photos last week.
It's all still sitting on the floor in my studio. (even the caramel) *gasp*

Speaking of the caramel...
When prepping for the photoshoot, I just so happened to see the jar in the overflow fridge when I was grabbing the apples. Which means I didn't have to make some or buy some to use in the photos. AND...I'm pretty sure it's from last Fall, when I made caramel apple pie! *hands over eyes*

SHARE | What I Love about Snapchat

Thursday, September 1

Remember a little while back when I mentioned I'd been spending a lot of time on Snapchat this Summer, (even after having avoided the app completely for years)?

And remember I said I'd come back here to share a little bit more as to WHY I love Snapchat?
Well today is your lucky day!

First of all...let me just say...
from what I understand about the original intent of the creation of the Snapchat app...
it definitely wasn't something that suited my particular needs or interests. Ha!
(for those of you who don't's original purpose was to be able to send racy pictures to specific people that would "disappear" after viewing for a few seconds and could not be opened, saved or viewed again).

Anyway...Snapchat has come a LONG way.
Snapchat, for me, is a way for me to lighten up and not take myself so seriously.
It's a place for my wacky sense of humor to shine and I feel it's a #judgefreezone !

It's simply a place to be silly...quite frankly! And to keep things real + human.
It's an app you don't hide behind...unless you're like me and you like to get into character with the mix of funny lenses that distort or alter your appearance, allowing you to instantly become someone else. Ha!

More than being silly though, Snapchat is actually a brilliant and fun way to document life as it's happening; completely raw and real and unedited.

Perhaps you've assumed Snapchat to be a waste of time, just as I once did. 
I incorrectly thought your videos and photos just disappeared after 24 hours, so what's the point right? BUT NO!! You have the option to save ANY and ALL the Snaps you post to your story or save to your Snap Memories. 

I've saved a lot of my Snaps so I thought what better way to demonstrate the different things I love about Snapchat than by actually sharing with you some Snaps I've taken over the last few months...along with some TIPS + TRICKS I've learned along the way.
Let's go...

I LOVE that you have the option to 
+ instantly add words, fun stickers and filters
Post photos for up to 10 seconds long or 7-second videos.

Front porch with text and emojis added.

Video of my master bedroom with a filter added

TIP: There are some face lenses that have cool effects 
even when you switch from front-facing to rear-facing.

Herbs I photographed and added stickers and words to

TIP: Add a plethora of sticker options to your photos and videos.
You can enlarge, rotate and place them where you want.

Video I shot with one hand - not an easy task BTW

TIP: Include music in your Snap videos by 
choosing a song on your phone within iTunes 
or just have music playing in the background from a radio or other source.

I LOVE that I can
and label them right on the spot.
Snapping a photo or video and then being able to add
text to it immediately is great for two reasons. 
First, if I post it, whoever sees it will know what the photo is about 
and second, I'll remember what was happening when I look back at saved Snaps.

Clara's 20th Birthday - with a crown sticker added + text

All three of my girls together for Mother's Day Brunch

Ella - in the bathroom on the night of her talent show
about to perform a gymnastics routine

Getting frozen yogurt AFTER the talent show with her bestie, Elise

POST Talent Show video

TIP: You can turn the sound off before posting videos

I LOVE that I can record

Ella at a doctor's appointment

TIP: Fast-forward, Slo-Mo and Reverse are available AFTER you take a video.
They are included in the filter options and I love that you can decide 
AFTERWARDS whether or not to speed it up or slow it down or play it backwards.

Ella's First Grade "Good Pie" Party

Ella + Elise having their very first sleepover

This is what the backseat looks like when riding with Ella 
and I wanted to capture it.

TIP:  Draw on your photos too! 
Snapchat has a slide bar of colors to choose from.

A quick snap of Ella in the bathtub 
with her collection of My Little Ponies.

Waiting in the car line at school...Ella really liked the
"charming" flowers in this Snap lens.

Having brunch with Clara

TIP: The funny lenses can be added to someone else by 
double-tapping the screen to flip the camera from front-facing to rear-facing

Clara and I after Ella's Talent Show

TIP: When doing a selfie with a lens,
other people in the screen can "steal" your lens...
and even better...some of the lenses have now been designed for two people.

Slow-Mo feature 
This is Clara holding her phone, creating her own Snap
while I'm over her shoulder with my phone recording her...

I LOVE that I can

One of Snapchat's floral crown lens
+ The Chainsmoker's "Don't Let Me Down"

Snapchat's Marilyn Monroe lens 
+ Gwen Stefani's "Me Without You"

Snapchat's Lion lens

I LOVE that I can
from an entirely different RAW + FUN perspective
Snapchat can literally be the life of the party 
by giving everyone in attendance permission to be silly + fun!

This was the first 24 hours of my family reunion this Summer -
completely photographed and recorded using Snapchat.

Aren't they a crazy, wild bunch of lovely people!!
I still need to post all of the details about that too!

TIP: You can save all of the videos and photos you've recorded within a 24 hour period (and posted to your Snapchat Story) in ONE video - which is awesome for a quick recap of events.

I hope I've enlightened you guys today...
or at least made you laugh out loud, having exposed my sense of humor I rarely get to share here on the blog. 

If you are aren't already on Snapchat, have I at least caused you to consider looking into creating an account and trying it out?

If you still aren't convinced, stay tuned for my post about how I used the silliness of Snapchat to get me through a more serious situation over the Summer.

And if you are already a fan of Snapchat, you can find me by searching for: pnpflowers 
I'd love to find you over there!

Here's to being silly...and not so serious!
Life's too short!


There's a lens I use on Snapchat quite a bit that I didn't even share today.
I'm not sure why, but every time I see the lens on my face my voice immediately changes into
a backwoods-country bumpkin character. I just can't help myself!

And what do my older girls think about me having a Snapchat account? 
Honestly, they make me feel as though I've overstepped my bounds as a parent and that I'm treading on their territory. And actually, they've stopped using it as frequently...probably because they think if I'm on can't possibly be as cool anymore. (and maybe they are right). *wink*

So, yes! They think I'm a complete dork and I probably embarrass them with my posts. 
But I don't even care! *wink*
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