Before & After: A Philadelphia Family Apartment in the Heart of the City

Before & After: A Philadelphia Family Apartment in the Heart of the City

The “envelope” of a renovation project is critical to its success. Mona of Mona Ross Berman Interiors in Philadelphia first sorts out the floor, walls, lighting, windows, hardware, doors, and other finishes in a home before focusing on bolder decorative touches. “Many people assume that furniture and accessories are what designers focus on to make a space work,” she explains, “But really, I always start with the envelope because if that’s not working, nothing will look right.” Her firm helped their clients – a family of six, including four daughters – transform their two-bedroom pied-a-terre at The Dorchester overlooking Rittenhouse Square. Built in 1980, the apartment needed a complete overhaul to give it the modern look the couple desired. Along with the help of contractor Kenny Grono of Buckminster Green, they gutted the kitchen, removed crown molding, repainted traditional oak parquet floors in sleek black, re-tiled bathrooms, and lightened up what was overall a dark, dreary space.

 

Though the project had a relatively short eight-month timeline, several months were spent upfront planning what was to come. “Taking time at the start of the process is critical,” Mona advises, “Because without good planning and a strong team in place, the project is likely to run over budget and over schedule – and drive everyone a bit mad.” Rethinking the floor plan proved necessary. The design team had to create sleeping quarters for three teens, a toddler, and their parents. They wanted to open up the kitchen and main living space to create a large great room. They also hoped to reallocate closet space for laundry and even a nursery, and to carve out a mudroom to help keep things tidy.

 

“We had to figure out how to bring more light into the apartment,” Mona adds. Heavy traditional draperies were covering up large mid-century modern-style windows. The team then added track lighting, flushmounts, and baseboard fixtures wherever possible, as electrical wiring for recessed lights was not an option in each location. The parquet floors also appeared dingy, but it was too expensive to replace them and not worthwhile to refinish them. Instead, they were painted black to provide a simple, neutral backdrop for contemporary furniture. Crown molding was also removed for a more modern and simplified feel. In terms of layout, the master suite was reconfigured to create more closet space and additional privacy. What was once a closet became a very small but working nursery for a toddler.

 

The team’s guiding aesthetic principle was to create a modern, almost hotel-like vibe so the family would feel like they were “getting away” when they stayed in their city apartment. Functionally, it needed to accommodate a large family that entertains often. “When we realized we could make that work,” Mona shares, “We were all thrilled.” –Annie

 

Photography by Courtney Apple

 

DIY Paper Mushroom Tutorial

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

I was putting folded laundry away in my son’s drawers when I happened to notice a honeycomb ball on top of his dresser, with its bottom pointed toward me. Normally, honeycomb paper is cut and shaped to highlight the honeycomb pattern, but the bottom of the ball showed a ring of perfectly spaced paper rays. It struck me that it looked just like the gills of a huge mushroom, and I filed that thought away for future reference – maybe a holiday window display?

 

Then about a week later, I was at Impress Cards and Crafts, where I teach paper flower classes, and -gasp! – I found tiny honeycomb paper designed for use in handmade cards. I hadn’t even known that honeycomb paper came in anything other than the large size used to make party decorations.

 

I brought home a packet in “ivory” and kept it on my nightstand so I could spend some time every night just messing with it. As I shaped, stretched, and manipulated the honeycomb paper, I was struck by how organic it looked and felt. I made a three-dimensional shape and played with it, turning it inside out. Somehow the way it moved reminded me of some kind of sea creature – maybe a jellyfish or sea anemone?

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

I became a little bit obsessed and started reading about honeycomb and other hexagonal structures in nature. I learned that this pattern appears on salt-worn rock formations, insect eyes, and inside bones. Just as with crepe paper, I was charmed by the notion of using a manufactured material to explore structures in nature, particularly when the material itself is inspired by natural forms. I needed a material that was bulky but also light and regular for my mushroom gills; nature uses this honeycomb structure for the same reasons.

 

I hope you’ll whip up your own colony of mushrooms. They mix beautifully with paper flowers (how cute would they be arranged with some paper hellebores and daffodils?!), and I think a little pot of them would make an enchanting gift. –Kate

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 
 

 

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Supplies:

 

-Heavy crepe for the cap and stem (I’ve used “Ivory” from PaperMart)

 

-A paper straw to support the stem

 

-Honeycomb paper in “ivory” from here

 

-Aleene’s original tacky glue

 

-Paper scissors

 

-Mushroom templates (download here)

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

A note about grain:

 

The grain of the crepe paper runs parallel to the roll or fold. The arrow on your template shows the direction the grain should run, so be sure to place it parallel to the tiny wrinkles that run up and down the crepe paper.

 

About the templates:

 

I’ve included five sets of mushroom templates in sizes ranging from extra-large to extra-small. I’ve printed the size on each template (e.g. xl) and the letter that identifies it in the instructions. Make sure to match your xl A template with your xl B template when you’re cutting out your mushroom pieces. The stem template can be used for any size, though for the smaller mushrooms, you’ll want to cut it in half vertically and use the righthand half for a more slender stem. I would recommend starting with a medium-sized mushroom.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

For the cap:

 

With template B, cut a rectangle from the heavy crepe, so that the long side runs across the grain. Using the dotted line across template B as a guide, fold your rectangle.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Gently stretch along the whole length of this fold.

 

To close the cap circle, lay the folded and stretched rectangle so that you can see the section you've folded over (this is bottom side up). Open up the fold on one short end of the rectangle, and apply glue up and down this edge.

 

To close the cap circle, lay the folded and stretched rectangle so that you can see the section you’ve folded over (this is bottom side up). Open up the fold on one short end of the rectangle, and apply glue up and down this edge.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Place the opposite folded short side on top of the glued section, overlapping the two sides by about ¼”.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Refold the glued section and press with your fingers to help the glue set.

 

Cut a small circle, about the size of a quarter, from your ivory crepe. (If you’re making very tiny or very large mushrooms, you’ll want to adjust the size of this circle accordingly, but it doesn’t have to be very precise.)

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Gently position the unstretched center of your cap – the area that was the unstretched long edge of your rectangle – so that it all sticks up through the bottom side of your cap. Apply a fairly generous amount of glue all the way around this edge. Lay the cap flat on the table, again, bottom side up. Use the circle to push this glued inner edge down into the center of your cap. Press to help the glue adhere.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Flip the cap so that it’s right side up.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

At this point your cap center probably won’t look very nice. But don’t worry! Because the paper is so wet with glue, you’ve got a few minutes to adjust the center.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

I use my fingernails to pinch even pleats all around the center, and then I push/massage the points to close the center up all the way.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

For the gills:

 

It takes two identical pieces of honeycomb paper to make a full ring of gills for your mushroom.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Place template A on your honeycomb paper so that the arrow on the template runs parallel with the little indentations that run up and down the honeycomb paper. Cut one template A. To cut the second half of your gills, place template A on the honeycomb paper directly below the first template A you cut. This will ensure that the honeycomb pattern falls the same way on both halves of the gills, so they look even when you open them up.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Dot one of your two gill halves with glue, and then stack the other half on top. Allow to dry for a minute or so.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Dot the top of this stack with glue, gently spread open the stack, and glue the bottom side of the stack to the top.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Carefully pinch along the edge to close. Let dry.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Gently open up the little 3D honeycomb shape along the pointy end.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Use a foam brush, cosmetic sponge, or even a piece of the ivory crepe to spread glue all over the underside of the cap, all the way out to the edge.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Carefully lay your gills on top of the cap, gently stretching the honeycomb paper so that the ends of the gills lay just inside the edge of the cap.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

As you stretch, the hole in the center of the ring of honeycomb gills will open up, providing a space for the stem. You’ll have a few minutes before the glue dries to adjust the honeycomb paper, so check to see that the gills are evenly distributed along the cap edge. Finally, working one section at a time, gently press the gills into the cap edge all the way around.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

For the stem:

 

Use template C to cut a rectangle from the ivory crepe.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Pinch a little fold in your rectangle using the dotted line on your template as a guide. In the same way that you stretched the cap edge, stretch this little fold to create the ridge in the mushroom stem.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Dot glue along the left edge of your stem rectangle and place the paper straw on top of this line of glue.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Roll the rectangle around the straw. You won’t stretch the paper much, but it should be rolled fairly tightly. If necessary, adjust the rolled paper so that the stem ridge lines up to make a neat ring.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Apply glue to the right edge of this piece, finish rolling, and press gently to set the glue.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

To make the ridge more prominent, grasp the stem on either side of the ridge and slide the paper toward the ridge. Trim any part of the paper straw that’s sticking out.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Dot glue around the top edge of the stem, and then insert the tip of the stem into the space in the center of the honeycomb ring. Hold it in place for a minute or two to allow the glue to dry.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Adding color:

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

You can use PanPastel, stamp inks, copic markers, or chalk to color the tops of your mushrooms. I like to use a cosmetic sponge to swipe color out from the center, lifting as I reach the edge for a gradient effect.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

My favorite stamp ink for making pink mushrooms is “Sugar” by Fresh Ink.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Styling:

 

Having the paper straws in the center of the stems gives you a lot of flexibility for styling. If you’d like to use these in a floral bouquet, you can just stick a long piece of stem wire up there to give it height.

 

To make the mushrooms seem to stand on their own, I place a piece of kraft paper on top of floral foam and poke toothpicks through the paper and into the foam.

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Then I place the stem bottoms of my mushrooms over the toothpicks, and they stay in place beautifully. For the pot of mushrooms, I stuck half a polystyrene egg inside this little flower pot, covered it with preserved moss, and stuck toothpicks where I wanted to “plant” my mushrooms.

 

About Kate: Kate Alarcón makes paper plant life and teaches workshops in the Seattle area. She periodically lists finished flowers in her shop on her website www.thecobralily.com. You can see her most recent work on Instagram @cobralilyshop, and a ridiculous number of flower pins on her Pinterest boards (@The Cobra Lily).

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*SpongePaper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

Paper Mushroom Tutorial by Kate Alarcón for Design*Sponge

 

A Dozen Talented Stylists to Follow on Instagram

A Dozen Talented Stylists to Follow on Instagram

The world of social media and blogs has opened many eyes to the work and incredible talent of photo stylists behind gorgeous print ads, movie sets and editorial photo shoots; a perspective that we didn’t have before the digital era. Interior and prop stylists are popping up all over Instagram, sharing their recent projects, their home styling, and the behind-the-scenes glimpses into their days. We’ve gathered 12 interior and photo stylists who inspire us with their creativity and curated feeds. These stylists from all over the world are doing their part to showcase the work of designers, photographers and brands in the best and most beautiful way possible. –Lauren

 

In Indiana, A Stylist Jazzes Up Cookie-Cutter Construction

In Indiana, A Stylist Jazzes Up Cookie-Cutter Construction

When purchasing your first home, you oftentimes want it all. Your laundry list of must-haves tags along to every showing, a reminder that the potential house has to be in the right neighborhood, look a certain way, and be the perfect price. Finding a needle in a haystack can be challenging, though, and when push comes to shove, sometimes being flexible ends up working out in ways you never imagined. Such was the case in 2013, when interior stylist and blogger Heather Jorde and her husband Connor set out to buy their first home together. Letting go of their hope of owning a quirky, older home in Indianapolis, IN led them to a dream in disguise: new construction.

 

This disguise came in the form of bland furnishings and little personality, but those aspects actually served up such a rare opportunity that the couple gave it a shot. The home was a blank canvas where they could let their imaginations run wild. Heather and Connor’s greatest out-of-the-box thinking comes to life in the entryway and their daughter Charlie’s nursery. The “cookie-cutter” entry sings thanks to a snazzy, hand-painted graphic. Its modern shape and rustic decorations both combine Connor and Heather’s styles and set the tone for the rest of their Scandinavian-inspired abode. Follow this stylish entryway’s staircase, and you’ll find more one-of-a-kind surprises, including Heather’s DIY pièce de résistance: the stenciled wall in her daughter’s room. This fun tree design is accompanied by a DIY hanging clothing rack. It simultaneously solves the room’s storage issue and gives the home yet another enviable, custom touch.

 

While this Midwestern home boasts endless pretty moments, it’s the sentiment behind each one that truly makes this house special. Every tweak was designed to bring the family closer together, creating a space that keeps them smiling and laughing. Click through to see exactly how Heather and Connor have made this newly-construced home work for their family and stand out in a sea of sameness. Enjoy! –Garrett

 

Photography by Heather Jorde

 

Large Scale Affordable Posters + Best of the Web

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As much as I love a gallery wall (and I do), these days my heart really belongs to large-scale artwork. Maybe it’s something about the simplicity of one huge piece or the way that it doesn’t require me to get super precise with a ruler and measuring, but large-scale artwork is my jam right now. The only catch is that it often comes with a higher price tag- especially when you add a frame to the equation.

 

 

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Thankfully Eva and the Sycamore Street Press crew have come to my rescue with a new collection of large scale affordable downloadable posters that you can print at your local copy shop. Even in color, all of these prints (after printing) still come out to be $30 or under, so they’re a great value for anyone looking to spiff up their walls without doing too much damage to their bank account. The artwork comes with a fascinating back story, too. Prop stylist and interior designer, Meta Coleman, found a series of antique paintings at her family’s home in Germany and curated this selection to be available as printable posters at the Sycamore Street Press site. If you’re looking for something new for your wall (my tip: try DIYing your own frame like we did to save some $$!) click here to check out the full collection online. Until Monday, have a great weekend! xo, grace

 

 

bestof623

 
 
    • Liz Libre’s home tour at Cup of Jo is one of the prettiest Brooklyn spaces I’ve seen in a long time. And that’s a borough with some major competition.
 
 
 
 
    • If you need some inspiration to take a big leap with patterned wallpaper, look no further than this post at OKL this week.
 
 
 
 

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How Being Kind To Yourself Can Increase Your Success with Laura Novak Myer

Life&Biz-LNM

 

Entrepreneurship feels so rewarding when things are going well – orders are coming in, customers love your work, and you’re reminded of why you started doing this in the first place. “It’s pure joy to watch all of your hard work turn into reality!” Laura Novak Myer says. However, in running and growing her business, Little Nest Portraits, from a single boutique photography studio into a national franchise, she was surprised to find that she learned more “from the days I wanted to ‘just stay in bed’ than the days where everything ran like clockwork.”

 

At times, her decision to grow seemed to be the worst decision of her life, testing all of her courage and confidence. But it was in these moments – dealing with a space, managing employees, etc. – when she really learned that the key to navigating the waters and thriving in the midst of chaos is something simple, yet often neglected: kindness. She applied this kindness to herself, her team, her vendors, her customers, and even the situations that caused the most stress.

 

Today, Laura Novak Myer is joining us to chat about how being kind to yourself can increase your success with her time-tested tips and tricks. –Sabrina

 

 

 

As entrepreneurs, we are often hardest on ourselves when things go poorly. Dumping blame on top of our current stresses can make our decisions and dreams feel futile. Kindness and compassion towards ourselves can often be the hardest challenge to master.

 

Here are a few of the ways you can reduce those overwhelming feelings when not everything is going according to plan, and use it as an opportunity bring out the best in you and your business:

 

Remember Who You Are Outside of Your Business

 

L_DesignSpongeHowBeingKindToYourselfCanIncreaseYourSuccess

 

In the early stages of entrepreneurship, it’s so natural to spend every waking moment thinking about your business with all the highs and lows it can bring. But this can also increase stress and lead to burnout and exhaustion.

 

My identity as a CEO is really important to me. I jump out of bed every day knowing that I’m going to help a team member, studio owner, or fellow female entrepreneur realize the impact that joy and kindness can bring to their lives. And that’s truly motivational!

 

Over time, I’ve grown an identity outside of being CEO and business owner. Nurturing other activities in my life helps me remember that I am so much more than a CEO. I am a friend, a mother, a wife, a daughter. I am an artist. I am a runner. I am so many things.

 

Now, when issues come up, they don’t feel as personal anymore because my personal identity and self-worth is not as wrapped up in the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.

 

Forgive Yourself When You Make Mistakes

 

1DesignSpongeHowBeingKindToYourselfCanIncreaseYourSuccess

 

You will screw up. (It’s gonna happen!) Your numbers will miss the target some months of the year. You’re going to write a social media post that doesn’t get a lot of likes.

 

A lot of times we end up being so hard on ourselves and unforgiving when things go wrong. But when you continually ruminate on a mistake, it’s like throwing sand on a fire. Now there’s no more oxygen for the flame, or your creativity, to thrive.

 

A well-run company is built on the idea that it is okay to take a risk, even if it turns out to not be the best course of action.

 

Let go, be vulnerable, and forgive yourself and those around you. Practice saying, “Hey, I screwed up here. I know I could have done better.” But stop there – don’t over-apologize for mistakes. Simply recognize them, learn what you can, move on, and let go!

 

Take Time To Recharge

 

1_DesignSpongeHowBeingKindToYourselfCanIncreaseYourSuccess

 

It’s tempting to stop taking care of yourself when things are going well, but that’s the time when you need it the most! When you are taking time to recharge as a habit, you’ll have energy on reserve for the stressful moments that can come unexpectedly. Read some great fiction, indulge in a guilty pleasure (Taylor Swift, anyone?), or simply go for a walk without your phone.

 

I love to keep my weekends for family time. Playing in the sandbox with my boys, hunting for rocks in the neighborhood, watching a movie with my husband. All of these things recharge me. I also take time by myself each evening to reflect on my day, and the blessings it contained. I run when I can or go for short walks with friends. All of these little things add up to a calm mind and a reserve of positive energy for when things get stressful.

 

Practicing self-care on a regular basis gives you the opportunity to be your best. [It’s] something as simple as shutting down in the evening instead of continuing to work. Then, when all of a sudden two or three things come up in your business, our tanks aren’t already running on empty. We have the energy and tenacity to handle things gracefully!

 

Be in Community with Other Entrepreneurs

 

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It’s important to also be around people that can give you a hug when things aren’t going great and cheer you on and be excited for you when they are. I have a wonderful group of creative friends who get together regularly to cheer one another on and celebrate successes.

 

Seeing the concrete successes that have come from kindness are the best gifts of all. Six months ago I witnessed the doors opening of my first franchised portrait studio. The joy of that moment is a permanent bookmark in my imaginary kindness diary.

 

I never would have even had the energy to conceptually imagine the Little Nest Portraits franchise system and help other women open their own Little Nest Portrait studios if it hadn’t been for the community I work within and the kindness I’d given myself leading up to that point!

 

So, when you look at it this way, practicing self-care and kindness is not a luxury, it’s crucial to the success and sustainability of your business!

 

For more practices to grow your business, you can also grab my free PDF with the 4 Key Mindsets that Grow Business Success.

 

Before & After: A Modern Japanese Garden in North London

Before & After: A Modern Japanese Garden in North London

It’s around this time of year when many people in the Northeast start to see their off-season gardening efforts come to life. In England, clients of Katrina Kieffer-Wells hired her firm Earth Designs to turn their North London garden into the calming backyard oasis of their dreams. After finishing a multipurpose basement, the family wanted to extend the style and utility of their interiors outdoors, too. Katrina designed a contemporary garden inspired by Japanese landscapes, with leafy monochromatic forms to mark the influence, in addition to its simple lines and repetitive patterns. She found that the boundary wall and some landscaping had been updated before the project began, making for an excellent starting point for the new plans which she oriented on the diagonal to carve out distinct areas while maintaining easy flow.

 

At the back of the property, a paved terrace can be set with dining or lounge furniture in the open air. Black Perspex screens artfully hide a utility shed, and will become a backdrop to trees and plants in front as they mature. A stone pathway leads to a raised planter dedicated to children’s vegetable-growing experiments, with the hope of inspiring a future love of horticulture. Terracotta human statues provide a strong vertical counterpart to other tall manmade and natural elements in the space. Farther down the path, a timber pergola provides a spot for casual al fresco dining, and is fitted with a mesh roof specially designed to prevent fallen mulberries from the neighbor’s yard from staining the terrace. Geometric shelving partially encloses the room and references Japanese motifs. The view from indoors looks out onto elegant planter lights for nighttime activities, while paved patterns of rectilinear travertine, granite, and sandstone walkways contrast illuminated spheres throughout the garden. The design also features two young Specimen acers and a waterblade feature with a sunken, covered pool. Summer in the city doesn’t get better than this. –Annie

 

Photography by Marcus Harpur

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

 

Whenever I have fresh flowers in my house, I’m just a little bit happier. A wild bouquet of colorful blooms brightens my mood and makes my space feel (and smell) great. Although, I rarely have fresh flowers out, because my cats love to munch on them. This DIY is all about preserving your flowers in an artful and creative way, or in my case, protecting them from the destructive mouths of small beasts. Whether it’s a special bouquet you’d like to keep forever, or a way to have flowers around even when your allergies or pets won’t cooperate, this project will keep your home forever in bloom. –Jessica

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

 

 

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

 

Pressing flowers is an easy way to preserve their beauty. You can use heavy books (remember using phone books? Those work well for pressing flowers), or you can go pro by making your own press. In our wall art, we’ll use pins to float our pressed flowers, creating depth and dimension much like in the artwork of Anne Ten Donkelaar, who uses pressed and paper flower cutouts for her layered and fantastical 3d botanical collages. Check out Anne’s work for a heavy dose of floral inspiration.

 

I visited my favorite local flower and skate shop (yep, best combo ever), Park Deli, for this stunning collection of bold yet delicate and brightly colored flowers. I think the best part of this project is the excuse to get some beautiful fresh flowers. You’ll be able to enjoy them for a very long time with this DIY.

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design*Sponge

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

 
 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design*Sponge

 
 

Supplies

 

 

– Pressed flowers

 
 

– Floral scissors

 
 

– Parchment paper

 
 

– Heavy books or flower Press

 
 

– Glue

 
 

– Shadow box frame (I used an IKEA Ribba frame)

 
 

– Craft foam sheet

 
 

– Colored paper

 
 

– Pins (I used specimen pins, because I love the gold tops and matte black stems)

 
 

– Tweezers

 

 

NOTE: Specimen pins measure about 1.5″ long, which extends beyond the shadow box frame’s glass. If you’d like to keep your final piece under the glass, you can use another type of shorter pin or cut your specimen pins down with jewelry wire cutters.

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design*Sponge

 

1. Cut the flowers close to the base. I experimented with a lot of different flowers, and found that small, thinner flowers that could lay flat worked best for pressing. Thicker, larger flowers took a lot of pressure to flatten and dry. Line a book with parchment paper and place cut flowers on the page without overlapping. Press for two to four weeks until they are completely dry.

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

 

Above is a collection of Chamomile, Thistle, pink Astrantia, orange Asclepia, white Veronica, and yellow Kangaroo paw. I have to say that the Astrantia, with their bold gradation of color and symmetrical starburst pattern, are my favorite.

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design*Sponge

 

Tip: Try to press your flowers when they are in full bloom to help get the best shape and colors. The colors will fade, but pressing them in the height of their bloom helps. Make sure they are completely dry, too, or they can mold.

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design*Sponge

 

2. Cut the paper and foam to frame size using the mat as a guide. Adhere foam to the back of the paper and frame. I used two layers of foam.

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

 

3. Compose an arrangement of pressed flowers. Once you decide on your layout, pin flowers in place starting with the bottom layer and working up. Use tweezers to easily pick up the pressed flowers.

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

 

Tip: Some of the dried flowers were so delicate that they cracked when pierced with the pins. Layering a small piece of foam just behind the flower as you pin helps avoid cracking and can also aid in adjusting the flowers at different heights on the pins.

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

 

How Being Kind To Yourself Can Increase Your Success with Laura Novak Myer

Life&Biz-LNM

 

Entrepreneurship feels so rewarding when things are going well – orders are coming in, customers love your work, and you’re reminded of why you started doing this in the first place. “It’s pure joy to watch all of your hard work turn into reality!” Laura Novak Myer says. However, in running and growing her business, Little Nest Portraits, from a single boutique photography studio into a national franchise, she was surprised to find that she learned more “from the days I wanted to ‘just stay in bed’ than the days where everything ran like clockwork.”

 

At times, her decision to grow seemed to be the worst decision of her life, testing all of her courage and confidence. But it was in these moments – dealing with a space, managing employees, etc. – when she really learned that the key to navigating the waters and thriving in the midst of chaos is something simple, yet often neglected: kindness. She applied this kindness to herself, her team, her vendors, her customers, and even the situations that caused the most stress.

 

Today, Laura Novak Myer is joining us to chat about how being kind to yourself can increase your success with her time-tested tips and tricks. –Sabrina

 

 

 

As entrepreneurs, we are often hardest on ourselves when things go poorly. Dumping blame on top of our current stresses can make our decisions and dreams feel futile. Kindness and compassion towards ourselves can often be the hardest challenge to master.

 

Here are a few of the ways you can reduce those overwhelming feelings when not everything is going according to plan, and use it as an opportunity bring out the best in you and your business:

 

Remember Who You Are Outside of Your Business

 

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In the early stages of entrepreneurship, it’s so natural to spend every waking moment thinking about your business with all the highs and lows it can bring. But this can also increase stress and lead to burnout and exhaustion.

 

My identity as a CEO is really important to me. I jump out of bed every day knowing that I’m going to help a team member, studio owner, or fellow female entrepreneur realize the impact that joy and kindness can bring to their lives. And that’s truly motivational!

 

Over time, I’ve grown an identity outside of being CEO and business owner. Nurturing other activities in my life helps me remember that I am so much more than a CEO. I am a friend, a mother, a wife, a daughter. I am an artist. I am a runner. I am so many things.

 

Now, when issues come up, they don’t feel as personal anymore because my personal identity and self-worth is not as wrapped up in the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.

 

Forgive Yourself When You Make Mistakes

 

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You will screw up. (It’s gonna happen!) Your numbers will miss the target some months of the year. You’re going to write a social media post that doesn’t get a lot of likes.

 

A lot of times we end up being so hard on ourselves and unforgiving when things go wrong. But when you continually ruminate on a mistake, it’s like throwing sand on a fire. Now there’s no more oxygen for the flame, or your creativity, to thrive.

 

A well-run company is built on the idea that it is okay to take a risk, even if it turns out to not be the best course of action.

 

Let go, be vulnerable, and forgive yourself and those around you. Practice saying, “Hey, I screwed up here. I know I could have done better.” But stop there – don’t over-apologize for mistakes. Simply recognize them, learn what you can, move on, and let go!

 

Take Time To Recharge

 

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It’s tempting to stop taking care of yourself when things are going well, but that’s the time when you need it the most! When you are taking time to recharge as a habit, you’ll have energy on reserve for the stressful moments that can come unexpectedly. Read some great fiction, indulge in a guilty pleasure (Taylor Swift, anyone?), or simply go for a walk without your phone.

 

I love to keep my weekends for family time. Playing in the sandbox with my boys, hunting for rocks in the neighborhood, watching a movie with my husband. All of these things recharge me. I also take time by myself each evening to reflect on my day, and the blessings it contained. I run when I can or go for short walks with friends. All of these little things add up to a calm mind and a reserve of positive energy for when things get stressful.

 

Practicing self-care on a regular basis gives you the opportunity to be your best. [It’s] something as simple as shutting down in the evening instead of continuing to work. Then, when all of a sudden two or three things come up in your business, our tanks aren’t already running on empty. We have the energy and tenacity to handle things gracefully!

 

Be in Community with Other Entrepreneurs

 

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It’s important to also be around people that can give you a hug when things aren’t going great and cheer you on and be excited for you when they are. I have a wonderful group of creative friends who get together regularly to cheer one another on and celebrate successes.

 

Seeing the concrete successes that have come from kindness are the best gifts of all. Six months ago I witnessed the doors opening of my first franchised portrait studio. The joy of that moment is a permanent bookmark in my imaginary kindness diary.

 

I never would have even had the energy to conceptually imagine the Little Nest Portraits franchise system and help other women open their own Little Nest Portrait studios if it hadn’t been for the community I work within and the kindness I’d given myself leading up to that point!

 

So, when you look at it this way, practicing self-care and kindness is not a luxury, it’s crucial to the success and sustainability of your business!

 

For more practices to grow your business, you can also grab my free PDF with the 4 Key Mindsets that Grow Business Success.