DIY Adventure Nursery for Baby Boy

I have been spending a little bit of time away from writing again… I have a special someone taking up my time these days!

On April 7 we welcomed the most precious little guy!  He has give us a joy we didn’t know could exist.


I had a friend of mine take newborn photos of him and his special space.  So before I go on… thank you to Tiffany Evans.  We love the way everything turned out!

I am a lover of all things artistic, home made, DIY, and creative.  I knew I wanted to make / paint / draw a lot of the things to fill his nursery.  What I didn’t expect was all of the other beautiful things people made for me!  I love every ounce of what is in his special room!

nursery gallery wall

I the picture above you can see all of the items that are included in his gallery wall.  Far left is a wooden plaque I purchased at Hobby Lobby, painted and hand lettered a quote “be brave, little one”  I loved the way it fit his adventure nursery!  Here is a closer look.

adventure nursery sign

The golden “X” is a quick painting I did and above that was a card someone had sent me once – a small golden mustache.  Who doesn’t love a good mustache card 🙂

In the center was a gift from a sweet friend of mine, the arrow was a hand made/painted gift from another sweet friend, and then below that is a painting I did of some gold feathers.  These were a simple painting and then I hand drew some lines in pencil.  I am really happy with how that turned out.

gold feathers home decor

Here is the mobile that I made and a picture for above his crib.  The mobile was made out of painted wooden balls in various sizes, some twine and a cross stitch circle.  I didn’t really have a plan, but started with my vision and I am so happy with the final product!

The sign was my very first attempt at painting on canvas.  I have gotten better, but loved something about the imperfections this one has.  I see it and am reminded of where I came from.  I love a quote I often tell myself from a blog I follow – It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful – The Nester.  If it was made with love, it is perfect to me!

DIY nursery mobile and sign

Here is a picture of the mobile mid process!

DIY nursery mobileI can’t wait to read a book to our sweet boy every night!  I love everything about the idea of story time and him asking questions about the pictures!  These shelves have some artwork I painted, some photos from our maternity photoshoot with Emily Chidester (more on those here), an anchor that a friend made for a shower I was given as well as a tree design another friend of mine drew with leaf thumb prints of shower attendees.  In addition, a bank from grandma and some stuffed animals from friends!  All of my books are gifts or goodwill finds.

Nursery shelves

And finally here is an old dresser that my husband used as a child.  For christmas his parents had it painted blue to match the new room and then I found these adorable drawer pulls at Hobby Lobby.  They are one of my favorite things about this space!
baby boy nursery drawer pulls

I can’t wait to see our guy grow up in this room and let him know that his Mommy and her friends made each little detail so special for him!




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Halfway House – A New Brand

I am talking a lot about being inspired lately.  It drives me to be better not only in my career, my design, but also my daily life!

I love dogs… I have grown up with a house always full of dogs.  If you follow me on Instagram – please follow me on Instagram – you will often times see pictures of our girl, Bella.  She is a beautiful, spoiled Blue Merle Great Dane that we just love!  You will also see pictures of my parents and friends dogs as well!  It’s worth a follow!

Here is a recent pic… this one i’ll call.  “Mom, I’m trying to sleep, please get out of my face”

great dane

I love my girl…  Love that she is here to keep me company when I work and can’t wait to see her relationship with our baby when he arrives.  I will be honest though, at 120 lbs, she can be a handful sometimes.  She likes to play, run through the house and at almost 2 years old, is still ALL PUPPY!

Recently, I was contacted by a group of ladies who do fostering.  You guys – these gals sometimes have more than 10, more than 15 dogs at their house at any given time!  Out of the goodness of their hearts.  They are amazing and do such an amazing thing fostering puppies and dogs of all ages and breeds until they find their forever home.  These dogs may need special medical attention, which they provide, or may just need a warm and loving place to live until they are adopted, but all the same they are rescued, fostered, and loved until they go on to their families.

The group of women, named The Halfway House, is a small rescue located in Salisbury, NC (about one hour northeast of Charlotte, NC).  They came together to help find homes for unwanted dogs- both in the shelter and in the community. They ensure that all dogs are fully vetted and spayed or neutered and look for homes where they will be an member of the family, not just another pet.

I mean look at that face!

halfway home rescue dog

You can find The Halfway House on Facebook where they give updates and photos on a regular basis.

You can also find them on their Adopt A Pet page as well!

Unlike most groups or companies that come to me, they had a very clear concept of what they wanted their logo to look like.  You can tell these women had put so much thought and love into this concept.  I was so happy to bring this to life for them!  I see this as a home full of dogs sharing love!

Halfway House

Next it was time to choose their colors.  I gave them a selection to choose from, all bright, fun colors that I felt could represent their group!

color logo choicesI really love the one they chose!  It was the most popular on social media as well, so I know they made the right choice!

logo design

Then I gave them a few more logo layouts for various placements, a pattern, and some icons they can use!  I am really happy with how it turned out and can’t wait to see what these ladies do in the future for all of the pups!

brand design

Now for some more of those beautiful doggies!

foster puppy, rescue

Some time on vacation with his foster mom!foster puppy, rescue

This guy is NOT leaving his foster dad’s lap!foster puppy, rescue foster puppy, rescue

This guy’s smile makes my heart melt!foster puppy, rescue foster puppy, rescue foster puppy, rescue foster puppy, rescue foster puppy, rescue

Enjoy your new homes babies!!!


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For the love of GOLD

I have been looking to my work to inspire me.  I want everything I do to inspire me, my client and all that see it.  With that in mind, I have been thinking through things that I am inspired by… lately – GOLD.  Is that strange?  I have used a lot of gold in our little guys Nursery, I bought a few gold frames for a gallery wall in my house, and have been doing a lot of hand lettering in gold.  I even bought some gold foil to try and use!  We will see.

Here is a sneak peak of some gold feathers I painted and added some touches with pencil… I promise anyone can do this!

gold feathers home decor

When I see these pictures below, I loved the pop of excitement that the gold adds…  A little sparkle without the glitter…. no need for that stuff to get everywhere #amiright?

gold inspiration

“You Had Me at Hello” cards, gold prints by whitney blake, Emily McCarthy’s use of gold in everything, baby moccasins on freshly picked, gold desk accessories from bright and bold.

With that in mind, I have a friend that is an interior designer with an amazing sense of style.  You can follow her on instagram…  Amazing Home Design. Period. Some funk, some spark and when I was doodling today, I starting playing with her family initial and her family names… I think next I will do some to actually print in my house.

Here are a few options I did with their last name.

family logo

What is inspiring you?  Do you love gold?


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My life is about to change…forever

Well, I have been a little MIA over the past few months, but hopefully this blog will explain that a little bit!  I have been busy… very busy… with my greatest life challenge so far.  I am about to have our first baby boy!  We knew right away that we wanted to be parents and were quickly blessed with getting pregnant.  When I say quickly, we were two months in to being newlyweds and got the exciting news.  Talk about a shock!

Being pregnant was not quite what I expected…  It took me a while to wrap my head around the idea.  I was sick… very sick for about 5 months.  Then had about 2 months of the “bliss” and now as I round up being 3 weeks from our due date, I have hit the “point” as my doctor told me I would.  The point of just being ready to meet this little one and get my body back.

With all of that said, I have been so supported by my amazing husband.  Pregnancy hormones and pains are real and he has been by my side through it all.  I have been showered with love by friends and family and we are so excited to know that this special little one is already so loved!

As with any new chapter in your life, comes meeting new people and I have had the opportunity to meet some new amazing, creative people.  That is what brings me back to my blog!  To once again share.  These folks have inspired me, pushed me without knowing, and supported me as I transition into becoming a mommy.  You will see more on all of these creative amazing people, but today…I share a new friend, creative soul and inspirer…  Emily Chidester.  I met her along the way and worked with her to do our Maternity Shoot.  UGH you guys!  I can’t being to express how much I love these and thank her for capturing this time in our lives!!!

Maternity Photo

We did a few of just me and the babe.  I didn’t know if I would love the ones of me staring down at my belly… it seemed very, strange (although I do it all the time).  But turns out… I do!

Maternity Shoot

Lake Maternity Shoot

I also loved that she included our “out-takes”.  She and the hubs were always making me laugh when I was trying to keep this straight, serious face.

Lake Maternity Shoot

She even made me look a little “sassy” at times.  If you know me, especially know me 37 weeks pregnant, I am in full waddle stage and the last thing I feel is sassy… so I just love these next few shots…It gave me a sense of self again!

Lake Maternity Shoot

Lake Maternity Shoot

And then, there is this man…. This man I love.  He makes me laugh when I am on an emotional roller coaster.  He rubs my feet when they look like swollen muffins.  He holds my hand and helps pull me out of seats when I am trying to stand up.  He walks slowly with me when I can’t walk fast.  He is my comfort, my support, and my strength through all of this.

Lake Maternity Shoot

Lake Maternity Shoot

Lake Maternity Shoot

Lake Maternity Shoot

He was such a trooper, always making us laugh, dancing and helping us enjoy the shoot.  I just smile when I look at him!

Lake Maternity Shoot

We went into the woods for a few shots near the end.   I believe this is one of my favorites.  This is my happy place.

Wooded Maternity Shoot

Wooded Maternity ShootI asked to sit down for a bit…  Good idea, good picture, don’t recommend it in a thin dress 🙂   That tree bark hurt – luckily that didn’t come through in the picture.

Wooded Maternity Shoot

And finally, she brought out her tilt-shift.  I love a good tilt-shift.  I love the blur.  I love the look it gives… a sense of wonder and movement.

Wooded Maternity ShootLadies… if I can tell you anything…do a maternity shoot.  Your body is in this crazy, amazing phase.  You will want to be able to look back and remember what it felt like to carry that sweet baby!

And Finally – I wanted to share a few things about what I have learned and maternity and clothes.  It is hard to find good clothes, like really hard to find.  I even thought about starting a line about 5 months in – haha yeah right.

Gap does not know me, but Gap Maternity has been my GO-TO for clothes during this process.  I knew the look I wanted for this shoot, and they saved the day with this great wrap dress.

Also…. accessories have become my new best friends.  Fun scarfs and especially fun necklaces.  I even got into making my own necklaces at this great bead shop here in Charlotte, NC… Beads, Inc.  I made the necklace that I am wearing in this shoot there.  They are so helpful and it felt so much more special to have a hand made, hand picked item that day!

xoxo mandi

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HAPPY 2015

It has been a….. WHILE.

Turns out 2014 was quite a year with much more happening than I ever thought (more on that coming soon).

In the mean time, I wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR and a 2015 full of big dreams!

new year


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words for the wise

For a while there, I was posting a quote a week on my Facebook page.  When did that stop?    Not sure, but as I was looking through them, I really enjoyed reading over them again and wanted to share a collection here today.

But to begin… here is a new one to start off.  Every time I think of this quote, I think of how happy I am to have her in my life and how I can make each day special for her!

dog quote

Happy Reading!

baseball quote

worth it quote trust your gut quote sleep later quote she's on fire quote set goals quote read quote look for quote graphic design quote devote yourself quote dance quote keb mo create sparks quote believe you can quote beach quote start today quote look again quote make mistakes quote nature quote baseball quote

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get out there: 10 camping locations in the US

This week I wrote about the top 10 locations to go camping in the US.  Read the full post here.

10 best places to camp



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