Fall Festivities

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

A.Fogarty Photography

A.Fogarty Photography

Although you would never believe it with this 80 degree weather, Fall is slowly approaching and I’m SO excited. The cool breeze and snuggly scarves, apple picking and pumpkin flavored everything… what’s not to love? There is just something about the fall that makes my heart so happy. For me it means that wedding season begins to slow down and I get to spend some quality time with my man. That’s another great thing about the fall, there are so many fun activities to do with your beau or your family & friends. But the season comes and goes in the blink of an eye so we’re here to help you squeeze some fall festivities into your calendar now before you’re booked up.

Apple Picking – Obviously the number one Fall favorite activity. Live in Maine? Find an orchard near you here.

Attitash Mountain Resort – Zip tour, alpine slide, mountain coasters, slacklines, airbag jump and so much more – all with a beautiful view. Feeling adventurous this Fall? This one’s for you. Check it out here.

Pumpkin Carving – Want to show off your artsy carving skills to all your friends? Take pumpkin carving to the next level by having a pumpkin carving party! Enjoy the company of lovely friends while splurging into your favorite fall sweets (maybe some Octoberfest?) Need some inspiration? See this Pinterest board here.

Friday Night Football – Nothing says fall is in the air like cuddling up on the bleachers to watch your favorite team, check out University of Maine’s schedule here or head on over to your local high school to support the kids.

 DIY Halloween Costumes – My most favorite fall festivity ever! I love making homemade costumes that really show off my creativity, Pinterest makes this easy to get you started, find my board here or just check out my awesome costume creations below 😉

Fall Festivities

But the real costume artist is our co-author designer friend Danielle, stay tuned for her Halloween post that will blow my Unicorn away 🙂

XX,

Amanda

Safari First Birthday

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

This past weekend we celebrated Baby Michael’s first birthday. I hadn’t planned on having a party but as the day was approaching the party itch started getting stronger. I started scheming and the images and ideas just wouldn’t stop flowing. With one week to go I developed a theme, menu, and concept, send out the invites and put it all into motion.

 

 

 

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My theme was “Party Safari”. Baby Michael aka “Mink” has always evoked the energy of animals. When I was expecting I was drawn to elephants, giraffes, and zebras. I had never been particularly fond of these animals but it was like a switch turned on and I couldn’t walk out of any boutique without adding to our collection. So intuitively it felt natural to incorporate this into his first birthday celebration.

With one week and counting I had limited time to pull together the decorative elements that would create my vision. Many items were simply not available to me so I was forced to find alternatives that would work as a second option. Since I am innately drawn to fashion and design the word “Party Safari” immediately brought to mind wide fringe, animal prints, with organic textures and natural elements.

For paper goods I utilized natural leaf plates with disposable wood serving pieces displayed in simple small silver buckets. Zebra paper straws dressed up drinks served in clear plastic tumblers. The main buffet table was outfitted in a burlap table cloth that I fringed with simple cuts around the perimeter.

 

 

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For the children’s table (which was a childs height banquet table-just adorable!) I utilized a roll of natural paper with a zebra print embossed in black ink as my table cloth. I covered the blue child size chairs with a burlap bag and tied a safari hat around the back of the chair for our cinched “bow” effect. I found really cute pineapple sip cups with green fringe detail on the covers. An animal parade dressed up with miniature party hats created the centerpiece display.

 

 

 

 

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For additional decor I scattered Michaels collection of safari animals around the tables each adorned with a custom party hat! These party hats were inspired by the ultimate party DIY blogger Oh Happy Day!

 

 

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Originally I had planned on using three extra large 36″ round balloons for the back drop of my buffet table. While setting up two of the balloons popped due to the heat adjustment from inside to out. We were left with one, which honestly worked out rather perfectly. I used it to embellish the birthday boys highchair.

 

 

I made my own balloon fringe using tissue paper. You can find a great tutorial here at Tom Kat Studio. I scattered tropical house plants around the yard for some additional Jungle flavor! I sent these home with adult guests as party favors, because every room could use the addition of a lovely green plant.

When I was designing Michaels nursery I found the Animal Print Shop, the work of Sharon Montrose. She is an artist/photographer with focus on baby animals. We took a family poll and selected her “Baby Giraffe” as our feature art above Michaels crib. I made an art print of this piece for the party and hung it from handmade table cloth fringe garland.

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PARTY SAFARI MENU

Hibiscus Flower Iced Tea

Pineapple Mojitos

Rosemary Split Chicken Breast

Spicy BBQ Steak Kabobs

Slow Cooked Baby Back Ribs

Classic Potato Salad with Reye’s Maine European Mustard

Simple Balsamic Melon Salad: The First Mess

Fresh Farm Tomato Pesto Caprese Salad

Summer Corn Salad

Guacamole

Fresh Blueberry Pie: Helens in Machias, Maine (voted americas best in national geographic and life magazine, and featured by Rachel Ray)

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream: Martels

Simply Chocolate Gluten Free Birthday Cake: Pure Elegance Bakery Michelle Arnold, owner has been making my cakes for 4 years now. She’s incredibly talented, and is always challenging herself with new methods and techniques. If you have not seen her work, well you must! Its cake as an art form!

While we were letting Michael do his first birthday cake smash, some little people were getting impatient looking at the cake waiting for them….they took a chance at taking a test without anyone noticing.

 

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So one down with many, many more to come! I hope you enjoyed this peek into our Party Safari & celebrating one year with our baby Mink. We feel so blessed to have this special boy in our lives, our very own little baby animal to snuggle and love every day!

If you are interested in a custom theme party for your next birthday event please feel free to email us at addmeraki@gmail.com

 

DIY Floral Crown

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

 

Have you seen the endless amounts of flower crowns on Pinterest and ever wondered how to make your own? Maybe you thought it would be too hard or too expensive? Well today on Add Meraki we are sharing easy steps on how to make your own floral crown for under $20. All you need is flowers and a quick trip to A.C.Moore. Here is exactly what I used for materials, (also you might need super duper scissors to make the process easier)

Materials – under $20

2 Bouquets of real flowers – I got mine at Whole Foods for buy one get on free.

Cloth/Floral Wire – $2 A.C.Moore

Floral  Tape -$5 A.C.Moore

Paddle Wire – $2 A.C.Moore

Now let’s get started.

Take two of the cloth floral wires and tightly twist together.

Pull tight so the wire is in place – feel free to add floral tape for extra strength or to cover any pokey wires. This will be the back of the flower crown.

*Note: When using floral tape make sure to pull tightly to make it stick.

Work your way from the two front sides to the back by placing greenery first. Leave a little bit of wire on both sides to eventually tighten together to make the crown whole.

To attach the greenery and flowers, place the materials on the larger wire and wrap the smaller wire around in a few places to keep in place – cover with floral tape when needed.

Then add individual flower buds. Leave a little bit of stem to wrap the wire around and then cover the wire with floral tape when needed.

Keep placing until you have a design you like. When placing the flowers think about what you want the crown to look like from every angle and distinguish what will be the front.

Cover any loose wires with floral tape for safety and looks.

Once you have all your flowers in the correct spot – place the crown around your head and take the remaining wire on the two front sides and twist together to fit. There is no wrong way of making a floral crown. Use your own creativity and make a statement! Tag us in  yours with #addmeraki

To see more of this floral crown inspiration shoot – head over to A.Fogarty Photography’s Blog

 

Fourth of July Dessert

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

We are prepping for our fourth of july festivities. Packing our picnic basket for our lobster bake at the oceanside. I love to create dishes that compliment the holiday or theme. This year I wanted to find a unique presentation for dessert. I made these adorable personalized shortcake treats. They were so easy to make and really are most convenient for packing up. I think the kids will love having their own special treat.

 

 

 

If you would like to try these for yourself you will need:

1. Mini Mason Jars

2. Fruits of choice (I chose raspberries, blueberries, snd strawberries)

3. Whipped Cream (I used fresh whipped cream topping)

4. Vanilla Cake (I used a gluten free version)

5. Sparklers (I found these adorabl
e star sparklers at Little in the Old Port) 

6. Name Tags

7. Red or Festive ribbon

 

Steps:

1. Make your cake.

I made my vanilla cake using my tried and true ATK Gluten Free Cookbook. Its a tedious recipe but when done right it is second to none. (Note. It did take me two tries tonight)

After the cake has cooled, cut into bite sized squares.

2. Fill the jar

Fill Mason jars with your combination of cream, cake, and fruit, Layering each item until you have filled the jar completely.

3. Decorate your jars. Get Creative! Ribbon, Tassels, Name tags…endless ideas!

4. Enjoy! Thats it’s! Sweet. Simple. Fun. Love.

 

 

Natural Bug Repellent

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

Most every aspect of summer excites me, especially after the long and dreadful winter we just had. We are anxious for long BBQ dinners alfresco, after dinner trips for ice cream cones, and late night marshmallow roasting over bonfires.

 

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The one thing that Im dreading are the annoying insects that the warm weather draws. Mosquitoes, Fleas, and those nasty ticks can make an evening out miserable and ruined.  Today I’m sharing my recipe for natural bug repellent. It is safe and effective. It does not have the dangerous ingrediants that many store bought products contain. I use two variations, one is a cream and one is a spray. There are a number of essentials oils that are successful at deterring these bugs. 

MOSQUITOES- citronella, lemon, eucalyptus, peppermint, lemon, catnip, basil, clove, lemongrass, lavender, geranium, and thyme.

TICKS-rose geranium, juniper, oregano, thyme, grapefruit, and rosewood

Feel free to develop your own combination of these blends. There are very distinct scents to each oil combination, here is the blend I prefer.

 

BUG SPRAY CREAM

ITEMS NEEDED

Coconut Oil

Lavender EO

Thyme EO

Cedar EO

Peppermint EO

DIRECTIONS

In a small jar the size of baby food combine coconut oil to 3/4 full

add 40 drops of each essential oil and stir to blend

for use dab on wrists, inside arms, behind knees, and around ankles

 

NATURAL BUG SPRAY

ITEMS NEEDED

Witch hazel or Rubbing Alcohol

8 oz Glass Spray bottle- I get mine at the natural food store but Amazon has great offerings. 2-1oz_clear_tr_1__58115.1407264070.300.300

Lavender EO

Cedar EO

Thyme EO

Peppermint EO

DIRECTIONS

Combine 4 oz. Witch Hazel or Rubbing Alcohol

4 oz of filtered water

40-50 drops of each essential oil

Spray over clothing before needed

 

 

 

I would love to hear your feedback. Please comment if you like this post, or share with us your favorite essential oil blends and uses.

As always thank you for stopping by….xDanielle

“Clean” Cleaning Toolbox

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Spring oh sweet Spring! I couldn’t run up in the attic to store our winter necessities fast enough. We have been housebound and vitamin D deprived for far too long. Our spring getaway vacation simply couldn’t come fast enough. So after packing the boots as far away as I could, I grabbed the suitcases to start preparing for a long awaited travel to tropical climate and bronzed skin. Then it started… Coughing, oh no not coughing! Runny noses…oh please not now! Belly aches…which led to frequent bathroom trips…than we paired it with a bucket…I know-It’s always the worst from both ends at once! I literally was blaming myself for bragging at basketball last week that we had missed out on flu & cold season. Note to self- Don’t ever boast!

What I do know is that during the winter months I was religiously ramping up their immune systems with my drawer of tricks. As the winter weather started to break, I lessoned up our routine and hence- SICKNESS! SICKNESS! SICKNESS! I was determined that nothing was going to stop me from taking that cute new two piece out of that luggage. We would be going and they would be healthy by the end of week! (fingers, toes, and hands in prayer position)

Well bags are packed and we are ready to go! After a very long week I am sharing with you my tricks and tips for fighting flu bugs, and spring cleaning the germs of winter away naturally! My very french housekeeper always makes the weirdest faces when she sees my concoctions all over the house. She thinks Im a witch…;) Well I’ve decided to share this mommas favorite no fail potions. These little magic bottles are ensuring that we get a memorable healthy vacation this week! I hope that you find them helpful and lovely as well!

MY ESSENTIAL KICK ASS CLEAN TOOL BOX: 

Pure Lavender Oil

Pure Tangerine Oil

Pure Tea Tree Oil

Four Thieves Synergy Blend

Basil (Fresh or in EO Form)

Lemon (Fresh or in EO Form)

Distilled Water

White Vinegar

Glass Bottles

Spray Nozzle

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There are so many formulas and recipes that I really love when it comes to natural cleaning and essential oils. Im going to start by sharing some very easy, affordable combinations to start. I will add to this over time but in an effort of keeping it simple this is a good beginning.

KICK ASS FLU BUSTER: 

Four Thieves Blend: ingredients are clove, cinnamon, lemon, rosemary, eucalyptus

I purchased on Amazon for under $10.00. Here is the link. http://www.amazon.com/Thieves-Synergy-Essential-Comparable-DoTerras/dp/B008B9Y0EY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1429236847&sr=8-2&keywords=four+thieves

There is a very interesting story to this formula. Thieves oil is an essential oil blend based on a story from around the 15th century, when the bubonic plague was running rampid through Europe and Asia. Four thieves from Europe, who were notoriously robbing the infectious dead bodies of all their possessions. They, miraculously, never contracted the highly infectious plague and this led to deep inquiry in court after they were caught and charged. The magistrate offered them a deal, their secret for a reduced sentence. Taking the deal, they told stories of their herbal knowledge and their powerful medicinal properties when combined in certain ways. This specific herbal blend that they had created, concocted from aromatic herbs, was HIGHLY EFFECTIVE in killing all of the airborne bacteria. Some of the stories told speak of it in a vinegar form, while others talk about a blend that was in a mask over their faces. In 1997, Weber State University did a study that found the Thieves essential oil blend to have a 99.96% success rate at killing airborne bacteria. We don’t know whether or not thieves story is true, but the essential oils are truly antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-infectious. They will stimulate the immune system, circulation and respiratory system, and help protect against the flu, colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, sore throats, cuts, and more. (source)

I use this oil in a few ways:

1. Rub

For the boys I use a few drops in hand mixed with coconut oil, this is considered a carrier oil. If you don’t have coconut you can use oil, jojoba, or grape seed. Use this combination to rub your little ones feet before bed, after baths, or even when they are off to school in the morning.

2. Diffuser

We have 2 diffusers, one in the bedroom and one in the living room. Since this blend has been found to kill 99% of airborne bacteria when diffused its a no brainer. (Buy mine here)

3. Hand Sanitizer

I absolutely hate the smell and effect of all store bought sanitizers. My hands are raw from the long winter and the last thing I need is alcohol to burn in every crack and tear on my hands. I have been making my own moisturizing hand sanitizer. I use empty baby food jars are the containers but you could really use any tupperware container or old face cream jar. You can adjust the fragrance to your fancy, just buy a different essential oil. I love citrus, and lavender so I have one of each.

Recipe: (using small baby food jar)

4 table spoonsCoconut Oil

2 table spoons Pure Aloe Vera Gel

Four Thieves Blend (approximately 6-10 drops depending on size of your container)

Tee Tree Oil (5 drops)

Lavender Essential Oil or Tangerine Essential Oil (10 drops)

 

 

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TOXIC FREE  ALL PURPOSE SPRING CLEANING SPRAY

This is the easiest, safest, most effective all purpose cleaner I have tried. If you have ever researched what is put into our cleaning solutions (even those labeled organic and all natural) you know the importance of making your own products. Its a crime what they are allowed to put on our grocery shelves. Be your own chemist, learn what you like, and what combination is most effective for you but please don’t spray down  your children’s toys and toilet seats with commercial cleaning products. The toxins are far worse than the germs that were there before it!

Heres my go to:

Fresh Basil, Lemons, White Vinegar

Fill a Ball Mason Jar with 4 Basil Leaves and a sliced lemon (squeeze some juices out as you drop them in) Fill the rest of the jar with the pure vinegar. Cover and allow this to sit for a few days. The Basil and Lemon will overpower the scent of the vinegar as the solution sits. You can also use Basil & Lemon Essential Oil if you would like. Fill Glass Jars with your solution, insert spray nozzle and start your spring cleaning! I got my blue jars at the natural food store but you can really use any old glass jar (i.e..vinegar container) that has a threaded top and will accept the nozzle. The essential oils can break down plastic containers and potentially leach chemicals into the spray so it’s important to use glass.

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SLEEP TIGHT DONT LET THE BED BUGS BITE SPRAY

Who doesn’t love the scent of lavender spritzed on their bedding? Its just the loveliest scent and helps to ensure a good nights rest. (what is a good nights rest again) Im preaching to the choir! In addition to lavender I add tea tree oil as a natural antimicrobial and antiseptic. So this blend is not only soothing and yummy smelling but it is a cleanser. Tea Tree Oil can be used to clear acne, asthma, and even lice! Its always at the root of my cleaning arsenal.

Lavender Essential Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Tangerine Oil

I use my glass bottle and add 10-15 drops lavender essential oil, 10-15 drops tee tree oil, and six drops tangerine oil. Fill the remainder with distilled water. Spritz bedding, pillows, rugs, and any other soft goods needing a freshening.

 

If you are new to homemade cleaning products this is certainly a nice easy start. Its really quite easy and feels so good knowing that you are not introducing more chemicals and toxins into your household. My boys are obsessed with their nightly foot rubs with our blended rubs…note….put a timer on because night time routines can get rather lengthy! I am not a doctor or a healer but I believe in the power of the earth and the history of uses. I also believe that my magic potions are the reason why this beautiful boy is smiling. Heres to a fabulous week with my three rascals!

Xdanielle

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DIY: Watercolor Eggs

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

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Did you like our DIY Gold Foil Eggs, but maybe you’re looking for something more kid-friendly and quick? Check out our DIY Watercolor Eggs.

Fill up jars with a tablespoon of white vinegar, water, and use food coloring to make it the pigment of your choice and let your kids play!

We let Richie play around with mixing the colors and adding more food coloring to make his colors darker.

We loved how they came out and used his eggs for our upcoming Styled Easter Brunch.

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DIY: Easter Foiled Eggs

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Are you looking to glam up your Easter Decor? Well we have just the thing – how about some DIY foiled easter eggs?! Just grab a few supplies from your local craft store and follow these simple directions. And don’t forget to share! We want to see how your eggs came out, so make sure to hashtag #addmeraki in your Instagram post so we can see your gorgeous creations. Alright so let’s get started.

What you will need:

Add Meraki DIY Foiled Eggs - Materials

  • white eggs
  • foam block
  • toothpicks
  • set of food coloring
  • white vinegar
  • jars or cups to dip the eggs
  • metal spoon
  • leafing kit or; metalic gold leaf, size, and sealer
  • foam brush
  • masking tape

 

1. You first want to begin by blowing out your eggs. I used a pin and cocktail straw but there are so many tricks to do it. If you want a quick how-to click here. Make sure your eggs are nice and dry before you begin!

2. Next, fill your jars with 2 tablespoons of vinegar, food color (double the # of droplets on the back of package for eggs) and a cup of water.

3. Dye your eggs to your color liking and let dry.

Add Meraki DIY Foiled Eggs - dyed eggs

 

4. Using the gold foil adhesive size – paint desired areas on egg and let it get tacky.


5. Apply gold leaf to tacky areas and you can use the foam brush to press down. Once dried, you can use masking tape or fingers to clean up the remainder flakes.

Add Meraki DIY Foiled Eggs - after foil

6. You’re done! Use as pretty decoration for your Easter get together.

 

Thanks for creating with us!

 

 


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