Wow, one of the exciting things about Fall is that there is so much to do!  And I am not talking about just raking leaves, although I’m sure many of us are engaging in that activity.  For me Fall has brought a fun, inspiring, and sometimes exhausting week at furniture market (I don’t even want to talk about the blister I got from the first day of walking, new shoes were not a good idea), the ole switch-a-roo of clothes in may closet for the wonderful change of seasons we enjoy in North Carolina (but today it is back to 80 degrees so I’m pulling out things I shelved), helping grandchildren with big decisions like what to be for Halloween (the purchase of a blue wig was involved in one), crock pots full of taco soup (yum), fall festivals, haunted fairy garden classes, and me and my man finding a little “us” time to do a little shopping together.

Easy Pumpkin Decorating Ideas -Living With Color Designs

Quick and Easy Pumpkin Decorating That Takes a Hint From Home Furnishings

Since Halloween is knocking on our door and everyone keeps saying that the holidays are just around the corner, I thought I would share a last minute pumpkin decorating idea that was new to me. Brought to you by way of my daughter, Meredith, and her two beautiful, sweet, and artistic children. (One of the perks of being a grandparent is bragging. Where it seemed off-putting to do such about your own children, it seems perfectly acceptable and is tolerated when it is directed toward your grandchildren.  Isn’t that great!)

Creative pumpkin decorating ideas- Living With Color Designs

I am so glad my daughter is continuing the tradition of hands-on creative fun for kids.  She finds great ideas and is not afraid to try something new.  I had no clue about the special decorating plans they had this year so I was really delighted and surprised to see what they had done.  I couldn’t get over the fact that they used thumb tacks.  I mean, brilliant!  So simple but, I would never have thought of it.  One of my design addictions is my love of nailhead trim so all I could think was ‘how great, nailhead trim for pumpkins’.

Thumb Tack and Paint Pumpkin Decorating- Living With Color Designs

My granddaughters are three and eight and the simple combination of using paint and thumb tacks was user friendly for both ages and allowed them each to create masterpieces that reflected heir style and personality.

Thumb tac detail on decorated pumpkin - Living With Color Designs

Pumpkin decorating with paint and thumb tacksWhile the eight year old seized the opportunity to create detailed trim and exhibit some of her favorite things, hearts and writing…

modern Art painted pumpkin - Living With Color Designs

Easy Pumpkin Decorating- Living With Color Designs… the three year old channeled her abstract modern art abilities and the shear joy that googly eyes can bring.

Monogrammed Pumpkins -Living With Color Designs

You wouldn’t want to pass up on a great opportunity to add a monogram to anything.  This pumpkin monogrammed in thumb tacks displays the love between these two sisters by putting their initials out there front and center.

Decorating pumpkins with wasabi tape -Living With Color Designs

I also liked the cute little pumpkins they made at a party they attended using washi tape and feathers. Just darling.  I loved how my granddaughter realized that it would certainly hold equal weight and value to my hand blown Starworks pumpkin and ceramic tureen to be placed right there beside them. Check out this past post to learn more about Starworks.

Detailed pumpkin designs -Living With Color Designs


If you give this a try, please come back and leave us a comment and let us know how much fun you had.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be sharing some of the wonderful products I found at the High Point Market/ The World’s Home For Home Furnishings.  I’ll also share about some of the people I met, and some of the insights I gleaned. Life is just one big learning experience for me and I’m always looking for inspiration.  It was a bustling market with a lot of people attending. There was a real feeling of excitement in the air. I hope to inspire you and get you excited about your home so be sure to drop back by to see what we are up to.   –  Marianne

A few weeks ago my granddaughter had an amazing week of art camp at the Randolph Arts Guild.  At the end of the first day I was quizzed on the ride home about how much I had paid for her to go.  I was curious as to why it was important to her but reluctantly shared the information.  When I asked why she wanted to know, she shared that she had some money saved up and she wanted to go the next week too.  You can tell what a great experience it is when an 8 year old is ready to give up her hard earned cash to come back again.

paint pots

Three awesome instructors guided campers through activities with clay, animation, and mixed medium projects.  She came home so inspired and excited about each days achievements.  These types of enrichment activities reap huge benefits in developing creativity and problem solving skills in young kids.  The weeks activities has her looking at things differently, wondering how she could use random objects she gathered up to create something new.

Her favorite creation was the tree house.  I loved the details that kids thought were important to add.  My granddaughter added a swing, lots of color, and a ‘no boys allowed’ sign.  Others declared sentiments like ‘no duke fans’ and ‘nature is nature’.   Some sported nice amenities like big screen tv’s, furniture and pizza.  Who knew inspiring future architects could be so fun?  Campers brought their own lunches , had recreation at Bicentennial park, and even a rest period of free drawing.  The big event concluded with their works displayed in the art gallery.  My heart grew full as listened to my granddaughter share about her works and describe how she created each one.  She was filled with excitement and passion. Priceless.

Besides inspiring young minds the Randolph Arts Guild also has a beautiful gift shop with a great selections of hand crafted and artist created work.  You can find paintings, jewelry, one of  kind bird cages and much more.

Thanks to Les Caison, program director at the Randolph Arts Guild, for putting together this week long camp. Thanks to the wonderful instructors; Kerry Lowen, Rodney Bennett, and Leigh Blanchard for inspiring young minds.  They have another exciting art camp coming up July 21-25 with three new instructors.  Call to see if there are any spaces still available.

Yes, my granddaughter is signed up.  And no, we’re not making her use her hard earned cash. Quality experiences that nurture creativity  and inspire young minds are well worth the money.  Check out your local arts guild and find out what programs are available in your community.    –  Marianne



Owl theme birthday

Precious Owl Theme Birthday

Oh my goodness! I think this is the cutest ever birthday party. This precious owl birthday theme was used for a first birthday. Ingenious. I love owls but had never thought of using them for a child’s party.

owl theme 1st birthday plates

Look Whoo’s Turning 1

This birthday party was the brainchild of one of my daughter’s sweet friends.  When I saw the pictures on Facebook I knew I had to ask if I could share her wonderful party with my readers.  It is so fun to watch these young people grow up and start families of their own.

1st birthday owl shirt

Cutie Pie In Her Tutu and 1st Birthday Attire

Another ingenious idea was to have  a professional photographer take pictures of the event. You can focus on enjoying every moment, leave the work to the photographer, and end up with beautiful photographs to enjoy for a life time.  Photos were taken by Jessie Kathleen Photography and I thank her for giving permission to use the photos here.

owl theme birthday cake

Darling 1st Birthday Cake With Branches and Owl Perched on Top

The cake is perfection with an owl perched on top of branches and watching over the festivities. The fun color palette of pink, lime and yellow is used for all the food and decor.

owl cake pops for owl birthday theme

Owl Cake Pops

Creative owl and sprinkle cake pops continue to add to the owl birthday theme.  Almost too cute to eat.

Pink table decorations

Pink Covers For Tables

Pineapple owl for owl birthday theme

Pineapple Owl Table Decoration


The owl birthday theme and color palette continues to be carried to the food offerings and table decorations. Bright pink table covers set a festive mood .




Doesn’t that pineapple owl just make you want to smile? Such a creative idea.  I love when people make things out of food.




Flower centerpiece made from bows

Flower Centerpiece Made From Hair Bows

Table decorations even included gifts for the birthday girl.  Hair bows double as flowers for this clever table decoration. Lime green bucket and hot pink shred add a beautiful pop of color.

Toddler covered in hair bows

Daddy decided to load her up with her birthday bows for the special moment captured here.  Such a cutie. I bet she is a Daddy’s girl.

Birthday banner table runner

Birthday Banner Used as Table Runner

Balloons In The Pink, Lime, and Yellow Color Palette

Balloons In The Pink, Lime, and Yellow Color Palette










Bucket fork holder for birthday party.

Custom Crafted Decorations

Balloons in pink, lime and yellow brighten the beverage table and a cutout banner greets Happy Birthday. Hand crafted items help carry out the color scheme.

Mini Owl Birthday Cake

Mini Owl Birthday Cake For The Birthday Girl

The Birthday Girl also had a special little owl mini cake to have all to herself.  Such a nice idea.

Babies first birthday

Here is a family photo, also taken by Jessie Kathleen Photography.  These parents are so full of love for this little gift in their life.  I hear mom is planning her third birthday party. (I know, but I am posting it now, sometimes good things are worth the wait)  You can see that a lot of love went into planning this one.  Can’t wait to see what she does for the next one.  Maybe she will share that with us too.

Check out this link for some owl birthday themed products.  And for more birthday ideas check out this Summer Birthday Splash Party.   What was your favorite birthday theme that you have used for a child’s birthday?  I would love to know so leave a comment below.   –  Marianne

adirondack settee under peach tree

This is the already beautiful peach tree in my back yard that I chalked.  You know how it is.  You go to pinterest, you see an idea that says “wow, fun”  and then you just have to give it a try.  Well here are my results of the chalk a tree trunk idea. It looks really cool when the light hits it and I am going to enjoy sitting in my adirondack chair and basking in it’s glory just as soon as it warms back up.  Yea, another cold snap here.  Looks like we will not be getting the 70’s I was counting on Sunday for our Easter gathering and and annual kiddo Easter egg hunt. Longing for warmer weather.

Chalk applied to a tree trunk
chalk rubbings on tree trunk
The bark on this tree is a little is rough and chunky so I got a little different effect than the pinterest example, which must have had a smooth trunk, but I like it.
Chalk soaking in water
Start by soaking your chalk in water for a few hours.  I got wayyyyy to much chalk.  This is what was left when I was finished. You know I wanted to be prepared.  No problem. We have plenty of trees and the grandkids are out of school.
beginning to chalk tree trunk

Then just choose a color and started rubbing.

                                                  I also brought along a little inspiration. Ha.
Chalk applied to a tree trunk beautiful in the sunlight
peach tree with chalked trunk

My work is complete. The finished product. Maybe not a Picasso but it really has an interesting effect. Almost glowing.

Under the peach tree
Go ahead. Have a little chalk fun yourself. Let me know if you give it a try.  Even send me a picture.  
I wish you and your families a wonderful Easter.   –  Marianne

mini birthday cakeA Summer Birthday Splash Party like this for kids is fun and easy to pull off.  When the sun shines bright and the heat cranks up it is a great time to take the party outdoors.  Just add some water elements to cool everyone down and plenty of games to get the laughs and giggles started.  Pull up your yard furniture for adult guest to sit on or ask everyone to bring a yard chair.

Fishing game for birthday partiesFor a fun go fish game cut fish out of colorful foam and add an paper clip.  These spiral clips are a cute alternative to plain paper clips.  For the kid sized fishing poles tie some colorful ribbon to the end of a stick, dowel rod, or use the top section (as we did) of some real fishing poles.  Attach strong magnets to the ends of the ribbon.  Place fish in a container.  I used this blue tub that I already had which nicely looked like water.  The play value of this game will last for weeks after the party is over.  There is just something about fishing. Balloon game with over sided fly swatters

These oversized fly swatters from the dollar store worked great for playing bat-the-balloon.

sand buckets and shovels hold snacks

A sizzling orange chevron table cloth was the perfect backdrop for snacks served in buckets.  Use any of the typical hot summer colors and then mix and match.   Pictures of the birthday girl are scattered along the serving table on simple wire stands.

Tablescape summer splash party

Bite sized foods are great for parties with younger kids and enjoyed by all.

keep foods cool in a small inflatable pool with ice

Use a raft like inflatable loaded with ice to keep fruits and veggies chilling.  For decorative corners use those rarely used sand toys you have stored away for your next beach trip.

pool party cake

Let the cake take center stage with a table of it’s own.  This cake was so cute.  It was made to replicate the plates purchased for the party.

Toddler and beach ball.

If you have a pool in your back yard great!  If not there is a wide array of blow up pools, plastic pools, sprinklers, water guns, and slip-n-slides to provide plenty of wet splashy fun.  And don’t forget the inflatables.  They come in all shapes and sizes at the dollar store.

toddler birthday

The wet birthday girl and her personal cake.  She is thinking really hard about her wish.

Opening presents

This particular day we had a storm, and I mean storm, roll in about 30 minutes into the party so everyone had to move inside to open gifts. Rain or shine send your guest home with their own sand bucket filled with your favorite edible treats, bubbles, or other small toys. Kids are so much fun and celebrating their birthdays has gotten so creative.  I hope you will be able to take an idea or two away from this summer birthday splash party.  – Marianne Pictures and content are property of Living With Color Designs.