Free Printable | Christmas Snail Mail Coloring Sheets

Santa's Snail Mail Bag | Alternative to Wrapping Paper | DIY Reusable Mini Gift Bag | Pretty Peas Paperie

Happy December! Is it just me or does your Christmas shopping list double once you have a kid? Our adults-only list has suddenly grown to include entire families, friends' babies, godchildren, and furbabies. I was trying to think of some fun stocking-stuffer-type trinkets to tie to gift cards, and came up with this idea as I was styling a photo for one of our Christmas stamps. (I'm 100% sure someone else has probably done this, but I made you a free printable to make it easier!)

Here it is :: a mini coloring kit!


Supplies Needed:

There are so many fun things you can fit in these things—baby sunglasses, a whistle, candy, erasers, jewelry, gift cards—why not skip the paper wrapping altogether and gift your tiny items in a cute, reusable bag!

Pretty Peas Paperie Coupon

Ideas + Inspiration | Cactus Cooler Party

This past weekend, we threw a cactus-taco-tequila-themed party as one last hurrah before Baby M arrives. As requested, I'm posting some of the decorative details to provide inspiration for your next fiesta! 


Don't get too excited...I did not hand watercolor each of them. I was lazy and used Paperless Post. :) I did draw a can of Cactus Cooler and customize a blank template with the graphic, though! (If you don't have a way to draw digitally, you could draw something similar and take a photo of it. Paperless Post has a lot of photo-ready templates you can use.)

Since I already had a Cactus Cooler vector handy, I made a clear stamp out of it to use throughout the party. Below, you can see a gold-embossed stamped image filled in with watercolor. Pretty coooool, eh?


Full disclosure :: this was not my idea. I found it on Pinterest via Design Improvised.

Supplies Needed:

DIY Cactus Balloon Supplies | Pretty Peas Paperie

How to Make a Cactus Balloon:

  1. Fill your balloons with helium. You'll need 3-4 balloons per cactus. (I used 12" balloons and filled them with varying amounts of helium to get different sizes. If you want them to float with tassels, you'll need to use a giant "main" balloon. I ended up removing the tassels for the party so our balloons would stay afloat.)
  2. With a Sharpie, draw points (aka, upward-facing arrows) all over the balloons to make your cactus look prickly. (Be careful about smudging...even though it's a Sharpie, the ink needs time to dry.)
  3. Put a dab of glue on a pink pom-pom and stick it to the top of each balloon. (Luckily, these are easy to place because there's a dark spot marking the top.)
  4. Use a strip of double-stick tape to attach the smaller balloons to your main balloon that has a string. That's it!

What I love about these balloons is that you don't have to fill them with helium. You could simply blow them up and stick 'em in a pot and they'd be just as cute. I realized this the morning after the party.


Since it was rainy on Saturday, I made a sign for the front door so people would leave their shoes on the mat. I bought 10 of these die-cut lace paper scrapbook sheets and used them for party signage throughout the house. For our "Please take off your shoes" sign, I cut out a smaller sheet of chalkboard paper and taped it to the die-cut sheet. It worked perfectly because I messed up a few times; using chalk pen saved me at least $4.00 in wasted paper!

Entry Sign (for leaving shoes at the door) | Pretty Peas Paperie

Cactus Cooler Bar | Pretty Peas Paperie


Every shindig needs a signature drink, so we chose the "Cactus Cooler Tequila Cocktail" by Sugar and Soul.

What we did differently:

We substituted the tangerine and lime juices with fresh cut limes and strawberries. Since kids were at the party (and I can't drink booze), we kept the alcohol separate so everyone could enjoy the juice and soda mixture from the dispenser.

How to Make a Cheap Styrofoam Cooler Even Cooler:

Stamp it with mini cacti using a Colorbox pigment ink stamp pad!

Original Recipe via Sugar and Soul:

  • 1 part tequila
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • 1 part orange juice
  • 1 1/2 parts cranberry juice
  • 4 parts lemon-lime soda
  • 1/2 part tangerine juice
  • 1/2 part lime juice
  • Fresh mint garnish
Cactus Cooler Tequila Cocktail | Soul and Sugar
Stamped Styrofoam Cooler | Pretty Peas Paperie


Here's another fab idea I found on Pinterest via Alana Jones-Mann :: a cookie taco bar! Bend sugar cookies into "tortillas," then fill them with brownie ("beef"), coconut ("lettuce" and "cheese"), and red M&Ms ("tomatoes"). My sample cookie didn't turn out quite as cute as Alana's, but guests had fun making them and they were really yummy.

A few things I learned:

  1. Bending the sugar cookies was harder than I thought it'd be. I baked them at 350º for 9 minutes and they were barely cooked I put them in for another minute. I think the sweet spot is somewhere in between because they were soft, but the edges had begun to crisp. I recommend only baking 1-2 cookies to start to get your baking time and temperature right.
  2. The recipe calls for laying the cookies over a rolling pin to bend them. I found our rolling pins to be slightly too big, so if you have something cylindrical that's a bit smaller, that would be better. Also, with 3 rolling pins I was only able to bend a dozen cookies at once. Instead of waiting for everything to cool, I made the rest of the cookies flat and called them "tostadas." :)
  3. To keep your cookies from sticking to the rolling pin, you're supposed to use wax paper. We didn't have that on hand so I used foil - still worked!
  4. I accidentally bought unsweetened coconut for the lettuce and cheese. The food coloring didn't spread as evenly, but we ended up liking that there wasn't quite as much sugar added to the taco as a whole. The cookie, brownie, and frosting were sweet enough!
  5. I found the red M&Ms at Party City
"Taco Time" Chalkboard Sign | Pretty Peas Paperie


With two taco bars and a tequila bar, we needed one more...a succulent bar! We have a plentiful supply of succulents, thanks to some super healthy specimens from our wedding. (Our wedding, by the way, was almost 6 years ago, and we have 4-5 overflowing pots of succulents that have descended from the cuttings of my bouquet...isn't that crazy?!)

Here's what I laid out:

  1. Mini terra cotta pots (which were surprisingly cheap)
  2. Acrylic paint, water cups, paintbrushes, paper towels, and small paper plates (to be used as palettes)
  3. Small rocks (for the base of the pot - helps with overwatering)
  4. Soil for drought-tolerant plants
  5. Succulent clippings (pre-rinsed, cut, and trimmed)
  6. Crushed glass (found in the decorative plant section at Ikea)
  7. Take-home bags

To protect our table, I covered it with kraft butcher paper and wrote instructions on it in chalk pen. (To my surprise, people actually read everything very carefully.) If I had more time, I would have printed out small cards with plant care instructions, but ohhh well. It was so fun seeing what everyone guest left Andrew and I a pair of pots with our portraits on them. :)

Succulent Bar | Pretty Peas Paperie
How to Set Up a Succulent Bar | Pretty Peas Paperie


I saved the best for last! After seeing this pin, I decided that succulent cupcakes were a must. Good thing I know a talented baker by the name of Jenna (owner of Sinfully Sweet Cake Design) who could make my piña colada and buttercream dreams come true! She did such a wonderful job and I highly recommend her to anyone in the Houston area looking for custom cakes, cupcakes, or cookies.

Succulent Cupcakes by Sinfully Sweet Cake Design | Pretty Peas Paperie

Hopefully you can use some of these ideas for your next party! If you want even more, check out my "Tacos + Tequila" board HERE

Stamped Calligraphy Ribbon + Merry Christmas!

Custom Calligraphy Ribbon using a Giant Rubber Stamp | Pretty Peas Paperie Before we officially sign off for Christmas, I thought I'd leave you with my favorite stamping project this month :: Merry Christmas ribbon! It works beautifully on garland, trees, and even gifts. If you have some stamps and want to give it a try, here are some tips:

  • Cotton ribbon with a tight weave works best. (I found this ribbon at Michaels.)
  • I tried two types of ink: StazOn and Versafine. Both work, but the Versafine came out darker.
  • To make stamping easier, use a clear stamp so you can line up your design. (If you only have smaller stamps, try a pattern.)

I will re-open the stamp shop sometime in January or February with NEW, love-inspired designs. To sign up for free membership, click here.

Merry Christmas + THANK YOU for a wonderful year!



Cheers to small businesses everywhere! by Akula Kreative [pinit]


This is my first attempt at gilding with a rubber stamp. It's full of flaws (and somewhat illegible) buuut...isn't it kind of beautiful? One of my favorite things about running a small biz is having the opportunity to learn something new EVERY day. I never would have pushed myself this hard in any of my previous jobs.

Stay tuned for a foil-stamping with rubber stamps tutorial once I figure out what I'm doing. Cheers to small business and creating a beautiful mess!

Custom Lego Portraits

Custom Lego Portraits by Akula Kreative (Nikki Mihalik) Just sharing something fun...

Christmas of 2014 was all about LEGOS. For our Lego-fanatic friends (and family members), I designed custom portraits specific to their hair styles, hobbies, and wardrobes. Our Christmas postcard is below:

Custom Lego Christmas Card by Akula Kreative

Custom Lego Christmas Card by Akula Kreative

The portraits took quite a while to customize, but they were well worth it! On Christmas Eve, I heard my little cousin (a toddler) yell "LEGOOO MOVIE!!!" as he pointed to our card hanging on my aunt's wall. :)

5 Days of Pop-Up *Stamp* Shop Prep


Polar Express Letters to Santa Rubber Stamp | "Please deliver to Santa by December 25"

Hand-cancel your Letters to Santa with this Polar Express rubber stamp.


Modern XO Gift Tag Stamp

Give your gifts some modern flair with this tag stamp suited for any occasion.


Giant Floral Holiday Gift Tag Stamp

Fall in LOVE with gift wrapping this year by using this giant floral gift tag stamp.


Calligraphy Thank You Stamp on Watercolor Stationery

Say THANK YOU for your gifts by making stationery with this Betty Ling Calligraphy stamp.


Merry Christmas Calligraphy Stamp | Polka-Dot Gift Wrap Ideas

DIY watercolor gift tags look amazing with "Merry Christmas" written in calligraphy! Finish it off with some chalk pen polka-dots.

DIY Stamped Wood Tags

Hand-Stamped Wood Tags How cute and classy is this wood tag stamped with love? It's the perfect accoutrement to gifts, favors, and yes! beverages.

Our next Pop-Up Shop will feature a variety of clear stamps (pre-made and custom) as well as some wonderful wood tags, labels, and cards cut to order by Keeper Goods. Check out our post on Akula Kreative for more info and inspiration!

Day-of Paper for a "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made" Baby Shower

I'm so excited to share the paper (and chalk) details of Megan's baby shower for her little lady-to-be, Emma. It's not often that professional photos are taken at smaller parties, so these beautiful images by Amy Gray Photography are such a treat! Hand-drawn Chalkboard Sign




During the invitation consult, we went to work trying to pin down a theme that could be coupled with soft pinks, creams, and sparkle. I was determined to find a way to incorporate Megan's love for cooking, but I knew that "bun in the oven" or "she's about to pop" could only go so far. The next morning, Megan came up with something brilliant: the passage from Psalm 139: "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." It was genius! The perfect blend of faith, food, and the miracle of life.

Custom Chalkboard Baby Shower Invitation by Akula Kreative / Pretty Peas Paperie


*Contact info has been changed to protect the client's privacy*

For the square invitation, we created a chalkboard-inspired look filled to the brim with detail. From herbs and utensils to rattles and diaper pins, the tiny graphics fit together to tell the unique story of these special parents-to-be.


From seeing the photos you may wonder if an event planner was involved, but this was all put together by a dedicated family and a few close friends. In the weeks leading up to the shower, the group was hard at work making fabric banners, tulle table skirts, tissue pom-poms, and even baby clothes!

Soft Pink Details | "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made [from scratch]" Baby Shower

Meanwhile, I was working on the day-of stationery and signage: food labels, drink flags, scroll flags, banners, and chalkboards. One of my favorite "party prepping activities" is coming up with food puns; they're a great way to remind guests of the theme and add a little humor to the event.

Mini Donuts and Milk | "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made [from scratch]" Baby Shower

Custom Food and Drink Labels "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made [from scratch]" Baby Shower

How gorgeous is the cake?! This baby shower really could have been an intimate wedding...

Cake "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made [from scratch]" Baby Shower

And then there are the pretty favors: burlap bags adorned with silk ribbon and sparkly letters...

Burlap Bags with Glitter Letter "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made [from scratch]" Baby Shower chocolate-dipped pretzels tied with pink and gold tinsel!

Pretzel Favors "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made [from scratch]" Baby Shower

The signature drink was, of course, pink lemonade.

Beverage Table "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made [from scratch]" Baby Shower

Little Lady Lemonade, to be exact.

Martini Glass Drink Flags "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made [from scratch]" Baby Shower

I had so much fun drawing this banner on chalkboard wrapping paper. What a great idea to use it as a photo backdrop!

Hand Drawn Chalkboard Banner "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made [from scratch]" Baby Shower

And, last but not least, here is a detail of one of the scroll flags, each of which featured a unique pattern. At first glance you might assume they are flowers, but they are actually sprinkle donuts. :)

Custom Printed Party Flags "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made [from scratch]" Baby Shower

Paper details and day-of stationery present the perfect opportunity to add personality to parties, big AND small. For additional photos, please check out Amy Gray's website at

Congratulations to Megan, the picture-perfect mom-to-be! And THANK YOU to my wonderful clients for letting me be a part of your celebration!

Tips for Styling a Space on a Budget

Tips for styling a room on a budget! [pinit]


Just sharing something fun today...

My husband and I just moved to Austin. After we unpacked, I looked around our living room and realized how bland and boring it was. In particular, this spot below the stairs was in need of some personality. So, I updated the room by keeping in mind the things that make stylized rooms on Pinterest look so amazing :: coordinated pops of color.

Mini Makeover on a Budget // How adding a few pops of color can change the personality of a room



I'm nothing close to an interior designer, and this room can't really compete with some of the fanciness on Pinterest, but this room makes me HAPPY now, and that's all I care about.

Here are my personal tips for "styling" a room on a budget:


For me, this would be brown, beige, white, light blue, and coral.

USE WHAT YOU HAVE. Books, vases, votives, framed art, etc.

You'd be shocked how much of a difference color coordinating your books can make. :)


After collecting items, I figured out what I still needed: something floral, and paint. I went to the local craft store and bought 1 peony stem, 1 lamb's ear stem, a wood frame, an over-sized wood ampersand, 2 little bottles of acrylic paint (in blue and coral), and a pack of Command hanging strips. This cost me under $30.

Over the next 3 days, I painted the wood frame, ampersand, and two mini succulent pots. (I also painted a simple watercolor of balloons to tie in the colors one last time.)

Detail // peony inside glass lamp and glass bird votive

Detail // painted ampersand and watercolor



These painted succulent pots are my favorite!

Detail // painted mini succulent pots



Hope this inspires you to give it a try. :)

Creative Inspiration For Your Nautical Birthday Party

It's always exciting to see what people do with our design templates and how they make it their own. Here is a version for a baby's 1st birthday party created by Lesley Cheng in the Philippines. We love the added details of the anchor charm, baker's twine, and extra CRIMPED sail. Thanks for sharing with us, Lesley!!! You really went above and beyond with these invites.

Send us photos of what YOU create with our free templates and we'll send you a freebie. :)


// Rebecca

DIY halloween décor | pumpkin painting, socal style

DIY Halloween decor, pumpkin painting, chevron [pinit]


This is how we celebrate fall in the west. :)

We jumped on the pumpkin-painting bandwagon this year, and went to town with the spray paint. Meet Matte Black, Metallic Chrome, and Charlie Brown Chevron:

DIY Halloween decor, pumpkin painting, chevron

Painting pumpkins is waaaay easier than carving them. Even the asymmetrical chevron/zig-zag pattern wasn't too bad. I just used blue tape to cover the parts I didn't want painted, then sprayed away.






DIY halloween décor | flameless lantern

cheap and easy DIY Halloween decorations [pinit]


If you're looking for a cheap, easy, safe, and last-minute Halloween decoration idea, our flameless lantern is a perfect fit! It looks great in the daytime, spooky in the nighttime, and you can re-purpose it after the holiday is over.

Supplies (for 1 lantern):

  • a glass jar (any size and any shape, as long as you can fit the flameless tea light inside)
  • paint (I used white acrylic paint and chalkboard paint)
  • paintbrush
  • string, twine, or cord (I used a thick twine that is suitable for the outdoors)
  • a pair of scissors
  • a screwdriver
  • a battery-operated tea light (make sure it comes with the battery!)
  • blue tape (the kind you use for painting)
  • sand (optional)


Cost: Since I had all of these supplies at home, this project didn't cost me anything. If you don't have a battery-operated tea light, you can buy a "pumpkin light" almost anywhere. If you haven't seen them, try the grocery store near the pumpkin carving supplies. A hardware supply store will also have them year-round.


cheap and easy Halloween decoration ideas | flameless lantern


  1. Paint the lid of the jar. (I painted mine white.) After it dries, puncture a hole in the center using a screwdriver. (I recommend doing this outside to avoid damaging furniture and whatnot.) If you're having trouble, hit the top of the screwdriver with a mallet. Next, feed your twine through the hole, then tie a knot on the inside (the "bottom" of the lid). Make it big enough so the knot will stay securely in place once you hang your jar.
  2. (OPTIONAL) Paint the bottom half of the jar with chalkboard paint. You can use blue tape around the center to get a clean line. See our "Chalkboard Paint Tips" below.
  3. (OPTIONAL) Fill the jar partway with sand. (This will allow the top of the tea light "flame" to peek through.)
  4. Place the battery-operated tea light inside the jar.
  5. Tie the twine and lid to a strong tree branch. Screw the jar into the lid, and there you have it: a safe and spooky lantern that won't catch anything on fire!

When Halloween is over, you can store the tea light, sand, and lid, then use the jar itself as a cute pencil cup or storage container. (I actually made these last all I had to do this year was tie them back up in the tree.)

Helpful Hint :: Do NOT leave these lanterns outside if it rains. The water will seep into the jar and get the tea light wet, rendering it useless.

cheap and easy Halloween decoration ideas | flameless lantern


tips for using chalkboard paint