Bringing the outdoors in with architecture | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Bringing the outdoors in: A home tour with Hallmarker Nate Fraley

As Senior Project Lead New Store Concept for Hallmark ventures like HMK, Nate Fraley spends a good portion of his time thinking about how people experience spaces, both inside and outside. Nate has always had a personal connection with nature. As a 13-year Florida resident who grew up in the mountains of West Virginia, he began to miss the changing seasons. So when he made the move to Kansas City, he spent months looking for the perfect piece of land to build a home that emulated his childhood, mountaintop views. The result? A space that incorporates forever-changing, jaw-dropping panoramas, season after season.

Bringing the outdoors in with architecture | thinkmakeshareblog.com

When I moved to Kansas City to work for Hallmark, I was excited about living again in a climate of seasons. I scouted the area for months, looking for the perfect house or piece of land. I managed to find a naturally overgrown acre on a hillside with a view—not an easy task in one of the flattest states in the country. This lot was considered unbuildable for your typical residence, so I got it for a steal. My plans were everything but typical, and I knew I could make it work with the right help. I also like big projects and challenges, and building a custom home was always something I wanted to do.

I collaborated with a friend and architect, James Hanis, to design and build this house. He designed a previous modern home I owned in Florida, and I knew his approach would be perfect. We both love Bauhaus and architects/designers such as Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe.

James values nature in the way I do, and he understands how to perfectly blur the lines between indoors and outdoors. His houses constantly remind me to slow down and appreciate nature’s wonders: things like the moon shining through the enormous kitchen skylight as it travels across the night sky, and the sunlight creating rainbows as it plays off the water in the bathroom shower. Nearly every architectural detail has a purpose or meaning, some of which are obvious and some are more like secrets the house keeps.

James is also really great with hidden storage and thoughtful built-ins. I’m a visual minimalist, yet a collector by heart, so the struggle to carefully find that balance is real.

Bringing the outdoors in with architecture | thinkmakeshareblog.comBringing the outdoors in with architecture | thinkmakeshareblog.comBringing the outdoors in with architecture | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Preserving the land around the house was also important to us. We wanted the house to feel as if it was gently placed on the wooded lot, without disrupting the natural landscape. We even did a tree survey to understand exactly how many trees (and what type) we would have to remove to build the house. Then we used those exact species of trees to make design decisions, such as the type of wood that would be used for the flooring or custom cabinetry.

The best part of the house is the panoramic view from the upper level. When you walk through the unassuming front door, you are quickly surprised by the floor-to-ceiling glass walls that place you in the tree tops.

Bringing the outdoors in with architecture | thinkmakeshareblog.comBringing the outdoors in with architecture | dining | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Bringing the outdoors in with architecture | thinkmakeshareblog.comBringing the outdoors in with architecture | thinkmakeshareblog.com

I couldn’t imagine better art to cover the walls: Each season, the trees behind the glass change the feeling of the space. After a gray winter, the green spring trees transform the energy of the house. Autumn is my favorite season, when the walls are every color you can imagine. The occasional snowfall is also magical. For someone like me who loves change, the trees never disappoint.

Bringing the outdoors in with architecture | thinkmakeshareblog.comBringing the outdoors in with architecture | thinkmakeshareblog.comBringing the outdoors in with architecture | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Photography by Jake Johnson. 

Downloadable Summer Fun list from Hallmark Cards | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Banish boredom with a Summer Fun List

Amy Trowbridge-Yates is a gifted Hallmark Senior Writer whose witty, tell-it-like-it-is attitude knows no bounds. Today, she’s talking about one of her favorite summer traditions to share with her two daughters…and we’re helping you get in on the fun!

The “I’m booorrrreddd!” starts early in the summer at our house, with my 7-year-old out of school and my 4-year-old getting into everything her big sister has forbidden her to touch. Even with a trampoline, swing set and beloved Netflix subscription, we quickly run out of things to do.

Two years ago, I started seeing “summer lists” pop up in blog posts and thought it was a great boredom-busting idea. We were able to cross everything off our list the first year. Last year, my daughter had just finished kindergarten and was able to write our list out herself. See below for some ideas for making your own summer fun list.

Downloadable Summer Fun list from Hallmark Cards | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Summer Fun List tips:

  • Have your child write the list and be sure to include the year. Then you can tuck it away as a cute keepsake of not only your summertime memories, but also your child’s handwriting.
  • Include activities that are big (a road trip or vacation) and small (sidewalk chalk or backyard BBQs). This way, you can easily choose something to do that isn’t time-consuming or expensive to spice up a random Tuesday.
  • Take turns adding to the list, or let each member of the family pick two or three items that interest them. This is especially important if your family includes older and younger children.
  • Find a calendar of family-friendly events, such as carnivals, outdoor concerts, etc. to add to your list. Many local libraries sponsor guests or activities weekly.

Idea starters:

  • water-balloon fight
  • lemonade stand
  • backyard campout
  • homemade snow-cones
  • Drive-in movie
  • stop the ice-cream man
  • make homemade play-clay
  • go for a midnight swim
  • try two new crafts
  • bake treats for neighbors
  • pedicures
  • “dates” with mom and dad
  • Find more ideas at Hallmark.com’s Ideas Section

Thanks to Maddox Walker for sharing his Summer Fun List with us above! Download your own lists designed by Hallmark artist Colin Walsh HERE. We would love if you’d share a photo of your family’s list on our Instagram page or in the comments here! Happy Summer!

Poppies to honor our fallen | thinkmakeshareblog.com

In honor of Memorial Day

In honor of Memorial Day, we brought together some of our lettering artists, illustrators and quotes to create artwork appropriate for the day. Feel free to share, pin and pass it on to celebrate those who have given their lives for our country. 

Poppies to honor our fallen | thinkmakeshareblog.comFlag to honor our fallen | thinkmakeshareblog.comBold Bright Brave | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Artwork by Allie Fields, Jeanne Rittmueller, and Barb Mizik. Writing by Diana Manning.

Making humor cards with Hallmark artists lead | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Goofing around to get new kids and humor card ideas

Plush Club founder and crafting-force-to-be-reckoned-with, Allyson Lassiter is back today to share the results of a short-and-silly kids and humor card ideas workshop. Enjoy (and laugh a little, whydoncha)!

Making humor cards with Hallmark artists lead | thinkmakeshareblog.comMaking humor cards with Hallmark artists lead | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Here on the Kids and Humor teams, it’s pretty easy to reach for the old stand-by gags when creating a design for a card. We know our way around a pair of goggley eyes, that’s for sure!

So every once and a while, it’s a good idea for us to jump back and explore some new options for attachments—those little add-ons that can make a card extra funny. We decided to take a day away from our normal routine and spent some time playing with new materials that we could incorporate into our kids and humor designs.

Pulling from bits and pieces in our supply library, stuff we’ve been hoarding away at our desks, and little things we found out in the world, we each made a collection of ideas on our own style boards. When the day was over, we hung our boards near our planning rooms so we could walk by them every day and use the ideas we came up for future cards.

Making humor cards with Hallmark artists lead | thinkmakeshareblog.com

How do you refill your inspiration tank?

Photos by Jane Kortright.

Handmade succulents with Hallmark artists | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Handmade succulents five ways

Admittedly, we’ve proven ourselves succulent enthusiasts on one or two occasions. Today, we’re taking it to a whole new level with three of our craftiest artists who are using a range of materials to create their own unique handmade cacti. We’re even sharing the details for how to create one of your own! (Ahem. And you may want to keep an eye on your local Hallmark Gold Crown store for a few of the others. Just sayin.)

Handmade succulents with Hallmark artists | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Designer Leslie Seibert is a pro with felt. We love the high-contrast stitching and her sweet dotted pot!

Handmade felt succulent by Hallmark artist Leslie Seibert | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Designer Hannah Carey has never met a craft she couldn’t tackle. These tiny felt treasures are “potted” in actual miniature terra cotta pots! A mini macramé hanger is icing on the cake. (If you missed it, we shared tips on creating your own macramé hanger just last week.)

Potted cacti macrame by Hallmark designer Hannah Carey | thinkmakeshareblog.comPotted cacti macrame by Hallmark designer Hannah Carey | thinkmakeshareblog.com

We told you Hannah could do anything, didn’t we? She also created these perfectly plush crocheted cacti. (That and much more as a member of our internal “Plush Club”.)

Crochet cacti macrame by Hallmark designer Hannah Carey | thinkmakeshareblog.comCrochet cacti macrame by Hallmark designer Hannah Carey | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Designer Allyson Lassiter is the type who can make something out of nothing. That’s why when she rounded up miscellaneous found materials like beads, sequins, sand and rocks, we knew she would turn them into little works of art!

Rock cacti by Hallmark designer Allyson Lassiter | thinkmakeshareblog.comRock cacti in found containers by Hallmark designer Allyson Lassiter | thinkmakeshareblog.com

Allyson also created a beautiful watercolor paper cacti that includes a DIY template for you to create one of your very own. We’d love to see your creations. Please tag us at @Think.Make.Share if you’re on Instagram. We’ll be sure to share our favorites! Download the template HERE.

DIY paper cacti from Hallmark artist Allyson Lassiter | thinkmakeshareblog.comPaper cacti DIY from Hallmark designer Allyson Lassiter | thinkmakeshareblog.comPaper cacti DIY from Hallmark designer Allyson Lassiter | thinkmakeshareblog.com

WHAT DO YOU THINK? ARE YOU STILL INTO THE SUCCULENT TREND?