9/29/11

Fall Door

On Tuesday I showed you my newly decorated fall mantle. I used burlap, orange and turquoise. Then I mixed in accessories from other rooms in my house- silver, glass, books, and candle sticks.

So now it's time to see what I have going on outside my door. Several of the DIY blogs I read get together to host 'link up' parties. Today is the 'fall door' day in blog world.  It's always fun to share and get new ideas. All from the comfort of home! If you're looking for some inspiration, stop on by.

Join the party here!

Now onto the door! I love the fact that our door is now black- it makes everything pop.


I made a Burlap Wreath and hung it from orange grosgrain ribbon.
You can get the details on how to create this wreath in my October column for North Texas Kids.



  Next I decided to make a Pumpkin Topiary to nestle among the sweet potato vines. I used 6 'carve-able' pumpkins from the Dollar Tree. The price was right and I liked how easy they are to work with.  To make your own pumpkin topiary, thread a straightened hanger into the pumpkins and then bend it at the top and thread the hanger back through.


 I finished them off by using hot glue to add a bit of ruffled burlap in between the pumpkins. Then I tied a strip of burlap on the top. I poked a few toothpicks in the bottom pumpkin. That way the topiary stands straight and steady in the potting soil.




 I am excited that fall is officially here. Between the outdoor and indoor decor, I am feeling festive about the new season. Once the weather cools a bit more, I will buy a few real pumpkins to carve and display.


What is on your door for fall?
Linking up here:
-Home Stories A to Z
-Tator Tots and Jello
-Serenity Now
-Under the Table Dreaming
-Be Different Act Normal
-Nest of Posies
-Not So Simple Housewife
-The Creative Paige

9/27/11

Fall Mantle

It is officially fall! So despite the tank top and shorts I wore today, my pumpkins are finally out. I started with my mantle.



In the past, I have only changed my mantle for Christmas. But this year, I made a beautiful new Rosette Burlap Wreath and I couldn't bear to put it outside. The color scheme- bright orange, turquoise, lime green and burlap seemed better suited for indoors. Turquoise is my pop color, so the wreath is a fun way to coordinate and add some bright fall colors to my home.


To make this wreath, just read the detailed 'how-to' for this Rosette Burlap Wreath and get more fall decor ideas in my October column over at SouthlakeMoms .


I had a good time 'shopping my house' for the mantle decor. I stacked a few old family books to create height variations. Then I used a mini cake stand and a candle stick as 'pumpkin pedestals'.


This is one of  'oven cleaner antique' mirrors- it usually lives upstairs in the playroom. The little stone bird migrated in from the kitchen. 



 I created mini-burlap bunting using left over scraps from the wreath project.



I love these fat pumpkins. My mom has a small garden in her backyard. A few months ago, she and Afton planted pumpkin seeds in the hopes of growing a little jack-o-lantern. But our extreme heat and drought had hurt the vines. They are blooming, but probably won't produce any pumpkins. Never the less, when we went to visit my mom, these two cute pumpkins were nestled in the garden. The girls were thrilled to 'pick a pumpkin' from Grammy's garden. So it is only fitting that they are proudly on display.



I like how the turquoise details tie in with the rest of my 'regular' decor. Lots of textured neutrals with a that burst of color.


What about you- do you change your mantle for the seasons?

Oh and did you know that it is perfectly acceptable to spell 'mantle' with an 'el' or an 'le'? Which way do you prefer? I like the 'le' way!  That's the elementary school teacher in me :)


Linking up here:
-The Creative Paige
-Not so Simple Housewife
-Nest of Posies
-Home Stories A to Z
-Tator Tots and Jello
-Serenity Now
-Under the Table Dreaming
-Autumn Link Parties





homestoriesAtoZ.com

9/24/11

Time out for Mom

 
Happy Saturday! Today I thought I would talk about something besides crafting :) Instead I thought I would share a bit of my personal life outside my home!

Every mom needs a break, a time-out from laundry, homework, and problem solving. No matter how much you love your kiddos, everyone needs a chance to go out, dress up, and just chat with friends. I count myself lucky to have some sweet friends who love any excuse to do just that.  So now that the kiddos are back in school, it’s time to plan a night out with the girls. Here’s how to make the most of your night away!

Who’s Invited:
Look at who you know. I have several groups of friends that like to celebrate “Girls Night Out”.  Think about the fun girl from MOPS, or the sweet mom you met at preschool, how about some of the gals you drink coffee with at playdates, even neighbors, or the ladies on your running team- there is always someone who is wanting to go out. Sometimes the group is small, other times the group might take over several tables. I like having the different types of friends to go out with. And occasionally those groups mingle and everyone ends up together. Always encourage the ‘bring a friend rule’ so the groups can keep growing and changing. I am firm believer in the ‘more the merrier’- you never know when you are going to meet a new friend.



Set a Date:
Some people like to know way in advance and others do well with last minute outings. So try both ways and see what works best. Set up a standing date- maybe the second Tuesday of every month. Or if it has been ‘one of those days’ and you need a breather, just text some friends and see who is willing to meet you at a moment’s notice.

What to Do:
We are fortunate to live an area with lots to offer, but no matter where you are- you can find something fun to do as long as you have great company. There are a ton of activities, restaurants, and stores that are the perfect for hosting a group of girls. Some of the best “Girls Night Out” range from relaxing over dinner to breaking a sweat in a new class.



A few personal favorites have been:
-Yoga at Cowboys Stadium: For a small fee, groups of yogis (no experience necessary) are given a special tour of the stadium and then practice yoga to live music right on the turf. Not many people can say they have done a ‘wagon wheel’ on the Cowboys star!

-Cinema Grill: When “Sex in the City 2” came out, the theater hosted a red carpet affair. Nothing like eating, chatting and watching Carrie and Mr.Big with your best girlfriends. After the movie ended, the boutique next door opened their doors for a exclusive “SC2” shopping event.

-Live Music and Tastings at Local Vineyards: Each Thursday night,  our local vineyard hosts  “Rhythm and Wine”. It is a variety of live music paired with local wine. The vineyard also offers cheese, fruit and cracker pairings with their tastings.

 -Explore Your City: Grab a limo and then head to dinner in your nearest downtown. For us, a new group of restaurants have opened up off West 7th  in Fort Worth and the great atmosphere and creative food are a nice escape. I highly recommend “Tillman’s Roadhouse”- the cuisine and décor are worth the drive! 

Other Ideas:
 - Group Classes
Zumba/Yoga/Pilate
 -Get Creative
Painting with a Twist
Pottery
Sewing
-Expand your Palate
Try new foods or participate in a wine tasting
-Shopping
 Many small boutiques will host private shopping for you and a few friends
Antiquing- hunt for treasure together
-Do Some Good
Sort Clothing and Treasures at resale shops to benefit local charities 
Work on a project like Habitat for Humanity 



Make it a Habit: Don’t wait for a birthday or special occasion to get together again. Try to meet up once a month. It might seem hard to schedule, but once everyone is out together- the effort will be worth it. Try setting up a private facebook page to organize the next night out. Or keep in touch with emails and texts. Cultivating friendships for yourself is just as important as the ones you encourage your children to have. Support, smiles and a chance to share can do wonders for any woman. In the end, a relaxed happy mom is a better mom! 



9/22/11

Sparkly

I saw something this week that honestly made me squeal...



Glitter Blast spray paint from Krylon!






Imagine what you could create with glittered spray paint....





-Glittered lamp shades



-Glittered pumpkins



-Even Glittered Accessories!



I am so impressed that spray paint has gone chic. And have you seen what you can do with the Krylon Lookinglass? You can turn any glass surface into 'mercury glass'! Simply spray the inside of the glass with the Lookinglass spray paint and then use a 50/50 water-vinegar mixture to remove parts of the paint. Genius!










Spray paint has come a long way.





What have you created with it?  
 And no- I am not this post does not mean Krylon is my newest sponsor. Although that would be fabulous. I just thought their new products are cool!  



9/20/11

Too Hot for Pumpkins???


It may be September, but I am trying my best to hold off on the pumpkins. Last year I only put up a few fall things. So by the time November rolled around, I was ready to put up my Christmas tree. Needless to say, it confused my children quite a bit. Waiting for Christmas is hard enough without having to look at your stocking hanging from the mantle for 45 days!  So those pumpkins, orange leaves, and scarecrows aren't going to make an appearance around my home until October. In the meantime- and to keep my mind off those all the cute fall crafts- we have been doing a few things to spruce up the house for the change of seasons. Looking for a little change around your home? Try these quick fixes!




1. Clean up Your Front Entry: It’s the first thing guests see and therefore needs to make an impression. Sweep up the leaves and add a new doormat. Garden Ridge has great looking ‘monogram’ mats. Add a few new potted plants in a sturdy urn- try sweet potato vines or ferns. Or even paint the front door. Repaint it in the existing color or be bold and try something new. These are inexpensive fixes that give you a lot of bang for your buck.



2. Break Out the Spray Paint: Check out your exterior lighting. Is the metal faded, rusted, or even brass? Consider painting it.  Make a quick trip to the hardware store and choose from black, silver or an ‘oil rubbed bronze’ look. A coat of black paint to our exterior lights made the fixtures ‘pop’ and tied in better with our newly painted black front door. It’s amazing how much more you notice great lines and details with a fresh coat of paint.



3. Rearrange: Now is a great time to move things around. Since the kiddos are back in school, you can get a little bit more done during the day. Go through clothing and toys and choose what can be donated. Then set your sights on the furniture. Try moving a rug or chair into a different room. Move around the throw pillows or rearrange a bookshelf. De-cluttering and re-organizing can make your home feel fresh and new.

4. Make a Trip to Ikea: Several times a year, I like to go just to ‘see’. My husband asks me what I am looking for- and I tell him “I’ll see.” I think this scares him, but I love it. There is something about wandering through all those mini-homes that gives me a thrill. Focus on the little details. I set my sights on new table accessories. Ikea is the perfect place to find natural sea grass-type placemats and runners. I also left with some cute plants in galvanized pots, linen curtains, and dishtowels. Small ticket items, but they help freshen up the utilitarian objects involved in everyday living.





5. Keep Your Eyes Open: Even though Hobby Lobby has been selling fall décor since June- yes June- I am really trying my best  to just look. Those jack-o-lanterns are mighty tempting, but I am on a mission to collect ideas and make a plan for fall. Sign up for sites like “Pinterest” or “Tumblr” and search for Halloween or fall decorating ideas. Save what you like, then start shopping and collecting. By the time October rolls around, (fingers crossed that I can even make it to the last week of September!), your home will be spruced up and ready. And you will have some great plans for bringing a bit of autumn into your nest. 

 Sharing this week with: 


UndertheTableandDreaming


Weekend Bloggy Reading

9/16/11

A Guest Post: Cake in a Jar

What could be better right?! My youngest sister, Becka, got crafty in the kitchen last week and was sweet enough to share her recipe and tips with us. Becka's fiance is in the Air Force and is currently serving over-seas.  The distance between the two of them is the motivation behind this yummy treat. So read below and enjoy a 'guest post' from Becka :)


Hi I'm Becka! Like my sister, I love a good craft ;) Recently, I was looking for fresh ideas for care packages to send overseas, when I found several recipes for “Cake In A Jar". This recipe is the perfect gift for teachers, friends and even college students away from home. It's such an adorable way to send a homemade dessert for the holidays or just to say 'i care'.   The best part is, you can easily send them across the United States or even across the globe to your favorite soldier.

You need wide mouth mason jars with lids (or your desired container). I used quart sized mason jars for my cake. (These can be found at Wal-Mart, etc.) But I found mine at Target. I ended up buying a crate of 12 for $9 as I plan to use my jars for other decorating crafts. 

 You can use either your favorite homemade cake mix or the easiest way-use a regular box of cake mix. I found that 1 (15oz) cake mix box is sufficient for 2 quart sized jars, so buy mixes accordingly. 

 BAKING DIRECTIONS:

-For my cake jars, I used a yellow cake mix.
-Sanitize your jars and lids by either boiling in hot water or if your dishwasher has a sanitizing option.
-Preheat the oven to the desired temperature that is designated for “glass pan”.
-Then simply follow the directions on the box as you normally would! But don't forget to grease the jar. 

-Fill the jar the desired amount, but no more than halfway.
-Place your jars on a cookie sheet and set in the oven.
-For bake time subtract 15 minutes for the 12-Cup Fluted Tube (Bundt) baking time.
Example, the bundt baking time for the yellow was 38-43 so I set the timer for 23 minutes. 

-Immediately cap your jars once you’re sure the cake is done (insert toothpick in center until it comes out clean). If you’re wanting to add a cute fabric square under the lid, this is when you’ll have to do it…so move fast. And I’d recommend having two thick hand towels- one to hold the jar with and one to screw the top on with. Be careful, both jar and lid are extremely hot. 

-The lid will seal as it cools—you should hear the “ping” sound! As cake cools it will pull away from the jar slightly, but that’s okay it just means it will slide out easier.

-After the jars have cooled, you can decorate the cakes with icing and sprinkles etc. 



-But if you’re taking the jars to the Post Office, just send the icing in its own container. Don’t forget the silverware and a bit of bubble-wrap to protect the cakes during shipping. 



  -One soldier who recently received a "Cake in the Jar" couldn't figure out how his wife squeezed a dessert into the mason jar. All she said was 'it's magic' ;)

Looking to impress someone with your crafty baking skills- give this recipe a try! 



9/14/11

Crafty How To: Headband Holder


Life with girls is an adventure. When I sort laundry, I actually have an entire ‘pink’ load. Any food can be transformed from ‘yucky’ to ‘delicious’ by serving it on china and adding a toothpick. Sparkle nail polish is a must when attending church, school and the gym. But living with a Princess and a “Princess-in-Training” has also taught me some truths about life. If you aren’t lucky enough to rub elbows with royalty on a daily basis- here are the things you need to know. 


1. When you see flowers on the side of the road, stop to pick them. Not only when it is convenient, but anytime. You could be on the highway, it could be raining, or you might even be ‘running late’. These are all minor details, handpicked flowers are essential.

2. The only acceptable attire is a dress. No matter the occasion, nothing makes a girl feel as fancy as a dress. And not just any dress- this dress must of course ‘twirl’!

3. Accessories can never be over-done. If you carry you head high enough, you can pull off a feather boa combined with clip-on earrings, fuzzy purple high heels, three sparkly bracelets, two macaroni necklaces, and a hot pink plastic purse. Confidence is key. 


4. Kisses are like cookies, everyone needs them daily.

5. Make-up doesn’t count unless you can ‘feel’ it. So apply blush liberally and swipe that gloss over you lips until gooey.

6. Daddy is always the prince. No matter who Disney dreams up, no one can compare with Daddy. He picks the best donuts, thinks of the silliest jokes, and always plays the funniest games. When it comes to a dance partner at the ball, Daddy is always picked first.

7. Treasure can be found anywhere, if you are willing to look. Discarded hair clips, lost earrings, and sequins have been discovered under the shelves in Wal-mart and even on the way into a gas station. Keep your eyes open- you never know what will you find!

8. Sometimes you can just tell when a book at the library will be good. Primary indicators are pink covers, purple lettering on the spine or a crown on any of the characters in the illustrations. Even if the ‘words’ on the pages are disappointing, you can always make up your own story.

9. Barbies, Polly Pockets and My Little Ponies can all live happily in the dollhouse. Which just goes to show, no matter how different people seem to be, they can all live in harmony if everyone takes turns in the fancy, gliding elevator. 


10. Appearances can be deceiving. Not only can a small girl be supreme ruler of an entire household, what seems like ‘garbage’ can actually be something fabulous. Learn to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary with a bit of ribbon and hot glue.

Feeling inspired? Wanting to live like royalty? Start here by giving #10 a try. My little royal and I worked with an old oatmeal can, fabric, ribbon and hot glue to create the perfect ‘headband holder’.


Remember truth #3- lots of accessories? If yours are popping out of drawers, you’ll want to try this.

Here is the easy ‘how-to’ for a fancy headband holder.
**Special thanks to this adorable blog for the idea!




Simply empty any remaining oats from the can. Then hot glue fabric of your choice around the can.


After folding down the top and bottom, cut two circles to cover the raw edges. Finally add some ribbon or embellishments like pom-poms trim, sequins or lace. Then put your stretchy and hard headbands on your new creation. And voila- you’ve got yourself a fancy headband holder.


Now that the hair accessories are organized- slip on those plastic high heels and go pick some flowers. You’re never too old to be a Princess! 

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