Friday was a gorgeous day, so Paxton and I sat out on the front porch decorating for fall.
I dug through the garage to find a set of four pots to create this stacked potted design (just put a smaller pot upside down inside each of the two pots you can see in order to have a strong base for teh next pot and the pumpkin to sit on. Then I filled the empty space inside the pots with grocery bags and covered it with a piece of burlap fabric before adding the little pumpkins and flowers.
The pumpkin is decorated with a vinyl "S" & spider decal (tutorial on that coming soon), and I decided that since those candlestick holders had sat in a bucket in the garage for several months, it wouldn't hurt anything to use them in some outside decor. :)
I made the wreath with a metal hanger and strips of frayed burlap, following this great tutorial.
And then I added a seasonal 3ft custom "Trick or Treat?" sign over the door. I think I'll replace it with a Thanksgiving-themed sign in November and then a Christmas-themed sign in December and continue to change it out as the year progresses.
For a Friday morning sitting on the front porch enjoying the weather and using all stuff we already had on-hand, I think we did okay. :) Ayla was excited to see it when she got home from school and now likes to walk in through the front door whenever we get home from being out. :)
I don't do much seasonal decorating around the house, but when Halloween and Christmas roll around, I am willing to pull out my bucket of decorations. The kids have a blast seeing all the little goodies that have been boxed away for a year, and it's a nice transition into the holiday season. So, even though our little plastic pumpkins and homemade decor are pretty basic...we do make an effort. :) And I say "we" because Ayla and Paxton were VERY involved in the process...they even helped me clean the house so that we could bring in the decorations.
Here's what we ended up with for our fireplace mantle in the playroom this year for Halloween:
My altered halloween house is my favorite decoration for this season, and the glittery pumpkin and "boo" garland is definitely a kid-favorite - especially since Paxon's favorite color is orange right now (he points it out everywhere).
I framed my "Being a Family" poster and included it on the mantel too (it & the other photos sit there all year).
In the kitchen, we went for a more subtle decorating technique -- but I LOVE the element of surprise. Check out our gallery wall and all the little masked friends! I saved the black cardstock masks I used from last year so that all I had to do was find a photo that fit and stick 'em to the glass.
Plus, I made this trick or treat sign and have a special place in mind for it on our front porch (pictures coming soon!):
Since the weather finally cooling off this week, it's definitely starting to feel a little more like fall around here! Might as well look like it too. :)
Except now Ayla and Paxton think Halloween is MUCH closer than it is. They don't really understand that it's still a whole month away...They've been walking around the house carrying little pumpkin bags, knocking on each door and saying "trick or treat" and handing each other toy cars and pretend candy. Silly kids.
A while back, I made myself a jewelry organizer for my closet from a picture frame, wire and fabric. But, after dropping earrings on the floor over and over and over again (because of the fabric backing & wire not having enough space between them) I decided to give it another shot with a new design.
I went digging in my garage and came back with two metal cube panels, several nails and some ribbon.
I liked the idea of the metal cube pieces, because if you face them the right way, the cross-bars leave a natural space between them and the wall that allows the earrings to hang freely. Plus, using the grid means I can easily stagger the earrings so I can see them all well and they won't get tangled up together.
I used ribbon to tie two panels together and secured the top two corners with screws. The bottom is secured with one screw to hold it still.
Since this grid solution didn't work for my necklaces, I simply added some staggered nails directly to the wall.
Let's hope this solution is a little more user-friendly! I'm not the only one looking for a great jewelry organizing solution. Check out these great ideas that I found on pinterest:
While I was out of town for the month of July, traveling with the kids, Ben enjoyed 3 1/2 weeks of solitude at home. That's a lot of time for itty bitty handyman projects!
Among many nice little surprises, I came home to shiny new doorknobs on all our outside doors (yes, he changed the locks while I was gone!), new shelves in the pantry, and a brand new mailbox. And, if you have seen our old mailbox, you know that this was a WAY overdue project - as in we probably should have done it the day we moved in 4 years ago.
So, since he very nicely waited for me to get home to add numbers (because he knew I'd want to paint my own street number sign like the one by our front door), I figured it was time I got on that project before another 4 years passed. We were looking for a make-it-better, but it-doesn't-need-to-be-perfect look, so within a 5-minute conversation we made a quick design decision and I got to work.
Here's a look at our old mailbox, the new mailbox I came home to, and then new mailbox w/a snazzy new paint job on the post & a brand new street number sign.
Though I certainly wouldn't be opposed to some color at the street (I do love these colorful mailboxes), Ben is a little more conservative in his outdoor decor choices, so we opted for a make-it-blend, not too fancy monochromatic look. So all I did was make two beveled 1ft street number signs, give the post a new coat of paint, and slapped that baby back together. I started at noon, and was done with the whole shebang by dinner (didn't want to miss any mail!)
Yes, some flowers would look nice at the bottom of the post. Maybe someday! One project at a time...
Here's some more mailbox curb appeal for your day!
- turquoise & red mailbox
- unusual mailboxes (some silly stuff here!)
- mailbox makeover (I won't lie...she did it better than me!)
Except now I really want one of these:
How's your mailbox looking these days?
For Ayla's 5th birthday she requested (okay I might have suggested - instead of a princess or Dora theme) a Hello Kitty themed birthday party. Though she might have been slightly guided in her choice, she jumped on board and was very excited about it! She helped me with all the planning, looking for ideas, shopping for and making decorations. We started by making an idea board in Pinterest:
And though we didn't use all those ideas, they got the creative juices flowing. So here's what we DID end up with - a simple, low-key playdate birthday party for six little girls.
I fell in love with the design of these Hello Kitty Simple Sign invitations from Tiny Prints. I ended up making my own instead of buying them, primarily because I had all the materials at my desk the day I wanted to make them, but buying them wouldn't have cost much for the 6 I needed. If I had been making more than that I would have bought them. I also personalized each invitation for the girl we were sending it to. :)
We kept the decorations fairly simple and only decorated in the dining room -- streamers, balloons, a handmade banner and a blue plastic tablecloth. I did buy some Hello Kitty themed plates, but stuck with light pink colored dessert plates, hot pink napkins and hot pink cups.
I made the "Happy Birthday" banner using the same technique as I showed in this handmade birthday banner tutorial using patterned paper and cardstock. Then I added some handmade Hello Kitty paper dolls to the ends of each banner, which I cut using this Hello Kitty font and my Silhouette.
Our party was from 10am to 1pm, so we served lunch. Ayla's menu request - pizza & pears. I added in pineapple and popcorn for a very simple lunch (all starting with P's). I had planned to do a semi-homemade cake by buying a round white cake from the store and drawing a Hello Kitty on top of it, but my VERY talented friend offered to make me the dream cake I'd been eyeing (see it up there in my Pinterest board?). She did an AMAZING job:
This is where I'm weak in the party-planning department. It's just like when I was little and my siblings wanted me to play Barbie with them. I liked to set up the house, get all the dolls dressed up, and then just look at it. I forget that everyone else wants to PLAY. But I did diligently look for activities (with Ayla) that we could do with 6 little girls at her party. We considered making necklaces, or paper dolls, or doing a bingo game, but keeping time, resources & money in mind, here's what we settled on:
Pin the Bow on Hello Kitty - I drew a Hello Kitty head on Ayla's easel and cut paper bows out of patterned paper. Then we used a scarf as a blindfold and ended up with a pretty silly looking kitty.
Draw Hello Kitty - I gave each girl a 6" x 6" piece of white cardstock and asked them to draw their own version of Hello Kitty and decorate it with stickers. We put each girl's page into a small scrapbook that we'll add photos to for Ayla to remember her birthday party.
Hello Kitty Tattoos - I bought a 24-pack of Hello Kitty Tattoos at the party store, so each girl got 2 tattoos. They all enjoyed that and they got to practice counting to 30 each time we applied a tattoo. Look at all those tan little feet. These girls have been swimming this summer!
Play - These girls are 4 & 5. They played together most of the time in Ayla's room. :)
Movie - After lunch and presents, while we waited for their parents to arrive, the girls sat on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn and watched a 30 minute Hello Kitty episode on Netflix.
No party is complete without favors. We raided the Target $1 bins and came up with pencils & erasers and notebooks for each girl. Plus of course, the felt Hello Kitty hairbows that I made and which were a big hit.
And...finally, I couldn't resist buying Ayla this SUPER adorable Hello Kitty t-shirt from Target to wear to her party:
There you have it. A super-pink, super-easy, super-cute Hello Kitty birthday party.
Recently, a friend of mine asked me to make her some wooden alphabet blocks for her new baby girl (arriving in July). She gave me some color guidelines, a link to a style of block she liked, and some swatches from the nursery bedding:
And off I went to create this:
Here's a tip if you ever decide to make something like these: You won't find the blocks at a craft store. After visiting Michaels, JoAnns & Hobby Lobby, I finally headed to the hardware store, where I should have gone in the first place. These blocks were made from a piece of scrap 2" x 4" wood found in the scrap bin (at the back of the lumber section) at Home Depot. And the lovely lady working in lumber even cut them for me. Sweet.
measurements: 7" tall large blocks & 5" tall short blocks
Let me tell you...creating a project for a room you've never seen, using colors you've only seen on a computer screen is a little nervewrecking. There was about a 50% chance my colors would be WAY off from the room. Thankfully, it appears to have all worked out just fine. Here they are, living in their new home on a shelf in the nursery...just waiting for Baby Tate:
My sister-in-law Rachel asked me if I would mind making my niece & nephew a birthday banner for their 1st birthday party. Did she even need to ask??? Of course I would!
First step: Choose papers that match the color scheme. I used their invitation as inspiration and chose 5 different papers - solid blue, polka dot blue, solid pink, polka dot pink, and white.
Second step: Cut a stencil for the pennant and cut each of the triangles and lay them out in order. The pattern I used was WHITE - SOLID BLUE - PINK POLKA DOT - WHITE - BLUE POLKA DOT - SOLID PINK - WHITE. There were so many letters in "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" that I decided to make a double-decker banner, so I used 7 triangles for the "HAPPY" banner and 10 for the "BIRTHDAY" banner so that I could have a blank white triangle on each side of the letters. The pattern happened to work out perfectly that way.
Fourth step: Outline each banner with brown penwork -- just for a little bit of added detail and definition.
Fifth step: Figure out how to hang it and attach the triangles together! I ended up using a heart-shaped punch to make a large hole on either corner of the triangle, and then weaving wide grosgrain ribbon through the holes. It worked perfectly!
It's a pretty simple banner, and it turned out to be a really cute backdrop for the pink & blue polka dot twins 1st birthday party. Unfortunately the banner was rather hard to photograph "in action" since it was displayed against a window...but in person it looked great!
(Thank you J & R for a better photo of the banner!)
Guess now I'll need to make one for Ayla's birthday party that's coming up in a few weeks...plans and decorations for that shindig coming soon! ;)
I know my dad would have no trouble agreeing with this "Dad is always right." sign. And darn it, it's usually true, too. He *is* always right!
Wouldn't this make a great gift for your Dad's office, man-cave or hanging right next to his "throne" in the house? You know the one -- that big ol' recliner in the den that everyone wants to sit in, but jumps out as soon as he walks into the room because it's "his" chair. Then again, I could totally see my dad carrying this baby around with him so he could whip it out as "proof" at a moment's notice!
Dads are hard to shop for at Father's Day, but I guarantee this will make him smile!
$20 Father's Day Sign Design
1ft x 6in. Available in black or brown background with or without beveled edges.
Place your Father's Day sign order by Friday, June 10th to ensure delivery by the big day.
To order: Choose the 1ft Monogram sign option and add "Father's Day Sign" in the comments section of your order. Shipping is only $5 for this special design!
I finally learned how to use vinyl and transfer paper in my Silhouette die-cutting machine this weekend. Though I use my machine all the time to cut stencils for my signs, it took me 6 months to try what most people BUY the thing for - vinyl!
For my first practice cut, I made this little phrase for a clipboard that hangs in my office.
And now, I'm sure I'm hooked. :) No surface is safe.
Our front porch is sorely lacking in style. Mostly because I like to spend my crafty time inside, not outside (like my green thumb neighbors) and ALWAYS forget to water plants, which means the nice flower-filled pots my mom added a couple of years ago have sat there very lonely filled with dirt, not flowers for the past two years. Yes, I know that's sad.
However, after Ben spent last weekend power washing our all-brick front porch (and removing the empty flower pots completely), I was so impressed by it's "sparkle" I decided to contribute one tiny little addition -- our street numbers:
Yes, the porch would be much prettier with pots and flowers and a cute little painted wooden chair or a bucket or something...but I'm not sure I have "outdoor decorating" in my talents.
Anyone want to come and makeover my front steps? I need low-maintenance, weather-able decor. Help me out, would you? :)
Here's some inspiration (each picture links to some great tips):
What does your front porch look like?