Friday, December 30, 2011

5 Years

Happy Anniversary to my husband. Five years has flown by! We'll be celebrating tonight by making Grilled Lobster Tails.  Mmmm....

If anyone is looking for an amazing photographer, check out Sweet Monday Photography.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

On The Menu: Homemade Pretzel Bites

Luckily...I passed my three-hour glucose tolerance test. Which means I can still eat lots of carbs! And if there's one thing I've been consistently craving throughout my pregnancy, it's soft pretzels from the mall. I found this recipe through Pinterest from the blog Just Get Off Your Butt And Bake (so cute, right?). And these are just as good (I'm not kidding) as what you'd get at the mall and a heck of a lot cheaper!

Last night I made both the Cinnamon Sugar with Vanilla Glaze bites and the Traditional Butter and Salt Pretzels with Cheese. Scott's eyes literally went wide when he tried these and he clapped his hands together and said, "You should, you know, make these for OTHER people and they'd be really impressed." I guess this one gets the husband seal of approval.

Each roll makes 4 pretzel bites - That's 144 pretzel bites in this cheap bag of rolls!

What you'll need for Traditional Pretzel Bites:
• A Bag of Rhodes White Dinner Rolls - you can find these or something similar in the frozen dough section of your grocery store. I just bought the normal sized rolls, but the original recipe used the Texas Sized rolls. Each roll will make 4 pretzel bites, so only unthaw however many you think you can eat!
• Melted Butter
• Sea Salt
• Cheese Dipping Sauce - you can make your own (recipe here) or you can buy store bought Tostinos Smooth and Creamy Cheese Dip, which is what I did...because I'm lazy.

For the Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites:
• Cinnamon & Sugar
• Powdered Sugar
• Vanilla Extract
• Melted Butter
• Milk

For this process, I knew I wanted to make half salty and half sweet, so I unthawed 6 dinner rolls at room temperature for about an hour and a half. Then I quartered each roll into four pieces for a total of 24 pretzel bites and placed them on a (really well) greased cookie sheet and covered with plastic wrap. I let them rise to about 1.5 to 2x their size on the cookie sheet, which only took about a half hour for these little bites.

Now, this next step is very important. You must boil the dough bites for about 45 seconds and then quickly scoop them out and place on a paper towel to drain. This will make the bites puff up and really give them that perfect pretzel texture once cooked. Preheat your oven to 375° F at this time.

Here I've got everything ready to go. My oven is preheating, my water is boiling and my paper towel is ready to receive puffed up pretzel bites.

Boil about 10-12 bites at a time, tossing slightly in the boiling water for about 45 seconds. Quickly scoop them out with a slotted spoon once they're puffed and let drain on a paper towel. Some may look funny, but they'll recover nicely in the oven.

Place the bites back onto your greased baking sheet. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to grease your sheet really well! I used just plain Pam cooking spray.

Cook your boiled and puffed pretzel bites for about 13 minutes at 375 degrees F. While my bites were cooking, I prepared my other ingredients. I melted butter, made a cinnamon sugar mixture, heated up my cheese sauce, and prepared my vanilla glaze:

For Vanilla Glaze: combine 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 Tablespoon Milk, 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract and 1/2 Tablespoon Melted Butter. It's as easy as that! Add more powdered sugar for thicker glaze.

Remove the pretzel bites from the oven and brush all of them with melted butter. For the traditional bites, sprinkle with sea salt and place around your melted cheese. For the cinnamon sugar bites, roll the buttered bites in cinnamon sugar and place around your vanilla glaze.

What they should look like after cooking. My poor cookie sheets have been through a lot...
Enjoy your Salty and Sweet Snacks!

Cinnamon Sugar Bites

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weekend Recap

I had quite the busy weekend. After failing my 1-hour glucose screening, I had to go in for the 3-hour glucose tolerance test. It was by far the least pleasant thing I've had to do so far in this pregnancy. Basically, you have to fast for 12 hours, then they draw your blood. Then you get to drink some more glucola - twice as sweet as what was given for the 1-hour screening...on an empty stomach. Then you get to wait around at a lab as they draw your blood every hour, on the hour, for three hours. Blech. It was not fun, but I survived to tell the tale. Because it made me so weak and nauseous, Saturday was pretty much a bust for me. I went home and took a four hour nap (or sugar crash) after finally getting to eat some real food.

Sunday I had planned to sleep in, but my body had other ideas and woke me up at 7am anyways.  At least there was a beautiful sunrise I snapped a picture of when I let the dog out.

Then it was on to baby shower #2 with family. It was so cute - instead of cards, everyone brought their favorite childhood book to build the library for Baby Reece. We got some good ones and some of my favorites as well!  Now we just have to figure out what to do with all the stuff...

 Yeah, and there's not even any furniture in this room yet. Oh boy...

Monday, December 12, 2011

28 Week Update

So today I'm actually 29 weeks - how the heck did we get here so fast?! Luckily, other than a bout with the stomach flu early last week, I've been feeling pretty good. We had baby shower #1 last Saturday and it was so much fun to see so many family and friends. I think baby Reece has 45 new outfits so far. I'm just sorry that apparently the Outbreak Monkey was in attendance and about 10 other people, including me, got the stomach flu over the next 48 hours. Not fun, and it's twice as bad when you're pregnant! It's just a reminder that close contact with a lot of people around this time of year might not be so good for everyone's health - so remember to wash your hands like crazy.

I'm not feeling huge yet, but this past weekend was the first time I got questions from strangers, so I guess I'm in the "definitely looking pregnant" category. Although my bump has gone from cute and kind of round to more of a torpedo like structure. And don't even get me started on my belly button...because I no longer have one.

I also got to do the lovely Gestational Diabetes Screening Test on Friday at my last appointment. Basically you get to drink a 10oz drink of straight sugar on an empty stomach and then they test your blood to see how you're handling the glucose. Hopefully I passed that test - we'll find out early this week if not. Keep your fingers crossed that I did and that I don't have to do the more intensive test. I've also been instructed to start doing kick counts - as long as I get about 10 movements in a 2-hour period of time, we're good. It's not the most scientific method, but it can help you notice decreased fetal movement. But seeing how my baby pretty much moves like a cat caught in a burlap sack most of the time, I definitely don't need to count to notice decreased activity.

I hope you all are having a wonderful December!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Painted Nursery

We haven't made huge progress on our nursery - but we did finally paint the little room.  And by little...I mean REALLY little. But it should work for such a tiny person.  Here are some before shots:

The closet doors will eventually come off to save more space. I'd like to paint the inside of the closet a contrasting color from the walls, but I haven't decided yet. You can see all my pretty spackle marks on the wall if you look closely.

Ah, Neo. He'd make a good addition to a nursery, right? Eh, sadly he had to go as well.

And here's a few shots of the painted room. It's so hard to photograph this small space. The color is "Gulf Winds" paint and primer in one by Behr in eggshell. I really like the texture of that type of paint and it covers really well. The color is a little more saturated than I had initally planned from my design board, but I think it will be ok when we get everything put together.

You can see a few of the baby gifts we've already exciting to get presents in the mail!

I think my little fox paintings will really pop against the wall color - you can see them stacked on that little table in the background.
I can't wait to share more photos when we actually get the room put together! My baby shower is this weekend, so it will be exciting to get together with friends and family and look at lots of cute baby things!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

2011 Holiday Gift Guide

It's that time of year again for the Holiday Gift Guide. I love Christmas shopping and wrapping presents, and I genuinely try and find something for each person that I hope they'll enjoy. This year's list is considerably smaller than last year's guide, but I just wanted to give a quick variety of gifts for every budget. So here it goes!

Click to Enlarge

1. You can never go wrong with jewelry. Unless it's ugly... Swarovski crystal jewelry is a good way to go in that the pieces are high quality to last a lifetime, yet they have a range of price points. This is the Swarovski Marie Crystal Ring Moonlight (Small) and retails for around $90.

2. Here is the Birchbox I touted in yesterday's post. Can you tell I think this concept is really cool? $10 a month, or $30 for a three-month subscription.

3. I love these Pashmina scarves from World Market. They come in a variety of colors - I bought one last year in ivory. They're super long and soft, and at only $10 a piece, they're a steal so you can buy multiples!


1. I love the look of this Fossil watch. The chocolate brown color is just different enough to make it stand out, but it's still pretty manly. For a nice watch it's pretty reasonably priced for $115.

2. This iPhone alarm clock dock turns an iPhone into a sleek, mid-century modern statement piece for the bedside table. And at $39.50, it's a pretty good deal.

3. You can't really go wrong with guys and their gaming systems. Assassins Creed and Call of Duty MW3 are two of the latest and run around $60 depending on where you buy. Better yet, just get him a GameStop gift card so he can wait in the line with the rest of the crazies for the latest newly released games.


1. The Kindle Fire has just been released and at $199 it's a much better deal than the iPad. Watch movies, download games and books, and fight over who gets to use it next.

2. These soy candles from Achipelago Botanicals burn for up to 60 hours, and are more eco-friendly with less smoke. With scents like Bergamont Tobacco, Bamboo Teak, and Pineapple Ginger, there's bound to be a scent that can please both sexes. Candles start around $24.

3. Macarons are delicious. I was so excited to try them when we went to Paris this year and Scott didn't see the big deal until he finally tried one. Now he's a convert. I've had really good experience ordering from The Little Oven Bakery in New York. They ship very quickly nation-wide and sampler boxes run around $22.

4. Agate bookends. Because they look neat. This turquoise pair runs around $39.

5. I appreciate a unique piece of wall art. My current obsession are these painted deer antlers found on etsy from seller MadeByCassandraSmith. These antlers are naturally shed in the wild and thus, are cruelty-free. They would look so cool hanging on the wall! They cost between $80 and $100.

I hope this gift guide helps you get started on your holiday shopping, or at least maybe you've discovered some new products (and maybe something fun for yourself as well?). Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gift Idea + Trend: Curated Subscription Boxes

I've noticed a growing trend in the world of gift-giving which I think is fabulous: Curated monthly subscription boxes. You can sign up yourself or give as a gift a monthly subscription (usually starting at 3-month intervals) to boxes of products that arrive every month at your door. It's like a jelly-of-the-month club but (much) better. Each company has a different niche-market and subscriptions start at as little as $10 a month. Some of the popular ones I've found are:

1. Birchbox - you get 4-5 deluxe samples of beauty products every month. Subscriptions are only $10 a month for this one. This would make a great gift for that friend/mom/sister who can't get enough beauty products!

2. Bluum - this is the same concept but with baby products! I love that each month has a new "theme" for all of the products in the box. November's theme is "Goodnight Moon." How cute is that? Subscriptions start around $11 a month. I may or may not have purchased this for a friend's upcoming baby shower. . .

3. Citrus Lane is similar to Bluum in that it caters to moms and babies. However, it's slightly more expensive because it's meant to be more specific to your lifestyle. For example, you would get a newborn box and then each successive box would have products relevant to your baby's development. It starts around $25 a month.

4. Blissmobox - The Blissmo box specifically caters to those wanting to live a greener lifestyle. Products range from organic health foods to eco-friendly cleaning products. What a great way to discover ways to live more responsibly and for only around $19 a month.

All of these would make wonderful gifts for the holidays! And it's a gift that keeps on giving. Your recipient will get a box in the mail every month for however long their subscription lasts. Who doesn't like getting packages in the mail? I would love to hear of more companies doing this, so if you hear of any, be sure and let me know.

On The Menu: Taco Pasta

I was a little wary of this recipe at first if only because of the wicked awful heartburn I've been having lately due to this baby hanging out on my organs and such. Luckily I remembered to take a Pepcid an hour before eating this, so I didn't have a problem.

This recipe comes directly from the wonderful food blog: The Girl Who Ate Everything. She has a ton of amazing recipes and I found this one after searching through Pinterest.  I love that it's kind of a "throw everything in a pan" kind of recipe. My brother, Adam, doesn't have an oven where he lives on his military base, so Adam, if you're reading this - make this for dinner!

8-12 oz. medium pasta shells
1 lb ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
1/2 onion, chopped
1 14 oz. can of Rotel or similar diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 cup sour cream
3 oz. cream cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Optional Cilantro for Garnish

1. Cook pasta shells according to directions on the box. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
2. Meanwhile, brown the ground beef in a large skillet or deep pan. A couple of minutes before the beef is done cooking, add in the chopped onion. When the beef is cooked through, add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds.
3. Add the taco seasoning and can of rotel (drained) to the beef mixture and let simmer for 3-5 minutes.
4. Add the cooked pasta shells, reserved pasta water, cream cheese, sour cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until the cream cheese is melted.
5. Garnish with cilantro at the end if desired.

Thanks again to Christy at The Girl Who Ate Everything for this awesome recipe!

Friday, November 11, 2011

On The Menu: Cilantro Lime Fish Tacos with Creamy Avocado Dressing

So, I've done a shrimp taco recipe before in a hard shell, but I've never really tried a fish taco in a soft tortilla before. These Cilantro Lime Fish Tacos with Creamy Avocado Dressing turned out really well. In fact, my husband said it was "an explosion of flavor." My only regret was not making more fish. I used only 2 Tilapia filets, which was enough for two large (burrito size) tacos or four small tacos. So feel free to double up on the Tilapia in this recipe if you want more.

• 2 Tilapia Filets, Thawed
• 1 Tbsp. Hot Mexican Style Chili Powder
• 1 Tbsp. Ground Cumin
• Garlic Salt
• 1 Lime
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• Two Large Flour Tortillas or 4 Small Flour Tortillas
• Cilantro
• Pico de Gallo (We used Store-Bought but you can certainly make your own from chopped red and white onion, tomato, lime, garlic and cilantro)
• Mozzarella Cheese
• Creamy Avocado Dressing (See Recipe Below)

Creamy Avocado Dressing:
• 1 Avocado, Cubed
• 1/2 Cup Sour Cream
• 1/4 Cup Mayo
• 1/4 Cup Milk
• 1 Tbsp. Minced Garlic
• Salt and Pepper to Taste
• Handful of Cilantro Leaves
• Handful of Flat-Leafed Parsely Leaves
• The juice of One Lemon

1. For the avocado dressing, put all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and mix until the consistency is creamy and everything is incorporated. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary to your liking. Cover, and set aside in the fridge.

2. Preheat your oven to 425° F.
3. Mix together your cumin, chili powder, the juice from half of your lime, garlic salt, and about a Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl. Rub both sides of your tilapia filets with the mixture - using all of it, and let marinade while your oven heats up. Sprinkle the tops of the filets with extra minced cilantro if desired (in our case, it's always desired).
4. Cook filets in a shallow baking pan until they are opaque all the way through. These filets were fairly small so only took about 9-10 minutes before they were done.

5. Build your tacos with the fish, and layer on the pico de gallo, mozzarella cheese, and creamy avocado dressing. Garnish with the other half of your lime. Enjoy! 

*Note: The recipe for the avocado dressing makes quite a bit. It's pretty good on cut up raw veggies, though!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

On The Menu: Classic Slow Cooker Pot Roast

It's that time of year where you want to come home to the smell of something warm and delicious filling your house. Something where you don't have to do practically anything to prepare dinner once you've had a long day at work. Enter: The Classic Slower Cooker Pot Roast.

This is something we had all the time growing up, but something I have never managed to make until now. Also, I just discovered Crock Pot liners. I am stupid for not using these before..seriously made our clean up SO EASY. I'm a convert and will use them from now on! So let's get to it...

This recipe adapted from Linda Larson at
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1-1/2 lb. boneless beef top round (The smallest one I could find was 1.75 lbs)
  • 4 potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks
  • 16 oz. pkg. baby carrots (you could probably get away with half this amount)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 14 oz. can ready to serve beef broth
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water

  • Directions:
    1. Make a mixture of your flour, salt, pepper and thyme. Make slices in your beef top round and rub the flour and thyme mixture on your beef. Set aside.
    2. Layer your peeled potatoes, carrots and onion in your slow cooker.
    3. Set the beef top round coated in your flour mixture on top of your vegetables. Our beef sat in the fridge overnight in the mixture and our veggies sat in the crock pot so I would have less steps to do in the morning.
    4. Pour the Worcestershire sauce and can of beef broth over your beef and veggies.
    5. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours depending on the size of your beef round (we cooked the full 10 hours and it was perfect).
    6. If you like a thicker gravy than just the normal drippings, remove the beef and vegetables after cooking and place in an over-safe serving dish. Cover with foil and keep warm in the oven. Meanwhile, add 2 Tbsp. cornstarch and 1/4 cup water to your drippings still in the crock pot and heat on high for 15 minutes. You may have to add more or less cornstarch to get the gravy thickness you desire.

    This recipe makes great leftovers as well - you can do beef stew, hot roast beef and swiss French dip sandwiches, or with barbecue sauce on a wheat bun. Enjoy this classic dish and the way your house smells when you get home!

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011


    Our dog Indy, a 2 year old Siberian Husky, is seriously weird, but endlessly entertaining. Here he is laying in his kennel, because apparently this is comfortable. We don't make him go in there when we're home and have been slowly weaning him off the kennel when we leave the house. We've left him out in the open for the past two days for the entire work day and he has done so well. The goal is to get this giant kennel out of our house by the time Baby Reece is born, because this thing takes up some major space real estate. And it's ugly. I'm a little worried that he'll feel like he doesn't have a safe haven anymore if we get rid of his "den."

    He has another funny quirk that has just started fairly recently. Apparently huskies are pretty good at regulating what they eat. We could free feed him if we really wanted to because he only eats if he's hungry. But we can't do this because our other dog, Dotty, a 6 year old rescue, would zip line across the room and eat anything left untouched. It's a throwback to what her mental state must have been like when she was a stray. She'll always have that scavenger mentality.

    Anyways, in the mornings, I get up first and let Indy outside, then he comes in and I set his bowl of food in front of him. He tends to look at me like, "Is this the best you have to offer?" before wandering around the house for ten minutes looking for a better alternative. Perhaps a used kleenex or an apple core. Sometimes he grudgingly comes back to the bowl and eats the food one tiny kibble bite at a time. Other times he just lays in front of it and stares at it like maybe it will morph into steak, or more preferably to his taste: some fruit. Well Indy, I'm sorry that we spend the big bucks on Blue Buffalo food for you, but it's the best you're going to get out of us. Anyone else's pets have weird habits like this?

    Friday, October 28, 2011

    New Nursery Art

    I want the baby to have some piece of art on his wall that was created just for him by me. I did these 3 illustrations of red foxes that I'm so excited to hang once the room is painted and we get the furniture layout figured out. I can't decide if I want them hung vertically in a column or horizontally in a row of three. What do you think?

    I painted them on white 140lb watercolor paper with watercolors and gouache paint and detailed them with Prismacolor colored pencils. The "mattes" are actually fake - I just painted them in. The frames I already had from way back in college to decorate our apartment, but they were black so I painted them white. Whoohoo for art that was completely free!  Here's a close up of my favorite one:

    And here's Scott's favorite:

    Just an FYI - if you want some custom art of your own for yourself or your baby, feel free to contact me. You can send me an email or visit my Etsy shop (button on my sidebar) and send me a request. I really enjoy creating art for people, and would love to create some for you, too!

    Thursday, October 27, 2011


    As you can see I'm in the process of cleaning up the look of the blog. More breathing room. Not sure if this is final or if I'm just nesting...

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    Baby Reece Is A...

    BOY! And so begins years of therapy because his mother put his boy parts online for the world to see before he was born...


    Face - and an eyeball. Kind of scary and appropriate for Halloween :)
    We're just so happy he's healthy and everything seems to be ok. Isn't technology amazing? We did find out that apparently he's a giant already. 1 lb. 1 oz at 21 weeks. My due date is correct...we're just destined to have giant children.

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Nursery Plans

    Full disclosure: I am not an interior designer. These idea boards are ones I just threw together after seeing an inspiring color palette on the Home Depot website. Feel free to help me out. Just don't tell me that my taste sucks or I'll cry. 

    I'm thinking of using the same wall color regardless if it's a boy or a girl with the same white crib and glider. These boards are just a jumping off point, and will probably evolve over time and actually putting the nursery together. For a girl...

    Click to enlarge

    Robin's egg blue, chocolate and soft yellow with accents of brighter blue and coral. That picture in the top left is the one from the Home Depot fall style guide and kicked off my inspiration.  The wall color (background) is Behr Cloudburst. Some other sources:
    1. Crib - Graco Somerset Convertible Crib available at Target
    2. Glider - Graco Avalon Glider also available at Target
    3. Curtains - World Market Suzani Panels
    4. Lamp - Lampworks Recycled Blue Glass Cylinder from Amazon.
    5. Round Storage Baskets - Perfect for storing toys, blankets, etc, available from AGKs on Etsy.
    6. Pretty Throw Pillow Cover - Also available on Etsy from seller DesertDaze.
    7. Handmade Plush Birdie Mobile - Another Etsy Find. Seller PrettyPlush.

    Now for a boy, I'm keeping the same general thing but switching out the pops of coral to more of a focus on the soft creams, yellows and chocolates with pops of bright aqua. Also I like the idea of the accessories being more "manly" with lots of wood and wicker.

    Click to Enlarge
    1. Curtains - again from World Market. They have such an awesome array of styles!
    2. Wicker Baskets - found this set on
    3. Modern Wood Mobile on Etsy from seller babydarling.
    4. Wooden Stacking Rings on Etsy from seller TheWoodGarden.
    5. Birch Robins Egg Blue Pillow from Etsy seller buttongrass.
    6. Baby Blanket - I found this baby blanket in the same fabric as the pillow from Etsy seller SewnNatural. It must be meant to be!

    Feel free to leave comments and suggestions. Like I said, I'm no designer, so I welcome helpful hints!

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    Fall Decorations Part Deux

    Click to enlarge

    Alright, I think I'm done with my fall decorating. There's no real theme, just lots of projects I thought would be fun. I've shown you previously my candy corn wreath, spooky bunting and leaf inital for the front door. Other than that:

    1. I moved in a small black cabinet that needs to be repainted underneath our mirror and will use it for holiday displays for the next month until I can repaint. On top is a cluster of mosaic candle holders in fall colors and the remainders of the candy corn.

    2. How pretty are these giant fall nested glass leaves I got from Marshalls? They're irridescent, heavy-duty glass and I got all three in a bundle for $16.99. Plus they already matched my decor. I also got the glittery pumpkin and reed diffuser at Marshalls as well. I've displayed them on our never-used dining room table and the coffee table.

    3. I didn't go crazy outside, just a couple of white pumpkins with the same leaves on top I used to make our "R" leaf initial. I can never find good white pumpkins, so I just bought these and painted them white.

    We also have a little halloween countdown on our chalkboard in the kitchen. Is it just me, or does anyone else get a little sad when the decorating is over? Now that I have no more fall projects I kind of want to start decorating for winter.  One season at a time...I know.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    20 Weeks

    And, we're halfway there. We have our big mid-point anatomy scan next week where we get to make sure the baby is growing properly and they measure all of the organs to make sure everything is ok. We also get to find out the sex if the baby cooperates! I have no preference either way...just for a healthy baby. Although my intuition is leaning towards a boy, but you never know.

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Just a Quick Update

    I've felt the baby kick from the OUTSIDE (as in on my hand) for the first time in the last couple of days. So that's been pretty exciting. Also, I cannot get enough of pregnancy blogs and websites. It's an addiction. And just as a random side note, before you think of offering any sort of advice to a pregnant woman, remember this little gem from Heather over at Dooce:

    "No need to give me a warning that begins with the detestable phrase, "Just wait..." I can guarantee that every time you use that phrase in conversation with a pregnant woman you are earning cosmic points that when added up one day will result in a piano falling on your head."

    True words indeed.

    Tuesday, October 4, 2011

    Fall Decorations 2012 - Part One

    I hope you all are enjoying your fall. Other than a bout with a nasty stomach bug over the weekend, my fall has been going well so far! My football team is undefeated (so far), and the weather has been so nice, and I've actually gotten a lot of craft projects done. I got to do my fall leaf initial for the front door, and my chalkboard for the kitchen, and recently, I've completed this Candy Corn Wreath and "Spooky" muslin bunting.

    The wreath was originally a project found on Women's Day and is made of a foam wreath, black electrical tape, candy corn and hot glue. A cheap and easy project - and a tasty one. I admit I ate quite a few in the process. For the original tutorial, go here.

    The bunting was just made from some old muslin I had laying around and fabric pens. I used a paper template to make all of the triangles the same size and strung them together with elastic cording. I'm sure someone could do this much prettier, but it works for me.

    And from the other side. You can see the mess in our guest room/soon to be nursery.
    Close up of the candy corn. It's one of those treats you either love or hate!
    I hope you all are getting some of your fall projects completed! Of course the biggest project we have coming up is the nursery. I'm ready to get started on it, and I can tell I'm nesting already.  Happy fall!

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    DIY Craft: Framed Chalkboard

    I doubt the internet needs another chalkboard how-to blog post, but I had been wanting a chalkboard for our kitchen for a while. We had our big de-cluttering the house weekend recently. And aside from finding lots of nostalgia (reminding us why we don't de-clutter very often - too much fun stuff to find) like the dog hoodie we bought for our dog a few years back, I also found some fun crafting supplies.

    This is why we can't get things done. Why take things to the Goodwill when you can have fun playing with all of the stuff you find?!

    In our mess I found some really ugly gold frames that had held paintings I made back in high school. I spray painted both frames with a Rustoleum American Accents antique white. I figured I could use one for the chalkboard and the other for a baby nursery project. I went to Home Depot to purchase plywood (about $5 - they cut it to size for me for free), chalkboard paint (about $9), Gorilla Woodglue (about $5) and picture hangers ($3), since the frame had no hangers on it.

    I primed my piece of plywood (cut 16" x 20" to fit in my frame) with Kilz white latex primer. Then I painted it with three coats of Rustoleum chalkboard paint using a foam roller. That stuff dries fast, so watch it! I used wood glue to glue the piece of plywood directly into the frame (this part is messy), but I had to let it dry overnight. I then hammered on the picture hangers, threaded some ribbon through the hangers, and wa-la! Finally I have my own chalkboard for the kitchen.

    I think that's the first time the bathroom has ever graced this blog.

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    DIY Craft: Fall Leaf Initial

    I actually completed a project I saw on Pinterest! Look at me getting things done!  I first saw this leaf initial on Pinterest from The Thrifty Abode's website and thought, "Hey, that's cute and I could definitely do that." Aaron from The Thrifty Abode used plastic oak leaves and Elmer's spray adhesive to create her look.  I used leaves with a little bit more contrast since our front door is such a dark red, I wanted the yellows to really pop and gave it a bright golden ribbon. I used a glue gun instead of spray adhesive, because I can be kind of dangerous with sprayed chemicals. Plus, I'm pregnant and had to work inside, so I didn't want something too strong to smell.

    Here's Aaron's Version:

    And here's my version on a white door so I could get a picture, and our red front door:

    Doesn't fall get you in the mood to start crafting?!