It’s Fall Y’all – Fall Mantel

I’m always up for a little fall mantel-scaping – so when I saw the party at Centsational Girl, I snapped a couple pictures.  I try to keep my mantel simple, so I use cream and brown all year round so I can just pop a couple seasonal decorations in when I want to.
I love stoneware and have an affinity for antique Red Wing – notice the large crocks, bean pot on the mantel, and the small cream vase on the left.
Large candlesticks are always a classic mantel piece – I added the fake cat tails, pumpkin candles, and faux leaves under a couple pieces to ‘fall’ it up.
See a theme here?  More cream and brown – it’s a great base to build on, especially for accessory pieces.  I like an asymmetrical mantel, so I try to keep heights similar but I use a lot of different pieces to keep it fun and not too serious (enter turtle ‘frog’).
So….are you joining in on the Autumn Party?

Fall Wreath Tutorial

I have this wreath is on my Pinterest “fall” page – it’s from Williams-Sonoma and is really beautiful, but I thought it would be fun to try to make it.  Want to try to make it too?  It was really easy and took about 30 minutes to complete.  How’s that for a fun fall project?
Here’s what you need (I purchased everything at JoAnn Fabrics – no coupon, it was about $20):
(I used a grapevine wreath, even though I’m pretty sure the original one used something different )
(I didn’t cover the wreath – just some to add interest and a different texture)
faux pumpkins
(I used two different sizes – the original uses one size)
brown grosgrain ribbon
glue gun and glue sticks
And the steps to make this fun fall wreath:
bring wreath outside because the moss is MESSY – work a little moss into the nooks and crannies of the wreath
Using a glue gun and plenty of glue sticks attach the mini pumpkins
cut brown grosgrain ribbon a little longer than the wreath so you can trim accordingly
I am terrible at making decorative bows the “normal” way, so I use lots of glue and make faux bows
and the completed wreath
Have you put up a fall wreath yet?

Homemade Applesauce

There’s nothing like making homemade applesauce that says fall and since I’m working on making some more this weekend, I thought it would be a good time to repost how we make it.  So simple – if you’ve never made your own,  carve out some time this month to try it – you’ll be glad that you did.
Ingredients  (to taste and to size of batch of applesauce):
apples – I used 2 pecks and got 6+ quarts of applesauce
fresh lemon juice
stockpot (I had to use 2 pots for 2 pecks of apples)
wooden spoon
potato masher – to break down apples as they are cooking
storage containers for freezing
apple corer/peeler
(If you don’t have one of these, you should buy one – huge timesaver and makes anything apple fun in the kitchen for the kids.)
Wash apples
Peel, core, slice – if you have the above tool, this is one step – you can also just peel, core and chunk the apples to keep it easy peasy.
Sometimes the apple corer/peelers have a hard time with softer apples – which these were – so I cut a little starting point for the apple and they peel easily.
Put apple slices in large pot with a little water – I start with about a half of a cup of water and just add as needed, depending on desired consistency.
Add juice of about half to a whole lemon
After the apples have cooked down, add sugar ( start with about 3/4 cup), about 1 teaspoon of vanilla and cinnamon to taste.
Cook down a little more to desired consistency and mash with a potato masher or large spoon – adjust sugar and flavors.
Even though I am not canning these, I used my canning thingy to add the sauce to the wide mouth jars – no drips or sticky sides.
Did you know that you can put canning jars in the freezer for storage?  That’s where these jars are going.  Just make sure that you are cooling the sauce completely before adding to the jars and add add plenty of headspace on the jars.
What’s your best homemade applesauce tip?  Have a favorite method?

Fall Mantel

Guess what?  My fall mantel from last year, made the Better Homes + Gardens blog!  They have a great slideshow of fall mantels from homes all over blog-land and my simple fall mantel is featured.  You can see my fall mantel and the whole slideshow here.
Great ideas for your fall decorating inspiration!  Have you started decorating for fall yet?  I am not there yet, but I’ve been eyeing the mums at the home improvement stores.

Fridge Pocket

I originally posted this over at The Idea Room on my bi-weekly Organizational Tip post.  In case you missed it….I needed a little something to store pens and such on the side of the fridge.  I looked through my fabric stash and found some leftover oilcloth – perfect!  You could easily use regular fabric that was heavily starched or with some fusible webbing with similar results.
I simply started with two pieces of oilcloth – one cut to about 16 inches x 6 inches and one cut to 10 inches x 4 inches (these dimensions can be changed to accomodate your own pocket and how much or how little you want to store in them).
Then I folded the smaller piece of oilcloth in half (with the wrong side out) and stitched along the bottom of each piece of oilcloth – like this.  Word to the wise – oilcloth is MUCH thicker than regular fabric, so tread slowly and carefully with your sewing machine.
Then I stitched all the way up one side and a little over half way up the other side – like a pillow.
Carefully turn it right side out and fold in the side that didn’t get stitched up – you should hand stitch this closed, but I opted for pinning and holding it together until I sewed it on the larger piece.
Position the pocket onto the larger piece of fabric and sew down the bottom and sides, leaving the the top open for your pens and such.  (This picture is before I sewed it down.)
Turn the larger piece inside out and stitch along the bottom edge like this.
I then turned the piece right-side out, folded the seams in and stitched up both sides – probably not proper stitchery, but it worked for me.
Once the sides were stitched up, I attached a 4 x 6 inch  magnet sticker to the back.
And now I have this handy little fridge friend/pocket to keep these little tools close by.
Need a step-by-step tutorial?  Go here to get this printable.  Enjoy!

A Bowl of Lemons

Tutorial Love

One of my favorite things about blogging and the internet?  Great tutorials and ideas.  Don’t you just love it when you find a good one?  Here’s one that I found and used from the awesome blog, a pretty cool life. – it was perfectly laid out, directions were clear and the finished products turned out exactly as I was hoping they would.
What are they? Small camera, Ipod, and/or cell phone cases.
What’s your favorite bloggy tutorial (yours or someone else’s) – if you’d like to, leave a link in the comments so we can all go and see.
I’m going to be sharing some of my favorite things with you all month long – it’ll be fun and some rewarding eye candy after a couple months of cleaning frenzies around here.

Valentine T-Shirts

I made these cute Valentine t-shirts with my kids last year – here’s a re-post sure to get you thinking all things hearts and Valentines.
Here are the materials you’ll need:
  • plain t-shirts – any color, cotton or a blend – not washed  (I got mine at Target – $3 long-sleeve with a pocket for my son and $5 short sleeve for my daughter)
  • Avery Label Full Sheet sticker paper – this will be your stencil  (you can also use freezer paper, but I like using the sticker paper because it sticks to the shirts)
  • acrylic craft paint (I don’t use fabric paint for painting on clothing – I like the results from acrylic craft paint)
  • x-acto knife
  • stencil brush
  • parchment paper – or computer paper
  • iron

Once you have your supplies, this is what you are going to do:

  • draw or have your older kids draw your Valentine design – my daughter wanted a ballerina throwing magic hearts and my son didn’t get a choice – I drew a dump truck dumping out hearts. (If you aren’t the drawing it yourself type, you could also print out something from the internet or trace heart cookie cutters onto the sticker paper or do initials by printing a big letter in a fun font on the sticker paper.) Keep your design SIMPLE.  Sketch or print your design onto the sticker paper.
  • Adults only: put something (like cardboard) under your sticker paper – using your x-acto knife, cut the t-shirt design out of the sticker paper.  This is a lesson in negative space – you are cutting out where you want the paint to go.
  • Peel the backing off of the sticker paper and position on the t-shirt
  • Place a piece of paper under the front of the t-shirt
  • Using your stencil brush (or another stiff brush) apply the paint to the t-shirt – use a quick, tapping motion – my kids love this part
  • We did one color on each tee, but you could do multiple colors
  • Let dry for an hour or two
  • Carefully peel off the sticker paper
  • Turn inside out and put a piece of paper between the layers and iron the back of the t-shirt to set the paint – iron should be medium-high – rub back and forth for about a minute to set the paint
  • Keep t-shirt inside out and toss in the dryer for an additional 15 minutes on high
  • Wash on cold cycle – inside out by itself – just for the first washing
  • Dry in the dryer and wear!

There you have it – Valentine’s (and Any) Day T-Shirts!  I think we’re going to make this a tradition and also make birthday shirts this way too.  FUN!

Clipboards for Kids

A couple weeks ago, I shared with you how I turn a plain clipboard into something a little cuter with paint and decoupage.  Today I’m going to share with you a couple ways I use the smaller clipboards with my kids. 

chore and responsibility charts – in the shop – hung with a removable 3M hook

mini art lessons (this one is line + shape practice) – for the car, quiet time, appointments – go here to get one.

visual scavenger hunts – here’s a neighborhood walk one for fall – go here to get one.

Happy to be linking to these parties!


Fall Mantle

It’s a little early for me to start in on the orange and black, but a little sneak peak of the changing seasons is how I like to introduce fall.  Kinda like how fall’s sneaking up on me outside.  Little changes, nothing too dramatic, but a definite change in the air.  For my fall mantle, I used items that I already had either around the house or in the fall bin in the basement., concentrating on creams and browns.  Simple, sweet, and easy.  Have you started to decorate for fall?

Clipboard LOVE

I’m a little bit crazy for clipboards – they’re great for organizing and keeping track of important lists,  printables, holding notebooks, chore charts….I needed  a couple for some homekeeping and my kids need one for their chore charts.  Today I’m going to share with you how I make my clipboards cuter with simple supplies and  two little kids helping me.
Start by purchasing the super cheap clipboards – I got mine at Office Max for under $2 a piece.  Using craft paint, paint the edges of the clipboard. 

Then paint the top inch or so with craft paint – no taking the metal clip out – much easier and pliar free.

Cut scrapbook paper to fit – 1 piece for the front and one for the back – I also used a corner rounder for the corners.
Use some type of a gel medium to decoupage clipboard – I use this one by Martha from Michaels – no smell, so it’s easier to use with kids than other decoupage adhesives.  Apply to the wood surface of the clip board and then you’ll need at least coats on the outside – dry between coats and apply thin layers.  My kids love helping with this step.

 Here are the four completed clipboards – I used coordinating paper on the back to make it a little cuter.  Later this week I’ll share what I use my clipboards for and how my kids use their chore charts on their clipboards.

Happy to be Linking!

turntable tutorial

I love organized art supplies.  That’s probably the art teacher in me, right?  My kids pull out art supplies multiple times a day.  Markers, crayons, scissors, glue – the cleanup for this is overwhelming if you don’t have a system that works for kids.  Initially I looked around and tried to buy a caddy or container that would work.  Everyhing was either too expensive for me to justify or plastic-y and wouldn’t look good just sitting out.  I started thinking about would make a good art caddy for kids.  It had to have all the components accessible, be sturdy, and it should be cute.  So I set out to make my definition of a perfect art caddy for kids – my goal was to make it for about $10 and I came in at about $12.  Pretty good, right?  Here’s what you need:  
  • wood lazy susan (unpainted) –  I bought mine at IKEA, but I just saw a slightly smaller one at Target the other day
  • glazed flower pots or aluminum flower pots (I used 6 smaller pots around the outside and one larger one in the middle) – they were on sale for 25 cents each at IKEA when I made this
  • scrapbooking paper – I used coordinating prints
  • craft paint – I like Apple Barrel brand
  • Mod Podge (to seal and protect)
  • glue gun
  • pencil (to trace paper) 
  • scissors
Here’s a step by step how-to:

  1. Paint the lazy susan – let dry overnight – you’ll probably need 2-3 coats.
  2. Cut circles to go under the flower pots (I turned the pot upside down and traced around the “lip” of the pot for a perfectly proportioned circle to go under the pot).
  3. Spread some Mod Podge under the circles and place where you want them on your painted lazy susan.
  4. Paint 2-3 coats of Mod Podge over the entire surface and underneath the lazy susan – this protects the surface and will keep the paper nicely attached to the lazy susan for years and years to come.  Let dry overnight.
  5. Use superglue or a glue gun to attach the flower pots to the circles.
  6. Fill with art supplies and start creating!

Cute Soap Dispenser Solution

Blogland really needs another tutorial of how to convert a canning jar into a soap dispenser, so here’s how I made a cute soap dispenser out of an old Ball quart size jar. 

I used the small mouth variety to keep the soap drips down the side to a minimum. 
Couldn’t bear to drill into the original lid, so I used a pasta sauce lid.

I drew a circle of where I should aim my tools.
Used a “punch a bunch of holes with a nail because the drill wasn’t charged” technique.

Spray painted the lid.

Pushed the ring into the hole – went the wrong way the first time, figured it out with only a couple dings – spray painted again.

Screwed the fancy soap pump top into the ring.
Took a picture in the grass.

Here it is on the counter – serving its mission of making my counter cuter.

Messy Monday #19 – Beach Week

No trips to the beach this summer for us, so we’re making our own beach in the back yard.  Sand and water table, kiddie pool, slip ‘n slide, beach towels, beach blankets, picnic lunches and all things beachy.  Beach and vacation books from the library and beach themed vocabulary words.  Here’s one of the fun art projects we did this week that works with our theme.  A beach sunset/sunrise landscape – so fun and easy – here are the supplies you need:
salt, water, paintbrush, watercolors, at least seven strips of thick (preferably watercolor) paper at least 2 inches in width, a full sheet of paper, glue

paint strips of paper rainbow colors – this can be a color mixing lesson or just a fun paint lesson
paint one strip to look like sand – yellows and browns
sprinkle salt on the paper – you can leave this on for texture or rub it off and it will absorb the paint leaving a sandy look
carefully rip on side of the paper – leaving the white edge on the top – to create a neat effect
start at the sky portion of the paper and glue down painted strips one at a time, overlapping the next strip over the last strip
If you have older kids, they could paint more strips and paint/draw details of the landscape.  Your older kids could also do a black construction paper silhouette of trees or beach chairs and glue it down to the sunset/sunrise.

Craft Room Shelves – Part 2

Last week I went from this:
 and this:
to this:

This week I’m going to show you how I added craft supplies to the shelves so they would serve a purpose and function in my craft room while adding some decorative appeal.

I placed them on either side of the door that leads into the guest bathroom.  Perfect fit.

I started by deciding what needed to be stashed in a different place.  First, it was the glitter.  On the craft table, it’s just too tempting for littles.  My glitter “collection” fits perfectly on the shelf. 

I also wanted some closed storage so I decorated a couple jam jars with ribbon and craft paper (attached with a hot glue gun) and now I have closed storage.  I put decorative paper rolls in one, some antique sewing supplies in another, and little chipboard animals in the last one.  
I also needed a place for stamps and stamp pads – I put the stamp pads on the shelf and some additional stamp pads and stamps in the drawer. 
My favorite part of the little display?  The antique ivory wool jacket and children’s hangers.  All three are my mom’s garage sale finds (thanks, mom!) from years ago – aren’t they sweet?
I don’t know if you can tell, but the guest bathroom is a soft butter yellow color – I love how the little ivory jacket connects the two rooms together.

I re-did these two shelves for the cost of two cans of spray paint – everything else was stuff that I already had – it totally “paid” to look a little harder in my basement.
I’m linking this up to some fun parties this week!

Craft Room Shelves

This week I’m re-doing a couple of cute shelves that didn’t sell in my last garage sale.  So I guess you could say that I shopped my own sale.  They fit in nicely in our last house, but the color and style is a bit off for my kitchen in this house.  I got to thinking that I need some shelving in my craft room, so what better place to make them for, right?  
Here are the two little shelves: 
This off-white one has herb labels on it – I saved them for something else, someday.
I removed the hardware.
Filled the holes with spackle/wood filler.
Lightly sanded them down to smooth out the spackle/wood filler and to “rough up” the surface to prepare it for the spray paint.

Sprayed away with my new favorite spray paint.  I needed two cans – totally worth it.
I sanded in-between the 4 layers of paint. 

I decided the white shelves needed a little sprucing up so I got out my craft paint and paint brushes.
I painted the knobs on the vertical shelf the two colors that I’ve accented the craft room with.  I also painted the little cracks in the larger shelf green.
I added some dots to the knobs of the vertical shelf.
Here’s a great art teacher tip for painting perfect dots: dip the non-bristle end of the paintbrush in your paint and make your dots.  Works perfectly every time.
Here are the shelves ready for a new spot in the craft room.  Next week I’ll show you how I arranged them, added crafty supplies and labels.  
Do you have any shelves you could re-purpose and paint?
I’m linking this post up to some great parties!

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