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Preparing to Prepare

Don’t you hate how everything is all about Christmas already? Aren’t you even more tired of people complaining about it? Yeah me too, on both accounts. But here’s the thing, I have been thinking about Christmas too. Not really so much about Christmas trees and lights and Santa. I’ve been thinking about how I can bless and give to those I love, and about the anticipatory nature of the days leading up to the mainstream celebration of the first coming of Jesus Christ.

We never really did advent calendars when we were kids, but our church always kept the tradition of the advent wreath, lighting a candle each Sunday in preparation and anticipation of the Christmas holiday. I did a little bit of research today on the history of advent, and I found out that the observation of advent has been dated back to the 6th century. Traditionally, it was not ever meant to be included in the Christmas holiday, but rather meant as a time of preparation for the Christmas holiday. I like the idea of taking the whole month of December to prepare my heart for Christmas, and advent calendars can be a great tool for that. Here’s a DIY that I found that I think is pretty cool especially for kids and is very reusable so you only have to make it once!

Click this photo for the tutorial!

The thing is, if I were doing this for myself, I would include a scripture passage in each bag and a little emblem that represents the scripture instead of the random Christmas-themed items this tutorial uses. I think it’s important to keep the reason for the calendar centered on God and what he has done for each person by sending Jesus as a tiny baby that night in Bethlehem. While I’m not sure I’ll get around to doing something this extravagant this year, I do want to take a little time to research some good Bible passages to read each day as Christmas draws ever nearer.

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DIY Crochet Leaf Banner

Another fall DIY for you guys! I seem to be on a leaf kick, but I’m OK with that! I found this website with an adorable tutorial for making little crochet maple leaves and I just envisioned them all strung up together in a banner, so I pulled out my leftover fall colored yarns and started making some leaves.

DIY Crochet Leaf Banner

I weaved in the starting end of my yarn, but the finishing end I strung out through the leaf stem and used that to tie my individual leaves together to make a string. I wanted to make a banner to hang on our front door, so I made just 5 leaves, but you can go on and keep crocheting leaves to hearts content!

DIY Crochet Leaf Banner

This is a simple easy, and quick way to not only dress up your house for fall, but also to use up some of those random scraps of yarn you might have lying around! I might try some snowflakes once the season turns and then some fun flowers in various colors for spring and fall, I’ll just have to find some good patterns!

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DIY Calligraphy Leaf Name Cards

The weather today was beyond beautiful. After spending countless days huddled up under blankets in our cold drafty apartment, going out today in a t-shirt was bliss. (Nothing against our apartment, I’m not complaining, but some new windows would really be heaven-sent this winter.) As I was walking I kicked through piles of colorful leaves on the sidewalks, enjoying the sunshine and the fact that my nose was, for once, not an ice cube!

So as I was walking down the sidewalk I remembered this image I pinned:

DIY Gilded Leaf Placecards. Perfect for adding a rustic touch with a glamorous twist to your wedding.

And so I picked out a few flat-ish, nicely shaped leaves. Having no gold marker on hand I thought about my options as to how I could still attempt this. I decided I could paint the leaf white, but as I was looking at my leaves I thought the colors were just too brilliant to paint over. So when I got home all I did was pull out one of my micron pens and wrote the name in a pretty calligraphic font! I think this is a great idea for lots of things, Thanksgiving Dinner being one, but also fall weddings or dinner parties!

Calligraphy Leaf Name Card

I’ve never had the nicest handwriting, so I practiced the name I wanted to write on paper before I tried it on the leaf, but the great thing about this time of year is, if you mess up on a leaf you can just go outside and grab another! Be careful when writing too, as the leaf is going to be a lot more fragile than a piece of paper would be.

Calligraphy Leaf Name Card

Imagine these name cards set on a table with a gorgeous rustic autumnal center piece, with all the warmest plentiful harvest type foods you can think of…now that’s a dinner party I’d want to be at! What do you think?

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DIY Painted Pumpkins

I am loving the color block trend that has been going on for quite some time now. It’s so fun, simple, and clean! So this year I decided to experiment with some color blocking and a few other techniques while painting mini pumpkins to use in my fall decor.

Disclaimer: This isn’t going to be a normal DIY post, since painting pumpkins is a pretty straight forward thing. Get some paint, brush it on the pumpkins. It’s going to be more a what I learned to do and not to do kind of DIY post.

DIY Painted Pumpkins

I started out with a few different ideas for this project:

1. A color block pumpkin in one color
2. A color block pumpkin in two colors
3. A lace spray painted pumpkin
4. A completely white pumpkin with polka dots

So here are some photos of my supplies and my process. I used a dowel rod to push the tape into the little crevasses of the pumpkins to get cleaner lines (that second image), but keep reading to find out if the tape actually worked!

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I couldn’t find my bronze spray paint (sad day!) so for my lace pumpkin I thought maybe I could tape the lace onto the pumpkin and then sponge paint on top so that once it dried it would leave a pretty pattern.

I was wrong. So wrong that I ended up painting over the entire thing and the lace pumpkin became another two color pumpkin (it’s the one with white and blue straight across, if you’re curious) I’m not sure the technique would have even worked with spray paint due to the roundness of the pumpkin, but it probably would’ve looked at least a little better. If anyone wants to experiment with that (I ran out of pumpkins!!) let me know what your results are, I think it would be super fun if it worked out!

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I used my dowel rod to put the polka dots on the white pumpkin, and when I was finished I decided the single color pumpkin would actually look better with some polka dots too, just to tie it into the others more. I painted all the stems the same color to keep the group more cohesive as well.

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Another thing I realized is that, on pumpkins, using a sponge brush actually makes it easier to get a crisp straight line without using the painters tape! When I peeled the tape off it took just a little bit of the paint with it, leaving jagged edges that I had to go in and retouch. I decided to try the brown diagonal line on the one pumpkin free hand after I realized that masking over the white portion would peel the paint off when I removed the tape. And guess what. It worked wonderfully! The straight edge of the paint brush is pretty much perfect for these little guys. A larger pumpkin might be a different story though.

I’m wondering if there’s a better paint to use, I had some Martha Stewart Craft Paint and some plain acrylic, and both had the peeling problem. If you have any ideas, let me know! Also, I hope this inspires you to make some unique fall decor of your own, and if you do post some pictures and let me know!

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5 Easy DIY Halloween Costumes

Hey everyone! Based on how August and September have just flown right by, Halloween is going to be here before you know it, and that means costume parties. It’s always a challenge for me to think of a costume that meets my following criteria:

1. It must be flattering. When I say flattering, I’m thinking of the time I threw together a last minute costume of being “Swine Flu”. You know, when Swine Flu was a big thing. It consisted of a bathrobe, slippers, and a thermometer. I did a good job because I looked like a sick person, but I kind of felt like a frump all evening. The reality is, as girls we like to look good, especially when we know we’re going to a party and there are people and there are going to be photos of us and they are going to go up on the internet. But there’s more to costumes than just looking good, or we’d all just dress up like cats and there would be no problem. This leads to my second point, which is…

2. Relevant, intelligent, or humorous costumes. A killer costume will probably include all three, but I think you could pick and choose if you wanted. The Swine Flu costume hit relevance, maybe even some humor, but it missed on being comfortable and flattering, making it a not so good choice.

But fear not, I’ve pulled together some easy options that you can put together with things you already own, and if not it wouldn’t be hard to gather the required elements! So without any further ado:

5 Easy DIY Halloween Costume ideas

1. Hipster Disney Princess

This image was floating around Pinterest a while back:

This makes dressing up like a Disney Princess so much easier, no need for Bell’s fancy ball gown or fake fins to be Ariel. Each princess has their own “color scheme” so grab some of your own clothes, maybe buy one or two little things that make it more apparent who you’re dressing as (like Snow’s apple necklace or a stuffed chameleon to go with Rapunzel) and then add some hipster glasses and print out a sign to go with like these girls did!

Image taken from Google

And guys, you could pull this off too, try hipster Peter Pan!

Image taken from Google

 

2. Vanna White (& Pat Sajak if you want a costume for a couple)

Image taken from Google

Don one of your old prom/bridemaids dresses that you haven’t worn in ages and make a cardboard letter to carry around. If you want to bring Pat along too he just needs a suit and tie and he could carry around a cardboard wheel marked up like the Wheel of Fortune wheel.

3. French Kiss

Image taken from Buzzfeed

Here’s a punny costume, and good for a group of people, all you need is some striped shirts, scarves, berets, baguettes and wine glasses and a pretty intense make-up job.

4. Grumpy Cat

Image taken from Google

Don’t just be another black cat this year. Let’s face it, cats have been a little overdone at Halloween, but here’s a better twist on the old stand-by. All you really need is white and/or brown clothes and some makeup on your face. You could even print out a sign that says something like “NO” or “YOUR COSTUME, I HATE IT” to go with it.

5. Medusa

Medusa

Image taken from Buzzfeed

This costume doesn’t have the humor factor as much as some of the others, but it does show your intelligence as you dig back into Greek mythology for this glamorous get-up. Some plastic snakes woven into a braided up-do and a Greek inspired dress are all you really need. If you don’t have a suitable dress, try just DIY-ing a toga-like outfit from a bedsheet and some rope!

How to tie a chiton (toga) for the ladies!  Hitting up the fabric store for this one.

Image taken from Pinterest

 

Bonus: Chia Pet

How to Make a Chia Pet Halloween Costume for Your Dog

And finally, here’s a bonus for your pet, because it’s just too awesome! (Could be fun for a person too it you made it into a wig!)

 

The parties will be starting up in roughly a month, hopefully these ideas help you not to stress out about what you’re going to wear. Let me know your thoughts and have fun as you get DIY-ing!

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Free “You Rocket” Card Printable

Oh hi everyone! Today I’ve got a fun printable for you, fo’ free! In honor of the Perseid Meteor Shower that’s happening right now (thanks for the info Google!) I made an outer space themed card with an illustration I found in a cool old environment textbook.

Free "You Rocket" printable card

You can download the file if you click here. This is for a standard piece of 8.5″ x 11″ card stock or paper. Once you download the file you can print 2 cards per piece, just make sure to take off the “shrink to the size of page” option and then you can just cut down the dotted line and fold the cards in half!

I’m sure you’ve got someone in your life to encourage, so get writing, and have fun!

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How to upcycle a bed sheet

The other weekend we took a day trip to the beach, but the day before we left I realized we didn’t have any blankets that I wanted to take with me to lay out on the sand. I wanted something light-weight with a fun pattern, but most of all, cheap. So where else would I go to find such a thing but Salvation Army! As I looked through the rack of bedsheets I found quite a few that I liked just for the print on the fabric and started to get very inspired. Once I had an armload (of which only one was destined to head down to Deleware with us) I took them up to the register and paid for them. A happy coincidence was that they were all half price, so I scored all of my sheets for around $5 total! A combination of saving money and recycling always makes me a happy person!

The one sheet I bought just screamed over-the-shoulder tote to me, so I found a nice tutorial here and I just love how it turned out!

1This tutorial includes a printable pattern and easy, clear instructions. Even someone with only the most basic knowledge of sewing could make this bag!

2Technically, this bag is also reversible, but I used plain white cotton on the inside so I don’t think I’ll be doing that. But there are so many possibilities with this pattern, I’m already thinking of adding some pockets and other custom touches to make this easy, effortless, boho bag even more functional.

3 Thanks to my husband for helping me snap some shots of the bag in use! He’s just the greatest. 🙂

Let me know what you think of this upcycled bed sheet project. I’ve also got plenty left of this fabric, I wonder what else I could make it into? I’ve also got ideas for future projects in the works, so stay tuned for big things to come!