Pottery Barn Advent Calendar

We already have an advent calendar but it has such tiny little doors and now with 4 kids, I'm having a hard time squeezing things in.  

How about this baby...
Pottery Barn.  

Of course.  

I would love to be able to say I'm going to make this in time for Christmas this year, but have too many things that got in line first.  No cuts.  Not even for this.  Maybe next year...

Boating Flag Paper Garland

G's room is decorated in sailboats.  I don't know why I was set on boats, but I was.  I had his room all finished about 2 months before he was born and poof...2 weeks later, we found out we were moving across the country.  So...I got to decorate another room.  I loved what I did the first time, so I did it again, but added a few more details, like this flag garland.
(In this picture it looks as if the garland is actually painted on the wall, but its not.)

 I had die cut most of the shapes at my local scrapbook store (before we left), then sat down one afternoon during nap time to put it all together.

Jute or string
Scissors, die cuts, or punches

  I measured his wall, and cut some jute about 2 feet longer (to account for the arc).  I decided what order I wanted my made up boating signs to go and laid them out.  Found the center of the jute and started folding and gluing.  The squares are really rectangles which I folded the end over the jute and glue.  The triangles have 2 tabs on them (its the small pennant die from Accucut) which I folded and glued.  I spaced them evenly apart, but glued the paper to paper and not paper to jute.  This way when we move again, I can lengthen or shorted if needed.
To hang it, I just put a cup hook in each corner and tied the jute to them.

Fun Jar

My kids are always complaining that they are bored so I've put together a "fun jar" for them.  Together we sat down and wrote out some fun things to do on strips of paper.  Now, every time they complain, I have them pull an idea from the jar.  Bored no more!

Greeting Card Class

I taught some craft classes last year and this is one of the classes, a greeting card class.  Cards is really how my love of crafting began (that and yarn), although I do less and less of it lately.

I did enjoy teaching, but really it was an excuse for me to buy more "toys" for my "office." (But don't tell my hubby!!!)  After my 4th baby in 6 years something had to give, and teaching is it...for now.

Wood Quilt Blocks

Ballard Designs always has the neatest stuff!  Recreating this, should be fairly easy.  You'd have a few options.  Paper, fabric or paint.  

Buy your wood/MDF at your local home improvement center.  Have them cut a sheet down to 12x12 (or whatever sizes your space requires.)  Or if you or your hubby is handy, cut it yourself.  Paint out the edges (if they are going to show.)  Modge podge on your paper.  Or fabric wrap the boards.  Or paint your designs on.  Hang them up.

You could do a 3x3 patchwork.  A 2x4.  2x2.  You could even use them as frames and mats and put pictures in them.  Oh the possibilities....

My Paper Garlands were Featured!!!

I sell these paper garlands in my etsy shop (along with a few other things.)  I have a handful of designs and will be adding more.

For birthday parties, showers and nurseries
And for the boys
And lately for Halloween
and Christmas

A few days ago I was convo'd about someone featuring my garlands on their website.  She's a designer who specializes in nurseries and children's rooms.  You can find her here.  And my feature here.

Glass Etched Monogrammed Hurricanes

I have always wanted to try glass etching but have been intimidated by its chemical-ness.  I'm a huge fan of personalization and love monograms.  Christmas season is right around the corners, so I wanted to try this to see if it will make great gifts.
  Let's just say every one's getting glass this year for Christmas!  This one hurricane cost me $2.50 (aside from the etching cream, which I can use over and over and over.)

Supply list:
Glass (hurricane from $1 store, but you can use votives, beer mugs, plates, etc.)
Candlestick ($1.50 from a yard sale)
Contact paper
Etching cream (using 40% coupon from Hobby Lobby)
Paint or foam brush
E-6000 or epoxy (for attaching candlestick to hurricane, optional)

 I cut the contact paper in my Silhouette, but you can print and cut with an exacto knife. 
Clean your glass with window cleaner.
Place contact paper on glass, making sure to press ALL the edges so the etching cream doesn't bleed.
(I saved the inside of the letter just in case I find something to put it on, which I know I will.  The contact paper looks a lot like the finished product, so you could actually just use that! :)
 Paint on etching cream.  Directions say to wear gloves, but I was to lazy really careful.
 Watch the timer as it (very slowly) counts down the required 5 mins.  Follow directions on your etching cream as they may vary.
 Rinse your project under warm water and peel the contact paper off.  
Be utterly amazed that you've been afraid of this for years since it was so easy and you LOVE the results!
Attach your candlestick base with the E-6ooo and set aside for 24 hours to bond, or leave as is.
Count the minutes until the baby gets up from her nap so you can put the kids in the car and head back to the $1 store to get more glass.  In the meantime, dig through your kitchen looking for something else to etch.

Framed Mirror

Isn't this great???
I'm just trying to figure out which mirror to start on...

Go here to see how to do it all.

Numbering Chairs

I *love* the look and customization of monograms.  Second best, is numbering.  My DH thinks I’m a bit crazy, but I’ve always wanted to do this.  Originally I wanted to do it to our kitchen chairs, but since you’d only really see 2 of the 6, the bar stools were a better choice.  So, one afternoon during nap time and before the other kids came home from school, I decided to start painting.  
numbers printed from computer (or stencil)
Pencil and paper
Painting tape and ruler
paint pen or paint and brush
The first task is deciding what font you want and what size.  I went back and forth between a scripty font and having it read “No. 1”, and just the number “1” but figured my kids would ask, “why No?”  So I went simple.  Find your font and print on paper, but you only need to print the outline of it.
I started with the #6 and on our broken stool (I have 4 kids, its bound to happen) so that if this experiment failed miserably, I would just have to buy another stool...which was already in the plans.  I cut the numbers apart, but leaving lots of white around the number.  I took my pencil and scribbled all over the back like so:

Then centered and taped it to the stool back and trace the outline 
(it doesn’t have to be perfect.)

Then pull off the paper. 
Tracing will transfer the pencil scribble to the chair.  

Take your paint pen or paint, and paint it on. 

That’s it!  The whole process didn’t take more than an hour and it was dry before all my greasy little fingers got home to touch them.   I’m still debating if I’m going to dry brush black or glaze over it for an antiqued look.  Sanding off (in my case) didn’t work due to the finish.  (Once again, tried on #6.)  If this was a piece I had painted my self, I’d definitely have sanded the numbers lightly.
 (Don't mind the crumbs and fingerprints on the chairs.  Just keeping it real here.)

Chalkboard Plate Tutorial

I gave these as Christmas gifts last year.  These are so much fun.  It's a REALLY stinky project, so make sure you do it in a well ventilated area.
{Round one is SOLD}

Pewter or silver plate
Chalkboard paint (I bought mine from Sherwin Williams)
Foam paint brush

Here's a plate I found at our local flea market.  I scuffed it up a gently with some sandpaper (but I don't think its necessary).  Using my foam brush, carefully paint the edge.  This is the hardest part because you have to keep a pretty steady hand.  Then start painting in to the middle, covering the plate.  Let dry overnight.
Wa. Lah.

I painted 12 last weekend.  Garage sale and flea market finds.  This one is for sale here. {SOLD}

Coloring the kids

One afternoon, I grabbed out my roll of contractors paper (from Lowes) and tore off a 4 foot section of it.  I had the kids clear off the playroom table and laid out the paper.  I traced the outline of one of the kids, gave them the bucket of crayons and had a good half hour of quiet to prepare dinner.

Casserole freezer meals

For me, when I making a casserole, its almost as easy to make two as it is one.  I double the recipe and pop one in the freezer.  I label it with the name, date and cooking directions.  When I know I'm going to have a busy day, I pull it out of the fridge the night before so dinner is ready to go.  Another bonus, if a friend is in need of a meal, I already have something ready to go!

There are a ton of great cookbooks on batch cooking and freezer meals.  On of my favorites is Fix Freeze Take and Bake.

Pumpkin Cakes

Are these the cutest things or what? This looks like a fun after school project to do with the kids and something they can give to their teachers.

Fussy Monkey Business has a great tutorial.

(Post note: I finally made these.  Yes it's the 31st, but I did it.  I bought a mini bunt pan just for this!  They are sooo cute.  I'm giving them to my Steering Team (MOPS) and one to each of the kids teachers.  I wrapped them in pumpkin cello bags and had the kids make cards.  One piece of advice (might be a no-brainer to the bakers out there)...wait for them to completely cool before putting the chocolate bar in.  Even slightly warm the bar melts into the pumpkin. :)

Stamped Metal Jewelry

If you have ever wanted to make your own stamped jewelry, it's really pretty easy. I have seen these in shops all over etsy and online and have always loved them...but not the prices. I knew that buying the supplies was going to be a spendy addition to my craft room, but then the perfect opportunity presented itself. I had 7 wonderful friends throw me a baby shower and these were the perfect thank you gifts. The added bonus....I got to keep all the tools to make more! (8 months later I still have not made my own necklace! :)
I decided to make each necklace different so figuring out which styles I wanted was the longest part of the process. Once I chose my stamping blanks, I ordered all the tools and most of the supplies from here, but bought the necklaces and some of the blanks from Hobby Lobby (on sale, of course).

Its as easy as taking the stamp, placing it on the metal blank, and whacking it with the hammer.
I recommend buying a practice piece because is does take a few whacks of the hammer to figure out the correct pressure and spacing.
The shower theme was pink, black, and white, so I packaged them in cute little tins with pink paper backing.

In trying to decide who got what style, I had to think about who was going to be having more kids, so that I could add a name or initial as part of my baby gift to them in the future. I forgot to take pictures of the first few, but I love how they all turned out. Will be making mine and one for my sister (who is due with baby #1 in a few weeks) as soon as they decide on a name. I'll post those pictures when they are done.

My first garage sale

I was finally able to go garage sale-ing today. It was my first time and I had a blast!!! I spent less than $25 and $12 of it was for Christmas gifts for my kiddos. Here's what I got:
Pictures and projects to come...

Weekly menus and grocery lists

With four little people in the house and activities that come with them, my schedule is a little crazy.  To make my grocery shopping and dinner prep go a little easier, I sit down once a week and make a menu and grocery list for that week.  I note the meal, what cookbook it is in and what page its on.  Then on my grocery list, I mark off everything I will need for that meal.  I do this for each day.  Throughout the week I add to my grocery list if we run out of "staples" and go grocery shopping once a week.


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