Is It Halloween Already?

Halloween is a big holiday in this house. We decorate everything - every picture with webs, almost every shelf with pumpkins, skulls, snakes, rats, you name it! G keeps asking to make our house look like a Haunted House, but I keep the decorations confined to inside and the porch. Maybe next year I'll venture out and decorate the lawn with skeletons. 

This year, I found two super easy crafts that we can put outside, much to G's excitement! Cue the Spider Wreath and Tombstones. When Pottery Barn came out with their Halloween decor a few months ago, I was inspired to make knock-offs of some of their pieces. PB always has the best Halloween stuff, there's just no end to the possible inspiration from their catalog!

Spider Wreath

This wreath is incredibly easy and cheap! All you need is a grapevine wreath from Michael's, some faux spiders and ribbon from the Dollar Store, a bag of spider web, low gauge wire for hanging, a hot glue gun and about 5 minutes.

  1. Tie the wire around a sturdy piece of the wreath, in a shape that will go over your wreath hanger.
  2.  Place the spiders on the wreath wherever you like. Make sure to leave a space wide enough for the ribbon to wrap around without hiding any of your spiders
  3. Glue your spiders in place.
  4. Drape the ribbon around wreath, then over/under the hanger. Make sure there are a few inches of ribbon on the inside of the door to pin together. This will prevent the top flap of ribbon from falling down when you open the door.
  5. Stretch as much spider web around the wreath as you like.

Viola, your Spider Wreath is complete! We'll see how thrilled my husband is when he gets home today to find tarantulas crawling on the front door - he detests spiders more than anyone I've ever known. 

Tombstones

This one is a bit more time consuming than the wreath, but in the grande scheme of difficulty, they're easy, too. You'll need a few sheets of black poster board (one tombstone per sheet), 2 white paint pens (one thin for writing, one thick for the outline), a ruler/yardstick and scissors.

  1. Measure and cut out the shape you want for your tombstone. I'm OCD when it comes to making things symmetrical, so I had to measure each side very precisely. But if you're comfortable free-handing, go for it!
  2. Write the letters - I penciled two lines for each row of letters, 5 inches apart, and penciled in the letters for spacing before committing to the paint pens
  3. Use the thick paint pen to draw out the thick boarder pattern you prefer
  4. Place the tombstones outside - I used a white thumb tack to make sure they didn't fall over in the wind.

So cute and fun!

If you're looking for easy Halloween crafts, these are definitely winners. Try them out and let me know how you did!

February Full of Love

Before getting started, I wanted to thank everyone for their heartfelt notes of encouragement after my last post about Toddler G's head. Your support made me feel so much better. Thank you! It's wonderful to know that you all are out there rooting for me, and that I'm not the worst mother in the world.


Now that it's February, let's celebrate Valentine's Month! I'm not the biggest fan of the idea of celebrating your love only one day a year. Every day should be Valentine's Day in my book. But since there is a designated day, why not enjoy it, right?! 

I brought out the XO "wreath" that I made last year and have a Valentine's craft from Target for the girls to conquer at their leisure. Cookies are in the works, of course, and the scrapbook paper transition for my kitchen frames will soon be underway. Side note, I realize I'm a serious cookie-aholic. There is never a time when I don't have cookies in the freezer (homemade), I eat them almost every day with my afternoon coffee... Is that a problem? I need to re-evaluate their importance in my life - incredibly high! Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

First shared in my I Heart You post

After reviewing last year's VDay post, I realized that one of my personal "Craft Challenges" didn't get done, the XO garland. I've got to get that one done this year. It's fun, cute, and super easy looking. I also found a handful of other Valentine's Day projects that would be fun, maybe a little late to start now, but I'll try!

AND, here's a little round-up of fun Valentine-inspired home accessories I found in my searches:

Enjoy Valentine's Month. Make sure it's full of love!

Oh! I almost forgot, I just chopped off my hair. It was completely spur of the moment and I didn't even think about doing it until I got to the salon. Don't mind my end-of-day tired look, and the girls' bathroom. What do you think???

It's Christmas Time

It's officially Christmas time. The decorating of the house and tree are done, the gingerbread houses have been decorated (and eaten, as of a few nights ago), the smells of Christmas are in the air...

I'm one of the bazillion people that adore Christmas. Not only is it the lights, the excitement, the decorating, the yummy smells, how friendly people are (if they're not at the mall), it's also my birthday month. That is by far the most important part (wink, wink).

And it's not every day that I get to see my mom and sisters and their families, despite living within an hour or so drive. But having them at our house, eating Swedish food, drinking glogg, laughing, watching the kids play together...I love it. And I've always been a sucker for presents. I used to tell my husband that he could wrap up a paperclip and I'd be happy. There's something about the surprise of opening gifts that gets me every time.

I wanted to share my holiday cheer with everyone and do a little "Christmas Decor Tour" of my home. Sometimes I worry if I've gone over the top with decorating, but really, who cares? If you love it, you live it, right?! I did a little gold spray painting, ornament-making with the girls, ribbon on the tree (which I've never done before), a wreath (and one still in the works)...I didn't think I was going to be doing so much, but I got sucked into all the Christmas stuff at the Dollar Store and my mind went crazy with ideas. So here are the results:

I was inspired to wrap our Christmas tree in mesh ribbon this year. I started at the bottom of the tree (in the back), wrapping the ribbon with a metal ornament hook around a branch every foot/foot and a half. I ended up using about a reem and a half of ribbon. Thankfully it came in a set of two! The star was picked out by the girls, from Target. The last few years I've kept the ornaments on the bottom half soft and destructible for the kids. It's still hard to keep Baby M from pulling down the tree. Must. Touch. Tree.

I used gold spray paint on this paper mache reindeer head from the craft store. Looks great next to the Christmas scrapbook paper I found there, too. And I've been holding onto 4 pears from the Dollar Store since September and finally got around to spraying them gold. They look pretty nice with the pine cones I found at the park. I love cheap table decor.

I whipped this DIY wreath out in about 2 hours, while Baby M was taking her nap. I bought a few containers of ornaments at the Dollar Store and a grapevine wreath at Trader Joe's, then hot glued the heck out of the tops of each ornament and placed them on. I was going for a deconstructed look, only to have Toddler G ask why I hadn't finished it. Oh well, I still like it.

I love my coffee filter tree. I used a green tree form and almost 2 packs of large coffee filters. It took a bunch of time and a ton of glue, but I think its so pretty, and I can use it again for the girls' birthday party next month. The tutorial is here if you're interested.

The family room water buffalo got a Dollar Store Santa hat, and I made a wooden bead and tassel necklace for the deer - Baby M calls him Sven (from Frozen), I love it.

I've got so many projects going on right now that I hope I didn't forget anything. I've become addicted to something in the past few months that I'll share later this week. It's what I spend almost every night doing, or at least thinking about. Have I peaked your interest?!

Happy decorating of your own homes and enjoying the Christmas season!

The Smells of Christmas

Now that Christmas is upon us, decorating is in full force, the sounds and smells of Christmas are filling the house, and I'm getting super excited for my favorite holiday.

They say smells bring back the strongest memories, and in the spirit of the smells of Christmas, I had to share the mulling spices that are filling our home at this time of year. My mother always had a pot of mulling spices on the stove; I can't remember a Christmas without them! Mulling spices and Glogg, that is (shout out to all those with Swedish heritage!). Turn them on in the morning, after coming home in the afternoon/evening, and breathe in Christmas.

It's wonderful how easy it is to make your home smell like Christmas. Our family recipe goes a little like this:

  • the peel of 1 orange
  • 3-4 small cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 - 1 tablespoon of whole cloves

Throw all of the ingredients into a small pot filled approximately 1/2 full of water, and simmer. Your home will smell like Christmas in no time! This is a very loose recipe, so you can tweek it at will.

There are so many different types of home-made mulling spices out there. I was searching around for some variations to add a little "spice" to my mulling spices, and found some that sound great. I haven't tried them yet, so I can't attest to the wonders of their scent, but you can't really go wrong.

Mulling Spice Blend very similar to my own - just add whole allspice

From MyRecipe.com

Holiday Mulling Spices that include cardamom, peppercorns, star anise, all spice, and more. 

From the Cooking Channel

Homemade Mulling Spices that add a twist with candied ginger.

From Shutterbean

The Smells of the Season mulling spices include cranberries, yum!

From Make it Do

The Mountain Rose Blog has a slightly more intense recipe, but the list of ingredients would smell divine!

From The Mountain Rose Blog

I hope your home starts smelling like Christmas in no time!

Happy Thanksgiving!

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, I wanted to share some beautiful tablescapes to inspire you and some helpful tips to make Turkey Day entertaining that much easier.

Tablescapes

Let the Thanksgiving beauty wash over you ;-)

Easy Decorating Tips

These are so easy you could do them yourself. Really! There are still 5 days to pull these little DIYs together...

Be inspired by the season! Enjoy your Thanksgiving with lots of family and friends.

We're heading out to visit family for the holiday. Wish me luck with an almost 2 and almost 4 year old crammed into two flights! I know (hope) we'll survive, its just a question of how many times I have to run up and down the aisle after Baby M, the child never sits still!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Happy Halloween!

I hope you've been enjoying the season and making the most of the plethora of pumpkin patches and jumpy houses they include.

In the midst of getting Toddler G and Baby M set with their costumes and Halloween crafts galore, I've put together a few images that will put you (and your home) in the Halloween mood.

Enjoy Halloween and eat tons of candy!

Pumpkin Seed Fever

This pre-Halloween weekend is turning into a busy one - its all-pumpkin all-the-time. 

I picked up a few more pumpkins at Trader Joe's (cheapest, best pumpkins around!), cleaned out a total of 4 (felt like 100), then carved and cleaned up the seeds for roasting.

I've never roasted pumpkin seeds on my own before. I only have memories of making them with my mom every year as a kid. Thanks mom!

As its my first time, I wanted to try at least two different flavors, something completely different than what you typically expect of a pumpkin seed - sweet and salty pumpkin seeds. I found a bunch of different recipes for both Cinnamon-Sugar seeds and Old Bay seeds. I decided I had to try them both

The process I used is identical for both flavors, only the last step of which seasonings I tossed with is different. So, first things first:

Cinnamon-Sugar Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients
2 cups pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Old Bay Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients
1 cup pumpkin seeds (this is all I had left, but you can easily increase the amounts for however much you have)
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
 

What to do next

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. After rinsing and patting the seeds dry, I placed them on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets and drizzled the oil over them.
  3. Toss with a spatula
  4. Bake the seeds 15 minutes (tossing every 5 minutes)
  5. After removing the seeds from the oven and while still warm, add your seasonings of choice, tossing again with the spatula.
  6. You're done! Eat and Enjoy!

Cinnamon-Sugar on the left, Old Bay on the right

So easy and yummy. I thought the Cinnamon-Sugar seeds would be my favorite, but the Old Bay seeds really surprised me and are delicious! Such a great treat at 9am - this is what I get for having two little girls who wanted to make pumpkin seeds as soon as they woke up. Glad it's Sunday!

I hope you try these and love them as much as I do.

Happy weekend-before-Halloween!

Halloween Crafts for the Kids

I wanted to get this post out last week, but I just wasn't able to. We had our first ever garage sale last weekend and prepping for it was a little daunting. I definitely worried way too much than I needed to. What can I say, I'm a perfectionist. That, along with binge-watching one of the best shows on TV, The Blacklist, I just couldn't get it together. Better luck this week...

Toddler G has been loving the fact that I'm crafting so much lately. She always wants to help, wants to use my glue gun (nope), and adds her two cents at every turn. I decided it was time to get out the Halloween Kids' Crafts and share them with all the other families out there.

For the Glue Fanatic:

For the Mini-Crafter:

For the Small Scientist:

For the Budding Chef:

Happy Halloween crafting with the kids! I'd love to hear what your favorites are.

Check out my Pinterest board for even more Halloween fun for the kids.

I Made That!

So it's done. I've been crafting my brains out over the past two weeks and I need a break!

I did reach my goal, though! I had to make a slight amendment because the craft store was all out of O's for my XO garland. But I replaced that with something I've been meaning to do for over a month - a marbled clay ring dish.

Here are the crafts I charged myself with completing before Valentine's Day:

XO Wreath

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I kept putting this one off because of the amount of time I thought it would take. But it actually came together fairly quickly. I followed this tutorial and got the faux flowers at Michaels. I filled in the grapevine wreath and branches much more than the tutorial did, but I like how it turned out! And its a definite door filler, measuring in at almost 3 feet (including the bow).

Marbled Clay Ring Dish - replaced the XO Garland I couldn't get the parts to complete

I've been meaning to do this craft for SO LONG! I saw them forever ago on A Beautiful Mess and got all the supplies, then they  sat on my computer printer until my husband broke out the clay for Toddler G this past Saturday morning when I was out. Oops! At least it made me use the rest of the unused clay before someone else did.

Next time (yes, I'll do it again!) I'll use a little more clay for each bowl. I had some ragged edges and the bowls were a little thinner than I would have wanted. But nonetheless, they're still pretty cool looking.

Geometic Wall Art

DSC_0686.JPG

This one was so easy, just cut 12x12 scrapbook paper in half and tape it to the wall. The paper got a little wrinkled when Baby M decided to grab the paper while I was putting it up. She loves all things shiny! 

VDay Garland

IMG_20150130_082042.jpg

I apologize for the horrible photo, for some reason I only took a photo of this one with my phone. I got the idea here, but used the template for the Halloween Garland I did back in October because I really liked the paper dimensions. I wanted to have some pattern so I used scrapbook paper I already had. Then I simply used tiny clothes pins (previously used on my Xmas Card Tree) and attached them to ribbon. Easy peasy.

Love Bugs

Unlike the tutorial I used, I couldn't find little bees or ladybugs anywhere! So I've had to make due with slightly creepier ones (spiders, flies, and ants). Not half bad. Could be great for someone who isn't totally in love with Valentine's Day ;-)

How did I do?! 

Did anyone try these or any of the kids' crafts? I'd love to hear how they turned out!

Design Goings-On

Ikea is launching two new collections this month!

I love all things Ikea. You must check them out, super cool!

 

Valentine's For the Kids

After my last post, I Heart You, that was all about Valentine crafts that I'm conquering one by one, I was asked about crafts that would be easy for kids and toddlers.

You are in luck! I have found so many great kids' crafts, and most can be tweaked for any holiday or rainy day stuck at home.

For the Itsy-Bitsy Toddler:

For the Scientist:

For the Glue-fanatic:

For the Little Cook:

For the Mini-Crafter:

I hope you try one, some, all of them! Let me know how they go and if you have any suggestions that might have improved the process for your little ones.

Check out my Pinterest board for even more Kids' Crafts that I found and thought would be fun.

Happy Valentine's Crafting!