Valentine Buys and Craft Ideas

With Valentine's Day only a week away, I'm setting the mood at home by baking heart cookies, bringing out my Valentine's XO Wreath, and diving head first into Valentine crafts with the girls

On a personal love-note, my husband and I just celebrated the 15 year anniversary of our first date. How did that happen so quickly?! I still feel like we're in college and haven't aged that much. Time flies when you're having fun and in love!

Buys

I thought I'd do a quick round up of some fun love-themed gifts and decor to help everyone else get into the mood. They're not your traditional romantic gifts, these are a little more fun and lighthearted. Because after 15 years, that's what love is, right?! Hope these spark a little V-Day love in your worlds!

Craft Ideas

It wouldn't be a holiday if I didn't have some DIY on the menu. I found some new Valentine crafts that would be so fun to do! I'm hoping I have some time this weekend to get one of them done. Find even more ideas from years past here. Cheer's to Crafting Love.

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!

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!

Decorating for Fall

It's October, the temperature is finally dipping below 80 degrees, we actually got rain (wait, what?!) and my Fall decorating is done. I did a fair amount of DIY this time around, and I'm really excited about the results.

The first project I tackled was my Pompom tree. I was able to cut branches off a tree in the backyard and then hot glued pompoms from Beverly's in fall colors. I love it! So does Baby M, she keeps pulling off one particular pompom for some reason, no clue why. I've given up re-gluing it.

My inspiration for a fall pitcher of cotton and wheat is from here. I actually saw this last year but hadn't gotten around to putting something together. But, this year I was on my game. I added pheasant feathers and feel like it exudes the feeling of fall, yeah!

I spray painted for the first time ever - super exciting! I was inspired by this, and was able to snag a bunch of Dollar Store pumpkins to make it an incredibly cheap project. I mixed the white and gold with some Dollar Store paper stuffing. I have a handful of Dollar Store pears that still need to be painted, but I think I'll make those for Xmas.

I've been on a tassel kick (more to come in a future post) and my first practice in tassel making turned into this fall-color-inspired garland. I hope its not too boho looking, but I had fun making it and practicing my tassel skills.

A few small projects were crafts that I did with Toddler G and changing out the scrapbook paper in my kitchen frames. You've gotta love Target's Spritz Crafts. It's so fun to mark the progress that Toddler G has made from last year - she was able to do one all by herself! She knew she could do it, I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised.

And finally, the biggest project I undertook was the Apple Wreath. I cleared out the red apple supply of 3 different Dollar Stores. And thank goodness I did, because it would have been a fortune if I had purchased them all at Michael's. It took almost 40 apples and two bags of miniature apples, which I did have to get at Michael's, along with the straw wreath. But the burlap ribbons wrapped around the wreath and used for hanging all came from the Dollar Store. I am constantly amazed with the variety of products they sell. Crazy awesome for my wallet! I also opted against the moss between the apples, I felt like it just didn't need it.

Since all of these projects have been completed I've been baking up a storm. My family, along with all of the West Coast cousins, made the trip to Gizdich Ranch for a fun-filled apple picking trip. And, as usual, we totally over-picked and ended up with 20-some pounds of apples. It's been my goal this week to bake/make something apple every day. I've made an apple crispapple butter, and apple strudel muffins so far. I somewhat botched the muffin recipe by adding way too much butter to the crumble on top, but I have a feeling they tasted even better because of it. Today, it may be a pie (if Baby M naps long enough).

What are you all doing for fall decorating? Baking? I'd love to hear.

Falling into the Season

Since my last post I've been thinking about all things Fall non-stop, despite the 100+ degree weather we've had. I'm trying not to be caught with blinders on this month!

And to top it off, I'm feeling super crafty again, thank goodness. I don't know what it was about summer, but I wasn't terribly inspired to make anything. Perhaps it was the fact that I had both girls at home and didn't have much time to even think. Anyhow, I've got a whole list of things I want to do around the house for fall. Here are some of my inspirations:

Over the weekend I dragged the whole family to my forgotten favorite store, The Dollar Store. I swear, every time I go there I come out with a treasure trove of goodies that cost, well, a buck. It's an amazing feeling to get so much for so little, especially when I had priced out very similar things at Michael's and it was going to cost an arm and a leg.

Going to the park is yet another great thing about having kids! A few of the leaves are starting to fall and I picked up some beautiful yellow ones to start my Fall Tablescape decorating. The girls got a little annoyed when I started piling up leaves and things that they couldn't play with. Sacrifices for decorating!

Do It Yourself - Plastic Spoon Laurel Wreath

To get my craft-inspiration on the right track, I tackled a wreath that I saw a year ago - the Plastic Spoon Laurel Wreath

  1. It was cheap to buy - two Dollar Store bags of spoons,
  2. Easy to make - put dabs of hot glue on the front of the neck and bottom of the spoon and press another one on top,
  3. And relatively quick to put together, a little over an hour.

I ended up putting my spoons much closer together than my inspiration, which I think is the reason it started to warp a bit. Hopefully you can't really tell. To top things off, it was fairly heavy with all those spoons and started splitting by the next morning. I ended up getting an extra bag of spoons, so I may attempt to make it again with fewer spoons. But all in all, its not too shabby for a plastic spoon wreath!

Enjoy the beginning of fall, wherever you are and however hot it may still be.

Spring Fling

It's officially here! 

Spring break is this week (as much as a preschooler who goes only two mornings a week can even understand what spring break is), Easter is over, and my spring updates have begun. I've retired my winter-white bedding for the season, fallen in love with touches of pink and copper, and I'm imagining all sorts of updates I can do in the house on-the-cheap.

I don't know if it's cabin fever, but I've been feeling so restless lately! Not only do I feel like my home decor is getting stale, but I'm cleaning up a storm - I was even dreaming of cleaning the entire refrigerator last night, not a good sign. They do say "Spring Cleaning", clearly for a reason and maybe its not just because things are dirty.

In the hopes of putting my craziness behind me, I've brought out my spring bedding, an ancient Anthropologie duvet cover and shams that I fell in love with years ago and just can't shake my love for. It screams spring to me, serene and calm.

My very-much-loved Anthropologie duvet cover

My very-much-loved Anthropologie duvet cover

It's amazing how a quick trip to the linen closet can make my bedroom feel fresh and ready for great weather. Gotta love shopping my home!

I did make a small investment to update the family room with pink accented pillows from World Market. They have such a fun selection of pillows that aren't crazy expensive. On my pillow trip I even found a copper accented mirror for the family room. I'm not sure what has sparked my sudden desire to decorate with pink, but it feels much more fun than the browns I previously had and puts a smile on my face.

My trio of frames in the kitchen have also gotten their seasonal update. They are the Ikea Ribba frame in walnut (unfortunately a discontinued color). The 12"x12" opening is perfect for scrapbook paper that I can change out whenever the mood strikes. They are red patterned Ikat, stripes and Chevron stripes right now.

Another way I'm looking to freshen up the house it to search for wall art/decor for the master bedroom. I stumbled upon a great Elle Decor post about downloading free prints and framing them inexpensively. I hadn't thought to do this, LOVE IT!

I'm also still hoping to get my paper towel roll art put together for above one of the dressers in our master bedroom; hopefully before my towel roll stash explodes out of the bag - I'm great at saving them, just not so great at getting my act together to use them! So, I have two good projects ahead of me. I'll keep you posted! 

Check out my Pinterest board for more spring updates that may just inspire you, too!

Easter Round-Up

Maybe it was residual winter clouding my brain, but I feel like I've been living under a rock the past few weeks - uninspired to do much of anything crafty or design-worthy. I had at least three projects I wanted to do for Easter, but didn't even break them out of the bag! So sad.

I did grab two craft projects at Target that I could do with Toddler G. Thank goodness, otherwise my funk would have put a cloud on her Easter!

My everyday moss wreath dressed up with left-over pink ribbon and some of the Target rabbit crafts I did with Toddler G

My everyday moss wreath dressed up with left-over pink ribbon and some of the Target rabbit crafts I did with Toddler G

Here's to being more inspired now that I feel like spring has arrived!

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

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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

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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!

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I heart You

Valentine's Day is around the corner and there are so many wonderful ways to decorate. Not that I like to go all out with an explosion of red and hearts, but I like to get in the Valentine's mood with little touches here and there.

I feel like I'm on a crafting kick since the new year and put together a list of the top 5 V Day crafts that hopefully I'll be able to pull off since I'm starting a few weeks early. 

I'll keep you updated as I attempt each one.  

On a personal note, this VDay is super special as my husband and I just celebrated 13 years since our first date! We'll be married 4 years in May, but we've always celebrated (or acknowledged, now that we have kids) our first date, rather than Valentine's Day since they're so close, because it started off the rest of our lives together. Cheesy, yes, but we like it!

Do you have a favorite Valentine's decor or romantic story you'd like to share? I'd love to hear about it!

Happy crafting!