25 April 2016


Several months ago, I walked through a house that was WAY out of our budget (not that we are even looking, BTW) and fell in love instantly. I could picture my family in it as I meandered through the rooms with original built-in cabinets and wood doors. It sold in a flash and was most certainly set up for a bidding war. It was a beautiful house, aching to be a home again. Lots of oohs and aahs were happening in my head as I pictured how to update the kitchen to my liking and arrange our belongings within its space.

The thing about this house that got me right off was the front door knob. It was like a brass peacock feather and perfect in every way. I loved how it prepared the way and described what was to come.

Now that the reality of owning that house is long gone, I still dream about the knob. I know, I may need some therapy, but I kind of think I'm perfectly normal in this instance. It was a knob worthy of desire and even though it gave me intense house envy in the moment, I walked away thinking about how I could recreate that subtlety of character at the entrance of our home.

I had long wanted to update our entry interior and had been working on that bit by bit with a little wallpaper, rug tiles, and a lovely mirror. But extending that update to the other side of the door captures a love of our home from every angle.

One thing we've always done is drive away, or drive home and say to our kids, "bye bye sweet little home." or "we're home to our sweet home, kids" and they always agree. They can feel that we love our home and so they do too. They feel that home is a place that is safe and ours because we reinforce our love for it often.

It may seem a little silly to love a knob so, so much, but it conjured up some good thoughts and feelings that are worth holding onto.

It may take some time to find a knob that is just right.. and it may take double time to convince my husband that this is an item to be added to the house list, but below are a few that I found promising.

30 March 2016


This is the table setting I used for Easter, but it's so springy that it's worth a second go for a spring dinner with friends.

I used grey plates, vintage mixed silver and cut glass goblets. I had a centerpiece of pale pink ranunculus in a metal tray and straw. For Easter I blew out a few eggs to add in the mix. The linens are a pale sea-foam with silver trim and vintage white napkins. I like to add a little light to a table so I used a mix of silver candlesticks with blue votives.

Pretty pretty pretty. Enjoy!

26 March 2016


Happy Easter Weekend! I hope you're having a lovely time with family and friends.

Take a look at what is happening at our home. We didn't get too carried away with decorations this year since the holiday was so early. I stuck with simple daffodils in milk glass vases. Thank you Trader Joe's for having bunches of 10 stems for 1.50! I found the sweetest bunch of felt flowers at our local craft fair and I love vintage figurines. Our blue glass vintage bottles are a nice addition to spring and I love pussy willows. I got some from my girlfriends yard and they are so pretty against the blue.

Now it's time to make some ham! xoxo

29 February 2016


I had a little crafternoon with my Activity Days girls the other day. While we decorated mirrors with sparkles and pom poms, we talked about talking to others as well as ourselves positively. Looking in the mirror and saying nice things. I really believe that words are cemented when spoken aloud. As these young girls go to school, play and go about their day, they may get some negative words coming straight for them.

My goal is to buffer the nasty with some positive thoughts that they can carry with them. Hopefully they can start each day uplifting themselves. Anything to help them with the tough years ahead of them.

Now I'm not going to lie, these turned out "kid-cute". They're not pretty. No matter how much I try to organize the supplies by color, they'll plaster the mirrors in a way that gives me a bit of anxiety. But they are having a blast. Plus, everything put before them is from the dollar store so no big deal. I spent about $20 on supplies for 10 girls. Not too bad. It's a fun activity to do with kids... daughters, girlie friends, nieces... anyone that likes to craft.

19 February 2016


There are all kinds of recipes online for making lipgloss at home. I learned a thing or two... might as well pass along some tips because this is pretty experimental stuff.

I was making this for Activity Days so I needed an easy and inexpensive recipe. But I also wanted a firmer lipgloss than what the Vaseline recipes could offer. I found a recipe using Beeswax, Shea Butter, and Coconut Oil.

The Beeswax is what makes it firmer, but be cautious about what you're buying, some have a musty smell that is tough to mask. I've heard that the pellets are more refined which takes away the sweet honey smell. The bag I bought was 100% natural, yellow and melted really well because they were pellets, but it took a lot of Lemon Essential Oils to cover the smell. I'll still use these pellets but next time I'll try buying a brick of Beeswax to see if that helps.

The Coconut Oil and Shea Butter help to smooth and moisturize the mixture. I've heard of adding Honey, Cocoa Butter, or Olive Oil among other ingredients... I could mess around with various ingredients for a long while... it's pretty fun to play cosmetic chemist. I really want to try coffee balm!

Food coloring (liquid, or paste) doesn't mix well with Beeswax but works great for the Vaseline method. You need cosmetic powders if you want a color with Beeswax. I was ok with the yellow coloring because I used Lemon flavoring. Next time I might try using some powdered pink eyeshadow and berry extract for flavoring.

I got little plastic screw top pots here and they worked perfectly. I just made sticker labels to put on top with the flavor. I also want to try chapstick tubes.

I don't have a double boiler so I used a small saucepan with about 1 1/2 c of water. I boiled it and then turned it down to simmer. Then I put another small metal bowl on top of that. That's as good as a double boiler.

I also had a glass measuring cup handy and a metal spoon. I had several little pots open and ready and was able to pour straight from the metal bowl (using a hot pad).

I started small because it was an experiment.
2 TB of each ingredient (Beeswax, Shea Butter, Coconut Oil)
Stir to melt and add drops of Lemon Oil (you can smell the mixture to see if it's enough) If you do too much, add more Shea Butter or Coconut Oil.
If I didn't have enough to fill the pots then I just added more ingredients. I kept the stove going for about two hours with small batches and filled all 50 pots, used 1/2 a bag of Beeswax and probably about 1 cup of the Coconut Oil and Shea Butter

08 February 2016


Here's another easy Valentine's craft idea for the kids. BUBBLE BLUTTERFLIES!

Mini Bubble Wands (Target)
Paper & Heart Punch (or cut hearts out - two per card)
Printer & Cardstock
Hot Glue Gun

1. Print and cut out the Free Printable.
2. Have your child sign their name to each cut card.
3. Hot glue the wing hearts together.
4. Hot glue the center of the two heart points and place the bubble wand*.
5. Hot glue the back of the same spot and place on the card.

* I've found that the bubbles may pop off once the glue is dried.
The good in that is that they're easy for the kids to get off of the card.

xoxo Happy Valentine's Day!

04 February 2016


If you're in need a quickie Valentine's idea for your kids to pass out to friends, neighbors and classmates, here 'tis. This year we made pencil arrows.

Card Stock & Printer
Valentine's Pencils (ours came from the Dollar Spot at Target)
Heart Punch or pre cut Hearts
Felt or Paper Fringe (I used felt and scissors)
Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks

1. Print the free printable and cut the strips out.
2. Have your child write their name or personalize them if you'd like.
3. Hot glue a heart to the flat pencil tip end.*
4. Cut the fringe pieces about 1.5"x2"
5. Hot glue around the metal portion of the eraser end.*
6. Wrap the fringe around the glue.
7. Hot glue the pencil to the card.*

*The hot glue should peal off of the pencil easily when it's time to use the pencil.

28 January 2016


I am an Activity Days leader for a group of eleven year old girls in our neighborhood. It's a churchie thing. It's loads of fun to see these girls each month and talk and craft and eat. I'll post a few of these every so often.

One time it was Tea Time. We talked about some fine things that have gotten lost in the hustle through the years. Sipping tea and writing letters and dropping them in the box knowing that it will make someone smile to get something lovely and real in their mail.

We also made wire hearts, wrapped with yarn for our craft. Anytime I can bust out the teacups and craft with these girlies, I call it a success.

24 January 2016


Oh... it only took me TWO YEARS to complete these chenille lap quilts. But I'm happy now that I spent the time and effort and I can say, I did it!

I wanted something for my two girls that was soft and cozy that would go at the foot of their beds. I had first seen these and fell in love (the original quilt is long since sold and not on this page). I thought it would be so easy to find vintage chenille bedspreads and just cut them up... I was wrong. Etsy offered a variety of shops that sold pieces of chenille. But they weren't cheap. The price to purchase a quilt was actually quite affordable after planning out how much fabric I'd need to buy.

BUT... I wanted it to be a gift that I made instead of purchased so I took some time to plan out the colors and patterns, and ordered the chenille from here. I have to say the owner of this shop helped me quite a bit. She was really sweet to understand my desire to make these myself and helped me pinpoint the colors I wanted. I purchased twelve different patterned chenille pieces in a variety of sizes and colors, then cut them down to 6" squares. There are 6 rows of 9 = 54 squares. I got the fringe from a vintage bedspread I found at an estate sale.

Next I talked to lots of quilting friends and family for advice. The prep, purchasing and planning took me six months... the percrastination took me over a year. The actual sewing time took me a couple of weeks. I just didn't trust myself, but once I started in I quickly learned how to piece together the squares and put it all together. I'm happy to report that the kids were pleased on Christmas morning. All worth it.

04 January 2016


I made a couple of plushies for my girls this Christmas. They are on a bit of an owl kick, particularly snowy owls. 

I used felt for the faces, beak, and eyes, and white minkie for the backing and wing backs. And the feathers are a combination of felt and wool. I also used a bit of patterned quilting fabric for the front background and wing fronts. I wanted to make them similar but a bit different so the feathers and patterned dot fabric have slight differences. I also made a little tag coming off the side.

These aren't hard, but they take some time because I hand stitch the feathers. But before I do that, I pin them all in a row and use a machine to stitch them all securely. They turned out pretty cute and the girls sleep with them which is worth all of the effort.

19 December 2015


This year I need a neighbor gift that is a keeper. A go-to that I can call our own, year after year. We have neighbors that give yummy stovetop potpourri every year, some that give the honey butter every year, others that make bread. This year, and hopefully for years to come, we are the ones that give candied almonds. I've tried so many things in the past (this, and this), wrapping paper being the most droll, and hot chocolate dippers the most complex.

Sugared Almonds. It's a winner. It was fairly easy and ... semi-inexpensive.

Recipe items — Almonds (or Pecans). Sugar. Brown Sugar. Cinnamon. Eggs. Vanilla. Crock Pot.
Coffee Bags — These are perfect because they're lined for food and have a closure that is cute.
Sticker or Tag — I made a wrap sticker that was personalized, but you could use any sticker or tag.

There are oodles of recipes for slow cooker candied almonds. I used this one. But after doing it seven times, I made some alterations.

1 c Sugar
1 c Brown Sugar
2 Tbs Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Egg Whites
2 tsp Vanilla
6-9 c Almonds (I buy mine at Costco)
2Tbs Water

In a large bowl mix the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
2. In another large bowl whisk together the egg whites and vanilla until it's frothy. Add the almonds and mix until they're all coated. The sugar sticks to the egg whites, so coat the almonds well.
3. Prep the slow cooker with cooking spray. Turn it on low (I do 10-hour low because mine cooks faster than most.
4. I cook them for 2-3 hours and stir every 20 minutes, making sure to scrape down the sides and inside bottom of the cooker.
5. In the last 20 minutes sprinkle a couple tablespoons of water around the outer edges and stir. I like them to still look sugary in the end so if they start to look too glazed, then too much water is getting to them. You can always add a bit more sugar to get that sugary look.
6. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spread them out to cool. Break apart and put them in bags.

This makes about 8 gifts with the bags in the pictures. I put approx. 3 cups in each. I'm pretty much doubling the recipe I noted and using less sugar. Trust me they are sugary enough. And so yummy.

14 December 2015


My daughter made this cute little angel peg doll and I just loved it's sweet face. I had to do something with it. I found a mini cloche and glued some stuffing and then the doll. I cut out a tiny star and glued it to some gold string and then glued it into the top of the dome. All done. Sweet little Christmas bit.

30 November 2015


I'm trying something new this year... My good friend, Tia told me about this and I just love the idea. A Christmas Book Advent.

We already have an advent calendar but with two kids it will be worthwhile to have another. They will each have something to do in the morning. One can unwrap a book and the other can put an ornament on the advent tree, and then swap duties each day.

TO-DO — Gather 25 Christmas books and wrap them up. And this really could work for any holiday or even the winter season.

I wanted specific books unwrapped on certain days, for instance:
I'd like to start in with fun stories of Santa and winter, maybe day 4 Santa's Favorite Story: Santa tells the story of the first Christmas. And on day 7 Santa Clauses: Short Poems of the North Pole.

To remind my kids of the real Christmas spirit, throughout the month, I'd like to spread out the thoughtful Christmas stories. Perhaps on day 10, Bella's Tree and on day 18 The Christmas Wish.

On the 24th when my kids have absolutely no right for gifts of any kind after a month of heightened sass and bickering, a meaningful story of giving and gratitude. I like Christmas Day in the Morning.

To emphasize the Twelve Days of Christmas on day 25. That song was originally written to help children recall the tenets of their faith in celebration from December 25th through January 6th. Huh... things I never knew.

So before wrapping them, I laid out the books in order 1-25.

I already had several Christmas books but I purchased a six more to mix in. I wrapped them up in kraft paper and twine, and cut out felt numbers. I admit cutting out felt numbers is a bit nutty. I like to do things while I watch TV so it suits me just fine to work on this projects for a couple of evenings.

After gluing the numbers on the package, I drew a little wreath around the number and put them all under the tree. This will be the first time we've started out with packages under the tree. My girls are really excited, and this project didn't cost us much because I already had so many books that are either about snow, winter, or Christmas related. This just might have to be a new tradition!

Happy Holidays, Friends.

24 November 2015


I gathered several house lanterns and house shapes for a Friendsgiving table, my Thanksgiving mantle...  I'll surely use them for Christmas too. I love the white marble, silver and wood mixture.

For the table, I needed place settings so I turned to my favorite, Sculpey Clay. These sweet little house place settings were so easy to make. My daughters made some of them too.

I thought it would be cute to utilize smoke in some way, so I printed out name tags in a "banner" of smoke, cut those out and poked it through the wire that I had put into the house before baking them.

Here they be...

23 November 2015


One of my girlfriends recently rebuilt their home so we celebrated with a feast. Friendsgiving Feast! What a lovely concept.

Here is a peek into the table setting...
Sticking as closely as possible to pewter, marble and linen for the materials and greys and creams. There were a lot of us, so there are some mismatched items (linens, silver, glasses) but the plates and chargers are all the same. That provided a little continuity.

I gathered some house-shaped items for the center, as well as vintage silver and pewter candlesticks. I wanted small mini white pumpkins, but I missed the window of their availability so I painted my orange ones. I made the runner by fraying the edges of three strips (about 16" wide), sewing a stopping seam, trimming, and then sewing the strips together. The cotton was tough to find locally, I was originally interested in dried, but it looked a bit messy, so I stuck with the faux cotton stems and cut them down. The micro lights and candles add some twinkle and depth.

Stay tuned, I'll post a DIY for the house place settings.

15 November 2015


My daughter calls it "The Teepee Area". I made the teepee, pilgrims and Native American couples last year. I also found that amazing fur bit and gathered some river wood sticks at Kingfisher Bend Ranch... both nice additions to the Thanksgiving gathering.

This year, I wanted to make it more of a play area for my kids so I made some felt logs and fire and four animals. The turkey was my daughters idea. She's five. She's brilliant. The owl is my favorite, though.


31 October 2015


For my daughter's class we painted magnet rocks on Halloween Party day. I prepped the rocks by spray painting them first. White, Black and Orange. Then I superglue'd a magnet to the back of each. Each kid gets three rocks to paint. They painted whatever they wanted but I did offer a bit of ideas for each color on a tri-fold table topper. That's what you get when you have a designer mum in charge of the school craft. Table toppers.

They turned out super cute. I do have some lessons learned... the biggest being that I'm glad I brought acrylic paint as well as tempura. I had never painted on rocks before. Not for a craft that mattered. I wanted it to dry quickly because it was a half day of school. I also wanted it to stick to the rock without beading up. The tempura didn't stick. So I used acrylic and each child had a wipie to dab their paintbrush on... kind of dry it off before dipping it into the paint.

Spray Paint - White. Orange. Black
Rocks - (Smooth Pebbles) I got mine at the dollar store

Table Covering
Paper Plates
Baby Whipes
Paint Brushes - I used nice ones, not too fat. Small rocks need fine brushes
Paints - I used Black, White, Orange, Yellow, Green and Pink
Black Sharpies
Hot Glue Gun
Foam Core Strips* - Cut to 2.5" x 7.5"
White Pencil*
Plastic Spiders - I glued one to each of their boards for added fun.

*Each child has their own board with their name in white pencil. I hot glued their rocks to their board when they finished to keep them all organized and able to dry without getting messed up.
When the rocks are peeled off of the board the hot glue will stick to the magnet. I instructed them to peel off the glue from the magnet.

I did this craft again with my kids and some friends at home and they loved it. They started getting rocks from the yard and painting them. Smooth, rough... they don't care. They love that they have a magnet on them. But if the rock is too heavy, the magnet is useless. Be sure you choose rocks that maintain some sticking power. You also need a rock with a flat back that a magnet can stick to.

Happy Halloween to all you Spooky Ghouls & Gobblins!

27 October 2015


It doesn't get any simpler than this. Martha Stewart's test tube favors and some "scary beans" a.k.a. Peanut Butter M&Ms. Perfect for the neighbor kids or school room treat trading.

Happy Halloween!

12 October 2015


Autumn is truly one of my favorite seasons. Sure, I love Spring growth... the absence of schedules in Summer and a slow snowfall in the Wintertime... but Fall... what's not to love about cozy textures, warm colors, and the smell of pumpkin somethin' cooking in the kitchen... not to mention the crisp morning air. Thank goodness for seasons and the change that comes every few months. I embrace the variety and adore the opportunity to hunker down in the fall... it speaks to my soul.

After the hustle bustle of getting my kids back to school, Autumn brings a chance to slow my brain down and think for a minute. When I do that, I can't help but think of all the things that I love. My favorites... beyond my little family, home, community, and friends, there are the mountains that surround our city and our country that, while I have my personal frustrations, has always provided safety and freedom.

I'm reflecting a lot today, maybe it's the sense that Thanksgiving is around the corner and that brings on the warm fuzzy feelings. The long and short of it is that life is good. I have dreams and hopes and I can't help but make plans and plans and plans and more plans. Those are for speedier days. Today is a day of leisurely thoughts and gratitude.

With that... if I could decorate this feeling, what would it look like? Funny thing, it looks a lot like a dinner party in Autumn. Perhaps even a Thanksgiving dinner table. My favorite part is setting the table.

A mix of aged materials in subtle tones: Marble. Wood. Linen. Pewter. Silver.

Linens — Grey or White Linen Napkins. Grey Wool or Linen Runner.

Flatware — Mixed Vintage Silver (This could be a journey of vintage shopping to find your mix or just hit up Anthropologie)

Dinnerware —Pewter Pates (These are tough to find and quite spency, but the feeling could be pulled off with gray or aged scalloped chargers and white plates).

Glassware — Smokey Glasses or Goblets (herehere, and here)

Serveware — Mix of Wood and Marble bowls, pitchers, platters, cake stands and trays.

Centerpiece — Aged votives and tiny lights (Terrain), Cotton Stems or strands, Pewter Candlesticks (again, pewter can be tough to find, but worth the hunt. I like a lot of candles running down the table. If these are too hard to find, mix in wood and marble candlesticks) For added color, orange berries or mini pumpkins. To keep it monochromatic, you can add mini white pumpkins.

Furniture — Rugged wood table and benches with additional seating in black or linen (Anthropologie Fringe Chairs) For a soft touch add some fur to the benches.