{DIY} Fun Fall Decor

diy-fall-decor

Well, it’s hard to believe, but fall is just around the corner. As much as I love summer, I’m excited for fall. It’s probably my favorite season- everything gets that crisp, fresh feeling, pumpkins and mums are everywhere, kids dress up in costumes for Halloween, CANDY (especially the mellowcreme pumpkins- YUM) is in high supply. Plus, October is my baby boy’s birthday month (is he really going to be THREE already?!). So, clearly, there’s a lot to love about this season.

I also love the FOOD of the season. We love pumpkin, so we make it a point to make pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin cookies, and pumpkin pie. I also try to find at least one new pumpkin recipe to try- last year it was a pumpkin crunch cake, and it was awesome! I haven’t decided what it will be this year, but I’m sure Pinterest is just brimming with good ideas. Or maybe you guys can suggest something??

Of course, you can’t fully appreciate fall without dressing up your house a bit. And what better way than with some fun decorations you can make on your own? A few years ago I made a wreath for the front door and some mumkins! They have adorned our house ever since and are much loved, so I thought I’d share the tutorials with you all so you can make your own!

First, the wreath:
Fall Wreath
What you need:
– Straw Wreath (mine is 12″, but any size will do. Pretty sure I got mine at Michaels, but they can be found at just about any craft store)
– Fake fall-colored leaves (I actually bought a leaf garland and pulled the leaves off it)
– Fake fall flowers (such as mums)
– Floral pins/staples (these are the ones I used)
– A cute owl (or other fall-ish critter)

Technique:
Place your first leaf slightly to the left of the center top of the wreath. Pin the leaf using a floral pin/staple (make sure you pin at the bottom of the leaf so the pin is hidden!). Layer another leaf on top of the first leaf, staggered and offset a bit, and pin in place. Repeat until you get to the middle/bottom of the wreath. Now, pick the ending point on the right side of wreath, maybe 1/3 of the way up, and pin a leaf there. Working backwards, towards the bottom middle of the wreath, layer another leaf on top, staggered and offset, and pin in place. Repeat until you meet up where you left off with the previous leaves. You may need to tweak a few leaves to get things to line up well and look “natural”. Once you have the leaves the way you want them, remove a few of your fake flowers from their stems/bouquets and attach to the wreath with a pin.  You can also leave the flowers on the stems, cut the stem shorter, and stick the stems through the wreath to hold the flowers in place.  Arrange to suit your preference.  Next, attach the owl (or other critter) by threading a floral pin/staple through the back of the critter to keep the pin hidden. Secure with additional pins if required. Ta-da! You have a wreath!

The great thing about this wreath is that you CANNOT go wrong! The design is completely up to you, and you can change things around if you don’t like how it turned out. The first time I did this wreath, I used hot glue. It held together perfectly…. until one day the sun came beating down on the wreath, melted the glue, and everything fell apart. So I went out to the store and got some floral pins instead- THEY WORK WONDERFULLY! And if you stagger the leaves, you can’t see the pins at all.

Now, the mumkin (aka- pumpkin covered in mums):
mumkin
I love how this turned out- and it was SO EASY

What you need:
– A foam pumpkin (any size)
– A few bouquets of fake mums

Technique:
Cut the individual mums off the bouquets, leaving a 2-4″ stem. Poke the stem into the pumpkin and push all the way in until just the flower is showing. You may need to pre-poke a small hole. Most of the mums went in for me without any problem- for the ones where I couldn’t get it poked, I used a knitting needle! Continue until the entire pumpkin is covered with mums!

Again, this is a project that really can’t go wrong.  Arrange the mums however you’d like until you’re satisfied.  Since nothing is glued or stapled in place, you can rearrange as often as you need to get your perfect mumkin!

How do you like to decorate for fall?

Stringtown Home

{DIY} Hazel’s Nursery Name Art

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You might remember that I was making things to personalize Hazel’s nursery. It used to belong to Ian, so I switched out a few things (the navy blue colors with deep purple) and added a few unique touches just for Hazel.

One of those is the name art I put on the wall. For Ian, I designed his in photoshop, printed it out at the Walmart photo center, and had it custom matted in a stock frame I picked up. I absolutely adored how it turned out, and it moved with him when he got his “big boy” room.

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I was planning to do pretty much the same thing for Hazel. But then, I was on Pinterest (dangerous, I know!), and I saw something that caught my eye. It was wall art for a nursery- not even name art- but I got an idea that I could use that as inspiration for Hazel’s name art!

Fortunately, my husband and I recently finished a slew of home improvement projects, so we had a lot of leftover wood in the garage just taking up space. It’s like it was meant to be!

Armed with a vision in my head, I quickly took some measurements in the nursery and made a sketch. And then, since I’m a visual person, I drew my design on the computer (with the appropriate colors). That part was totally unnecessary, but I found it fun!

Anyway, next I had the fun job of selecting pieces of wood and using power tools!  Hooray for saws!  In the end, I had my 5 pieces of wood and 2 backing/support pieces all cut and ready to be primed and painted.  I admit, that painting is not my favorite, but I took my time with it, and everything turned out so well!

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Next, I had to make letter stencils. My freehand paint skills are non-existent…Silhouette Cameo to the rescue! I measured how tall I wanted each letter and then cut them out on craft vinyl. Then I stuck them to the pieces of wood.

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Next it was time to paint! I couldn’t find the exact shade of purple I wanted, so I mixed some purple and black together to get a nice, deep plum. Then I just kept adding coats until the white was sufficiently covered!

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After letting it dry, I peeled off the vinyl, and ta-da!! We have name art.

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I absolutely love how it turned out. And it was actually pretty simple! Time consuming, to make sure it ended up looking great, but not hard.

Do you have your child’s name displayed in their room/nursery? How did you chose to show it?

Nursery Update

It’s been a few weeks since I mentioned that I am in the process of refreshing the nursery in preparation for this baby girl (May 9 no longer seems all that far away!).

In that time, I’ve been busy working on a few projects for the room, and I finally have one successfully crossed off my list- baby girl’s crib skirt!! This was a BIG one, and it took me quite a while since I really took my time and wanted it to look nice, but I absolutely love how it turned out.

I knew I wanted to do a ruffled crib skirt this time around (last time, for Ian, I did a box pleat crib skirt, which I really liked and was SUPER easy). There’s just something so fun and girly about ruffles; I knew I had to at least try it.

Finding just the right color of fabric was a bit of a challenge, but I did finally manage to locate just the right shade of deep purple. Thank you, Hobby Lobby!

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I turned to Pinterest for guidance/advice on how to go about creating the crib skirt, and found some really good resources, which I pinned to my Nursery Refresh board. I ended up using Ian’s old box pleat crib skirt as my “base” crib skirt (since I needed something to sew the ruffles onto, and I didn’t feel like spending money on fabric that no one was going to see anyway), and it worked beautifully!

To keep me from getting overwhelmed, I broke the project into manageable steps spread over a few weeks, and tried to limit myself to working on it no more than 2 hours at a time. I find that if I work on something longer than that I get tired or frustrated and start making mistakes.

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I HATE ironing...but unfortunately it is a necessity to get nice, crisp hems and seams

Of course, even with that self-imposed limit, I still made mistakes (what’s a project if you don’t use the seam ripper at least once, right??), but they were much smaller in scale and easier to fix.

And in the end, taking my time definitely paid off. The crib skirt is now on the crib and it looks fantastic. I especially love all the colors together- they look so fresh!

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Now I just have a few projects remaining: changing pad cover (which is actually underway), name art (which I started but put on hold to focus on the crib skirt), rocking chair cushions (not yet started), and print outs of book covers for the wall art (also not yet started). I can’t wait until this whole nursery comes together (and of course, we have a baby in it)!

Nursery Refresh for Baby Girl

Now that Ian has moved out of the nursery and into his “big boy room”, I have been making my plans for turning Ian’s previously “boyish” nursery into something suitable for baby girl.  Ian’s walls were a sage green (they were already that color when we moved in, and I really loved it), and his nursery accent colors were Navy Blue and White.  It was a striking pairing, and I loved the deep, rich Navy paired with the soft sage.  I also loved the Winnie the Pooh mural that was on the wall when we bought the house- something I definitely wanted to keep and even incorporate in the finished nursery design.

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As you can see, his crib skirt, curtains, and changing pad were all Navy blue. His furniture was white (including the fan and the baseboard molding in the room), and the shelves and picture frames I added to the walls were white, too.  His sheets were mostly white, with either sage green patterns or blue patterns.  The “theme” for his nursery was storybook (see the Winnie the Pooh tie in??)- so the artwork on the walls were covers of favorite children’s books (Babar, Curious George, Peter Rabbit, and Paddington Bear), and he had an ABC lamp on his dresser/changing table.

All in all, I loved the look of Ian’s nursery.  It was calming and relaxing, and definitely for a boy, without being over the top.  The only downside to my nursery choices were finding decorations and things to fill it.  For some reason, “storybook” isn’t a particularly common nursery theme, so I had to improvise a bit (hence the printed book covers on the walls).  And, finding baby things in Navy blue was equally challenging.  This led me to make some of the things myself (the crib skirt and curtain tie-backs), but I didn’t mind- I liked putting my own personal touch on his room.

But, now that he’s moved on to his new room (which I wrote about last week), and baby girl will be moving in, it’s time for a refresh.  Time to make this baby boy room into something a bit more tailored to my baby girl.

I have no desire to paint the walls, so baby girl will also have a sage green nursery as her background color and the same Winnie the Pooh mural.  With this in mind, I’ll also be keeping the storybook theme (it’s just so lovely), but I’ll be swapping out the book covers for more traditional girl covers (keeping Babar, but thinking of adding Madeline, Olivia, and Charlotte’s Web). Next was picking an accent color, and it didn’t take me very long to decide.  I knew I wanted a rich, deep purple- like a plum.  I’ll also probably sprinkle grey here and there, but the main color will be the purple.  So here’s my color palatte:

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Of course, finding baby stuff in this deep purple shade is more challenging even than finding it in Navy blue (which, annoyingly, is EVERYWHERE now), so I’m again making the crib skit.  I’m also expecting I’ll have to make the changing pad cover since I’m having zero luck finding the right purple for that.  The only other major project for the nursery will be baby girl’s name art.  I’ve already got it planned out- I just need to execute.

More posts to come as the room comes together- and then there will be the big reveal.  I simply cannot wait!!

Moving on Up

Ian is now officially out of the nursery and in his new “big boy” room. We started the switch about three weeks ago, after his new twin bed arrived. The bed only took a few hours to put together (mainly, this was due to some issues with a few of the pieces), and I love how it looks. It’s a deep, dark wood with a bookcase headboard and under-bed drawers. We let him pick out the sheets for the bed (he chose sheets from Disney’s Planes), and then that first night we asked him if he wanted to sleep in his old bed (the crib-now-toddler-bed) or his new bed. He chose his new bed, but after we tucked him in, he changed his mind and moved to his old bed. But the next night, he chose his new bed and he’s been sleeping there ever since!

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We’ve slowly moved all of his stuff out of the nursery- his name art, his sound machine, his books, his stuffed animals, etc. We also added a toy organizer to his new room and started filling it with some of his toys from the living room and elsewhere in the house. He loves having toys in his room (the nursery was so small that he really didn’t have any toys in it), and often he’ll wander over to the toy organizer and start playing.

The room still needs a dresser… and some additional decorations, but it’s coming along nicely. I’m planning to do an airplane theme since he loves airplanes. I’m going to decorate the walls with a combination of airplane vinyl decals (which I’m going to cut using my Silhouette Cameo) and airplane artwork. I’ve started collecting ideas and inspiration from Pinterest:

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Decals

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Cute decal and propeller

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Artwork idea

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More artwork ideas

I can’t wait to get some of these projects done so that the room is put together and complete. And, of course, I’ll be sharing the final room with all of you! My goal is to get everything done by the end of March- let’s hope I can make it!

Even without it fully done up and decorated, Ian loves his new room. I wasn’t sure how well he’d take to adjusting to a new room and leaving all his old furniture and stuff behind, but he’s done great! He’ll even point to the crib (which has been changed back into a crib) and tell us “this is for baby sister”, which is so neat. We’re all getting very excited (if not a bit anxious) for this little girl to arrive, so having some projects will definitely help keep me busy and help take my mind off things!

Have you transitioned a kid to a new room (or new bed)? How did it go?

Pinterest Favorites and Fails {Series}

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Today is a favorite, and it’s a sewing project: Box Pleat Crib Skirt Tutorial

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Image from Hibler House blog ( http://dkhibler.blogspot.com)

When I was pregnant with Ian and working on his nursery, I wanted the color scheme to be sage green and navy blue. The walls were already painted the green, so I wanted to use the navy blue in various accents around the room. There was just one problem: finding baby stuff in navy blue was HARD!

I finally came to the realization that I’d have to make a few things. When I decided the crib skirt would be one of those things I’d be making, I set to Pinterest to find a tutorial. There were a lot on there, but I liked this one the best. It was easy to follow and had lots of clear pictures.

In the end, I wound up with a very nice crib skirt for only a little expense and not too terribly much effort.

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My finished crib skirt

I’ll definitely be using this tutorial again when I make the crib skirt for the new baby (since she’s s girl and her color scheme will not include navy blue).

If you’re looking to make your own crib skirt, give this pin a try!!

DIY: Teacher Appreciation Gifts

 

A few weeks ago at Ian’s day care, it was Teacher Appreciation week.  Ian’s teachers are so fantastic, I knew I wanted to do something special for them… I just wasn’t sure what.  So, as usual, I turned to the internet (Pinterest, Etsy, etc) for inspiration.  There were a ton of cute things, but not much that was appropriate for us.  The “I’m a toddler and even though I have teachers, we don’t take tests or get grades” demographic.  I finally settled on a combination of things I found, and came up with this…I call it the “one smart cookie jar”.

The "One Smart Cookie Jar"

The “One Smart Cookie Jar”

Cute, right?  I love it and love how it turned out… and his teachers did, too.  So I thought I’d share it with you all, along with some instructions, so you can make your own!

 

{{ the supplies }}

+ mason jar
+ cupcake liner
+ colorful paper
+ scissors
+ yarn
+ pen/marker
+ tape
+ cookies

 

{{ the steps }}

1. First, remove the lids from the jars. Take out the metal disk from the lid, place a cupcake liner inside the lid screw ring, and replace the metal disk. Try to center the cupcake liner so it is mostly smooth. Now take the lid apart. You should have a slight indentation on the cupcake liner that roughly corresponds to the size of the lid opening (and metal disk). Cut the cupcake liner in a circle slightly large than the indentation. Place the cut circle back in the lid screw ring and test fit on the jar to make sure the liner is small enough that it doesn’t interfere with the lid closing, but large enough to cover the entire opening. Now set aside the lid. You can discard the metal disk part (or save for a future project)- you won’t need it anymore.

Lids cut

Lids cut

2. Next, take the remaining piece of the cupcake liner (the ruffled edge), and stretch it to encircle the top of the jar, sort of Ike a collar. You will want it to overlap itself a little, but not too much. When you have an acceptable overlap, cut the excess and tape the ends together (concealing the tape).

The cupcake liner "collar"

The cupcake liner “collar”

3. Now it’s time to make and attach the tags. I used colorful scrapbook paper cardstock, but you could use anything, really. I used a flower stencil to trace the shape for my tag. But, again, do whatever shape you want. Write a cute note:

Ms X,
Thanks for making me
one smart *cookie*!
~ child’s name

Punch or cut a hole in the top of the tag, thread your yarn through it, and tie it around the top of the jar. Try to hide the yarn underneath the cupcake liner collar. Add your cookies, and you’re done!!

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I hope you found the tutorial clear and easy to follow. Let me know if you make one of these for your teachers. I’d also love to hear about other teacher appreciation gifts you made or bought!