{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

image

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.

image

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!

wpid-photogrid_1439380232285.jpg

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.

image

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!

image

image

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

image

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?

Bathroom Remodel

Ever since we remodeled our kitchen (Jan 2010), we have been talking about remodeling the adjacent bathroom.  We put it off at the time because we just didn’t feel like doing it.  And we have majorly regretted it ever since.

We finally had enough and decided to just go for it.  So sometime in November, Jon decided to go into Tasmanian-devil demo mode and rip the bathroom apart.  We figured this would be the push we’d need to actually get started.

Well… then holidays came and insert any other number of excuses here.  And the bathroom remodel is still not finished.  But we’re at least making progress!

First we took everything out (including the toilet… not fun having to trek up 2 flights of stairs to go to the bathroom if you happen to be in the basement.  Or, worse, rush a toddler up the 2 flights of stairs so he can get to the potty on time).  That also included the light fixture (which we always hated) and the linoleum floor.  So we were essentially left with a little, dark box.  Ooh lovely.

wpid-20141115_162350.jpg

No light!

wpid-20150326_194727.jpg

Bye-Bye toilet!

It didn’t sit that way for too terribly long.  We soon got to work sanding and spackling walls so that we could repaint the bathroom.  It needed fresh paint desperately!  That took a few days since we did a few coats, but all in all wasn’t too difficult.  It was easily managed after Ian went to bed each night.

wpid-20150328_214929.jpg

Doesn’t everyone just LOVE painting?

Next we installed the new light fixture.  It was pretty easy, and it was SO NICE having a light source in “the box” again.

wpid-20150328_214944.jpg

We have LIGHT!

Then we moved on to the tile floor.  We wanted it to match the kitchen tile…FORTUNATELY it was still available- and not discontinued.  We had to do quite a bit of prep-work before we could finally lay the tile.  But, a few weeks later and the floor was installed, grouted, cleaned, and sealed!  Woo!

wpid-20150413_221625.jpg

Tile dry fit

wpid-20150419_172737.jpg

Grouted! Ready for a good clean and some sealer!

Now we’re working on installing the baseboard molding.  Once that’s in, we’ll be able to install the toilet and the new vanity- and we’ll be so close to having a complete bathroom again!  I’m so excited!

What’s the latest DIY remodel project you’ve started (or completed)?

Essential Oils 101

As you all have seen, I have been having a lot of fun trying out my Young Living Essential Oils and seeing the benefits they bring me and my family.  Thanks for following along as I share my experiences!  I can’t wait to dive even deeper into the oils in my kit and the oily world in general.

Have my posts to date piqued your interest? Are you starting to get curious about Young Living and Essential Oils? Want to learn more?

If so, I have good news!  I am having an “Essential Oils 101” class on Facebook at 8:30PM (Eastern) Sunday night (4/19).

image

This is an education and information event about Young Living and Essential Oils. There will be giveaways and a chance to buy oils and/or the starter kit, but the main focus is on learning. If you’ve ever been curious about EOs or Young Living, I’d love for you to to pop by and check it out.  Here’s a link to the event page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1611695835709248/

Hope to see some of you there!  Oiling is always more fun with friends, so let’s get oily together!

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!

image

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.

image

image

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!

image

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.

image

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:

image

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!

image

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:

image

Decals

image

Cute decal and propeller

image

Artwork idea

image

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}

image

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

image

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.

image

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!!

Pinterest Favorites and Fails {Series}

I am a Pinterest junkie.  I admit it freely.  I can’t get enough of the scrolling and pinning. But what I often fail to do is actually USE any of the stuff I pin.  I get inspired looking through the pages of fun activities, recipes, crafts, etc…and then after I’ve pinned it, I forget it.

But, I’m going to make a concerted effort to attempt more of my pins!  And I thought I’d share some of my favorites (and yes, some of my fails) via a weekly series.  So, every Friday keep on the look out for a new addition to this series- we may discover some truly wonderful (or disastrous) things!  And, if you have a favorite pin, share it with me!!  As you know, I’m ALWAYS pinning. 🙂

image

Today’s Favorite is a recipe: Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Shells

OMG these were DELICIOUS!!!  I will admit they are a BIT of work in the prep phase (cooking the noodles and letting them cool, then preparing the filling), but once the prep is done, they are a snap! And did I mention delicious?  Oh, I did?  Well, it bears repeating. 

image

Photo from Sweet Dash of Sass

I used canned chicken because I’m lazy, but you could also cook your own chicken and shred it.  Or use the precooked bagged chicken and cut it up.  Whatever you prefer (or have time for).  

I love that this recipe makes a lot, so you can half it if you want- or cook the whole thing and have leftovers.  Either way, you will not go hungry.  My husband even enthusiastically agreed that this was delicious (and he’s always somewhat wary of new recipes I find online, LOL).

So, if you’re looking for a new recipe to try for dinner one night, give this one a shot. And I’d love to hear what you think of it!

Fall (and Halloween) is in the air!

Today is the first day of October, so the Halloween costume countdown is officially on.  And that means I need to get started working on Ian’s costume (and figuring out what he should be)!

His first Halloween, he was only 5 days old- so he wore a Hokie Bird fleece onesie outfit.  It was a gift.  It was adorable.  And he slept through most of Halloween.

image

His second Halloween, he had just turned 1, and I knew I wanted to make his costume.  I also was fairly certain I wanted him to be a monster (think “mommy’s little monster!”).  I had no pattern to go by- just an image in my head.  Since I know how I am with projects (I procrastinate, I’m slow, etc etc), I started early… at the beginning of October.  And things were going great.  Except, well, I measured poorly, so my first attempt at a costume was TOO snug.  He was like a stuffed caterpillar.  So I had to redo it.  Which, ok, no big deal (the fabric I bought was pretty cheap), except for one tiny little problem. I had broken my sewing machine. Yep, the costume was too thick, was too much for my little Brother machine to handle. And it broke.  The timing went WAY off…the thread wouldn’t pick up.  Which means no sewing.  So I took it to a sewing machine repair shop, and they took a look and told me- yep, it’s broken!  Fortunately, they could also fix it.  Unfortunately, the fix was around $80 and would take 10 days!  EEP… that meant I would get it back with just a week or so before Halloween.  I crossed my fingers, and sure enough, before 10 days had passed, I had my machine back!  And it worked!  So I got to work making costume #2.  And it was beautiful!  And perfect!  And then… and then… the machine broke AGAIN (yes, I’m a slow learner).  But at this point, it was just a few days until Halloween.  Fortunately, the majority of the sewing was finished, so I decided to just do the last bit by hand.  WHAT A PAIN.  But I got it done.  And OMG did Ian look adorable.  Maybe I’ll post a tutorial later on how exactly I made the costume, in case anyone else wants to make a monster outfit.  It’s pretty easy… as long as you don’t break your machine!  (side note- my wonderful in-laws bought me a new sewing machine for Christmas last year, and it is a beauty!  It’s wonderful, and is so smooth and works flawlessly!)

image

Now for his third Halloween, Ian will be just over 2 years old.  But he hasn’t expressed any great opinion on what he wants to wear (I’m not entirely sure he understands the concept anyway).  Which leaves it up to me and Jon to decide.  But that’s the problem- I can’t decide!  This is probably my last chance to inflict my will on his costume, so I don’t want to waste it!  My current prevailing idea is to have him be Mickey Mouse.  He LOVES Mickey Mouse (thank you, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse), so I think he’d really like it… not to mention it would be pretty easy and super cute.  But I go back and forth on ideas every day or two.  Anyone have any suggestions???

What are your littles going to be for Halloween?  Where do you get your ideas and inspiration?