Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Woodland Scene

I knew that this year I wanted to create a woodland theme on my shelf. I rounded up some animals from World Market, and JoAnns. I then use wood slices to tie it all together and add height variation. A lot of these creatures are tiny, and if I didn't do something to make them stand out, it could be rather boring. 
 I used mixed sizes of bottle brush trees, and "snow" to add to the scene.

 While at JoAnns, I stumbled upon giant white birch logs. I think they were about 4 ft. long! I used a coupon and bought one, and cut it at random lengths to add to the scenery.
The bunny needed that cute little red sled! How cute is she?

Vintage Christmas

I thought I'd finally give you a little peek at my Christmas decorations. I stopped dragging out my old hodge podge that I didn't like, and came up with some inexpensive new ideas. 
I used some of my vintage bottle collection, and added some white glittered pine cone ornaments from Hobby Lobby. I put these in my crate shelf that hangs in the dining room.
I had to throw away my old tree skirt last year because it got ruined. Instead of buying a new one, I originally wanted my husband to make me a metal tree collar. Instead, I happened to see that the bark was coming off of the giant logs in our backyard. I pulled one off and sprayed it outside with bug spray just in case. Then I just wrapped it around our tree stand! Easy!

A little chalkboard update for winter!

My little wooden fox got in the Christmas spirit with a mini wreath. 

Originally I was going to make a pom pom garland for the tree, but I got tired of making pom poms. I made a garland for my mirror by the front door, and a smaller one for our deer antlers. 

I screwed one of my husband's deer antlers on to a wood slice. They still have the velvet on them! The pom pom flowers are from Steph Loves Ben, on Etsy. You can order whatever colors you like, and they come on sticks! My pom poms are no where near how perfect hers are. 

Those three little trees I picked up at Salvation Army. They were fall colors, so I painted the tops with green paint I had on hand, and added some green Martha Stewart glitter to make them shine. The chalkboard printable was free from The Shabby Creek Cottage

Lastly, we have our Christmas countdown, which I blogged about here

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Vintage Fabric Heat/Ice Pack

I have collected a massive amount of beautiful vintage sheets and pillow cases. A couple of years ago I made these "rice ice" packs, as our family calls them. I have a new friend that I wanted to make one for, but take it up a notch by using perfect vintage fabric! These don't get any easier. I am a VERY basic seamstress, and these are a breeze even for me. We keep ours in the freezer at all times so that we have "ice" ready at all times. 
Simply cut two identical pieces of fabric in the size that you want. Pin or hold them, right sides together and sew along three sides. Turn inside out and fill 3/4 of the way full of plain, dried rice. This is great to buy in the bulk section! Turn the open ends in, pin along the edge, and stitch! Ta da!

I found a poem on a message board to go along with the gift, and printed it up on a cute blue mason jar using my Silhouette software. I also made mini versions as tiny hand warmers! I'm going to make some hand warmers for my girls before our Christmas parade on Monday! 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Advent Calendar- Christmas Countdown

I spent today slaving away decorating for Christmas, and thought I'd share a peek of it! I have a LOT more to do, and the rest of my house is a mess because I was crafting and running errands all day. I made a super cute advent calendar, or Christmas countdown, that I'm going to share with you. 
 Hobby Lobby carries these boxes of wooden bingo numbers, at least that's what I call them! I wanted different bags, but couldn't find what I was looking for so I settled on the red and white chevron. Mainly because I am cheap and they had 24 in a bag for only a couple bucks. It is also where I bought the mini clothespins. I used a scalloped punch and white mini cupcake liners that I already had.

I flipped a cupcake liner inside out, so that it would lay a bit flatter when I glued down the gold scallop. Simply glue about a quarter size area on the cupcake liner, and right away, glue the scallop on top and push it down. Then just glue down your numbers.

I don't know what people normally do with dates and advent, because this is my first time, but I just did 1-24. We will start on December 1st. To hang it, I used this gold ball of ribbon that I found in the yarn section at JoAnns. I did three rows of 8 bags and just laid them out on the floor, one at a time, clipping them. I hung the ribbon with pushpins.
What you put in your bags is up to you. I decided on putting a little chocolate candy for each child in the bag, as well as our bible reading for that day, and a fun Christmas activity. That part was actually the hardest of all. I sat down with my calendar, and that helped take off some of the pressure. On days that we already have stuff planned, that's what I wrote on the little paper that I put in the bag. 
Some examples: 
Our charter school has an annual gingerbread making family event at school. I put that in that day's bag. We will be out of town for a few days, so those I skipped. On the day we meet with our teacher before Christmas break, it says "take gift to Mrs. Fischer". We are planning on going to a Christmas play, so that went on that day's card. My girlfriends and I have a big Christmas dinner every year, so on that night I wrote "daddy-daughters date night! Daddy takes you to dinner and to shop for mom". You get the idea. Use your calendar to help you. 

After that, think of your family's favorite activities. I did some like: Drive around and look at lights (x2). Drink hot chocolate. Watch a Christmas movie. Bake cookies. Etc.
You'll notice that the last day is a different bag. You might think that's because it's Christmas Eve, but really my package was just short a bag, so I improvised. Hopefully my kids will love counting down the days!

Glittered Deer Garland

Hello! I'm finally getting back into crafting for myself, and I'm loving it! I wanted to create a simple, clean garland for Christmas. This could not possibly be any easier.

What you'll need: 
White cardstock
Deer punch (I bought mine with a coupon so it was cheaper) OR cut with a Silhouette or Cricut
Gold glittered cardstock
craft glue
baker's twine
I first punched out my deer heads from the glittered gold cardstock. After measuring the deer, I decided what size I wanted my ovals to be. I cut ovals out of white cardstock (size will depend on your deer head).
Fold the ovals in half. Then you just assemble it! Spread glue on one half of the inside of the oval, and put the twine in the fold. Seal it shut, then glue the deer head on the front. Seriously, it doesn't get any easier than that! Enjoy!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fall Coupon Code

It may be fall, but here in central California, it still feels like summer. I thought offering my biggest coupon code ever might be a fun way to celebrate! Enjoy!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

For the Love of John Mayer

      Over the weekend, I got to go to LA and attend my fourth John Mayer concert. The first time I saw him in concert was almost 10 years ago. That sounds crazy. Some people don't like him because of the amount of girls he's dated publicly or the countless times he's put his foot in his mouth, but I don't care. I couldn't care less actually. His music is my music. His music has changed so much over the years, and I think his true fans have changed with him. Unlike the "young" girls sitting beside me (I'm only 31, but they were much younger than me) who kept waiting for him to "play something we know" or the 40-something wine-o's behind me that talked the ENTIRE time he was playing. Seriously, if you don't know any songs other than My Body Is a Wonderland, why are you here? If you and your four girlfriends want to drink wine and talk REALLY loudly over music, do it at a wine bar. Okay, enough of that.

    I on the other hand like to zone completely out of everything else but the music. The Hollywood Bowl is such a special venue. Tucked away in the hills, under the stars, and surrounded by walls of green trees and ivy, it's seriously wonderful. I only took three pictures, and one video, because I didn't want to be distracted.
 What's Montana good for? I can tell you one thing it's good for. John Mayer. I have never seen him, at least appear, to be in such a good place in his life. He seemed kind of...cheerful. Maybe it's because he can sing again, maybe he's really happy, I don't know. Do yourself a favor, download Paradise Valley. Listen to Wildfire first. Get over the fact that it's a little "bluegrass-y" and probably not what you're used to. Then push the back button and listen to it again. Try to sit still. You can't. His music has evolved with him. He doesn't keep making the same music over and over again.

I have only ever afforded nosebleed seats, but ONE DAY I will save up and spring for the pool circle tickets so I won't be distracted by the people just there for "something to do". During the break between Phillip Phillips and John, they had music playing really low as they changed the stage around. People were talking and getting up to go to the bathroom, but I just sat there. And guess what I heard, ever so quietly. I heard Black Water by the Doobie Brothers. In case you haven't read my blog before, this is my dad's music. My dad died a couple of years ago very unexpectedly. Whenever I am doing something I really love, or I'm at a special place, I hear the Doobie Brothers. Disneyland? Doobie Brothers. A&W? (my dad's favorite) Doobie Brothers. John Mayer Concert? Doobie Brothers. I love it.

You see, I was raised by two (very) ex-hippies. When they started having us kids, they left their party days behind, but kept the music. I was raised listening to music most 31 year old women never have. Saturday mornings were spent cleaning the house with their records or my dad's reel to reels blaring through his giant speakers through our two-story house. My mom recently sent me two of his hundreds of reel to reels just so that I could have them. They are so special to me. I can remember my dad, even as he was in his 50's, turning on the reel to reels and sitting in the basement with the volume ALL the way up, singing his heart out for HOURS. I could do that. I could waste an entire day listening to music and not wanting to be interrupted. I died of embarrassment when my best friend saw my dad sing Taking Care of Business at the top of his lungs. Now it is one of my favorite memories.
I was talking to my husband about music on the drive home from the concert. Since I grew up in Ohio, and he grew up in California, I asked him if they spent music class in middle school listening to Beatles music and analyzing the lyrics. Nope. We did, and I'm not sure if it's because I grew up an hour from the capital of rock and roll, or if my teacher was a hippie. I didn't fully appreciate it then. Do you ever wish you could go back and take a few of your interesting classes as an adult? We would learn about the reasons behind the songs, such as "Ohio" by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Music is supposed to have a purpose. Yes, sometimes the purpose is just to entertain, but I love that John's lyrics actually tell a story. They make sense. 

I'm the girl with the weird playlist. When I die, someone is going to look at my ipod and say, "what was she thinking?" I'm the girl whose playlist includes Ben E. King, Otis Redding, Bachman Turner Overdrive, The Eagles, The Doobie Brothers, and Hall & Oates. I'm the girl who can call a Dream On cover off of one note.I'm the girl who knows all of the words to Linda Ronstadt's greatest hits album. I'm the girl whose 8 and 9 year old daugthers don't have a clue who One Direction is, could probably name only one Justin Beiber song, but can spot an AC/DC song a mile away. I'm the girl who listens to "Dear Marie", and when the last minute of the song arrives, closes her eyes, leans her head back, and is instantly transported back under a dark sky, tucked away in the Hollywood hills and my heart leaps as I sing, "oooooooooh, ooooooooh, oooooooooh."
Thank you, John. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

September Update

Well, time has kind of flown by since my last update, so I thought it was time for a new one. My photos get backlogged, and realize it's time to share before moving on. Here is a little snapshot of my life recently. 

I learned how to make this flower granny square garland (I'd never heard of the popcorn stitch) and now I just want to stare at it all day. It will be off in the mail soon, to my garland exchange partner. I'm participating in an adoption fundraiser over at It's Just Emmy. It's pretty cool. You pay $5 to sign up, and then you get sent a person that you will send a garland to. You get to know a few things about them, but that's it, it's a surprise. Super fun!
 So, I know raw chicken is not very appealing, but I made this last night and it was the BEST roasted chicken I've ever made. I like the ones from the store, but they all taste the same. I made a compound butter with fresh parsley, salt, pepper, and butter, and put it under the skin, and on top. It was the juiciest chicken ever!

 I recently remembered that I knew how to print on fabric! Duh! What took me so long?! I'm starting to add printed words onto my Etsy shop hoops (see the sidebar for link), and I love it!

 Fall has begun, and my decor is slowly switching over. I found this old catalog card in a thrift store book, titled, When Autumn Comes. I slid that puppy in front of my Atlas jar faster than you could say "fall". ;)

A couple more of my realization that I could print on fabric...

I updated my iPhone and then realized I couldn't really see the app words on my home screen because my background was too light. I didn't like any of the other backgrounds that I had, so I went to my Rhonna Designs App and discovered she has a chalkboard background! Now I use a blank chalkboard background for my wallpaper, and this as my lock screen. Basic and beautiful. Her app is probably the best one I've ever paid for.

I realized the other day, that Emma would make a perfect teacher. I snapped this photo of her (without her knowing it) while she was reading to Cami and I. I love the way she is holding the book.

Speaking of books! I also snuck up and snapped this photo of her. We were doing family dinner night at a relative's house and while we were all talking and watching football, she was in the study with the door closed, with her book and a bowl of ice cream. Yes, she's wearing a layer on top of her pjs, she'd just gotten out of the shower and hates getting her wet hair on her pajamas. ;)

This is a revelation! I made gluten free fried chicken AND gluten free waffles! And it was fabulous!! Healthy? No, but tasty for sure.

My hubby took the day off a couple of weeks ago, and went with Cami and I up to the children's hospital. She had two big appointments, which went very well! I loved that they had Sully in the GI department waiting room.

 Last, I also participated in the hoop exchange for It's Just Emmy. It dawned on me to use my light box to trace my letters to be embroidered by hand. I love the one I received even more than the one I sent.

Well, that's the update for now. It's been busy up here just keeping up with LIFE! :)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

End of Summer Update

So, school has started and life has been BUSY! I officially decided I just don't have what it takes to keep up with this blog regularly. Home school is so incredibly time consuming, I just can't find the time. So I'm going back to my roots, a every-so-often family update and occasional thing I just have to share. Here is our recent update...
1.This is our new favorite meal to share with a crowd. Everything gets a drizzle of olive oil, and sprinkled with lemon zest and basil. Mix all of these flavors together and YOU WILL THANK ME!

2. I went to our local county surplus sale and found this metal drawer marked $4.00, but the checkout guy only charged me half that...yes!
 A fresh coat of mint green spray paint, and it's perfect for storing chapter books!
3. Our nephew got married! We traveled to Temecula, which neither of us had ever been to, and got to witness their beautiful vows.
 Of course, I'm the guest that takes pictures of the decor. Shocked? I didn't think so.
 They had the COOLEST photo booth ever, where you control it! It had a touch screen and it gave you a countdown, then took three photos and showed you each one. Then you could walk over to the iPad and tap the ones you wanted to email to yourself!! What?! Instant gratification!

4. We woke up early the day after the wedding to make the hour (or so...WHATEVER stupid traffic) to make good use of our Disneyland passes. It was great, but I'm convinced you have never fully felt 94 degrees until you've been at the sun...with no humidity...on concrete. And this is coming from a girl that has lived in the Central Valley (hello, 106 degrees) for the last 13 years.

5. Last week, I went back to the surplus store and found this rolling metal cart for $15, but again, the guy marked it down to $10.
 I painted it the same mint green (not the inside), and it is now storage for our big school books. The shelf at the bottom is currently holding our light board. I just wheel it over to my desk when it's time for school. I love that the books are now out of sight, and I'm not tripping over them. The lid lifts up and then slides down to stay open.

6. Every day after school this week I've been working on adding fall banners to my Etsy shop. I am in LOVE with these, especially this one! (The faux chalkboard printables are free over at Shanty 2 Chic!)

6. We are doing a mold experiment for science and it is GROSS. Enough said.

 7. A friend posted on Facebook that a local vending wholesaler sells the replacement rubber bands for the Rainbow Loom CHEAP. So we went and I may have bought a giant thing of gumballs as a school supply. ;)

 8. I have been dying for a big map. I finally saw them on zulily the other day and snagged one pretty cheap. It is HUGE and came laminated. It's fabulous! I hung it up above my desk and now I can just look up and daydream about what island I'd rather be on when we hit the afternoon brick wall on occasion. ;)

 9. Hobby Lobby has these stretched burlap "canvases" in a bunch of different sizes. They come pre-painted with a cream background and raw burlap edges. I used a half off coupon and made a fun stencil to go over the map. I'm really loving making our school room a bright, happy place.