happy october and mini buntings galore

Mmm, the arrival of fall! Pumpkin muffins, cozy blankets, comfy boots and dark, quiet mornings. Really, I love each change of season – it seems like a breath of fresh air.

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Not a lot is new around our home, we’ve just been adjusting to more of a fall routine. Luke is kind of obsessed with Noah’s ark, so we spend a lot of time playing Noah’s ark, reading various versions of the story, singing songs about the ark, and speculating about what animals might have gotten on the ark first. I don’t know why I don’t have a picture of any of this, I feel like I spend at least half my day talking about this subject.

We are gearing up to rearrange Luke’s room and get him settled into a toddler bed before little sister moves into his room in a few months. I’m excited for him to have a slightly different space, and I’m hoping it will kick-start some nesting instincts so that I can start preparing for baby’s arrival. I’ve been feeling great, growing bigger and I spend at least a few minutes every day in complete awe and thankfulness that our family is going to be growing soon!

In other news, I just added a bunch of fun new mini buntings to my etsy shop!

I just love these little mini buntings, and fall mornings are the perfect time to work on them. My party mini buntings have been pretty popular, so I’m hoping some of these fun fall garlands will find their way into some good homes.

Happy fall everyone!

entering into summer

Things are in full summer mode in our house now (well, except the weather, which is drizzly and overcast today). We’ve been busy working and playing outside, keeping up with Luke, and embracing summertime fun.

IMG_6589We added another raised vegetable bed and a couple wine barrels to our garden so we have more veggies this year. As always, we probably started a little later than we should have, so hopefully everything still works out okay. Luke loved using the new garden bed as his own personal play space for a couple days. Then he helped Ian plant seeds, which he loved. Almost every time we are outside he “plants seeds!” by moving around dirt or whatnot with his shovel. He will also walk around the yard asking what different plants are called – definitely his father’s son.

IMG_6597_2The kiddo also takes after his dad in his love for smoothies. He’s also mastered a pretty awesome “cheese” face.

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And he turned 2! We had a family bbq at my parent’s house, which worked out well since they are on the south side of the Skagit River bridge, which wasn’t fixed at the time, and Ian’s family all lives south of there. Luke loved seeing all his family, getting lots of attention, food, and some great play time with his older cousin Isabel.

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On Fathers Day we headed over to a local berry farm for their Strawberry Festival. We enjoyed free strawberry sundaes and Luke enjoyed a few turns on the tractor train. He is kind of obsessed with driving lately – he recently realized that he always has to sit in the back seat of the car, and now every trip involves his loud protests to “drive!” or at least sit in the “front!” Well, this little tractor train was perfect – if you ask him about it, he usually says “drive!” It may have been the best day of his life so far.

It is so fun to see his personality emerge. The minute we got out of the car and he saw the train, he hustled over to it and wanted to get on. So in he went, and a minute later he was headed out into a field with a bunch of kids he didn’t know and a man driving a tractor to who knows where. We waved as he rounded the corner and he was just happy as a clam, even though he probably had no real idea of where he was going. I had to laugh, because I was the exact opposite as a child – I would have had to watch the train go around at least five times or more, so I would know what would happen. And if there were too many other kids I didn’t know, I probably would have had no part in it. To Luke, it’s all an adventure and every kid is a potential friend. It’s been awesome to get to parent this brave, extroverted little guy.

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A few days later we headed out to another berry farm to pick strawberries. We picked 18 lbs of yummy berry goodness – well, I use the term “we” pretty loosely. I picked a couple pounds while Luke ate a few, then I spent the rest of the time running around with Luke while Ian picked, we all had a great time. We spent the next few nights putting up 17 pints of jam and a few pints of strawberry syrup. Luke got pretty creative in finding ways to nab a berry or two…

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So that’s what we’ve been up to lately! I hope your summer is off to a great start as well!

diy cupcake liner flowers

DIY Cupcake Liner Flowers

I figured I’m really overdue in posting about my crafting endeavors, so I thought I’d share about these sweet little flowers I made last Saturday.

I love having fresh flowers in the house, but we’re still months away from any cutting flowers growing in our garden. When I came upon some cute yellow polka dot cupcake liners for $1, I decided I could make my own flowers to brighten up our dining room.

This whole project probably took about 15 minutes, and it was started and finished while Luke was coloring and playing with stickers, so I was kind of figuring it out on the fly and using what I could easily grab.

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Supplies:

  • cupcake liners
  • felt (or fabric/paper and drinking straws)
  • glue
  • floral wire
  • scissors

IMG_6391The first step is to take two liners. Flip one inside out – so the pretty part is on the inside – and stick it in the other one. It gives it a double-sided look and some fullness.

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Then just pinch the middle together to form a point.

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For the felt, I just used some triangle shaped scraps I had (like I said, I was working fast!). They were about 7 inches tall, and the bottom edge was about 3 inches wide. They made for pretty short flowers, so I’d cut a taller triangle if I was actually cutting out a piece – at least 10 inches. You could also use other fabric or scrapbook paper, you’d just need to wrap it around something like a drinking straw. The felt is thick enough that it forms a good stem simply by wrapping around itself.

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Okay, so take the narrow tip of your felt and wrap it around the point of your cupcake liners. It might be super helpful to have something like a glue gun, but I made it work. Make sure you grab enough of the liners to get a good hold on it, then tightly wrap the floral wire around both the felt and the liners. Don’t worry too much if your liners are getting a little wrinkled, because they’ll unfold and cover that part up.

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Once you’ve gotten it started, just keep twisting the wire around the stem, and keep twisting the felt around itself.

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The stem will get thicker as you work downwards, since it’s cut in a triangle shape. The wire makes it sturdy but bendable.

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Now it’s time for the center. Take another cupcake liner and squish it into another point.

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Unfold the base flower that’s already attached to the stem and add a dab of glue (again, hot glue would be super helpful). I just squished and pinched until it felt secure.

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Unfurl and primp and do what you need to do to make it look pretty! Make a few more and you have a sweet little bouquet that won’t go bad in a few days!

You could totally try making all kinds of flowers – I stuck with the one inner bloom because I thought they looked a bit like daffodils. But you could fill them out more and try all sorts of variations!

IMG_6403Makes me excited for spring.

Speaking of spring, I’ve added a few spring-y things to my etsy shop, like this fun mini bunting garland.

The bright colors just cheer me up.

Happy flower making!

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happy 2013 (and holiday recap)

Happy new year! Our year is off to a fine start, and I hope yours is as well. I had a great Christmas / birthday / anniversary, and it’s always a little sad to return to the daily normal after all those festivities. That and the fact that Ian was on vacation for a week and a half. Little boy is missing his daddy today too.

This Christmas season was really fun with Luke – he is at such a great stage. Yes, there are tantrums and crazy moments and lots of needs, but he is developing a little boy personality and is starting to communicate so much better. He is learning new words every day, but his favorites are always animals – “dol-dol” for dolphin, “pup-pup” for puppy, and “orca” (yes, as in orca whales… I swear I did not push him into this marine mammal obsession, he developed it himself). It’s so fun how he turns his new words into games – he likes to say “stuck” and pretend that he’s stuck somehow, or pretend to go “night-night” on anything and everything. He loves to make people laugh, and he’s picking up on the fact that language is very effective at getting the attention and response that he’s looking for.

Anyways, back to Christmas. We enjoyed the anticipation of the advent season by doing several different advent calendars each evening. Luke loved this tradition again this year. Here he is last year and this year…

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We had lots of fun doing Christmas-y things, like making cookies, making some rice-filled neck warmers for Christmas gifts, and playing Christmas songs on the piano.

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Of course, there were also moments of general Christmas cheer…

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…as well as awkward moments where the camera timer goes off before you’re ready…

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But all in all, it was a great Christmas. Wishing you all a great 2013, from our family to yours!

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12 days of crafting: paper punch christmas tree

12 days of crafting handmade christmas gifts handmade christmas decor From December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some fun ideas to create a handmade Christmas. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or decor for your own home!

Day 12: Paper Punch Christmas Tree


Paper Punch Christmas Tree

Well, here we are on day 12! I’m going to leave you with this sweet little tree that only took 15 minutes or so to make. If your kiddo is old enough to safely craft with straight pins, this would be a fun craft for them – it doesn’t need to look exactly like mine, there are lots of ways that this festive little tree can be made!

PPaper Punch Christmas Tree

Supplies:

  • 1″ circle paper punch
  • styrofoam cone (whatever size you want)
  • straight pins with some sort of head to them – I had these fun colored ones, but the white ones could look pretty too!
  • scrapbook paper, light cardstock, or re-purposed Christmas cards

This is seriously easy. First punch a bunch of circles, then start pinning them at the base of the tree. I pinned my circles right in the middle, and I started the first row so that it overlapped the bottom of the sytrofoam cone.

Paper Punch Christmas Tree

Then you just keep working up your tree, overlapping the circles so that the whole thing is covered.

Paper Punch Christmas Tree

My cones were flat on top, so I pinned a row of circles right at the edge, then I put a small wad of paper towel (hey, it was handy) in there and pinned the last row to it.

IMG_5815 Paper Punch Christmas Tree

Once that was done, I finished it off by taking a few circles, bending them and sticking them in the top center of the tree to fill it out a bit (and hide that chic paper towel).

Paper Punch Christmas Tree

Make little adjustments as necessary and ta-da! You’ve got yourself a little tree!

Paper Punch Christmas Tree

Thanks so much for joining me for 12 days of crafting! It’s been so fun to share some ideas with you, and a special thanks and shout out to Laura, Janelle, Carrie and David for their contributions as well!

In case you missed it…
Day 1: Christmas Kissing Ball
Day 2: Vanilla-Infused English Breakfast Tea
Day 3: Iris Paper Folding
Day 4: Paper Circle Garland
Day 5: Rice-Filled Neck Warmer
Day 6: Felt Stacking Tree
Day 7: Painted Wooden Message Boards
Day 8: Paper Dot Notecards
Day 9: Simple Sewing Projects
Day 10: Stamped Candles
Day 11: Little Man Workbench

12 days of crafting: felt stacking tree

12 days of crafting handmade christmas gifts handmade christmas decor  From December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some fun ideas to create a handmade Christmas. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or decor for your own home!

Day 6: Felt Stacking Tree

felt stacking tree

Today’s project is just a cute little decoration that can be made a bunch of different ways.

felt stacking tree

Supplies:

  • old 100% wool sweater(s) or other felted wool
  • fabric scissors
  • about 10″ of wire (I used a thicker floral wire leftover from another project, but it doesn’t need to be that thick)
  • wire cutters (if needed for your wire)
  • tree topper (felt, a bead, small figurine, etc)

If your wool isn’t already felted, you’ll need to do that first. This is great if you have an old wool sweater that you want to upcycle into a fun project, but you can also check out a thrift store. It’s totally fine if the sweater has holes or issues – the felting process shrinks and binds it all together, so if you are buying one, look for the cheaper damaged ones! Also, I only used one color because I only had one sweater that was falling apart and didn’t want to buy more, but the multi-colored trees I’ve seen are super cute. So if you can get more colors, go for it! It’d especially be worth it if you were making a bunch of trees for gifts, so you’d use more of the sweaters.

To felt the sweaters, all you need to do is toss them in a mesh laundry bag (because they will give off lint like crazy!) and throw them in the washing machine on the hot/cold cycle. They’ll shrink up all funny and be super soft and perfect for crafting! Lay it out to dry and it’s ready to go!

felt stacking tree

Making the tree is so easy. First you’ll cut out your circles – I found it easiest to cut the smallest one first, then use that as a template for the next one by cutting just outside of it (maybe about 1/8″ or so). I kept doing that until I had a circle the size that I wanted for my base (it’s about 4″ across).

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I had 21 circles all together. Then you just bend your wire at the bottom and start stacking them by poking the wire through the center of each circle.

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Just keep stacking them all the way up…

felt stacking tree

When you get to the top, you can attach your tree topper by bending your wire around it (or, if you are using more felted wool like me, you can thread it right through).

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And your felt stacking tree is complete! You can bend the wire around to find the perfect position for your tree.

felt stacking tree

My little tree is going to hang out in our entryway, so I’m going to leave him as is. Depending on where he ends up in the future, I may dress him up – maybe a little beaded garland or glue on some beads or pearls as ornaments!

felt stacking tree

A few alternative ways to do this project:

  • Glue the felt circles together. Your tree will just be permanently positioned but will still be cute.
  • Use regular felt. Regular felt is fine, it’s just thinner and cleaner than the fuzzy, thick felted wool. So it will look different but be equally fun. You’ll probably want to cut out more layers, and probably cut out two of each size.
  • Make an ornament by using thread or fishing line and threading that through each layer. My mother-in-law has a similar ornament that has a bell at the bottom of the tree – that is an easy and cute way to secure the bottom layers.

Hope you enjoy this simple little tree as much as I do!

In case you missed it…
Day 1: Christmas Kissing Ball
Day 2: Vanilla-Infused English Breakfast Tea
Day 3: Iris Paper Folding
Day 4: Paper Circle Garland
Day 5: Rice-Filled Neck Warmer

12 days of crafting: paper circle garland

12 days of crafting handmade christmas gifts handmade christmas decorFrom December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some fun ideas to create a handmade Christmas. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or decor for your own home!

Day 4: Paper Circle Garland

paper circle garland, paper punch garland, diy paper garlandYou can never have too many garlands! This one is quick, easy and fun to make!

paper punch garland, paper circle garland, diy paper garland

Supplies:

  • paper circle punch (mine is 1″, but you could do any size you want)
  • double-sided cardstock (or do what I did – glue two one-sided papers together! Thank you Joanns $1 section for carrying 12×12 Christmas paper packs!)
  • sewing machine
  • thread

A quick note about the paper circle punch: if you don’t have one, get one! They are SUCH a handy craft tool to have around. When I first learned to make bottle cap magnets, I borrowed a friend’s and fell in love with it. The next time I made the magnets, I bought my own and I use it all.the.time. In fact, there will be two more craft ideas in the 12 days series that use the 1″ punch, so get your Joanns or Michaels coupons and go get one!

Okay, back to our project. It’s so easy. First, punch a bunch of circles – you can decide how many you need based on the size of the punch. There will be about a  1/2 inch gap between each circle, so you can estimate how many circles you’ll need for your desired garland length (with my 1″ circles, it took about 8 to make 1 foot of garland).

paper punch garland, paper circle garland, diy paper garlandOnce you’ve punched all your circles and your toddler has dumped the bowl out at least twice – that might just be me – get out your sewing machine and put in whatever color thread you want. I went with white, but a bold, festive color would be cool too.

All you do is feed these puppies through the machine, one at a time. Let the machine run a little bit after each circle – mine seemed to do a certain amount and then stop feeding, about 1/2″, which was perfect. This part is so fun, it comes together so fast! Ian walked by and thought it was pretty crazy (crazy good, I’m assuming).

paper punch garland, paper circle garland, diy paper garlandThat’s all there is to it! Isn’t that sweet?

paper punch garland, paper circle garland, diy paper garlandThe photo above illustrates two things NOT to do. First, keep the garland away from your coffee. A few of my circles went for a quick dip. Second, see that pile on the upper left? Oh, it’s a happy pile now, but pick that thing up and hastily try to hang the garland while keeping it out of your toddler’s hands? Bad idea. I had the tangled mess of the century. After a few minutes of trying to untangle it while standing on a chair, I decided to go with my original plan of hanging vertical pieces of the garland (thus cutting apart my loooong tangled garland into manageable 2 foot pieces). This mess could have easily been avoided by either being more careful or wrapping the garland around something like a toilet paper tube or water bottle or something that would keep it untangled.

Regardless, I’m happy with the result!

paper punch garland, paper circle garland, diy paper garland
paper punch garland, paper circle garland, diy paper garlandI’m even quite fond of how it looks on the tree, and Ian liked it too. So I may be whipping up some more for our tree.

paper circle garland, paper punch garland, diy paper garlandIsn’t it cute? You can use them for so many things – hang them in different ways or cut them apart and wrap them around your gifts.

Don’t have a sewing machine or time to make one? There are lot of fun ones on etsy!

Paper circle garlands. Love them. End of story.

In case you missed it…
Day 1: Christmas Kissing Ball
Day 2: Vanilla-Infused English Breakfast Tea
Day 3: Iris Paper Folding

12 days of crafting: iris paper folding

12 days of crafting handmade christmas gifts handmade christmas decorFrom December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some fun ideas to create a handmade Christmas. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or decor for your own home!

Day 3: Iris Paper Folding

iris paper folding, recycle wrapping paper, recycle ribbon cardstock, gift tag, paper ornament, ribbon ornament

Today’s handmade Christmas craft is brought to you by my good friend Laura! We were roommates in college, and her fun little crafts were always so creative. She’s made me tons of fun stuff over the years, and one of my recent faves is the mobile she made for Luke – you can catch a glimpse of it from afar in this post. Anyways, I loved it so much that I asked her to share her technique in making what I called her “ribbon art” – come to find it actually has an official name! – and so here she is to explain iris paper folding!

“This is a great way to recycle leftover Christmas scraps of ribbon, wrapping paper, or Christmas cards and can be used for a variety of crafts! The official name is iris paper folding. You can find hundreds of templates online, and can also make your own. It is a great way to add a homemade touch to your Christmas decorations or gifts without a large investment of time or money! This project usually takes about 1/2 hour once you have your supplies together.

iris paper folding, recycle wrapping paper, recycle ribbon cardstock, gift tag, paper ornament, ribbon ornament
Supplies:

  • Exacto knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Scissors
  • Card stock paper
  • Tape
  • Glue stick
  • Ribbon, wrapping paper, or other lightweight paper

Here are the basics:  Pick a Christmas themed shape such as a Christmas tree or Christmas stocking. Pick your ribbon or wrapping paper that you will use for your craft.  You can do it with one color of ribbon or paper, or pick a couple of colors and alternate. Pick a contrasting color of card stock paper for a backing.

Use a pre-made template, or cut your own out of card stock paper.  Then trace this template onto your card stock and cut out your shape with the knife. You will then flip over the template and work from the back.

Have your template or wrapping paper cut into long strips. You will essentially start in a triangle, taping your strips down. Keep working in concentric triangles towards the center. This is where it is easiest to have a pre drawn template, because it guides you just like working on a paint by number like you did as a kid.

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Always remember that you are working from the back, so you want to see the ugly side of everything. When you make it to the middle add some extra tape strips to secure everything.

iris paper folding, recycle wrapping paper, recycle ribbon cardstock, gift tag, paper ornament, ribbon ornament
Then flip over, and voila, you’ve created something new! You can then back your creation on a card for a homemade greeting card, or another piece of card stock for a gift tag, Christmas ornament, or whatever strikes your fancy!”

iris paper folding, recycle wrapping paper, recycle ribbon cardstock, gift tag, paper ornament, ribbon ornament

Thanks Laura! I am super excited to try this – really, when she said it was like “paint by number,” I said “I’m in!” And for reals – I might give this ornament pattern a try for some gift tags and Luke would flip out if I made this dolphin for him. You can totally think beyond seasonal tags and ornaments and make a gift out of your creation – Laura also made me an awesome squirrel a few years ago. She framed it in a picture frame and it was such a fun gift to receive! He still sits happily on my desk. So go get your paper and ribbon scraps and give this craft a try!

In case you missed it…
Day 1: Christmas Kissing Ball
Day 2: Vanilla-Infused English Breakfast Tea

12 days of crafting: christmas kissing ball

12daysFrom December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some fun ideas to create a handmade Christmas. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or decor for your own home!

Day 1: Christmas Kissing Ball

christmas kissing ball  handmade christmas decor

Tired of hanging mistletoe in your doorway? Give this festive little guy a try!

christmas kissing ball  handmade christmas decor

Supplies:

  • Styrofoam ball (mine is the size of a mandarin orange, but choose whatever size you like)
  • Glue that works well with fuzziness – Fabritac worked great for me.
  • Little pom-pom puff balls – I had some smaller ones on hand and bought another pack from the dollar store. Craft stores have some really fun Christmas ones (with sparklies and such!).
  • Ribbon

Start by putting a few dabs of glue on the ball and wrap your ribbon around it. I went ahead and tied it and made a bow – I later made the bow a little bigger. You may want to wait to tie your bow until you have some little puffs in place, so you can see how big you want it. I think this would look great with a wider ribbon, but I didn’t have enough wide ribbon so I went with tiny!

IMG_5654Next, you just start gluing on your puff balls, one by one. Luke had a lot of fun throwing the puffs around and putting them in and out of his cups, but older kids could definitely help with this part!

christmas kissing ball  handmade christmas decorIt may look a little funny as you’re building it, but just keep going and then you’ll end up with a fun little guy like this:

christmas kissing ball  handmade christmas decorNow tie that little ball of puff up in one of your doorways and call your sweetie over!

Ian says that the color scheme reminds him of the Christmas decor from his childhood (okay, so that might also be because I claimed the small puffs when your mom was cleaning out her crafting stash… thanks, Lynne!). Anyways, you could switch it up by using less primary colors if this kissing ball is too much festivity for your home. It would be pretty to do one in blues and white too. But anytime I can sneak some 70s style decor into our home is a good day for me! 😉

You know what would look super cute with this kissing ball? Some mini bunting! I’m so excited to get my Christmas colors up. There’s still a couple left in my shop if you are interested!

running through the pumpkin patch

We headed over to Bellewood Acres a couple weeks ago to pick out our pumpkin and some apples. Last year Luke fell asleep during this trip, this year he wouldn’t stop running! Bellewood changed its location, which was a little sad to us – now they have a huge market and restaurant area, but the farm just isn’t as homey as their old one. Nevertheless, Luke was super excited to be there and run up and down the rows of pumpkins. Here are some photos from our time there.

Giddyup.

Seriously, he ran the entire time.

…with the occasional break to excitedly point to various pumpkins.

Me and my little man. Such a big boy now.

My boys. Love them.

He loved all the colors and textures.

It was a fun family outing.

I’ll be back later this week with some exciting news, stay tuned!