Fab 5: Dawnene and Justine

Fab 5: Dawnene and Justine

Hello and happy Friday!  I’m super excited to introduce you to two lovely ladies as part of my Fab 5 series.  If you’re new to this series, it is basically a spotlight on the woman behind the blog.  Sometimes bloggers get lost behind the blog and I want you to get to know the person as well as check out their awesome blog!  The last Friday of each month will be dedicated to this series.

Today, you’ll be meeting Dawnene from Beans and Peanuts and Justine from Little Dove.  Like I mentioned, I’m really excited for you to meet these two amazing women so I’ll let them take it from here!

Fab 5: Dawnene and Justine

Dawnene  |  Beans and Peanuts

I grew up in a town about 1 hour east of Vancouver, BC, Canada.  I moved away for 4 years while I attended University and then moved back to my hometown, where I reside now with my little family!  Both of my daughters were born in the same hospital as myself and my mom.  Kinda neat.  My husband, Tyler, and I met when we were 13 years old.  We started dating when we were 17 and haven’t looked back.  We’ve been together for 12 years and married for 6 years.  We have 2 daughters, Natalie (almost 4 years old) and Hailee (2 years old).  Tyler started his own company framing houses 3 years ago.  It’s a small crew, just himself and his cousin.  He works 6 days a week so that I can stay at home with the girls, so Sundays are a special day for our family.

Describe your blog:
I started blogging in June 2016.  I started my blog because I’ve always enjoyed writing and I wanted to have a project and do something for myself.  I try to blog about topics that will help moms and moms-to-be in some way by sharing my personal stories, thoughts, and tidbits of information that have worked for me as a mom.  Motherhood can be hard so I’m just really trying to make being a parent easier and let other moms know they’re not alone in their thoughts and feelings.

What are your favorite things to do with your free time?
As a stay at home mom I really don’t have too much free time, which is fine because I love doing things with my girls.  When they’re sleeping you’ll most likely find me working on my blog and social media channels.  I love to exercise and I try to take 30 minutes a day to do so.  I grew up doing ballet and just recently started doing an adult ballet class once a week.  It’s been so nice to get back into it.  I always leave class so happy!  I also always make time to watch Grey’s Anatomy, and Tyler and I also love Game of Thrones!

What is a typical day like for you?
This is a little hard because depending on what we have going on, every day is a little different.  On preschool days we need to be up and out of the house early, but other days we’re able to have relaxing mornings (which I really take advantage of because next year when Natalie starts kindergarten we will no longer have lazy weekday mornings!).  But everyday consists of: breakfast (usually in bed), getting ready for the day, some type of laundry, some type of errand (whether it be preschool in the morning or dance in the afternoon), lunch, nap time/quiet time, I always make time to play with my girls in the afternoon, have dinner, play a bit more, bath time, bed time, and then working on the blog!

What is your dream vacation?  
Good question.  At this point, any vacation would be a dream!  We’re really concentrating on saving money for a down payment to buy a house so a vacation isn’t really in our immediate future!  I really, really want to be able to take the girls to Disney.  And I absolutely love Maui so I really want to go back.  But my dream vacation would have to be going to Italy and eating all the pasta I want, which would never happen because I need to eat gluten free, hence the dream part!  I would also love to go to Greece.  It looks so beautiful and I would love to see it in person.

What is your favorite animal and why?
I’m a huge animal lover.  I wish I could snuggle every single one.  But my favorite always has and always will be cats.  I’m really not sure why.  I’m just drawn to them and they seem to be drawn to me.

Bonus question: If you could meet a celebrity, who would it be and why?  
This took me a while to think of.  I’m so out of the loop when it comes to celebrities.  I used to know them all, and now when I look at magazines in the grocery store line up and think “who the heck is that?!”  But after some thought, I realized that I would love to meet Taylor Swift.  My cousin and I went to her concert last August when she was in Vancouver, and she was absolutely amazing.  She has such an incredible message to send and she’s a great role model for young women.  As a mother of 2 girls I listened to her speak and wished that she could sit down with them and tell them everything she said at her concert.  She was amazing and I left that concert feeling like there’s hope for my girls in this world, that there are actually some positive people out there.

Social Media Links
Facebook: Beans and Peanuts 
Instagram: @beansandpeanuts
Pinterest: @beansandpeanuts
Twitter: @beansandpeanuts
Fab 5: Dawnene and Justine

Justine  |  Little Dove

I grew up in southern California.  I lived in the same house in Huntington Beach for about 20 years.  I even had my wedding reception in our backyard.  After my husband and I got married we lived in UCLA student housing while he finished dental school and we had baby number one, then we lived in Texas for a couple years where he worked for a non-profit and we had baby number two (and I started my blog!), then we came back west and had babies number three and four in northern California.

Describe your blog: 
When I started my blog soon after having my son nearly six years ago, it was mainly a place where I could (in theory) sell some of the things I had started making for my little on.  Blankets, leg warmers, customized onesies, etc.  At the time I had no clue about the hustle that’s involved in blogging or running your own business and I wasn’t very successful.  But the blogging bug definitely bit me hard and I kept at it.  I have learned a lot over the years and the past few years it has grown and evolved into a DIY/lifestyle blog and I love the direction it’s taken!  Earlier this year I re-branded and I feel like that’s helped my blog and business growth a lot.

What are your favorite things to do with your free time? 
Honestly, I don’t have a lot of “free time”, lol.  I have four children age six and under that occupy a lot of my time.  Plus, I feel like as a blogger and small business owner there is always something you could be doing to improve and network, you know?  But I do love reading (when I have time), relaxing in front of the tv (especially to decompress at the end of the day), and I love baking, although that typically ends up on the blog so that’s sort of working… 😉  I also like to go jogging, scrapbook, and go out on dates with my hubby.

Tell us about your shop:
I create custom graphic tees and onesies mostly.  I try to be original with my work, and create pieces that people can really connect with.  When I see an order come through for one of my pieces it just makes my day because I feel like I have a kindred spirit out there that feels the same way about motherhood or diet soda as I do.  I also do a lot of custom orders and I always love helping my customer’s vision come to light.  As far as small businesses go, I’m pretty tiny, but I am really proud of how far my shop has come and I love it!

What is your favorite season/holiday? 
I love every season and every holiday, seriously.  I love any excuse to decorate or bake cute treats.  And I think that every season has something great about it.  I love taking my kids to the lake in the summer, I love the weather in the Fall and visiting the pumpkin patch, I love spending time with family at Thanksgiving, I love teaching my kids about the real meaning behind Easter and Christmas…  The only “holiday” I can’t stand is April Fools Day.  Ugh.

What is your favorite food?  
Asking me what my favorite food is, is like asking me who my favorite child is, it changes daily.  😉  Just kidding!  But seriously, there is so much food that I love I really don’t think I can narrow it down.  I love cheeseburgers and cupcakes.  Italian food and ice cream.  And above all else, Diet Coke.  Does that count as food?

Bonus question: How did you meet your husband?  
I met my husband on a blind date in August 2006.  I was “technically” dating someone else at the time…but that’s a long story.  We were set up by the mutual efforts of his brother, my cousin, and my mom.  I guess it took a lot of convincing to get him to ask me out, lol.  Our first date was pretty successful, despite the fact I started feeling sick at the end of it and we called it quits early to go home and play Scrabble.  Our relationship was pretty interesting though: we broke up in October, got back together in November, broke up in March, and then got back together and engaged in April.  We got married in Newport Beach in June 2007.  Again, that’s all a long story.  I guess basically he just had to realize how awesome I was and that he couldn’t live life without me. 😉

Social Media Links
Facebook: Little Dove 
Bloglovin: Little Dove Blog
Instagram: @littledove.justine
Pinterest: Justine Y @ Little Dove
Twitter: @LittleDove_blog

As you can see, these are a couple of pretty amazing women!  I hope you’ll take the time to hop over and check out their blogs and other social media.

Next month, I’ll be interviewing two new bloggers for my Fab 5 series, so stay tuned.

Have a lovely weekend!

DIY Burp Cloth Tutorial

Burp cloths are the perfect gift to give to any expecting mother.  By making them yourself, you can personalize them and they are cute to boot!

When I had my first baby almost 5 years ago, I received a small stack of burp cloths from the wife of my husband’s boss.  They were the perfect size and she had sewn cute coordinating ribbons on them.  Of all the burp cloths I received, these were definitely my favorite because they also covered my entire shoulder and partially down my back.  But the best part (for me, at least) was that they were so durable.  I have washed them countless times and they don’t fray or fall apart and the spit up has washed right out.  That’s what I call a good burp cloth!

I remember talking to a friend one day after having my second baby (and receiving more burp cloths from the same lady)  and she commented on how it was so smart to use cloth diapers as burp cloths.  I was like, “What?  I’ve been wearing a diaper on my shoulder?”  (Obviously, I was not familiar with cloth diapers.)  She kindly enlightened me and from that point on I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making some cute burp cloths.  I mean, if you’re going to be wearing one around for the first few month of your child’s life, they should be stylish, right? *wink*

I found a tutorial on The Thinking Closet that I liked, however, I did modify it slightly.  This is a very simple tutorial and one that even a beginner can do since it only involves straight lines.

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Gather your materials.  I found a 5 pack of pre-folded 6-ply cloth diapers at Target for $12.99.  They were the only place around that carried them in-store and I was impatient to start sewing.  (In the future, I will be ordering these cloth diapers.)  I bought 1/3 yard of 3 coordinating fabrics from JoAnn’s for just over $5 which is cheaper than buying the pre-cut fat quarters at $2.50/each.  (Plus I can accent at least 4 burp cloths from each piece, instead of the 3 I’d get from a fat quarter.)  If you have some scrap fabric laying around, you could use that or you could purchase some fat quarters.

Step 2: Pre-wash your fabric and iron.  I don’t normally pre-wash my fabric but since I wasn’t sure if there would be a difference in shrinkage between the cloth diapers and the patterned fabric, I decided to this time around to be safe.  Just wash in cold water and dry as you would your clothes.  Adjust the settings on your iron for the type of material you are using (mine was cotton).

Step 3: Measure and cut.  The cloth diapers I used measured about 18×12 after washing them.  My final measurement for the patterned material was about 5 1/2″ x 22″ but that was approximate due to the different shrinkage I saw in each fabric that I bought after washing.  The most important thing is to have a piece that is long enough to fold under around all sides so you end up with a clean edge.

Burp cloths are the perfect gift to give to any expecting mother.  By making them yourself, you can personalize them and they are cute to boot!

Step 4: Press your seams.  Pressing your seams makes the fabric lay nice and flat so you don’t have to fight with it when you are sewing the pieces together.  It’s not absolutely necessary but it definitely helps.  A neat tip shared on The Thinking Closet tutorial (who got it from Diary of a Quilter) is to use a piece of cardboard that has been cut down to the desired dimensions, then simply fold over the excess on each side and iron it.  (You can see that I used a cereal box.) I cut my cereal box down to 4 3/4″ wide and about 17″ long.

Burp cloths are the perfect gift to give to any expecting mother.  By making them yourself, you can personalize them and they are cute to boot!

Step 5: Pin your fabric to the cloth diaper.  Line up your patterned fabric on top of the middle section of the cloth diaper.  Use pins to keep it in place.  You shouldn’t have to go too crazy with the pins if you pressed your seams, maybe 3 or 4 total, since the purpose it to just keep it from moving around while you get it situated on your sewing machine.  Remember to fold the top edge under so you have a nice, clean edge.

*Note: Since cloth diapers vary a little bit in how straight the lines down the middle are, so just center your patterned fabric as best you can.

Burp cloths are the perfect gift to give to any expecting mother.  By making them yourself, you can personalize them and they are cute to boot!

Burp cloths are the perfect gift to give to any expecting mother.  By making them yourself, you can personalize them and they are cute to boot!

Step 6: Stitch across the top and bottom.  Before you start sewing, move your needle position all the way to the left.   Line up the right side of the patterned fabric to the faint center-line on your presser foot.  (see picture)  You want your stitching to be as close to the edge as possible.  Since you cut your patterned fabric longer than actually needed, you will need to trim it at the bottom and fold it over just like you did with the top.  Remember to backstitch at the beginning and end.

Burp cloths are the perfect gift to give to any expecting mother.  By making them yourself, you can personalize them and they are cute to boot!

Step 7: Stitch across the left and right sides.  Follow the same directions as step 6, remembering to leave the needle in the left position and backstitch at the beginning and end.  You should now have all four sides stitched.

*Note: If you make a mistake (like I did on the first one I sewed) and sew the top and sides first and are left with the bottom side, just cut down the fabric and fold it under and tuck it inside and sew across like you would have done in step 6.

Burp cloths are the perfect gift to give to any expecting mother.  By making them yourself, you can personalize them and they are cute to boot!

Step 8: Admire your darling new burp cloth!

Burp cloths are the perfect gift to give to any expecting mother.  By making them yourself, you can personalize them and they are cute to boot!

And there you have it!  A super simple, super cute burp cloth.  The first one took me longer than the rest, but once you get into a rhythm, you’ll be whipping these out like nobody’s business.  I love that these are handmade and can be completely personalized for whoever you are giving them to.  The possibilities are as endless as the patterns available!

What are your favorite handmade baby gifts to give/receive?

This post contains affiliate links which, if clicked on and the item is purchased, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Summer 2016 Reading List Book Reviews and Ratings

Reviews and ratings on each of the books on my summer 2016 reading list

At the beginning of the summer, I put out a reading list with all the books I hoped to read during the summer.  I loved being exposed to new genres that I wouldn’t have normally picked up, although for the most part my favorites were still the young adult fiction that I stick to.  I did stray from my reading list a bit due to my book club, otherwise, I feel sure I would have finished all the books on my list.  I’ve included a short review for each book along with a rating out of 5 stars.  (If you want to read more about any given book, click on the title to be taken to the Goodreads summary.)

Reading List (11 out of 14 finished)

Austenland (4/5 stars)
I thought this modern day Pride and Prejudice retelling was really sweet.  The characters are likeable and relate-able.  It was an easy read and I finished it quickly.  (Side note: I also watched the 2013 movie adaptation of the book and thought it was cute, but preferred the book.)

The Language of Flowers (5/5 stars)
I didn’t know what to expect from this book when I started, but it quickly became one that I had to drag myself away from.  The author wrote it in part to bring some awareness to the foster care system and how difficult it can be for the children placed in it.  One thing that I loved about this book is that the characters evolve over time.  Sometimes you really dislike them, but other times you can’t help but like or admire them.  (Side note: I recommended this book for book club and we’ll be discussing it in November so I will put a full review of it up then along with some book club discussion/questions.)

The Time Keeper (3/5 stars)
The main purpose of this book was to show that no matter who you are, everyone is affected by the thief of time.  In addition, what we do with that time and learn from it is important.  I thought the story around how the information was presented was interesting, but I viewed the book more as one to get through so I could start on the next one.

Six of Crows (5/5 stars)
This book reminded me of the Oceans 11 movie series in that there is a group of people who each have really specific skills and are trying to accomplish an impossible heist.  The story is set in an alternate world and the author did a great job of creating it.  I liked the characters and although the narrative jumps around between a few main characters, I liked the change of perspective it brought to the story as a whole.  (This is a duology and the second book is called Crooked Kingdom.)

The Night Circus (5/5 stars)
I was really looking forward to this book due to so many good review from my own friends.  I was not disappointed.  The Night Circus weaves magic into the world in a seamless way that makes you believe that it just might actually exist.

Where’d You Go Bernadette? (4/5 stars)
Using a compilation of emails, notes and letters, Bee searches for her mother, Bernadette, who has inexplicably disappeared just at the time when they are supposed to be going on a cruise to Antarctica.  This book had me laughing at times or simply shaking my head in disbelief.  It was a different sort of book than I usually read and while it’s not at the top of my list of recommendations, I did enjoy it.

Sorcery and Cecilia, or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot (4/5 stars)
Set in England during 1817, the entire book is comprised of letters between Cecilia and her cousin, Kate, who is enduring her first season in London.  By accident, Kate gets caught up in a plot involving witches and wizards who are attempting to solve a feud surrounding an enchanted chocolate pot.  I loved each character and laughed out loud several times.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (4.5/5 stars)
I don’t generally read non-fiction, but Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother appealed to me because she writes it as a memoir about the differences between her own Chinese parenting style and what she calls Western parenting.  At times, you will be completely shocked by the things she does and other times you want to side with her.  It made me reflect on my own parenting style.

The Invention of Wings (4/5 stars)
This book is set in Charleston, North Carolina during the early nineteenth century.  It is the story of Hetty “Handful” Grimke who is a slave in the Grimke household.  One of the daughters of the house, Sarah is uncomfortable with slavery and grows up wanting to do something about it, but unsure of what to do in a time when women didn’t have much influence in the ways of politics.  The story starts when Hetty is “given” to Sarah at the age of 10 and continues over the next 35 years and covers love, loss, pain, guilt and defiance.  Parts of the book were difficult to read because I know that those things actually happened and they are so sad, but it also gave me greater insight into what life was like during that time period.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (3.5/5 stars)
Set during a time when the size of a woman’s feet determined their beauty and marriageability, Lily is born to a poor family in a remote Hunan village in China.  At the age of seven she is paired with a laotong, or “old same” named Snow Flower.  Together they grow into women, share their sorrows and find comfort in loneliness.  They mainly communicate using a secret written language known only by women called nu shu but a miscommunication arises and threatens to damage their relationship.  I enjoyed learning about a culture and time that I was previously unfamiliar with but the story didn’t resonate with me on an emotional level.

The Thirteenth Tale (3.5/5 stars)
A famous writer named Vida Winter has a mysterious past that no one can trace.  When she becomes terminally ill, she invites a biographer named Margaret Lea to her home so that she can share her hidden past and put her mind at peace.  Margaret gets drawn into the story and mysteries as they unfold to her and also reaches some conclusions about her own past.  I liked the way the story unfolded and how I found out things at the same time as Margaret, but towards the end, the story drug on a bit and I found myself just trying to push through to the end.

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats (didn’t read)
I’ve been on a waiting list for this book so I haven’t been able to read it yet.  I will update this post once I’ve read it.

Me Before You (didn’t read)
Ultimately, I decided not to read this book as many of the other books on my list interested me more.

The Maze Runner (didn’t read)
I will probably read this at a later date.

As I mentioned, there were a few other books that I read throughout the summer that weren’t part of my original summer reading list.  I’ve included those books below with my summary and rating.

Other books I read:

Midnight In Austenland (4/5 stars)
A few of the same characters appear in this book as were in Austenland, but it is not a sequel and could be read independently.  This retelling of Pride and Prejudice has a mystery element to it and the ending made me smile.

First Love and Forever (3/5 stars)
A woman in an unhappy marriage meets a man from her past that she almost married and begins to have doubts about continuing with her current marriage.  The setting doesn’t necessarily translate to modern day (no cell phones, no computers, no social media), but the feelings that the main character struggles with and the decisions she ultimately makes will get you thinking.  (LDS fiction)

A Date with Danger (4/5 stars)
An acquaintance from high school actually wrote this book so I was excited to get my hands on it shortly after it came out.  The story follows Jacklyn (Jack), a typical twenty-five year old single woman whose had some bad luck when it comes to dating.  Then she is contacted by the FBI to assist with a case where a woman has gone missing and the only link they have is that her online dating profile is similar to the missing woman’s.  Jack agrees but finds that pinpointing the culprit is harder than she expected.  Plus, the handsome FBI agent whose been assigned to work with her has made it difficult to keep her attention focused on the case.  I loved this book and thought it was funny and witty.  (LDS fiction)

My Lady Jane (5/5 stars)
If you haven’t seen my review on My Lady Jane, go check it out HERE.  It has easily become one of my favorite books and I haven’t hesitated to recommend it to anyone who likes a good laugh, a little bit of magic and happy endings.

Graceling (4.5/5 stars)
Katsa has been “graced” with the gift of killing.  As the niece of a king, she is sent to do his dirty work.  But behind his back, she and a select few men are disobeying the king and trying to assist those in need.  During one night on a secret mission, she meets a mysterious stranger who later comes to the king’s court in search of someone and he believes Katsa can help.  Prince Po and Katsa slowly become friends and she learns to trust him as they set off on a journey to uncover a terrible secret.  I loved the characters and thought the author did a great job showing the conflicts they face (both internal and external) and how they resolve them.

So there you have it!  I hope you enjoyed reading my reviews and hopefully they got you interested enough to read the books.

Let me know what other books I should put on my reading list in the comments!

Happy Pumpkin Spice Season {FREE} Printable

Fall is officially here!  It’s time to bust out all the pumpkin recipes you’ve been drooling over and pinning if you haven’t done so already.  As for me, I actually made some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies last week and they were so good!  Once I feel the change in the air, I can’t help myself.

In the spirit of the fall season, I’ve taken it upon myself to declare this time of year “Pumpkin Spice Season” due to all the pumpkin spice recipes and smells and drinks going around.

Furthermore, I’ve created a fun little printable for you to put up in your kitchen as you whip up all the pumpkin recipes you want.  Don’t like cooking?  That’s okay!  Go buy some pumpkin bread or pumpkin cookies or pumpkin muffins and then come home and enjoy your new printable.  *wink*

To print, click on the photo for a 5×7 print.

Happy Pumpkin Spice Season {FREE} Printable

Also, double check your printer settings so that it shows a 5×7 size on the preview instead of an 8.5×11.  (See image below.)

Happy Pumpkin Spice Season {FREE} Printable


How To Update Your Garage Door Entrance

Easily update your garage door entrance to instantly improve the look!

One of the things I was most excited about when we moved into our home was the attached garage because up until that point, we’d lived in apartments with no covered parking.  Being in Utah, we have some pretty cold days in the winter and scraping snow off my car or cranking the heat in my car for a quick errand was really annoying.  Being in Utah, we also have some crazy hot summer days so then there is the opposite issue of trying to cool down a hot car or being worried someone is going to burn their hands or legs on the buckles.  So having an attached garage was just like icing on the cake of buying our first home.

This summer, my husband has been working on our garage.  When we moved in, it was finished only up until the mudding and taping was done, so there was no texture and it wasn’t painted.  We left it like this for five years.  In the spring of this year, my husband and dad built some floor to ceiling shelving along one wall (yay!) so that we could move some of the stuff we have in our basement storage room outside.  With that done, my husband then started on mudding, re-taping and texturing the walls before painting them.  It’s been a process but he is just about done and the garage is looking so good!

Because we have an attached garage, this is the main way we enter our home, rather than a front or side or even back door.  This got me thinking that since we were going to all the work to make the walls look nice, then maybe we should spend a few extra dollars and make the entrance from the garage to our house look equally as nice.

Easily update your garage door entrance to instantly improve the look!

First, my husband took care of the plywood steps we have leading up to our door (which are open underneath) by cutting another piece of plywood for each side to close it off.  Then he primed and painted them with the same paint we’ve been using on the walls.  Using some dark grey paint I’d found at ReStore (a local donation center run by Habitat for Humanity) at the same time I found my cabinet door, he painted the steps with a few good coats.

Easily update your garage door entrance to instantly improve the look!

Next, we went to Walmart and I chose a blue-green color that I have scattered throughout my house (most recently on my hallway table makeover).  My husband used a small roller and painted the door, letting it dry between coats.  (The color we used is called Echo Lake Aqua by Better Homes and Gardens.)

A couple of days later I pulled out my Silhouette software and cut the word “hello” out of white adhesive vinyl and placed it in the middle of the door between the two panels.

Easily update your garage door entrance to instantly improve the look!

And BAM!  Check out the entrance to our home from the garage!  I LOVE it.  It makes me so happy to pull into my garage and see the bright door with the happy greeting on it.

Easily update your garage door entrance to instantly improve the look!

Seriously, check out this before and after!
Easily update your garage door entrance to instantly improve the look!

What do you think about sprucing up the entrance to your home from the garage?

Fall Flowers and Berries Wreath

Wreaths are an easy way to add a little decor for any season.  This fall flowers and berries wreath can be made for less than 1/2 the price of a store bought one in about 30 minutes!

While fall might not officially be here for another three days, I think it’s pretty safe to say that fall is here.  I’ve been pulling out my fall decor and even made some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and spiced apple cider last week.  The air is cooler, which makes it much more enjoyable for my kids to go and play outside and inside we haven’t had the air conditioner on more than a few times this week.  Yes, fall is here whether you want it to be or not.

Today, I’m sharing a super easy tutorial for a fall wreath you can make for about $15.  (I bought all of my supplies at JoAnn’s and everything was 40% off.)  Considering that most store bought wreaths start at about $40, I definitely think that making my own was worth it.  Plus, it only took me about 30 minutes and I was able to make it exactly as I had pictured in my head.  Win!

When it comes to fall wreaths, nothing says fall to me like a grapevine wreath.  They are sturdy, add texture and each one is unique.  So for my wreath, I started with the grapevine as the base.  Then I picked up four large flowers, each a different color.  I chose the kind with clips on the back with the thought that if I wanted to change the flowers out at some point in the future that I’d have the flexibility to do so.  Plus, the individual flowers were more full and prettier than the kind that came in a bunch.  Lastly, I knew I wanted some kind of a berry and so I found these little picks and got 3 of each color bunch (yellow/orange and orange/red).

Wreaths are an easy way to add a little decor for any season.  This fall flowers and berries wreath can be made for less than 1/2 the price of a store bought one in about 30 minutes!

Once I got home, I positioned the flowers on the wreath without clipping them.  I decided it would look nice to arrange the flowers from lightest to darkest.

Wreaths are an easy way to add a little decor for any season.  This fall flowers and berries wreath can be made for less than 1/2 the price of a store bought one in about 30 minutes!

Then I unwrapped each berry pick (using an Xacto knife) so that I had 4-5 smaller bunches.  I could have left the picks all together but doing it this way allowed me to mix the colors together and make them go a little further.  After I separated them, I twisted the ends together so the wire wasn’t poking out and the bunches would hold together.

Wreaths are an easy way to add a little decor for any season.  This fall flowers and berries wreath can be made for less than 1/2 the price of a store bought one in about 30 minutes!

Starting at the top of the cream flower, I began sticking the berry picks into the grapevine wreath, alternating between the two color groups.  I had just enough to go all the way around.

Lastly, I clipped the flowers into place and fluffed them up a bit and adjusted some of the picks, then hung it on my door!  (I use the 3M hooks.)

Wreaths are an easy way to add a little decor for any season.  This fall flowers and berries wreath can be made for less than 1/2 the price of a store bought one in about 30 minutes!

I love the bright fall colors and the way they contrast with my dark door!  My porch is slowly gearing up for fall and I hope to be adding some cornstalks and a few more pumpkins soon.

Wreaths are an easy way to add a little decor for any season.  This fall flowers and berries wreath can be made for less than 1/2 the price of a store bought one in about 30 minutes!

Wreaths are an easy way to add a little decor for any season.  This fall flowers and berries wreath can be made for less than 1/2 the price of a store bought one in about 30 minutes!

Wreaths are an easy way to add a little decor for any season.  This fall flowers and berries wreath can be made for less than 1/2 the price of a store bought one in about 30 minutes!

Wreaths are an easy way to add a little decor for any season.  This fall flowers and berries wreath can be made for less than 1/2 the price of a store bought one in about 30 minutes!

I hope my fall wreath tutorial inspired you to make your own!  If you’re looking for a little more inspiration though, be sure to check out these wreaths below from some very talented ladies!

7 DIY Fall Wreaths to inspire you this fall season!

(from left to right, top to bottom)
Fall Flowers and Berries Wreath (above)  |  Sunshine and Munchkins
Fall Wreath  |  Meet Our Life
Simple DIY Magnolia Wreath  |  Craftivity Designs
DIY Fall Inspired Wreath  |  Restyle It Wright
DIY Fall Wreath  |  Corner 52
DIY Fall Dollar Store Wreath  |  North Country Nest
Leaves and Berries Fall Wreath  |  Making Joy and Pretty Things

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Book Review: My Lady Jane by Hand, Ashton and Meadows {plus Book Club Discussion/Questions}

If you like The Princess Bride, you can't help but like My Lady Jane! (Book Review and Book Club Discussion and Questions)

At the beginning of the summer, I mentioned that I am in a young adult fiction book club.  Each book we read is suggested by another member of the group and then we meet every other month to discuss it and, of course, visit and eat treats.

This month at our book club we talked about the book My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows.  After reading it, I have to say that it is easily one of my favorite books and I don’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone.

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My Summary and Review (5 stars):
My Lady Jane is based loosely on the historical figure Lady Jane Grey, who was Queen of England for nine days due to being named successor by her first cousin once removed and current king, Edward VI, who was dying.  On the ninth day, she was removed from the throne by those who wished for Edward’s half-sister, Mary (also known as Bloody Mary), to be queen and charged with high treason.  Ultimately, she and her husband were executed.

Not a very happy story is it?  Well the authors didn’t think so either, so they decided to rewrite history to their liking, while including some elements of magic.  They tweaked some of the details and changed some of the timeline so that ultimately there was a happy ending.

My Lady Jane is funny and will have you laughing out loud throughout the book.  It is an easy and light read that you won’t be able to put down.  If you like The Princess Bride, you will love My Lady Jane.

Book Club Discussion Questions:

  • How does sexism come into play between the characters?  
  • How/where is sexism seen in the world today?
  • What did you think about Edward’s inner struggle? (desire to be king/not be king, Verities vs Edians, etc)
  • Did you trust Gracie?  Why or why not?
  • Did the characters show characteristics of their animal form when they were in their human form?

Happy reading!