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

Enjoy!

Summer Pallet Art

Summer Pallet Art--a fun and easy way to brighten up your home for the summer!

I was looking at my spring mantle this week and realizing that it was time to start thinking about summer decor.  So I looked through my summer decorations and noticed a serious lack of summer-y-ness (totally a word) in my collection.  A few months ago I picked up a 12×12 unfinished pallet board at Walmart without knowing exactly what I wanted to do with it but thought it would come in handy one day.  (This is a habit that drives my husband crazy, but sometimes I just can’t help myself.  *wink*)

So I grabbed the pallet board and opened my Silhouette software on my computer.  I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I use my Silhouette Cameo all the time on all different types of crafting projects.  I absolutely love using it to cut vinyl because it’s so precise, even on very small images or words.  My idea for this project was to use summer words on each row of the pallet board with a simple background.
To make your own pallet art, you will need the following:

  • acrylic paint (in your desired colors) 
  • paintbrushes/foam brushes
  • vinyl
  • transfer paper
  • Silhouette machine (or similar)
  • optional: stickers or rub-ons for the words (if you don’t have a way to cut the vinyl)

I found the perfect sun cut file in my library and resized it to fill a good portion of the board.  Then I typed out a few words that describe summer to me: sunshine, popsicles, flip flops, watermelon and summertime.  Then I found a font I liked and arranged the words in an order I liked.  As I did this, I realized that I could go from shortest word to longest word from top to bottom which I though flowed really nicely.

To give me a better visual for how the finished product would look, I resized some rectangles to mimic the pallet board, then filled everything in with the colors I wanted to use.  You can see what I did below:

Summer Pallet Art--a fun and easy way to brighten up your home for the summer!

To prep for this project, I cut out the sun and words using vinyl.  I knew I was just going to use the sun cutout as a stencil so I used some less expensive vinyl I have on hand for just that purpose.  Then I cut out the words by opening a new file and copying and pasting the words there.  Using the grids, I measured how big each piece of vinyl would have to be to fit each word and then cut it out so I wouldn’t waste any and placed it on the cutting mat and cut it out.  For the words, I used some new colorful vinyl that I recently received as a promotion to try out and review.  The pack I received had 35 6×12 sheets included in all different colors and finishes: shiny, matte and metallic.  (I used the shiny kind.)  When I used it in my Silhouette Cameo machine, it cut beautifully and I didn’t have any problems.  It’s a great value too.  (You can find it here.)
*Note: I received the vinyl at a deeply discounted rate in order to try it out and review it.

Before placing the sun stencil on the wood, I sanded down some of the roughness with a piece of sandpaper.  Then I positioned the stencil on the wood and pressed it out, paying special attention to the edges so that when I painted over it that the paint wouldn’t seep under.

Summer Pallet Art--a fun and easy way to brighten up your home for the summer!

Summer Pallet Art--a fun and easy way to brighten up your home for the summer!

I like the look of distressed wood without worrying about sanding so I used some petroleum jelly (Vaseline) to distress the wood.  (You can learn how to do this here.)  I dabbed a little here and there trying to follow the grain of the wood.

Once the petroleum jelly was on, I grabbed some acrylic paint and started mixing the colors.  Originally, I wanted to do a sort of ombre with the blue background, but it didn’t quite work out.  If I look at it now, it’s a very subtle change in color and not as dramatic as I had hoped.  I only did a couple of thin coats and thinking back, I should have done a couple more, especially since the wood was unfinished and soaked up some of the paint.

I removed the vinyl stencil while the paint was still drying to create more crisp lines (just like painting a wall, right?).  Then I let it dry for another 10 minutes.  While it was drying, I added a little more petroleum jelly to the spots where the sun stencil had been so it would appear distressed there as well.

Summer Pallet Art--a fun and easy way to brighten up your home for the summer!

To paint the sun, I used a smaller brush to paint around the edges, then filled it in with a foam brush.  I used a little more paint on the sun and I think it turned out a little brighter and more how I would have liked the blue background to look.

Summer Pallet Art--a fun and easy way to brighten up your home for the summer!

I used a paper towel to wipe off the paint and petroleum jelly (refer to my tutorial) and then I placed the vinyl words on the board.  I would definitely recommend using transfer paper for this.  One trick I’ve learned is that you don’t need to use a new piece of transfer paper for each piece of vinyl.  It will stay sticky enough that you can reuse it a few times. 

Summer Pallet Art--a fun and easy way to brighten up your home for the summer!

I did run into a little bit of a problem with the wood soaking up some of the petroleum jelly and it was a little hard to get it off and it had sort of a greasy look around the edges of each spot.  I think this happened because the wood wasn’t sanded down and there were lots of nooks and crannies for stuff to get caught in.  But not to worry–I have a solution!

Solution: To soak up some of the petroleum jelly, I sprinkled some baby powder over it and left it for a couple of hours before I blew it off.  There were a few places that I had to use my fingernail to get some of the powder off.  Overall, the powder did a great job of soaking up the greasiness and I was a lot happier with how it looked.

Summer Pallet Art--a fun and easy way to brighten up your home for the summer!

And now I have a fun, new, summery decoration for my house!

Summer Pallet Art--a fun and easy way to brighten up your home for the summer!

Summer Pallet Art--a fun and easy way to brighten up your home for the summer!

Summer Pallet Art--a fun and easy way to brighten up your home for the summer!

What holiday/season do you lack decorations for?

Spring/Easter Mantle Inspiration

Spring/Easter Mantle Inspiration--some fun ideas for decorating around the home in the springtime/Easter time that won't break the bank.

So I’ve had my spring/Easter “mantle” up for a couple of weeks, but I’ve added a couple of pieces to it that I love and I didn’t want to show it to you until I was happy with how it looks.  You’ll notice I put “mantle” in quotes because I don’t actually have a real mantle to decorate.  Instead, we have a “credenza” which is basically a narrow table with storage cabinets.  But I couldn’t very well title this post “Spring/Easter Credenza Inspiration”.  So mantle it is.  And I hope you’ll forgive me if you think the title is misleading and look at all the cute things I have to show you instead. *wink*
When I think of springtime, bright happy colors come to mind.  So that’s what I did when deciding how to decorate.  I’ve mentioned before that I like using classic pieces to decorate with, no matter what holiday or season I’m decorating for, which is what I did for spring/Easter.

Spring/Easter Mantle Inspiration--some fun ideas for decorating around the home in the springtime/Easter time that won't break the bank.

The wreath is one I’ve had for a few years.  (Usually it’s hanging on my front door during the spring and summer, but I’ve currently got a cute shamrock wreath there right now.)  I made it using a grapevine wreath and wrapped a couple of 6-ft lengths of the yellow flowers around it and secured the ends by poking them into the wreath.  I think it cost me about $15 to make.  The wreath stand came from Rod Works.

Spring/Easter Mantle Inspiration--some fun ideas for decorating around the home in the springtime/Easter time that won't break the bank.

The ‘tulip’ blocks were purchased from a cute website called Thoughts in Vinyl.  They have a huge selection of wood craft kits at awesome prices.  On the other side, it has the letters to make the word ‘Easter’.  I opted for a more natural look and didn’t bother with painting the blocks.  I just cut out the scrapbook paper and mod podged it on, then applied the vinyl.  Total cost was about $12.

I recently picked up a ‘mini post’ (far left in main picture) from a local wood craft store called The Wood Connection.  It has cute little wood cutouts that you can paint and mod podge and swap out for each month/season/holiday.  The post was $10 and the cutouts range from $2-3.

Spring/Easter Mantle Inspiration--some fun ideas for decorating around the home in the springtime/Easter time that won't break the bank.

Spring/Easter Mantle Inspiration--some fun ideas for decorating around the home in the springtime/Easter time that won't break the bank.

The small white lantern came from Tai Pan and the white crate, burlap carrots and chick came from Hobby Lobby and each cost between $2-$10.

Spring/Easter Mantle Inspiration--some fun ideas for decorating around the home in the springtime/Easter time that won't break the bank.

Another one of my classic pieces are the hurricane vases.  I made these a few months ago and they are perfect for swapping out various holiday items.  (See the tutorial here.)  For Easter/spring, I bought some of the crinkle grass from the dollar store and I already had the plastic Easter eggs.  I just put a little grass in, then an egg and so on until it looked the way I wanted.  You could also use the mini plastic eggs.

Spring/Easter Mantle Inspiration--some fun ideas for decorating around the home in the springtime/Easter time that won't break the bank.

The burlap table runner is another one of my DIY crafts you can find here on the blog.  It is so easy to make and doesn’t cost much at all.  I’ve been using it since October as the base for all my holiday/season “mantles” and I love that it adds just a little bit of rustic charm to everything.  (See the tutorial here.)

And there you have it!  I hope my mantle gave you a few ideas for your own spring/Easter mantle decorations!

Do you like to decorate for the holidays or do you keep the same decor up year round?

Valentine’s Rag Wreath

When my husband and I moved into our home almost 5 years ago, one of the things I was most excited about (besides an attached garage of course) was having a front door to hang cute wreaths on.  Oh sure, we’d had front doors in our previous apartments, but all of them had been basement apartments and not very big so we didn’t have company over very often.  And in my opinion, part of the fun of having a wreath on your door is so people can see it.  Right?

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I love decorating in the lovely shades of pink, red, purple and white that accompany the holiday.  I didn’t have a Valentine’s wreath for my door so I decided to remedy that problem with a cute new rag wreath!  Rag wreaths are so easy and inexpensive.  They store well and fluff up easily when you pull them out of storage.

Haven’t made a rag wreath before?  Let me show you how!

Valentine’s Rag Wreath

Materials:

  • scissors or rotary cutter
  • cutting mat 
  • ruler
  • 12″ wire wreath form (I bought mine at the dollar store, but any craft store will have them)
  • 2 yards of fabric, split between 3-4 different patterns/colors (I bought mine at JoAnn’s)

Start by laying your fabric out in front of you.  Using your ruler, make snips in your fabric every 1″ to 1 1/2″.  Any smaller than that and your strips will be too narrow and you won’t be able to see the color/pattern.

After you’ve made all your snips, you have a couple options of how to proceed:

  1. Grab the fabric firmly and rip along the snips you made down the length of the fabric.  Continue ripping until the fabric is in strips.  *Doing it this way will create more frayed/ragged edges on each strip.
  2. Using your scissors/rotary cutter and ruler, cut down the length of the fabric until all the fabric is in strips.  *Doing it this way will create less frayed/ragged edges on each strip.

Either method works great, so it’s a matter of preference in terms of how frayed/ragged you want your strips to be.

Once you have all your fabric in strips, cut each strip down into 5-6 inch pieces.  Any shorter and you won’t be able to tie it and any longer will cause the strips to flop over when you tie them onto the wreath and you’ll lose out on fluffiness.

Then I laid my strips out in a pattern and started on the innermost ring of the wreath.  Just a simple double knot will do.  Go all the way around the inner ring, then start on the next ring.  Continue tying around each ring until you’ve completed all the rings.

When you’re finished, the back of your wreath should look like this:

You can hang it up like this if you want or add some embellishments.  I decided to add a little bunting across the front using some washi tape I had that matched the red/white polka dot fabric I used on the wreath.

I am totally in love with my new wreath (no pun intended)!  I like that it still has that Valentine look to it, but by using the mint green with the red and white, it’s not your typical red/white/pink decor.  It is also totally affordable costing less than $10 to make.  (I spent around $8 using coupons and promotions for my materials.)

Do you like decorating with wreaths?

How to Make a Holiday Glass Block

How to Make a Holiday Glass Block--an easy decoration to make for yourself or as a gift for holidays, birthdays, weddings, etc

Over the last few years, I’ve been working on discovering my own personal home decorating style and slowly but surely things are coming together.  This has, of course, extended into my holiday decor.  Each year, I’ve been getting rid of decorations that I no longer like or use and buying or making some that contribute to the overall cohesiveness of the look I’m going for.

A while back I was browsing through a local boutique that was closing their business.  They had a back room with tons of random items I wouldn’t have expected to find there considering it was a clothing and jewelry boutique.  Out of everything in the store, I didn’t buy jewelry or clothing–I bought glass blocks.  They only had three of them but I took them all and at a killer price.  I had the best of intentions to make something cute out of them for my home but never got around to it.  (This happens fairly regularly and it drives my husband crazy.  But I do get around to it eventually. *wink*)

When I bought these glass blocks, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to use them for but this year I figured it out.  Once again I pulled out my trusty Silhouette machine and started designing different layouts and words to see what I liked best.  (The blocks I have are rectangular–about 5×7–but I’ve seen different sizes as well.)  I decided to go with a more simple design due to the smaller size of the block I was working with.

(Note: While I found my glass blocks in an odd place, you can also find them at home improvement stores, like Home Depot, or craft stores, like Hobby Lobby.)

I used glass cleaner to wipe the block clean of any fingerprints and dust so it was ready for the vinyl.  Then I cut the vinyl lettering out using my Silhouette machine.  I pulled the vinyl off the cutting mat (leaving the backing on) and then trimmed the pieces down so I could more easily see how they needed to fit together.

How to Make a Holiday Glass Block--an easy decoration to make for yourself or as a gift for holidays, birthdays, weddings, etc

Then I got my transfer paper (affiliate link) out and placed each piece of vinyl in the correct place.  I kept the backing on until I was sure it was in the right place.  Then I pulled the backing off of each piece and placed the vinyl on my glass block, making sure it was centered.

How to Make a Holiday Glass Block--an easy decoration to make for yourself or as a gift for holidays, birthdays, weddings, etc

Using the back of your fingernail or a credit card, press down on the vinyl (on top of the transfer paper).  This smooths it all out, gets rid of bubbles and helps adhere the vinyl to the surface.  Then you can pull off the transfer paper.

(Side note: When I first started working with vinyl, I was kind of resistant to using transfer paper, but it sure makes my life a lot easier, especially when I’m transferring intricate designs or words. It’s worth the time and money in my mind, but it’s also completely up to you whether or not you use it. Also, I tend to reuse smaller pieces that haven’t lost their stickiness which saves a little money.)

To complete the block, I wrapped coordinating ribbon around the bottom and sides, tied it in a knot on the top and cut the ends on an angle.  I didn’t have red and white ribbon that I liked so I used a narrow ribbon on top of a wide ribbon and I think it turned out so cute!

How to Make a Holiday Glass Block--an easy decoration to make for yourself or as a gift for holidays, birthdays, weddings, etc

How to Make a Holiday Glass Block--an easy decoration to make for yourself or as a gift for holidays, birthdays, weddings, etc

These blocks would be such an easy gift to make for Christmas, birthdays, weddings, baby showers, etc.  I love that they are completely customizable and not time consuming at all.  You could even make a few of them to keep on hand for last minute gifts.  Start to finish, this project took me less than an hour (including design time in my Silhouette software).

What are your favorite projects to make with vinyl?

DIY Dollar Store Hurricane Vases

DIY Dollar Store Hurricane Vases--Use dollar store glass vases and candlesticks to make these inexpensive hurricane vases!

When it comes to home decor, I have a hard time committing.  I can find colors that I like, but figuring out the details can be challenging.  Or I find a knick-knack that I love but I’m not sure it’s the right fit for my house.  (This is probably partially due to the fact that I am still trying to nail down my own personal style.)  However, I do have a few items that I consider classic pieces.  One of these is hurricane vases.  I love them because I can easily change out what I put inside to match whatever decor I have up, whether seasonal or part of my everyday home decor.  There are various sizes, shapes and even colors to fit any style.

The unfortunate thing about hurricane vases is that they can be so blasted expensive, with prices ranging from $15-$100 and up depending on the size and material it’s made of.  Yikes!  I don’t have that kind of money in my budget so I started looking around.  Something I noticed is that the name of an item can affect its price.  If you search for “hurricane vase” online, you get higher prices than searching for “glass flower vase”, even if they look like the exact same thing.  And it got me thinking, “Where can I find cheap glass cylinder vases?” The answer is: the dollar store!

So off I went to the dollar store and I found exactly what I was looking for–short and tall glass cylinder vases– and I picked up two of each.  I had decided I wanted them up on a small stand so I also grabbed some glass candlestick holders to glue to the bottom, also from the dollar store.  I brought my purchase home and did a little research on the best type of glue to use for glass.  I’ve used various brands of super glue before on other projects, but not glass and I wanted to make sure the candlestick didn’t come off.  I also wanted the glue to dry clear.  The best solution I found was to use Loctite GO2 Glue.  I bought it at Walmart for about $4.  Armed with glass and glue, I was ready to start.

DIY Dollar Store Hurricane Vases--Use dollar store glass vases and candlesticks to make these inexpensive hurricane vases!

Before gluing the pieces together, I removed the stickers using Goo Gone, then wiped them clean of any residue and let them dry for a few minutes.

DIY Dollar Store Hurricane Vases--Use dollar store glass vases and candlesticks to make these inexpensive hurricane vases!

Then I opened the glue and gently squeezed it around the top part of the candlestick (see picture).  I was fairly generous without letting it get too goopy.  Then I turned the candlestick over and tried to get it as close to center as possible.  This particular glue has a repositionable time frame of 5 minutes so I didn’t stress out about getting it exactly in the right place the first time.  I basically just rotated the vase around and eyeballed it and moved it around until I thought it looked centered.  Then I repeated the steps on the other 3 vases/candlesticks.

DIY Dollar Store Hurricane Vases--Use dollar store glass vases and candlesticks to make these inexpensive hurricane vases!

The cure time for the glue I used is 24 hours, so after a few hours on the counter to let it set, I moved the vases to a more out of the way place to avoid getting them knocked over or touched by curious little hands.

*Note: If you use a glue other than the one I used, be sure to check the repositionable time, set time and cure time so you know how much time you are working with.

DIY Dollar Store Hurricane Vases--Use dollar store glass vases and candlesticks to make these inexpensive hurricane vases!

After the 24 hours were up, I turned the vases over and inspected my work and they looked awesome!  The glue dried clear and strong and they looked store bought rather than handmade.

Since I’ve got a Thanksgiving/fall theme going on at my house right now, I filled one small vase with popcorn kernels and a small votive candle.  The larger vase is filled with small pine cones.  I also tied some cute ribbon around my vases to add to the overall look and tie it into the theme.  When Christmas (or any other holiday/season) comes around, I will swap in something else.

DIY Dollar Store Hurricane Vases--Use dollar store glass vases and candlesticks to make these inexpensive hurricane vases!

DIY Dollar Store Hurricane Vases--Use dollar store glass vases and candlesticks to make these inexpensive hurricane vases!

DIY Dollar Store Hurricane Vases--Use dollar store glass vases and candlesticks to make these inexpensive hurricane vases!
Want to make a burlap table runner?  Check out this tutorial!

Not sure what to put in your hurricane vase?  No problem!  I’ve compiled a list of ideas of items for both holidays and everyday decor.  They would also be great to use for parties and fill with treats or other items.  You can get a lot of these items from the dollar store!

Items to fill vases (Holiday)

  • Valentine’s Day: red cinnamon candy, conversation hearts
  • St. Patrick’s Day: plastic gold coins, rainbow candy (like Skittles)
  • Easter: Peeps, plastic eggs
  • Independence Day: flags, sparklers
  • Halloween: skulls, plastic rats, candy corn, anything you’d fill an apothecary jar with
  • Thanksgiving: popcorn kernels, acorns
  • Christmas: small ball ornaments, bells, cinnamon sticks, pine cones

Items to fill vases (Everyday)

  • Shells
  • Candle
  • Flowers
  • Potpourri
  • Plastic fruit, like lemons, limes or oranges
  • Sticks/Branches
  • Glass beads

Hurricane vases are so versatile and for a few dollars you can use them year round as part of your decor!

DIY Dollar Store Hurricane Vases--Use dollar store glass vases and candlesticks to make these inexpensive hurricane vases!

What do you like to decorate with year round?  Do you have other suggestions for what to put in hurricane vases?

DIY No-Sew Burlap Table Runner with Tassels

DIY No-Sew Burlap Table Runner with Tassels--Make this easy burlap table runner.  No sewing required!

With the changing of seasons, I’ve been swapping out my summer decor for more fall themed decor.  I was looking around the house today and noticed that the credenza (fancy word for table) in the front room was looking a little bare and I had two words pop into my head: burlap and runner.  I ran downstairs and grabbed some burlap remnant I’d bought who knows how long ago thinking it would be nice to have on hand.  (I have a hard time resisting the remnants bin.  It’s a problem…)  Turns out that I had the perfect amount to make a cute and easy table runner.

Have you ever used burlap?  Let me tell you some things about it: Burlap is awesome because it gives a little bit of texture, it’s durable, easy to work with and creates a slightly rustic and imperfect bit of decor.  It also feels very fall to me so using it as a table runner for a couple of months out of the year just made sense.

The first thing I noticed when I unrolled my burlap was how curled up and creased it was.  The easiest fix I know of for wrinkles is to iron it.  So I grabbed a squirt bottle and my iron and turned it up to the highest steam setting (which for me was cotton/linen).  I used a fair amount of water on each crease, but not so much that it was soaked.  Then I ran my iron along the creases and wrinkles until it was nice and flat.  Make sure you keep the iron moving across the burlap and don’t let it rest in any one place too long.

DIY No-Sew Burlap Table Runner with Tassels--Make this easy burlap table runner.  No sewing required! 
DIY No-Sew Burlap Table Runner with Tassels--Make this easy burlap table runner.  No sewing required!

Next, I figured out how long and wide I wanted to make my runner.  I had approximately 1/2 yard x 1 yard of burlap, which happened to fit my table perfectly, but it wasn’t cut straight so I evened up the edges really easily by cutting right next to one of the strands all the way down.

Once I had the length and width figured out, I decided to wanted to pull out a few strands on the long sides to give it a little less of a defined edge.

To do the tassels, I pulled about 2 inches of the strands off the ends.  I set those pieces aside to use to tie up the tassels.  It’s really just a preference how long you want the tassels so just keep pulling strands out until you are happy with the length.  (If you pull out too many, you can always just trim the ends to get it back to a length you like.)  Then, gather about 10 strands together and use the pieces you pulled out to tie a nice little knot.  Cut the ends fairly close to the knot so they don’t poke out at a funny angle.

DIY No-Sew Burlap Table Runner with Tassels--Make this easy burlap table runner.  No sewing required!

And there you have it!  A cute, incredibly easy, no-sew burlap table runner!

DIY No-Sew Burlap Table Runner with Tassels--Make this easy burlap table runner.  No sewing required!

DIY No-Sew Burlap Table Runner with Tassels--Make this easy burlap table runner.  No sewing required!

What are some of your favorite ways to use burlap?