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!

How to Distress Wood {using Petroleum Jelly}

How to Distress Wood {using Petroleum Jelly}--the easy, fast and no-mess way to distress wood.

Every once in a while you find the perfect little piece for your house.  It’s not necessarily big or fancy, but it’s just what you’ve been looking for.  I was browsing through the store the other day and found just a piece: a small, wall-mountable coat rack.  I knew the second I saw it where I wanted it to go: on the wall behind our front door so people would have somewhere to put their coats and jackets.  The only problem: it was the wrong color.  A brownish-gray and the metal hooks were almost the same color.  Kind of blah.  But color is a fairly easy thing to change, especially when you’re dealing with smaller pieces. So I bought it and brought it home for a little DIY action.

Here is a picture of what the wood looked like before I did anything to it.  I unscrewed the hooks and set them and the screws aside.  There was a very thin coat of varnish and it was matte so I didn’t worry about sanding it.

How to Distress Wood {using Petroleum Jelly}--the easy, fast and no-mess way to distress wood.

The next step is to get some petroleum jelly (vaseline).  This is what you will use to distress your wood, or make it look weathered.  The reason this works is because the paint will not stick to the jelly.

The keys to distressing are:

  1. Look at the direction of the wood grain and think about where the paint would naturally rub or peel off.
  2. Apply the petroleum jelly in the same direction as the grain.
  3. Apply it on the edges, corners or raised areas of the wood.
  4. Be random about where you put it.

You can see in the picture some of the places where I applied the jelly.  You don’t need to use very much.  Just get a little on your finger and start spreading it around in a few places.

How to Distress Wood {using Petroleum Jelly}--the easy, fast and no-mess way to distress wood.

I applied two coats of paint because I wanted a little bit of the grain and some color to come through, but it’s really a matter of personal preference.

After your paint has dried, you’ll be able to see the places where you applied the jelly because they will be lighter and look more shiny and wet.

How to Distress Wood {using Petroleum Jelly}--the easy, fast and no-mess way to distress wood.

Next, get a paper towel or napkin and fold it up so it is 2-3 layers thick.  Rub the spots where the jelly is and the paint will start to flake off.

How to Distress Wood {using Petroleum Jelly}--the easy, fast and no-mess way to distress wood.

And…voila!  You’ve distressed your wood without having to use any stain or sandpaper.  Much less time consuming and messy.  You can even use this technique on multiple layers of paint.  Just make sure you let each layer dry completely before applying the petroleum jelly.

How to Distress Wood {using Petroleum Jelly}--the easy, fast and no-mess way to distress wood.

How to Distress Wood {using Petroleum Jelly}--the easy, fast and no-mess way to distress wood.

How to Distress Wood {using Petroleum Jelly}--the easy, fast and no-mess way to distress wood.

How to Distress Wood {using Petroleum Jelly}--the easy, fast and no-mess way to distress wood.

I hope you find something to distress soon!  Let me know how you liked using this technique!

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?

Women at the Well (Relief Society Birthday Dinner Activity)

Women at the Well (Relief Society Birthday Dinner Activity)

Each year, we have a Relief Society activity geared to celebrate the founding of the Relief Society.  (For those of you who might not know, the Relief Society is a women’s organization within my church that serves the ladies within our local vicinity.)  As I was thinking about themes for the night, the story of the woman at the well came to my mind (John 4:5-14) and I felt that the message could be applied to us.  I presented the idea to my committee and they all agreed that it was a good theme and message to share with the sisters in our ward. We recently held our activity and everything turned out so well that I wanted to share it with others who might be looking for a theme for their own ward’s Relief Society birthday dinner.

The decorations:  The colors we chose were: dark/navy blue, white and gold.  We set up round tables with white tablecloths.  In the middle of each table, we laid out a few larger pieces of blue and cream/white scrapbook paper with small gold doilies.  Then we placed a brown paper sack with a white doily folded over the top and secured the two sides with a blue ribbon.  We added gold ribbon around the handles and tied two balloons (one white, one gold) to the handles.

Women at the Well (Relief Society Birthday Dinner Activity)

On the serving table, we used the same blue and cream/white scrapbook paper and gold doilies.  Then we placed labels for each food item on the table using blue paper and white labels (I designed and created these using my Silhouette Cameo.)

Women at the Well (Relief Society Birthday Dinner Activity)

For the paper goods, we purchased soup cups and blue striped paper straws.  We already had plastic forks and spoons and white napkins.  I rolled the fork and spoon into the napkin and tied it with cream/gold baker’s twine and slipped the straw in the front.  We laid the silverware in each place at the table so it was already there and didn’t need to be carried.  (The soup cups, paper straws and twine was purchased from a lady in our ward who owns a darling Etsy shop with all the party supplies you could ever want.)

Women at the Well (Relief Society Birthday Dinner Activity)

In the center of the room, we had a well (made from styrofoam and wood) that had been used for our ward’s Christmas party (we had a Jerusalem theme).  In the middle of the well, we placed a metal bucket and put ice and bottled water so the sisters had to get their water from the well. *wink*

Women at the Well (Relief Society Birthday Dinner Activity)

The food: To keep things simple, we decided to bring four varieties of soup (one of which was my Crock Pot Minestrone) and serve them with rolls (from Costco) and a green salad.  The soups and salad were on one table and the toppings for both the soup and salad were at a separate table.

Women at the Well (Relief Society Birthday Dinner Activity)

For dessert, we bought plain cheesecake and pie filling (cherry, blueberry and raspberry) for the topping.

The message:  The woman at the well is a fairly well known story in the New Testament about a Samaritan woman who meets Jesus at a well as He and His disciples are traveling to Galilee through Samaria.  When Jesus speaks to her and asks for some water and the woman is confused and replies with a question of her own: “Why are you, a Jew, speaking to me, a Samaritan.  Everyone knows the Jews and Samaritans don’t deal with each other.” (vs. 9, paraphrase)  And His answer, which is the message I wanted to share, was: “If you knew who I was, you would be asking me for a drink and I would give you living water…for if you drink of this water, you will never be thirsty again.” (vs. 10, 13-14, paraphrase)  After hearing the Savior’s message, the woman left the well and returned to the city to share her testimony and brought others with her to hear his message as well (vs.  ).  Many people were converted and it was all because a woman listened to the word of Christ and shared it with others who then came to hear it for themselves.

The lady who gave the message talked about how we are all in need of “living water” and that it is our responsibility to share that living water with those around us.  She connected the sharing of the gospel to being a mother and teaching our children.  Because really, we are all mothers, even if we do not have children of our own.  Women have natural tendencies toward nurturing, loving and empathy.  She used part of Elder Holland’s talk “Behold Thy Mother” (October 2015) and quoted him: “To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle–and all will–I say, be peaceful.  Believe in God and in yourself.  You are doing better than you think you are.”  She gave each of the ladies this quote (which she purchased from this Etsy shop) and printed it out at Costco on 4×6 prints.  (Obviously, this message was geared toward the sisters in our ward.  But if you feel like it could work for your ward too, please feel free to use it.  Or maybe it will just be a jumping off point for you.)

Women at the Well (Relief Society Birthday Dinner Activity)

The activity was a huge success!  The best part was that we were all able to get together outside of church and meetings and away from the craziness of kids and just be women and friends getting to know each other better and create a stronger bond between us all.

What have been your favorite Relief Society birthday dinner themes?

St. Patrick’s Day FREE Printable

Ahhh…  Spring is in the air.  We’ve been enjoying some beautiful 50 degree weather the last few days, which is a welcome change from 30s and a week and a half long inversion.  Yuck!  Thankfully the weather seems inclined to stay nice, at least for the next week or so.

And can you believe that St. Patrick’s Day is already around the corner?  With February being such a short month, it seems to come even faster.  To get you in the green spirit, I’ve created a fun printable for you!  There are two different colors and they each come in either an 8×10 or a 5×7 size.  Just click on the link below the picture to open the file.  Then print it out and display it.  Who knows?  You just might get a kiss or two!

5×7   |   8×10

5×7   |   8×10
How do you decorate for St. Patrick’s Day?

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?

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?