It’s Fall!

Can you believe it? It’s officially fall today! In celebration, I thought I’d share our new door wreath with you guys.


I really like the contrasting orange/browns of the wreath against the bright aqua blue door.

I don’t have any pictures of when I was actually making this, but the process is super simple. I started with a standard grapevine wreath and seven fall berry floral sprays – all from Michael’s.

I cut down the stems on each berry piece to just a couple inches after the “branches” came together. Without much pre-planning, I pushed each berry piece into the wreath, tucking pieces of the berry sprig into the grapevines enough for it to stay without needing to use string or glue. Finally, once all the berries were secured, I made sure a few sprigs stuck out of the wreath at the edges, to give it a fuller effect. Again, no rhyme or reason to what I did – I just tried to make it look nice.

I still need to decorate the rest of the front of the house because I haven’t bought my crop of pumpkins this year, but this wreath is a good start in trying to fall-ify our house.

Happy Fall!

Super-Sized Succulents

I’ve been on the lookout for some decor to add to our newly finished bookcases. I knew I really wanted to add plants to the family room, and truly, the whole house, so I started there.

Besides me, Dan, and Phoebe, we don’t have any living items in our home. Honestly, I’m a serial plant killer. I couldn’t seem to keep any plant/herb/flower I was given alive for more than a month or two. I couldn’t figure out the reason. Yes, I watered them. No, I don’t think I watered them too much. Yes, they got sunlight. No, they didn’t get too much sunlight. We’ve had daisies, succulents, and basil, and all have died on my watch. This time, I was determined to succeed.

I ended up going with three different kinds of succulents, which I planted in these cute vases from Target.

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I wish I had taken a better picture, to show you scale. The vases are not small, like you would use for the typical size succulents you think of. The vases themselves are over 5 inches tall, and the succulents were the largest ones I found at Home Depot. I picked three different kinds with different shaped leaves and colors.

The clean lines and modern feel of the planters mixed with the fun succulents look great. I’ve added all three plants to the bookcases, and I really think they look great there. They match, but aren’t too matchy-matchy.

I’ll admit – I’ve caught a bit of the plant bug now. I definitely want to add more greenery around the house, so it’s back to the drawing board to research plants that are easy to keep alive…I mean easy to care for and are good for a beginner.

Wallpaper Specimen Art

This project has been over a year in the making. Remember how I’ve mentioned once or twice that Dan and I took down obscene amounts of wallpaper? You know, in the entryway, the master bath, the kitchen, and just a few more places? Well, even in my haste to tear all of it all the walls, I managed to save a few scraps of the wallpaper before it headed to the trash bin.

I kept it over the last year and a half or so and we finally got around to doing something with it. Behold – our wallpaper specimen art:

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Yep, that’s our wallpaper cut into the shapes of butterflies. Dan had the idea of looking at the wallpaper like a relic of the past to be preserved, and came up with the idea of displaying it like a taxonomy specimen.

Creating the art was really easy. Dan used a butterfly template he found online to cut butterflies out of the wallpaper remnants. Using glass head pins, he attached each butterfly to the pinboard inside a Pottery Barn shadowbox that I found at a garage sale, never used, for $1.

The final touch is the classification labels Dan made. He took the Latin name for each room where the wallpaper came from and used that to “name” each butterfly. So, old kitchen became vetus culina.

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I really like seeing our new DIY art up on our living room wall. It reminds me that even though our new family room renovation is stressful and feels never-ending, we’ve already come so far with this house. And it started with removing all that wallpaper.


Mod Stenciled Bentwood Chair

Over the Valentine’s Day weekend, Dan and I got to a project we’d been meaning to do for months – stenciling the desk chair in the guest room.

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We started with this plain old bentwood chair we purchased years ago at a garage sale. It’s been hanging out in the guest room as the desk chair since we moved into our house. Don’t get me wrong, the chair looked fine. It was just kind of boring.

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Since this was a low risk update, we decided to tackle in one afternoon we found ourselves without plans. I had previously purchased a stencil set from Target, on sale for just over $2. The prints were kind of mod, which we both liked.

After a bit of debate, we decided to only stencil the middle portion of the back of the chair, using the bentwood “neck” part of the chair as our guide. I thought we would use a paint brush or dabbing sponge, but Dan thought it would be easier to use spray paint. Spray paint ultimately won out, so Dan carefully taped off the rest of the chair, secured the stencil, and sprayed.

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He did two coats, waited for the second coat to dry, then moved the stencil down the chair to cover the entire chair back. Another two coats plus dry time and the chair was finished!

We had to do some touch up near the curve because the stencil wasn’t completely flush to the chair, which resulted in a kind of blurring effect. Dan smoothed out the edges with just a bit of mineral spirits.

Not a huge change to the room, but I was happy to finish a project I’d been wanting to do for so long.



Monthly Photo Onesies

OK, I know I said the Christmas posts were finished. And they are. Kind of. I just had to share these monthly onesies that we made as part of my pregnant sister-in-law’s Christmas gift.

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Ahhhh, the cuteness!

Making them actually wasn’t too difficult (surprisingly). I came across this Martha Stewart tutorial via Pinterest. I liked the way the monthly numbers looked, so I just used them instead of searching around for another one. You can use any numbers you would like, and I saw a ton on Pinterest, but keep in mind that you will be using iron on transfer paper for the onesies, so the image will need to be reversed if it isn’t already. The Martha ones were already a mirror image, so I had no issues there.

Just print the images on iron on paper and cut them out, leaving a small bit extra around the circle. Ready the onesies by ironing out all their wrinkles, then iron on the image by placing it face down on the onesie, turning off the iron’s steam function, and press down firmly, being sure to iron over all parts of the image. Let the onesie cool, then carefully lift up and away the iron transfer paper.

I wanted to wrap them in a way that my sister-in-law would know what they were right when she opened the gift, so I knew I needed to fold the onesies in such a way that the numbers would show. I hadn’t quite figured out what I would do when I went shopping with mom and saw a Christmas pie box among the wrapping paper and bows. I liked that the top of the box was see through, so the numbers would be visible even with the box still closed.

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To round out the gift, we also gave her this My First Year photo frame to hang in the new baby’s room. That way, she can display a photo of the baby in each monthly onesie.

This was definitely one of my favorite gifts to give this year. not only was it a heartfelt, homemade Christmas gift, it’s a gift celebrating and looking ahead to the new baby that will be here in the new year.

DIY Christmas Dot Wrapping Paper

You guys, I met my goal! All our Christmas gifts were purchased, wrapped, and under the tree!

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How did I do it? Well, once the gifts start accumulating, I try to wrap 1-2 gifts each weeknight once I get home from work. That way, I’m not spending hours over the weekends or on Christmas Eve trying to wrap. We adopted this  method last year, and even Dan commented on how nice it was to relax in the days leading up to Christmas, rather than making mad dashes to the crowded stores for last minute gifts or being overtaken by wrapping paper and bows as you try to get everything done under a time crunch. Instead, we spend that extra time watching Christmas movies, drinking hot chocolate, and baking.

This year, we wanted to try wrapping our gifts with kraft paper. I shared how I played around with painting dots onto the paper, and decided to use that method for all our gifts. This time, I wrapped the gifts first, then painted the dots right onto the wrapped gift. It took a bit longer this time because I used more than one paint color, but I’m really loving the plain brown paper jazzed up with colorful Christmas colored dots.

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We used a couple different kinds of ribbon, to more easily identify the recipient of the gift. The colorful, chevron-like ribbon is for our nieces’ gifts. The red, white, or green thinner ribbon edged with silver are for the adult family members. Putting gift tags on each gifts made them look sort of fussy, so Dan decided to just write out a gift tag on each gift with a red pen.

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That didn’t work so well with the bags, so I went ahead and put glittery Merry Christmas tags on those.

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Aren’t they cute? I found those tags (3 in a pack) in the $1 section at Target!

As for the dots themselves, I just free-handed it. Some gifts have two different colors of dots, some have one. Some have dots in a symmetrical pattern, and some are on a diagonal. I just eyed it up and started dotting, still using the pencil eraser method I used last time.

Just a  few days left until Christmas! I can’t wait to hand these presents out soon!

Adorning our Wreaths

I hosted my annual (lost count what year it is) Wreath Decorating Party over the past weekend. I wrote about it three years ago, and every year we’ve kept the tradition alive. This year, I was so happy that seven of my friends were able to make it – quite an increase from the two of us who participated the first year. Since we buy our wreaths from Alive Rescue, that means even more money is going towards helping out stray animals. Win-win.

One of my friends brought over all the wreaths she had picked up for us, and we laid them out on the long tables I set up. After some chatting and catching up, we got to work. I actually forgot to take photos until most of the wreaths were just about completed. All I got were these two snaps:

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I know, the pictures aren’t great. But,  I did want to highlight a couple wreaths that I thought were pretty awesome.

This wreath was made using berry-looking trimming and my favorite – the big bow!


I really like the bell garland on this wreath. The smaller bells, the bigger bells, the pinecones, and the bow all match in red!


Here’s the wreath I decorated.


As you can see, the wreath I make still hasn’t changed from the one I made three years ago. I just keep saving those stars and re-using them! As much as I love them, I think next year will be time for a change. I’ve already been looking for new ideas on Pinterest!

Do you ever decorate your own wreaths? If so, I’d love to see them!

Cards of Christmas Past Mini Door Banner

I know it’s only December 3, but I already feel so behind in getting our Christmas card ready this year. We’re still tinkering with it (I’m trying not to panic that I haven’t even placed the order for it yet!), but in thinking of what to do this year, we looked at what we had done in the past. I always have a few extra cards leftover each Christmas, and I’ve been keeping them together with the Christmas decorations, to be pulled out each year.

I really like each Christmas card, and wanted to make a craft with them, or else display them somehow.

Last year, we made a Christmas card tree in our living room and I hung every card we received into the shape of a tree to enjoy the cards all season long. We’ll likely do this again this year, but I didn’t want our cards hanging in the tree.

I decided to keep the cards as they were, and hang them up as a sort of Christmas card banner. I cut some twine and attached the cards to it with mini clothespins. Then, I hung the banner up with some Christmas colored washi tape.

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Isn’t it cute?

Do you do anything with your old Christmas cards?

Not Your Kids’ Advent Calendar

It’s Christmas season, woohoo! Expect mostly, if not all, Christmas-themed posts from here on out through December 25. You’ve been warned.

To kick off my holiday posts, I thought I would share a new printable to make your own Advent calendar.

As I’ve done previously, instead of filling our advent calendar with candies and other treats, I put one Christmas-related activity for Dan and I to complete each day in the calendar. I used to look around Pinterest to find a printable for this, but I found most activity-based advent calendars were very kid-focused, and not really things Dan and I would want to do, like color Christmas cards or have a picnic by the Christmas tree. Not that there’s anything wrong if you want to do those.

As I’ve done a couple times before here and here, I came up with Christmas activities that adults would want to do.

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You can download the printable PDF here.

I did keep some kid activities in there, like watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas and taking silly Christmas photos, but I tried to balance those with the more adult-like activities of a candlelight dinner, a coffee date, and an electronic-free evening. I left one card blank, for you to include your favorite Christmas tradition.

One of my favorite activities is listening to the Cinnamon Bear radio show. A co-worker told me about it years ago, and we’ve usually listened to it in the car to and from our Christmas Eve family gathering while in the car. This year, we decided to break the story into smaller parts, and listen to it as it was originally played over the radio in 1937. Each night, we listen to one, less than fifteen minute program. It’s a great way to settle in after a long day. We’ve already listened to a couple of the shows, as it started on November 29. If you decide to do this, just listen to an extra show each night and you’ll catch up in a couple days. You can listen in (for free) each night here.

Let me know if I’ve missed any of you favorite activities. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas season!

DIY Dot Wrapping Paper

I like using kraft paper as wrapping paper. I find it extremely versatile, and I just can’t resist how it looks with some twine wrapped around it. So simple, yet so pretty.

While I was on my kraft paper kick, I asked Dan to buy me a new roll on Amazon. Well, Dan bought a roll so big and so heavy that I can’t even move the roll myself. With so much paper, I knew I needed to think of new ways to use it.

I was going to wrap my mom’s birthday gift, so I decided to try my hand at painting the kraft paper, and using that to wrap the gift. I kept it easy for my first try, using only a dollop of craft paint and a pencil in this DIY.


Dip the pencil’s eraser into the paint, not getting to much on it. Press the eraser onto the paper. You should be able to get 2-3 dots before you need to go back for more paint.


Let the paint completely dry, then go ahead and wrap up your gift. I used twine to finish off the gift, and attached a printed envelope (found here) to the top.


I’m really happy with the way the paper turned out. The only downside is that you’ll have to factor drying time in when you want to wrap a gift. I’d suggested making a bunch of painted wrapping paper ahead of time, and then just using it when you need it, to save on time.

I’m hoping to try out more ways to punch up kraft paper. I’ll be sure to share when I do.