Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Packing List

We get out of the house a lot. And I don't just mean that in a non-sheltered sort of way.

My husband frequently travels for business and we love to go along for the ride. Besides work, we really like poking around new places. Familiar places, too.

Pre-parenthood, we'd throw some stuff in the car and leave town for the weekend on a whim. No biggie. 20 minutes to throw things into a suitcase and we were out the door.

But with two kiddos, that type of spontaneity is limited. It's not the kids themselves--they're easy--it's their stuff. The bedding and snacks and diapers and stroller and car activities and extra outfits if they have an accident. It all takes so much more thought now.

Last-minute travel planning is a thing of the past in this house... at least for now. I fought off the structure as long as I could, man.

Here's my new, organized and responsible packing list. Cute cars included.


Friday, September 23, 2011

I'm guest posting at According to Kelly today as part of her Holiday Bake, Craft, & Sew Along.

Go check out my homemade Christmas gift idea!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ghosts Say "BOO"

I had both boys in bed at 8:30 last night when my craftiness started flaring up... 
now doesn't THAT sound flattering?

 It happens every single night. Dinner done, boys bathed, jammies on, teeth brushed, prayers said, drink of water-- check! And mommy is running on fumes.

But just as soon as I tell the man-cubs their "nighty-nights" and "I love you forevers"and the door gently latches shut...


 A surge of energy rushes through me-- I want to slide across the floors in my socks and turn up the music!

I feel this need to be free with my crafting closet... Now doesn't THAT sound flattering?


Well, last night I was thinking about decorating for Halloween. Last year we were moving and the year before that, I was newly pregnant and not feeling well at all. This year, though, I am feeling inspired.


Project #1: a new pillow for the couch. I picked this Cynthia Rowley slipcovered pillow up at Marshall's for $10 on clearance. In fact, I grabbed two of them and removed the ruffles on the first to make my Geography Love Pillow.


The black-lined ruffles look perfectly festive so they stayed on. I cut out my letters from a heavy black fabric--almost like felt, but not as fuzzy-- and hot glued them in place.


And I even had enough left over to make my little ghost a mask for his costume.


This is not his official costume. It's mosquito netting that fits over my stroller, but he picked it up one day and called himself a ghost. I love how little kids' minds work creatively and without limits.


Now that I think about it, this is the first year he's had an opinion about his costume. 

Until now, I had always picked. 


He is growing up, but I must admit that I'm relieved he picked a costume that is still sweet and easily made at home. I just have this thing about wanting my boys to wear homemade Halloween costumes. They're so much more fun that way.


Plus, I have really special memories of rummaging through my mother's fabric drawer, jewelry box and craft supplies to come up with Santa Claus one year, a gypsy one year and Laura Ingalls Wilder another year (ha!). 

The excitement came from piecing together the perfect characters before heading out with our flashlights to fill our orange plastic pumpkins with loot.

I want my boys to remember their Halloweens like that, too. 

And I know that a time will come when they'll want to be a store-bought superhero or wear a scary mask. So I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

Visit thecsiproject.com

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

September Rerun: No-Sew Davy Crocket Costume

I thought I would re-post some of my favorite early posts (from back when no one was reading them) in honor of my one year blogiversary this month. I just can't believe a year has already flown by and my three-year-old is four now. He is my sweet boy.

"King of the wild frontier."

I have a nursing infant, a house to pack because we're moving in two weeks, a house to finish remodeling  because we're moving in two weeks, approximately thirty-seven unwashed or unfolded loads of laundry on any given day, a husband and small child who enjoy eating regularly and, oh yeah, Halloween is this month!

Think. Think. Think.

We happen to have a coonskin cap that I picked up at Bass Pro Shop a while back.

Hmm. I can work with that.

After a fast trip to Wal-Mart at midnight last night where I picked up a tan turtleneck, khaki pants and a little over 3 yards of leather-like fringe, and armed with my never-fail glue gun, my boy is Davy Crockett.

No sewing required.

By the way, have you ever tried to hunt down a Wal-Mart employee to cut fabric for you at midnight?

After getting that accomplished, nothing is beyond my reach!

Watch out, bears, he's comin' for ya!

To turn the turtleneck into a collared shirt, make a cut down the front center to the seam and open it up.

Easy-peasy and done!

Now, what to do for the baby?


Saturday, September 17, 2011

September Rerun: Burlap Tie Wreath

I thought I would re-post some of my favorite early posts (from back when no one was reading them) in honor of my one year blogiversary this month. This wreath is on our front porch right now and I still love it just as much!

Autumn is officially here! Bring on the cooler temps.

My mom and I recently made a fun little trip "into town" and wandered purposefully shopped through the craft store for about an hour.

When do I get to do that?! It was awesome!

Here's what I came up with:

I love, love, love how it turned out!

Want to make your own?

You'll need:
  • a wire wreath form
  • 1-1/3 yards of burlap in various fall colors. (I bought 1/3 yard in 5 colors, but ended up with a lot left over. I recommend doing 1/3 yard in 4 colors.)
  • a wooden letter or word (My mom used a pre-cut WELCOME sign and it looked precious.)
  • scrapbook paper
  • Mod Podge and a paintbrush
  • an exacto knife or scissors

Trace your letter and cut it out. 

Then paint the Mod Podge on your wooden letter and carefully place the paper cut-out on top, lining up the edges.

Apply a thin coat of Mod Podge on top and set aside to dry.

Cut the burlap into strips that are about 2" wide and about 12-15" long. Please don't stress about making these perfect. The messier, the better.

Start tying. Try to tie the left side over the right and the right side over the left to add poof.

Tightly pull the knot and twist the strips into different directions so they look random.

Tie on your adorable little letter.

Leopard print, I love you and I want you in my life more. Like on some shoes.

And there you have it. My door never looked so good. (This is actually my mom's door, but you know what I mean.)

Make this over the weekend. It's quick and fun. You'll be so glad you did.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Over the Couch (maybe?)

Do you ever have an image in your head--maybe not an image, but an idea or a feeling-- of how you wanted something to look?


And in your head it was perfect, but when your hands got involved... meh.


That's where this space over the couch is living right now. 

I just don't know, and since I'm working with a place in my home that is highly visible, I want to KNOW that I love it. 


Normally I am very structured, a stay-in-the-lines, symmetry-is-good, everything-in-its-place kind of girl. 

So the imbalanced "messiness" makes me a little nervous because it feels risky for me.


What I do like: 

1. It's very personal for us. The book pages are from one of my favorites, Gone with the Wind.

2. I painted the starfish watercolor when I was in college and that is a picture of my mama as a tot. The frame is actually navy (tricky lighting) and is the same color as the end tables I wrote about here.



3. I used some of the kid art I'd been saving and I really like how I displayed it on top of the wire-wrapped frames.

4. The big clock makes me happy, too.


So.... feedback? 

Any designers, decorators, inspired homemakers or healthy criticizers out there?

Don't be too hard on me. 

Afterall, it's up there and I may not ration the energy to climb on top of the couch and pull it all down again for another six months.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday Rerun: Harvest Caramel Corn

I thought I would re-post some of my favorite early posts (from back when no one was reading them) in honor of my one year blogiversary this month. I need to make this caramel corn again. Yummy!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Oh my mercy. This stuff is good. Man, it's good.

The popcorn is sweet and buttery with the most deliciously spiced caramel and dried fruit, yet salty and crunchy...

I may need a moment.

Grab a paper bag of this and sit out on the back porch while the kids play. Or pack it up for the football game this weekend. Or cuddle up on the couch with your sweetie and share a bowl in front of a movie.

Life doesn't get much better than that.


3 quarts popped popcorn, picked free of unpopped kernels*
1 cup dried apples, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 cup dried, sweetened cranberries
1/2 cup almonds, sliced
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
3-1/2 T. corn syrup
1/4 t. salt
1-1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. allspice
1/4 t. baking soda


Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Coat bottom and sides of a large roasting pan with cooking spray. Place popped corn in roasting pan and stir in fruit and almonds. Set aside.

In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt. Heat to a boiling on medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.

Continue to boil to the firm ball stage (248 degrees F). Remove from heat; stir in spices and baking soda. Pour hot caramel mixture over popcorn, mixing well.

Bake 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven; cool completely. Break apart and store in air-tight container.

Makes about 3 quarts.

*Note: 3 quarts popped corn = a little under two 3.5 oz. bags of microwave popcorn or 6 T. kernels


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Let's Welcome Christina

I'm very pleased to have recently met Christina from Christina's Adventures. She is a devoted educator and has a blog that will inspire you. Her thrift-store transformations make my little heart go pitter-patter and I'm so thankful to have her visiting us today! I'm over there today so go check it out.

I'm so excited to be guest posting here today! I think Erin is so cute and sweet, and her family is just adorable!!

I'm Christina, and I have a blog about my life, which includes making many things with very little money :)

I have a small family that I love with all of my heart. My husband just recently graduated from seminary, and I am a K-2 Autism Support teacher. We have a dog, Buckley, who is truly our baby while we don't have babies of our own!
A little over a year ago, I discovered the amazing power of up-cycling. Since then, there's been no turning back! I *LOVE* finding very cheap (often free) items and making them beautiful!

Crafting and re-purposing furniture is much more than a hobby for me. It's a way of relieving my stress after 12-hour work days, as weird as that sounds! Instead of shopping for clothes, you can find me rifling through "junk" at local thrift stores, or making the monthly trip to ReStore for some treasures. I have found an amazing community of women through blogging, and I have truly grown to love my readers/subscribers! I love making connections, and many of their stories will forever stay with me!

OK enough with the sappy stuff...here's some things you'll see on my blog!

I made over this desk for less than THREE DOLLARS! See...told you I am cheap!

And I recently refinished this cedar chest...which was *free*

I also have a "thing" for pretty (and functional) organization, like these buttons in my crafting area:

In order to save money so we can start a family and buy a house in the next few years, my husband and I have moved to an apartment my parents built in their basement. You had better believe this is not easy to "broadcast" to the blog world, BUT you'd also better believe that it's a little bit of a DIY blogger's dream!! I just recently gave a photo and video tour of our new space, along with my tips on how to make the most out of such a little space:

I am an Autism Support teacher, and I am working on connecting my life as an AS teacher into my blog by having a series to promote understanding of these amazing children. You can also see my (last year's) classroom in this post...but know that I will be posting an updated post about my room THIS year soon too!

I also host a linky party every Thursday, called "20 Below Thursday", which celebrates all of the cute and thrifty ideas you have for under $20! It's amazing how creative people can get...I'd love it if you could come join the party too!

If you follow my blog, you'll get to see many guest appearances from my beloved baby Buckley too:

I would LOVE it if you could come and follow me at Christina's Adventures! I'm also now on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I hope you'll laugh with me as I try to navigate my way through trying to make my world beautiful on a very tight budget! :)