Happy November! I don’t know about you, but our November is off to a perfect, November-y start. While I always prefer sunny weather, there’s something wonderful about a gloomy, rainy November day. That’s just what we’ve had today – a lovely cozy Sunday cooped up indoors away from the soggy weather outside. It’s been wonderful and relaxing, and now I feel totally ready for Thanksgiving! I’ve been learning to love Thanksgiving more and more over the past few years, and I feel kind of bad for it as the overlooked holiday of the year. It’s always a bit frustrating to me that it’s very hard to find clothes and decorations for Thanksgiving, so I decided to make some of my own. I had so much fun making my Trick or Treat merchandise on Zazzle, so I made some Thanksgiving items as well. These designs all feature my drawing of the word “Gobble,” complete with a turkey for the o.
There are shirts, mugs, paper plates, pillows… Go check them out at our online store! I (along with the neglected holiday of Thanksgiving) appreciate it!
It’s been a very busy few weeks. I meant to share these fun s’mores ideas earlier as a late summer idea, but I’m just now getting around to it a few days before fall starts. Just under the wire! S’mores are fun in the fall too though, right?
A couple of weeks ago we had a s’more themed party for our family. I loved how the decorations came together so quickly and easily – and they looked so cute! First I made a chalkboard sign for our kitchen featuring s’mores for late summer. (Please note – I’m still working on my sign making skills. In fact we just took a class about hand lettering last weekend. It was very fun, and I’m getting better! Practice makes perfect.)
I also had our daughter make a picture for our fridge using brown rectangles, her handprint and glitter glue to make a campfire; chalk lines for smoke; a brown pipe cleaner for a stick; and a cotton ball for a marshmallow. She smudged brown paint on the cotton ball so that the marshmallow would look toasted.
S’mores Handprint Picture
The centerpiece for the s’mores party was my favorite. I found a s’more tote on Amazon and filled it with marshmallows on sticks. I also filled Ball Jars with all of the things you need for s’mores – graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate bars, and of course a campfire. The campfire jar was filled with orange and yellow tissue paper.
For an extra special effect, I put a battery operated tea light inside the tissue in the “campfire” jar to make it look like it was actually glowing!
S’mores Table with Light
I used brown and white plates and napkins for the party. I absolutely loved how the table looked! In fact, I loved it so much I saved the centerpiece and used it a second time at our daughter’s Girl Scout meeting. This time I made it more of a picnic theme with red and white checkered plates. To make easy s’mores, we served graham crackers that the kids could dip in chocolate frosting and marshmallow fluff. It was a bit sticky but very easy, and the kids loved it.
S’mores Girl Scout Snack
So there you go – fun and easy s’mores party ideas you can use to try and prolong summer for a few “s’more” days!
This blog is all about how it’s “always the most wonderful time of the year.” And I really DO believe that’s true – each part of the year does have something fun and special to offer. However, I must admit that if I HAD to pick a favorite season, fall would get my vote. I feel a bit sheepish saying so – liking fall and all it’s pumpkin spiceness has become a bit of a punchline or cliche. But I guess cliches are rooted in truth somewhere. In my opinion, fall is just the best – cozy sweaters, colorful leaves, tasty apple cinnamon treats, crisp cool weather, trips to the orchards and pumpkin patches… Cliche or not, I really do love it; and I love decorating our house with all the wonderful fall colors.
Last year I made this fall sign to decorate for my favorite season. I found a similar idea on Pinterest. I think I completed the whole project in under an hour, including time for the paint to dry. I got a wooden plaque from Michael’s and painted it a copper color. I cut the letters F L L out of brown stick on vinyl with my Cricut. I stuck the letter F to the plaque then chose a pretty red artificial leaf to stand in for the letter A. Then I stuck on the letter L and the other letter L to make the plaque say FALL. I put the whole thing on an easel and put it on display to welcome in fall and all its cozy, sweater-y, cinnamon-y, pumpkin spicy glory.
It’s been a busy month – can’t believe it’s almost over already! So I’m just now getting around to sharing an idea I had intended to share much earlier in September, the month of all things apple. But perhaps it’s appropriate that I’m finally sharing it today, on Johnny Appleseed’s birthday of all days!
I found these darling apple treat bags on Pinterest. Just get red and green bags (or red or green and white striped or checkered or polka dotted or zigzagged, etc…. so many possibilities). Fill them up with a treat (I used them for a back to school get together with some of our daughter’s classmates and filled them with a box of crayons). Then fold over the tops, punch holes in the folded parts, and tie them closed with red and white bakers’ twine. Cut out stems and leaves (or punch them out if you have punches that will work to make stems and leaves) and attach them to the tops of the bags with pop up dots. That’s all – how do you like them apples?
Apple Bag Favors
Back last July, I promised to share the ingenious plan I had come up with for storing my massive amounts of “teacher stuff” in our art room – especially the bulletin board sets and borders. So finally, over a year later, just in time for back to school time, it’s complete. And let me just say, I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.
Hanging Bulletin Boards
First of all, I thought to hang all my pocket charts and the bulletin board sets I use the most often from pants hangers in the closet in the bedroom we use as our art room. It makes them so easy to find and keeps them from getting crumpled or creased or ruined. The only trick I learned the hard way is that when hanging heavier bulletin board sets, be sure to put them in bags with handles so that you can loop the handles around the hangers for added support. Otherwise they may all end up on the floor over time!
Now for my favorite part – my hanging borders. We installed Elfa Utility Tracks from the Container Store on the front wall of the closet and put several Elfa Utility Accessory Hooks on them. Then I took Stainless Steel Wire Clothespins also from the Container Store (after a lot of searching, these were the only clips I could find that were both strong enough to hold the borders and also big enough to fit over the hooks) and clipped them to the ends of the borders. I can’t even begin to tell you how much easier this makes finding the borders when I need them each month!
The bulletin boards and borders that didn’t fit in the closet and don’t get used as often ended up inside a beautiful window seat my dad built. They are out of sight but still easily accessible.
Art Room Valance and Window Seat
And while we are on the subject of the window seat, did you happen to notice the darling pillows and scrap valence my mom made for our art room? I found the idea for the scrap valence on Pinterest and absolutely love it in our art room. I also made a matching scrap lamp (another Pinterest idea) and scrap picture frame hangers to go with it .
And as long as I’m showing off stuff in our art room, I’ll share my other latest creation: a crayon lamp. The fillable lamp (and the crayons for that matter) are from Target. It’s the perfect lamp for a room all about art!
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this tour of our art room and maybe gotten some ideas of your own! And hopefully you aren’t too horrified by the huge amounts of “stuff” (aka valuable educational materials) teachers accumulate over the years. (I won’t even mention all the boxes of “stuff” not in use this school year currently packed away in our garage storage area…)
Hydrangeas are the flowers that I think of in the early summer, so I like to decorate with them around this time of year.
Hydrangeas are really fun and quite simple to make. Just get a styrofoam ball and lots of pins with pearl heads. Then get several shades of papers to use for your hydrangea. (It’s hard to see, but he hydrangea in the picture below has light purple and light blue paper.) If you are making a blue hydrangea, get several shades of blue. If you are making a pink hydrangea, get several shades of pink. You get the idea! I think a variety of shades looks much better than just one, although you could certainly use just one color if you prefer. Punch lots of small flowers using a punch. I actually have a hydrangea punch from Martha Stewart that I got years ago at Michael’s, but I’m sure any small flower shape would work. Then punch a tiny hole in the center of each flower. Pin each paper flower to the styrofoam ball with the pins. Be sure to mix up the different shades of paper as you fill in the ball. Add leaves or ribbon, and you’re all done!
My mom recently redid her bathroom with hydrangea towels and accessories, and I loved making some hydrangea pictures for her.
For the pictures, I had my dad cut the styrofoam balls so that they would be flat on the backs and still fit inside the frames.
These hydrangeas are a fun and easy project that look great everywhere. And they are perfect for summer!
My favorite new Easter decoration this year is this candy scene I made inside of a Ball jar. Or as my husband calls it, our Easter terrarium. He has pointed out that it’s even “sustainable.” I found the idea on Pinterest and fell in love with it because it not only appealed to my obsession with Ball jars but also reminds me of sugar eggs with tiny Easter scenes made of frosting and candy inside them that I used to have when I was little.
This jar was so easy to put together. I got a large Ball jar with an extra wide mouth to make filling it easier. I put a handful of green Easter grass in the bottom. Then I tried to put in a Dove chocolate bunny. This is where I ran into trouble. Even though I had tried to measure visually when I bought the jar and the bunny at Target, I was horrified to realize that the Dove chocolate bunny did not fit through the mouth of the jar. I panicked a moment until it occurred to me that the base of the bunny would be hidden in the Easter grass. So, in a move reminiscent of Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree, I cut off the bunny’s tail, enjoyed some delicious chocolate, and put the bunny in the jar. Best way to solve a problem ever! I added a couple of Peeps chicks and some candy eggs. I decorated the lid with a paper flower and spring ribbon, and it was complete! And now we get to enjoy our “sustainable Easter terrarium” all season.
So obviously this is a little late in the game for this year, but I wanted to share my Valentine’s Day marquees anyway. If you want to make some, you could always plan ahead for next year, or if you aren’t unexpectedly snowed in like we are at the moment you could make a quick trip to Michael’s and make an impromptu Valentine’s Day decoration. On a side note, speaking of impromptu, seriously – what’s with this snow? Come on weather people! Get it together! This morning they said we would be expecting one inch of snow starting at about 2:00 pm. I checked again when the snow started in earnest at about 12:30pm and suddenly they were saying we will get 3-5 inches instead. That seems like a big change, right?? Also, I don’t understand how the county south of us has a “Winter Weather Advisory” and is supposed to get only 1-3 inches of snow but we don’t have any sort of advisories. Sigh. I guess I’m still bitter after the dusting of snow we were supposed to get 2 years ago on Valentine’s Day turned into something like 9 inches.
But back to the marquees. As with my other marquee decorations, I got arrow and heart shapes from the Heidi Swapp Marquee Love brand at Michael’s. I painted the outsides metallic silver and cut red glitter paper using the templates provided for the insides. Then I put the light covers and lights in and that was it.
Short and sweet – but now it’s time for me to start working on our family Valentine’s Day celebration. We always stay in for dinner on Valentine’s Day – a tradition we started due in part to the fact that there is usually some sort of snowy weather that makes going out a miserable option. My friend Sara is right – there always seems to be snow on Valentine’s Day – whether or not the weather forecast knows it.
We decorated for Valentine’s Day this weekend. As much as I love my January/winter decorations, I must say that I am really over winter this year (even though this winter so far has been a walk in the park compared to the last 2 winters), so switching to Valentine’s Day decorations felt like a breath of fresh (and not frigid, shiver inducing) air.
As a result, I was motivated to put out more Valentine’s Day decorations than usual. These Ball jars were one of my new additions this year. I saw the idea for these cute jars on Pinterest. All I did was get a white doily for each jar and attached them with glue dots. I punched hearts out of red card stock and used glue dots again to stick a heart on top of each doily. Then I took red and white bakers’ twine and wrapped it around each jar a few times and tied it in a bow on top of the each heart. I finished the jars off by filling them with conversation hearts and tulips – my favorite flower for Valentine’s Day. I even made a mini version with a heart on the lid to complete my collection. I love them – they make me feel happy and warm like spring is just around the corner… Come on Groundhog! Don’t let me down!
Last week it was time for one of my least favorite jobs – taking down Christmas decorations. I must say though – the new and improved storage space for holiday boxes in our new house made the task much easier and enjoyable. And I’ll admit, putting everything in nicely sorted and stacked boxes does appeal to my penchant for organizing. Instead of having boxes stashed in every random nook and cranny like at our old house, now the upstairs decorations all live in an upstairs closet and the downstairs decorations all live in the downstairs coat closets (who needs coats, right?). This saved so much time since we didn’t have to carry any boxes up and down the stairs. I also thought (unfortunately after the fact) to take pictures of where the boxes were positioned in the closets so they would be easier to put back away. Note to self – next time do this before taking everything out of the closet! Oh well, at least the pictures will be handy for the next holiday! Speaking of the next holiday, be sure to organize the boxes in the closets with the boxes for the next closest holiday on top and the boxes for the holiday that just happened on the bottom. My last tip is to always use box labels that can be peeled off and repositioned so that you can make sure they are easy to see from their spots in the closets. It takes a little effort but it’s totally worth it. Container Store has fabulous labels that you can easily take off and on. Love starting the new year off so organized. Bring on all the holidays of 2016!