Tag Archives: fall

Gobble!

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.

Gobble Pillow

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!

Trick or Treat Merchandise!

Back in the day when I had more free time, I used to paint sweatshirts.  I made shirts for every holiday – shocking, I know!  My favorite one by far was the shirt I made for Halloween.  It said “Trick or Treat” in candy and other Halloween themed letters.  My mom loved it, so I made one for her too.  I can’t remember exactly how long ago I made these shirts, but it was when I was in either high school or college.  I just celebrated my 40th birthday, so suffice it to say regardless of the exact timing, it was a very loooooooong time ago.

Original Trick or Treat Sweatshirt

So for the last 500 years, I’ve carefully pulled this very old sweatshirt out of the closet once a year to wear it on Halloween.  It’s on its last legs after all these years of use.  The paint has started to crack, the sweatshirt is stretched out and looking a bit worse for the wear.  Each year on November 1st when I carefully hang it back up in my closet I wonder if it will last until the next Halloween or not… my mom’s shirt bit the dust several years ago.  I kept thinking that I should just make a new one.  The only problem with that plan is that I just don’t enjoy redoing designs I’ve already made.  For some reason it’s tedious and just not fun for me.

Luckily, my husband had a brilliant idea to save the day – and my beloved “Trick or Treat” sweatshirt.  He told me about a website called Zazzle.com.  You can create your own designs, add them to the site, and have them printed on shirts and a plethora of other items.  So I decided to draw a new version of my “Trick or Treat” design and color it with colored pencils.  Since I was drawing it rather than painting the same exact thing again, it wasn’t an annoying project for me.  (In fact, I enjoyed it so much I decided to make little signs like it for each holiday and season… stay tuned for more!)

Trick or Treat Colored Pencil Drawing

My husband scanned my drawing and with the magic of technology and his brilliant computer skills, he turned it into an image to post on Zazzle.  I put my “Trick or Treat” image on a shirt and ordered one for me, our daughter, and my mom (to replace her old one, of course).  I was so excited and nervous to see how they would turn out, but I was thrilled when they arrived.  They totally preserved the hand drawn look of my original drawing without the tediousness of creating each item individually.  I love them as much as my original shirt from so long ago.  I was so excited that I started exploring the Zazzle site some more and found that I could put my design on lots of different items… pillows, mugs, stickers, greeting cards, treat bags, totes… and on and on.  Our house is going to be full of “Trick or Treat” items this Halloween!

Zazzle Trick or Treat Stuff

 I always got lots of compliments whenever I wore my original “Trick or Treat” sweatshirt – people often said they wished they could get one for themselves.  So at the risk of sounding like Yogurt from the movie Spaceballs (“Merchandising!”), I thought, “Why not?” and posted my “Trick or Treat” items for sale on Zazzle.  Please check out my new little Zazzle shop at https://www.zazzle.com/most_wonderful_time if you think you might want some of my “Trick or Treat” items to brighten your Halloween this year!

End of Summer S’mores

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.)

S’mores Chalkboard

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.

S’mores Centerpiece

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!

Mourning August

Almost two years ago to the day I wrote a blog post singing the praises of August, a newly discovered month for me.  I talked about how in my past life as an elementary teacher August was so stressful and hectic with the start of school but that in the world of preschool where school doesn’t start until after Labor Day, August seemed like a whole new undiscovered month of free time. And now as soon as I had found and grown to love the lost month of August deeply, it’s gone again, just like that.  My family is leaving the world of preschool and reentering the world of elementary school this month.  As excited as I am for all of the adventures that await us, I am also very sad to lose this wonderful bonus summer month.  Before I had written about August being the month of nothing, as in there was nothing pressing to do or get done except for enjoying the last bits of summer.  Now it’s suddenly back to feeling like limbo between the sunny summer relaxation of July and fall apple picking activities of September.  So I guess August is still the month of nothing, but just because it’s kind of in no man’s land.  It’s the start of school without all the warm fuzzy feelings about going back to school that naturally come with the month of September.  Poor August.  And poor me!  Even though my love affair with August was fleeting, I’ll miss it terribly.    R.I.P. August.  I barely knew you!

Leaf Turkeys

I always like to have our daughter make one special project to hang on the fridge each month.  While the handprint turkey is a perennial favorite for November, I saw the idea for leaf turkeys on Pinterest and decided that we had to make our own this year.   Our daughter loved making them and was quick to point out that they reminded her of a stuffed turkey decoration we have had for years because they both have leaves in place of feathers.  I thought she made a pretty good connection!

Leaf Turkeys

Leaf Turkeys

I cut out large circles out of light brown construction paper and smaller circles out of dark brown construction paper.  I cut out yellow beaks and red wattles.  I also happened to have some artificial leaves on hand that worked perfectly, although I think it would be really fun to go on a fall nature walk looking for leaves and then have kids use the leaves they found to make the turkeys.  I also had googly eyes ready for the turkeys’ faces.  Start by gluing the leaves on the tops of the bigger circles.  It takes a fair amount of glue to get them to stick.  We used Elmer’s School Glue, but I think Tacky Glue might be a better choice.  Once the leaves are in place, just leave them alone to dry.  They won’t stick well if you keep lifting them up to check if they are stuck yet (soooo hard for kids to understand)!  Then glue the smaller circles below the leaves.  Glue on the eyes, beaks, and wattles.  You will end up with super cute turkeys!

Fall Sign

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.

Fall Sign

Fall Sign

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.

Apple Bags

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

Apple Bag Favors

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Well, it’s the end of summer, which means I’ve been busy checking off all the great end of summer traditions.

Going to the State Fair.  Didn’t happen.  Too hot.  Too stormy.  Maybe next year.

Seeing the first school supplies in the store and feeling my heart start to race in a combination of excitement for a new school year and dread that summer is ending.  Check.

Shopping for fall clothes.  Almost check.  Seems like they arrive in the stores later and later.  Note to stores – the summer stuff on clearance still hasn’t sold.  Give up.  The stuff left is left because no one wants it.  It won’t ever sell.  We are tired of it.  Bring on the sweaters!

Neglecting to water the flowers I lovingly cared for all summer and secretly hoping they just go ahead and die already because I’m antsy to put out fall mums.  Check.

Waking up in a cold sweat after the first back to school stress dream of the season.  (If you aren’t a teacher, you may not be familiar with the phenomenon of these dreams that generally start like clockwork for teachers in late July.  They usually involve some sort of disaster like a missing class list or an undecorated bulletin board or realizing you have no lesson plans 5 minutes before the kids come rushing in on the first day of school.)  Check.  Although in all honesty this year, for the first time in my life, my back to school dream was a happy dream instead of a nightmare!  That may be due to the fact that I get to work with fabulous co-teachers this year as I embark on new adventures in new classrooms.  Or perhaps it’s due to the fact that I had a really wonderful summer.

Which brings me to the last great end of summer tradition: the “What I Did On My Summer Vacation” story.  This summer I was able to do lots of stuff I haven’t gotten to do for years.  I went out to lunch with several friends.  I got to read several books.  I got to do lots of baking projects from Pinterest, mostly involving lemon and s’mores related recipes because those scream summer to me.  I got to see “Bad Moms,” my first actual movie in an actual theater since “The Lego Movie,” because much like Kristen Bell’s character in the movie, I don’t get out much.  (By the way, did anyone else find it ironic that Kristen Bell’s stay at home mom character in the movie most likely spends a good deal of her time watching “Frozen,” starring none other than… Kristen Bell over and over again?  Well I did.  But then perhaps I related a little TOO much to her character in “Bad Mom’s” and was reading too much into it!)  And best of all, I got to spend lots and lots of time with our precious daughter this summer.  Even though playing her version of “Cinderella” (in which the stepsisters give Cinderella chores and Cinderella says, “No, I’m taking a nap instead.”) got a bit tiring day after day after day, I know I’ll miss having all the free time available just for playing.  Goodbye summer 2016.  Here’s hoping this fall is as wonderful as this summer was!

Grapevine Pumpkins

If you need a last minute Thanksgiving centerpiece or decoration, these grapevine pumpkins are the perfect thing.  I found a similar idea on Pinterest last summer.  I made these earlier in the fall, and I’ve enjoyed having them out all season.

They are incredibly easy to make.  Just get some grapevine balls (often found in vase fillers) and some artificial leaves.  Use wire to secure the leaves to the balls.  I was really lucky to find these leaves with wire already attached at Michaels which made the project even easier.  Put them in a cute bowl or basket or just scatter them on the table and that’s it!  Happy Thanksgiving!

November Card of the Month: Fall Baby Shower Invitation

A few weeks ago we got to have a fall baby shower for a friend.  The hostesses planned a beautiful shower with food and decorations that were perfect for a baby shower in the fall.  When I learned that the shower would have a fall theme, I was thrilled – so many fun possibilities for a fall baby shower invitation!  I just had to share.  So November’s card of them month isn’t a thank you card or a Thanksgiving card like you might have expected.  Instead, it’s a baby shower invitation.

I started with an 8.5″ X 5.5″ piece of light blue card stock folded in half.  I thought about using brown, but I wanted something on the invitation to indicate it was for a baby boy.  I found some fall plaid paper with yellows, oranges, browns, and even a hint of the same blue that matched the blue background of the card.  I cut it into squares to look like baby blankets.  I attached a square with a pop-up dot in the lower right corner of each card.  I also punched some little hearts out of the same paper to accent the words “Little Pumpkin” which I printed out on return address sticky labels and stuck to the top left corner of each card.  I punched out orange circles to be baby pumpkins and added brown stems.  Those I attached on top of the plaid blankets using pop-up dots.  I kept the pumpkins’ faces very simple to make sure they looked like babies and not like jack-o-lanterns.  Now to look forward to meeting the real “little pumpkin” himself!