it's the great pumpkin!

one of my absolute favorite things about fall is pumpkins! here are some of the reasons i'm loving pumpkins and their sweet orangey goodness:

  • our nephew running around a pumpkin patch saying "orange pumpkins! orange pumpkins!" and my own little pumpkin standing in amazement:
  • mellowcreme pumpkins. as in miniature. as in sugar high. can't live without these around halloween time!

  • of course, there are tons of pumpkin lovelies on etsy (i think if you just search "pumpkin" something like 27,000 results show up!) here are my faves:
little stuffed pumpkin by sea pinks
tiny needle felted pumpkin kit by bear creek designs
felt toy pumpkin pie by betsy m
ribbon pumpkin hairclip by ruby ribbon
pumpkin sweater ball by handmade pretties

  • and in the spirit of fall/pumpkins/thanksgiving, i have to give honorable mention to these two adorable little non-crazy-eyed turkeys!
don't eat me turkey by snazzie drawers
and gobble turkey by olive and ollie


i could make that.

one of the always-present & often-tragic results [or beginnings?] of my craft endeavors can be summed up in one phrase:

i could make that

it usually begins with a super cute item that i fall in love with. next comes a price tag... as in sticker shock... as in unbelievable denial that an item usually so simple in concept (& sometimes even construction] could have double or triple digit prices. then comes that phrase. & the closely related secondary phrase, i could make that for way cheaper.

then comes lots of money spent on supplies, lots of comparison shopping to get just the right supplies, lots of trial & error, & then [hopefully] my finished project. sometimes similar & sometimes not-so-similar to the item i was trying to loosely replicate [for cheaper]. this typically gets me into some trouble.

this leaves me thinking that sometimes it might just be better to buy the thing to begin with- but the sometimes that the attempt does turn out just how i wanted it to or better, there's no denying the great feeling that comes with the final phrase:

yeah, i made that!

here are some of the things i've seen out and about recently that really make me think, i could make that & that i want to try [including their prices, so you can be the judge of whether it would be more worth it to just whip out the wallet already!]

word bubble wooden chalkboard $30
[photo via smile&wave, similar chalkboard for sale in her shop]

crocheted earmuff/headband hybrid thingy $28
[photo via sundance catalog]

ginormous u.s. states wall map $99
[photo via pottery barn kids]


the pillow that wanted to be a cushion.

before: cheapo pair of clearance rack throw pillows (2 of the green stripe at $7 each!):

after: soft, cushy chair pad for the 2 end chairs of our dining room table! (the other sides have benches):how: i opened part of one of the seams with a seam ripper, removed the tags and part of the stuffing, and re-sewed the openings with 2 folded pieces of ribbon in them to make the ties. then i added 5 fabric covered buttons to make the pillows more cushion-y (somewhat evenly spaced- i mostly eyeballed it, as usual).
i love how the ribbons look tied in little bows in the back! sweet but not over the top. and adding more & more green to our dining room!



two of my absolute favorite simple ways to decorate for a party or just holidays in general are paper lanterns and banners. while you can do a banner in simple paper-glued-to-ribbon for a really easy [and quick to clean up] decoration, i think there is something really special about sewn fabric ones made with more detail. when there is so much more work put into making it, i think they can really become treasured family items that get pulled out each birthday, christmas, thanksgiving, or for whatever the special event may be. soulemama is a great example of how something like this can become really special to your kids, just because of the tactile handmade-ness of it, and the tradition of it being present every year they can remember [she has a great pattern for one in her new book too!]. i love that idea, and want to have things like that for my kids- i think it's one of the great things about handmade. i still have loads of smocked dresses that my mom made for me as a little girl [which my daughter now wears] and quilts that make my guest bed extra snuggly.

these are the banners on my must-make list!

for thanksgiving.

having written just the other day about how my love of fall leaves collided with my love of banners- a leaf banner is perfect for thanksgiving, but also great since you can leave it up all throughout fall. a couple of pumpkins on your porch, a couple of "falling" leaves floating through your living room... perfect.

for happy birthdays.

i have been wanting to make this pink and brown birthday one for my daughter's 1st birthday which is approaching really fast! it is literally half-cut-out on my project table. my idea was that i could turn it backwards so that just the pink sides show to be hung in her room on all the non-birthday days. i love that mix of amy butler pinks and browns in this one, sooooo yummy. i only have less than a month to get mine finished!


meringue designs' shop on etsy has a fabulous, classic batch of 'celebration banners' and even a pattern for sale if you don't want to waste time winging it like me! i've been majorly loving that "merry christmas" one for a long time now. i have a green one started that i think will definitely have to become a christmas banner with some red letters and maybe some snowy white dots! i'm loving the idea of stringing it in contrast to wherever you hang your stockings... maybe across a staircase railing or along the top of a bookcase. i'm thinking mine will end up like a mix between the christmas one of this:
and a little bit of this, from cupcakery:

[ps- i had to grin at the order of these three, since having a birthday on november 29th has always made my holiday coundown go thanksgiving, birthday, christmas. love it.]

[pps- there are loads of super inspiring banner ideas on flickr!]


make a light switch plate pretty!

i've been looking for cheap (basically free) creative ways to add a little color and pattern the house, and had so much fun with this covered light switch! i started with a green one for my little girl's nursery, and once i did one, i wanted to do every single one in the house! i used a fun leaf print that i've been obsessed with from the martha stewart line at michael's. this is such an instant gratification project too, easy to do during a little one's nap!

first, find a sad, lonely switch plate that needs new life or a pretty facelift!
gather up your paper or fabric (i haven't tried it with fabric yet, but i would think it would work), spray adhesive, and scissors.
cut the paper to fit with a little to wrap around the back edges.
lightly spray the glue on the paper and stick the switchplate face down.
cut an "x" into the switch opening and the screw holes. tuck the corners in so that the seam is smooth.
use a ball point pen to poke the "x" through the hole to smooth the seams.
wrap the paper/fabric around the back edges and smooth them with your finger to make sure they're glued down tight.
spray with a finishing/sealant spray or paint over with modge podge for a nice, soft, glossy finish.
and done! screw back into the wall over the light switch. so pretty!
i have another idea for using this method with some picture frames... i got a picture frame with a mat on clearance at target for $3.24 and can't wait to get to work on it!


falling for fall.

i have a serious thing for fall leaves. well, for fall period really. there's just something about how the air becomes crisper, the colors richer, the apples crunchier, and the leaves just seem to burst into flame with color. i love it!

so, last night we're at the mall and i make the grave mistake of walking into pottery barn kids. i pretty much always know i will fall madly in love with something in pbk, no matter what i do. and yet i still enter at my own risk anytime i get the chance! last night, it was the thanksgiving table that caught me, all set with fall deliciousness and sweet-kiddo-cuteness. stuffed turkeys? cute. green gingham lined table runner? cuuuuuuute. garland of giant stitched felt leaves?

to die for. must have.

please tell me if this isn't one of the greatest things you've seen in a long long time:
unfortunately, the $59 price tag was not so much to die for. well, unless you mean in the sense of paying 60 bucks for something i can make a similar version of myself. i never can seem to give myself permission to buy things i think i could [try to] make, even if in the end it would probably have been cheaper and much less stress/frustration/wasted glue to just buy it to begin with.

i came straight home and started googling. gorgeous wool felt in autumn colors? check. [scroll down until you see the 'autumn leaves' bundle]. great leaf templates to enlarge from the computer? check. green dotted ribbon already in my craft room ready to go for stringing? check.

now that my last craft show of the year is done, let the personal crafting begin. this garland will definitely be on the list.


one wreath, two ways.

i have been eyeing these twig wreaths in the floral aisle of michael's for a long, long, time, but never really considered myself a "wreath" kind of person. i finally decided they were just too cute to stay in the craft store, so i bought one big one and one smaller one to come home with me. i made the big one into a fall wreath for our front door and the smaller one into a baby wreath for a friend's baby shower.

twig wreath!
for the fall wreath:
wreath, hanger, and a papier mache "B" for our last name.
i got a faux hydrangea, also from the floral aisle (because of its pretty green color!), pulled the individual flowers off the hydrangea and cut the plastic pieces off and the petals apart.
hot glue, hot glue, hot glue until it is nice and petal-y!tie the letter to the wreath with ribbon or a strip of fabric.
and hang the wreath from the hanger! you could also cover the letter with twine, raffia, moss, green floral tape, or different colored leaves or petals!

[note to self: i think it needs a bigger bow.]

i had so much fun with the baby wreath! i went crazy with my glue gun and all the little baby-sized toiletries. i stuck to a green/orange/yellow theme with all of them (utilizing the yellow packaging of the burt's baby bee brand) since those colors matched the shower theme.
i spray painted the wooden letters white (she's having a boy, obviously!) and dotted the edges with a green stamp pad to ink them a little bit- that gives it a cute shabby-ish look with some extra color. [ps- i was skepticall at first of how much people do the shabby ink pad thing, but then i tried it a few times and found that it just makes pretty much anything look a little more finished.]
i wrapped the entire wreath loosely with the orange ribbon [reinforcing it a bit with little dots of hot glue on the back so that the ribbon wraps would stay fairly evenlyl spaced] and then hot glued the letters where i wanted them to go. then i tied each letter with a little strip of the solid yellow ribbon. make sure to leave space for where the wreath hanger will loop up and under.
next i hot glued [just a tiny dab!] each little toiletry to the wreath, spaced the way they would best fit, and tied them to an individual little branch of the wreath with the solid green ribbon. this took a little finagling to get the ribbon up under the little branches with so much stuff glued to it, but it helps keep it sturdy and keeps it from looking like it is all hot glued together, even though it is!

and finally, hang on the door of the baby shower to welcome guests and spread the excitement of a sweet little boy on his way! [also makes a great gift, because the momma-to-be can take it home to hang on the door to announce when the baby is born, and take it apart and use the travel-sized toiletries!]


glue. glitter. and babies.

probably some of my favorite things ever.

actually, i secretly hate glitter. but that sounds so anti-crafter to say, and i am definitely not anti-crafter. i am pro-craft, man. i'm that 25 year old sitting at home on a friday night crocheting a blanket because i honestly just think it's fun.

so, imagine my delight when i was asked to do the decorations for a friend's baby shower. babies + little things + decorations? yes, please! i had the added pressure of living up to the beautiful job she did with my baby shower, but i had a ton of fun coming up with some projects to decorate the party. now that the shower is over [and especially since my sweet friend just had her beautiful little boy yesterday!] i figured i should hurry up and post these fun details!

thing #1 the favors.

i learned from my mom to always start party planning with the party favors. then you remember that your guests are what make the party! and you have a little something special for them that sets the tone. honestly, i felt like i came across a sheer stroke of baby-cute-party-genius when i accidentally came up with this one. not that it was rocket science or anything, but they just worked. my original idea was to place little tealight candles in little baby food jars and dot them across the table like polka dots (the theme of the decorations being polka dots and "b is for boy"). i was completely giddy when i found these tealights in the fall section of target in the perfect color scheme:
when i first tried to put them in the jars, they didn't fit all the way in, but snuggled right into the little tops. i was disappointed and thought i'd have to try bigger jars (or scrap the idea altogether) when my awesome hubby suggested i just put the jelly beans (i had planned to put jelly beans in little white buckets as the favors) in the bottoms and call it a favor! add a little ribbon in the same colors, and they were perfect!i was instantly running wild with all the other ways you could adapt these super cute little jars! all the different kinds of jars you could use, for one thing (jelly jars, mason jars) and all the different things you could put in the bottom, depending on what type of party it was for... a shell and a little scoop of sand for a beach party for example (oooh, what a good wedding shower idea!)

thing #2 cupcake letter sticks.

these are just a fun little thing to do to stick into your cupcakes, brownies, or even slices of cake for just a little extra something. they ended up sticking up from the most delicious toffee brownie bars EVER. here's the quickie tutorial all in pictures:

thing #3 B is for BOY

the party colors came from the super cute green, yellow and orange whale paper plates/cups/napkins that i found. i loved the combination so much that i think if we have a boy one day i will change kenna's pink and green nursery over to green/yellow/orange!
i took some paper mache letters and decoupaged them to make the theme for the middle of the table... B is for BOY. i couldn't find an "o" that matched size-wise, so i took a little papier mache hat box, decorated it with a cute little lion, and turned it into not only the "o" but a little baby treasure box, just the right size for the hat and bracelets, etc from the hospital! the glue on these literally dried while sitting on the dashboard of my car on the way to the party!

thing #4 the wreath

i can't remember where i got this idea, but this was my absolute favorite part! i took a vine wreath and a glue gun and went to town, with some letters and some ribbon and baby items in the color scheme! it looked totally adorable on the front door! (full tutorial coming soon).
and, last but of corse not least- a mommy tiara. a few more circles punched out in pink and stamped, and hot-glued to a pink foam crown. luckily, this particular friend is never too cool to wear a hot pink tiara, and looked absolutely adorable.


current obsession:

washi tape.

masking tape made of tearable, re-stickable, adorably printed japanese washi paper.

love love love me some washi tape.

i can't remember where i first read about washi tape, but i ran right out to get some, thinking it would be really great for packaging orders to jazz up the plain kraft paper jewelry boxes i use. it was definitely a must-have when i saw a great green color combination. but then i found the aptly named happy tape website, and discovered that there is a full plethora of colors, patterns, and widths to these awesome tapes! they rip easily, you can pull them off and re-stick them, stamp on them, and write on them!

when i bought the green ones and the checkout girl asked me what else i was going to make with them, i wasn't sure. since then i've found loads of adorable projects online and am having to try really hard to resist on stocking up on ALL of the different colors and patterns! here are some of my favorites:

picture frames:
a striped chipboard album:
letters for a wall:
a SUPER cute notecard:
wedding banner and cupcake flags:
and the coolest idea for a little travel journal ever! this would be awesome with a moleskine journal, and i'm thinking of two little half-finished journals of mine (italy and prague) that need some sprucing up [or at least finishing!] this may be just the inspiration i need!
and one of the best ideas by far, thanks again to washimatta [a great resource for buying the tape on etsy if you're not planning to run out to japan anytime soon!] is for using in in your agenda or day planner.
look at the bottom right-hand little picture to see it- you know how when you have a week-long event like a vacation or fall break that you have to write in your planner, so you try to write it out across the several days and it always looks stretched and messy? now you can just stick a lovely little strip of washi tape across the little blocks of days and write as small and neatly as you like! [and your obsession with neat and tidiness in your planner can continue... ahem].

all the photos here are thanks to the individual sites... many of the links are tutorials or how-tos! this stuff is SO EASY to use and so cute! i can't wait to order some and get started on some projects- i'm definitely going to start by pink polka dotting and striping the plain white picture frames in my daughter's nursery!


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