Fall In Love With Autumn: A DIY Wreath Tutorial

Crisp air and falling leaves…don’t you just love Autumn?!

Autumn Wreath DIY

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to stop by the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri’s annual fundraiser Holiday Mart with a good friend of mine (hi, D!). We had a blast walking around enjoying the Christmas music, sampling the incredible treats, and shopping with some of the wonderful vendors that Holiday Mart brings in each year. I had one mission over the weekend: find the perfect Autumn wreath. I’m embarrassed to admit that I failed.  I searched high and low to find my ideal wreath and, even though I found some cute ones along the way, I couldn’t seem to find “the one”. And then that little lightbulb went off in my head: why not make one?! Challenge accepted! Creating your own seasonal wreath is the perfect opportunity to leave your mark on the season, design something that is uniquely your own, and save a little bit of money in the process. Curious to see how I did it?! Take a look:

Holiday Wreath Supply List

Thanks to my local Hobby Lobby, I was able to score some great deals on all of the items I needed to design my new wreath. If you’re looking to replicate my idea, you’ll need to purchase about 45 feet of burlap ribbon (about three packages worth), a wire circle for making wreaths (located in the floral department), and seasonal decorations (I used pumpkins, flowers, and berries). This project takes about 45 minutes from start to finish and is a whole lot of fun so grab a glass of wine, put on some Jack Johnson, and have a little fun.

DIY Autumn Wreath Tutorial

DIY Wreath

This project can be done in three easy steps (yes, I’m serious). To get started, you’ll want to weave the burlap ribbon loosely through the wire circle. Stop periodically to gently puff up the ribbon that you’ve done so far, making sure that it doesn’t flatten (which will happen if you pull too hard). When you start to run out of burlap ribbon, don’t panic. Simply tuck the end into the back of your wreath and start again. Keep going until the entire wreath has been covered.

Make Your Own Wreath

Design Your Own Wreath

The second step to your new custom wreath is adding in personalized decorations. Similar to decorating, try to group decorations in odd numbers (3, 5, 7). I found some great mini pumpkins, berries, and some yellow colored burlap that I used on both of my wreaths and am very happy with the results.

DIY Fall Wreath

Cute Fall Crafts at Hobby Lobby

Inexpensive Holiday Decorations

If you have a Hobby Lobby nearby, be sure to look out for their sale items. I was able to score most of my items for either 40% or 50% off of retail price.

Small Wreath Decorations

When you’re done, the third and final step is to find a spot to hang your new wreath!

Autumn Wreath

Make Your Own Fall Wreath

For my second wreath, I used a pre-existing plain “twig” wreath that was on sale at Hobby Lobby for $4.99 (I used a 40% off mobile coupon which brought the price down to just over $2.00) I simply added a few decorations and hung it up. I still can’t believe how easy it is to do yourself- I wonder why I ever purchased pre-made wreaths to begin with…take a look:

Indoor Wreath DIY

Make It Yourself Wreath

Cheap Fall Wreaths

Fall Wreath

I spent just under $50 to complete both projects, have some extra burlap ribbon to spare, and am already plotting my Christmas wreath. Be on the lookout for more Autumn projects headed your way in the next couple of weeks!

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Succulent Sundays: Pizza, Pizza! A Budget Friendly Recipe

If you love pizza as much as I do: This post is for you!

Farmer's Market Pizza

I love City Market. It’s a great way to find fresh, locally grown and seasonally appropriate produce and to connect with farmers in the area. Even though it’s not peak season yet, there are still a lot of great finds at the farmer’s market. I absolutely love Al Habashi Market. They’re my first choice when it comes to purchasing spices and my weekly indulgence of naan flat bread (which is what I used for the crust of the pizza). Last week I purchased some red bell peppers, spinach, cilantro, and cherry tomatoes from various vendors around the market all of which I incorporated into this delicious pizza. All in all this large, delicious pie came in at under $4.00.

To replicate this recipe you’ll need:

Farmer's Market Pizza

  • 1 1.5 c shredded cheese
  • Pasta sauce (to taste)
  • Handful of Spinach (chopped)
  • Cilantro (to taste)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 4 cherry tomatoes
  • Naan flatbread

Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees. Place the naan flatbread onto a baking sheet. If you’re using a thin piece of naan, I would suggest using two pieces with a little bit of cheese (which will act as glue) in between.

Spread the pasta sauce onto the crust.

Homemade Pizza Recipe

Chop cilantro and bell peppers and add them, along with a thin layer of cheese to pizza.

Homemade Pizza Recipe

Add another layer of cheese and then top with chopped spinach and sliced cherry tomatoes.

Homemade Pizza

Bake in oven for ~6 minutes or to your preference.

pizza

Serve & Enjoy with your favorite glass of red wine (or water, or milk, or your beverage of choice).

Homemade pizza recipe

Tissue Paper Puff Tutorial (With Pictures!)

Tissue paper pom-pom balls are, by and far, one of the easiest ways to add some incredible decorations to your special event.

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to help you along the way…

Tissue Paper Pom Pom

Tissue Paper Puff Tutorial Needed Supplies

You will need:

-Ribbon (or clear fishing wire if you’re looking for that ‘floating in thin air’ look)

-Tissue Paper

-Scissors

-2″ Floral Wire

How to make a tissue paper pom pom ball

Begin by folding the tissue paper accordion style (back and forth, back and forth). The larger you make the folds, the bigger your puff will be.

Tissue Paper Pom Pom Ball Steps

Tissue Paper Puff Ball Steps

When you’re done, fold the tissue paper in half (and crease as much as you can).

Tissue paper pom pom tutorial

Cut enough floral wire to safely secure around the center of the tissue paper (where you made the crease when you folded it in half).

Tissue paper flower tutorial

tissue pom pom tutorial

Begin to pull the tissue paper apart, one layer at a time. Be gentle with it because it tends to rip fairly easily.

tissue paper puff flower tutorial

Continue pulling the tissue paper apart until it creates a flowery look on each side.

tissue paper puff ball

When you’re done, it should look a little something like what I’ve got pictured above.

It really is that easy!

Homemade Crouton Recipe (with pictures)!

You might remember from my post the other day (easy apple turnover recipe ) that I went the non-traditional route for our Thanksgiving dinner this year. Part of that included a hearty romaine salad with homemade croutons. If you haven’t considered making your own croutons yet, I suggest starting. Not only is it super easy but it’s also a lot more cost efficient than purchasing them from the grocery store (plus you have the added advantage of knowing exactly what’s in your salad topping).  For this, you’ll want to pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.

You will need:

  • Bread (Any type will do. I was in a pinch with this recipe so I used three slices of white bread.)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Seasoning (I used garlic and herb seasoning for this recipe.)

Cut the bread to your prefered size. Since I was using sliced bread, I first cut it into strips and then I cut each strip into cubes.

Combine Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Garlic & Hearb seasoning in a bowl.

Toss in the bread until everything is coated in the olive oil / seasoning.

Place in the oven at 400 degrees until the croutons are golden brown.

Enjoy over salad (assuming they make it onto the salad :)).

Gift Giving for The Hard to Shop For

I’m sure you have someone in your life that’s nearly impossible to shop for. We all do. There is always someone who either has everything they want or could possibly need or that doesn’t really want anything in particular. That person, for me, is my dad. Every year for his birthday and Christmas I put my thinking cap on and try to figure out what I can give him that he’ll enjoy. This year I wanted to do something a little extra special. Why? Because I love my dad and I wanted to find a way to tell him. So I decided to give him an envelope for every day between his birthday this year and his birthday next year (2013) with something special: a memory, a picture, a “coupon” (for a hug, a home cooked meal, a movie out, etc), a good quote, or a random fact. My goal was to give him a daily reminder of how much I care about him and how special he is to me.

Let me be the first to tell you that this idea is a labor of love. If you want to go with the 365 day route, give yourself a lot of time, because I had to change my plans after the first five or so hours into the project. I didn’t start my dad’s birthday gift until the day before I gave it to him. I was also cooking our non-traditional Thanksgiving feast so I was, regretfully, short on time. I ended my dad’s birthday gift at 100 days, which I still think will be good.  I purchased a box, envelopes, and index cards from my local Target and went to work.

Working on this gift for my dad was really fun for me. It was really nice remembering events, conversations, and other memories from my childhood but it was also really great to look back at the pictures that I shared with him. I incorporated some of his favorite candy into the box so that he would have something other than just a box full of cards to enjoy on his birthday.

Here’s the finished product:

He’ll be celebrating his birthday today and will (hopefully) open up his first envelope. Happy Birthday, Dad!

Now I just have to figure out what to do for Christmas…

The Kitchen: Part III

As you know we’ve been working on some small DIY projects around the house and our latest project, a kitchen transformation, turned out better than I thought it would…Our home is a standard split level and so our large kitchen also doubles as a dining area. For that reason, I wanted to figure out a way to separate the space but also tie everything together so I used the largest two walls in the kitchen for this portion of the project.

Our refrigerator has always been the “go to” spot for C’s latest artwork and pictures and so I knew I wanted to find a way to use the wall in the “dining area” to showcase C’s work.

I feel that it’s important to mention two things: 1. Yes, I am aware that we have a bulb out on our light and 2. The light isn’t centered on the wall so if it looks a little off balance to you, that’s probably why. We were lucky to find these adorable letters at Hobby Lobby for half off their retail price so we ended up paying $1.50 per letter. After I had the letters up on the wall, I went to work on the pieces to hang C’s art. I purchased some wooden balls (that are flat on one side) that I planned to paint white using acrylic craft paint:

Once they were dry, I used a hot glue gun to attach round magnets onto the back of each ball:

Using wall mounting strips, I attached the other half of the magnets directly to the wall.

I moved the large shelf that was against this wall to help divide the two areas of the kitchen. Once our basement remodel is complete, the toys that are now being stored in baskets on the shelf will relocate to their permanent homes downstairs and I’ll use the space to store small kitchen appliances and accessories that have been thrown into the depths of the cabinets since we moved in.

We used the word “Family” for that portion of the space:

The pegs that are on the wall are made from the same balls that I used for the first half of the room hot glued onto wooden squares that I painted tan. I plan to hang aprons on each of these (one for the husband and matching ones for C and I that I’m hoping we get from our Christmas wish list).

I’ll take some pictures of the entire kitchen and post them this week. Until then…

Rah Rah Rah! Pom Poms for Toddlers- A Tutorial

I had big dreams for what I planned to make for C’s second Halloween (last year we dressed her as the most adorable watermelon you’ve ever seen). Several months ago, I saw an Audrey Hepburn costume made from ribbon and tulle. I told myself that’s what I would make. As with many of the big craft ideas I have from time to time, I set my sights too high and I found myself re-evaluating my options a couple of weeks ago. By now you might be wondering what C is going to dress as this year…She’s going to be a Mizzou (Missouri) Cheerleader. Cop-out much!? I wanted to throw in a little creativity to this costume and so I decided I would make her some pom-poms to go with her outfit. We’ll be attending a “Trunk-Or-Treat” event tomorrow night and our car will be decorated with some great craft projects that I’ll blog about later. For now, I want to talk about the pom-poms.

In case you weren’t aware, toddlers and paper materials (like tissue paper) don’t mix. Truth. Fact. So my original idea was not going to work:

I planned to use a hot glue gun (lookout!) to attach a mixture of yellow, black, and white tissue paper strips onto the cardboard from a roll of paper towels. If you have older kids, I think that would work but for those of us with younger children here’s what I came up with:

You’ll need to purchase your desired colors in soft pipe cleaners (or as I like to call them “the bendy fabric things”). Our local Walmart carried every color but yellow (go figure) so I opted for white and black:

I wanted to make the pom-poms as toddler friendly as possible so I made them into little “bracelets” (that way C can be hands free while trunk-or-treating):

Next I took the remaining pipe cleaners and twisted them around a pen that I had handy:

Then I attached them to the wristlets to complete the “pom-pom”:

Even though they don’t look like traditional pom-poms, I think they’re pretty cute. Most importantly, they’re safe for my toddler and they’re something I don’t have to worry about her destroying before we head out the door.

Happy Halloween!

Baking Soda For Whiter Teeth?! Come On In & Find Out…

I once did a little research (for a former client of mine) on ways to whiten teeth at home. I learned some things that I didn’t know like that the malic acid naturally found in strawberries helps to whiten teeth. I also re-visited a few things that I did know like that eating carrots, celery, and raw potatoes (the only person I know that will eat a potato raw is my grandmother) can help bring a brighter smile. One thing I came across, and have been meaning to try, is a combination of toothpaste, baking soda, and water. I will warn you, if you’re going to do this at home, try to limit yourself to once or twice a week since large amounts of baking soda have shown to reduce the enamel on your teeth (I’m not an expert on this matter, it’s just what I read).

Before:

Let’s begin…

  • You’ll need:
  • Baking Soda
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Water

I filled the bottom of one of my toddler’s meal bowls with the baking soda but I was also sharing with my husband (who did this too) so if you’re going solo you may want to use less (we had extra when we were done).

Mix in toothpaste…

And water…

Brush your teeth with a generous amount for two minutes, rinse, and repeat. After you’re done brushing be sure to remove any leftover mixture.

After:

Notice a difference?

Here’s a side by side (before on the left, after on the right):

 

 

Disclaimer (because I feel like I need to say this):

I am not a medical professional so my opinions are based off of what I’ve read and researched online.

No amount of online research substitutes for a healthcare professional so if you have questions…ask your dentist!