30 September 2010

Great Fall and Halloween Looks

I posted some great fall looks a couple years ago and got a huge response, so I thought I'd add some more this year.

I've loved seeing more color this year.  The Fall palate no longer has to be orange, brown and yellow.  Last year I kept my "very summer colored" porch furniture up for Fall and I love the pop it gave everything:

I love what Becky Higgins did with her table here.

Here are some oldie but goodies.

I love Martha Stewart's cookie cutter pumpkins.  Usually, she is much too symmetrical and prim for me, but these pumpkins are so fun!  I also love the polka dot one featured here (see bottom left pic).

I still intend to make one of these pedestals featured in Country Home Magazine:

This pumpkin was also featured in Country Home magazine a few years ago:

Love it.  I did some of my own art on these pumpkins a couple years ago:

You can use fonts, templates, or just free hand.  I usually free hand because it's fun to let your imagination go and what else am I gonna do with all the art training I didn't go on to pursue?

Here's a fun idea.  Why not try some of "those other colors" instead of black this year?  Why yes, I think I will!

Have you seen the great vintage Halloween clip art at The Graphics Fairy?  Check these out:

How about some traditionally colored bugs for a little bit of creepiness?

Love her collection of old haunted houses.  Perfect in frames.

Such a fun vintage seed packet label!

This was featured on The Graphics Fairy's blog but was actually designed by none other than Amy Locurto.

Cute on bags or labels!

I can't wait to play with this free printable... it screams banner!

Here's one spot I've got The Graphics Fairy printables up in my home:


Before you ask how to make the glass frame, I bought it.  At Target for super cheap on clearance.  BUT the idea of making one fascinates me.  And I know it wouldn't be too hard using a piece of plexiglass and vinyl or scrapbook embellishments applied to the back for the frames.  Drill some holes and hang from ribbon.  Intriguing, huh?

ETA: Boy that niche looks bare.  Sometimes a picture says a thousand words!  I'll have to update with a new improved version...

Up next, Great Fall Tastes... and a giveaway starts Monday!  Stay tuned.

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26 September 2010


Gosh, I love Sundays. I love getting dressed up in our Sunday best, as a family, and going to church. I love doing my hair - often it's the only of the day of the week that I do my hair. (It's long and I have to straighten it and yada, yada yada...) I love wearing heels and feeling pretty. I love my calling at church (for those that do not know - a "job" so to speak). My calling is to teach the children music. We sing and play games and they are just so sweet. I seriously love them all. I love coming home from church and snacking on yummy treats. I love how much quieter the house is on Sundays. I love taking a nap. I look forward to it all week. I can crawl into bed and not have to think about anything at all. I let out an audible sigh nearly every Sunday when I lie down. I love being in my pjs in the middle of the day. I love my kids curling up around me on the sofa while we watch a movie after dinner. I love to read and soak in the calm. I love not looking at the clock or worrying about having to be somewhere. I love to hear uplifting music wafting out of my husband's office where he's doing his own thing. Where he's also soaking up our day of rest. I love the smell of whatever scent I am burning. And on this particular Sunday, I love having the window open and sensing that Autumn, at last, is coming.

What is your favorite day?

23 September 2010


I'm kinda excited about today's project. It was so fast, and it's fun, and I scored a deal in the process.

All you need :


There are several takes on this idea. In years past I've done each letter in a different font and mounted it in a frame. This year I wanted something a little different. While perusing Hobby Lobby, I found these small, square (6x6 to be exact), padded bulletin boards, complete with darling gem studded pins. AND THEY WERE 50% OFF.  Perfect!

I found a font I liked (this one is Adobe Caslon Pro Bold) and printed out my letters on cardstock. You'll need something with a little substance. Honestly, cardstock is a little thin. Print out on regular paper and then trace onto poster board, cardboard, or you could even use sizing since we're working with fabric as well.

Cut around you letters carefully and use as a template (opposite side down) on the back of your fabric. Trace with marker and cut out fabric. Then apply fabric to your letters using you preferred mounting agent. I used mod podge in matte.  Because I'm not much of a matchy, symmetrical person, I used 3 different fabrics with the same color scheme.  I could have used different fonts, too... but a lot of the more cutesy or ornate fonts would have been difficult to cut out of fabric.  And you don't want to go too over-the-top or it gets gaudy-looking.

If you go with card stock to back your fabric (and maybe even poster board), you'll want to let your letters dry between 2 sheets of wax paper and weight them down over night (to prevent curling).

When they're dry, mount however you'd like!  In individual frames, on these fabulous bulletin boards from Hobby Lobby, on a banner, or directly onto the wall... go wild. ;)  What I love about the bulletin boards is that I can easily change the word for, say, Christmas...

(JOY, anyone?)


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21 September 2010

Let Us Oft Eat Cake

I love cake.  Not just because it is the most delightful dessert on the planet, but because cake is fun.  Cake means happy.  When I see cake on art, clothing, paper, in literature, you name it, I find myself giddy.

Here are some delightful cake themed things that I am loving right now:

Char at Crap I've Made sewed these darling aprons (and matching hats) for her daughter's birthday party.   (That's right people, I'm highlighting in PINK for this post!)

My friend Anne at Blues and Basics turned me on to Paul Ferney's art work here.  Does this make you want to throw a party for yourself?

Speaking of parties, there are some pretty freaking cute cupcake parties circling the web.  Look at the DARLING table display Natalie created over at Little Shindigs:

Want a fun, fast read?  Try this book:

And there is so much more that I could show... especially in the clothing department.  Just go and browse Etsy.  It's all so yummy!  

To round things out though, HERE is my favoritest cake recipe ever.  It's called Sinckerdoodle Cake and you'll want to make 5 of them at once.  Not kidding.

Well, it's no surprise that my little girl also loves cake, cupcakes, etc.  She wanted some cake art for her room and this is what I came up with:

I used watercolor paper for the background of this little collage.  In fact, I painted the background kind of a washy swirly pale yellow with watercolors.  After it dried, I layered my cake pieces... just drew and cut them freehand.  It's easy if you keep the lines simple.  Use Paul Ferney's art for inspiration!!!  

The table cloth, pedestal, cake, frosting layers, and cherry are all cut from scrapbook paper.  Those are doilies around the edges and over the top of the cake stand.  Just to add a bit of whimsy and fill in some empty space.  And there's brocade trim dripping around the top of the cake to look like frosting decoration.

Such a yummy project!  We haven't decided whether to hang it like a banner, with ribbon, or frame it in a white wash antique-y frame.  Thoughts?

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17 September 2010

heads up!

My good friend Emily has opened a fun little shop at Hopscotch Road.  She describes it as "vintage furniture gets new life with a modern twist". 

I adore this lab table:

I can so picture it as a nice oversized desk!

And how fun are these framed flash cards?

Love them!

Go check out the rest of their great stuff.  Now!  And if you are lucky enough to live here in Austin, you can see it all up close at the Antique Marketplace on 2222 and Burnet Road.  They'll be adding new stuff all the time so if you go once, be sure and go back again and again!

14 September 2010

~ il bel far niente ~

I have a problem, and I'm pretty sure many of you can relate.  (Creative minds think alike, after all.)  My problem is that I have an insatiable urge to do, do, do.  Try new recipes, make new crafts, find new hobbies, basically get every ounce of joy out of my life that I possibly can.  It's like being on a constant quest for contentment, only that contentment can never really be satisfied!  I want to learn new thigns, try new things, be good at everything.  It seems like that's just the nature of a creative soul.  Would you agree?

I read Eat, Pray, Love this summer.  More like devoured.  Although I couldn't really relate to Gilbert's sense of feeling displaced, I could certainly understand her approach to finding her place again.  She is unquestionably a passionate woman, a word that describes me as well.  Perhaps she took the search for herself a little further than many people would, what with her running off to multiple countries with wreckless abandon and all.  But I find the idea titillating.  (Not that I could ever really ditch my husband and children like that, but it sounds kind of dreamy all the same.)  You know, in a beautiful, free falling kind of way.

This was the kind of book that I read with a pencil in my hand.  Underlining, making notes, discovering things about myself that were always there but only just making themselves known to me.  Starting with this, which I truly could have written in my journal word-for-word:

"Over the years, my hypersenstitive awareness of time's speed led me to push myself to experience life at a maximum pace.  If I were going to have such a short visit on earth, I had to do everything possible to experience it now.  Hence all the travelling, all the romances, all the ambition, all the pasta.  My sister had a friend who used to think that Catherine had two or three younger sisters, because she was always hearing stories about the sister who was in Africa, the sister who was working on a ranch in Wyoming, the sister who was the bartender in New York, the sister who was writing a book, the sister who was getting married - surely this could not all be the same person?  Indeed, if I could have split myself into many Liz Gilberts, I would willingly have done so, in order to not miss a moment of life."

"I have searched frantically for contentment for so many years in so many ways, and all these acquisitions and accomplishments - they run you down in the end.  Life, if you keep chasing it so hard, will drive you to death.  Time - when pursued like a bandit - will behave like one; always remaining one county or one room ahead of you, changing its name and hair color to elude you, slipping out the back door of the motel just as you're banging through the lobby with your newest search warrant, leavbing only a burning cigarette in the ashtray to taunt you.  At some point you have to stop because it won't."

"Letting go, of course, is a scary enterprise for those of us who believe that the world revolved only because it has a handle on the top of it which we personally turn, and that if we were to drop this handle for even a moment, well - that would be the end of the universe."

I remember once feeling just awful that I couldn't make it to a church meeting for a calling I held at the time (for those of you who don't know what I am talking about, callings are the duties we perform in order to keep our church self run). I was good friends with one of the women I served alongside with and she turned to me and said, "I know, you don't want to miss it. You hate to miss things." It was such an accurate observation of me. I do hate to miss things. It's a wonder I slept through the night before 6 weeks old! Obviously you can't go through life expecting to experience everything. You'll go mad trying.

Well, I'm getting there! Hahaha.

I only wish I could, as Walt Whitman said and Gilbert quotes; "stand apart from the pulling and hauling... amused, complacent, compasionating, idle, unitary... both in and out of the game and watching and wondering at it all." Sigh. It never fails. If I go to the ballet, I come home and try on my old pointe shoes. If I visit the museum, you can find me - paint brush in hand - the next day.  If I attend a rousing ball game, well I just might decide the next day that it's time I join a league!

It's not that I think I'm all that, truly it isn't.  It's simply inbred.  From the age of 5 my mother had me in a variety of extracurricular activities, urging me to achieve, achieve, achieve.  And then she'd brag, brag, brag about us.  Which has lead to me often dodging compliments, or turning them around.  They make me feel uncomfortable, like I have to prove to people that I'm not self absorbed or arrogant.  Despite all that... I don't know how to drop the handle.

But I've got to learn.  A couple weeks ago I had a not-so-kind wake-up call.  Actually, 2 of them.  Firstly, I haven't been able to run for almost 3 weeks, and will continue to rest for at least another 3 while I do rehab on my knee.  Running has become my lifeline.  There is nothing sweeter for a woman on the go like myself than a good rush of endorphins to help you feel truly invincible each day.  Secondly, not 4 days after putting the brakes on running, I found myself in a heap of emotions over the to-do list that has become my life.  Probably in part because of the lack of endorphin rushes, but also in part becasue no one's really ever invincible. And I've been questioning ever since that breakdown, what am I really trying to accomplish here?  Life is not an Olympic event. 

I can't remember who said it, but I read somewhere that your true person is the person you see yourself as, not the person you portray.  Meaning, you can go through the motions of being this together person who's always on the ball, but if your perception of yourself is discontented, then that's in truth who you are in the end.  An empty bucket.

You may have noticed that I changed my "about me" in my sidebar recently.  I included a phrase I learned of in Eat, Pray, Love.  "il bel far ninete" - which is Italian for "the beauty of doing nothing".  The true desire of my heart is to learn to savor the moments in my life, rather than trying so hard to LIVE them to the fullest.  They are, as I am finally learning, not the same thing.  And it's not that I have to change who I am, just how I feel about myself and what I expect for myself, and the pace at which I live.

Wish me luck.

12 September 2010

Spooky Banner Tutorial

Is it really time to start thinking about Halloween?  Or Fall, for that matter?  We're still in the 90s down here in TX.  And had a few days of pure rain, so it's also nice and humid outside right now.  But, I'll play along with all you craftsters and join the Fall/Halloween idea train...


Last fall while my friends and I were out and about looking at model homes we came acroos a cute bedroom with the word "DREAM" hanging from a curtain rod. It was done in a gothic-like font and the letters had glitter on them and hung from ribbons.  This look has since become very trendy, but at the time I hadn't seen anything like it.  We decided we loved the concept, and thought that it would be a perfect idea for a Halloween banner.

Here's what we used:

this font

black posterboard

Elmer's glue

popsicle sticks


black (or orange, or silver) glitter


Blow up the letters to the size you want and print out. Cut them out and use them as stencils on black posterboard. (We smoothed out some of the edges on the letters because they were a little too ornate in our opinion).

Reinforce the back of your letters with popsicle sticks if your posterboard is too thin (if you do not, the glue will cause the post board to curl).

Paint your letters (one at a time) with an even coat of glue. Sprinkle black glitter generously over the letter. Let your letters dry overnight.

Using a wide ribbon (if your ribbon is not wide enough your banner will not hang flat), attach your letters using hot glue. Leave about an inch bettween letters... you don't want them to close together or they will overlap when you hang it up. Leave at least a 7 inch tag on each end from which to hang your banner.

Add additional pieces of ribbon for whimsy... choose a variety of widths and textures. I used orange silk, black with handstitched edges, white ric rac and black and white striped. Black and white gingham and polka dots would also be cute! You can also hang the letters individually, each one with it's own piece of ribbon.

Looks great across a mantle, hanging in a window, along the top of an armoire, or at the top of a niche like mine. I thought the letters might also look cute if covered in velvet!


08 September 2010

Check out one courageous blogger's journey through motherhood.

My friend Christy is sharing her struggle with repeated miscarriages at Hybrid Mom today and tomorrow (there are 2 installments to the story).  Run, don't walk, and read it here.  If you can relate, it will help you feel a connection with a woman who's risen above so much heartache, and if you can't it will help you cherish the blessing of being able to carry to term with ease.  Thanks Christy for your bravery!

05 September 2010

a gift that smells divine

Gift wrapping is one of my favorite creative arenas.  I think I love paper even more than fabric, but you can wrap gifts in so many things: wall paper, scrapbook paper, newspaper, and yes - fabric too!

One of my best friends just had a birthday, and to make her present extra special I wrapped it in scented drawer liners.  I found them at Tuesday Morning, and was first attracted to the design on them.  It was so fun and girly.  Once I realized that they were drawer liners and not wrapping paper, I thought, why not use them as wrapping paper?  Then there is a fun dual purpose to making your gift look fabulous. :)

My friend loved it, jsut as I knew she would.  And as a paper/ribbon saver like myself, I know she's got these drawer liners tucked away somewhere special. :)

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01 September 2010

DIY Address Sign

When I was in Salt Lake a month ago I went into this really cool hardware store that I can't quite remember the name of (I think it was called Silver Star Hardware).  It had the largest selection of address numbers I have EVER seen.  And I have always wanted to do my house address in big silver numbers, so I keep watch. At an average of $15 dollars per number, it just hasn't happened yet. I was so inspired by the variety of numbers I saw in this store, however, that I knew just how to remedy my situation and get my house address noticed.

First, I spray painted a 9.5 x 24 inch piece of scrap wood in my garage.  You see, this is why I never throw anything away.  My husband still doesn't get it.  I distressed the edges with sandpaper.  Then I found some fonts I liked - one for each number to make it fun and quirky (that's me!).  I made a stencil for each number and traced those onto a product called Create With Metal Designer Metal Sheets.  They come in a variety of gauges and colors.  I used .005 thick, 36 gauge soft aluminum.  SO EASY to work with.  Not like some other kinds of metal that have left me bleeding and suffering for days.  (What some people will do in the name of creativity, huh?)  I cut my numbers out and attached them to my wood with Elmer's Wood Glue.  I am sure there is something more effective than that, but it's what I had.  I knew hot glue would probably warp the metal, so that option was out.  To reenforce the numbers (and give it somewhat of an industrial appeal) I put a few nails in each number as well.

HERE is the finished product!

I love it!  Not sure where I am going to put it quite yet.  I set it here in the meantime.  What do you think, is it fine where it is? 

Or should I hang it on that left pillar?

Hmmm, I am undecided.

Whilst I am showing off my front porch, check out this darling bench I picked up at Tuesday Morning!  I've been looking for just the right one since we moved in 2 years.  And there it was all the sudden, beckoning to me.  When I'd just about given up!  Isn't that how it always how is with love? ;)