Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How to Get the Most Out of Your Fall Pumpkins

This week I've been helping my kiddos paint their pumpkins.  It's a yearly tradition that we do instead of carving them, partly because we don't really celebrate Halloween so carving them into scary faces is kind of pointless.  We like to do happier and more creative things with them.  But also because the pumpkins last a whole lot longer this way.  Once they're carved they start rotting and only last a few days and that seems like a waste of money to me.  Keeping them whole makes them last quite a long time.

So, I got to thinking about what we did with ours last year and how I got my money's worth out of them and I decided some of you might like these ideas, too.

So here's what we did last year.

Sometime in October we have a family night and we break out the paints and brushes and go to town creating faces (or in the case of the 3 year old's pumpkin, lots of random colors mixed everywhere).  : ) The kids loved my Mike Wyzowski pumpkin and that inspired them to want to do a whole set of Despicable Me characters this year.

Three out of the 4 pumpkins were still good by Thanksgiving time in November so I spray painted one of them white and we toted it along on our trip to visit family.

I took a permanent marker and set it up in my mom's living room and it became our "thankful pumpkin."  Throughout the day everyone wrote something they were thankful for and signed their name.  It was really fun to turn it around and around and read what everyone added.  I made sure to take a picture of each side to help us remember.

By December we were down to 2 pumpkins that were still good so I let the kids paint them again and this time they turned them into "snowmen."

The 3 year old's looked a little more like a melting snowman, lol!  : )

If we had enough pumpkins that were still good we may have tried this stacked snowman from Sweet Pepper Rose.  Isn't he adorable?

Here's another cute Christmas pumpkin idea from Club Chica Circle that I like. 
 (They also have a cute idea in that same post about using "snow" paint to do a snowman pumpkin.  We might try that one this year.)

You could even do the ornaments first for December and if your pumpkins are still going strong you could do the snowmen for January.  

So there ya have it.  Just a quick post to give you some ideas on how to get the most out of your fall pumpkins.  Not only are you getting your money's worth out of them, but it makes the fun last that much longer, too.  

Do you guys have any additional creative ideas on how to repurpose your fall pumpkins?  
I'd love to hear about it!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Farmhouse Fall Decor

Well, I figured it was about time I got around to sharing my fall decor with y'all.  If I don't do it now it'll be time for Christmas decor before I ever get it around to it.  

I didn't spend nearly as much time on it this year as I normally do.  Usually my method is to open up my tubs of decor and spread it all around to see what I have and then I work on it bit by bit over the course of an entire week trying to get it just right.  But this year was different.  For starters I now only have one tub of stuff versus the three I used to have.  Before we moved from Ohio I did a major purge and consolidated it down to only one large Rubbermaid tub.  So I didn't have as much to work with, but also I just didn't feel like agonizing over it for a whole week.  I pretty well just reused some of the same ideas I've done in the past, just changing them slightly, and didn't bother with a whole lot of second guessing myself and I had it done in 2 days.  Like it or lump it, but it's finished.  : )

Let's start with the shelf above the couch.  I normally put this large berry wreath on the front door, but this year I decided to keep inside instead.  Looking back through my fall decor pictures I realized I had never hung it above this shelf so I went for it.

I added in my 2 frames of free fall art from a couple of years ago.  They're just magazine pages that I liked.  I loved my crochet thread pumpkins so much from 2 years ago that I decided to use them again.  I also layered in a small berry sprig to add a little more interest.  And did you notice what's tucked in and peeking out from behind that berry sprig?

Scrabble tiles spelling out "autumn."  They're just simply resting on the edge of the frame.  I love that it's sort of unexpected and you'll only notice it if you're looking closely.

In the middle there's an old book that had a nice coordinating color, a vintage wooden folding ruler, and topping it off is a brown glass electric insulator.

This end of the shelf has a jar full of my wooden spool collection, and a rusty looking pumpkin candle holder I got at a Goodwill a couple of years ago.  And did you notice something hanging from one of the pegs on the shelf?

A little group of old keys.  
Why you might wonder?  Because I found them laying around and decided I wanted them there.  That's why.  : )

I added a cozy throw over one end of the couch and changed out the red and white pillows from summer back to the warmer colored plaid ones as well as a few other little fall themed ones.  And on top of the still-waiting-to-be-refinished coffee table is just a simple basket, candle, and hickory nut arrangement.

I kept it really simple because we like to prop our feet up on this in the evenings if we watch TV and sometimes the kids like to eat their lunch here while watching a movie if it's a rainy day.  So I kept it really easy and fuss-free.

On the left end of the couch is my stacked wooden crate end table.  It has a similar look to previous years, but not completely the same.

The little orange lantern is filled with dried bittersweet, and the two fabric rag balls?  They're just some of the leftover strips from all the shower curtains I've been making.  Instead of throwing them away I've just been rolling them up and decided to use them as decor.  : )

Down on the bottom I added some cute little votives and a small pumpkin.  The picture is of Hubby and I when we were expecting our first baby.

On the other end of the couch is my "shipping crate" end table.  The tray arrangement on it is very similar to something I did before, but not exactly the same.  Behind it I brought out my old orange picker's ladder and added a warm colored quilt to it.

I left the bicycle basket in it (you might remember that from the bedside "table" post), and used it as a magazine holder for all my pretty fall covered magazines.

Here's a close up of the tray arrangement.  That's a vintage hankie layered in under there.

The love seat holds another cozy blanket and the two pillows I made last year.  I moved some side tables around put this little step ladder here instead.

It's just perfect for holding a drink, but not collecting clutter.  : )

On top is an aqua canning jar holding one simple fall flower.  On the step down below is a cute frame my sister made me a few years ago, and tucked underneath the ladder is this old drawer.  It fit under there perfectly and I love the way it looks, and I keep thinking I'll find the perfect thing to put in those little dividers, but so far I haven't had any genius ideas on that.  So it's just sitting empty and useless.  But I still like it for some reason.

You might have noticed this arrangement behind the love seat.  I've had this old ironing board here by the front entry way for a couple of months now, but I've never shown it.  (And yes, my baseboards are still only primed and are still awaiting their top coat.)

This was an arrangement that I wasn't 100% happy with, but I was tired of messing with it and deemed it good enough.

The antique mirror was a $1 yard sale find and the wreath came from a Goodwill Outlet store. I'm kinda liking the way it looks hanging over the mirror.

On the other side of the living room, opposite the couch, is the entertainment center monstrosity.  I still don't like this piece of furniture.  It's huge....and it's black.....and it's shiny.... and it shows every particle of dust known to mankind... even after I JUST cleaned it!  It's horrible.  I'm still on the lookout for something else.  Anyways...I kept it simple as well with just a pair of matching berry arrangements and a berry sprig tucked under the TV.

To the left of the black hole is my antique rocking chair.  I added in a $5 Goodwill quilt and another cute fall pillow to make it cozy.  

Well, that about does it.  I've got a few things tucked around the kitchen and dining room, but they still need some tweaking so I'll share them later.

What about you? 
 Have you had time to break out your fall decor yet this year?  Are you still using the traditional warm colors or do you love a more neutral toned down look?


Friday, October 10, 2014

Another Sharpie Mug Project

I just wanted to pop in and share a quick post of something I've been up to this week.

If you've been around my blog for awhile then you might remember the BFF Sharpie mug project I did last year for my friend in Ohio. 

That tutorial post became quite popular and it's still my top viewed post every week with well over 100,000 views total.  

But that was the only one I had ever made....until this week. 

 One of the teen girls at church had a birthday this week and I wanted to do something special for her without having to spend money we didn't really have.  Then it dawned on me I had some plain white Corelle mugs I had bought at the thrift store for .25 each just waiting for such an occasion.  I used the same technique as I did with the last one, printing out the design, shading the back, and then tracing it onto the mug (more detailed directions here).  Then I painted over the design with an oil based Sharpie paint pen.  Once the black paint was dry I came back and used white paint to do the polka dots.  It looked kind of gray, so once they were dry I put a second coat of white on them.  Then I baked it at 425 just like I did the last time.

I knew from last time that any color other than black had the potential to change colors so I was curious to see what would happen to the white dots.

They turned gray.

But it was fine with me, it still looked cute on the black letters.  The paint held up well to a hand washing after it had baked so I deemed it another Sharpie mug success.

And the girl whom it was for?  She loved it!  An even better success!  :)

So tell me, have you tried this thrifty little DIY project yet?  
Did it turn out well for you or was it a "Pinterest Fail" kind of a project?


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fun Friday Finds #26

Welcome back to Fun Friday Finds!!

A friend from church and I went yard sale-ing yesterday so I have some fun finds to share with you.  We didn't find very many sales, they're kind of sporadic on Fridays around here anyways, but it had also been rainy all week so I think that may have scared a lot of people off.  We drove through three different towns in our search.  One place was like going 'round Robin Hood's barn trying to find it as the arrows on the signs pointed in opposite directions.  Then once we finally found it, after following some other randomly placed arrows, we had to be careful where we stepped so as not to fall through the floor of the poor 'ol trailer.  I think the bike they had that my friend wanted (that was NOT for sale) was nicer than the entire home and its contents combined.  Yikes!

We finally saw another sign in the 3rd town and I almost didn't even go to it because the sign was in a not so nice part of town.  But my friend convinced me to forge on ahead because it said the sale was 4 miles down the road and she said there were nicer homes further on down.  So on we went.  And boy am I glad we did!!  It was the vintage jackpot!  And they were making some serious deals.  I probably could have bought and resold everything they had if I had been so inclined.  Well, all except for the vintage Playboy magazines that is.

I got these license plates for $1 each, one even still has an old reverse light still attached!  I've been wanting a few more to put in my son's room, but they're usually around $10 each most places I've seen them.

I also picked up this little prescription pad holder for $1.  At least I think that's what it is.  It caught my eye because it says "Eckerd Drugs."  The town where I grew up had an Eckerd and then it later got bought out by CVS.  I think I'm going to keep this piece and see if I can turn it into a "to do" list holder for my ktichen.  I love the little metal spring pen holder.  

I found two more things at this same sale, but they were my most exciting finds of the day so I saved them for last.

We couldn't find any more yard sales, but we did see a sign for a Lion's Club flea market that neither of us had ever been to so we stopped in.  I picked up these sailor caps for $1 each.  The woman in charge told me that the person who donated them said they had belonged to his grandfather and they were from WWII.  BUT....after I got them home and took the time to look closer, I don't think that's true.  I think they're much more recent than that.  So I'm not sure what I'll do with them now.

We also checked out a thrift shop that we'd never been to, and I found this cute little dress for my daughter for $2.

At the same store I also got this set of 4 little French porcelain dishes.  I think they're called Au Gratin dishes.

The design on the "handles" is delicate and sweet.  I've sold a little creamer pitcher of this same brand previously so I was willing to plunk down $2 for the set.

Now for my favorite find of the day!

As Shawn from Psych would say, 

"Wait for IT......"
(anybody else love that show?)






A set of 2 very solid wood, very heavy, very sturdy, made in the USA, vintage library/banker style chairs!!

Aren't they gorgeous?!?

Just look at all these curves!

My heart was doing a little flip flop when I asked how much they were asking for them.  The wife said, "Welllll......" and while she was standing their contemplating a price the husband calls out from behind his newspaper, "Ten bucks for the pair."  SOLD!!!  They asked me if I planned to paint them or fix them up and I said, "Nope.  They're going straight into my shop as is."  Someone else may want to refinish them, or they might love them in their current chippy and worn state.  Now I love me a good painted wood makeover as much as the next girl, but personally, I think it would be a crime against humanity to paint these.  They need someone who will either leave them as is or put in the time and effort to restore them to their former wooden beauty.  I REALLY want to keep them.  I am seriously in love with them.  But....I know I will never get around to putting in the time it would take to restore them and since their worn patinas are so different I wouldn't be happy with them as is.  So...in the shop they will go.

After our fun morning of shopping my friend offered to come back home with me and help me with the process of photographing and logging all the information on these finds so that I can get them listed.  We worked for a few hours and got these ones done plus a whole lot of other ones that I haven't yet been able to get to.  So I'll have lots of pictures to edit this week and then I'll be able to start getting my shop restocked finally.  After all that free help the least I could do was feed her so when her husband stopped in to pick her up I talked them into staying for supper and we chatted the evening away and had good Christian fellowship until just about bedtime.  It was a good day indeed! 

We're planning to do it all again next Saturday.  :D


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Construction Themed 4th Birthday Party

This past weekend was my son's 4th birthday party.  We alternate each year on which child gets the big party and this year was his turn.  I'm all about doing up cute parties, but within reason.  They still have to fit into our one income budget.  Thankfully, I had a few Etsy sales beforehand so I had a little bit extra to spend.

Months ago I asked him what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday and he and I perused Pinterest for ideas and when he saw this one from Fredillicious that was it, that was the one he wanted!  He had that exact same backhoe already so this was "his" cake!


So that's how we came up with our construction theme. 

We found this cute set of plates at Hobby Lobby and that's what I based everything around.

Instead of sending out paper invitations, I designed this one on the Red Stamp app using a picture of the napkins from our party supplies, and texted digital invites instead.  They're free to design and free to send, that = cheap!  

I kept the decor fairly simple, but still fun.

Our buffet was set up to be the gift area.  I got mylar balloons from the dollar store instead of latex balloons because they hold their air so much better and they're the same price as getting latex ones filled at the grocery store.  It saved me from having to run back to town the morning of the party to get balloons filled.  I bought them the day before and they were still just fine.  The same would not have been true of latex balloons.  I was very thankful for my moment of genius when I thought of this.  :D

In the windows on either side of the buffet I placed a couple of his construction toys that he already had.  Cheap decor!  

On another wall I made this little photo op area using a dollar store tablecloth and streamers, cutouts from the Hobby Lobby set, and caution tape I found on Amazon.  
(link will be at the end of the post)

On the dining room table I set out little hard hats for each of the kids.  They were pretty flimsy, but the kids didn't seem to care.  We also found the little traffic cones at Hobby Lobby.  I used a black plastic tablecloth folded up as a runner down the middle and just put a strip of the caution tape in the middle of that to mimic a road.

The centerpiece was his beloved cake that he had talked about for months!  :)

It was a bit of a comedy of errors to get it to this point, but he and I were both happy with how it turned out in the end.

He already had all the little toys and they made the perfect cake toppers.  I found the traffic cone candles on Amazon.

He spotted the candy rocks while we were at Hobby Lobby and he was SO excited when I told him they would be perfect for his cake!  They were good too, tasted like M&M's.

I set up the bar as the food area and put this cute little banner on the front (also from Hobby Lobby).  Again, I kept it really simple.  I had seen a lot of cute ideas for themed food for this type of party, but I decided against the extra stress and the extra cost that would involve.  Hubby grilled hot dogs, I made baked mac-n-cheese, and we had chips to go with it.  It was perfect and stress free.

I found the cute little orange caddy at Winn-Dixie for $1.50 and it was just perfect to hold the utensils.

For the goody bags I bought these little orange bags at Dollar Tree, 3 for $1, and I used a paint marker to draw the construction lines and "thank you" on them.  It was done rather hastily at sort of the last minute and they certainly were far from perfect, BUT...they were cute enough and they worked.  

They each had a can of silly string, a few pieces of candy, and a rubber eraser shaped like a dump truck (Hobby Lobby).  Nothing too overboard.

The drink table sported a couple more of his toys that he already had.  

I only planned one game and I'm glad I did it that way.  They had so much fun just playing in our kids' rooms with all of their toys and it gave me a chance to sit and chat with the other adults instead of running around trying to coordinate everything.

The one game came from an idea I saw, on Pinterest of course, lol!  It worked out perfectly because we already had a large floor puzzle that was construction themed.  We kicked the kids outside for a little bit (Hubby ended up piling them all into the Kawasaki Mule and taking them for a fun ride) while we adults hid all 60 pieces of the puzzle around the house.  When they came back they had such a blast hunting for the pieces and then working together to complete the puzzle.

Even the oldest boy there, who originally claimed he wasn't playing any games, got in on it and had  way more fun than he would probably admit to, lol!

The nearest I can figure I spent approx. $85 on decor, and about $15 on food.  So for around $100 I was able to give him a fun little construction themed party that was cute and festive, but not overboard, incredibly expensive, or stressful.  

That's my kind of party!

If you'd like to see more of my small budget parties you can visit these links:



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