Friday, November 21, 2014

DIY Christmas Ornament Wreath Party

Turn on the Christmas music, grab some eggnog or hot apple cider, bake your favorite holiday cookies, and call your friends over so we can get this DIY Christmas Ornament Wreath Party started!

Isn't she pretty?! I smile every time I walk by this beauty! I have been dreaming of making one of these for a few years now and with the help of a few ladies from my women's group I was able to make a party out of it. 

We have about thirty to thirty five women in our group, but usually only ten to fifteen of them have flexible enough schedules to participate in events like this that take place during the week night. So I emailed everyone in the group a few wreath ideas and the majority voted on making a Christmas Ornament Wreath. 

I read a few different tutorials and even emailed Jessica from Four Generations One Roof for advice on how many ornaments to buy. Some bloggers used 80 to 100 while others used less. But it really all comes down to the size of your wreath and the size of your ornaments. I ended up purchasing 18 inch straw wreaths and followed some tips from Melissa of The Happier Homemaker's post as well since she used a straw wreath for hers.

Items You'll Need:

Wreath Form
Shatter Proof Ornaments
Low Heat Glue Gun
Ribbon (optional)
Decorative toppers (optional) 

I was concerned about the plastic that covers the straw but read in the comments on Melissa's blog that she left the plastic on to contain the straw. (Note: If you can't find the answer in the post, read through the comments...someone usually asks the same questions that are on your mind!) 

Another question we had: Do you leave the caps on the ornaments or take them off?! Jessica from Four Generations One Roof took hers off and faced the top downwards. It really helps to take them off so you have more room to work with and can place the ornaments closer together. But after a while it was getting to be a little annoying since the shatter proofs have caps that don't pop off as easily as glass ornament caps do! 

Another great tip I read from Jessica is to not only hot glue your ornaments to the wreath, but to each other as well to make them more secure. Note that in my items needed list is a low temp glue gun. Well, I only had a high temp glue gun and when it got too hot it started melting some of the plastic ornaments so I had to be careful with how much I used and only glued them to the wreath! 

You can see a few empty spaces in my wreath still, so I may be purchasing a few more small ornaments to stack on top. (Tip: If you don't want to worry about this wrap your wreath in colored yarn or ribbon first.) There's really no right or wrong method to how you start gluing on your ornaments. I started with the center ones, then the top and worked my way from there. We had a mix of large ornaments, medium, and small ones. The large and medium sized ones were from Walmart and the small ones were from Dollar Tree

As you can see everyone had their own method, and some ladies used just red and gold ornaments while others used red and green, or all three colors like I did! 

You can also purchase decorative toppers like holly leaves to cover those empty spaces. 

We actually ran out of red and gold ornaments since they were the most popular colors so a few of the ladies finished their wreaths at home and have been emailing me the final look!

I love the way everyone's turned out, each one is so different and unique. I'm so glad I could share this Christmas craft with the ladies of my women's group. 

I saw these little owls at Walmart and couldn't leave without them! But then today I stopped by the Dollar Tree and saw a reindeer ornament, these owls may change out next year! I am obsessed with Christmas reindeer decor right now. Have you seen these vinyl reindeer crafts from Two Thirty-Five Designs?! 

AHH... I just love everything Allison from Two Thirty-Five Designs does and all of her Cricut deer designs! I need to find out if any of my cartridges have reindeer on them! PS, I'm also linking up with her for her Casual Friday link up!

So next time on the blog I may feature a reindeer craft, or something else I have in mind for DIY Christmas gifts this year...shh!! 

I hope you enjoyed my DIY Christmas Ornament Wreath. Do you make your own Christmas Wreaths? What are some designs you are crushing over right now? 

Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week?! What are your plans, are you staying home to cook or going as a guest? Either way, I hope you have a lovely holiday with your family. 

Thanks for stopping by today! Have a great weekend! 

Also linking up with the Party Palooza and Weekend Re-Treat link parties!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Staying Healthy and Active with Cheerios and Usher!

This post is sponsored by General Mills and Usher, but my love for their Honey Nut Cheerios and amazing song is all mine!

The cold and flu season are upon us and as I mentioned in my last post, I haven't been feeling too well myself. So how can we avoid getting sick when it's all around us? The obvious answer is to wash ours hands, especially after you shake someone else's! However, the not so obvious answer is staying healthy and active with Cheerios and Usher...totally not what you were thinking, but it's true! 

 When you're morning is busy and you can't be bothered to think about what you're eating, you grab a bowl of cereal, right? Well some of us have a cabinet full of cereals that are high in sugar and artificially flavored because we have a big sweet tooth and midnight cravings! But now that I'm in my 30's I need to start choosing cereals that are good for me and will help me stay healthy to fight off colds and the flu. That's why I love Honey Nut Cheerios, they are heart healthy and naturally sweetened with real honey, there is no better cereal to help kick off your healthy and active day. 

Well, you will also need Usher's new song "Clueless" to kick off the active part of your day! I don't know about you, but I love starting my day with music. It helps put me in a good mood to begin my day on the right note.

Whether you've been a fan of Usher's music since his first hit album "My Way" in 1997, discovered his music in 2001 when you heard "U Got it Bad" or rooted for #TeamUsher on The Voice last year, you won't want to miss out on your chance to get this exclusive free download from specially marked boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios at Walmart.

How do you get your morning started so you stay on the right track of staying healthy and active? 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Family History

I was hoping to have a Christmas wreath round up post on the blog this week, but as you know life doesn't always go as planned. I've been feeling really groggy lately and that is bad news when you're trying to write. When my head is cloudy and I can't think straight, I just can't be bothered to put together a thoughtful post!

I hate going to the doctor but I can't keep putting off this feeling that I probably have a sinus infection. My voice has been horse at times and squeaky as well for about a month now and with my family history of thyroid issues, I need to get looked over. It's kind of crazy because the "family history" went from my mom being diagnosed about six years ago and having her thyroid removed to my aunt (her sister) having the same diagnosis earlier this year, and most recently my older sister was diagnosed as well. Each had stage one thyroid cancer and had the thyroid removed. My sister is still healing (her surgery was just last month) and is now discussing radioactive iodine shots with her doctor.

 I actually had my thyroid checked last year with an ultra sound after I felt a hard lump in my throat area, but thankfully it came up negative (could have been a swollen gland). Ever since my mom's diagnosis and surgery six years ago I have been concerned about my own health, and now with two other women in my family going through the same thing my stress level over it has definitely risen. 

{ My sister a few days after her surgery }

{That's me, my younger sister, and older sister}

This is a recent picture of my sisters and I from just this week when we went to my mom's for dinner. You can see my sister's cut right below her throat is still healing. It looks a bit darker in person, she edited this photo on her phone before posting. 

{My mom about seven months after her surgery}

{Mom, sisters and I in March}

As you can see my mom's scar has healed up nicely and she has been doing well health wise. My aunt moved to Florida a few years ago and recently came up to visit. After her surgery her voice was a little horse, her doctor told her there was a chance of that. It could get better overtime or it may stay like that. She's a bit older than my mom so her body may take more time to heal. 

These ladies are so strong and brave. I just can't imagine hearing that word cancer, but if I ever do I know that I have an amazing support team who will be there with me every step of the way. 

Now that the family history has grown larger, I need to be on top of this and so does my younger sister. Ladies, if there are health issues in your family, don't push it aside and put it off until it's too late. Get to your doctor and get checked. 

OK, I'm off to the doctor...wish me luck. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

DIY Spider Web Frame & Painted Pumpkin Craft Night

Happy Halloween Week! I'm so excited to share with you today the photos and craft ideas from the painted pumpkin craft night I hosted two weeks ago. To decorate our pumpkins we used items from the Plaid® Crafts box of Mod Podge goodies I received in the mail including glow in the dark Mod Podge, Folk Art paint, mod molds and mod melts. We used scrapbook paper and glitter as well (tons of glitter). I also put together a fun last minute Halloween decoration inspired by a post I saw on Michaels Stores Instagram page. 

Wicked DIY Spider Frame

Supplies Needed:

Picture Frame
White Yarn
Mod Podge Mod Melts
Mod Podge Mod Molds 
Paint {I used Folk Art Multi- Surface in Lime Green and Sequin Silver}
Hot Glue Gun
Paint Brush 
Spider Cut Out
An awesome daughter who is willing to help!

1. Remove the glass from your picture frame. Next paint the frame with the Folk Art multi-surface lime green paint and let dry. Then paint the multi-surface sequin silver on top and let it dry again. The box of goodies also included a silicone craft mat and was the perfect surface to use while painting my frame and using the hot glue gun to make the molds. It cleans up so easily, the paint wipes right up with a wet paper towel and the mold melts peel right off! 

2. Recruit a family member (my step-daughter helped me!) or friend to help you make the yarn spider web. Cut the yarn into long strands and start with the legs of the web, then the inner circles. 

3. Next I used my Cricut® machine and Doodlecharms™ cartridge to print out the spider. If you don't have a Cricut machine, search Google for a free spider printable. 

4. Using the Mod Podge mod melts, mod molds, and a glue gun make the fun skull character and spell out the word "EEK" to attach to your frame. 

5. Find a spot to hang your DIY spider web frame and get your Pumpkin Craft Night on! 

Painted Pumpkin Craft Night

I was finally content with the look of my decorated space and was ready to host the best painted pumpkin craft night ever! I set up the table the night before and pre-made a few mod molds including DIY skull push pins. 

DIY Skull Push Pin

Supplies Need: 

Mod Podge Mod Molds
Mod Podge Mold Melts
Mod Podge Silicone Craft Mat 
Hot Glue Gun
Push Pin

1. Plug in your hot glue gun and put your mod melt into the gun to heat up. I used orange and pink mod melts for our craft night, orange being the more popular color of the two. 

2. When your mod melt is ready to go fill in your skull mold starting at the center and working your way out. Make sure to fill in the entire mold. 

3. Once the mold is filled quickly place your push pin into the middle of the skull before it hardens. 

4. Use your glue gun to put a few more drops of the mod melt over the area of the push pin and let it cool/harden for about 10 minutes. {You can check the temperature by touching the bottom of the mod mold, if it's still warm to touch let it sit longer.}

5. Once it's cool enough, remove from mold and decide where you'd like to use it in your Halloween decor. Or make a few more to give as Halloween gifts in your office or to your teens! 

After painting my pumpkin with the Folk Art multi-surface lime green paint, I covered the stem with the Mod Podge and sprinkled on the glitter (tip: place a paper plate or folder under your pumpkin to gather the falling glitter and pour it back into the bottle to reuse). I let it dry overnight then added a top layer of Mod Podge to seal in the glitter so I wouldn't have glittery hands every time I picked it up! Then I topped it off with the skull push pin! 

We each had two pumpkins to decorate for the party and I was very excited about trying out this next technique... 

DIY Mod Podge Pumpkin

Supplies Needed: 

Glow in the Dark Mod Podge
Colorful Scrapbook Paper 
Paint Brush

1. Cut strips of 12 x 12 scrapbook paper to the length of your pumpkin. {Tip: Make sure you have enough of the same pattern or color for your pumpkin, as you can see in the photo below I ran out of the butterflies and used a similar patter/color!}

2. Using the paint brush, generously brush the glow in the dark Mod Podge onto the bottom of the scrapbook paper strip and onto your pumpkin. 

3. Neatly place the paper strip on your pumpkin, smoothing out any creases. 

4. Once your pumpkin is covered with scrapbook paper, brush a top layer of Mod Podge over the entire pumpkin. Be sure to brush out any clumps, the Mod Podge dries clear but clumps of it will dry white. 

5. Next, brush your stem with Mod Podge and cover it in glitter. 

6. Once your pumpkin is completely dry hold a light up to it for a minute or so, then turn out all of the lights to enjoy not only a Mod Podge pumpkin but a DIY glow in the dark pumpkin as well! 

I love that I have two ways to enjoy my one pumpkin design. In the day time she's fancy and glittery pink, but at night when the lights go out she's a green glowing machine! 

Everyone had a wonderful time painting, using the Mod Podge, glitter, scrapbook paper, and mod melts for pumpkin craft night. I can't wait to do it all again next year! Who needs to carve a pumpkin when there is glow in the dark Mod Podge to enjoy?!

If you're still looking for Halloween or Day of the Dead decoration ideas, fun gift ideas, or other ways to craft with Mod Podge products check out these great videos, posts and Pinterest boards....

Plus don't forget to follow Plaid®  and the Plaid Palette Blog on social media {YouTubePinterestFacebookInstagramTwitterGoogle+ } and sign up for their newsletter for even more creative ideas. 

I'm linking up with other bloggers who participated so be kind and show them some love. I'm also linking up for the Dream Create Inspire Party and the Show Me Saturday Party

I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Plaid and Blueprint Social, however all opinions on their awesome products are my own.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies

I bought a can of Pumpkin puree a month ago and had been searching high and low for the perfect recipe to use to make something special for my Pumpkin Craft Night. Did I want to make pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, or something else? When it finally came time to make a treat for the craft night I wasn't up to making something with too many ingredients or steps. Luckily that's when I stumbled upon Desiree's three ingredient pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe on The 36th Avenue

Three ingredients, I can handle that...right?! Well, I actually used five ingredients, two are optional as you'll read below. Are you ready for these amazing, delicious, I want to eat the entire batch in one sitting, cookies?! 

I bet you are trying not to lick the computer screen right now, aren't you?! 

Pictured with the pumpkin spice chocolate chip cookies are the three main ingredients that Desiree mentioned on her recipe post. I included her one optional ingredient, brown sugar, but also added a few dashes of pumpkin pie spice to the batter as well. 

I figured the pumpkin pie spice would add a bit more pumpkin taste to the mix, plus I hadn't used it in a recipe yet and wanted to test it out! These cookies were so easy to make and would be a great recipe to introduce to your kids when they start to get interested in helping mom out in the kitchen. 

  • 1 box of Spice Cake 
  • 1 large can of Pumpkin Puree 
  • 1 bag of chocolate chips 

  • Brown Sugar 
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Combine the spice cake mix (no eggs, water or oil needed) and pumpkin puree in a large mixing bowl.  
  • Add a few dashes of pumpkin pie spice. 
  • Mix in the chocolate chips 
  • Using a table spoon place the batter on a cookie sheet. 
  • Sprinkle brown sugar on top of each cookie. 
  • Bake for 7 to 10 minutes depending on your particular oven.

The cookies are a bit softer than your average chocolate chip cookie, but should be firm. 

I hope you enjoy making and eating these cookies as much as I did. They were a big hit during the pumpkin craft night, which I will have more details and photos from on the blog tomorrow so stop back. 

Thanks for stopping by, have a great day! 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Halloween Craft Ideas

There are so many fun craft ideas for Halloween that I still want to try! Forget Christmas, I think Halloween is my new favorite holiday. Well, I say that now but once the Christmas craft ideas start rolling in on Pinterest it might be another story!

Today I thought I would share a few of my favorite Halloween craft ideas along with a sneak peek at one I put together. Who doesn't love sneak peeks, especially from TV is Revenge, The Walking Dead and How to Get Away with Murder making me wish it was Thursday and next Sunday already!

After putting my Halloween craft ideas collage together, I noticed a pattern in the you see it?! No, well they either have string or a skull in them or both! 

1. Mummy Mason Jars

You know I can't resist a mason jar craft! There are tons of Halloween craft ideas on Pinterest using mason jars, but these mummy jars were my favorite. Blogger Linda at It All Started With Paint used rubber bands to create the mummy effect on the jar and painted on the eyes to complete the look, pretty cool right?! I need to grab some more jars from the thrift store now that I've painted all the ones I have in my collection! 

2. Mummy Door...

Monica is pretty creative at Halloween door decor, okay let's face it she's creative at everything she gets involved in! Hand her a few pieces of wood and a nail gun and you're sure to get something amazing in return! OK, so back to the door! Last year she created this awesome Mummy door and the year before she made a Frankenstein face. If your door needs a little help this Halloween stop by East Coast Creative for both of these fun door decor tutorials. 

3. Skull Wreath...

I just have to say it, this Halloween skull wreath from Desiree of The 36th Avenue is bad-ass! I showed this Halloween craft idea to my younger sister and she wanted one to hang up in her room all year long! It's Gothic, but romantic at the same time. It sort of has a 1920's look and feel to it. I love the texture of the yarn she wrapped around the wreath foam and how she spray painted the colored flowers black. I need to get a wreath form and start creating awesome ideas like this one! 

4. Jack String Garland...

I love The Nightmare Before Christmas and Jack Skellington, I mean who doesn't right?! I spotted this amazing Halloween string garland on my friend Heather's round up on Brit & Co. and just had to share! The original tutorial can be found on Disney Family. If you've ever used a balloon to create a string lantern or ornament then you will have no problem creating this Halloween craft. 

5. Halloween Yarn Hoop Art...

I saw this fun Halloween craft idea on Pinterest a few weeks ago and I'm just learning that the blogger who created this is only 14 years old! If you haven't heard of Emma at Craftinge then I urge you to get on over to her blog, check out her crafts and share, share, share! I love that she's a teen with a DIY blog sharing her ideas with the world. 

6. Skull String Art...

More awesome string art and another skull!! You really can't go wrong with skulls for Halloween, they can be a little too creepy at times, but with clever craft ideas like this one you can make them fun and cute. Elsie at A Beautiful Mess used a large skull print out to create the shape she wanted with the nails, then got to work with the string! Have you created string art before? It's something on my to-do list that I hope to make one day! 

These are just a few of my favorite Halloween craft ideas, if you're looking for more follow me on Pinterest and check out my Holiday and Halloween Crafts boards! 

Are you ready for the sneak peek of the Halloween craft project I made?! 

I also shared a bit more on my Instagram page, are you following me there? I'll have this tutorial and my painted pumpkins on the blog next week so make sure to stop back for more Halloween craft ideas! 

Have you started decorating and making Halloween crafts yet? 

Thanks for stopping by, have a great day! 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fall and Halloween Decor Ideas

I've never been afraid of mixing different decor ideas for one party. Our wedding was a little bit Spring and a little bit Summer with yellow calla lilies, hydrangea and lemon centerpieces, and a beach themed cake! 

My pumpkin craft night is next week and I wanted to have fun with the same idea and mix fall and Halloween decor ideas together for the party.  The inspiration for my party decor started with this incredibly awesome spiderweb garland Jen of 100 Directions created for the Cricut Design Space Star Challenge.

Jen made a downloadable SVG file of the spiderweb and since my boss Monica of East Coast Creative blog is part of the Cricut Design Space Star challenge as well, I already knew how to use the new Cricut Design Space

However, that's when I found out the hard way that my Cricut Expression is not compatible with the new technology that the new Cricut Explore machine uses. Therefore I was unable to download and use Jen's awesome spiderweb in the design space. 

So I went through the cartridges I had on hand and luckily I found a few fall images, like the pumpkin seen below, that I could work with.   

I have a lot of scrapbook paper in my craft collection and found the perfect colors for this project. 

Items Needed for DIY Pumpkin Garland

Cricut Cutting Machine
Cricut Mat
Cricut Cartridge: Stretch Your Imagination 
Scrapbook Paper
String, Ribbon, or Tape 
Hole Punch
Zots (glue dots)

Step 1: Lay your paper on the Cricut Mat and load it into the Cricut machine. Determine what size you would like your pumpkins, mine are 4'', then on the Cricut Expression machine you will hit the "blackout" button then the pumpkin symbol, and hit cut.

Step 2: Once you have enough pumpkins cut, I printed 24 of them, punch out a hole on the edge of each pumpkin. Next string them onto your ribbon. (Note: If you don't have a hole punch or ribbon you can just use glue to hang them up in a line like Jen did with her spiderweb garland, easy peasy!)

Step 3: You can leave it as is and tie the ends of the string so the pumpkins hang with space between them. Or if you want your garland to look like mine, use zots or craft glue to connect each pumpkin together. I overlapped mine so the hole from the punch wouldn't show. 

Step 4: Hang your garland and enjoy the beauty of your work! 

After I hung my garland I stood back and felt like I needed more decor on the wall (the garland came first then the owls and leaves!). I went back to my craft room/office and grabbed my Hoot 'n' Holler cartridge to look for an owl image to cut. 

I just couldn't host a fall party without a few owls on the wall! Look how cute this little owl family is. Why haven't I been using my Cricut machine more?! 

I now had the fall decor look I was going for, but still needed more Halloween decorations to go with the spooky signs I had. 

So I went back to look through my cartridges for a third time and couldn't believe the Halloween images I discovered on the Paper Doll Dress Up cartridge. There was a witch hat, a bat, a mummy and a skeleton, a ghost, and wait for it....a spiderweb! Can you believe that I found a spiderweb image right in my own cartridge collection, who knew it would be hiding among the paper dolls?!  

I used tape instead of stringing them together since the web was so delicate, a few of them actually ripped as I was trying to hang them up!

The paper doll cartridge was hiding these awesome skulls as well! 

Have you started decorating for Halloween yet? Or do you keep your October decor strictly fall themed? 

Thanks for stopping by, have a great day! 

Linking up with Sarah at Sarah Halstead for her new link party...