Craft Ease: Fabric Scrap and Bead Necklace {Zero Dollar Project}

Picnik craft collage
I don’t know about other moms but lately I have been noticing how lacking my wardrobe is. I have actually found myself envying some of Hayleigh’s clothes. Kind of pitiful. With Christmas only two months away and my kids’ birthdays falling six and eight weeks after Christmas winter is a busy and expensive time of year for us. So sadly any additions to my wardrobe will probably consist of a few clearance finds and anything I can squeeze into repurpose from past seasons. In a last ditch effort to make an old shirt feel new I made this necklace out of old scraps of fabric and some beads from a bracelet I wore in high school, gave to Hayleigh to dress up with and she broke. As I scrambled to get the beads off the floor and away from small esophagus I decided to keep them rather than throw them out. And now they have new life. The best part about this necklace is the cost to me: a whopping ZERO dollars! Take that Holiday Budget!
Here is a little how-to. (I am still getting the hang of tutorials, so I apologize in advance if this is bad. I feel like I either give too few pictures/steps leaving too much to the imagination or too many and the tutorial seems more appropriate for a pre-schooler. I also apologize for the poor quality of the photos. My camera is about to bite the dust. If you have an “in” with Santa please let him know I would really like a nice new one for Christmas.) Okay, really, here is the tutorial.
Gather some scraps of fabric. You know the ones. The beauties that have been cut to shreds but for some reason you still stashed away and have just enough left for a project such as this. Their time has come. (I vacillate back and forth between loving colors and neutrals. Apparently today I was feeling me some color love.) Choose three different fabrics and either cut or tear three strips of each.
Braid the strips into three braids, leaving a bit of extra fabric on the ends. (At about this point I was remembering my braid and knot infinity scarf and wondering if this is too much like it.)
Then braid the three small braids together in one bigger braid. This will be the “chain” of your necklace so the length of these are up to you. Then take your beads and string them on some sturdy thread. Sew or tie the ends of the thread to the ends of your necklace, making a hoop.
Trim up the stray thread and excess fabric. Then cut small strips of fabric and wrap one around each “seam” where the fabric meets the beads and adhere with hot glue. This is where a photo would probably have been helpful. Then, if you want, you can make a fabric flower to either glue or pin to the necklace for some added flair.
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And you are done! Easy peasy. What I love is the options that a project like this give you. There are so many different colors and patterns you could use, as well as different flowers you could try. I also love the idea of making one with either glass or wood beads. The possibilities are nearly endless, very unlike my sad little cold weather wardrobe.

Linking up at these fun parties!

A Princess and a {Sweet} Pea

This girl. How do I put into words what she does to my heart? I feel like it beats in a special rhythm for her. I can’t imagine loving someone with a feistier, deeper, more protective, more undying, unconditional love than I do Hayleigh and Braxton. I love Peter with a deep, never-ending love, but every mother knows that a mother’s love is entirely different than any other kind of love you experience. It is not greater than the love for a spouse, but the composition is inherently different. There is nothing more soothing for me than feeling my babies laying pressed against my chest. It is home.
I have always loved to just sit back and watch Hayleigh play and grow, but lately it has been especially entertaining and heartwarming. She has such a beautiful imagination which I thoroughly enjoy watching develop. I do my best to fuel her creativity and imaginative play. It was such a big part of my life growing up. My sisters and I would play pretend for hours and as I got into elementary school my imagination led me to write lots of stories. I also remember crying and crying when I had to learn to read because I could no longer make up my own stories to the pictures in my Berenstain Bear books. In my mind, once I could decipher the jumbled word jargon on the pages the mystery would be gone (even though I already knew the books by heart). Hayleigh already sits with her Berenstain Bear books and makes up stories. Sometimes I find her in her own world talking on and on about things going on in her head. She is always pretending something, whether it is that the ottoman is a playground…or boat…or school bus, that she is a baseball player…or a chef…or a mommy…or a fire fighter…or a dancer…or a doctor who hears cookie monster inside her patient’s tummies, or her most recent mind creation: her two imaginary friends, Murphy and Acey. Murphy is sometimes scary but Acey is much nicer and seems to be coming around more lately. This girl never ceases to make me smile, or laugh right out loud.
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Hayleigh’s latest obsession is dressing up. I was planning on her being a bag of jelly beans for Halloween (a clear garbage bag filled with balloons) but she “couldn’t want” to be that. She “could only want to be princess pea” from Super Why. I had already bought her a couple dress-up dresses from Goodwill and was planning on giving them to her for Christmas. One of them is perfect for a Princess Pea costume so I brought it out early and gave it to her. She was so over the moon excited about it that she wore it for two days and two nights straight without taking it off until I had to convince her to let me wash it so she could wear it again the next day. She, as most little girls do I am sure, has an infatuation with princesses. I did not try to instill this in her. (I found early on with Hayleigh that she makes up her own mind about things and does things in her own time.) Watching her prance around, (and even ride her tri-cycle) in her princess dress made me swell with love and pride. It was just so stinkin’ precious and so kid-like. It made my heart ache in another way too though. It revitalized within me the deep desire I have for Hayleigh to recognize who she is as a child of God, a co-heir with Christ, a princess.
This world is such a challenging place for young girls. It feels cliché to say, but maybe that is because of how true it is. Sometimes I feel hopeless and utterly helpless to raise her to escape, or to bypass, the snags in this world. How will I ever raise a daughter who cares supremely about inner beauty? How will I raise her to be secure and significant in Christ alone? How will I raise her to have a healthy self-image-not selfish or prideful but also not self-loathing and self-deprecating? How can I help her to really grasp and achieve that balance, especially when I myself struggle to find it so much of the time?  How will I raise her to find her worth in who she is in Christ and to view and value herself as a princess?
Sometimes I long for her not to grow up and shed the princess costume and pretend world in her head. Sometimes I consider locking her in her room and never letting her leave the house. Sometimes I pray for the rapture. I am not crazy. It  just scares me to death to think of what she will have to face, and that in time she will have to face it without me right by her side. It also saddens me to think of her loss of “innocence”. I know Hayleigh is far from perfect, but what I mean is by “innocence” I guess is her natural self. Right now I see so much of her raw, unadulterated, God-given personality. I see her for who she is, untainted by societal pressures, norms and expectations. She is exuberant, passionate, social, sensitive to other people’s feelings, caring, fun-loving, sometimes shy and unsure, and always observing and processing things. I don’t want her to sacrifice or alter in any way who she is just because she learns as she grows up what is “cool” or normal. I know that to some degree this is inevitable, but that saddens me. I so love to just watch and revel in who she is, at the core of her. This is so evident in children this age and the older they get it fades a bit, and changes. I am already mourning when she becomes self-conscious about her own loud enthusiasm and replaces it with a more demure façade. (Not because being demure is bad, obviously, but because that is really so not Hayleigh). I want to instill in her a healthy love and acceptance of who she is. So often people go so far in one direction or another along these lines. They focus entirely on self-esteem at the loss of sacrifice and care for others. Or they harp so much on the horrible, sinful state of the human race that they lose sight of how much God cherishes us: his beloved children. I so desire for my children to be able to find a place where they are confident in who God made them to be, assured of their relationship with God, and secure in their calling to love, serve and share their faith with others. I guess I want them to have a peace about who they are and who God is, and not be distracted or hampered by thoughts of confusion or inadequacy in relation to self. This way they can be free to be others-minded. This is something I have not mastered by any means. Hopefully I can figure it out enough that I can share with with my children.
I know this has been “rambly” and ineloquent. I just have so many thoughts and emotions coursing through me as I write about these things, especially as they relate to my babies. As for right now I will continue to do my best. I will soak up the adorable, imaginative moments and all the other moments where I see the true essence of Hayleigh in all its beauty. And when she dons her princess costume yet again today and I bask in the cuteness, I will whisper a prayer that someday she will come to recognize her identity as a child of the King, which makes her a real-live princess to be sure.

On a much lighter note, my Braxton Boy is 8 months old today!
He is FINALLY sleeping at night thanks to a little classical music on repeat and a healthy portion of protein at dinner!! Whoo hooo!! (I know what it says in the baby books about sleep aids being of the Devil, but if you are going to judge me please do it silently.) This means a decent night’s sleep for me and no more remixes to the Kci and Jojo song “Crazy”. Oh yes, it was a real thing. Here is a little taste of my sleep deprived musical genius: “I am going crazy, crazy, crazy listening to you lately. Goin crazy crazy crazy cuz you’re not sleepin baby. Crazy, Crazy cuz I still hear you. Crazy Crazy cuz you won’t sleep through. Crazy Crazy cuz I keep seein you at 2am…..If I could sleep again, then I won’t go, if I could sleep again, I won’t go crazy.” I am sure it will be in the Top 40 before you know it. Get your autographs now and you can say you “knew me when”.

And since you made it this far in the post, I assume you are at least remotely interested in my kids, so let me tell you that since he has been sleeping Braxton’s personality has emerged even more and he is developing much faster. He is waving, almost crawling, and has this adorable thing that he does now. When we ask him if he is a “big, strong man” he flexes his “muscles” and yells. It is pretty hilarious. Okay, that is it. I have imersed you enough with my pictures of and thoughts on my kids. You may now come up for air. Smile
(A few of these photos (the clearly better ones) were taken by Rachel Ann Photography. We had family photos done!)

Saw it, {Loved it!} Sunday #1

One of the things I have enjoyed most since joining the blog world is getting inspired by all the creative and talented people out there! I have stumbled upon so many fun ideas and inspirational blogs, as well as “met” some great people. But I am greedy. I can’t seem to get enough of the inspiration and motivation I have found out there in blog land. It could probably  defined as a bit of an addiction. This has led me to come up with the idea to start a new weekly themed post:
Saw it, {Loved it!} Sunday!
Every Sunday I will feature a few of the unique, fun, creative, smart, wish-I-had-thought-of-them ideas that I find on my “travels”. (Isn’t it amazing how far you can travel while glued to a computer chair during your kids’ naptime?!) Here is the first edition of Saw it, {Loved it!} Sunday! If you were featured please feel free to grab a button from the side bar!
Stephanie from the Polka dot Bungalow made these seriously cute (and yet simple!) Fabric Pumpkins! I am definitely a sucker for DIY pumpkins! I think there is still enough Fall left to give these babies a try!

Katie from Creative Outlet of a Thrifty Minded Momma made a Fall Light bulb! How creative! I love the beauty and simplicity!
Who doesn’t love the perfect bite of apple pie?!? Stephanie from Lady with the Red Rocker made these mouth-watering Bite Size Apple Pies! This is a must-try for me!
I was inspired this week by Jamie from Easily Dunn who made a no-sew cardigan from a shirt she was had since 6th grade! Nice! I have to admit I have some clothes from high school that no longer fit and are screaming to be re-purposed. I might have to give this a try!
Personally I enjoy candy corn and am a-okay with the online obsession with anything candy corn. Shelley from Prairie Cottage Rose made these, new take Candy Corn Sugar Cookies ensuring that every cookie resembled a piece of candy corn, yellow on bottom, orange in the middle and white on the tip.

Thanks to all the imaginative and talented ladies who came up with these inspiring ideas! Stop by next Sunday for more of my favorite ideas that I stumble upon!

Craft Ease: Fall Banner from Distressed Tags

Originally this was a guest post over at Home Savvy A-Z but since I finally finished my pumpkin display and the banner is proudly hanging in front of it I thought I would share my tutorial for how to make one of your own!
"Happy Fall" Banner made from Distressed Tags

Here are the supplies you will need for this project:

1.) Tags (I got mine from a daily deal at Pick Your Plum. I just love them!)
2.) Jute Twine
3.) Distress Ink
4.) Alpha Stencil
5.) Fabric
6.) Scrapbook or card stock paper
7.) Acrylic Paint
8.) Paint Sponge
9.) Scissors
10.) Spray bottle of water (not glade air freshener, as the bottle says...hehe)
11.) Hot glue gun (not pictured)
12.) Fray Stop (not pictured and optional)

This may seem like a long list but I had most of these things laying around my house already. Okay, now that we have all the supplies, let's get going on this fun and festive project!

Step 1: Distress the Tags. Decide what you would like to spell out and count out a tag for each letter. Obviously I chose to say "Happy Fall" so I used nine tags. Take your tag and crumple it up so that it is wrinkled. Flatten it back out (sort of). Take the tag and dab it directly onto the Distress Ink ink pad. I used the shade "Tea Dye".

Feel free to be liberal with the ink. It dries much lighter than how it appears when it is first applied. 

Then take your spray bottle and lightly spray your inked tag.

The more water you use, the lighter the end result will be. Some pooling is okay, but try to avoid drowning your poor tag. Then repeat these steps with each tag and allow them to dry completely.

I actually inked and sprayed a second time because as my tags were drying I realized I wanted the color to be a bit darker and more distinct. It really is up to you how subtle (or not) you want the distressing to be.
Step Two: Assemble and Paint Letters. I chose to use scraps of fabric behind my letters to add some depth and color. Choose what pattern of fabric you would like to use and either cut or tear small squares in proportion to the size of your tags. I tore mine because I liked the shabby look.

Then cut smaller squares of card stock or scrapbook paper of your choice. I chose a tan textured piece of card stock. I was only slightly uniform in the sizes of these squares. I did not measure them, rather I eyed them. I also used scissors and intentionally did not cut perfectly straight lines. You can obviously choose to be more precise and use a paper-cutter.

Now it is time to paint your letters! I was (again) not precise about centering my letters. I also intentionally painted outside the lines (gasp!). This is the look I wanted but again you can do it however you want. That is the beauty of crafting right? Personalization.

Once the paint has dried, use your hot glue gun to glue the fabric to your tag and then your paper on top of the fabric square. I do not have a photo of this step but I am sure you get the idea.

Step Three: Build your Banner! I chose to use Jute Twine because it is 3-ply. Take a piece of twine and unravel the three strands.

Take one of the strands and snip small sections. You will use this to tie your tags to a long 3-ply piece of twine to make the banner. This is where you may want to use the Fray Stop on the ends of the twine.

Now cut a longer piece of 3-ply twine to use to hang the tags on for your banner. The length will of coarse depend on how long you want your banner. I took way too much to begin with and then trimmed off what I did not need. Then tie your tags onto the larger piece of twine.

Step Four: Embellish your Banner. I chose to use strips of fabric to decorate the banner.  I simply tore strips and tied them onto the twine. I knew I needed something to break up the words and add some more pizazz to my banner.

Okay, you are done! Now admire your awesome creation! Don't you just love the way it adds a touch of Fall to the house? I am going to hang mine from the front of a table where I am still in the midst of working on a pumpkin display.

Have a great weekend!

Linking up at these fun parties!

Pumpkin Display and New Blog Design!

First off, how do you feel about the new blog design? I am kind of obsessed with it! It was done by Krystal of Sassy Sanctuary. She was really great. I love how she consulted me every step of the way and I am thrilled with the end result!
Next, we currently rent a house. I am constantly struggling with the reality that it is…well, a rental house. This means that we can’t change much. It also means that we would not have picked this house if we were buying. In our case it also means that the house is old and badly in need of some repairs and updates. Oh, and the house has a strange layout. We have an office which is teeny tiny and tucked away from the rest of the living space but packed with character. It has built in shelves, a fireplace and hardwood floors. Sadly though because of how the house is laid out we don’t get to enjoy it these features. While I spend a lot of time in there doing school work it does not get much use for anything other than a storage place for things that need to be kept away from curious, grabby hands. Right now it is kind of a cluttered, depressing place. Sad. And since I spend so much time in there, and since it IS near the entry way of the house, I decided to spruce it up a bit with a festive pumpkin display. Hopefully this makes me feel better about being holed up doing school work while it is all pretty and fall-like outside. And hey, maybe it will even motivate me to clean out and organize the office! Okay, let’s bring it in a little closer for the breakdown.
First, I made a no-sew ruffle and ribbon runner using Stitch Witchery for my “seams”. I would love to have a sewing machine someday, save lots of money, have bed spreads and curtains and clothes that look just how I want them and wow myself and everyone else by the things I can create, but for now, this is what I have to work with. And I am fine with that.

I also incorporated a few different “types” of pumpkins including lace stocking covered pumpkins (which I saw a while back on pinterest and have been planning to replicate since Spring),  painted “distressed” pumpkins and some gourds.
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I used dried and spiraled corn husks as an accent. I bought these. I was not feeling adventurous enough to attempt making corn husk curly-qs. I also took some acorns and carefully opened them up to resemble a dried flower and painted them. I think they add a subtle touch of fall and seem much more feminine than “normal” acorns.
And of coarse what would a pumpkin display be without some framed pictures of MY little Pumpkins?!
And here it is one more time: A Pumpkin-y shrine to Fall in all its glory.
I actually have it done before Halloween, just in time for snow! Kidding, although it HAS been known to snow around here in October. Let’s keep our fingers crossed  and hope we still have lots of beautiful fall weather left before the snow hits, especially since I still have lots to check off on my Bucket List! At the very least I brought some of the beauty of fall inside and that makes me happy!

Linking up at these fun parties!

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