Top 5 DIY Projects at My House

So…while I was hosting the Holiday Boutique last month, I had people asking me about projects I’ve done in my home.  A lot.  I think if I’d have been selling some of them, I would have done very well for myself.

Some people were trying to take things off of the wall to purchase – others sat with me awhile and picked my brain about how to do others.  It was super flattering!!

Then, I realized that I haven’t shared much of my home on this blog.  It was also suggested to me {A LOT} that I should.  So…that’s what this post will be…me sharing the things that people were loving about my house.

Some things I’ve posted about – others I made before I entered the world of blogging, so I saw no reason to take photos of the process.

I’ll link up to any tutorials that I HAVE done  – and get to work on ones that I hadn’t thought to do.


So…here are the top 5 DIY Projects that people were loving at my house.



#1: My “Mud Room”.

This is the area that comes in from the garage.  I’ve built a chalkboard wall calendar {tutorial to come}, back pack hangers, and a “shoe shelf” area.



 This shoe shelf was made using the IVAR shelving system from IKEA.  {this was the 4th place I’ve used these shelves in my house!  I’ve also used them in my Roll Down Pantry Shelves and in my Playroom.  You can see them both in THIS POST.  And also in my new shelving/desk in my craft room {that post is in the queue!}

Here are the links to the different components.

SECTION SIDE UNITS (I used 4 @ $8 each)

LONG CENTER SHELVES (I used 3 @ $6 each)

SHORT OUTER SHELVES (I used 6 @ $4.50 each)

*I just cut each brace to the height I wanted.

*Make sure to cut them all from the same end (top or bottom) so that your peg holes line up for your shelving.  {we don’t want any crooked shelves!!}

*I painted everything in ‘Aged Beige’ by Behr Paint and Primer in One in a satin finish.  I like satin for my furniture painting.  It washes easily, but isn’t tacky.

*The table top for the shelf is just a piece of MDF shelving.  I wanted a little more detailing, so my dear old dad cut the corners fancy using my scroll saw.  I made a pattern by tracing the edges of my dining table.  I wish I’d taken a video of it.  He’s an impressive guy!


The Chalkboard Gigantor Calendar is a tutorial for another day :0)




#2: My Chalkboard Menu Wall

People were literally trying to take these off the wall to buy.  It made me laugh.  How do you politely say “back off, lady!” when something isn’t for sale??  ha ha.  This one, I DID do a tutorial for!  You can find it HERE.



#3: My Store Bought Curtain Make-Over

Again, lots of oohs and ahh’s over these.  This was one of the EASIEST projects I’ve done – but gives store bought curtains a lot of class.  You can see the tutorial HERE.



#4: My Picture Wall

My husband tells me that I’m “trigger happy” when I’m taking photos.  Them’s the breaks when you have cutie kids, I guess.  Needless to say, I have A LOT of photos.

I also love having my photos be the “art” on my walls.  It makes it feel more homey to me and gives the artwork more meaning.  So – my dilemma – I needed to display a lot of photos, but didn’t want to pay for

a bazillion picture frames.  Thus, this project was born.  This tutorial has been added to my project list.  Wait for it….



#5: My Fireplace Mantle

I’m not sure what I was thinking when I made this mantle.  I was blogging at that point.  WHY, OH WHY did I not take pictures of the process??  Silly.

Lucky for you, I have 2 other fireplaces that need to be “mantled” – so I’ll be a better girl and take photos of the process for you.  It was actually quite simple.



I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing a few peeks at my house.  There’s more to come.  Watch for the tutorials, too!  If you aren’t a follower – make sure that you become one to get these tutorials sent right to your email!




Ice Cream Party Tablescape


Silly Silly Me!!  I planned on having a party recap for today’s post – and I stewed and fretted about sticking so much information into one eternally long post.  { Thus, the late hour of my post }  I still wanted to show you the games we played, the food we ate, the cute table that we ate them on – so I’ll have to continue the posts into next week as well.  This really was a GREAT party!  {I guess this is what happen when you have a mother that goes overboard X 2!!}  So today – I’ll post about the DARLING tablescape!

Here’s a view from the top:Ice Cream Party Table Setting -


And here are some closer views at the cuteness:

The Place Settings

Ice Cream Party place setting -



The Tablecloth

Randi made using THIS darling blue chevron fabric.

At each place setting:

Plate, 4 inch doily, Ice Cream Sundae Cup, Spoon

Napkin (Randi made them, and they were DARLING!) held with a candy necklace wrapped around twice and twin cherry lollipops.

You can find a similar fabric for the napkins HERE, and she trimmed them with tiny pom pom ribbon.

Glass with Pink Swizzle Stick, Blue Striped Paper Straws, and Cherry Limeade Yummy Straw Tag, and a candy bracelet around the bottom of the glass.

Cherry Limeade Straw Tags -


Ice Cream Scoop Place Card (You can see the tutorial HERE)

Ice Cream Party place card -



We gave each girl a glass “jewelry jar” to take home the candy jewelry they made. (more on the jewelry later!)

Ballerina jewelry jar with chalkboard label

What you’ll need:

Crystal Glass Jelly Jars

Pink Spray Paint (or preferred color)

Ballerina Cake Topper

Chalkboard Stickers

Hot Glue Gun

Chalk Marker

How To Make It:

1. Remove the lid & spray paint them the desired color

2. Once the lid has dried, use a hot glue gun to put a ballerina cake topper in the center of the lid.

3. Write the names on the chalkboard labels using the chalk marker

4. Attach the label to the front of the jelly jar


Chalkboard Place Mat

Chalkboard Place Mats


Love those adorable chalkboard placemats?  Wanna know how easy they are to make??  It’s just black card stock, a chalk pen and a circle punch!

Here’s what you’ll need to make them:

Black Textured Card Stock

Chalk Marker

1.5″ Circle Paper Punch (or some scissors)

How to Make:

Step 1: Punch the corners using the circle punch (or find something round, trace onto the paper, then cut out with scissors)

Step 2: Using the chalk pen, draw a border about 1/2″ inside the paper.  If you’re not comfortable freehanding it – just use a ruler for the edges and something round for the ticket stub part.

DONE!  See?  I told you it was easy!

Next week  I’ll show off the decorations, activities & food.  You’re gonna love it!!










Oh, how do you survive in the summertime?

Ahhh….summer.  In my mind, summer is what I see in the magazines.  Outdoor picnics, working in the garden, family bike rides…lots of outdoor fun.

OH WAIT!  I live in Phoenix, Arizona.  Stepping outside is like opening your oven.  These activities just aren’t possible here in the summer time.

And here I have 4 kiddos home from school for the summer to entertain and it needs to be indoors as much as possible.

So today, I thought I’d share some of my solutions:

First of all – we needed to have some kind of schedule.  My family just functions better that way.  The kids like having something to look forward to, and it keeps me from hiding from them.  {ha ha…don’t judge me…}

One of my super genius friends told me about hers a few years ago and it is the #1-must-happen in my summer time planning.

Our Weekly Summer Schedule

Make-it Monday: It can be a craft – it can be a treat.  But we create something together.

You can get ideas on my pintrest board HERE


If you feel like you just don’t have the crafty gene – Kiwi Crate has SUPER cute crafts that get shipped right to your house.  The kids LOVE them!! {even my 13 year old!!}  You can do a subscription or just buy individual crates.

Intelligent Tuesday: We head to the local library and spend time finding and reading books.  They also get to have computer time there.  You can give them research projects if you want to step it up a bit.

Wet Wednesday: We do SOMETHING involving water.  We don’t have a pool – so we go to a local splash pad, wash the car and have a water fight, swim at the city pool, go to a water park, etc.

Theatre Thursday: Our local movie theatre offers summer movies.  $5 per kid gets them a movie every week all summer long.  They love it and it gets us out of the house.

Sci-Fri Friday:  This was my sister-in-laws genius idea. {And I think the name is AWESOME!!} Every friday the kids go to her house and do science experiments.  THEY LOVE IT!!

That takes up a few hours every day.  Then what?  My kids self-entertain pretty well.  They love legos.  They love to play board games and card games and stuff.

But sometimes…it comes to “Mom, I’m BORED!”  

I got tired of the usual “what about this, what about that” game…so I’ve created an “I’m Bored” Activities Jar.


This is in no way an original idea.  I’ve seen them around for forever…but I wanted to make it tailored to my family.

I’ve pinned all of the activities that need instructions onto my Summer Survival Pintrest Board.   If you follow it – any new pins will be sent your way.

For example: if you need to know how to make the bouncing bubbles – just click on the image on my pintrest page and it will take you to the tutorial.

There are a few rules associated with the “I’m Bored” Jar that I laid out to the kids ahead of time.

1. You MUST do whatever the stick says.

There are more than just fun things to do in there.  I have 3 categories: * Fun * Jobs * Educational *

So – if they draw a job – they have to do it.  In return – if they draw something fun that I need to help with – I have to drop what I’m doing and do it.   Fair trade, I’d say.

2. You can only draw 2 sticks per day per person.

I have 4 kids – but if you have a smaller family – you may want to up the limit.

3. We let everyone do the fun & educational sticks together.

The job sticks are yours to do alone.

Obviously, you can set this up however you want – and I’d love to hear any improvements or suggestions!!

I’ve included copies of the sticks I’ve created for my family for you to download & print. The image below is just one of 3 pages full of fun!


If you need a good old fashioned printable file that you can cut out yourself…you can download that HERE.

If you have a Silhouette:  I have a print and cut file all finished in the silhouette studio for you with the registration marks and all!!  You can download it HERE.

** I’ve included a blank page in each file – if you want to create your own or just add to what I’ve made.  The font I used is Cafe Rojo from Fonts101.  You can download it HERE.

**The stick size I used is the Jumbo Craft Stick (5.9″ x 0.7″)  I just found them at Wal-mart in the craft section.

**I spray painted one side of my sticks yellow so they were a little more cutesie…just because I like to make things more difficult.

**I left the inside free of a pattern to save on ink…but if you want to cute-ify it even more – you could print your pages on patterned scrapbook paper.  {I think a light gray or yellow chevron would be DARLING}

**Once you have the paper sticks cut out – just use a glue stick to attach the paper stick to the wooden stick.

{I let my kids help me make the sticks.  Not only did it give them something to do – but they got to see what was on them.  They are super excited about them now and I can use them as leverage.  Bwahahahaha.}

Thanks so much to everyone who contributed ideas on the Facebook Page!!  I’m going to try and use the blog’s Facebook page more for the giveaways and stuff like this – so make sure to LIKE US so that you’ll get our posts ;0)




His & Hers Soiree: Food, Glorious Food


Food presentation is a HUGE part of the “enjoying eating it” experience!

Randi has an amazing ability to present food…so everything looks and tastes amazing!

Here are a few tricks to follow – and you’ll soon have a few tricks up your sleeve!

Let’s start with the Cupcakes:


The first trick is to use a great big tip when piping your frosting like THESE

You’ll get a professional look, even if your piping bag is a ziploc baggie. {Don’t knock it til’ you try it!}

Don’t forget to top it with a sprinkle of Gold Edible Glitter

The cupcake liners were purchased at home goods – but you can find similar ones HERE
– or make your own with this template:


{Click on the image to download the template}

If you have an electronic cutter like the Silhouette, then you can zip them out on your striped paper looking FABULOUS!

You can also cut them with scissors and then use a scalloped edged scissor at the top.

For the Mustache Toppers: Just cut them out from our TEMPLATE and glue them to a flat topped toothpick.

I’ve also made a TEMPLATE for the Happy Birthday Pennants…just cause I like ya so much!



The pennants were attached to wooden skewers {cut in half} and topped with a glittered wooden ball on top. (the balls can be found in the craft stores by the wooden dowels)

 Click HERE for a tutorial on making the glitter ball sticks. (just scroll all the way down)

The Drinks

The decision for how to make this drink was made because she had a color that she wanted it to be!  Genius!

So she found a juice that was the right color and built the drink from there.




What’s great about this drink is that it can be a formula for any party drink

1. choose a color them – pink for example

2. add coordinating frozen fruit – raspberry

3. fill 1/2 with juice that matches the color palette

4. fill remainder of the glass with gingerale.


We also made darling

Buffet Signs

to go in front of the different goodies on the table.

Here is the one we made for the drink:


It says “Drink Me, I’m just peachy”

You can download the buffet sign template HERE.

I’ve left the template blank so that you can add in whatever you’re serving…

Like the sign for the cupcakes:


It says: “Let Them Eat Cake, Lots of It”  Hee Hee.

 {Let’s just say it was midnight and we were getting silly with our sign making.}

and for the



The sign says “Lots of Chocolates for Me to Eat”


You can get the mustache chocolate mold HERE

It really is as simple as:

1. Place the sticks in the mold

2. Pour in your melted chocolate

3. Wait for the chocolate to set (refrigerator works great to speed this along}

4. Pop the chocolate pops out of the mold

To keep the pops standing upright she filled a trophy cup with rice…GENIUS!



Follow the same steps for the Crown Molds

Before you pour in the white chocolate – sprinkle some Edible Gold Glitter
into the mold.  Then you’ll have sparkly crowns ;0)

The truffles are just lindt truffles, unwrapped with a sprinkling of Edible Gold Glitter
…so easy!  So smart!

chocolate-ballsSound like a lot of work?  You could save yourself the trouble by winning our {#PARTY IN A BOX#}!

You can read more about how to win this box in THIS POST!

Good Luck!


Pink & Gold Party


While Valentines may be over – you don’t have to be over Pink & Gold.  It would be fabulous ANYTIME!!  As proven by this party that my brilliant friend Randi threw for our darling friends…she has allowed me to photograph it for the blog to help share the inspiration.  (Trust me – you’ll find it)

Here are some of my favorite pics from the party…



Streaming Crepe Paper mixed in with Ruffled Crepe Paper {Click HERE for a tutorial} is a low cost way to make a big impact…

Hang a Birthday Banner over some pennants and add balloons to frame the area


This Banner was made by cutting the letters out on the Silhouette,

Then glittering the letters

{we used Florentine Gold Glitter (Martha Stewart)}

Then backed them with another piece of white card stock


The same method was used to make numbers for her for the age of the Birthday Girl


Gold and Pink Balloons are fabulous – but adding in a Giant Balloon makes it seem above and beyond…


Then add in the tissue paper tassels and you have an amazing look.  Click HERE for a tutorial.

You can also use the same method to make this tassel garland behind the birthday banner


To let people know they’ve got the right place,

She hung this “Celebrate” glittered chipboard banner on the front gate tied up with satin ribbon and curling ribbon


She also hung a mini version from the wreath on her front door…


Glittering the chipboard is simple.  If you have the Silhouette Cameo, you can cut the chipboard yourself. {I dream}

But if you’re like me and not so lucky to have one yet, you can buy them at the craft store, or HERE – your options are just more limited and you end up paying for a lot of letters that you don’t need…

Once your letters are ready:

1. Paint on some mod podge

2. While the glue is wet, sprinkle on the glitter of choice. {I love german glass glitterlike she used above}.

3. Set the glitter by spraying on some aerosol hairspray. {the cheaper and stickier the better}

4. Hang them on some twine using hot glue.



While there are a lot of wonderful things on this table – the stand out item is this hot pink chevron table cloth.  It just makes the whole room pop!

Then the other items are like frosting on the cake :0)


A fabulous place setting…I love that she brought the gold in using the chargers under the white plates.  The great thing about bringing in the white, is that in neutralizes the bright pinks and golds.  All of my serving dishes are white for this reason…you can bring in color in other ways..


Adding a simple flag {that you can easily print and cut yourself } to these paper straws is a simple touch that makes a big impact.


Fabulous napkin rings…do I need to explain??


She even made a fabulous tiara for the birthday girl to wear…just glitter a Plastic Princess Tiara
with mod podge as explained above in the chipboard letters section…


Set a place setting card on a fabulous holder to finish off each place setting…


She finished off the table setting with a beautiful arrangement of roses…

and because you can always add a little unexpected touch…she glittered them and hung gold icicle strands in them…





In the other room, she had set the table with a buffet style luncheon


Complete with a drink bar to make your own flavored soda.  Try the cherry chocolate Dr. Pepper…you’ll be hooked.

She added rock candy swizzle sticks to stir and cherries to garnish.  You can get these flavored syrups HERE , don’t forget the pumps!

Set on silver serving trays they look a little more ready for a party.  And don’t forget the ice!


That cute ice scoop is from Pottery Barn


Instead of a large cake, she made these adorable lemon and raspberry filled cupcakes with these SUPER CUTE tinsel firework toppers!


Click HERE for the tutorial. (You’ll have to scroll down the page to the You’re the Bomb Valentine)

She set out more place cards to say which flavor of cupcake you’ll be enjoying.


To serve the quiche she just stacked cake plates lined with lace doilies…


And the guests all brought dishes potluck style…

These quiche’s are from Trader Joe’s and were DELICIOUS as well as ADORABLE!


Of course I had to bring my favorite: Poppyseed Pasta Salad


These delicious crescent rolls…


and to get our greens…this yummy green salad…


All of these special touches made for a beautiful party…

And for one Happy Birthday Girl!!


The Doctor is In…


Doctoring cake mixes is a great way to make it easy to have bakery quality with the ease of a mix.

Adding a few extra ingredients makes the cupcake more moist & flavorful.  Getting asked what bakery you bought the cupcakes from when you made them yourself makes a girl smile ;0)

If you’re loving the cupid’s arrow through the cherry {above} make sure to check out the tutorial!

These changes “Doctor” the boxed cake mix:

Extra Eggs

Sour Cream

Jello Instant Pudding

Just doing this to any mix will make a huge difference – but don’t stop there – get creative!!

This batter is super thick because of the pudding…so tucking in delicious surprises to the cupcake center is easy!

**Just make sure that if you are using a candy {like peanut butter cups or rolos or kisses} freeze them first so that they don’t melt away during the baking process!

Possible Flavor Combinations:

Chocolate Cupcakes:

Doctor The Mix

Chocolate Instant Pudding

Mini Chocolate Chips

Add in a flavored extracts and fruit or candies that you think will work

( I chopped up some cherries and added raspberry extract and mini chocolate chips to the frosting)

Pina Colada Cupcakes:

Doctor The Mix

Vanilla Instant Pudding

Crushed Pineapple (Drain the Juice)

Add Coconut Extract to the frosting and top with shredded coconut

My favorite Doctored Recipe is Coconut Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting:

{This recipe was modified from one on Our Best Bites }

To make the Cupcakes:

1 Box White Cake Mix

1 Small Box Instant Vanilla Pudding

1/2 C. Oil

1/2 C. Water

1/2 tsp. Coconut Extract

3 Eggs

1/2 C. Sour Cream

1 C. Shredded Coconut

Combine all the ingredients and mix together well.

Place batter into lined muffin tins.  I like to use a cookie scoop for this – you’ll get more uniform, evenly baked cupcakes.


Bake @ 350 until the tops are golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean

18 Minutes for normal sized cupcakes

8-10 minutes for mini cupcakes

(I prefer making mini’s…it makes so many and they are easier to eat without feeling like I’m snarfing. Ha Ha.)

Remove to a cooling rack

For the Frosting:

Make it Homemade! {I modified a recipe from Our Best Bites – I halved it – because it made a TON!}

1 – 8 oz. Package Cream Cheese, Softened

1/2 Stick Butter, Softened

1/2 tsp. Orange Extract

3-5 Cups Powdered Sugar

Beat on low speed until the taste and consistency is what you want.


You can take the lazy man approach:

Use a pre-made cream cheese frosting (I like Betty Crocker)

Add in 1/2 tsp. of orange extract

Stir it Up!

Once the cupcakes have cooled – I think it makes a big difference to not just slather on some frosting.  Piping it on makes it look amazing and doesn’t take long!!  I LOVE THIS LARGE PIPING TIP


I stick it inside of a disposable piping bag (I love them) or a quart or gallon ziploc freezer bag works great, too!

It makes quick work of frosting a big batch of cupcakes and makes them look professional.


Top with some shredded coconut and edible glitter and a raspberry and just try to keep them around.  You can’t.



I also LOVE Edible Baking Glitter!!  Heck – you can throw it on mashed potatoes just for fun…here are my favorite colors:


The flavor combinations of the coconut, the orange in the frosting and the tart raspberry are SO DELICIOUS together!!

My funny hubby said I needed to teach you all how to properly eat a cupcake:


He’s so funny.  I’m always entertained. ;0)

What flavors have you tried??  I’d love to hear about them {And I’m sure the other readers would, too!}


No Storage Space?? Shelving is the Solution!!

I would like to continue with the organization theme…because January seems to be the time I feel like getting it together.  Today’s post is all about what to do when you have a lack of storage space in your home.

I’ve told you before that I have amazing friends with amazing skills – and that I’d love nothing more than to steal their brains for a few days.  Well, my good friend let me do just that for this post.

2 of my closest friends and I all have the same house floor plan.  And while I love my house – one thing that it’s lacking is storage space.  It’s a fairly large home – so it really kind of irks me that I have nowhere to store things.

One of the spaces that seems to lack above all others is the kitchen.  It’s lacking cupboards to begin with – and then add to it my obsession with serving stuff.  Platters, Cake Plates, Cloche’s, Pitchers, Napkin Rings, Plates, Chargers, Napkins, Tablecloths…where do you put it all???  Here is the solution that my friend devised.  {And I will be replicating as soon as the budget allows!!}



This shelving is from IKEA. {I promise – they don’t pay me for this stuff!}  And is fairly cheap.  You couldn’t buy the wood to build it yourself for what it costs to put together!! To make it you will need 2 of the side units and as many of the shelves as you would like.  (They have different depths and widths – so measure your space and change the size in the drop down menu!!)

She painted hers black and added casters to the bottom.  I have plans of painting mine white and adding crown molding to the top and paneling to the back {Don’t worry – I’ll show you when it’s all done!!}

But I love that all of her favorite pieces are out on display, but easy to get to when you need them.  (kind of a functional fru-fru mentality like in my last post)

The crates are great! They look fabulous and they are holding her larger platters and cloche’s in them.  A few other things to put in them: Your tablecloths, napkins, silver trays, glasses…you get the idea. ;0)


And I just love the canisters.  Perfect for storing silverware, napkin rings, place card holders,

or the immense paper straw collection that you have. (oh – is that just me?)

Things that there are a lot of and you don’t want them out where they can get dusty.


I love the way she arranged the plates and pitchers.  They look fabulous all stacked – but she can easily grab what she needs.



And I am really excited about being able to display my cake plate collection the way she has…



Because this is how my collection is stored now…


…all shoved away in the top shelf of my pantry.  Out on display I will get to see them and enjoy them –

AND I’ll be able to get to them without doing a circus performance!!

Not to mention that I will gain a lot of useful space in the pantry for things that really belong there!!

I have this same shelving collection in a few places in my house.

In my playroom (I’m so embarrassed that I’m showing you this – all of the shelves aren’t painted because I have grand plans that don’t involve red)


As you can see – they have narrow shelving as well that attaches to the wide shelving so you can mix it up.  They also have the corner shelves and the crates at the bottom.  (I added the wheels – but they were also at IKEA)

I also used this system under my stairs for some of our food storage.  (Like I said – my kitchen is seriously lacking in space!)


{I tilted the shelves by putting the back pins 2 holes higher – so that the cans will roll forward and it rotates my food for me!}


I did leave the bottom shelf straight to store things that don’t roll, like flour and sugar and pasta :0)

To keep the cans from rolling right off – just cut a piece of wood 2 inches longer than the inner width of your shelves and slide them in to act as a stopper. I used 1.5″ x 3/4″ sticks from Lowe’s and had them cut to 33″ long to fit this shelving system.


So – if you feel like you just don’t have places to put things – like me ;0)

I guess the moral of the story is – go to IKEA.  Ha Ha.  Just kidding.

The moral of the story is – that shelving is a fantastic solution!

You can use storage boxes  like I did in the last post  to store your napkins and tablecloths.  Use urns to store utensils or use apothecary jars to store napkin rings.  Think about what you have and find a stylish way to display it.  Good Luck!  And happy organizing!!


A Place For Everything…

I am a firm believer that if you have a place for everything…then everything will be in it’s place.  You never have to wonder where something is if it has a specific place that you know you will find it.  For those of us that are riddled with ADD – this is a necessity.  Nothing would be found otherwise.  Ever.

So I’m going to start with my craft room and hopefully inspire you to get your organization on.  Life is blissful when it’s organized.  When it’s not – chaos takes over.  I can’t handle chaos…so I’m a little anal.

The problem I see with organization is that it comes with a price tag most of the time. There are really good cheap alternatives to what I’m showing you…and I’ll try to suggest them as I go along.

First thing is getting some furniture that makes sense for your needs.  I knew that I needed a large work space, because I do a lot of fabric cutting and “spreading out” when I project.  So – instead of a desk – I use a kitchen table.  I found it on Craig’s List (which is a great place to find cheap fabulous furniture.)

It was a little beat up – so I painted it and I love it!

These canvas frames are greta and easy and cheap ways to usefully fill the wall space above your desk:


Once you have your workspace – it’s time to find places to stash your “stuff”.  My husband calls it my crafty crap.  But – it is my happiness.  So I’m a little offended by it being called “crap”.  Again – Craig’s List is a great place to look for these things.  My friend used a dresser and an armoire and had some shelving installed.  It works fabulously!!

I was blessed enough to be given some office hutches that perfectly matched the built in bookcases in my room. (Thanks girls…) And they have been HEAVEN!!


This one is great – because it has closed off cupboards that hide the “less pretty” things I have – but are still things that I use and need to have handy:


And I love having the drawer – because I’m kind of obsessed with drawer organizers.

Seriously – it might be clinical.




You can find drawer organizers pretty much anywhere.  Walmart, Target, Staples (though – they only carry black…weird…) But I am especially in love with THESE ONES
that have a top level that slides back and forth for even more places to put stuff!!!

The other was open shelving – so I had to organize the stuff in a way that didn’t look like chaos.


Enter: these fabulous IKEA boxes. (For some reason it is only showing their biggest size…if you click on the box and click “size” it will show you all of the available sizes) I LOVE THEM!!!  I’ve had them for awhile – so I was worried they wouldn’t be available anymore – but lucky you…they are.  I love that I can see exactly what is in there and they come in several different sizes.  So – from glitter to chipboard pieces to rub-ons to fabric.  You can organize them and not cringe at the storage box. For a cheaper alternative – you can use shoeboxes and modpodge some fabric onto them – or just paint them and then attach a bookplate
on the front.

Here is a close-up of the boxes


So pretty.

I was lucky enough to end up in a home that had beautiful built-in bookcases.

{But if you weren’t – no worries –  there is another post coming this month that may help!!}

But – if you were – here are some thoughts on how to organize them:

Bookcase-1I love the craft specific furniture that has built in rods for wrapping paper…but it’s easy to get the look.  Just pick up some Cafe Curtain Rods  They are spring loaded like a shower curtain rod – so you just twist them into place.  I used the holes that are used to adjust your shelving as guides to keep my rods straight.


The wrapping paper is in the front and I’ve got the ribbons in the back.  All I do when I need some is pull off the amount I need and use a Scotch Paper Cutter to quickly cut a piece off.  It works great!!

If you have a collection of some kind – you can display it on the shelves.  Like this:


I love Martha Stewart.  I love her magazine.

It appeals to the “I want to know how to do EVERYTHING” person in me.

As a result – I can’t throw them away.  Slightly “hoarder-esque” of me…but there it is.

I don’t love the wooden holders they are in – but that will be a post for another day.  {I have big plans} but I do love the idea of having them out on display instead of packed away in a box forgotten about.

If you’re the scrapbooking or paper-crafting type – here are some tips for storing that kinda stuff:

Paper Storage

I got these metal ones at Target.  They hold 3 rows of paper each – so it makes it easy to organize by color or pattern or texture or whatever floats your boat. The point is: they hold a lot. ;0)

And if you’re a punch freak like me  {because you haven’t been able to purchase the silhouette that you dream about at night} here is a clever way to display/store your punches.  If it looks to messy for you – you can install them inside of a cupboard.


I used this rod from IKEA {you’d think they pay me for this…but they don’t – HA!}

Once you have the big furniture taken care of and you have the storage boxes you need and everything has a place – it’s time for the fru-fru.  {I call it that – because my husband does.}  But – just because it’s fru-fru doesn’t mean it can’t be functional.  Here are just a few suggestions:



Like this tape dispenser from Anthropolgie that I use for my Washi Tape!!  I was out Christmas shopping, and well, I couldn’t help myself.  So – I wrapped it up and said to my husband “There really is a Santa!!”

Normally I wouldn’t spend that much on a “fru-fru” item – but – well…

I just couldn’t put it back.  You understand, don’t you?

Well, that was eternal, wasn’t it??  Ha Ha.  Hopefully it was helpful and has inspired you to organize your creative space.  If you have a question about any resources I didn’t mention – I’d be happy to help!!  Just leave a comment – you know I love them!!


Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String

I’m loving the brown bag look this year.  I’ve made my advent calendar out of them…


It’s really easy to make them…

Step 1:

Trace a star onto a brown paper bag


Step 2:

Stitch around the star.  Just pivot your needle to get a sharp turn.

**Pivot means to leave the needle down – raise the foot – turn it the direction you need to go next – lower the foot.**

**Also – just a note – if you give yourself a excess thread to start – you can use that to hang your star!


Step 3: Cut around the star outside of the stitching – make sure to leave a little space so that you don’t cut the stitches.

Step 4: Stamp or handwrite the numbers.  I only do 12 days of Christmas – because an activity every night for 25 days makes me super tired!


Step 5: Punch out as many tags as you have stars, then write 1 activity on each one – then slide them inside of the star at the opening we left in step 2.


Here is a list of possible activities:

Visit Santa

Hang your lights

Decorate the tree

Watch your favorite Christmas Movie

Make neighbors goodies and go caroling to deliver them

Drive around looking at the lights while listening to Christmas tunes

Make cookies for Santa (this is Christmas Eve for us)

Draw family gift exchange names and go shopping!

Make an ornament (we do this every year and the kids decorate their tree with them)

Do an act of service for someone in need

Write our “Gifts to Jesus”

(every year – we write something we will try to improve about ourselves and wrap it up – we open them the following year to see how we did)

Go see the lights at the temple and listen to the Nativity while drinking Hot Cocoa

(the LDS Temples do a fantastic job putting up beautiful lights and have a Nativity Scene telling the story of the birth of Christ.)

Those are ours…what will yours be?
Step 6: Hang the stars wherever you like.

I hung mine from the ceiling by tying a knot in the thread and stapling them in place.

Hanging from the tree would be cute too!!  Or just tuck them into some garland and don’t hang them at all…



On another note…but along the same lines…

I LOVE paper mache boxes.  I’ve been collecting them for a few years – and I’m hoping to someday replace wrapping paper all together.

I love the idea of being able to slap their gifts into “Brown Paper Packages” and “Tie them up with String”.  And be done.  That would be a favorite thing…ha ha.  (By the way – here is a link to Some GREAT TWINE!)

Here are some ideas of how to make them fabulous:

1. Keep it pure. Just the box, some string and some Jingle Bells


2: Cover them in fabric or paper

**Spray the box with spray adhesive (or use mod podge) and smooth fabric into place.

Wait for it to dry and then trim the excess fabric ( I use an exacto knife to trim)


3. Line them with Vintage Tinsel

**Just run a line of glue around the edge of the box, and press the tinsel into place.  Super easy!


4. Polka Dot It

**I used the end of a glue stick and a craft paint stamp pad.  The bottom of an eraser will work,

or anything you can find around the house…


The great thing about these boxes is that they come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and they nest together for easy storage.

And they can be used for Birthdays, Christmas, Impromptu presents, other holidays!!  Just keep reusing them!!

If you don’t want the expense of the boxes – but love the look of Brown Paper Packages – Target has a GREAT wrapping paper in their stores.

It’s just Brown Kraft – but has gray pinstripes – so it makes it look a little more sophisticated.  I am loving it.


And – you can get the chalkboard gift tags in my shop – ;0)



To Brine or Not to Brine…There is No Question!

I’m sure that most of you have heard of brining your turkey.  I heard of it about 3 years ago…and my whole world was changed!  That may sound melodramatic – but honestly.  Those of you that have brined your turkey know what I mean.

My dear Mother-in-law was hesitant.  Because, she had been doing it a certain way for years.  And, it is well known that Eames’ fear change! (that was for you Chicky)

So – we decided to make one the traditional way & to brine one.  (We feed a small army on Thanksgiving – and I have 3 ovens.  ha ha) That way we could test the difference side by side, and if it didn’t work out – we still had the stand-by traditional turkey.

Let me save you the trouble, people.  Just do the brined turkey.  We wished we had brined them both. It was the juiciest, tastiest, most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten.  And, I’ve never been one to eat the leftover turkey.  It always tasted dried out and kind of gamey the next day.  Not with the brined turkey.  Oh no.  Still moist and delicious!!

For those of you that don’t know what a brine is or what I’m even talking about – a brine is a flavor infused salt water solution that you soak the turkey in for 24 hours before cooking it.   It absorbs the salt and helps break down the protein in the meat to make it tender and hold the delicious juices in.  Oh my.

There are so many recipes.  Here is my favorite – and because she did such a fabulous job – and I didn’t take pictures last Thanksgiving – I’ve just copied her post here.  All photography and text from here is from The Pioneer Woman.

I brine a turkey every year because it’s the right thing to do. Brining involves soaking a turkey in a very salty solution for a certain length of time, long enough for the salt to infiltrate the turkey and actually alter the molecular structure of the meat. It doesn’t turn it into a salty mess, either. It just results in a juicy, fantastic turkey. If you’ve never brined a turkey, you’ll just have to trust me on this.

You can buy ready-made brining solutions. I used to buy one at Williams-Sonoma. But making one is a cinch, too. You basically need a bunch of salt and whatever other ingredients you want to throw in. I like to balance the saltiness with the mild sweetness of apple cider (and okay, the not-so-mild sweetness of brown sugar) but you can use whatever you’d like.

A couple of important things to remember, though:

1. Only brine fresh turkeys. Brining a frozen turkey is never a good idea, because frozen turkeys are most typically injected with a sodium solution. There are some organic frozen turkeys (my friend Julie found some at Whole Foods recently) that have a much lower concentration of the sodium solution. Generally speaking, though, you’ll want to brine fresh–not frozen–turkeys.

2. Making gravy from the drippings of a brined turkey can result in a really salty gravy if you’re not careful. In the next post, I’ll show you a few steps that will prevent this from happening.

But for now: let’s brine!


Here’s what you need.



Cut off the top and bottom of each orange.



Carefully slice off the peel in sections.



Mmm. Fragrant to the max.



Strip the leaves off the rosemary sprigs, measure the salt, sugar, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Inhale. Exhale. Thank the Lord above for the aromas that spring forth from the earth.

At least that’s what I do every time I make this turkey brine.

(Oh, and you’ll need some minced garlic. I just forgot that step. Happens.)



Pour three cups of apple cider into a stock pot.



Add two gallons of water…



A cup and a half of salt…



Two cups of brown sugar…



Bay leaves…









And orange peel.

And the forgotten garlic.






Now, bring the mixture to a boil, then immediately turn off the heat and cover the pot. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature; feel free to stick it in the fridge or freezer halfway through the cooling down process



This is an alien hand (left) and a brining bag.

I’m obsessed with brining bags. Obsessed!

It’s all I think about anymore.



Here’s the turkey inside the brining bag.



Once the brine solution is cooled, pour it over the turkey.



Now you’ll just need to seal up the bag and refrigerate it for at least sixteen hours. Twenty-four hours is better, though, especially for a large turkey. Place the turkey, breast side down, in the bag, but 2/3 of the way through the brining, flip the turkey in the bag to make sure it brines evenly. Just pretend you’re an obstetrician and you’re trying to get a breach baby to flip!

Note: This is enough brine for a 20-pound turkey. If you feel as though the turkey needs even more liquid, just top it off with more water and it’ll be fine. If you’re using a much smaller turkey or a turkey breast, just halve the recipe.

Next up: Roasting this dang thing.

The fun has only just begun.

Recipe: My Favorite Turkey Brine

Prep Time: 10 Minutes  |  Cook Time: 15 Minutes  |  Difficulty: Easy  |  Servings: 18

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  • 3 cups Apple Juice Or Apple Cider
  • 2 gallons Cold Water
  • 4 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary Leaves
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1-1/2 cup Kosher Salt
  • 2 cups Brown Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Peppercorns
  • 5 whole Bay Leaves
  • Peel Of Three Large Oranges

Preparation Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Stir until salt and sugar dissolve. Bring to a boil, then turn off heat and cover.

Allow to cool completely, then pour into a large brining bag or pot. Place uncooked turkey in brine solution, then refrigerate for 16 to 24 hours.

When ready to roast turkey, remove turkey from brine. Submerge turkey in a pot or sink of fresh, cold water. Allow to sit in clean water for 15 minutes to remove excess salt from the outside.

Discard brine. Remove turkey from clean water, pat dry, and cook according to your normal roasting method.”

It’s Erin again – I hope you’ll try out a brine this year if you haven’t in the past.  If you have…feel free to share your love of brining in the comments section to help me persuade the noobies. ;0)

Happy Thanksgiving!!!