Friday, September 5, 2014

Fall in Love!

"No."  I said.

I said it and I meant it.  "No early Fall this year."

No September Halloween.  No giving in too early.  No...not this time.

But then?  Michael's.

And suddenly, I lost my willpower.  I set summer free and I said hello again to one of the most beautiful, vibrant, coziest of seasons.  And you know something?  I'm okay with it.  I'm ready and more importantly, I'm excited for you, Fall.  So of course I went on Pinterest.  And I saw this. A trip to A.C. Moore later and this is what I came up with:

One unfinished sign plus one unfinished box of letters

Plus some quick sprays of these guys:


Insert some basic distressing and a glue gun and here you have it:

My thrifty little Autumn knock off!  Is it as good as the inspiration?  Nah.  But it's something...namely cheap and more importantly-effortless!  I broke pretty much every rule of crafting and sprayed in almost 85% humidity, waited one minute between coats and totally over distressed the crap out of the thing but truth be told, I love it.  It is simple, imperfect and being displayed early enough to make me feel ahead of the seasonal game.  Win/  Sure.

Happy Hayrides.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Movie Night...2!!

Last year our daughter decided to throw her very own backyard movie night.  For her entire class...on one week's notice.  Because we are crazy great parents we whipped together a quick event that turned out to be a really fun time!   So fun, in fact, that we excitedly planned round two for this summer months before it was warm enough to be thinking about it.  Lucky for us the weather was just as beautiful second time around, the bugs stayed away and both kids and parents seemed to really enjoy themselves.

  We decided to rev things up a bit this year with the addition of a homemade screen.  The screen idea was my husband's, aka champion of "the bigger the better" school of thought!  No longer satisfied with the modest size of the rental projector he decided to order a 16.5' x 9.5' projector cloth with the intention of building a wooden frame for it.  Unfortunately, we discovered the night before that the frame would be very difficult to support without a bit more planning.  Frustrated, he pointed to the one big oak in our yard and told my father how he wished that we had another tree seventeen feet from that one so we could just tack the screen onto both.  Well, ask and you shall receive my friends because my father's response was "isn't that one right there hidden behind those little trees growing in front of it?  How attached are you to those little trees?"  To which my amazed husband replied "not attached at all!" And just like that, out came a saw and some trees...until there was this other beautiful, perfect oak tree that apparently existed only to serve us as the other stand for the screen.  Really, I am not making one bit of this up! Sometimes life just decides to come up and high five you at the perfect moment.  Anyway, here it is:

Two trees, a few grommets, some screws and one orange bucket for extra support in the middle and viola! Instant movie screen.  You don't get much more backyard than that!  We also decided to rent a bounce house this year since A) we figured the kids would enjoy it while using up some of that fresh coming-off-another-school-year energy and B) it was a weekend rental and it is pretty much the coolest thing ever to have a bounce house in the yard that you can jump in as a family the whole next day. (Though I must say, that one trick we all did as kids where you jump up on both legs and land on your bum gave me way more butterflies than I remember as a child. Yuck-oldness!)  

Since we showed Monsters, Inc. last year we decided to keep the party going with some Monsters University:

My mum's monster cupcakes were a big hit!

We also served up the traditional popcorn, juice and candy snacks and my parents made their homemade pizza.  A lot of the other parents brought their own special treats to share and there was more than enough to go around.

  Once again we failed to recognize that we were hosting our movie night on the summer solstice so it took some time before we could get things going.  But when we finally did I noticed that the yard was suddenly kid-free and the bounce house had transitioned into a total pajama party tent full of sleeping bags and dozens of little faces peeking out to watch the movie.  The parents were content in their chairs and blankets and we made sure to make the rounds for snack refills.

About halfway through the movie the kids were sort-of watching/mostly-screaming in excitement amongst themselves.  My husband decided to blow up a few of the light-up balloons my parents had bought for the occasion.  Well word traveled fast and kids excitedly raced to line up and grab one as the Hubs frantically attempted to blow up twenty balloons in five minutes (and almost passed out in the process...)  *Note: never let these things touch grass!!!  After three popped and we were short a replacement, I was pawning off random things from our house to try to console disappointed children.  And man, they know their price-let me tell ya!

   By the end of the night we were tired, but happy.  It was a memorable end to another great school year.  It was an exciting start to another summer.  And it was FUN.  I hope for everyone who came but at least for us-it was really, genuinely fun.  So I guess the only question left is-what will we watch next year?  What are some of your favorite summer movies?  Do we still love the Sandlot?  Am I the only one attached to movies like "Now and Then" and "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids"-and is this solely due to a childhood nostalgia that I've never shaken?  I may not want to know!

Happy summer memories from our backyard to yours!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Beachroom on a Budget!

I love change.  I also love themes.  Living in New England offers the perfect combination of both in each of our very distinct four seasons.  That being said, I was feeling particularly summery after the long winter we had and decided to transition our bedroom into a cozy beach bunk.  I bought this rugby comforter and sham set on clearance at Target last year.  The burlap banner was easy to throw together-just heed my warning and skip the craft store starfish.  The smell will bring you to your knees and these guys required some serious bleach/sun soaking before I could get over it.  Plus I read somewhere that they're harvested for selling-not cool.  There are some great ideas out there for DIY molds that I pinned for next time.  While the bedding and banner are simple I feel that they pack the perfect nautical punch.  And hey, when it comes down to seasonal decor...less is more-right?!

Sweet summer dreams!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

My Baby Turned 1.

It just happened.  Well, that's not really true.  To say I haven't sucked up every single moment of her babyhood would be a lie.  I have loved it, fully and without regret.  There are not many things I can say that about in this life but it's true.  I held, sang, tickled, taught and watched smiling for hours without losing any fascination with her.  I loved her, and for the rest of my life I have that.

  So it was time for a party.  Because I am eccentric, because it was a long winter, I planned and I shopped and I fantasized.  In the end we just had a lot of decorations.  But it was fun because it was George.  Forever my favorite, the loveable little Monkey:

It was a happy, happy day.

Friday, August 30, 2013

My Thrifty No Sew Ruffled Burlap Runner!

I have some serious French Country Love.  Recently I was on Etsy and couldn't stop drooling over the ruffly, lacy, and beautiful burlap runners made by so many talented women.  And while they were reasonably priced, I had the DIY itch.  This was literally the most inexpensive/easiest project and adds so much to the room.

You will need:
burlap (3-4 yds)
muslin (1 yd)
one glue gun
a good tv show to watch while rufflin'!

Step one:  measure your table and add 6-10 inches to either end depending on how much you want to hang over the table.  I think mine is around 8-ish.  Then measure the width that you want the runner to cover.  Cut your burlap to size.  The nice thing about burlap is that you will be left with nice fringed edges:

Step 2:  I bought 60" muslin and simply cut strips that were 3.5 inches long across the width of the fabric.  You'll need about two strips per ruffle layer on your runner.

Step 3: Take a baking tray, flip it upside down, and cover it with freezer paper (this way you can glue over the paper and simply tear it off the underside of the runner when you're done).  Then take the end of your burlap runner and your glue gun and glue the end of one muslin strip to the right end of the runner.  Then, making your way from the right side, simply lift, fold, and glue the fabric creating ruffles as you go.

Excuse my unattractive baking tray...eek.

Step 4: once you have one ruffled layer completed you can begin the next layer.  I placed the fabric so that about 1.5 inches of the layer beneath it was left uncovered.  

Step 5: after I had finished all of my layers, I took a piece of lace ribbon and glued it over the edge of the highest layer.  A simple finishing touch and tada!

After it was 100% dry I mushed up the ruffles a bit to give it some fluff: 

It's just what I wanted.

Man..whoever said a diamond is a girl's best friend got that one wrong because mine is definitely my glue gun!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

No Sew Mr. and Mrs Burlap Pillows!

Recently  I saw the cutest Mr. and Mrs. throw pillows on Pinterest and thought they could be the perfect touch to our country bedroom. Off to Joann Fabrics I went.  The ones I saw online were actually linen covers but I had burlap on the brain.  So I picked up a few yards of burlap, two square throw pillows that were on sale, a travel pillow, and some black fabric paint.  Since I possess zero sewing ability I turned to my trusty glue gun and said "welp, here goes project #4,051!"

Since I have a whole lot of vision and not so much patience, I have to be honest-these came out a little rough.  The paint dried a bit puffy in certain areas and the texture itself was not smooth.  But from a few feet away they look not so bad and are really fun!

So here goes:

Start with a few yards of burlap and measure eyeball a piece that will fit over one side of the pillow giving a couple of extra inches on either side.  Then simply pull a thread where your markings are and cut along that seam.  Do this again with another piece of burlap so that the squares are the same size.

Next, take your piece of burlap and simply draw out the letters in the font that you want.  I'm serious...I used a crayon for this; the burlap makes a sort of grid and it's easy to freehand.  Once I got it the way I wanted I simply traced over the outline in black Sharpie:

And then painted over the letters in black fabric paint.  (Tip: if you place a plastic bag under the burlap before painting it will not stick when dry.)  After I painted the letters I glued three sides of the pillow cover together (watch those fingers!):

After the glue dried I shoved my throw pillow inside the burlap cover and glued the bottom closed.  I then trimmed all the sides so that they were equal and pull strands of burlap off to give it a nice fringed look:

 I have to say, for not a lot of time and money I really love how these guys came out!  So far they have held up pretty well, too, considering their glue gun quality.  The only downside is that you may freak when you spill formula on one by accident while mixing a bottle in the middle of the night but a quick spot clean and you're back in business! ;)


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Outdoor Movie Night!

   A couple of weeks ago we were sitting at the dinner table and I mentioned to my family how I thought it would be fun to have an outdoor movie night on the last day of school.  I had been seeing some really great inspiration online and my head and Pinterest were becoming flooded with pretty string lights and popcorn tables. However, between a baby, a new house and everything else we've had going on we decided that it was too much for right now.

Our 6-year-old decided that it wasn't.  So when we picked her up from school and were met with lots of excited inquiries about our movie night including date, time and details, we were not only surprised but committed.  100%!

I quickly started a search for a good movie night flyer template and found this great download.  We just inserted our info, printed, taped on some tickets and bam-instant movie night!

I hadn't realized that cheap standard projectors are no longer readily available and almost fainted when I saw the prices of the new High Definition ones.  Thank goodness for a great rental company we have in town; we managed to rent an Epson projector, screen and popcorn machine for a little over $100.  After some hasty planning, Friday approached and we ran around the yard trying to figure out where to put the screen.  Once we found the perfect spot I threw up some cute paper lantern lights and our stage was set:

My husband wired up the projector, audio and popcorn machine and set out a whole bunch of toys and yard games for the kids to play while they waited for the movie to start.  (Did I mentioned that Friday was the summer solstice?!  Whoops!)

Soon, despite our short notice, we had a whole bunch of excited little ones come running up our lawn!  The weather was perfect-not too warm and no signs of rain.

We let the kids run around for a while before starting the movie.  Eventually it (finally!) became dark outside and everyone settled around the screen for our family flick.  We decided to show Monsters, Inc. since Monsters University came out the same day in theaters. 

About halfway through the movie the kids started getting riled up. They jumped through the projection and chased after fireflies that were passing through the yard.  You could tell that they were really excited to be up with their friends and outside way after their bedtimes.  It brought back memories of being a kid, and the excitement that came with the beginning of summer.

We weren't sure how well our movie night was going to actually play out but it ended up being a great success-both the kids and their parents seemed to have a lot of fun.  The best part was that it was a fairly inexpensive event with easy cleanup.  Thanks to our little one's PR abilities, we now have a great new end-of-the-year tradition! 

What are some of your summer traditions?