Love, Marriage & a Baby Carriage

I love the month of February, because I’m a completely hopeless romantic and love Valentine's Day! When I started to think about a craft I could do this month in honor of all things love, this came to mind and I hope you enjoy it!

I have been trying to find the perfect place to hang this adorable sign I found at Hobby Lobby:

I then came across someone putting together a series of pictures that each took on a part of the popular rhyme, “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage”. I immediately knew what I wanted to do! I searched through my pictures and found one for each “phase” of the rhyme, an engagement picture, a picture from our 5th Anniversary wedding shoot, and lastly a maternity picture of me with my husband. 

I didn’t want to just hang them in frames so I saw an idea that I made into my own. First, I must confess that I’m obsessed with any project involving modge podge … this being one of them!

I told my husband about the project and he decided to help with the first part so that I wouldn’t hurt myself in my 9 month pregnant state ;) I wanted 3 big blocks of wood cut from of a piece of lumber (big enough to hold an 8 x 10 photo), paint them black and then distress them. You certainly don’t have to do what I did and go purchase wood at the hardware store and cut it to size. 

Hobby Lobby has some great wood boards that are lighter and will still fit an 8 x 10 photo. 

Here are a couple pictures of one that I purchased:

Here we go:

First, he cut the wood board to size and sanded down the rough edges    

Next, in order to hang the boards with ribbon, 
he drilled a hole diagonally from the top to the side:

We then painted them black and left them overnight to dry. 

*** Side Note: If you use the boards from Hobby Lobby, you can simply get a handheld staple gun or use hot glue to attach the ribbon on the back. We drilled holes in ours because the boards we used were pretty heavy and thick. *** 

Once they dried, I got sand paper and roughed up the edges, sides and front a little bit because I love that look. You could leave them more clean looking if you prefer it.

I wiped them off really good with a rag to make sure all of the dust was off and then put a coat of modge podge on to attach the photo. I got my Modge Podge at Hobby Lobby and I prefer the Matte finish but they have many different finishes depending on your preference. 


*** Modge Podge is easy to make but I didn’t find that out until after I purchased mine. I’m not sure how to achieve different finishes but the simple recipe is one part Elmer’s glue to one part water ***

I gave them a couple hours to dry and then attached the ribbon to my desired length. 

There are a bunch of variations that could be done to this project. I hope you have fun making this one or getting creative and making one that suits you and your home!


Happy Crafting!!

Custom Gift Basket Themes and Ideas

I like to knock Christmas shopping and wrapping off of my "to-do" list before Thanksgiving. There are so many reasons for maintaining this practice year after year. The rewards include: peace of mind and the ability to enjoy December, sleeping in on Black Friday, more savings left over from the budget since late fall has many great store and online discounts, the ability to avoid lines and crowds in the store, more time in December to bake goodies for neighbors, friends, the elderly, and even our local firehouse or police station. I used to think that my mom was a little nuts for Christmas shopping in September and October. Now that I have my own family and have done this for five years, her wisdom endures as I enjoy its benefits.  Try it once, It'll take a bit of planning and forethought, but if you start with a list in your purse and keep your eyes peeled from August on, you will be surprised how painlessly shopping is complete.

This year, I have created little themed gift baskets based on their personalities/interests of couples or kiddo's on our gift list. The first three I have (nearly) complete I will share below, along with some tips for grouping items and finding savings in the store. 

#1 The Kitchen Lover's Basket (or Gourmet Basket, or Cook's Basket)

For this one, I picked up a crate on clearance at Michaels (who frequently has 50-60% off of baskets) since the recipient is into wood and metal decor. The idea came from the couple's love for being in the kitchen together. One loves to cook and one loves to bake/clean (a match made in heaven). I started out with some dishtowels, mugs, and their favorite tea at Target. The next stop was Homegoods for some waffle mix, himalayan sea salt, gourmet seasonings, soap  dispenser, and french baking sheet. I will also include a few recipe cards with heirloom family recipes that I have hoarded over the years. When I am ready to deliver, I will fill the bottom with some kraft paper shreds that will create a nice complete look, tuck in the card, and tie a big raffia bow on the handle.

#2 Keepsake Crafts for Littles

 

For the mama and kiddos that love to do crafts together. Put together some papers and paints, stamp pads and crayons or maybe clay, as well as safety scissors, and glue sticks to help them create memories and keepsakes together. Handprint crafts are a huge deal with many of my girlfriends who love to track their kid's growth from baby to grade school, so I will also print off some ideas for seasonal hand and thumbprint art. My suggestion for this basket is to shop a Hobby Lobby or Michael's sale on crayola, or go to Wal-Mart for everything.  Also, when the recipients are under the age of 8 PLEASE help moms out and only buy washable everything ;-)

#3 Rainy Day Basket (Cozy Day Basket)

With threats of El Niño looming in the coming months, I thought this theme might be apt for the coming year. I included things that remind me of cozy days when it's dark outside and the sound of pouring water drowns out thoughts and ambitions of errands and chores. Slipper socks, aromatic tea, cocoa mix, soy candles, vintage I Love Lucy DVD, vintage graphic jigsaw puzzle, books, and adult coloring book/sudoku book (with colored pencils and pen) I will throw in a Costco mini mag-light for sudden power outage and wrap up in cellophane and a pretty bow. 

This theme can be changed up to suit anyone's taste or hobbies. If you buy some of these items at Costco and make multiple baskets, you will save money and spread the love. If you want to make this cheaper, you can include home-made cookies and some more food items. I also suggest card or board games for families (again, this one all depends on your recipient) 

Happy planning and cheers to a peaceful season focused on the gift that Jesus was and is to us all. 

How to Make: Gentle, Antibacterial, Stone-Safe, Countertop Cleanser

Mommies in general are pretty hesitant to use chemical or unknown substances in our homes where we eat with our kiddos. So many of the pre-made options are laden with unknown chemicals, and some react poorly together- as we may learn the hard way with fumes and harsh etching on our surfaces. I am a huge advocate for natural cleansers. My cupboards are full of: white vinegar, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, tea tree oil, castile soaps and all things cheap and natural. The hardest part for me in getting my counters clean was knowing that they were both safe to eat off of (free of harmful chemicals), and sanitized to kill lingering bacteria that can hide in porous surfaces.  This is my tested and true blend for my marble, soapstone, and granite surfaces:

Counter Spray:

1/3 cup rubbing alcohol

4 drops of dawn or castile soap

6 drops of essential oil of your choice (I use lemongrass) to scent 

Fill the rest of the sprayer to the 20 oz mark and give a vigorous shake before spritzing and wiping with muslin, or microfiber.