I’m not ready to let go of fall yet – tell me I’m not the only one!? Earlier this week we saw our first real snowstorm of the year. The flakes started lazily falling as the sun set and the next morning we woke up to find everything coated in white. The snow continued to fall slowly all that day (which had me both admiring the beauty and annoyed that I was painting laundry drying racks instead of sipping hot chocolate) and the kids were so so so excited to play in it. But I’m really just not ready – and I don’t just mean because we were left scrambling to find appropriate outdoor clothing and wondering where we stored the sleds. I’m not ready for the Christmas tunes or the snow boots or the mornings spent trying to clear off and warm up the car. Thanksgiving needs some attention too, doesn’t it? Plus, I still have projects that need to be done that would be better off not complicated by freezing temperatures and tramping through slush on the ground. So in a last ditch effort not to let go of the colorful leaves and the pumpkin flavored desserts I want to share one more fall decorating project – my wall-mounted Window Box.
The window box was an idea a friend and I put together years ago and I have really enjoyed having it around. The base is simply a piece of framed bead board with a box made of 1/4″ material (probably MDF but I forget what we used specifically – anything would work) mounted to the bead board.
I think my friend put some grasses in her window box and keeps it like that year-round but I like to change up my window box for the seasons. I’m pretty sure by now you all know how much I like versatility in my craft projects, right? (like my double-sided fall decorations HERE and HERE)
I just place a block of floral foam in the bottom of the box then add in whatever suits the season. For fall I found some great red, orange, yellow and brown flowers, leaves, and berries, added in a few gourds, and filled it out with a few sprigs of silk grass. Total cost for the project was probably under $20. When December hits I can simply pull out the floral arrangement all in one piece (foam and all), put it in a tote to store for next year, then plunk in some greenery and red berries for Christmas.
I think I’ve had this window box for over 10 years now and it’s still one of my favorite craft projects. Do you have any favorite craft projects/decorations you would like to share? I’m always looking for new ideas!
We’re on the final countdown to Halloween! T-minus four days and counting – give or take. Halloween costumes are ready, pumpkins are purchased and ready to carve, and we are narrowing down our options for Halloween activities (Pumpkin Plunge at the pool anyone?). I’m kind of glad that Halloween falls on a Saturday this year – and that the forecast does not include rain!
I know that when Monday comes along I will be over Halloween and I will be more than ready to pack away the decorations and move along to the next holiday so I try to keep this in mind when I do my crafting and decorating to make the switch as easy and painless as possible. I have a couple of not-so-secret ways to do this – want to hear them?
That was my Halloween front porch last year (or more likely the year before). You’ve seen the Witch Wreath and Boo Swags (here) and the Wooden Home of the Wicked Witch sign (here) before. My best and easiest trick is mounting one of those 3M Command Hooks on the door. They are supposed to be removable without damaging anything (and they are) but that hook just lives on the door so I can easily switch out the wreath.
I made the fall wreath a couple of years ago during one of my neighborhood craft days. It was my first attempt at the “curly” version of the deco mesh wreaths and I had a lot of fun putting it together. I love the shiny gold and bronze mesh. The only drawback was that it turned out HUGE. It stands away from the door at least a foot and would reach out and grab your clothing or hair if you brushed up close to it. But I think the size works really well for the scale of the front door and the house.
If you’ve been reading my blog the last few weeks I’m sure you’ve clued into my second trick – double-sided crafts! When I designed that wooden witch sign on the front porch I knew that I wanted to put a Thanksgiving quote on the back. I did this for a couple of reasons. 1 – because holiday decorations can be big and bulky and take up a lot of storage space when not in use. 2 – because I liked the look of the wooden pieces on the back of the sign and wanted to highlight them. And 3 – because it makes switching the decorations as easy as turning it from front to back (duh!). Two seconds – instant transformation.
(I have the full tutorial for the double-sided wooden sign in an earlier post HERE if you want more details)
I don’t know if you noticed, but I also turned the pumpkins around so that the carved part was facing the wall. We typically carve our pumpkins only a day or two before Halloween so as long as the teenagers in the neighborhood don’t go out pumpkin smashing, the pumpkins will stay looking decent for a couple of weeks. Depends on the weather of course.
The piece of my Halloween decor that didn’t require any maneuvering at all were my Pallet Pumpkins – aren’t they great? Nice and rustic – and cheap to create! (You can find my tutorial for the pallet pumpkins HERE) Those stay out on the porch from September through Thanksgiving.
And as a finishing touch, the mailbox got a little swag of its own with deco mesh and ribbon left over from the wreath.
Easy as that! I think the whole Halloween to Thanksgiving transformation took less than 10 minutes, and that includes hunting up the Fall wreath and putting away the Halloween ones.
Quick Review – the keys points to making the switch from Halloween to Thanksgiving decor easy and painless are:
1. Keep Command Hooks on the front door for wreaths and anywhere else you normally want to hang decorations.
2. Double-sided decorations make the transformation as easy as turning your decor from one side to the other.
3. Use items that are multi-purpose and can be used for more than one holiday. For fall I use pumpkins, but the same concept would work well with lanterns, vases or urns, baskets and crates.
4. Instead of decorating every surface, pick a few key spaces and decorate those every holiday. You could decorate your front door and mailbox outside and maybe your mantle, entry console, and dining table for the interior.
How about you? Do you switch out your Halloween decorations for Thanksgiving? Or do you just let the Halloween stuff stay out until you’re ready to put out the Christmas lights? 😉
It’s almost that time! Are we ready for Halloween?!
Not quite? Oh good – I’m not either 😉 I do have the kids’ costumes all set (yay!) and we went to the corn maze with my husband’s sister over the weekend but there are still some Fall and Halloween activities I haven’t checked off the list. Like buying pumpkins for carving. Or eating half the Halloween candy before the trick-or-treaters arrive. And the event I’m most looking forward to is going with a friend to see the Witches at Gardner Village next week. That was something we used to do every year and I really missed it while we were living out of state. I’m not a big on dressing up but it’s kind of the thing to go in costume or at least wear a witch hat so I’m still debating about digging out one of the glammed up witch hats from my stash.
While I’m debating that (or you know, procrastinating about heading down to the shop for a day of sanding laundry drying racks) why don’t I show you some of my fun Halloween decorations using ticked out witch’s hats?
I have a whole collection of (mostly DIY) witch themed decorations now, but I think the one that got it all started was my witch hat centerpiece. Inspired by one of my first trips to see the witches at Gardner Village and all of the amazing creations people were wearing on their heads, I decided that I wanted one too! In my version I wanted to be able to look at it the whole month of Halloween, so instead of designing something for my head I put together something for the dining table.
I used an inexpensive costum hat as the base and filled it with floral foam. Not only did this allow the hat to keep its shape while sitting on the table, but I was also able to attach the silk flowers and leaves and ribbon directly into the foam with floral pins and hot glue. Easy as that!
I have used that centerpiece for a few years now and loved it so much that when I participated in a fall craft show I decided to whip up a few to sell. I decided to do a slightly different technique on these, due to my love/hate relationship with hot glue. I’ve found that hot glue just doesn’t last long when exposed to changes in temperature or if the item gets bumped very often so I used fishing line to sew the flowers, berries, leaves and ribbon onto the hat and only used the hot glue sparingly.
The added benefit of putting it together that way is that not only does the hat look great on a table (you can easily stuff it with newspaper or grocery bags if it needs help standing up), but will also work well hanging from a candlestick (as I did on my mantle), on the end of a broomstick, on the wall, or even as a wreath on the front door. Plus, the when not in use the hat can fold up a little bit to take up less space when you store it for next year.
Want more Halloween decorating ideas? Take a look at my front porch decorations, all of them crafty projects just waiting for you to create them like:
Witchy wreath and Boo swags
Home of the Wicked Witch wooden sign (bonus – it’s double-sided for Thanksgiving too!)
Wooden Pallet Pumpkins
Hello Monday! Is everyone having a good day? Usually Monday is a pretty good day for me, at least where motivation and productivity are concerned. I think I get more done on Mondays than I do any other day of the week – and twice as much as I accomplish on Fridays 😉 But. Today wasn’t one of those days. In fact, I felt like I spent the entire day dealing with not-so-pleasant things and not much time at all on the glorius Monday To-Do List. My little guy developed a fever yesterday and and I kept him home from school where he has been fighting the fever and watching Justice League cartoons. The big truck that was scheduled to pick up the calves that my dad is selling this year moved up the timetable three hours and I was the only one home that could go out and help him round them up, and trust me – he wasn’t exactly in a good mood about it. Plus other problems I really just don’t even want to think about right now. So in an effort to raise my spirits a little before I meet a friend at the gym and work off some of my frustrations I decided to blog. Aren’t you lucky? 😉
That leaves the question – what to blog about? I’m in full-on birthday party prep mode over here, with my daughter’s fun Cupcake Wars party starting in T-minus two days and while I will have plenty to blog about the party on Thursday, none are ready to blog right now. Pinterest and the blogosphere are still flooded with Halloween ideas and the post getting the most hits on my old blog this week, last week, and probably the week before is another of my Fall craft days…so I’d better share it here, right?!
Here we go – a simple tutorial for quick and easy Halloween Monsters.
I believe I’ve mentioned that I love to turn crafting into a social event. In fact, it’s been a great excuse to get to know people better and I met some of my closest friends because one of them wanted to learn how to make a wreath. However, wreaths can quickly become more expensive projects and the supplies add up pretty fast, so wooden crafts are usually my go-to when I want to pull something together inexpensively. For this project all you need is a 2×4 and some craft paint and a couple of random things from around the house.
Like googly eyes and nuts and bolts
and a sheet of vinyl cut into to some geometric shapes. I used my Silhouette machine but you could just as easily cut shapes with scissors or paint them on.
For ‘ole Frank up there I painted the block green then added the hair and face with black paint. Add on some googly eyes and a couple of bolts and he’s all set.
The mummy block was painted a coat of white first then I wrapped it with strips of scrap white fabric, glueing it down as I went. If you tear the fabric strips instead of cutting them, it gives them a nice “aged” texture along the edge.
The witch hat is simply a piece of the 2×4 turned sideways, topped with another block of wood cut into a triangle. I used raffia for the hair but you could easily use straw or yarn. And Mr. Pumpkin over there is the easiest with a coat of orange paint, the vinyl shapes for the face, and a piece of green ribbon tied in a knot and glued on top for the stem/leaves.
*Quick tip: you can use a number of adhesives like hot glue and craft glue but one of the best adhesives to use when trying to adhere anything to wood is wood glue. It takes longer to dry, but holds really well.
These guys liked to sit on my mantle or on the decorative ledge by my stairs and every time I passed them by I was reminded of the fun we all had the afternoon my friends and I got together to craft. That’s the bonus with DIY projects – they all have a story, don’t they?
In the mood for a little more Fall/Halloween crafting? Check out some of my other creations.
Double-sided Halloween/Thanksgiving blocks. This one was another fun Craft Day project.
2×4 Pumpkins (see? 2x4s are one of my favorite craft supplies!)
It’s a soggy, foggy Sunday morning here. The yellowing leaves and grasses, the bare branches of trees outlined against the fog that the sunrise is having a hard time penetrating while a couple of black birds streak through the sky on this chilly October morning…the atmosphere practically screams Halloween, doesn’t it? It makes me want to curl up with a blanket and a nice mug of hot cocoa or (even better) blog about Halloween decorations!
I will be the first to admit that when it comes to Halloween I have developed a bit of an obsession with all things Witchy. I don’t think I’ve met a single idea using a witch hat or boots that I didn’t like. This is probably in part because I shy away from the scary/gory aspects of Halloween. In life – and in my decorations – I lean toward things that are bright, whimsical, and fun and my front porch is no exception, especially this time of year.
The newest additions (and when I say new, I mean as of two years ago) were the great Boo swags for the sidelights on the front door. I put these together during (yet another fun) craft day with friends – or at least started them and managed to finish them on my own later (yay!). I actually used a wire hanger for the base of these, stretched it out vertically then covered it with deco mesh.
There’s just something about those pointed hats and funky black boots. I was delighted to find the glittered-up witches hats and the sparkly ornaments and spiders in the fun bright purple, green, and orange. Halloween is the perfect time to go a little over-the-top, right?
The witch wreath in the middle is something I made a few years back. I got a lot of compliments on it and ended up making a slightly modified version for a few craft shows and the Etsy shop a couple of years back.
I had some fun with the vinyl lettering on the wooden sign. It reads “Come in and Sit a Spell.” And I am in love with all the great black and white patterns available lately, especially in contrast with a few bright, fun pops of color like purple, pink, and green. Oh – and don’t forget the jaunty black feathers!
The skirt, stockings, and boots are entirely handmade. I even drew up the boot pattern myself then used felt and batting to give the feet, legs and hat a 3-dimensional feel.
There’s one more look at the front porch. You can find tutorials for the rustic Wood Pallet Pumpkins (HERE) and the “Home of the wicked witch” Wooden Sign, which is actually double-sided and can be used to Thanksgiving as well, (HERE) in previous posts.
There. Now that I’ve done a little bit of show and tell I think it’s time to go hunt up some of that hot cocoa and a blanket, don’t you? Happy October!
Too soon for Halloween ideas?! Naw. Seems like half the posts I run across online right now is someone blogging about pumpkin and apple recipes or decorating their porch with fall leaves and gourds. I’m excited because I love fall and all the things that go along with it (especially the pumpkins!) but struggle with the part of me that doesn’t want to be premature and be sick of all the fun fall stuff before Thanksgiving arrives. But in the interest of making sure you all have plenty of time to grab some fall decorating inspiration from here or other blogs, it probably makes sense to put it out there early so you have plenty of time to create. Am I right?
I will be sharing a new fall idea or two every week until November – or until I run out of ideas, which-ever comes first! You’ve already seen my 2×4 Pumpkins and my Wooden Pallet Pumpkins (and if you haven’t I’d love for you to check them out) so this week I thought I would share my Double-Sided Wooden Sign for Fall. The front side has a fun saying for Halloween and the back side is for Thanksgiving. I love the double-sided concept, especially when it comes to holiday decor because not only does it cut down on the amount of storage space I need for storing off-season holiday decorations but it also makes it super easy to change out the decorations from one holiday to another. This works especially well with the back to back holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving. I can leave out the pumpkins and bright orange and red leaves from September through November and just switch out a few select pieces for Halloween and Thanksgiving.
It was pretty simple to put together. We just took 3 pieces of scrap wood (1×6 or 1×8 probably) and cut them all to the same length (maybe 15″ wide or so), then used smaller scraps (1×2) as braces along the back and put screws in them to hold it all together. Then stained it all mahogany.
I like the effect the wood braces on the back give the sign – makes it more rustic and a bit vintage looking, I think. I also used the same stain technique as I did on the Corn Hole boards (see tutorial HERE) on the Thankful side of the sign for the lettering. I love the look. The Halloween quote was done with white vinyl using my Silhouette machine.
I have kind of a
obsession “thing” for witch themed decor for Halloween. There’s just something about the pointy hat and the witchy boots that makes me smile. And I prefer the more fun and whimsical look to the scary things and the gore that often goes along with Halloween.
It looks great on the front porch with everything else doesn’t it? And is often the case with most of the holiday decorations I make – it’s easy and inexpensive too!
Have you decorated your porch for fall yet? I’d love to hear some of your ideas!
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Who is ready for fall?! Ok, I’m not quite there yet either. We had such a great summer I’m not entirely ready for it to end. The kids started school last week and standing outside waiting for the bus I could feel a little bit of chill in the air that says “yep, fall is on its way.” This weekend we even spotted some leaves changing colors on the mountains. Fall is definitely starting to move in on us. And with fall, comes…fall decorating!
Autumn is one of my favorite seasons to decorate for – all those pretty reds, oranges and browns are just so homey and bright. With Halloween and Thanksgiving back to back, most decorations can be out from the beginning of September through the end of November. That’s why I love this set of wooden pumpkins. They’re cute, versatile, plus they are easy and inexpensive to make (my favorite things!).
You need: a 2×4 cut up into the following lengths (this is to make a set of 2 pumpkins)
2 pieces at 8″ long
3 pieces at 6″ long
2 pieces at 4″ long
and 2 scraps for the stems (mine are approx 1″ x 1″ x 2″), or you could use a branch from your yard for the stem
plus some orange paint, dark wood stain, and some embellishments like berries and ribbon
After you have cut the wood and sanded off any rough edges (doesn’t have to be super smooth), paint all sides orange. (don’t paint the stem pieces – these will be brown)
Once the paint is dry you’re going to do a little distressing. That just means you sand off some of the orange paint, usually on edges and corners (you know – where the piece is most likely to have been banged or chipped after years of use).
Then cover the whole thing in a dark wood stain (like walnut or mahogany). Brush it on and wipe it right back off as you would with any other staining project. You will see how it settles into the distressed parts and gives the orange a nice aged look. You will also need to stain your little tiny stem pieces now.
Using wood glue to adhere them together (hot glue works in a pinch but doesn’t adhere as well and may fall apart over time), stack the blocks to form the pumpkins.
The larger pumpkin uses a 6″ piece on bottom, the two 8″ pieces in the middle, and the final 6″ piece on top. Use a clamp or stick something heavy on top of them and let the glue dry.
Now all that is left is accessorizing. I think a couple stands of plastic berries and a nice bow dress them up nicely.
Ta-da! And there we have a cute set of wooden pumpkins.
If you create a set for yourself I’d love to know about it. Feel free to share a photo!
Want more easy and inexpensive Fall decorating ideas? Check out my Wooden Pallet Pumpkins – a great addition to your front porch or mantel.
Often I feel like I’m up to my ears in drying racks. Guess that’s what happens when you have a side business right? Between that and regular life, I often feel like the side of me that likes projects and doing something TRULY creative gets pushed aside. I love a good room remodel or a party to plan and I have felt this craving the last few weeks to really dig into something like that. However, here I sit with the oldest off at her first day of school, just returning from assessments and meeting the teacher with the youngest and all set to pop some cinnamon rolls in the oven in about 10 minutes so my daughter can have a special End of First Day treat before I rush her off to piano lessons and I’m thinking – do I really have the energy/time to tackle a nice big project?! Maybe not. So let me do some reminiscing here about when we moved into the new house and I had the time and energy to update it room by room. Why don’t we start with the laundry room/mud room. After all, that laundry room redo is what got me started with the Etsy shop (as an “experiment”), which has now become such a big part of my daily life.
Over the years I’ve done a lot of thinking about functionality and ease of use, while also trying to make my home pretty too. This becomes even more important in areas with more than one use and when more than one person uses the space. And honestly? I think it all takes a little bit of trial and error. You have to live in the space for a while and see what does and doesn’t work for you. I have a much better idea of what I want in a laundry room now that I’ve lived in a couple of different houses and have figured out the routines and habits of our family.
One of the things I had on my Must Have list when we were looking for houses (almost 5 years ago!) was a mud room. I wanted a space just off the garage (which is typically the door we use the most often) where we could put the shoes and coats and backpacks – all the stuff that gets dumped as soon as you walk in the door. A lot of the newer houses here in the West seem to automatically incorporate those into the floor plans now, often in tandem with the laundry room but in North Carolina, all the houses had formal dining rooms (something not on my Must Have List – and consequently got turned into my craft room! 😉 ) but few had mud rooms. So we were pretty happy to find a house that not only had the mud room, but also walk-in closets, a bonus room we could use as the playroom, and much more! The biggest problem was that it had pretty much no personality (which isn’t actually a problem if you’re creative, right?) and didn’t function all that well. Seriously. Check it out.
Pretty sad. Now take a look at the final product.
Soooo much better, doncha’ think?
How did we do it? Well, I think it comes down to the top Five Steps to a Well Organized Laundry Room (and Mud Room).
1. Evaluate: What needs a home here? In my case, I knew I wanted a landing space for shoes and boots, a place for coats and jackets, purses and backpacks, hats and gloves. Then on the laundry side of things I needed a place for the necessities like soap and cleaning supplies, a place for drying delicate garments, somewhere for random items from pockets or things that are always in your hands when you walk in the door. And when we got a new puppy we then needed space for leashes, balls and dog treats.
I also knew that things need to be easy and quick to access. People are inherently lazy beings, aren’t we? Why take the extra minute to put a coat on a hanger when we can just drop it on the floor? Why tramp all the way upstairs to put my shoes in my closet when I can just kick them off right here by the door? Kids are particularly prone to that kind of thing, but I find myself doing it too especially when I’m tired or in a hurry. That’s why I’m a big fan of hooks. Hooks for jackets. Hooks for towels. Hooks for hats.
2. Get it off the floor. The absolute best use of space, especially in small rooms, is to use that wall space. The hooks on the walls were a given, though we did dress them up with a board and batten wall treatment as well. We had a coat closet just off the laundry room so I did utilize that space too. We put in a hanger for the iron and ironing board that kept them tucked nicely out of the way but in easy reach.
And best of all, the project I had come up with in our old house and had been waiting almost two years for my husband to bring to life – a drying rack that mounted on the wall!
I love this thing and was so happy to do away with our ugly awkward collapsible laundry drying rack that seemed to have permanently taken up residence in the master bedroom (and let’s face it – that is really NOT romantic). Everyone that saw it loved it too and wanted one for themselves. After hearing “you should sell these!” over and over eventually I listed them for sale online and we have since built hundreds in all sizes and colors.
(and if you want one for yourself please check out my Etsy shop!)
But I digress…
3. Build it in. This goes hand in hand with putting things on the wall – it’s a great way to utilize all the space you have available. I could have purchased a freestanding bench and simply stacked the shoes under it, but it probably would have been only 36″ or 48″ wide leaving some extra space on either side (that probably would have been filled with random objects in no time). With the built-in bench we were able to use the entire wall. Plus built-ins just look good, don’t they? Classy and custom and permanent.
That wire shelf above the washer and dryer had to go. Not only was it mounted too high to be easy accessible, but things kept falling through the cracks. We found an unfinished cupboard at a home improvement store (for under $50 I believe) that I painted white, clear coated, and mounted on the wall.
4. Containerize! Every organization lover’s favorite thing, right? Decorative baskets, plastic tubs, buckets and bins – when in doubt put it in a container! I quickly found that the top of the dryer was one of the biggest clutter catching areas in the house so I found a low wide bucket to put everything in – gloves, spare change, sunglasses and sunscreen, and other random things all went in the bucket. I also purchased a few baskets and put them on the shelf in the coat closet to contain spare hats and gloves, dog toys, and my exercise bands/weights. The cupboard above the washer got a basket too for smaller laundry and cleaning items.
5. Give it some personality. This is easily done with paint and with a few accessories and some decoration on the wall. I created some fun laundry themed signs, one for above the cupboard and one on top of the drying rack. My favorite addition to the laundry room were these photos I took of our feet – our little guy in his favorite cowboy boots, our daughter in her flip flops, and our whole family barefoot – which I had printed on canvas in sepia tones to go with the darker brown on the walls. It’s the little details that really make the difference between something generic and a room that is truly yours.
Of course this didn’t happen overnight, but it wasn’t an intimidating project either. And if you take anything away from this post today, I want it to be this. Home improvement projects don’t have to be (extraordinarily) hard or expensive to be worthwhile. You just need to know a few tricks to the process, be a little bit handy (or know someone who is!), and be willing to put in a little extra time.
Do you have any favorite things you have done for your laundry room or mud room? I’d love to hear about it. After all, we do have new house plans in the works and I collecting ideas and seeing what other have created.
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We are all still in a patriotic mood aren’t we? After all, July isn’t over yet, and here in Utah festivities have begun for Pioneer Day on the 24th, which are celebrated much the same as the 4th of July with rodeos, parades, flags, and fireworks – and the town demolition derby! (small towns – gotta love ’em) I’m pretty much in Red, White, and Blue mode from Memorial Day until the first of August. So now seems like the perfect time to share our newly finished Stars and Stripes Corn Hole Boards.
Corn Hole isn’t necessarily a Utah thing. In fact, I had never heard of it until we moved to North Carolina, where it is very popular. So popular that when we were invited to a wedding, along with the dancing and the food, they also had a few Corn Hole boards set up. For all of you that may need an explanation of the game (as we did) Corn Hole is basically a beanbag toss-type yard game played individually or in teams. The rules are pretty simple and so is the set up, so of course it wasn’t long before my husband wanted to try to build his own set of boards (they are pretty pricey to buy, especially custom ones). And once they were built, he very quickly wanted to improve them LOL. We ended up with three sets, two of which we left with friends in NC when we moved and brought one of the unfinished sets with us across country.
For anyone that is interested, the plans we used for official measurements to build the boards can be found on this website.
They sat in the garage until the end of June when the husband insisted that we try to finish them to use at our big family BBQ on the 4th of July. I did finish them all right – but then we forgot to load them up and take them with us to the BBQ! (haha – still shaking my head at that one) I am determined that they will get used this summer – really they will! But until I follow through with that, I may as well show them off here on the blog, right?!
Typically the boards have some sort of theme like sports teams or colleges, etc. The husband may have been into that but it’s not anything I truly have a preference for (and no, I did not want to make a Dale Jr NASCAR one LOL) so I went with the Stars vs Stripes. Not only did that seem like a good fit for us as a military family, but it allowed me to use one of my favorite finishing techniques – masking off the design before staining so it becomes part of the item instead of an applied accessory.
Isn’t that pretty? I like the contrast between the two wood colors. And though the shapes can be seen clearly, the stain does bleed a tiny bit which gives it more of a hand-made distressed or vintage look. I even threw together a quick tutorial so you can try out the technique too!
Easy right?! And such a pretty final product. I have also used the stain technique on some decorative quote boards (see one of my favorites HERE) and love the result. You just have to be sure the lettering or shapes aren’t too thin or too tiny or the stain will go under the edges too easily. I cut the vinyl stars myself using my Silhouette machine, but if you don’t have access to one of those it wouldn’t take long to hand cut the starts using self-adhesive vinyls sheets from the craft store.
Pretty much any stain will work but I used this. Love the color of the dark walnut.
I did finish them off with a few coats of spray Polycrylic which gives them a nice finish and should hold up if we accidentally leave them outside in a rainstorm.
We bought simple red and blue corn hole bags to use with the boards, but wouldn’t these adorable stars and stripes bags be perfect? (Looks like there are tons of other options if Stars and Stripes aren’t your thing)
Oh – one other thing (this may be kind of an important one! lol) The official set up and rules for a Corn Hole game can be found on this site.
There. Now we’re all ready to play. Who’s going to challenge my husband to the first game? 😉 As always, if you do try out the boards or the stain technique I would love to see your creations so feel free to drop me a comment or an email.
Interested in other great tips for Inexpensive Summer Fun with the Kids, great ideas for getting together with friends and using your new corn hole boards like my Splash Bash water party, or check out some great Summer Themed Gift Baskets under $25 along with the other recent posts on my blog!
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It’s official – I have entered the “soccer mom” stage of life. While neither of my kids is actually playing soccer right now (though Tyler did this spring), I have come to accept that a good chunk of my time is spent ferrying my children from one activity to another. Todays schedule: pick up a friend for a 6:30 workout at the gym, 8:40 take the girls up to the pool for swim team practice, quick trip to the grocerie store, 9:40 take the boys up to the pool for pre-comp swim team practice, 11:15 bring everyone home from the pool, 11:45 off to the water park for some summer fun…
That’s a lot of time spent in the car for just one day, and many of my days have similar plans – piano lessons, summer camps, karate, walking the dog, playdates at the skateboard park, night games, family BBQs, trips to the lake, UPS drop offs for drying racks, swim meets, etc etc. I’ve been grateful many many times for our decision to buy an SUV with the 3rd row seat where I can pile 9 of us in (if necessary) for carpool or a fun outing with friends, drop off a load of drying racks to be shipped out, or pile the dog and the kids’ bikes in the back for a walk. But the past couple of weeks, in particular, I have noticed just how much STUFF was collecting in the car – towels, jackets, granola bar wrappers, empty water bottles, marbles, tree pruners, that glass wasp trap we bought on a whim at the nursery, and on and on. I vowed to do something about it, and to get a bit more organized while I was at it. This past weekend I finally took the time to follow through. And wouldn’t you know it, I got half-way finished vacuuming out the car and this happens.
Yep, that’s hail. Plus lightning and thunder. It was kind of crazy but once I had rushed to put the vacuum back in the shop and close all the doors it was peaceful to just sit in the car by myself with the rain drumming on the roof. Eventually it slacked off enough for me to rush through vacuuming the back seat then I put off the rest of the car cleaning and organization until the next day. The car mats, which I had put on the ground to vacuum later were entirely soaked and are still in the garage where I left them to dry out. The rest of the car is looking about as good is it will ever look at over 10 years old and still being used on a daily basis – so of course I felt the need to share! 😉
My 11-year-old daughter came up with the title “Just in Case Files” and I thought it was cute. It’s also a great lead-in to a series of blog posts on home organization and emergeny prep, isn’t it?
There isn’t a lot of storage space in my vehicle, but I try to make the most of it. I tend to categorize things by when and where they will need to be used, and how often.
In the glove box: registration and owners manual, flashlight, and maybe a few spare napkins from the drive through.
In the console: This is where I keep most of the things I access all the time. Sunglasses for everyone in the family, hand sanitizer, pens, sunscreen, baby wipes (my #1 Must Have Item, even if you don’t have kids), tissues, spare headphones (all too often I get half-way to the gym and realize I forgot to grab my headphones), car chargers for the phone and/or other handheld tech devices, (for road trips we also have a universal charger than can plug into the cigarette lighter and you can use just as you would any outlet), a compact multi-tool, tire guage, bags to have on hand if we take the dog for a walk and need to clean up after her, a collapsible dog bowl, my coupon organizer (though most of the time I don’t keep that up to date), and my keychain full of store membership cards (so they are on hand if I am anywhere I need one, but they don’t have to all be taking up space in my wallet or on my car keychain). Oh and those white trianges? Those are folded up plastic grocery bags which I try to have on hand to use for garbage, wet clothing, etc.
Under the front passenger seat: first aid kit, umbrella, and a cosmetic bag full of things that I hate to be without if I find myself out and about and needing them including a small bottle with a mixture of meds for headaches, allergies, etc; hair pick and hair elastics, feminine hygiene products, lip balm (be sure it’s in a container that won’t leak if it melts in a hot car!), lotion, nail file, sewing kit, extra bandaids (yes, in addition to the first aid kit I’ve found it’s very useful to keep these stocked for those random playground accidents), and maybe a few of those hand wipes left over from the last time we had wings for dinner.
Under the back seat: jumper cables, reusable shopping bags, car window scrapers (not sure why I need THREE, but I wasn’t in the mood to toss one without making sure the other vehicles were stocked). We are using the third row seats quite often lately so I made sure to leave the space empty under the single seat we fold down to access the back.
In the back: a leash for the dog is kept attached to one of the rings so we don’t have to worry about her jumping out of the car as soon as we open the door. I also got inspired a couple of months ago and bought a canvas drop cloth that we always keep in the car. We are in and out so much with bikes, scooters, and the dog’s muddy paws or shedding fur that I decided it would be SO much easier to just spread out the drop cloth when needed then I can just shake it out or even toss it in the washing machine and not worry about having to vacuum or steam clean the back of the car all the time.
One other item I always keep in the car is an empty water bottle (usually in one of the back cup holders or you know, rolling around on the floor somewhere 😉 ) Typically when we are headed out the door for the day we will grab full water bottles but last year we went out geocaching with cousins and found ourselves in a campground with thirsty kids and only a hydrant for water. I had a couple of empty water bottles in the back of the car and they were perfect. Now I keep at least one in the car because you can almost always find a hydrant, bathroom sink, or drinking fountain to fill one up if needed.
One final handy little item we found for the car (and used a lot during our multiple road trips last summer) are these little hooks that can attach to the back of the seat. They are great for hooking bags to when you want easy access on road trips, to hang backpacks and swim bags to during carpool so the kids can have a little more leg room, or to hook a spare plastic grocery bag to for garbage.
Other things you may want to consider keeping in the car may include a few toys or books for the kids, a spare change of clothes for potty training (or because I found my kids wanting to have water fights with their cousins every time we saw them in June), or maybe a towel.
Let’s see…have I missed anything? What do you keep in your car?
I guess I’m off to tackle the husband’s truck – as soon as I finish with today’s carpool duties and running around! 😉
Want more ideas for your road trip? Check out my Road Trip Activities Binder idea!
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