Friday, October 14, 2016

Home Tour: Fall and Halloween Decor

Happy Fall, Y'all!  

I frequently get asked about my handmade fall decor, so I decided to share a few areas of my home and how the decorations came to be.  I have a kid-friendly house, so nothing is fancy or expensive.  I like decorating (especially handmade stuff), but I LOVE how excited my kids get when they see that I have added fun festivity to our home! It makes me smile, too. (:

 (pictured above), located in my dining room 
  • Autumn Grasses. Purchased at JoAnn's, similar here and here
  • BOO letters. I spray painted them with a warm white, then painted the rims gold. Find the letters here
  • Chalkboard. Made using a second hand framed picture from Goodwill, using this tutorial
  • Fabric Pumpkins. Handmade using this blog post


  • Wreath form purchased at Joann's (similar here).  After trying several kinds of forms, I now have a pretty strong opinion that the kind made of pressed, shaped straw wrapped in plastic is the most sturdy. Just my 2-cents.
  • Burlap and fabric flowers made using tutorial found here and here
  • Feathers made from yarn and liquid starch. Tutorial found here


  • Floral pieces and Pumpkin from Joann's. 
  • Thankful board: 1x4 wood, painted light brown, then sanded around edges to distress. Vinyl "thankful."
  • Sitting scarecrow: This was a hand-me-down from my mom. :)


  • Table: Tray and metallic balls from Pier One.  Leaves from JoAnn's. Vintage lace table runner made according to this tutorial
  • Mini mason jar floral arrangement:  These are the Atlas Mason jars that Classico Pesto comes in. I always save them. They make excellent small drinking glasses for my kids, and they are adorable in decorating.  I painted these with a warm white spray paint.  Floral pieces are from JoAnn's.


  • Painting (of Colorado Rockies in Fall) available here
  • Wool Ball Garland made using these.
  • Fall Feather Garland tutorial found here.  
  • Letterboard is "The Poet" from Letterfolk.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Bondi Top Pattern Review

I have a friend named Lindsey Rae who designs patterns, and I have been a pattern tester for her in 
the past (see my Noosa Shift Dress Pattern Review). Her patterns are amazingly simple, well-written, thoroughly tested, and flattering on any figure. 

The Bondi Top was the pattern that really launched her career as a designer, so I have been excited to try it out. I finally made my first Bondi Top a couple of weeks ago, and I loved it so much that I made myself 2 more!

Why I love this pattern: 
  • It is downloadable (available HERE from Etsy). Pattern downloads are super easy to store and replicate if you want to make new sizes. 
  • It is adjustable for size AND length. I have a long torso, so I added 2 inches to the length and loved the result!
  • It is a tad bit longer in the back than the front, which makes for a flattering fit. 
  • It has a contrasting fabric option. Don't you LOVE the additional print design on each of the shirts?! 
  • And probably my favorite feature: It requires NO notions. No zippers, buttons, ties, or hooks. Just fabric and thread. 

I used 3 different types of fabric for my shirts: lightweight cotton for the yellow and blue shirt above; rayon for the next shirt pictured; and a woven cotton/poly fabric for the third shirt. 

Similar lightweight cottons to those in my yellow and blue shirt can be found HERE.

 This silky rayon is dreamy to wear. It was more time-consuming to sew because I had to pin more since the fabric is more slippery, but it was worth every minute. Similar fabric can be found HERE

This was such a fun fabric. It has that Aztec/Peruvian blanket or poncho style, but is less heavy. Similar woven fabric can be found HERE. The contrast fabric is a woven cotton linen/twill; similar (but without print) found HERE.

My colorful and original jewelry is from one of my favorite charities, African Promise Foundation. I know the founder and can vouch for this organization's commitment to bettering the lives of the less-fortunate through beautiful hand-made jewelry sales. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Better than Trader Joe's PB & J Bars

If you like Trader Joe's Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars, I promise you will LOVE these! They are wholesome, gluten-free, surprisingly filling, and downright YUMMY. 

Not to bag on Trader Joe's bars. They are good. My kids will eat them, as will I. But in a side-by-side comparison, these are tastier.

One thing I LOVE about this recipe is that it makes a TON, so you get a big reward for your relatively short time investment. They will fill a large cookie sheet or 9x13 AND 11x15 baking dishes. These bars keep for days (if you can keep hands off), and they are tasty served cold, medium or warm. 

The recipe involves an oat-based peanut-butter cookie dough on the bottom, your choice of jam, jelly or preserve in the middle, and more of the peanut-butter cookie on top! 

A couple of notes for the preparation process. This recipe has baking soda in it, which is the spreading leavener (baking powder is the rising leavener). So when you put the top layer of peanut-butter cookie dough on the jam layer and you see a ton of holes, no worries!! The dough will spread a it cooks.  (Before-baking pictures above; After pictures below)

Now, on to the recipe!

Better than Trader Joe's 
PB&J Bars
Makes 72 bars

3 sticks butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1.5 cups natural peanut butter
1.5 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups oat flour (4 cups oatmeal pulsed in blender or food processor until smooth)
3 cups oatmeal
2 cups jam, jelly, or preserves

1. Preheat oven to 350.  Spray large cookie sheets or baking pans with cooking spray. (This recipe will make thick bars on a 14"x18" cookie sheet, or thinner bars on more pans. I like to use one 9x13 and one 10x15 baking dish.)
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add peanut butter and mix until smooth. 
3. Mix baking soda into wet mixture. Stir in oat flour, then oatmeal. Dough will be thick, but still sticky. 
4. Spoon half of the dough into prepared pans. Dip the back of a spoon or your fingers in cold water and spread the mixture so it is covering the bottom of all your pans in an even layer.  Set the other half of the mix aside. 
5. Spoon the jam on to the bottom layer in small spoon fulls all around. Use a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon to spread it in an even layer. 
6. Cover the jam layer with the remaining cookie dough by spooning small amounts all over the top. (See the pictures above for reference)
7. Bake 30-40 minutes, until edges are brown and top is light brown. Middle will still look wet and bubbly, but will settle as it cools. Cool completely before cutting into bars. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Keeping Kids off Screens Printables

School is back in session, and as a mother of four school-aged children, I have made some New (School) Year's Resolutions. Shamelessly, I will share them here: 
  1. I will actually open my children's backpacks each afternoon and see what is in their take home folders.
  2. I will read school emails (including attachments!).
  3. I will take and enforce measures to limit my children's screen time.
  4. I will implement a plan to help my children exercise every day, even when the weather is bad.

If you don't struggle with any of the above 4 items, then a big pat on the back to you for being a more responsible mom than me.  I usually start strong, but by mid October I deserve about a C+ in any of these subjects. This year I am determined that I will be better. And one way I am taking action is by displaying these posters in my kitchen. I am truly enforcing the rules of what must be completed before screens.  

I began this quest by making these handwritten signs (shown below). I used scrap cardboard and glued some flat magnets to the back. My husband loved the idea, and suggested I make digital files he could print and laminate for me to make them more durable, so I did!  I went ahead and made my handwritten signs into digital files as well because I still kinda like the homemade look.

I amended the "Before Screens" page from the handwritten to the digital to say "Read 30 Min+" instead of "Read Scriptures 10 Min+."  I did this because while I do want my kids to read scriptures daily, they also enjoy reading other books. The 10 minute amount for scripture study is a challenge we made as a family, so I will include that as part of their 30 minute requirement.

I helped my 6 and 9 year olds go through these exercises yesterday afternoon. I over-estimated how many sit-ups they could do and how long they could hold planks and wall-sits.  I told them (and I'm now telling you) that if you can't do the amount shown on the poster now, just do as many as you can, and you can work up to the amounts here over time.  We turned on a fun Pandora station (I recommend "Everything is Awesome Radio"), and soon they were sweaty little bootcampers in our living room! We put a timer on in the kitchen so they would know when 30 minutes was up, but by about half-way through, they were so into the exercises, they weren't concerned with the timer. :)

Ideally, I want my kids to enjoy exercise outside playing pick-up soccer games in the cul-de-sac or riding bikes and scooters, but unfortunately that doesn't always work out. This way they can stay active, get stronger, and learn to enjoy exercise even when it is not perfect weather. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Small Space Sewing Room Makeover

I have been gawking and swooning for years at all the big, beautiful craft spaces I see highlighted on blogs and in magazines. "One day...," I would think to myself.  But then I got real. I live in a suburb of Seattle where most people live in small homes (or condos) that cost twice as much as homes twice as big in other parts of the country. So I don't have a 12x12 spare room I can dedicate just to my creative zeal. I do, however, have a 3x6 corner--and by golly--I decided it was high time I made the most of it! 

Here is my unabashed "Before" picture.  My "sewing table" was a catchall and a mess. I was storing my stuff in plastic containers that were too small and unorganized. 
Since this room triples as our family office and workout area,  I really needed to use the space to its fullest capacity, which meant shelving. So, I took this picture, took measurements, and headed to Ikea. 

I found the EKBY BJARNUM 11" shelving system and fell in love. It is a clean, modern look, but it is also adjustable to any length and super strong. Pretty AND practical. 
And the beauty is, if you don't have an Ikea closeby, you can order these online at Amazon or

Next, I needed containers for organization. Once again, Ikea came through. 
These strong rails and storage cups are ideal for a sewist's or crafter's supplies.  These are perfect for things like rotary cutters and measuring tape that need a place, but are used too often to be put in a box. The Bygel Rail and the Bygel Containers are both available online as well! 

I found these cute and affordable Kvarnvik boxes at Ikea for organizing all my schtuff. Ikea and Amazon have so many options that are similar to these, you can really make your space just the way you want it without breaking the bank. These are available at, but I didn't find these particular boxes at Amazon. However, I found some very similar here
I love the pretty lining and the addition of the metal-framed labels on these boxes. 

This hat box is perfect for my tall thread spools.  And look at that cute gingham lining...**Swoon**

My final additions to my sewing nook were aesthetic. I wanted to add some pops of color and texture to the space.  I hung one of my DIY Modern Yarn Wall Hangings on the wall by the window. 

I also framed my Seattle Skyline Watercolor (prints available HERE) on a fun wrapping-paper background in a simple poster frame

I used this tutorial from Simply Gloria to make my fabric tassel garland. 

For my "MAKE" sign and the decorative wooden arrow, I went to the ever-reliable Hobby Lobby. Everything was 50% off, and I used 3M Command picture hanging strips to hang them, so no extra holes in the walls!

I couldn't be more pleased with my new happy place. I have done a double take multiple times when I walk by and glance in what used to be an eyesore hodgepodge of crafting clutter, but instead see organization and beauty.  I don't have an entire room, but I LOVE the small space I do have!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Vintage Lace Table Runner

Layers of vintage lace make this one-of-a kind runner perfect on your dining or console table. It goes with any decor and looks fabulous layered over other runners or tablecloths!

I recently bought a bag of vintage lace pieces on a boutique deal. I have since discovered that Amazon carries the same thing for a great price and free shipping. You can get an assortment of cream or white lace, or if you like to mix it up, some of both!


This is also a super way for crafters to use up old lace scraps that, if you are like me, you never throw away!

To make your own Vintage Lace Table Runner, you will need: 
  • Sewing pins
  • Sewing machine


1. Determine how wide you want your table runner, and add an inch. Cut your lace pieces to this length using the ruler and mat to make straight cuts. I wanted a 12 inch runner, so I made my lace 13 inches. 

2. Pin lace layers together in about 2 foot sections, overlapping just enough to sew (about 1/4 inch).  Use plenty of pins! Lace can be slippery!

3. Once you have three 2-foot sections, pin those sections together and sew.  If you find (as I did) that the lace stretched or slipped some and your edges aren't as clean as you want, don't worry! This is why you added that inch at the beginning!

4. Iron the runner if needed, then use the ruler and mat to carefully square up the entire runner. Take your time so you get it right! 

And you are done! I hope you love your new runner as much as I love mine!