Friday, December 19, 2014

Scented Etched Wood Alphabet Montessori-Waldorf Inspired

Essential Oil Diffusing Wood Alphabet Tracing Cards
Sensory Alphabet Wood Chips
Scented Sensory Alphabet Tracing Blocks
(I'm not exactly sure what to call them so I'm coming up with lots of titles lol)

Here is a fun DIY Christmas gift I made for my kiddos.  My husband has cut down so many trees around the house I'm always wondering what else I could use the wood for besides firewood.  I'm really excited how these turned out and my older daughter asked me to make her some number ones to do math with, so I guess that's next.

I found a log about 3 inches in diameter and sliced it up with the circle saw.  Then next step would be t sand them but I didn't do that...they aren't that rough, my actually husband asked if I had sanded them because they were decently smooth...I just didn't know where any sandpaper was.
Then I just had fun free handing the alphabet on each slice with the wood burner tool.  Mine was from hobby lobby and around $7 with coupon and I don't know if there are better ones out there since this was my first time using one, but it was kinda slow.  However we had Christmas music on and the kids were playing so it was easy to just have out and do throughout the day, a letter here a letter there.

After I finished the alphabet, I poured some olive oil in a bowl and added some essential oil to it and then used a paint brush to brush the oil onto the wood slices to seal them and make them scented.  So they are like essential oil diffusing alphabet learning wood block things that are also fun to stack as blocks, I should have taken a picture of that!  I was inspired by the wooden Montessori sand paper alphabet cards, but also incorporating nature into what we do as much as possible mindset of Waldorf and Charlotte Mason.  I made the grooves of the letters as deep as I could to increase the sensory experience of tracing their finger over the letters.  Anyways, I get excited about using stuff from outside so I'm in love with these!  I had wanted to make a couple sets for Christmas gifts but I don't think I'll have time, but now I know for future gifts what to make!

My next idea for some wood is building a little tree house for Calico Critters....If it happens I'll be sure to let you know!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pottery Barn Style Pine and Burlap

During Thanksgiving I was looking at some of the logs in our log pile and thought they might be useful for winter decorating so put some out on the steps but didn't know yet what I was going to put on them.  After Thanksgiving we ventured out to the mall as a family and perused Pottery Barn and I got so excited when I saw the small pine plants rapped in burlap.  I don't think they were for sale but were used as decor in the store, it gave me a great idea for my front porch/steps.  I'm all about DIY frugal/free decorating if you haven't noticed!  We live in the woods with tones of baby pine trees growing out of the ground like weeds out here so I pulled up a few, put them in the plastic containers that were holding my dead mums (that I killed within 2 weeks because I suck)  that's why I need to do frugal plant decor because if I did expensive flower filled planters...oiy!  So anyways, popped those little pines into the planters, wrapped some burlap and tied with ribbon and there ya go...simple and wintery!  I after went back and added some bricks inside th burlap with the plants because they were blowing over but now we're good!  Anyways, nothing super fancy but I like it..simple, wintery, easy and free!

Since I had the camera out thought I'd snap a couple of the rest of our christmas set up....I didn't do much, we have 2 trees because we inherited the second one with the house along with the garland going up the stairs.  The kids decorated the trees and my mom gave us the christmas village in the dining room.  It feels Christmasy and cozy and it's not over the top or anything but I am really enjoying the cozyness of it!

Turned out kitchen eating area into a keeping room/sitting room.  and just are sticking the kids crafts up on the windows...oh and yes I'm in the middle of doing laundry as you can see...Life is always happening...the house will never be perfect :)  And I think it's a good thing :)  We live here!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Bring Vegas Home Challenge recently contacted me to be part of their Bring Vegas Home Design Challenge.  The challenge is to  use the Cosmopolitan Hotel as design inspiration for a room in my own home.  I'm not an interior designer, but it sounded fun and I currently just moved my kitchen table into our empty dining room and am transforming the kitchen space into a small living room/keeping room.  I wanted to create a comfortable lounging area in the kitchen while also providing a work space for a computer since the "office" room in our house is the play room/homeschool room.  So I had that space in mind while creating this design.  I really enjoyed this little challenge since I am in the mode of getting ideas for that space anyways and the Cosmopolitan Hotel actually has really nice design.  Looking through their gallery of different suits, I had a hard time deciding which style I was going for because I liked a lot of things from the various rooms.  I am a sucker for blues, whites, metalics, dark leather, and natural elements like wood, branches, flowers.  So this look totally suites me.  I like traditional and contemporary, I like nice yet casual and unpretentious.  I think this twist on the cosmopolitan hotel for the home would totally work in my home! If I was going to use this look in my space the only thing from my design I wouldn't use is the mirror because my room is all windows.

I think this room has a nice blend of the various elements you would find at the Cosmopolitan Hotel.  Navy Blue Velvet, white office chair, simple natural wood desk, rounded leather arm chair, chrome lamps, pops of color with orange and yellow pillows...what do you think?  I never considered a navy blue sofa but yeah, I definitely like this one from West Elm. 

Here are some of the photos from the Cosmopolitan that I used for inspiration.

Friday, November 14, 2014

DIY Turkey Thanksgiving Fall Decor Ideas

DIY Turkey Thanksgiving Fall Decor

I'm pretty frugal about buying things for the house, I just have a hard time deciding on something if it's more than like $12 and I get so much more enjoyment from making something anyways, especially if I can make it from scraps and things I find in my stash for free!  Here are some thanksgiving turkey themed things I made with scraps from my craft/sewing/art closet.

DIY Turkey Thanksgiving Applique Throw Pillow

I drew a simple turkey design, cut out all the pieces and then traced it onto fusible webbing, stuck it on scraps of fabric, cut them out and ironed onto a piece of unbleached cotton.  Cut that all out with a slight edge and then centered over a 22 inch square of the unbleached linen for the pillow and then sewed around all the edges with the yellow thread as you can see in the pictures.  I didn't take pics of the process so I couldn't make a tutorial..darn!  At the end I stitched a bead on for the turkey's eye. (sorry I don't really know what I'm doing. I just figure out how to make it work so I hope that made enough sense for anyone who wanted to try this..that's why I love step by step picture tutorials...because you don't have to know proper sewing terms and techniques lol)
 I used some yellow ribbon trim for the legs and feet.

 The back is an envelope style so I can easily remove this thanksgiving turkey pillow cover as the season changes.

Handprint Turkey Applique Canvas Keepsake

I made this one last year as the kids were obsessed with making handprint turkeys, I decided to make some thanksgiving fall decor out of it that would keep forever.  stuck some fusible webbing on the fabric and then traced each child's hand on the webbing and cut it out.  Then ironed it on to the strip of unbleached linen and stiched it down around the edges and used the sewing maching to make the legs, eyes and gobblers.  Then wrapped the canvas with the yellow chevron fabric and added the strip of unbleached linen and just used pushpins on the back to hold it all together.  I just whipped it up really quickly with scraps on hand, another free DIY project!

Thursday, November 13, 2014


I've always loved babywearing, and was a big baby sling advocate! I even modeled for Slinglings back in the day to get free slings! lol..yeah I'm not a professional model by any means but for free stuff? Heck yeah!

So as much as I loved using slings from newborn through toddlerhood, this third time around, I invested in an ERGO (60% off on Zulily!) and I haven't looked back!  I mean, it is SOOOOO comfortable, I never have to readjust, I can easily put my string bean of a 4 year old in there if he is tired while I push the baby in the stroller and best of all....My hubby can wear the baby now!  The slings are fitted to your size...I never thought to order a bigger sling for my hubby, but with the ERGO it is so simple to switch over.  The ERGOs are just so well made, so comfortable and just awesome PERIOD!!!!  I have tried one carrier my sister let me borrow once that was even better but it was a custom made carrier that was over $200 so I had to quickly erase that experience from my memory!  lol!  Anyways, I absolutely adore and recommend ERGO all the way....I still used my old slings when baby #3 was a newborn but once he was big enough for the ERGO I really haven't looked back!  I like having BOTH arms free.  With the sling, both hands are free....sort of.  One shoulder is trapped down and it still gets tricky to do certain things.  And as a homeschooling mom, I can't tell you how wonderful it is to just put the little one in the ERGO front or back and be hands free to help the older kiddos!  

One of my favorite things however is seeing my husband wear the baby!  He'll wear the baby while making dinner, he'll wear the baby while playing with the older kids out in the yard, He wears the baby on all our nature adventures/hikes and anytime I just need a break from being attached!  It's hot...other single guys who aren't yet dads may not get it...but they would be wise to follow this example some day for it's great for dad and baby bonding and it helps your wife out while making her even more attracted to you!  

And we both enjoy the ERGO Performance Carrier with the  "breathable Black mesh lining, keeping babies and parents cooler and more comfortable, with a cooling panel for extra wicking."  The Performance is great for our hotter southern climate and active lifestyle.  I LOVE the hood that ERGOs have to cover up baby that can easily be stuffed into it's pocket and stored away, I love the zippered pouch for parent's personal items...we put our keys and camera there when we go hiking! I put my ID and plane tickets there when travelling so I can easily get around the airport wearing baby and have my important documents right on me, easily accessible.  Because of my ERGO, it is totally DO-ABLE for me to travel with 3 young kids cross country by myself without having my arms full and being a total mess.  I wish I would have invested in an ERGO with the first baby, but I guess the 3rd times the charm as the saying goes!  They are pricey new if you can afford it or get it on a gift registry but definitely check out zulily sales and I've also seen them priced down in the $60 range at TJMAXX before...It may not be your favorite choice of color..but if means the difference of having one vs not having one...just get over the color thing and get it!  $60 is the same range as Bjorn but ERGO is oh so much better! :)

Honestly, people buy so much baby stuff they don't really your money on all the crap and just get yourself a good carrier!  You will thank yourself!  I mean, did I mention I even put my 4 year old in it from time to time?  And it DOESN'T hurt my back or shoulders!

If you want to show some DADDY BABY WEARING LOVE share your pic on the facebook page here!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Welcome House Name Signs

Welcome Family House Name Signs
Dress up the Front Porch/Entry Way!

I visited a friends brand spankin' new house recently that she some how magically Mary Poppins style decorated in no time to perfection!  I really wonder if she had a magic bottomless bag full of cute decor and just sang and danced as it all came into place in a day! I'm too indecisive, frugal and DIY-er to get my house together that fast, and too ADD to notice that things are still not done...but her home did inspire me.  I fell in love with her custom family house name sign on her front porch and wanted to make my own.  I did a little research to find out what I liked and then made a mashup of a couple styles of family name signs put together.
My inspiration were these

Customized 16 x 20 Chalkboard Look Print - Welcome Sign - Established Date - Shipping Included 
By Longfellowdesigns on Etsy

And this gem I found on google image search by Mango Seed Designs...I cannot for the life of me find this again to post the link as I had saved the pic on my phone...

So anyways, Here is mine

I had an old canvas with a hideous reddish purple-y abtsract painting I had started long ago...I brushed on some turquoise craft paint and once that dried, I lightly sanded it so some of the darker colors underneath would show through.  Then Free handed the rest so yes it's imperfect, but isn't the the beauty of homemade/handmade items?  Not perfect!  At least at my house!  Anyways, I'm excited to finally not have a naked front porch!

I really like the chalkboard style welcome family name signs, but since I didn't have any black paint on hand and love turquoise I decided to make it a turquoise welcome house sign!  And being frugal, those bales of hay are dual purpose, it's future fresh hay for the chicken coop!  I can't believe it's like $8 or more for those tiny little decorative bales of hay when you can go to the feed store and get actual bales of hay for like $5!  Now...looking at this picture I just remembered I better go water those mums!  And...I guess I can take down the spider now that Halloween is over!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Bouqs Company Flowers Product Review

I was recently contacted by The Bouqs Company to do a product review.  I occasionally get offers for product reviews but ignore them because the free product offered in exchange for review just doesn't entice me.  However when I got the offer from The Bouqs, I was totally interested in a free bouquet of flowers in exchange for an honest review! I mean, who doesn't want free flowers? 

I had never heard of The Bouqs Company before.  When it comes to ordering flowers online, I am most familiar with Pro Flowers.  I have recieved Pro Flowers multiple times from my loving parents and sister and have sent them as well.  I've always been happy with the quality of the bouquets I've received, only once did they not seem fresh.  I will say it always frustrated me when I was on the ordering end, and thinking it was going to be one price and then at checkout, after the shipping and fees the price being a LOT more, and it was always hard to decide what to order, not knowing if it would be good or not.

Let me introduce you to The Bouqs Company if you are not familiar with them...They are apparently grown on the side of a volcano in Equador providing the flowers lots of sun, snow melt and mineral rich soil resulting in amazing color.  They are cut the day you order and arrive within 2-4 days.  

When shopping on their website, I found it very easy to browse and although there were lots of beautiful arrangements to choose from, it was pretty simple to just choose a bouquet without worrying about price comparison.   You simple browse through their gallery of beautiful bouqs and when you select one you like, you can then choose which size you would like, a classic sized bouq being $40, a delux which is double the size for $50 or a grand bouq which is tripple the size for $70.  There are no other fees or shipping so once you select your bouq and the size you want, that is it!  I really enjoyed browsing through their online shop which I refer to as their gallery because the photography is so gorgeous!  

I decided to go with the Bouq called Dawn, I ordered the Original $40 bouquet of roses. My Bouq arrived by FedEx the morning of the date I had selected for delivery which was a Thursday.  I really liked the slim, black sleek package design.  I made a little video of when I opened up the package, the sound didn't work but just to give you an idea of what to expect...
fyi I got a little distracted by my kitties at the last part of the video...

 Here's the Customs sticker as these came from Equador, straight from the volcano!

 When you open the box you will first see the care instructions printed on the box...

And on the inside is the notecard that you can customize to the person you are sending flowers to, adding your own message.

The bouq was securely wrapped so all the flowers were protected and not shaken about during shipment.  There was a cool little thermal pouch/sleeve that kept the ends of the stems moist and cool.  When I opened the bouquet there were a few outer rose petals here and there that were not as pretty, but I just removed them, showing off the very beautiful petals underneath.  I think I actually learned about that from a special episode about flowers on the Nate Berkus show a long time ago...when ordering flowers, consider some of the outer petals part of the packaging that needs to be removed.  Anyways, the color was amazing and vibrant and pretty much like the picture on the website, but not only that, they had a very nice smell too.  I kept them on my kitchen island and everytime I walked past I would catch a wiff and it was such a treat!

I had a friend come over the second day I had these and she was really impressed, we were hanging out in the kitchen and she was like "OH MY GOSH! Where did you get these flowers! They are gorgeous!" and later as we were still visiting, she was like "I'm sorry, these flowers are so pretty they keep distracting me!"  I was pretty much obsessed with them as well!  I loved the rich vibrant pink/yellow/tangerine-y color!

Yes I took even more photos than this because I was obsessed with them! They were so pretty!  I was very happy with them and I'm actually planning on using The Bouqs to send flowers to my hubby's grandma this week after enjoying mine for over a week.  I waiting to post my review so I could let you all know how long the bouquet lasted for.  I got the flowers on last Thursday and today is Sunday so I've had them for 11 days.  They stayed vibrant and beautiful for a full week and then as the days went past a week, they started to lose some of the vibrant color and looked a little more pale, but not bad, but by yesterday, the 10th day, they were looking like they were at a good point to hang up to dry, but I didn't do that yet, maybe tomorrow, I'm still hanging on to them...Today they are looking definitely not fresh anymore but still in good enough shape to hang up to dry.  So based on my experience, The Bouq roses lasted nicely for a week and a half.  I'm not an expert, but I think that is fine...I have had flowers in the past that don't last very long and are already on the tail end of their existence when I received them, but other times I've had bouquets that have lasted 2 full weeks.  

So that is my honest opinion.  I really enjoy the appearance, format and ease of use of their website and how streamlined, straightforward and cost friendly it is.  AND I enjoyed the actual bouquet too.  The Bouqs Company also has an app you can get on your phone to make it even easier to send flowers.  I know I will be using them in the future as I do not live close to family so any occasion I want to give flowers to a relative, I usually order online or call a local florist and have them deliver, but it's always been more than the $40 flat fee you get with The Bouqs, plus I'm ordering blind in that situation and just trusting it will be good.  I ordered Dawn, here is the picture from The Bouqs Company Online Shop, and thought my bouquet was pretty close to the actual picture.  My photos above were actually a little overexposed so they look a bit lighter than they really were.  The color wasn't exactly as intense as this sample photo, but it was similar and still very striking so I was not disappointed.
Dawn | Bouqs Flowers

Before I finish, let me leave you with some of my other favorite bouquets I saw on The Bouqs Company when selecting my flowers.

Marshmallow | Bouqs Flowers Marshmallow
Vibrance | Bouqs FlowersVibrance
An Elegant Twist An Elegant Twist
Harvest Moon Harvest Moon
Sincere Sincere

Click HERE to save $10 off your first Bouquet

Disclaimer:  I recieved a free bouquet of flowers of my choice in exchange for a review, I will receive a small compensation from any sales of Bouqs that come through this blog.