Sunday, September 14, 2014

Polka Dot Pumpkin

It's not officially Fall yet, but now is the perfect time to start working on those fall craft projects, and start decorating your home. I have several projects that I will be sharing with you this Fall. They are all easy DIY craft projects. The first project is a burlap polka pumpkin that I created.
Here are the supplies you will need for this project:
Burlap
Wooden loom (I found mine at Michaels Craft Store)
Black felt
Orange thread
Needle
Scissors
Orange crepe paper
Orange craft paint
A sponge brush in a circle shape (I also found this at Michaels Craft Store)
Scrapbook paper
Tickets (Found at a party supply store)
Double sided tape, and glue

The first step is to take the burlap and secure it in the wooden loom.
One you have it secured, you will add the orange polka dots simply by using the circle sponge and paint.

Next I added the face for my pumpkin. I chose a traditional face, but you can get as creative as you want and personalize your pumpkin's face. I cut the pieces of the face out of black felt.

I glued the felt pieces on to secure them to the burlap.

I then added a stem. I cut a simple stem design out of scrapbook paper, and left it to be further embellished later. I wanted to add a little more detail to the face, so I used some orange thread and completed a simple stitch detail around the eyes, nose, and mouth.
Once I finished that, I trimmed all the excess burlap from around the loom.
I thought the stem needed a little more embellishment so I added a few more pieces just for fun. I love using these old tickets I found antiquing, but you can use any tickets or ribbons you want.
 The last step is to add the crepe paper border. For this step you will use the double sided tape, and work in 3 to 4 inch strips. I applied the tape, then carefully pleated the crepe paper along the tape.
Once you have made your way around the loom, then you can go around and trim the crepe paper.
And voila' you are finished!

You can hang this pumpkin on your front door, or a wall in your home. I think it would be really great to hang in from an open frame and put it on your mantel. 
Thanks for stopping by, looking forward to showing you more fall projects soon!
Until next time, XO~Gretchen



Sunday, August 10, 2014

DIY Storage Jars


I can't believe that it is already that time of year again, but back to school time is here. Ready or not, here they go! Time for new school supplies, and getting organized for the new school year. Today I have an easy DIY project for you, all you need is a few supplies to be able to make these easy storage mason jars. Here is the list of items.
1. Mason jars, I prefer the clear ones.
2. Paint and brushes
3. Scrapbook paper, as an option
4. Glue gun
5. Double sided tape
6. Plastic animals, as an option. These can be found at a craft supply store.
7. Yarn, and a pom pom maker. Found mine at Michaels Craft Store
8. Scissors and pencil
9. Scrabble letters, as an option. I found these at a Joann craft store.
First you need to decide what you want your topper to look like. I gave three different options. You can paint the top any color of your choice. I made mine to go in my studio space, so I chose to paint one, aqua, and one pink. I just used acrylic paint, and it took several coats of paint. I allowed the paint to dry between each coat. You could also spray paint the tops. I also painted the plastic animal in a contrasting color with the acrylic paint.


Another option is to cover the flat part of the top with scrapbook paper. This is very easy to do. You just select your favorite scrapbook paper. Then trace the circle, and cut it out. I used double sided tape to secure the paper on. Once finished, I then glued one of the scrabble letters to the top. This is a great way to personalize the jar.



The last option for a topper is making a cute little yarn pom pom. This is a fun option, and you can customize it with some fun colors. I found my pom pom maker at Michaels Craft Store. I use it for all different kinds of craft projects. It comes in really handy if you are making a pom pom garland. You simply make the pom pom, and then glue it to your top.
There you have it. Three different options for toppers for your storage jars. These are really easy to create, and are a great option to have to help get you organized for back to school. I will be making more of these and putting extra school supplies in them. I like having extra glue sticks, scissors, pencils, and crayons around. I also think you could create these jars and give them as teacher's gifts. You could fill it with extra desk supplies, or maybe even a gift card and treats. You can find an easy video tutorial over on the WLKY TV's Entertainment page. I will be sharing easy crafting tutorials on their website from time to time, and I am so grateful for this opportunity.

Wishing you a great start to the school year. Hope you feel inspired to get creative and organized. Thanks for stopping by. Until next time,
XO~Gretchen

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Quilting Chronicles Part 2


So here is an update on my quilt progress as promised. I've been working on it, when I get some free time. My first goal was to have all the hex pieces sewn together by my birthday. Happy to say that I achieved that goal, with a couple of days to spare. 
I did make a little change to my original quilt design, I switched out one of the fabrics. I decided that the fabric with the red and pink, although gorgeous, was just standing out too much for my taste. Sometimes you just don't know until you actually start sewing the pieces together. Luckily, I was not too far along, and was able to rip it out easily, using my handy dandy ripper. By the way, the ripper and I got to be really good friends during this process. ;) So I found two yellow fabrics that I loved and decided to incorporate them into the quilt design.
I think these patterns are more subtle, and complimented the other fabrics nicely. I am happy that I switched out the red for the yellow.
So once I got all the hex pieces sewn together then I had to cut and sew the border. This part was pretty straight forward, and pretty easy to do. I chose the blue damask fabric, it's one of my favorite patterns in the quilt. 
So now you have a pretty good idea of how the finished product will look. I'm really happy with all the fabric choices, and I think it will be a perfect addition to our guest room. 
After I finished all that, I then had to make a decision about what I was going to back the quilt in. My mom had a great suggestion. She suggested that I use a queen size flat sheet as the backing. I thought this was a wonderful idea, because it would save me money, and time. If I decided to back it in cut fabric, then I would have had to sew the fabric in pieces to match the size of the back of the quilt. Since I purchased a sheet set, I will be able to use the flat sheet for the back of the quilt, and the fitted sheet along with the pillow cases for the bed. I think this is a great tip!
Next I purchased a queen size quilter's batting. The batting is used to go in between your top quilt layer, and your bottom quilt layer. It's what gives your quilt weight and warmth. I found my batting already cut to size at Joann Fabrics. 
The next step is probably my least favorite part of this whole process, ironing. I know that it is necessary for a beautifully finished product, but I do not enjoy it. I had to iron the flat sheet too, geez.

A tip I learned about ironing your quilted pieces, is that you don't push the iron back and forth, you actually continually pick the iron up and put it down. 
Once everything was ironed, I had to layer all three pieces on top of one another. Then, I was ready to safety pin all three layers together. 
I securely pinned the safety pins along each of the four sides. I used 36 large safety pin to achieve this. The reason that you do this, is so that when you start hand sewing your three layers together, you won't have a big shift in the fabric alignment. 
There you have it, an update on my quilt. I am going to be hand sewing each hexagon. I think this process is going to take a while, but I do love the look of a hand sewn quilt. I will be starting the sewing in the center and then working my way out. Once I am finished I will be adding the quilt binding, which is going to be the polka dot fabric. 
Here are my tips I have learned so far, that I am passing on to you.
1. Always iron your material, it's tedious, but so worth it.
2. Keep your ripper close by, you will probably make a mistake or two, or three...
3. Go with your gut, if you don't love a fabric, then find something else. Better to change the design early on, then work hard on something and not love the end result.
4. If you are making a twin, queen, or king quilt, think about using a coordinating flat sheet as the back. I think it's a great option.
5. Don't be too hard on yourself, nothing hand made it perfect. 
Thanks for stopping by. Hope you are having a wonderful summer!
Until next time,
XO~Gretchen

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wish for my 39th Year


So yep, today is my birthday! It's official I am 39. One year closer to the big 4-0. It seems like 39 is the holding steady birthday. I can remember when I was young I would always ask my Papa how old he was, and he would always say, "well I am 39." Now when I was younger I wouldn't think a thing about that, because, let's be honest, 39 seems really old to a young child. Eventually I caught on, when we kept celebrating his "39th" birthday. My Papa was as smart as a whip, and young at heart, and now looking back I think he was on to something. So here I sit, officially 39 today. Yikes, how did it all go by so fast? Seems like just yesterday I was turning 30.

One of my biggest regrets in life is that I haven't journaled enough. I wish that I would have taken the time, to write down a little something each week, about what was going on in my life. You know, you always think you will remember everything, and you might, but after you are gone, then who will remember? So this is the year I start journaling. Better late than never, right? And part of the journaling will be blogging more consistently. I love the idea of having my little blog to journal events in my life. It's amazing to think that some day when I am 80, I will be able to look back at the craft projects I completed, or the rooms I designed, or the trend of the season. It will all be here, saved in the archives of my blog. That being said, I am going to make it a point to journal a blog post every year on my birthday, talking about what my wishes are for that year, and looking back on things I am proud of accomplishing during the previous year. You can move along if you are bored, because really I am just writing this post for my kids, and future grandkids some day ;) But feel free to read along if you want. This may inspire you to start journaling more too! I'd love to see more of my friends start to blog. Hint, hint!

One of my favorite things that I accomplished this year, and last, was becoming a published contributor for Gatherings Magazine. Never in my wildest dream twenty years ago, as a nursing school student, did I think I would be a contributor for a magazine. Funny how life takes you on winds and turns. But I have found a passion, and I hope that I get to continue to pursue it! My latest article is my favorite. I was able to style and photograph a bridal shower hosted right on my very own front porch, with some of my favorite people. :) Here is my favorite photo from the article. I think it captures just about all my favorite things. I love designing and decorating tablescapes. I adore crafting and creating, and I made the chandelier, along with their headpieces. I have so much fun styling photo shoots, and creating pretty scenes.  My goal in this 39th year is to have more styled shoots and submit the images and story to other magazines. I'd love to contribute a feature to Southern Living Magazine, or perhaps another favorite Mingle Magazine. I will continue to work towards that goal, and try to come up with inspiring ideas to share with you. Maybe someday I'll even get to write a design book. A girl can dream. :)
Another exciting thing that happened during my 38th year was being featured on both Anthropologie's IG feed and their blog. I was one of their top holiday looks. Seriously I was floored by this. Funny how social media can connect people, and a simple hashtag can get you noticed. Here is the photo they used...#OMG

The stockings were from Anthropologie, so that's why I tagged them in the photo.

I've also been crafting a lot more this year, and creating things a little out of my comfort zone. For example, I just started making a quilt for my guest bedroom. My mom quilts, along with my aunts, and I have a friend Melissa from The Polka Dot Chair, who makes beautiful quilts, so I felt inspired by them all to make one. And of course I didn't select a small little throw to start with, I picked a queen size hexagon quilt! Go big, or go home, right? I started journaling about that too. You can find an update here. Maybe it will finished by my 40th ;) I learned how to sew in a zipper, yep, check that off the bucket list. Thanks Melissa :) I have been painting, crafting with paper, making tissue garlands, and yarn pom, poms. I've even tried to coordinate family craft nights with some of my cousins, aunts, mom, and granny. We have created fun projects for easter, valentines, and fourth of July. I better start thinking about a Halloween project. Looking forward to trying new creative ideas this year too!

Something I am most proud of heading into my 39th year are my boys. I became a mom, when most people are picking their major and trying to transition from those teenage years to becoming a full fledged adult. Well nothing makes you grow up faster than becoming a parent. Austin is the blessing that I never new I prayed for. Luckily God saw it fitting to bless me with two more wonderful boys. Now if you would have told my girly 13 year old self that I was going to be a mom of 3 boys, I would have said, oh my no way! But guess what, God gives us exactly what we are suppose to have, and I could not be more thankful for my boys.

They are a big reason I am writing this post, because I want them to be able to look back and remember things about their mom. I even went as far as asking Noah and Max to take some photos of me. Because as we all know, us mom's are never in any photos, we are always behind the camera ;) A friend and I just had a conversation about this. She is never in any photos either.
So here I am going into my 39th year ombre' hair and all. Wearing in one photo my favorite pair of torn and worn shorts, and an Anthropolgie top. Max and my dad always make comments about these shorts. They can't understand why I would buy a pair of shorts with holes and tears in them. Maybe looking back 20 years from now, I will question the whole look too, including the ombre' hair. I mean I did rock some huge hair in the 90's which I loved, but looking back, it was really bad.
And I wanted to remember these fun girly headbands that I made, and my favorite Lulubelles necklace....And I want to show that I like to dress up too. I am always torn between a boho chic girl, and a girly girl. 

Five things I want to strive for in my 39th year....
       I want to become a more spiritual person and a better Christian
I want to find what my real calling is in this life, you know, figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
I want to learn to follow my intuition, which may help me to find my calling.
I want to journal more about this crazy life I've been blessed with.
Lastly, I want to look back at my 39th year as my best year yet, and feel at peace as I head into the big 4-0!
And my birthday wish for all of you is that...
THE BEST IS YET TO COME!
I found this quote via an etsy shop. Thanks for reading along, many blessings to you!
XO~Gretchen