Happy 2014!!

Well it’s only been a few months since I blogged new posts.  I’m ready to play catch up covering the fun that happened in November and December.  First, though, I’m going to fill you in on what 2014 has brought.

I made it past my 90 orientation for work.  In less than 2 weeks, I’ll hit my 4 month mark.  Currently, I’m providing Child Life to Children’s Kidney Center 3 days a week and cover inpatient Intermediate Care the other 2 days.  I love my job and the daily blessings that come from serving patients and families.  I am assuming a few more responsibilities particularly with coordinating volunteers.  My hours also shifted from 10 hour days to a standard 8 hour day.  This has allowed for more time for personal activities outside of work.

I have settled on a church and am happy to see the Young Adult ministry offering many events this month.  I have decided to slow down on crossfit training to focus on spinning and running.  I am signed up for a few spring 5k and 10k runs with a potential 1/2 marathon in April.  I’m waiting to see how the 10k’s and my training with the SA road runners go before I sign up for the half.  I definitely want to do the BCS half marathon in December.  Everything finally seems to be smoothing out and all the pieces have fallen into place.

Now for my month of January in pictures!

Icepocalpsye

Highlights from my morning include slipping on ice (I have a nice purple bruise!), defrosting my truck for 30 min and scraping ice with my Texas State ID (I don’t need that anymore and I certainly wasn’t going to use my Aggie one), and then taking an hour to safely get into work.

This weekend and two weeks ago, I spent much needed time to catch up with blog reading, emails, and trying to fight off illness.  It seems everyone is sick this month.

I finally settled on my word for 2014 – dare.  More details to follow about this one little word.

Earlier in January, I tackled another organizational project for my New Braunfels family I babysit.  Megan (the mom) and I had been planning a closet overhaul for her in the new year.  In less than 6 hours, we transformed her closet and purged quite a lot.

Before:

  

After:

 

Do you ever take pictures while you shop?  This is like window shopping, but using your phone.  I took a picture of these mats to remember when I order new supplies for my unit at the hospital.

I sent Robyn pictures of these cards for inspiration when she makes her valentine’s next month.

 

I really liked this brand of paper products.

 

I got some pretty awesome happy mail in February.  I have some goodies to send out in February.

Before Robyn flew back to Pittsburgh, we made a few pit stops in Austin.  This bakery was having their grand opening.  Previously, they just had a food trailer.  They catered the cupcakes at Lexi’s wedding last year.

  

We also shopped for cute hooks for Megan’s closet makeover.  I knew she wanted cute hooks for jewelry storage.  It’s always fun to shop for others!

 

 

Paper Source is a block away from Anthropologie and is our favorite.  I loved these scalloped hearts in their windows.

My friend Lauren and I continue to share morning texts about our Jesus Calling reading for the day.

When I received my new 2014 work planner, I promptly put on my MoJoy sticker from the art retreat last fall.  I had been waiting to put it on something I use daily.

I really liked this quote and how cute is the packaging for that candle?  They had all sorts of colors of mason jars.

 

Funny books

 

Always like “R” letters.  All of these shopping pictures came from stores at The Pearl in San Antonio.  The Pearl has a Saturday farmer’s market and several permanent store fronts.  It was a gorgeous Saturday to enjoy the weather and charming area of the city.

 

My mom and aunt came to San Antonio for some extra girl time while Robyn was still in the state.  They got to experience The Pearl and stay on the river walk.  It was just as much fun as our New Year’s weekends at Canton.

 

When my kids were back from Christmas, I knew I wanted to do bubble wrap painting with them.  I had different size circles cut out to make snow men.  That same day marketing needed patients for an Easter themed photo shoot.  I volunteered my patients and quickly modified my planned activity for an Easter theme.  When the quarterly hospital magazine is published, I’ll post a link here.

More inspiring books or art

  

Happy mail from Emma Burns.  Her letters are always so precious!

These were the words I was contemplating for 2014.

My current favorite song -especially when it plays on my morning drive to work.

That’s it for my January round up.  The joy from time spent with family spilled over from December into this month.  I have many many blessings to be grateful for.  I hope your 2014 has begun with a joyful and grateful heart.

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Ruffle Tree Skirt

Again another favorite tutorial that transforms old decorations into something new!

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The original tutorial is found at HGTV.  I followed along for a few steps, but did a few things differently.  Here’s how I made my ruffly tree skirt!

Start with an old tree skirt.  This one cost me $2.50 on clearance after Christmas a couple of years ago.  I never loved it, but it served the purpose.  If you don’t have a tree skirt you’re willing to cover with ruffles, you can use a canvas drop cloth or any other upholstery grade fabric.  The HGTV tutorial covers how to transform fabric into a skirt.  For my tutorial, we’ll assume you have an old tree skirt.

The original tutorial used linen for the ruffles.  Because linen is expensive and hard to come by, I found a natural tone muslin that looks very similar.  I bought 4 yards, but really only needed 3.  At $3.99 a yard, it is budget friendly.  Don’t forget to use a 40% off coupon!

I wanted wider ruffles on my skirt, so I cut my fabric into fourths.  The HGTV tutorial did 2 inch strips, mine are closer to 6 inches.  I didn’t want to spend 4 hours gluing ruffles! There was no measuring on my part.  Just eye ball and cut away.  Perfection is not necessary for this project!

This is just one strip of fabric stacked up.  You will have lots of strips.

To start, use a low-temp hot glue gun and run a 6 inch long bead of glue about 4 inches away from the edge of the skirt.  Then take your strip and bunch or fold the fabric pressing the edge into the glue.

Keep doing this until you have one circle of ruffles.  From here on, the process gets quicker and quicker to complete each circle.

Keep following the same steps and soon you’ll have circles and circles of ruffles.

      

Once one strip ends, just start the new one on top of the old one to cover the seam.

Does anyone love ruffles as much as I do?

Once you’re finished, it will look like this.

Mine took me about an hour and a half to complete.  Not too bad considering the beautiful outcome.  Play a Christmas movie or music and enjoy the crafting time!

Here it is around my tree.

What do you think?  Will you be making a ruffle tree skirt this year?

p.s. Here is a sneak peek of my tree.

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Ribbon Garland

This tutorial is another favorite over in the Pinterest world.  Here’s the old post showing how to make ribbon garland.

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I’ve been in the crafty Christmas spirit lately.  I’m all about using supplies I already have, recreating things I’ve seen, and making Christmas decorations myself.  In honor of all of those things, I made a ribbon garland.  My 12th day of gratitude includes yards and yards of gorgeous ribbon.

For those of you wondering, I don’t normally put out Christmas decorations this early; however, I had two good reasons to this year.

1. No one is coming to my apartment for Thanksgiving meaning I don’t have to keep my plethora of pumpkins out.

2. I want to share all of these easy homemade Christmas decorations with you early enough that you have time to recreate them!

Now aren’t those two decent reasons to have Christmas on my mind?

Let’s get started on that ribbon garland!

You’ll need rope, a string of Christmas lights, an extension cord, or some other rope-like object.  I used rope.  I bought mine for less than $5 at Lowes.  During the process of measuring and getting it cut, the Lowes associate started a small fire.  Did you know they burn and cut the rope at the same time to give it a clean edge?  It was super cool to watch!  I think my garland ended up somewhere between 6-8 feet.  Make sure your rope is the length you want your garland to be.

This is somewhere between 10-12 feet of rope.  I used a thick manila rope because it was cheap and I wanted my garland to have some weight to it.

You’ll also need LOTS of ribbon!  I’m afraid to tell you how many yards I used!  All I know is I used 6 bolts of ribbon with 10 yards each on them and then used ribbon remnants which were probably equally as long.  I filled in with tule which was probably around 15-20 yards.   The good news is I already had all of this ribbon from last year when I attempted to make a ribbon wreath.  The ribbon remnants I got from an after Christmas clearance sale at a store in Canton.  I scored giant bags of ribbon remnants for $5 each.  They each probably had 75 yards of wide fabric ribbon in them.  It was the ribbon mother load!  If you aren’t a ridiculous person like me who has this much ribbon on hand, you may want to wait a year and shop for clearance ribbon like I did.

Start by cutting your ribbon into 6-12 inch pieces.  Make your cuts according to how wide your rope is and how wide you want your garland.  Mine tended to be on the 10-12 inch side.  There was no measuring the ribbon.  I just eye balled and cut.  I tried to cut enough initially for the entire garland, but ended up adding some more 3/4 of the way through.

To make your garland, tie the ribbon once.  You won’t need to knot it because the ribbon stays with one tie.

Pull it really tight.

Push it snug against the previous ribbon pieces.

Turn every piece a different direction so the garland is full.

There is no pattern to follow.  Sometimes I put two identical pieces next to each other. Initially the garland may seem bare or like it requires perfection, but that goes out the window after about the first 15 minutes of tying ribbons.

Soon your garland will take shape and you may squeal with delight like I did!

Here is my finished product.

     

I added a couple of metal and glass ornaments to my garland by nestling them between the ribbons.  This garland makes my table scream Christmas.

Christmas is sure to be filled with jingle and a little jolly.

    

     

One last picture.  

So what’s your verdict – ruffles or ribbon?

Update: These were inspired by ribbon garlands I saw at Canton.  These were selling for $75 or more.  Here’s the quick picture I snapped just to give you an idea of the different styles of ribbon you could use.

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Christmas Canvases

Looking for more Christmas crafts… how about some Christmas canvases?  Here is a blog post showing lots of Christmas options.  These make great gifts too!

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It’s about time I wrap up my College Station visit from November.  The last thing I have to show y’all is the canvas painting that happened.  I went and visited my friend Kathryn in Huntsville and she had canvases on the brain.  After some “uh ohs” and worried looks, her finished products turned out beautifully!

She painted a burnt orange backdrop with simple Christmas trees for her mom, an LSU themed ornament, vintage holly, and a Christmas tree for her Sam family.

Because I can’t paint words very well, she had her friend paint words on the tree canvases. They look gorgeous!

I painted a couple canvases that day.  My favorite is the light bulb.  The ornament is a little funky!

I can’t wait to copy Kathryn’s holly!

I think it would look great with a little “Merry Christmas” in the bottom corner.  Look at that beautiful vintage feel!

Our finished products completed all in 6 hours!  Not too shabby considering the canvases were not gooed prior to me arriving, we blew a breaker running two hair dryers at once to dry the canvases, me running an hour late, and Kathryn having a football game she couldn’t miss that night.

Once I got back to College Station, Megan was in a artsy mood and knew her mom wanted some canvases for Christmas gifts.  We had a quick run to Michael’s and Hobby Lobby before they closed at 9 p.m. and then our assembly line began.

Goo, dry, paint background, stripes, foreground, swirls, words, sprays, and glitter.  Done!

The Aggie ornament on the top right corner just might be my favorite or the stripe background joy.  I can’t resist maroon and a tiny “gig ’em.”

Megan’s favorite was the peace sign painted for a 13 year old girl.

That College Station weekend was cram packed of visits with friends, canvases, shiny gold rings, and baking.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Burlap Christmas Wreath

Over the next few days, I am going to highlight some previous crafts I have made around Christmas.  This wreath continues to get the most page views and pinterest likes/repins.

Keep on reading to see the tutorial again – here’s the original link.

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This time I had an itch for something made with burlap.  After searching Pinterest, I was left with an inspiration image with no tutorial.  “Looks like I’ll figure it out as I go,” I thought.

Wreaths are available through Etsy, but I was not about to spend $60 on it when I could make my own.  The only burlap wreath tutorials I could find were for bubble wreaths and I just wasn’t a super fan of this style.

I’ve never made a wreath and had some apprehension getting started.  You can be the judge of the finished product.  I’m pretty pleased.  Please ask questions if needed because this project was difficult to document for a tutorial.

To make this wreath, start with the bigger of the two sizes of straw wreaths at Hobby Lobby.  I think this wreath is around 14 inches.

You will need around 3 yards of burlap depending on how big you make your bunches.

I cut my burlap into two widths of 6 inch wide strips and split the left overs into 8 inch wide strips.  The strips were 3 yards in length.  It’s less cutting to cut the entire length of the fabric.  Much like my other Christmas projects, there is no perfect science to this.  Eyeball and cut away.

Starting with the skinnier strips, wrap your wreath with the plastic wrap still on it.  This is to prevent any straw from showing through.  I used a straight pin to hold the end and tightly wrapped the strip around the wreath.  I trimmed and pinned the other end after covering the wreath.

Starting with the inner ring of the wreath, it’s time to start pinning the strips.  I had to adjust every so often to make sure I was filling the inside of the wreath and not just covering the top.  To start, have your strips ready and plenty of straight pins available.

First, I folded the end together to create some movement and something for the pin to hold onto.

Pin that into the wreath and continue gathering, fluffling, and pinning. around the entire inside ring.

For this poof, I pulled together the edges of my fabric and pinned them together.

Once the inner ring is done and you have everything attached, you can move onto the outer ring.  I never followed a particular pattern in my pinning because I didn’t want it uniform.  I wanted to burlap to fold in places, be poofy in others, and have some depth.

Same concept just wider strips.  You want to make sure and fill the gaps from the first ring and cover enough of the front of the wreath so it doesn’t look sparse anywhere.

The finished wreath was too bare for me so I tried using some red burlap to make a bow.  I liked the contrast, but it just wasn’t working for me.  I also tried a metal Round Top sign I had, but didn’t love it.

After walking around my house, I found a metal bow which I knew would look great in the wreath.  I wrapped wire through the back of the bow and wired it to the wreath.  I covered up the wire by cutting a strip to hand my wreath from.  I just knotted the strip and voila, instant hanger.  Here’s the finished wreath hanging on my door.

I’ve already had several friends and family members recreate my tree skirt and ribbon garland.  Will this be next on your list?

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