Winter hanging basket

I found a picture online of a great winter greens hanging basket, so I enlisted the help of my Aunt (who is a florist) for some help on this.  We gathered greens and berries from the grounds of a historic home in Louisville.  I think it’s a great way for you to teach kids about nature as well as get their help to put these great baskets together.

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Chalkboard Wall (guest post Corey & Cambrey Little)

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Chalkboard Wall

When building our new house, my husband and I knew we wanted a chalkboard wall that we could draw on, have our guests sign their names, create cool holiday messages, make grocery lists, etc. We can thank Pinterest for the inspiration! Lucky for me, my mom’s a teacher and my husband is a designer. So we had this one in the bag. My mom is an old school at that. It is 2012 and she still uses chalkboards in her classroom. She swears they are better than any white or smart board on the market. So thanks to her advice, and my talented husband who is a graphic designer/web designer/architect/creative extraordinaire (shameless plug – www.coreylittle.com), we were able to come up with the perfect Christmas chalkboard design.
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Here are the steps we took to achieve it:
1. After we chose the wall we wanted to paint (that took some serious contemplation), we set out to buy some chalkboard paint. We found a can at Home Depot for about ten bucks.
2. Paint the chalkboard wall (a no-brainer, right?). Quick tip – we didn’t use a primer. Just used 2 coats of chalkboard paint. The wall was light grey before.
3. Buy some good chalk. Any kind will do for the “seasoning” (see step 4) we got some really good colored chalk from Michael’s. The brand is Artist’s Loft (blue box) and it had 24 pieces in it.photo 3
4. After the paint has dried, you’ll need to “season” or prep the wall (think like you’re prepping your brand new cast iron pan). Basically all you need to do is cover the entire wall in chalk and then wipe it down w ith a damp cloth. This makes it easier to erase any future design and keep it erased for good. Remember in trigonometry class when you could faintly see the unit circle on the chalk board even though it had been erased weeks before? Anyone? Maybe that was just me. Moving on.
5. I mentioned earlier my husband is a graphic designer. He whipped up a really cool Christmas design in photoshop then had it printed on a transparency at Fedex Office. His dad happened to have an old light projector lying around and gave it to us. We used that to project the design onto the wall and trac ed it out with chalk. Voila! A fancy looking (but super easy) Christmas message on our new chalkboard wall.

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I can’t wait to see what we come up with next!

Burlap Wreath

Nothing gets me more excited then being able to create and give a gift to a friend.  I will confess that because I enjoy this so much that it’s very difficult for me to just buy a gift I don’t get excited about, espically by a certain date.  So this is why I’m always late on your gift or one time you may get something amazing and the next year I may completely forget your birthday… I apologize in advance!

All of that brings me to our project today.  It has been my stable, my GO TO gift for baby showers (espically little girls) over the last year.  My friend Ashley showed me last year how to start these wreathes.  The one below is my very first attempt, you can see how much better I’ve gotten over the last year!

Without you knowing this I’ve been building up to this blog post.  I felt like these wreaths offer so many options that I couldn’t give you 3 tutorials in one day so I have already outlined several elements I have already taught you!

Check out these posts for ideas-

Yarn letters/numbers for your wreath

Cloth letters/numbers for your wreath

Supplies:

Straw Wreath (For your 1st attempt I would start with a smaller one)

Burlap (caution: Red burlap fades if used in direct sunlight)

Scissors for cutting Burlap (I have a old back up pair because the material tends to ruin your scissors)

Scissors for cutting cloth

Hot glue gun

Lace or Ribbon for making hanger (I like wide lace the best!)

Fabric 1/2 yard per fabric should do for most wreaths  (I use between 3-5 different types and textures of fabric)

Ribbon of different textures

Quilting pearl pins

Tutorial:

-Cut long stripes of burlap, between 4-5 inches wide

-Hot glue one end of the burlap stripe to the back side of your wreath from the inside out, at a SLIGHT angle

-Wrap the burlap around the wreath working from inside out

-When you come the end of your strip of burlap hot glue it to the back of the wreath

-Start a new stripe of burlap until your whole wreath is covered

-Attach any letters/numbers you would like to with the hot glue gun (if you are doing a large letter in the middle you can save this for last)

-Cut your fabric for the flowers, free hand cut circles in different sizes of all the fabrics

You can see from all the various wreaths that for some I only used a few of these circles in small clusters, but like the one above I think I cut circles for 2 hours.  What look would you prefer? Some like to cover their entire wreath in these circles!

-To start this process I will take 2 different fabric circles (I like to start with larger circles) and grab them in the middle making a sort of stand up cone.  I put these two together on one of the pearl pins and pin it to the wreath at a angle.  I continue this over and over again until I achieve the look I desire, the great thing is you can remove any pins you want!

-After you have all your little round circles pined to your wreath take a step back and see how you like it, I always end up cutting a few more circles and adding more!

-The final step to your fabric circles is to secure them with a dot of hot glue.  I typically leave the pins in and just add dots of glue to secure the fabric to the burlap, don’t forget a circle, if you put this on the front door those pins can come lose easy with a strong wind.

-Cut your ribbon to hang your wreath from, like Steph said last week I don’t really love my wreath hanger I had so I just hang my wreath from a nail on my front door

-If you check out the first wreath in this post you will notice I also cut some small lace ribbon and burlap type rope to wrap around my wreath for additional texture, my friend Ashley has done this with leather ribbon and it looks awesome!

There really are a million different ways you can make these wreaths, I have friends that hate burlap and they have done virtually the same thing with cloth covering the wreath instead.  Let me know if you have questions or suggestions.

Stop Dyeing Eggs this Easter!

Let one of my favorite Momma’s teach you and your kids a fun craft this Easter! 

Guest post by  Brooke Widmer.

When my friend Natalie invited me to do a guest post on her blog, my first reaction was to look behind me to see who she was really talking to.  Intimidated as I was, I have to admit that this activity is too much fun not to share.  And what a great activity for Easter or Spring Break!  I first did this project with my oldest daughter about 4 years ago when she was 4, and now that my youngest is 4 I decided to go really big and do it with her whole Pre-K class.  Those kids  are precious, and I think they had as much fun putting these together as I did.  It’s hilarious to have conversations with little ones about shells and seeds…you wouldn’t believe the things they think they can grow!

Here’s what you will need to make your family of Egg Heads
Egg Shells, rinsed and allowed to air dry. Maybe you want to make an omelet or quiche for breakfast? Or maybe you are better at peeling boiled eggs than I am.  Either way, the more of the shell you can keep whole, the better.  It will have to hold water to work.

Cotton Balls

Alfalfa seeds (seeds can be found in several grocery stores, I found mine at Whole Foods)

Google eyes or a marker to give your Egg heads some personality

Something as a base for your egg to rest in/on.  You can use the egg carton itself, mini cupcake liners or these cute Easter chicks that I found at a dollar store in packs of 3.  Whatever you have on hand to keep them upright.
Here is your step by step Tutorial

Once you have assembled your clutch of egg shells you will glue (or draw) eyes on their faces.

Now stand them up in your base of choice.  I found sticky play foam to be a great medium for getting them to stand up and keep them in place.

Next soak your cotton balls in water and squeeze slightly so that you can carefully stuff the wet cotton inside the shells. Generously sprinkle the seeds over the wet cotton and set your Egg Head Family in a sunny window to watch them sprout full heads of hair!

Make sure to check the cotton daily and spritz with water to keep moist.  Of course be sure to name your little guys.  They are great conversationalists.

Enjoy!  Oh, and be sure to try the sprouts on a salad or sandwich.  The kiddos even tried these because it was something they grew!

These 2 were our first, and are still my favorite… Besther & Esther!