thankful tree

I got this idea from the Simply Vintagegirl blog.  I loved it because it was easy to do and it has a nice sentiment.  I did mine a little different so here is a short tutorial.

I got my supplies from Hobby Lobby.  The jar was originally $20, but I used their 40% coupon so it ended up being $12.  The ribbon was a couple bucks.

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It’s been raining a bunch around here lately and we were worried that we’d have a hard time finding some dry sticks for this project, so we sprung for a faux stick, $7.

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We chose a few different colors of paper (we mimicked autumn leaf colors of course), but printed paper would be cool too.

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Then we used a votive candle holder to trace circles and then cut them out.  A hole punch was used for the holes (duh).

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To complete the project we wrote things we are thankful for on the circles, put them on our faux stick, and voila! a thankful tree.

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I was a little premature with this project, since Halloween isn’t even over yet, but I couldn’t resist.  Right now the tree looks a bit Charlie Brownish.  Mike likes it that way, but I’m thinking we may add some more circles later.  And before I end this post, here is a picture of Mike being weird at Hobby Lobby and spelling out my name.

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I love him. 🙂

smells and sounds of fall

I’ve found that having good music and candles makes a huge difference in enhancing the atmosphere at home.  So I thought I’d do a post that lists all my favorite fall music and candle scents (fresh baked cookies are the best, but if you’re short on time candles do the trick).

Music is completely personal preference, but I’ve found that the following albums work for most settings (nothing too crazy).

Thanksgiving, A Windham Hill Collection:  Just do it

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Alison Krauss & Union Station, New Favorite:  bluegrass awesomeness

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Gregory Alan Isakov, The Weatherman:  This is his latest album, but his older stuff is great too

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Sarah Jarosz, Follow Me Down:  She has since come out with a new album, but I’m not positive if I like it as much as this one

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John Mayer, Paradise Valley: ‘Paper Doll’ is my favorite

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Brandi Carlile, Bear Creek:  And all her other albums, I’m a big fan

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Moving on to candles.  I’m no candle snob so I get mine at a fine store called Walmart.  I get the Mainstay brand, they may not last forever but they smell great, and I just can’t be convinced that a candle is worth $20.  Here are my top 3 scents for the fall, hazelnut cream being my fav.

1.  Hazelnut Cream

2.  Pumpkin Spice

3.  Mulled Cider

Nothing innovative here, but it’s the little things that can make a big difference.

smash it

If you haven’t heard of Smash Books, I highly recommend looking into them.  They are basically scrapbooks for people who don’t want to spend a lot of time scrapbooking.  They are easy to use, and the best part is that you can’t mess them up.  Just put stuff in at random and it’ll come out looking cool, thanks to all the awesome paper inside.  I started one last year and finished it earlier this year.  This is the completed one (I used a bunch of Sharpies to color the front):

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And here is a pic of the one I’m working on now with some of my supplies:

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The main things you need to start this process are just pens, markers, scissors, and glue.  I get my books from Amazon.  Searching for ‘Smash Book’ will pull up all the different kinds of Smash Books along with extra supplies like the little smash pads in the top right of the picture.  Everything is reasonably priced, and each book has different themed paper inside.  Here are some pics of the inside of my current Smash Book.

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Most of this is just cutouts from magazines.  I also used quite a few of the smash pad pages in these layouts.  I’ve also put in ticket stubs, broshures of places we’ve been, menus, pictures, fabrics, etc.  Sometimes if I’m putting something in that’s a bit bulkier I just use a stapler instead of glue or tape.  Stickers and washi tape are always useful for any empty spaces.  And of course the scrapbooking aisle at Target or Hobby Lobby has tons of stuff.   If you need inspiration just consult the blogosphere for ideas.  I liked this idea from Carissa Graham, so cool.

Smash books are great because it’s a way to file away all those random little things you keep and have no idea what to do with.  I was going to end this post with a super corny, get smashing!, but that seems a little over the top.  How about…don’t trash it, smash it! or smash it up people!…okay I’m done.

being healthy and stuff

With the weather being so nice lately I’ve been running outside.  I don’t go very far, usually only between 2 or 3 miles.  But if the weather isn’t so nice or I just feel like something different I’m all about Jillian Michael DVDs.  I love her stuff because most of her workouts are between 30-40 minutes and they kick butt.  I also like that she is constantly changing things up and has multiple workouts on one DVD so I don’t get as bored.  Lately I’ve been doing her new yoga DVD…

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Insense looking huh?  It’s not too bad, and it’s pretty amazing how quickly you’re able to improve.

Sometimes if I’ve gone a short run in the morning and want to move around in the afternoon I’ll check out my Pinterest Fitness Board and do something short like this.  Or if I haven’t done anything yet that day there are some longer workout options like this one.

The irony of this all is that I’m feeling a little under the weather (pretty sure Mike and I keep giving each other a cold bug back and forth) so I’m going to go lay on the couch after typing this.  But I’ll probably at least go on a walk later, like to the mailbox.

C is for Cookies

I’m a big fan of cookies.  In the last month I’ve averaged one batch per week.  And I think I’m going to keep that pace for the next few months.  And yes – I like to describe my cooking baking habits in the same way athletes describe their workouts.  Goals are goals people.  And it doesn’t matter how you look at it, it takes dedication to keep my cookie quota up.

Here are some cookies I’ve made recently.

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These are Malted Chocolate Chunk Cookies and wow…they were delish.  They have chocolate malt powder in them and it makes all the difference.  The recipe can be found here.  Go make these cookies!

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These are Brown Sugar Brownie Bars.  Basically a cookie bar if you will.  These are good if you don’t want anything super rich.  Check out the recipe.

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These are Brown Sugar Maple Cookies, and I strongly advise them.  They come out looking gooey and under done, but if you let them sit for a while you’ll find that they are actually pure bliss.  So yummy, here is the info.

I also made these chocolate chip cookies.  But didn’t get a pic, because they were super good and we ate them all before I got the chance.  Honest mistake.

Check out my Pinterest Cookie Board for more recipes.  Got to run and flex my cookie baking muscles.  Lata!

deck the halls with pumpkins

Yesterday I put up our few autumn decorations.  And I loved every minute of it!  We don’t have many decorations, but a little goes a long way in my opinion.  Here are some pics.

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These are my teeny tiny tricker treaters, aren’t they totes adorbs?!  This is probably my favorite Halloween decoration we have.

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This is up on the mantle flanking this garland..

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I set 4 small votive candle holders in the garland to keep it in place.  And on the other side of the garland is this.

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Another one of my favorites.  I love my spooky pumpkin – which, ironically, isn’t spooky at all.  You’ll notice that all of my Halloween decor isn’t very scary and that’s because I absolutely despise all things scary.

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Here is my massive “K” pumpkin.  And we have a couple owls that we keep up all the time, but they blend in nicely with the Halloween/Autumn decor.  Bonus!

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Yet another pumpkin.

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I had made this last year and I need to fluff it up a little more.  It looks very Halloweeny on our black door.

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I justified buying this candy because how could I have an empty glass pumpkin sitting out?  That’s just wrong!

And that’s it folks.  Most of these decorations my dear mother bought for me at a little antique store in town.  She was appalled a couple years ago when she came to visit and we had no autumn decor.  And if you think I have a lot of pumpkins, you’re mistaken.  Mike & I always count the pumpkins (in particular) at Mom’s over Thanksgiving and there are usually upwards of 70 or so.  But in her defense, if she buys a bunch of those little pumpkins and puts them in a bowl, we totally count each individual one.  But still, it’s a lot of pumpkins.  But in all seriousness, who doesn’t like pumpkins?

what I’ll most likely be blogging about

This past summer I wrote up a list of things that interest me – my top 10 to be exact.  It was kind of a weird thing to do, but it was fun because I got to think about what I truly enjoy doing.  Plus I thought it would help me mentally simplify my life.  It was nice thinking of certain things and then thinking, ‘nope, that won’t make the list’, and then I’d be all like ‘awesome, one less thing to worry about.’  Am I making sense?  Anyway here it is…

1.  Reading – this is numero uno because I read regularly.  Sometimes I fall off the wagon but in general I read things…my Facebook feed, nutritional facts, etc.  Right now I’m reading ‘Jewel’ by Bret Lott.  It’s one of those Oprah’s Book Club books, but the reason I’m reading it is because it was on sale at the library for 50 cents.  So far it’s pretty good.

2.  Outdoors/Fitness – this is another one that I put high up on the list soley because it’s a regular part of my life.  I like to move around, if I don’t I get cranky, it’s that simple.  Right now since the weather is nice I’ll go on runs.  If the weather isn’t nice I like a good Jillian Michael video, that chick is tough.

3.  Being with Friends & Family – not much to say about this one.  I love my friends and family!

4.  Decorating – I have a degree in interior design, but anyone with that degree will tell you that designing and decorating are two completely different things, and they are, but I like decorating too.  I haven’t decorated anybody else’s home (yet), just my own for now.  We recently moved and if we had tons of money to blow you could bet that I’d spend it on a bunch of house junk…and it’d be awesome.

5.  Crafts/Art/Painting/Smash Book – I lumped these all together because one didn’t stand out above the rest.  I do love my Smash Book though.  I’m not one of those people that DIYs their entire house with DIY furniture, DIY curtains, DIY soap, DIY eye drops, DIY nail clippers…I should stop because I see a future post about this, but I like being creative whenever I feel the urge.

6.  Cooking – Every week or so I’ll get on Pinterest and whip up some new fangled dinner and it usually turns out pretty tasty.  But probably above cooking I like to bake, because I’ve recently discovered that I don’t just love homemade cookies, I’m obsessed with them.

7.  Music/Movies – I like knowing what’s new and hip so I can be in the know with the cool kids.

8.  Photography – And when I say photography, I mean with my iPhone, check this guy out…http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x10d2ve_last-call-with-carson-daly-kevin-russ_news

9.  Travelling – Going on vacation once every 2 months whould be ideal to me.  Why did I put ‘to me’ at the end of that sentence?  Like some people wouldn’t like that?  Colorado, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Nashville, France, etc. etc.  I included this on my top 10 list because although we only take one big trip a year, I spend plenty of time throughout the year just daydreaming about travelling.  So that totally counts as an interest.

10.  Style/Clothes – This is low on the todum pole because I’m not one of those people who shop regularly, but I always feel pretty dang good when I get back home after buying new clothes, so I figured that counts for something.

So there it is.  And when I blog it’ll probably be about one of those things, but maybe not, I really don’t know.  I also wrote a short list of the things that really truly matter to me.  Because sometimes looking at a list of your interests doesn’t give you the best perspective of life.  Here is the short list…

1.  Faith Life

2.  Family

3.  Friends

4.  Health

I think everyone should make their own lists.  It’d be fun and personalized and then when you meet new people you could ask to see their list and you could be like, ‘no way would we have anything to talk about’ or ‘oh my gosh!  I think I just found my new best friend!”.  Maybe it’ll catch on.