A Thanksgiving Tree

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First of all, I know what you’re thinking.

This is just some lame excuse to put your Christmas tree up early isn’t it?

Why yes, yes it is. But let’s be honest, who needs an excuse anymore? My neighbors fully decked out the outside of their house for Christmas on November 1st. Like lights, wreaths, an enormous nutcracker on the front porch, the whole shebang.

I’ve been wondering where I would put my Christmas tree since before our living room even had carpet. Or walls for that matter. (If you’re new here, head on over to the home remodel to see what I’m talking about.) When the living room was more or less put together, I realized that it’s super tiny and there isn’t a whole lot of room for a big ol tree.

But the ceilings are high so I decided to get a tall and skinny one. And when I set my mind to wanting to buy something, I can’t really change focus until that something is in my living room, put together and plugged in. So here we are.

And that’s where Daniel Tiger comes in. All my fellow moms of toddlers raise your hands if Daniel’s in the house!! Daniel is in our house all the time. If you don’t watch the show, it’s a cartoon based on the characters in Mister Roger’s neighborhood and it’s full of catchy tunes that teach kids things like, “Grown-ups come back” and “Friends help each other, yes they do, it’s true” and my personal favorite, “If you have to go potty, stop and go right away. Flush and wash and be on your way.”

But I digress.

On a particular episode of Daniel Tiger it was Thankful Day and the whole town (neighborhood?) gets together and hangs thank you cards on the tree to those they are thankful to. All the cute little characters draw pictures and whatnot to their parents, teachers, and mailman and that’s when the light bulb went off in my head.

Yes this is a children’s show, but that’s a good idea.

Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for what we have and apart from eating a crap ton of food (which I guess means we’re thankful for how much we have..or something) and going around the dinner table to say what we’re thankful for, our family traditions don’t focus a whole lot on gratitude. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great holiday for gathering and spending time with friends and family but when are we acknowledging our gratitude?

So here I am with this undecorated Christmas tree in my living room and this Daniel Tiger thank you tree idea in my head and BAM! The Thanksgiving tree is born.

The basic idea is to take time either throughout the month of November or just on Thanksgiving day itself and write a thank you note to someone. It’s a way to show your gratitude and help someone else feel appreciated. If you do it all November long, you could just set your cards on the tree as you write them, for decoration, and then mail them out later.

I love the idea of everyone sitting down and reading our cards to each other before we indulge in a lovely meal. And hey, maybe we’ll save the cards with the Thanksgiving decorations and each year the tree will get more and more full of cards and we can always look back and remember what, or who, we were thankful for in years past.

So here’s to a new Thanksgiving tradition! What do you like to do to show you’re grateful during Thanksgiving?

Adventures in Altering Jeans

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When I was in my early months of pregnancy, I visited my brother and his wife and got a bunch of hand-me-down clothes. I hadn’t gained much weight by that point, but enough that some of the clothes that enticed me, namely some pants, wouldn’t fit over my expanding hips. But they looked cute so I took them anyway. Once I lost my baby weight and was able to fit into the pants, I noticed something about 3 pair of seemingly cute BKE jeans: they all had a wide leg. Not super in style in our skinny jean generation. Heck, I’d even settle for bootcut.

So despite the cute, butt accentuating pockets, all three pair of jeans made it into the, “donate” pile and were safely stored in the garage until I found the energy to take them somewhere. A few months later I went to Arizona and stayed with my Grandma who helped me make a quilt for Evelyn. I had so much fun sewing that I was desperate to undertake another sewing project and decided that since I really had nothing to lose with the jeans that I was just going to give away, they would be my next trial project.

I am by no means a seamstress. Like seriously. I have sewn a little here and there but nothing very complicated and I always had help. So even though the rest of you may look at these jeans and say, “Yeah…so?”, I’m actually really proud of myself for how they turned out. I definitely see more sewing projects in my future.

Without further ado, I present, my adventures in altering jeans.

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For the first pair, I tried to pin them using another pair of skinny jeans as a guide. That didn’t work out so well. There was a bubble and in trying to fix them with the seam ripper, I ripped a hole in them.

So they turned out to be shorts. I used a brick on my concrete driveway to fray the bottoms and get rid of the dreaded straight edge. I ended up with some pretty cute cut offs.

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DIY Moby Wrap

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This tutorial is so simple, it feels wrong to spend an entire blog post explaining it. But here you go.

For those of you who don’t know, a moby wrap is an expensive baby wearing option. I’ve found it to be my favorite. But since I didn’t have $50 or so to spend on one I made my own. There are two steps.

001 Go to a fabric store of your choosing and buy 6 yards of stretchy knit fabric in the color of your choice.

4 yards wasn’t enough and I have 5 yards which works but I wish it was a little longer. So 6 should be safe.
002 Your fabric will be double the width that you need it to be, so carefully find the center and cut it in half. You should have two pieces of fabric, 6 yards long. Make sure you’re cutting the width in half and not the length.

That’s it. That’s all. You’re done.

Now you have two moby wraps for a fraction of the cost.

If you really want to you can sew a little tag in the exact center because you’ll need to know where that is when you tie it on every time but I just fold mine in half to find it.

To learn how to tie it and put your baby inside, just search on youtube for tutorials.

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DIY Cork Board Map Tutorial

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Before your tutorial, (If you wanna skip to the tutorial, scroll down to the pictures, but you’ll be missing a great story!) you get a little story, I call it

The Story of the Maps

So back last fall sometime, I had this brilliant plan to find a moderately sized map, adhere it to some cork board and make an awesome ‘where they’ve been, where they wanna go’ type deal. Skip ahead to late January right before my birthday party and the first time we really had anyone over to our basement house. I was stressing over making the house not look so basement-y and the biggest problem was this huge horrific white wall in the kitchen. To me it was this eye sore akin to someone having wiped fecal matter all over it. To anyone else it was non-noticeable because, hello it’s a white wall.

So I was desperate to come up with something adorable and clever to cover the wall and convinced Chris, in the middle of a blizzard, that we needed to go find a map and cork RIGHT NOW. And so he dutifully drove me to a map supply store, because where else do you go to find maps? Only problem is they didn’t exactly have the moderately sized map I had been dreaming of. The only one we could find was hugenormous. The good news was it would cover the ENTIRE white heinous wall. The bad news: it was like 30 bucks. And then we had to buy the cork to go behind it. Yeah that was gonna be a fortune so instead we just got some thick poster board. But the piece we bought was so huge that it wouldn’t fit in my teeny tiny bug (who needs a mom car?!) so we had to borrow a dull Xacto knife from the map supply store people and we sat on the floor and cut it up.

Long story short (you wish) the map ended up in a series of panels on the terrible horrible wall. Yay! Everyone loved it and continues to comment on it whenever they come over. Probably because it’s a hugenormous map taking up the whole wall. Then the weather changed and it got Utah-hot. So Chris hooked up the swamp cooler so we wouldn’t all die. Then it got not so hot so we turned off the swamp cooler. What does this have to do with the map? Well the swamp cooler is right next to the map, so the map soaked up some swampiness. Then when we turned it off it expelled said swampiness and started to bubble and whatnot and now basically it’s ruined. Yeah. I mean falling of the wall, peeling off the poster board ruined. There goes $50 or so down the drain.

 

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map 003^^Look how sad and bubbly it is

The moral? A white wall isn’t so bad. And if you can’t find the right thing…just wait until you do.The good news is I found the map I had wanted in the first place at a poster sale at BYU for 5 bucks so now I can make the project I had been planning to make all along.

So now for you (if you made it through the story of the maps) I present the awesome “Places you Wanna Go” Map.

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I love how the map can be separated because it’s on separate tiles. It can take up as little or as much room as you want. It’s perfect for someone who moves a lot (college student) because it’s not big and it can be stored easily.

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50+ DIY Mason Jar Ideas

I have this habit of saving mason jars. I’m not even sure why, but I do. I save baby food jars and pickle jars and pasta sauce jars. I am Jocelyn, (Hello Jocelyn) and I am a jar saver.

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So what in the world can I do with ALL THESE JARS? I figure it’s about time that I figure that out. So I scoured the internet and came up with 50+ uses for mason jars. Click on the links to find the tutorials. It’s like your own little mason jar encyclopedia.

001 Flower vase

002 A place to put change

003 Use as a glass

004 A place for a tea light candle

005 A cute light fixture

006 Paint the inside

007 A place to keep office supplies: paper clips, thumb tacs, pencils…

008 A rustic toothbrush holder (just add a decorative twine bow)

009 Hand soap dispenser

010 Container for a gift

011 To hold make-up and brushes

012 To hold cupcake liners

013 To store large spoons and spatulas in the kitchen

014 Put a cookie or cake mix in it as a gift

015 Hold bathroom essentials like cotton balls and q-tips

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5 Cheap or Free Gift ideas

gift 001Has anyone else noticed that Summer is the season of birthdays? It seems like every week is someone else’s birthday that I’ve forgotten…thanks a lot Facebook. Yeah, I’m pretty much a terrible friend and family member. But what I am pretty good at is the last minute throw together gift. Whether you have an hour before the party or a day to run to Walmart, I gotcha covered.

None of these are groundbreakingly brilliant ideas or anything. But generally when you’re in need of something clever that says, “Happy Birthday, I care about you so I made you a gift instead of buying one” instead of, “Happy Birthday, I bought this at the gas station on the way here,” people’s minds tend to go blank.

001 Make a card.

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This one is as by the book as it goes, but don’t let that keep you from trying it out. You can do something classic with construction paper and scissors or get silly and make something on the computer.  If you have a little extra time and money you can have your card printed at Walmart, same day.

002 Coupons.

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Another pretty typical one but the fun part is that you can make it totally personalized and hilarious. I made these for my little sister’s birthday. She just started college so you can see how these are fun. Also, go all out crazy with some fine print. Just for an extra giggle. I made these on picmonkey.

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DIY Bench Cushion Tutorial & Ikea Hack

cushion 001In our old apartment we had very limited seating, so we bought this entertainment center from Ikea:

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Chris didn’t put the legs on or shelves in it but instead put on some wheels. That way when we were eating in front of the TV we could wheel it over and use it as a makeshift table. The only problem was that it didn’t look much like a place to sit. It needed cushions.

I scoured stores looking for cushions and couldn’t find anything in a pattern or color that I liked, so I decided to make my own.

I almost bought the foam at Joann’s where you could have them cut it to the size you want but it turned out to be much cheaper to buy the pre-cut and prepackaged foam at Hobby Lobby. I also found the fabric that I loved there. Then, at Home Depot I bought the cheapest plywood and had them cut it to the right size for me (no extra charge) and also got a staple gun. I really loved how it turned out and they’re pretty comfortable to sit on too.

Materials:

Fabric

Foam

Plywood

Staple gun and Staples

Iron

Ruler and pencil

Hot Glue Gun

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5 Easy DIY Fourth of July Decorations

Ya’ll. YA’LL! The fourth is on Friday and if you’re anything like me you’ve majorly procrastinated putting up adorable decorations so your house looks festive (maybe you’ve also procrastinated making party plans..also like me.)

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Well lucky for you, I have five quick and easy decorations you can make with stuff you have at home (mostly)…right now….while the baby is sleeping. For reals. Do it and decorate and your husband (or wife, I’m not judging on who has the crafty tendencies) won’t know what hit ’em.

So don’t just read it, go grab the materials and get crafting!

Festive Wine Glasses

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I layered beans in some cute wine glasses for this one and finished it off with a bow. If you have the resources any red, white, and blue small object would work. (i.e. m&m’s, jellybeans, marbles). Yes, those are black beans…nothing gets passed you. But I think they work for this and kind of have that vintage-y feel to the colors.

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001 go grab two of your cutest looking wine glasses/stemware.

002 raid your pantry slash food storage for red beans, white beans and black beans.

003 grab some cute red, white or blue ribbon.

004 Layer the beans and tie yourself a cute bow.

Success! Now move on to Pinwheels.

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DIY Faux Canvas Tutorial

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Canvases are a gorgeous way to display your favorite photos but they are a tad pricey. Even purchasing an already-made faux canvas similar to the one you’re about to make runs at roughly $20 a pop. This DIY faux canvas tutorial will let you make them for under $10 each and just a little bit of time.

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Materials:

  • Photos (See shopping tip)
  • Plywood (See shopping tip)
  • Mod Podge
  • Sponge brush
  • Paint (Mine was leftover spray paint but any leftover paint will work)
  • Nailess Sawtooth Hangers

Instructions:

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001 First you need to paint one side of your wood and the edges. The other side will be covered with your photo.

002 Next take your mod podge and slather it on the unpainted side of your wood and the back of your photo. Then smooth the photo into the wood.

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003 Now brush the mod podge on the top of the photo. Yes, I said the top. Don’t worry, it dries clear. It gives it a great textured look. When my husband saw the finished product he thought the texture was the wood showing through the photo. That is the magic of mod podge.

I brushed it horizontally and then after it dried, I did it vertically.

A word of warning: if you want to do this project on the carpet in front of the TV make sure you cover the carpet first. Not for the sake of the carpet but to avoid getting carpet fuzz stuck in the mod podge. I speak from experience.

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DIY Yarn Wrapped Bottles

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This tutorial is so easy, you  just need a little extra time and patience. Once they’re done, the bottles add the perfect rustic touch to any room.

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Materials:

  • 3 bottles of varying shapes and sizes (See shopping tip)
  • twine and yarn, your choice of color
  • craft glue and or hot glue & gun
  • a few flowers to garnish it

001 Starting with the first bottle, squeeze some glue around the top in a zig zag shape. Do enough glue that you can wrap your yarn around a few times. The glue won’t dry too fast.

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