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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

typography gallery walls


Does everyone else collect some kind of random item? I feel like this is a thing. Or maybe I've just watched entirely too many episodes of American Picker. Also could be that I'm trying to justify this to myself. Whatever guys - there's no stopping me. 

So confession: I collect W's. 

As in the letter. As in the first letter of our last name.

See, not so weird right? We've ended up with quite a plethora around the house, included the downstairs bathroom that has been decked out with quite a few. 

It started as a simple enough, "Oh that's a cute little letter! And its the same as our last name! Let me grab that!" and morphed into "GIVE ME ALL THE 'W'S!"

Probably ever since I saw this over at Jones Design Company... 


Emily Lex's 'L' Wall is swoon worthy. 

Recently I've made my letter hoarding a bit more intentional as I plan to create a 'W' wall of my own. Remember that weird landing we have at the top of the stairs on the second floor? It's getting a little facelift! Nothing fancy, but an 'W' definitely fits the bill. 

So as I start dreaming up my new plans for this little space, join in and check out a few of my favorite letter gallery wall spaces!






So go forth! Buy all the letters!! 

I'm headed out on a girls trip this weekend where I'll finally get to take a deep breath and do some fun planning and designing. Look for my W wall next week!


Friday, April 22, 2016

diy magnolia wreath {tutorial}

Thanks to entirely too many episodes of Fixer Upper, I've been aching for my own magnolia wreath.
 It's seriously been a long time coming. First, I looked around online and got complete sticker shock. Then I considered creating my own after preserving some magnolia leaves. Way too much work. 

So here I am with the best looking fake magnolia leaves that money can buy.
Half off from Hobby Lobby, of course!

Two clusters of leaves was more than enough for a wreath.

I used hot glue to attach the leaves after I cut them off in groups of three. Every so often I'd detach a single leaf and flip it backwards for some additional depth and texture.

This proved to be an easy and simple project. It took me approximately half an episode of Project Runway to complete, ha!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

front porch spring revamp

I love the spring season! Everything seems so fresh and new and clean. 

Well, everything except my tired porch. Approximately a billion years ago, I started giving it a little life by repainting my front door. Then three years ago, I added some nice benches, plants and even a DIY coir mat.

But this year my porch looked tired. Could be never ending layers of yellow pollen layer. Or the tired rug. Or the mostly dead shrubs. The potential list is long. So now that the weather has warmed up, I decided to give the space a bit of a refresher. I dusted the it all off and decided that almost everything needed a face lift. The goal (as always) was to do it with a few new purchases as possible.

With a little bit of sanding and a couple of cans of white spray paint, my benches on each side of the porch are looking good as new. I snuck in some impatients and creeping jenny in a few  various pots to the side and added couple of colorful green pillows from my hoarder-esk pillow stash. 

With a little bit of sanding and a couple of cans of white spray paint, my benches look good as new. I snuck in some impatients and creeping jenny in a few  various pots to the side and added couple of colorful green pillows from my hoarder-esk pillow stash. 

Most needed? New door shrubs! 
Truth be told, this has been a six year battle. My porch gets zero direct sun and I've been through countless plants, hoping to find some sort of large shrubbery to sit on either side of my front door. Guys, I've killed them all. I'm convinced that nothing will live here year round. The latest tragedy was a pair a yew shrubs that I was promised would happily ever after in the shade. Lies, folks. 
So I'm finally get smart about this and we went artificial with the large piece! I nabbed some fake boxwood topiaries and then planted some real begonias and creeping Jenny around it. I love the layered look!
But I sort of feel like a cheater with my fake boxwoods. Am I a cheater?? Whatever. Work smart, folks. 

A new rug {same as the last - a $10 mat from IKEA}. When I laid out the new one, I realized just how disgustingly gross the old one was. You were probably catching the plague by stepping over my threshold. Sorry, friends. 

And lastly, a fresh new wreath. I've been eyeing a magnolia wreath for ages (thanks, Fixer Upper) but they are crazy expensive. You know the rest of the story... DIY. Swing by Friday for a tutorial on whipping one up! 

Feeling good about sweet spring-y space! Today I realized a birdie had also decided the porch was so pretty that he wanted to move in. Nest with eggs in the corner! Now that's confirmation of a spring decor job well done, no? 
This is my own spot to enjoy as I watch Jake adorn the front walk with side walk chalk, do somersaults in the grass, or ride his bike along the sidewalk.
It's a good life, folks.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

jake's first allowance

My four year old has been asking for a couple of months for his own little jobs to do. Yes! Asking! So like any sane parent, I had to immediately capitalize on this idea before he changed his mind and decided that zero responsibility was the way to go. 

It was a little harder than I anticipated to come up with independent tasks for Jake to do since he's only four, but I eventually decided on a few that he could do without much assistance. 

I created a chore chart, listing each of the jobs and the days of the week to be done. 

1. "bring in blue bin" - The "blue bin" is from our recycling, which does pick up on Tuesdays. He has to grab it off the curb and bring it back into the garage. 

2. "clean your room" - self explanatory and I felt like straightening up every other day was pretty manageable. We have lots of baskets and storage areas so its mostly a sorting game.

3. "put away clothes" - refers to when he's changing out of pajamas in the morning or getting ready for his bath at night. Shoes go in his shoe drawer and dirty clothes in the laundry bin. 

4. "brush teeth" - obvious, no? Though he does get a little help from J.B. and I

5. "special helper job" - This can really be just about anything that J.B. and I choose. Sometimes it's helping out with Eliza, sometimes it's doing something around the house for us, and sometimes is just great behavior. I like having an open ended option and some positive reinforcement.

I think one of the most important aspects to chores and allowances is that a kiddo understands his/her role. We explained to Jake that we expect these chores to be done simply because he is a member of our family and we all work together to keep things going. 
But great behavior and doing these tasks without much prodding means that he can also earn some spending money at the same time. 

So far he's been really excited about about following along with his chore chart. When he gets his allowance on Sundays, we get to talk about how we give at least 10% of what we earn back to God. To me, this is another great reason to let him begin earning money. Not only does he learn about hard work, but he gets to learn about tithing and how to follow God's commands about money! Double win.

Now I just have to keep a small stash of coins and dollar bills on hand...

So have you guys ever offered an earned allowance? 
Created your own chore chart? How did it go? 

Friday, April 8, 2016

diy stenciled tshirt {tutorial}

I had a couple of questions about this fun t-shirt that I made for Jake to wear at his birthday party. This little project is a simple way to create a custom graphic t-shirt! Great for a special event or even to replicate a pricey item found online.

: :   Materials  : :

- t-shirt* 
 - fabric paint** 
 - freezer paper ***
  - exacto knife
 - small paint brush
 - glue stick

*I've found some great blank toddler sized tees at Walmart for $3!
**Choose a "soft paint" to keep it from just bubbling at the surface of the fabric. Screen printing paints are the best choice!
***Found on the grocery aisle with tin foil, wax paper, etc.

Start by creating your design! When I made Jake's birthday shirt, it was as simple as the number 4 in the font of my choice. This time, I'm doing a graphic tee. I will say, the more complicated the design, the longer and more precarious the project. For example: Jake's "4" shirt was something I did in a half hour. This t-shirt took me about an hour because it had more to cut out and paint. So just keep that in mind. 

Also make sure you've measured the space on your t-shirt to size it up with your design. Too small or too big of a design and things won't look right. 
I decided for Jake's 3T shirt, I'd do about a 6 1/2 by 6 1/2 graphic. 

Once your design is ready, its time to prep your stencil. Most printers will jam up if you try to print on freezer paper alone, so we're going to secure it with a piece of regular printer paper so it will feed through the machine. 
Grab your freezer paper, glue stick, and a generic sheet of printer paper. You'll want to glue the printer paper down to the waxy size of the freezer paper. Glue mostly at the top and bottom corners/edges since that's where the printer will grab it. Then trim down the freezer paper to be the exact same size as the printer paper. 
Be sure to load it into your printer correctly, as you want the design to be printed on the flat size of the freezer paper. 

Once your paper is ready, print your design! You can peel the regular printer paper off the wax paper immediately. 

Note: It's not completely uncommon for the printed to grab these pages and jam up. Try a couple of times if you need to!

Start wielding that exacto knife to cut out your stencil. Just remember to keep the little inserts on the letters that need them. i.e. On my image I had small inserts on the "R" "D" and "b" that I carefully cut around and set aside.

Crank up the iron and align the design on your t-shirt. Iron the waxy side down. If placement isn't quite right, you can peel up and try again, but your number of tries isn't infinite. Be cautious of small corners and edges pieces and make sure every little edge around your design is stuck to the paper 
(or your paint will leak). And don't forget any letter inserts!

Now paint! I usually do two layers, allowing it to try in between, to make sure that I covered the whole design well.

Once your paint is dry, peel up your stencil! 
If you need to do any tiny touch-ups with the brush, this is your time.

I also recommend washing before wearing most of the time. 
The first wash gives it that normal, faded look. 

My "weird but nice" kid did a weird but nice job at modeling this one for me, haha. 

Enjoy your new item!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

currently {april}

April. Ya'll, it's April. 

I can't even ask where March went because I know full well. It went to wedding weekends and adoption fundraisers. It went to mega consignments sales and a tiny baby's therapies. It went to spring break and kiddo's birthdays. It went to race car parties and it went to Easter.
Man, it went. I feel the need to sit down just thinking about it...

March was fun, but exhausting. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pretty stoked for a more relaxing month. Thanks for being patient with me and with the blog. I promised myself this year that I wouldn't feel pressured about posting when life got a little crazy. 

So what's new?? Here's the latest...

It should go without saying that I fell off the wagon a bit in March. Reading definitely didn't happen. But I hope to catch up in April. So still at the top of the list is The Plum Tree. And I'm adding in Big, Little Lies for my April pick! Do you have reviews on these? Let me know!

It's no secret that spring is my favorite season of the year. Everything blooming and greening up after winter is just cathartic to me. Planting new flower pots, eating meals out on the porch, and letting the kids go out and swing in the backyard after dinner are all things that sound like sheer perfection to me. 
(I would like to take this opportunity to pass on the pollen, excessive rain, and tree seeds...)

Plus spring cleaning, gives me a great excuse to tidy up some of the scarier closets in the house, purge old toys. 
(Yes, I do realize that this is not everyone's dream come true, but y'all know how I love to tiny up clutter. It's better than chocolate. Just go with it.)
 All the items get thrown together into an always successful yard sale!
And it gets better! Yard sale money then goes into our "FUNd" jar and we can use it for fun family days - the botanical gardens, picnic lunches, sno cones, zoo trips, kite flying. 
Spring, I love you!! So glad you're back!

March Madness (in reference to our way of life last month, not the basketball tournament) came with a fun new adventure that our little family is embarking on. We got involved with the Spina Bifida Association of Alabama and created a team for one of their yearly fundraisers! This association does some amazing things for kiddos like Eliza, with spina bifida. And they provide some really awesome local support for families! A year ago, we had just found out about Eliza's diagnosis, and it seemed perfectly fitting that we use this anniversary of sorts as an opportunity to continue to show spina bifida who's boss. 
Each year, the Spina Bifida Association hosts a couple of Bowl-A-Thon throughout the state as an avenue to raise awareness and funds. As a team, we were able to tell people about more about spina bifida and accept donations in Eliza's name. Last weekend, the bowling event was held for all of the teams, families, advocates, vendors, etc etc in the local spina bifida community. Why bowling? Because its something that we all can do, whether you're perfectly mobile, confined to a wheelchair or somewhere in between. 
We got to meet several new families in our area with kiddos like ours, put faces with the names of the association coordinators that had become our friends from afar, and personally raise over $2000! Our first go at this was definitely a success! I'm super excited about getting involved with this great group!

{Read more about our Bowl-A-Thon adventure over at Expecting Eliza!}

Ohhh, this is a fun one! My first girls trip post-kids!!
A girlfriend of mine has invited a few gals to the beach with her! 

Full disclosure, the introverted hermit in me is equal parts excited and anxious...
Excited because I already love spending time with several of these ladies, and the others are a few that I'm so anxious to get to know! They push me to excel in life and in my relationship with Christ. And they are crazy fun. Plus, the beach, y'all. And no one calling me "momma" for four days!
Anxious because no one will be calling me "momma" for four days. I have yet to spend the night away from Eliza and a part from when his sister was born, I haven't spent more than a night or two away from Jake. As a stay-at-home mom that's used to having my babies with me every second of every day, its both a scary and much needed time away.

A kid with an allowance. 
(I know, how are we there yet??)

This is definitely uncharted waters for J.B. and I, but Jake has been randomly helping around the house and asking for jobs to do. He is excited about the idea of his own responsibilities, so I guess we're just capitalizing on his excitement! 
My plan is to sit down this week and make a specific chore chart for him, talk about why we each do chore, and what J.B. and I expect. From there, we'll just see how it goes! I'll be sure to update you guys soon. 

That's the latest!