Tuesday, November 25, 2014

DIY: Thanksgiving Turkey Tracks

Add some silly last-minute Thanksgiving decor to your home with this super quick tutorial. 

•Computer + printer
•double-stick tape (optional)

1. Print out clip-art images of turkey tracks onto cardstock.
2. Cut out images.
3. Toss the turkey tracks on your floor. (Or use double stick tape if you'd like.)

Use the tracks to lead your guests from the front door to their place of honor at the dining table.
Let kids follow the tracks to a special prize...or the dessert table.
Sprinkle the tracks across the dining table.
Or make a game of it: Hide the turkey tracks & whoever finds the most, wins!

--->Size: 3.5 to 4.5 inches long; 3.75 to 4.25 inches wide
--->Stride: 8 to 14 inches depending on speed
--->Turkeys have a fourth toe, which faces backward. But this does not always show in the tracks because they don't always place the foot entirely flat on the ground. Sometimes there will be a mark from the claw.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

DIY: Balloon Advent Calendar

Welcome to a preview of the Crazy Crafty Christmas Coundown! Yes, that's what I have decided to call this. It was either that or The Do It Yourself Crafty Christmas Countdown Blog Extravaganza. (Or T.D.I.Y.C.C.C.B.E. for short.)

I'm soooooo excited to share with you an array of original projects & activities, just in time for Christmas. Every day, from November 29 through Christmas Eve, I'll be posting a handmade tutorial on this here blog. 
Yes, you heard me right: EVERY. DAY. 
That's a total of 27 projects!
I hope it makes you oh-so-happy. I hope you comment & share & pin. I hope you are inspired. 

This first project HAD to be an advent calendar. I love advent calendars. And surprises. And the countdown to Christmas. This year, due to family budget cuts, I thought I'd skip the prizes usually found inside our advents, & stick with surprising the children with special outings, & making messes in the kitchen, & creating memories as a family, & the like. 
And though "balloons popping" is on my top ten list of things that scare the bajeezies out of me, I obviously made an exception. As long as the children give me fair warning, it's all good.

*On a side-note: I added the numbers onto the balloons in that first picture with a photo editing program. The lighting was horrible & washed out my hand-drawn digits. 

The prizes listed in the SUPPLIES are definitely optional. If you do choose to add prizes to your balloons, make sure they are teeny-tiny. (The necks of the balloons are tricky to stretch.)

Besides the ideas listed in the picture above, here are some other activities I will be surprising the girls with in their advent balloons. (I tried to think of things that were free or almost free.)
• Tonight: stay up as late as you want!
• Breakfast in bed!
• We're heading to the park with a cozy blanket & a thermos of hot cocoa!
• Pajama's. All day.
• On today's agenda: Make an ugly Christmas sweater.
• Let's go visit some reindeer! (A local gardening center showcases reindeer every year. Check for local free fun things in your area!)
• Dinner for breakfast. Breakfast for dinner.
• Let's make our own marshmallows!
•We're surprising a neighbor with some holiday treats!

This tip is not necessary, but I found it useful so I didn't schedule appointments or meetings on days when the advent read "Grab a jacket. We're going to the movies!" And also, so I could remember when it was that I planned a special "Fancy tea with Mimi". You get the idea. 

Gather your advent balloons in neat little rows as I have. Or string them in a cluster, hang them across a room like a garland, or toss them in a basket.
Happy counting down!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Want a preview of the Crazy Crafty Christmas Countdown?

I am thrilled to bring you the Crazy Crafty Christmas Countdown. Here's a teaser poster I made in anticipation of the event.
What IS Crazy Crafty Christmas Countdown? Oh, it's just a D.I.Y. project EVERY DAY, beginning after Thanksgiving & running through Christmas Eve. (That's 27 projects!)

BUT, if I can get 100 LIKES for THIS LINK on the WhiMSy love Facebook page, I'll post the first project!! So, go LIKE & SHARE!! And thanks to those of you who have helped spread the word!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Week in Review: October 20-26

I noticed last week I didn't snap as many photos as usual. I think I was recovering from my amazing trip to Spokane from the week before, where I resided at the Bozarth Mansion for a women's retreat. I think it took me a few days to come down from that high. You know, living the life of luxury, where the bathroom in my bridal suite was as big as the living room is in my current duplex residence. Stuff like that. Wearing happy socks, I would descend the grand staircase every morning, hot drink in hand, ready for a relaxing day of teaching & worship & the chit-chatter of friendly new faces. I lived a few days of freedom. Freedom from the responsibility of cooking & cleaning & helping with homework & picking up after people & refereeing arguments between tiny humans. Stuff like that.
But I'm back now. Renewed, refreshed, refereeing, picking up things...

This Sunday at church the message was about forgiveness. I really needed to hear it. And this illustration was perfection: When you are doodling on an Etch-a-Sketch, what do you do when you mess up? You shake it until your drawing disappears, & then you start over, new. That's what it's like when you sin & you confess it to God: He shakes the Etch-a-Sketch of your life & you start over, new. (And bonus: He completely forgets your sin. He actually chooses to not remember what you've done.)
We all have that one big thing we've done, that we regret. We wish we could go back & change things. I know I have done a few of those big things. My friend, Julie, & I were just recently talking about "secrets". In fact, we had just eaten at Chipotle. (In Spokane. When I resided at the mansion. *sigh* The mansion...) And Chipotle has these cups printed with Cultivating Thoughts. Mine happened to be the Two-Minute Personality Test by Jonathan Safran Foer. The question I read aloud was this: "If your biggest secret became public, would you be forgiven?" We both chose not to share our biggest secret. I decided that if my secrets were made public I think I would be forgiven? Probably? But now Julie & I are just SO BEYOND curious as to what deep secret the other hides. haha!
There are no secrets when it comes to me & God. He knows everything. Like, EVERYTHING. But He still loves me & He for certain forgives me & He makes me new. Every day. Let me just say...this girl *points to self* gets shaken a lot.

Last week I was schooled in the subject of Dr. Who. The 12-year old wants to start watching the show, since all her friends at school talk about it. She wants to see what it's all about, you know? And I am clueless about that whole world. So I went to the experts: my Facebook Dr. Who fans. And I was immediately informed that I should stop calling him "Dr. Who". It's "Doctor Who". It's apparently his name & not a title. I am such an idiot. And all the Whovians giggled behind my back. I know it. I just know they did. Because they told me they did. And then I was like, "Is this Doctor man the same person, only played by different actors over the series? (You know, like the James Bond character, portrayed by a number of different actors in several of the movies.) Or are they all related somehow?" Again, more giggling. And then I got this response (bold highlights are my addition): "No, silly. The Doctor is a Time Lord. He's from a race of aliens who mastered time & have regenerative powers, you nit-wit. When they 'die' they come back as someone else, dummyhead."
I have decided that Zoey & I should start at Season 1 (2005), with Chris Eccleston. I will be the mommy sensor, pre-watching the shows. I sure hope I like them. Because this will be some sort of awful self-torture if I don't.

The family took a most amazing stroll by the river last Saturday afternoon. We wanted to take a walk in the morning, but I just couldn't be rushed. Lucky us, it's only a 5-minute drive from home. Our tree (our favorite spot to hang out at the river) was the most beautiful, happy yellow. The leaves are getting more awesome every day. She sits right by the water, next to her other tree friend. I snapped photos aplenty. And took many videos of Zoey. She's got this new YouTube account & I'm trying to play with video, learning a thing or two as we go along. It's quite funny to watch how she becomes a little bit of a character in front of the camera. Slightly animated, uninhibited. And when editing the videos, I am obsessed with making voices slo-mo. I crack up EVERY TIME. It never gets old.
On our walk, we oohed & aahed at the current art installation, about 50 yarn-bombed trees at Howard Amon Park. We found nature treasures, we threw rocks, we fed geese & they chased us & I screamed, we sipped hot drinks, we people-watched. And on a side note: when a big daddy person swings with his daughter in public? Cutest ever.
Saturdays are meant for lovely bouts of spontaneity such as this.

The big girl had her first middle school orchestra concert. When her 6th grade group played, the teacher led them in their first piece. I listened, trying my hardest to find whatever rhythm they were on, but I just couldn't find it. Once I thought I found the melody. Nope, lost it. For the past couple weeks Zoey has been stressing out about the concert, saying, "Mom! We don't sound good at all!!!" She was right. They sounded horrible. It was a jarbly, garbly, mess of sound. I immediately felt embarrassed for them. I felt so uncomfortable. The song ended, the students rose & bowed. The audience awkwardly clapped. And then the teacher revealed that it was all a joke. PHEW! Like, I seriously breathed a giant PHEW! The man's hair in front of me acutally moved about from my breath.  And then I was the loudest one in the audience, laughing. I was just so relieved. HAHA! (Zoey's statement earlier was all an act on her part.) Well played, you pranksters.

Pazely & I were outside this weekend, looking at the mushrooms that have sprouted in our yard. And then suddenly I had the idea to paint faces on them. Just because. So we grabbed some supplies, & whatever tiny props we could find, & had the best time ever! The Mr. thinks we're nuts. But my Facebook & Instagram followers LOVED our creations. Check out our mushrooms HERE. At the end of the day, Pazely said, "I had so much fun!!" Is that all it takes? I like this girl.

I will just say this, right now: November 2nd is going to be my newest favorite day. I am very much looking forward to that extra hour of sleep. Does anyone throw Daylight Savings Time Ends parties? Because I would totally go to that shindig.

Have a lovely week!

For a photo play-by-play, click HERE.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week in Review: October 13-19

Ooh! My Week-in-Review is so warm & cozy this week! I LOVE it.
I haven't blogged my W.I.R. in a while now. So, if you're sippin' a cup of coffee or hot cocoa or tea or some other delicious fall-inspired drink, just sit back. Relax. And read. Because this is where I blabber about my week & whatever else I feel like chatting about. Writing is my therapy. And I appreciate you stopping by!

This weekend a friend invited me to go to her church's women's retreat. It was in Spokane, WA at Bozarth Mansion. What an absolutely beautiful home! I practically skipped around the property with my camera, snapping random things, snapping all the things. It was built in 1911, & full of old details that I just couldn't get enough of. My friend, Julie, & I stayed in the bridal suite. haha! 
The whole weekend I was surrounded by women I didn't know. But they were so kind & lovely. Which meant I followed Julie around like a scared puppy only half the time. The speaker was really good—I got lots of tasty nuggets for my soul. And worshiping in a setting like that with all of our soft pretty voices was a special sound.
The Mr. was a champ for watching the girls at home. He fed them donuts for breakfast & frozen meals for dinner. They stayed up late all weekend, ate piles of frozen yogurt, skipped rocks, played with friends, went to the park, & walked along the river.
Apparently all the fun stuff happens when I'm gone. 
It WAS hard to leave the mansion. And the atmosphere of not needing to be needed all the time, of duty & responsibility. Escaping reality for a brief moment is a good thing. A necessary thing. Sometimes you don't realize you need something until you receive it. This weekend was just that for me.
And just so you know: Waking up on a foggy fall morning in a mansion is magical.

I love mustard. As in: the color. I treated myself to a mustard-colored cardigan from Target a few months ago. I actually gasped when I saw it. (I have a friend who says when she sees anything colored "mustard" pop up on her Pinterest wall, she knows it's me that pinned it. And she's right.) Now that the autumn is upon us, I can wear that warm, cozy cardigan. And I do. Like, all the time. I should have bought 3 or 4 or 12 of those sweaters. I want to be like those TV or movie characters that open their closets & have the same outfit draping from each hanger. My repetitive outfit of choice would be jeans + random t-shirt + mustard cardigan. 
Last week my mother had this brilliant idea to paint all 4 outside doors of her house. 
She asked, "What color should I paint them?"
Of course.
So we went to Home Depot & color-matched my sweater to the perfect shade. The color we actually chose is "Rice Curry". But I renamed it "Nikki's Cardigan". 
Her doors look AMAZING.

My sister & mother & I continue to get together every month for breakfast & tea. We had a little cry this time. Which seems a customary happening since grandmother passed away four months ago. Grandmother is missed so much. And the ache in my heart continues because she is gone. I'm trying to think of little things to do to honor her. Even little seemingly insignificant things. Like, the knitted piece I'm working on, (to yarn bomb a tree), was made casting on 92 stitches—to represent the 92 years my grandmother lived on this earth. I'm thinking of attaching it to a tree near the benches she used to rest on when she walked at the park by the river.
I am anxious for more chilly weather to arrive, so I can wear the cat sweatshirt & plaid flannel she always wore. 

Have you seen the 15-second stop-motion video I made? It was a fun little "just because" project I did as a promotional tool for my blog. A mini commercial, if you will. Picking songs to go with videos is so much fun. Take a peek HERE. Hope you like it! And please share it, if you do!

In case you haven't heard on my WhiMSy love facebook page, I am working on a D.I.Y. Christmas Crafty Countdown Blog Extravaganza. Or just D.I.Y.C.C.C.B.E. for short. Haha! Not really. I don't know what I'll call it.
 EVERY SINGLE DAY, starting Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) & running through Christmas Eve, I will post an original do-it-yourself tutorial on the blog! 
That's TWENTY-SEVEN projects! 
Who's ready for a month of crafty fun with this girl?
And, phew! There's a lot of work going on in the background here: Brainstorming, crafting, snapping photos of each step, editing photos, scheduling blog posts, cleaning up one mess so I can make another mess, etc. Trying to get a head start on everything means I HAVE to craft. I HAVE to. (hee! hee!) I am loving my days, scattered with craftiness in-between all the mom & wife stuff.
But it is KILLING ME to keep all these projects secret. I am seriously dying at all the cuteness that I can't share. Yet. And what has always happened in the past is that I get a cool idea in my head, but then I forget about it, or don't share it fast enough---&, before I know it, someone else has the SAME idea! And so then my cool idea becomes NOT my cool idea. I'm freaking out, hoping my ideas will still be original by the time they post. Is that weird? I know I'm not the only one this happens to.
Though there is still much work to be done, thirty-nine days is an awful long time to still have to wait. 
Dear Thanksgiving: Hurry up & get here!!!

Well, here's to a grand week!
Happy Monday!

For a photo play-by-play, click HERE.

Friday, October 10, 2014

DIY: Glitter & Bejeweled Spider Rings

I love the creative process. Lately I've been crafting behind the scenes, prepping for my month-long Crafty Christmas Countdown on the blog, (to begin Black Friday & run EVERY DAY through Christmas Eve!) & so I'm making & making & making stuff all day. Every day. Random ideas for a project will pop into my head & I just run with it. It's so fun when that happens! Today, while working on Christmas crafty stuff, this Halloween spider ring idea popped into my brain. It's a bit chaotic in the WhiMSy love house. You should see the dining table. Let me rephrase that: You CAN'T see the dining table. Stuff everywhere. The Mr. loves it. (Not.)
This project is so simple. So easy. Like, it'll take you minutes to complete. And your daughters will fight over which ones are their favorites.

**I realize that most spiders have 8 eyes. But CRAFTY spiders, you see, have however many eyes you want them to have. So there.

 •The glitter is from EK Success, & it is AWESOME!
•I went to Goodwill & found the rings. I got a bajillion for 88cents!
•The artwork in the background is from a little Pazely girl. I love the fanged creatures!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Recycle DIY: Doodlebook (super fast & easy!!)

The Mr. tossed it in the trash & I quickly grabbed it, thinking I could make it into something else.
Recycle DIY to the rescue.
This is SUCH a quick little crafty project. In fact, the 10-year old made it.

Monday, September 29, 2014

#Neon Makeover

Who doesn't love a fun "Before" & "After" makeover?
I was recently given a really girly, pretty vanity. Free is awesome. Zoey wanted the vanity in her room. But it was too girly & pretty for her tastes. She began to ask questions like, "When are you going to paint this, mom?" Actually, it was just that one question, repeated over & over & over. 

I decided to tag team with Zoey for some DIY mother/daughter fun. I felt like it was important for her to see how much goes into a project like this. 
It consumed our whole weekend. She did get out of the messiest of the jobs, though: sanding. While she was in school on Friday I did that horrible task alone. But I complained & moaned about it when I picked her up, just so she knew how much of a chore it was. 

That vanity separated into 14 parts. Each part was given a good wiping down, & then we taped off areas that we didn't want painted before we whipped out our cans of  spray paint. Many coats of neon later, it was satisfactorily bright. Then we lightly sanded with steel wool, removed the tape, wiped everything down again, applied a clear varnish, reupholstered the seat, washed the mirror & glass, & assembled everything together. 

It felt SO GOOD to work on a project like this. It's been years since I've had some fun with paint & furniture. My mom & I used to do this sort of thing all the time. We would go junking & thrifting & learn different paint techniques & we were totally passionate about the latest decor mags & watching the best show on TV at the time: Trading Spaces.

The idea to do the #NEON was all Zoey's. I was actually hesitant of the idea at first, but now I #LOVE it!

Zoey is hooked on the neon theme, & I have begun to help transition her room from "you-were-just-a-sweet-baby-like-yesterday" little girl to "where'd-my-baby-go" tween. Zoey has been so good at giving up things. I'm the one having a hard time. She doesn't want the little ballerina picture anymore that I picked up at a thrift store that's been in her room since she was born. Or the giant canvas I painted of our cat missing half of one of its ears, who is no longer with us. (RIP King Louie.) She has given up some of her Barbies & half of her doll stuff. She no longer wants the messy, yet adorable, paintings she created as a toddler hanging out with her newer, cooler things. 

This vanity is now a super fun addition to her space. And, oh my golly goodness! Don't you love that "blah" bedding?? It was a birthday gift to Zoey from my mom. 
I have already scoured Pinterest for some fun art projects. We can't wait to switch out the lamp & bedskirt, add fun pillows & throws to the bed, do something fun to an accent wall, etc. 

When the girls were babies, I did their room all cutesy. But since then (which is 10 & 12 years ago), they have never really had a "theme". So, it's fun to be able to give them a bedroom of their wishes, granted upon request. And by that, I mean we use every holiday in the calendar year as an excuse to add one more piece, or buy supplies to create something special, & then call it their "gift".

Little sister has now begun to ask me, "When are you going to do my room, mom?" She has decided on "Woodland" decor. Seriously!? If you know me, you know that I love everything owl & fox & deer & woodsy. You will not be able to hold me back, people. 
For reals.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Zoey's Lemonade Stand

At the beginning of the year Zoey, Pazely, the Mr. & I each wrote down something we wanted to accomplish in 2014– like a goal or wish. Zoey chose "Have a lemonade stand" as hers. She has never had one. Shocking, I know. The girl is almost 12 years old & has never sold lemonade on the corner of a neighborhood street. 
*hangs head in shame*

I knew the perfect place & time for Zoey to set up shop would be at the upcoming yard sale my mother & I were planning. And I wanted it to be big. You know, to make up for all those lemonade stand-less years. The bigger the lemonade stand, the better I felt. (Notreallyyesreally.) 

Since the yard sale would start out in the chilly morning, we thought we needed more than just lemonade. So we added hot chocolate to the scene. 
The night before the big event, we baked chocolate chip cookies, & mini coffee cake muffins. Do you want seriously delicious choco chip cookies? I just use the recipe on the back of the NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® bag of mini chocolate chips. And then I substitute shortening for the butter. (1 CUP of butter = 1 CUP of shortening + 2 TABLESPOONS water)
Oh, & here's the recipe pin I found from Serious Eats for the coffee cake muffins. (We made them "mini", so we reduced the baking time to only 10 minutes.)

Zoey had a roller coaster of emotions in the days leading up to her lemonade/hot chocolate stand. She was excited at first. And then she didn't even want to do it at all because she realized she'd have to buy all the supplies to set it up. But then after I gave her the "Sometimes you have to spend money to make money" pep talk, she was fine.

Though this was not a Pinterest-worthy lemonade stand, it was definitely in our style: We used what we had, borrowed what we didn't have, & made + baked what we had time for. (Being busy helping to set up the yard sale made me a tired mama with not a lot of time on her hands.)
Borrowed: chalkboard, vintage tablecloth, carafe for hot chocolate, fancy pitcher for strawberry lemonade.
Handmade: "Refreshment" banner, pinwheels.
Everything else was ours, gathered from closets & cupboards– pretty much all those things that are saved for special occasions & not used very often.

Sandwiched between the cashier station at the yard sale (which consisted of my mom, sister, or I wearing a leather fanny pack + sitting behind a TV tray) & tables full of low-priced knick-knacks, was Zoey's "Refreshement" stand.

She sold out of her treats at 11 am & started giving away free lemonade at 2 pm. She was giddy the whole day & even received several tips. When all was said & done, she took in $41.75, with a net profit of $27.75. (Math on the weekend?! Woot! Woot!)

One of my favorite details of the whole thing was the banner. I printed the word REFRESHMENTS onto pages from an old, discarded dictionary. Before printing, I cut the pages to 5" x 7", then set my page size in Microsoft Office Word to the same size. I used Baskerville Old Face font in size 400. (Well, except for the letter "M", which was too wide– so I lowered it to size 350.) I fed the pages through the printer one at a time & I LOVE how it turned out! I had always wanted to try printing onto pages from a book.

Zoey's favorite part of the refreshment stand?
That, & serving people.

In the picture above, little Miss Pazely is Zoey's first customer. (In fact, she bought the first & last chocolate chip cookie of the day.)

 Pazely & I made the {non-functioning} pinwheels from scrap paper, fun colored brads, & striped paper straws leftover from her S'mores Birthday Party. She sold a few pinwheels throughout the day, which was quite fun for her. 

I even found a horrible sketch I drew of the refreshment stand in its planning stages. It's fun to see your ideas come to life from paper to reality!

Goal achieved. 
Dreams made. 
Mission accomplished.