September 2013Occasionally Crafty: September 2013

Thursday, September 26

Three Things Thursday #7

Three Books I've Really Enjoyed Recently
I know I don't typically review books here, but reading is probably my number one favorite thing to do! Yes, I love it even more than making things.  You can almost always find me with my nose in a book (or in my Kindle).  So I thought it would make a perfect installment of Three Things Thursday.  If you love to read, you may want to consider the following books:

1.  The Crooked Branch by Jeanine Cummins.  This book was a fascinating story of motherhood back in the time of the Irish Famine, as well as in a modern-day family.  If you're a mother and have ever doubted yourself (haven't we all?), then you might identify with this book as well.  The Crooked Branch was completely engrossing, had characters I cared about, and was really beautifully written as well.

 I found this book at the library in the "new arrivals" section, which is the only section I can browse with my littles in tow.  By the way, here's a tip for all you book-loving moms who can't browse the library either: peruse the online catalog, then put the books you want on hold!  Once they are ready, you get an email to pick them up, and it takes ten seconds to pull them off the hold shelf.  Voila- new books for mom to read!

2.  Beauty Rising by Mark. W. Sasse:- From Goodreads:  "Martin Kinney, Jr. is a 30+ year old living in his parents' home, with a job at a local retailer. On his father's deathbed, Martin finally hears the secret that transformed his family into a bitter, angry existence. His father's last wish is for Martin to go to Vietnam and leave his ashes in a field where the memory of a beautiful woman haunted him and he lost his buddies to the war. So begins Martin's journey of redemption from a past he didn't know had dictated his life until this point."

This book was emotional, moving, and at times humorous.  I really enjoyed reading it!

3. A Death on the Wolf by G.M. Frazier: This is a wonderful coming-of-age story set in the explosive summer of 1969, outside Bells Ferry, Mississipi.  From the trials of a sixteen year old boy grappling with first loves, changing friendships, and the historical events happening all around him, to the menacing of a purely evil man who stole more than the innocence of a town-- this book was riveting and thought-provoking.  Though it is about teenagers, this is definitely a book for mature readers only, as the themes explored are often sensitive in nature.


Do you like to read?  What have you read recently and loved?  I'm always looking for a new book to read!
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Wednesday, September 25

Etched Glass Frame: A Boy and His Dog

A few months ago I was wandering around Manitou Springs, which is a cute little town nestled in the mountains full of fun shops and food. Sadly Manitou has been hard hit with all the rain we've been having not just over the past week, but the past 90 days. Forest fires leave the mountains without much vegetation and cause flash flooding to occur almost every time it rains.
Anyways, there was a cute pet gift store that was full of bumper stickers and mugs and toys and everything you could want for your pet or about your pet. The thing I wanted to buy right then and there was a picture frame that said, "Who saved who?".  
See, we got our dog Carson in April from the Humane Society, so we 'saved' him, but since he's been in our family he has saved us in so many ways. My oldest son, who is on the autism spectrum, immediately bonded with Carson in a way that he never has with us. They are good buds, and I had an awesome picture of the two of them that truly fit that phrase, who saved who.
This project didn't cost me anything since I already had everything on hand, but even so it would not have been very expensive. Here's what you need to do some glass etching on a picture frame.
Glass Picture frame
Vinyl (or other way to stencil)
Glass Etching Creme
First I entered my words into my Silhouette Studio software. I cut them out onto vinyl. It doesn't matter what color you use, just give yourself a border around your words so you can apply the creme easily.  Remove the letters so that all you have left is negative space, creating a stencil. 
Apply your glass etching creme generously, being sure to coat all your letters. Vinyl works GREAT as a stencil because it won't let your creme seep underneath. Let it sit 3-5 minutes and then rinse off with water BEFORE removing vinyl. I usually dry it off a little bit and make sure i didn't miss any spots, and then remove the vinyl.
Now, I knew that this would be really faint on the frame, so I put a strip of colored card stock underneath (i.e. in the picture frame on top of the picture) so that it would pop. 

It was a nice simple project that turned a good picture into a great memory.
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Tuesday, September 24

My Fall Mantel

My fall decor is up!  I don't care if it is still over 100 degrees- fall starts next week, and I am determined to bring cooler temperatures here as soon as possible!  Maybe the fall decor will trigger a cold front.  Right?  Sigh....
So, I have never loved my attempts at a fall mantel.  I've mentioned before that we have a huge painting of The Sacred Grove hanging over our fireplace, and we don't move it for anything.  In fact, my husband asks me why I keep "covering it up" with our decor.  
Husbands just don't get the necessity of a decorated mantel!
So, coming up with decor that will work in front of our giant painting is difficult.
I'm no interior decorator, but this year I'm pretty in love with what I put together.
Do you know what my favorite part about this is?  I didn't buy a single thing- yet my mantel is COMPLETELY different from anything I've put up before!

I started with an empty frame and a bag of leaves I already owned.  If you're lucky enough to live somewhere with REAL leaves, I'd use those instead!  But since I live in the desert, mine are fake.  I simply tied a length of twine across the frame, then hung the leaves with mini clothespins.
I added a pumpkin sign I already owned on one side, and one of my Fall Stitched Jars on the other.
Next, I created this sweet fabric and burlap bunting to hang across the center of the mantel.  I love what Lolly Jane did for a spring banner in this post, so I used their tutorial to make my own fall version.  I already had the burlap, fabric, and jute, so again- this was completely free to me.
Finally I completed the look with a leaf garland I usually put on my console table, then added my 2x4 painted pumpkins and a basket of fake apples in the corners for balance.
It feels like fall in my living room!  Now, I just have to wait for it to feel like fall outside.  Only another 6 weeks or so of 100 degree weather.  I can make it.  I can make it......

 How's the weather where you are? Are you wearing sweaters and boots yet?  If so, I'm JEALOUS!

The Lettered Cottage

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Thursday, September 19

Three Things Thursday #6

Three "Pin"spirations for new Window Treatments

I have been looking to do window treatments in our living room for awhile. It's a wonderful space that combines a sitting room with the piano and our kitchen/dining area. Since it's all one open area we are looking to tie it all together with window treatments. I like the idea of cornices, so here are my top 3 sites that are helping me decide just how to get it done!

1. Chocolate, Tater Tots and Cheerios

2. Vanessa Shaffer Designs

3. All Things Thrifty

This project is going to be set on the side table for a little while while my husband goes out of town for awhile. I will definitely need his help on this, but I can do some fabric shopping while he's gone! :)

Have any of you done cornices that you want to share?

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Wednesday, September 18

Master Bedroom Bedding Makeover

So, almost a year ago I wrote this post about how I was changing up the bedding in our master bedroom.  It's taken me this long to get around to showing you what I came up with.
Now here's a little secret: I didn't buy new bedding.  The only thing that changed is the pillows!
That's right- I am so lucky that my quilt is reversible, and flipping it over (as well as all the shams!) made a huge difference in the feel of the room!  
In an ideal world, I could spend lots of money on the beautiful, most perfect bedding set.  But I just couldn't justify it right now, so I "made it work".  You'd be surprised how much you can do with the "stuff" you already have in your house.
Now for the real DIY.  I bought two Euro Square pillows (the big ones in the back) on sale at Kohl's for 9.99 each.  Then, rather than buy shams, I bought a pair of white curtain panels from Target for $19.99 and sewed them into pillow shams.  I wanted flanged edges, so I followed this tutorial from Welcome to Heardmont.  It's a great tutorial, so I'm not going to duplicate it here.
The white ruffled pilllow is an old project but I still love it!
I love the way the bed, and the room, looks now- it just makes me feel happy and peaceful.  What do you think- good update?  
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Monday, September 16

It's A Bloggy Birthday- And You Get The Present!

Hey everyone!  My AZ blogger friend Julie blogs at White Lights on Wednesday.  If you haven't been there, you definitely need to go check it out.  Julie's blog is full of delicious creations for your family to enjoy.  Plus she is a lot of fun to be around!

To celebrate her bloggy birthday, we've teamed up with a whole bunch of fun blogs to offer you some awesome presents!  

If you enjoy cooking, you'll be thrilled to win these e-cookbooks to give you some new ideas.  And who doesn't love money for shopping?

Enter via the Rafflecopter entry below.  And don't forget to visit the fun blogs below to say thanks!  Just click on each button to be taken to the blog.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Friday, September 13

Fall Specimen Art

With the start of school and the coming of fall, I wanted to change my interchangable specimen art, but I didn't want to do one for school and one for fall. Instead I incorporated both into one design! 

I included some leaves, some apples, some numbers and even some music, since it's the beginning of a new year of piano lessons. Both my sister and I teach lessons!  I hope you like it. I didn't even use my Silhouette, just scrap paper I had on hand and my paper cutter. Fun! 
 Be sure to check out my other specimen art projects!
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Thursday, September 12

Three Things Thursday #5

My 3 Favorite Fall Mantels
I've just put up my fall decorations, and I needed a little inspiration.  There are SO MANY 
great ideas out there- but here are three I particularly love:
1.  Fall Mantel by Sweet Something Designs
I especially love the beautiful tall vases with branches and the "fall" banner.  I love banners!
2.  Fall Mantel at Shabby Love
I love the cute drawer-turned-sign and the banner.  It has actual leaves on it!  And where can I get those adorable white pumpkins?
3.  Thanksgiving/Fall Mantel at Your HomeBased Mom:
Thanksgiving Decor
That is a vinyl "chalkboard" sign.  I love it!  She has so many beautfiul touches in her home- seriously go check out this whole post!
I hope you're feeling inspired!  I'll show you my fall mantel next week.  Until then, check out my "Falling into Fall" board on Pinterest!
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Tuesday, September 10

You Are My Sunshine Free Printable

As promised, here is the printable I made for my friend's baby shower.  It also matches her nursery, so hopefully she can use it there somewhere.  If you'd like to download a copy, simply right click to save to your computer and print.  You can also find it by clicking here.

Have a wonderful day!
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Thursday, September 5

Three Things Thursday #4

Three Things I'm "into" Right Now
  1. Knitting-  I am getting back on my knitting train and attempting to finish at least one of my family's stockings before Christmas, well, Thanksgiving I guess! I forgot how enjoyable it was to sit down, watch a show like SYTYCD and knit. Wish me luck!
    This is the pattern of stocking I am making, just like what we had growing up!

  2. Insanity- I've been working out before the kids get up from school and while Insanity is hard, and well, insane, I find it well worth the time and effort. I've lost a pound per week!
    Does anyone else hate Tonya? She's too good at Insanity...

  3. Freezer Meals- Kind of like Valerie's pinterest list 'I tried it and liked it', I was always seeing pins and mentions of doing freezer meals. When a friend of mine had her baby and I wasn't going to be in town to bring her some meals, I thought that the gift of some freezer meals would come in handy. She loved them and said they were great to have in her freezer and ready to go when she didn't have time to get something prepared. That gave me the thought to make more freezer meals and have them on hand if I need them, or if a family in our congregation needs a meal, and I would have it all ready to go.   This week I doubled this batch of freezer meals from Baked in the South, and I love how she has a grocery list at the end. Just be sure when looking at the list, you look at how much of that item you need so you don't think to yourself, "Oh, I have that", but then end up not having enough. :)

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