Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Did you have a fun day?

Halloween was probably my favorite holiday as a kid, but it's gotten decidedly less exciting now that I'm a grown-up. We don't really have kids in the neighborhood so we don't get trick-or-treaters... candy isn't that exciting because I can get it anytime I want... and kid costumes are just more fun than adult ones.

But I made it fun anyway. I made these cute peanut butter pumpkins that I found on Pinterest. They were so easy and turned out just adorable. The recipe made about a million (more like 60) so I definitely had to bring some to work (and send some with hubby), but everyone enjoyed them! A new Halloween tradition, I think!

peanut butter pumpkin treats

And we carved pumpkins on Saturday night. I just love carving pumpkins... the smell of cut pumpkin, the messy, gooey pumpkin guts, baking the seeds and munching on them as we carve. Yes, I still love it.

Anyway, here are our masterpieces. Hubby made the scary raven and I made the cute owl. We found the patterns on the HGTV website and they worked just perfectly!

carved jack-o-lanterns

Well, that's a wrap. On to November. Yikes, holidays are coming at us quickly these days!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hoot!

I won an owl!

Yes, I entered a giveaway over at Gleeful Things and got a note a few days later that I had WON an owl made by Mini Tidbits!

My owl came in the mail yesterday and he's already found a comfy spot on one of our dining room chairs. Doesn't he look content?

halloween owl pillow

Thanks Julie and Elise! I love him :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Autumn pom poms

I just couldn't resist making some autumn-colored pom poms. I haven't made pom poms since I was a little girl (my grandma made them with me once!) and I had so much fun that I went a little overboard. I used up 3 whole skeins of yarn last weekend, just on pom poms. I strung some of them on some yarn to make a garland to decorate our fireplace. I stuck a few others on the ends of small twigs to make pom pom 'flowers' which I put in pretty vases. I still have a bunch more to do something with... hmmm... any other fun pom pom ideas?

halloween autumn pom pom garland and flowers

If you've never made pom poms before, they are quite easy (and addicting!)

Here is a good tutorial describing the method I used.

halloween autumn pom pom garland

Fall just inspires me to be crafty... probably more than any other time of the year.
How about you?

halloween autumn pom pom garland

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Eeek!

Some creepy, crawly rats have made a home on my stairs... just in time for Halloween! Obviously, my naughty cats haven't been earning their keep...

rat silhouettes on the stairs!

Want to make your own? I used the pattern from Martha Stewart found here. I've also seen pre-cut mice/rat silhouettes in the Martha Stewart line at Michaels.

[Please disregard the scuffed and dirty steps... we haven't gotten around to painting these yet!]

Monday, October 17, 2011

The thrill of the hunt

On weekends, one of me and my husband's favorite things to do is go antiquing. We love the thrill of the hunt and we especially love traveling to little out-of-the-way towns to find new places to shop.

We have been known to drive as far as four hours in one direction just go to a few antique stores. It's so nice to get out of the city and I adore all the little town squares and historic buildings that we come across in our travels. Sometimes the trip itself is just as exciting as the antiquing!

We have seen all sorts of things on our search for treasures, but the best part of it is we are spending time together, doing something that we both enjoy. More often than not, we don't end up buying anything, but joy we find in looking for just the right item keeps the search exciting. I'm also a self-proclaimed history geek (I believe hubby would self-proclaim himself that as well), so I just love looking at old stuff, whether I'm buying it or not! :)

one of our favorite antique shops!

We are starting to run out of good antique store and little towns to visit within a reasonable radius of our home, which makes us sad, because a previously un-visited store is the most exciting by far. Luckily, there are enough decent antique stores in the area to keep us busy when we need something to do.

For example, all the photos in this post are from our neighborhood antique store, Curiosities. [yes, all this vintagey-goodness is in walking distance from our house!!]

one of our favorite antique shops

We both look for completely different items, but we have fun helping each other find them. Here are some of the things we watch for when we shop:

I look for:
buttons
"Just Buttons" magazines
pretty frames to display my button collection
1st edition Hamlin Garland books (an author from my hometown)
paperweights
blown glass christmas ornaments
pretty vintage fabric
rick rack and notions (only if cheap)
wooden alphabet blocks (to make my block photo holders)
reddish-orange polka dot Hazel Atlas bowl (to go with the rest of the set)
red-handled kitchen utensils
vintage souvenir plates from places we've been
probably more things that I can't think of right now
...and anything that shows crafty promise!

My husband looks for:
tobacco tins (he has an amazing collection!)
car toys
scooter toys
real scooters & parts

My husband thinks I shop too slowly, but as you can see by the difference in list length - I'm not slow, I'm just looking for a lot more things than he is! And some stores are just so jam-packed full of goodies that it is impossible to see it all without slowing down and taking it one shelf at a time... right?!

one of our favorite antique shops

Do any of you get the same thrill in visiting antique or thrift stores? What things do you like to look for when you go?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fabric pumpkins

I just had to share another of my recent projects with you. I made these fabric pumpkins last weekend using this tutorial at Danielle Thompson's blog. The instructions were very clear and easy to follow and I was so excited about how cute they turned out. I used some cozy plaid flannel for mine and you can see they turned out looking totally different than hers, so they are very customizable depending on your style.

fabric pumpkins

I thoroughly recommend this project. I was able to whip them up in just a couple hours and they came together much easier after I finished the first one. The pumpkins make me grin every time I see them and I'll be able to set them out year after year.

fabric pumpkins


They're so cute and so satisfying that I might even have to make a few more!

fabric pumpkins

Have you done any autumn crafting?


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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Canning jar soap dispenser

Today I'm going to share a project that I finished a few weeks ago. It's a soap dispenser made out of an old mason jar. I LOVE how it turned out and wanted to show you how I made it so that you can make your own!

mason canning jar soap dispenser diy

I realize that this isn't a new idea... I've seen examples around the internet for awhile now, but each of the sets of instructions I found were a little different and I thought I'd share with you how I went about making mine.

Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of the process, but I assure you it is so easy you won't even need photos.

You'll want to start with a canning jar and a soap pump. My canning jar is a blue 10 oz. Ball jar. I love the color and I think the size is just right. Many are larger, but this is not too big, not too small. The soap pump I used was taken from a Dial soap dispenser. I found a perfect one at Target - it was on a soap bottle attached to a bag of Dial "White Tea and Vitamin E" refill soap. The soap is clear so it works perfect with the blue jar and there's a ton in there so I have lots of refills for my new jar. Also, the pump that came on the bottle was clear-ish, so it looked good with the jar as well.

mason canning jar soap dispenser diy 

Ok, once you have your materials, you will need to make a hole in the top of your lid. This is the part that I debated over forever, because many of the online tutorials said to just drill a hole in the top. I've never drilled through metal before and I just thought it sounded scary, so I used a more low-tech method.

I brought the lid outside, set it on the ground (on something soft like a towel) and used a hammer and large nail to make a hole, which I slowly expanded with the nail and with a small pair of pliers until the soap pump fit through it snugly. Be aware that if you have the old version jar lid there might be a white milk glass piece on the inside. I couldn't figure out a way to get it out without breaking it, so I just let it crack when I pounded the nail in and then carefully picked out and threw away the pieces.

mason canning jar soap dispenser diy

Once the soap pump fits snugly through the hole in the lid, you'll probably want to seal it up. You could use a glue that works on metal and plastic. I actually used some bathroom caulk since I already had an open tube in the house. Just goop it on, it doesn't have to look pretty since no one will ever see it. Also, I tried to cover all the sharp edges around the hole with the caulk.

Let the caulk/glue dry, fill bottle with soap, and you're in business!

Enjoy! :)

mason canning jar soap dispenser diy

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

The best time of the year

I love fall. It's my favorite season of all.
I love the crispy, cool days where jeans and a sweatshirt are just perfect.
I love the beautifully colored leaves, pumpkins and gourds.
I love going to the apple orchard and drinking hot apple cider.
It's just such a lovely time of year.

We haven't really reached the loveliness down here in Texas, it's still pretty hot out, and the leaves don't really change colors the way they do in the midwest. But it's still fall, gosh-darnit. And if the weather's not going to cooperate, I'm going to make it feel like fall anyway!

fairytale pumpkins

So... my husband I and picked out pumpkins today. We didn't go anywhere special, just to the grocery store (but it still took us just as long as usual to decide on which to buy!). They had this variety that I had never seen before called 'Fairytale Pumpkins' (in photo), and I just love them! They were more expensive than the regular carving pumpkins, but they were just too cool, so we came home with a couple. Have you ever heard of them or seen them before? Oh, and we got a couple to carve too... I'm so excited!

I think I'm going to go bake an apple pie and decorate the house with autumn decorations. That should put me in a happy frame of mind. How have you been celebrating the season?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Photo booth!

We went to a friend's wedding last weekend and they had a photo booth. I know they're popular at weddings these days, but I haven't actually seen one in person until now. Once I was (finally) able to drag my hubby over there we had such a great time!

 
photo booth!
My normally staid husband was having fun with the smoochy pictures... (but don't tell him I told you so!)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

9. Have a full-time, permanent job with benefits

Well, it's finally happening. Tomorrow is my first day of my new job. It will look the same and I will be doing the same things as I did last week and the one before that, but there will be one important difference - my position will be a permanent one, and I'll be paid at a higher rate, plus I'll be getting benefits! Hooray!

This has been a long time coming. I don't like to talk about too much job-related stuff here, and I won't go into details, but the gist of it is this: When we moved to Texas last summer, I had to leave a wonderful job that I had just started. Not wanting to go without work for long, and really not wanting to get out of the museum world that I had just "broken" into, I took a 6-month paid internship down here to get started. It went well and they kept finding money here and there to keep me on board. I got a new title after 6 months (no longer "intern," lol), but no change in job permanency or pay. Finally, a new position was written into the budget with me in mind, and tomorrow, the start of the fiscal year, is my "first" day on the job!

I know it shouldn't be all about money, but I am so ready for this change... because all romantic notions about doing what you love aside, it's just hard to be motivated to give it your all when you don't feel like you're being paid for what you are worth. I *do* love what I do, but I know I will love it more, and be a much more enthusiastic and motivated worker, now that I a bit more job security and better compensation.

I also wanted to say a word about internships. This is the second time that an internship I have taken has turned into a full-time, "real" job. For those of you out there still trying to get a foot into the door in the real world, do not overlook internships, even if you feel that you are "past that stage." If you prove yourself to be a valuable addition and great employee, more than likely, your employer will find a way to keep you around.

Anyway, off to get some shut-eye. Have to look fresh for my first day! Wish me luck! :)

30 before 30