Monday, September 19, 2016

DIY Seasonal Placemat Pillow

 Switching things up and making your place feel new again at the beginning of each season is so fun to me. And who doesn't love a seasonal pillow? How about for about $5?! 
I shared this easy DIY seasonal placemat pillow last year on my Instagram when I wasn't blogging and I had so many people tag me showing me how they did it too and it made my heart happy!

So this year I thought I'd share a more thorough breakdown and some of this year's 
placemats that I think would make the cutest seasonal pillows this fall!

Here's the super-easy steps:

1. Go to Target (or home decor store of your choice)
I'm just saying Target because they are carrying this placemat again and have other cute options for placemats.

2. Get some pillow-fill from the craft store (less than $3 usually)

3. Seam-rip a hole just big enough for your hand to be able to fill the placemat 
with poly-fill (I suggest the bottom right-hand corner)

4. Fill 'er up nice and full.

5. Sew back uptake section you opened

Took me less than 5 minutes by hand.

6. Enjoy your new seasonal pillow! And it's even got fringe!

Tag me on Instagram if you make one! I love to see homes being made cute and cozy on the cheap!
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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

10 Tips for Clean Eating Without Wanting to Die

I recently finished Whole 30 and it was haaaaaard.
(Spoiler alert: I accidentally cheated with corn.
I even read through all the rules and for some reason it 
didn't click that corn was a no-go.)
You see, I'm a sugar fanatic. I used to dump several spoonfuls of sugar in my coffee every morning. And I could not for the life of me finish a meal without craving something sweet after.
So for me, this was more of a sugar detox.

Honestly, lunch was the hardest. I normally ate a turkey sandwich so that was out.
And there's really nothing to snack on.
So I found a few helpful tricks to help me eat clean for a whole month without wanting to die.

1. Make eggs your best friend.
You might get sick of them, but they are a great source of protein to fill you up.
Learn to make them every which way and love them.
I would make deviled eggs without the mayo and I thought they were super good.

2. Learn that nuts and fruit taste like candy.
When you're not eating refined sugar, nuts and fruit together begin to taste like the sweetest candy on earth. They are delicious and that became my go-to side and snack!

3. Make lettuce your bun.
You'd be surprised how much you can still eat when you ditch the bread in favor of lettuce.
So my normal turkey sandwich became a turkey, pickle, mustard, lettuce wrap.
We only grew one thing this summer and it was lettuce and our leaves were huge and perfect
for bun substitutes.

4. Make it easy on yourself
I was totally fired up to do this clean eating for a month. I filled up my Pinterest board and was pumped to make these new meals. But man oh man, it requires so much more chopping and prepping and kitchen time than I was used to. And some of the meals I wanted to make I knew my kids wouldn't touch and I am not in the business of making two dinners.
So I found a rotation of family friendly meals and I carved out some time to prep before hand and it made it so much more manageable for me.

5. Sweet potatoes are everything.
Plain, made into baked fries, mashed, loaded with meat. They are everything.

6. Coffee with almond milk is better than no coffee.
So the biggest thing I took away from this month of clean eating was it transformed the way I take my coffee. Almond milk was tough for me, I don't love the taste of it.
But it was better than no coffee at all. And it really did help me change how much sugar I was taking in every day. I switched back to regular milk in my coffee and it's amazing.
Coffee with a splash of milk is the new me.

7. Make these Zucchini Taco Boats
This recipe was my absolute favorite. I made a huge batch and
we ate leftovers for lunch. I just omitted everything that was non-compliant
and it was still so delicious.

8. La Croix. 
I felt mediocre about it before. And now I'm a full-fledge fan.
When you can only have coffee and water, you'll take what you can get.
And the carbonation helped me feel full during my normal snack-time.

9. Breakfast for dinner
I quickly learned that instead of thinking of tradition breakfast, lunch and dinner, it was easier to think in terms of protein, fruit and veggies. So we ate a lot of breakfast-y type foods for dinner.

10. Make it fun.
Clean eating requires a TON more prep work and kitchen time than I'm used to.
But I would schedule out time and put on some tunes and go to work.
I also went above and beyond to make some fun date-night meals for Josh and I.
This date night salad was definitely as good as it looks.
That homemade cilantro lime dressing is the key!
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Monday, September 12, 2016

Easy Statement Cake + Printable Numbers

We celebrated our Griff's second birthday this past weekend!
It is so much fun when birthdays fall on the weekend because then we're free to celebrate without lame things like work cramping our style. ;)

We just had a small family party for him and so I didn't really do many decorations.
I just wanted to get some fun balloons and a fun birthday banner and call it good.

But day-of I realized I didn't think about anything for his cake.
Then I remembered a simple trick I had done for Grady's 2nd birthday party and
decided to do the same thing for Griff's cake.

It is so simple and really comes out cute and makes a statement in a pinch!
Here's all you need for this cake:
- sprinkles
- card stock paper

That's it. And I've made it easy for you by creating a document with printable numbers 1-9 in a nice thick, sans serif font. 

Download your number, print it on card stock paper, cut it out, and then lay the number on top of your already frosted cake. You want your frosting to still be a tad sticky so the letter lays flush. And this is important so that your sprinkles stick too. Dried frosting will be a sprinkle disaster, trust me.
And I like to fold up one tiny corner of the number so it's easy to take off after the sprinkles go on.

Other helpful tips: Lay down a dish towel around where you'll be sprinkling because it's easy to catch the strays and then throw them away after and avoid unnecessary sweeping.

Once your number is laying flush on your cake, go to town with the sprinkles. Sprinkle your heart out. And make sure they especially fill in around the outline of your number.

When your cake is sufficiently sprinkled, take your folded up corner and slowly peel off your number.
Use an icing knife to smooth any icing that came off.
And behold your super easy statement cake!

I still like to add cake flags because I can't help myself.

And seeing my sprinkle-loving boy light up is the icing on the cake. ;)

Trying hard to blow out those candles.

Happy Birthday to my Griff, Griff.
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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Updated: Super Easy DIY Skinny Jeans

So, when I was looked back at my blog stats after 2 years, I noticed my DIY skinny jeans post had been one of my best viewed. And I was proud of two things 1) my sewing job had withstood over 3.5 years of wearing and washing and 2) those jeans still fit.

I first published this tutorial almost 3.5 years ago so I thought it was time for a little update since I've done this a few more times over the years and really think this is an easy way to update jeans if you know your way around a sewing machine in the slightest. Seriously, if you can turn it on and sew a semi-straight line you can do it!

So here's a little update on an old favorite:

I bucked the skinny jeans trend when it first started. I was married to my bootcut jeans and thought skinny jeans only looked good on the extremely skinny which excluded me. 
But ya know what, if a fashion trend is around long enough, it starts to grow on you.
And so did the skinny jeans. And look at me now, I'm cutting up my bootcut jeans and
turning them into skinnies. Guess it wasn't a real committed marriage.

Update: I switched to skinny jeans and never looked back. I can't even imagine wearing other jeans now.

I posted this instagram of my bootcut jeans turned skinnies and got a few requests for
a simple how-to and I am happy to oblige!
Update: At least pretend to make your bed, Shelby.

So, here we go.
Update: I honestly have no idea what happened to these green jeans.

 Step One:
Find a pair of skinnies that you like the way they fit
and line them up on top of the pants you wish to alter.

Step Two:
Turn the pants inside out.
Trace the shape of the skinnies onto the pants you wish to alter.
This will be the line you will sew along.
Be sure to make a gradual line to the knee. It will pucker weird at the knee if you don't.
I have seam ripped enough times to know. Trust.
Update: This really is important. And I hate seam-ripping.

 Tip: If you are altering jeans, be sure to trace along the side that has the simple seam vs. the side that has the professional seam with piping.

Do this side

Don't do this side  
The seams won't line up right if you do your altering along the professional seam side.

Step Three:
Sew along the line you traced.

Step Four:
Cut off your excess fabric. Cut fairly close to your seam so you don't have
any bulk in your skinnies.

Step Five:
Admire your work and high-five someone because you just
saved yourself some money by making your own skinny jeans!
Update: I've experimented a bit with shortening the length too because I really like my skinnies to land right above my ankle. 

 Step Six: 
Rock your new skinnies!

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Our Cottage Craftsman

Hi guys!! It's been, what? 2 years?! I tell ya what that jump from 1 to 2 kids will really kill a blog, hah! No, it was an intentional killing in order to focus on being the very best mama while my boys are little and need me the most. But luckily, I have the ability to revive this little blog of mine and now that my boys are getting older and don't need me quuuuuite as much, I think I'll be back to sharing a bit more on this platform that I love!

So, I'll start with our current state. We've moved to the Midwest - Indiana to be exact. A small farm town to be even more exact but still kinda vague. ;)

And we bought a house! A cute little 1920's craftsman style with cottage-y details that we are lovingly calling #ourcottagecraftsman.

And we're giving it some upgrades to make it perfectly suited to us. We still have lots of projects up our sleeves but I'd say we're Phase 1 complete.

So if these first photos will show you anything it is: THE POWER OF PAINT.

Living Room/Dining Room Before:

Living Room/Dining Room Progress:

Let me tell you, dark brown is not a fun color to cover. So the walls all got primed first.

And then I had the hard task of trying to find my perfect shade of gray. 
You know, what that's not too dark, not to light, doesn't look beige, and looks good with my other paint colors. You'd think it wouldn't be that hard, but it was. 
I probably tried about 5 gray samples before I landed on one I loved.
I had to be picky because I was buying a 5 gallon bucket of whatever gray I chose and using it through the entirety of my house.
This color did NOT win. Too dark.

And it looked a little beige in some lights.

So then I tested more grays, but ultimately landed on Valspar's Modern Gray.
Not too light, not too dark, not beige and I love it.
And I better because this color went in the dining room/living room, kitchen, mudroom, bathroom, and hallways

And Living Room/Dining Room after:

We didn't do anything major to the space except for paint and put up nice blinds.
So the lesson of the day is, paint changes everything! 

p.s. It feels good to be back. :)

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