Today was the day. While the kids were at school, I came home to clean the living room and decorate for Autumn. How pleasant this task was without little feet underfoot. Plus, I get the added bonus of surprising them with all the new Autumn decor when they come home!This year the mantel is a little more Halloween-y than in the past. I put our vintage Halloween postcards right in the center, and added some more spooky things. I love this sphere my grandpa made out of obsidian that looks like a magical eyeball crystal ball or something. It’s even spookier with my ghostly reflection in this photo… I can’t remember if I ever shared a photo of the fireplace all painted. I ended up painting the inside a charcoal color, and the outside just a plain white, whatever we had in the shed. I love how it brightens up the room. This next decoration cracks me up. I think my mother-in-law gave this to the girls last Autumn, but I couldn’t find the dowel for hanging it. It probably became a sword or a wand and had to be taken away. Anyway, the girls have been playing with this branch and I thought it would a perfectly spooky flagpole. I doubt it will last long, but it’s funny for now. Just watch out as you walk into our garage… Here’s our front porch decorations. The broom is actually my mother-in-law’s; she won it in a raffle and I picked it up for her. I’m sure she’ll agree that it looks really good on our porch, right?!? We’ve been collecting the mini pumpkins each time we go out to the farm. I’ve also meant to post about our new bench! Jesse built it and I stained it! Isn’t it amazing? We used reclaimed lumber from my dad’s old deck. I love the nicks and dings and nail holes. I’m so proud of Jesse, following in his woodworking grandfather’s footsteps. We bought a Kreg Jig for this project and it made the whole thing so easy and perfect. Now Jesse is inspired and motivated to make all sorts of things. I love that this is a new hobby for him because he’s really good at it, and I get awesome things out of it! And of course, I needed to get the fairies some new Autumn decor.
Quilted Infinity Scarf Tutorial
I’m starting a new series of projects that have been on my Pinterest boards for far too long. I’m going to actually start creating the things I pin, and posting them on here. I know, it’s crazy. Without further ado, I give you the quilted infinity scarf tutorial!
Infinity scarves seem to be all the rage these days. I didn’t have an infinity scarf, so I thought I’d try making one. I like to wear scarves because, as a teacher, I have to be pretty modest. A scarf is a great way to cover up when a shirt is just a little bit too low-cut.
This is a great project, because all you need is two fat quarters, some leftover batting, and some embroidery floss. I’ve seen some tutorials around the web – here’s my take on it. It took me about an hour to complete, so it’s pretty simple!
Start with two fat quarters, cut them into 6 inch strips. Mine ended up being about 6 x 21 inches.
I used two fabrics from Joel Dewberry’s Birch Farm line – “Barn Owl” and “Horse Blanket.” I bought my fabric at Piece by Piece, but if you don’t live locally, I think you can get it at Southernfabric. I wanted mostly neutrals, and the pop of light blue is perfect for my capsule wardrobe.
Sew the short ends of each fabric together to create two long, skinny strips.
Cut your batting to be 5 inches wide by the length of your strips. I made mine a little longer than the strips, just to make sure I had enough. Mine was 5 x 63 inches. Now you have three long strips to work with.
Put the batting on the wrong side of one of your strips, as sew together using a basting stitch (which you will later remove, it will just hold everything in place until you quilt it).
Put the other piece of fabric so the two fabrics are facing, and the batting is on top.
Sew along the long edges, leaving about 9 inches open on one side. Leave the ends open, but trim them so all three layers are the same length, and line up. Turn right side out.
This is where I got stuck. This next step totally baffled me. What you need to do is stick one end through the tube of fabric and pop it out the other end. I’ll try to explain this so it makes sense. Reach in the opening on the side and grab one of the open ends. Pull it through to the other end, and pull it all the way through so both ends are lined up. I hope the next three photos help make this more clear.
The last photo above shows one of the ends inside the other. Go ahead and sew this closed.
When you turn it back right side out, you’ll have a full circle – infinity!
To close up the hole, you can either just hand stitch it closed, or edge stitch the entire scarf. I like the look of edge stitching, so I did that with white thread.
To quilt the infinity scarf, you have more options! You can machine quilt it, or hand quilt. I’ve been liking quilts with big stitches, so I went that route. I just took some embroidery floss and quilted an easy line right down the middle. I used all 6 strands of the floss because I wanted it to look thick. I didn’t pay much attention to keeping my stitches even, but I did try to keep it in a straight line.
There you have it! A quilted infinity scarf! Let me know if you make one – I would love to see photos! I think I’ll be raiding my fabric stash to make more of these!
How to Create a Secret Message For When it Rains
This is my favorite project ever. Probably because I love rain so much, and it is the middle of summer, and there is no rain in the forecast at all.
It was actually really easy, and pretty fun! And the results were exactly as cool as I expected!
Here’s a quick little rundown with instructions so you can do this yourself!
First pick what you want the message to say. I wanted to use a quotation about rain – that celebrated rain. I also wanted it short enough that it would fit well on my front porch, and wouldn’t be too labor intensive to make the template. I picked “Let the rain kiss you,” the opening line of a Langston Hughes poem, “April Rain Song.”
Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.
Exactly how I feel about rain. Perfect.
Next, I found an old cardboard box, opened it up, and drew the letters on. I used a ruler to make sure all the letters were the same height, but just did it freehand. If you wanted to have it more precise, you could certainly print out your quote and copy it onto your cardboard.
Next, I used an x-acto knife and a cutting mat to cut out the letters. We found the Rust-Oleum NeverWet at our local hardware store. It is kind of spendy, but we found it on sale. I think it was about $15. Considering it was the entire cost of this project, it wasn’t that bad.The directions say to clean your surface of dirt and debris. We took it a step further, and Jesse pressure washed the whole front walk. The cleaner the surface, the better, I figure!
I used painter’s tape to tape the template onto our front porch landing. I also used the tape to fill in the letters R, A, and O. There were a couple places where the cardboard was lifting up a little, so I made little tape bubbles and pressed everything down nice and firm. The directions also say that it holds up better if it doesn’t get much foot traffic, so I placed the template to the left of the landing, since people tend to hug the right hand side as they go up the steps. I don’t think it will get a whole lot of foot traffic where I placed it. Next, I just followed the directions that came with the NeverWet. There is a base coat of which I did two coats. Then I did four super light coats of the top coat.
It says that it can leave a light white, frosted appearance, and you can kind of see that. You really have to be looking for it, though. The photo below shows what it looks like when it’s dry. What do you think? Can you tell where the letters are? Maybe a little, but not enough to bother me!You are supposed to let it cure for 12 hours, but I waited almost a whole day. Since there is no rain coming anytime soon, I had to manufacture it. I just poured some water on it to see what it did. It was pretty amazing! The water just rolled right off the letters! And the letters feel totally dry. Super fun! I love it! I want to do this all over the place! I will be sure to post updates during the winter months when it will surely be wet all the time. Here’s hoping it holds up! Let me know if you do this yourself! I’d love to see more of these!
Chalkboard Car Table For Alma
One of the things we did for Alma’s second birthday was make her a fun chalkboard table for her cars.
This project actually started last summer and went through a few different changes along the way. It started with this crazy dirt-and-rock-filled-brick-planter in our sunroom:
This planter has been annoying me since we moved in 3 years ago. I’ve never known what to do with it. Since our bunny lives in the sunroom, I couldn’t just plant some plants in it – he would eat them. For a while he liked to dig in the box, but that ended up making a huge mess. The dirt in the planter is a really fine dust that coats the whole room when dug up. Add a curious toddler and the sunroom was never clean.
My mom actually suggested that we do something with the planter. I think I had just given up at this point. Her first idea was to dig out all the dirt and fill it with something more fun (and less dirty) to play with. When she came over and started digging, she realized how horrible the dirt was after inhaling the super-fine dust. We started brainstorming again. The next idea was to cover it with a board and paint a scene on it for Alma’s cars. You know those old carpets that have the town and roads on them? That idea, but in paint. After agreeing that this was the perfect idea, I thought it would be even cooler to just use chalkboard paint. I wanted the girls to be able to create their own towns, or whatever, not just be stuck with the town I painted for them. Imagination and creativity are always encouraged here!
Jesse and my mom went and bought all the supplies, and Jesse quickly built the board using plywood and quarter-round strips. We countersunk the nails, and filled the holes with spackle so everything would be smooth. Then the board sat on the planter for a couple months.
Finally, I decided Alma’s birthday was the perfect reason to finish this project, so I sanded everything down and started priming the board.
I used two coats of primer, then sanded it all down again. I wanted to make sure the wood was really sealed because the chalkboard paint is expensive and I didn’t want to waste it by having it soak into the wood. Also, the directions say to prime and sand bare wood.
Then came 3 or 4 thin coats of the chalkboard paint. I can’t remember, but I’m pretty sure I did 4. I wanted smooth, even coverage, so I did really nice, thin coats. Below you see what it looked like halfway through the second coat.
Then back out to the sunroom to cure for a few days. I already liked how it looked so much! No more dirt!
I followed the directions on the can to prepare the chalkboard by rubbing the side of a piece of chalk all over the whole thing and wiping off with a dry cloth. Our original idea was to attach the whole thing to the wall, but I sort of love how I can tip it up and brush the chalk dust into the dirt. We might need to attach it if Alma or Harriet start lifting it up all the time, but it’s pretty heavy and I don’t think they know it opens.
I’m not sure who will like it more, me, or Alma. I had a lot of fun writing a birthday message, and drawing a little road for her new cars. I’m excited to work on my chalkboard-writing skills.
Alma definitely does love it, though! She seems to like the drawing part more than the car part these days, but I’m sure she’ll appreciate that it is a fun, versatile toy out in the sunroom. I also have a ton of the paint leftover, so I’m already thinking about what else could use some creativity. Chalkboard all the things! Uh oh….
ps – I am linking up with a link party on I Heart Nap Time!