50 things I love about Fall

So technically fall doesn’t start for 2 more weeks, but I couldn’t wait to post this. It is raining here in the Pacific Northwest (shocker! I know.) We had some awesome thunder and lightning storms today and my mums are already blossoming, so I’m going to go ahead and just pretend it has started already. I can’t wait. After all Fall is my favorite season. Sadly, I never even knew Fall existed, let alone liked it, until I moved to Oregon. I grew up in the Sacramento valley of California. We don’t have fall there. Okay, technically everywhere has an Autumn season, but ours did not have the idilic color changing trees and weeks of cool weather. Fall was identified as those two weeks, between the sweltering triple digits and the rainy season. I am so glad I moved somewhere we have all four seasons. I just love the fall. I love it so much, I decided to write a song about it… Just kidding. I am so not musically talented. I would have if I could have, so instead I made a list of all the things I love about it.

  1. Hunting season- I get to spend time outside with my hubby doing something we both enjoy. I believe it brings us closer every year. (and PS if you are against it, I’m sorry. You are entitled to your opinion, but so am I… and I love it.)
  2. Hiking in the rain- Seriously! It’s not hot and the air is so clean. Plus all the fall colors are beautiful!
  3. hot chocolate
  4. coffee (and all coffee related beverages)
  5. hot apple cider
  6. hot toddies
  7. scarfs
  8. sweaters
  9. boots
  10. wool socks
  11. pea coats
  12. layers
  13. hats
  14. mittens
  15. fall colors
  16. pumpkin patches
  17. corn mazes
  18. carving pumpkins
  19. designing Halloween costumes
  20. Thanksgiving
  21. back to school shopping
  22. back to school schedules- No, really. I am a creature of habit. While the freedom of Summer is fun, I secretly love an organized schedule. It satisfies the type A person in me.
  23. Daylight savings- getting dark earlier means more cuddle time on the couch.
  24. breaking out the quilts for the couch- I love cuddling on the couch with my hubby or my girls under a big warm cozy quilt, next to a blazing fire.
  25. firing up the wood stove- blazing fire, warm quilt, cup of hot beverage- need I say more?
  26. the smell of the rain
  27. the sound of the rain- I actually sleep with my window cracked quite often, so I can hear the rain better. I LOVE the sound of the rain.
  28. thunder & lightning storms
  29. apple picking
  30. apple cider
  31. caramel apple cider
  32. apple sauce
  33. apple pie
  34. canning apples
  35. pumpkin pie
  36. pumpkin doughnuts
  37. pumpkin muffins
  38. pumpkin lattes
  39. chai lattes- they just taste like Christmas to me.
  40. picking pears
  41. canning pears
  42. pear tarts
  43. pear sauce
  44. pears and fancy cheese
  45. cool misty mornings
  46. changing leaves
  47. naked trees
  48. the view of the sun rising through the naked trees
  49. mums
  50.  And the number one thing I love about fall (or number 50 in this case) spending time with family. Fall brings Holidays which means more time spent with family, and that, my friend, makes me a happy girl. . . Especially when I get to cuddle with them under a big quilt, next to a blazing fire, while listening to the rain come down, drinking hot toddies and wearing matching wool socks.  Wink wink. Okay, they don’t have to match, but that just makes it more fun.

Well my dear friends, I hope this fall brings as much fun and love for you as it does for me! Until next time, have a blessed day. Bye bye now!

What Martha Isn’t Telling You About Christmas

Christmas starts in July. That’s it! That’s the big secret that Martha and every other Martha Stewert-Like blogger isn’t telling you about Christmas, and all of those beautiful hand made decorations and gifts. I am sharing this little secret with you, because every Christmas the same thing happens to me.

It starts in the Fall with Halloween; I call it Holiday Fever, and I get it bad! I see all of these beautiful hand made decorations and gifts everywhere. They sparkle, and shine — and taunt me. “Make me. Make me! Make Meeeeee!” They call from the magazine rack in the grocery store. “Don’t you want to give me to your friends?” They beckon from my e-mail. “Your house will be the prettiest on the block,… if only you will decorate it just like this.” I hear as I scan my favorite craft blogs every morning. But what they aren’t telling you is, you have to start planning months in advance to achieve these beautifully decorated houses and handmade gift baskets. If you are a procrastinator with high hopes, like myself, then you may have attempted to get all of these things done in previous Decembers, only to have Christmas come and go in a hot, stressful, flash; leaving you feeling unsatisfied and disappointed.

How can you achieve a beautifully decorated home, make heartfelt handmade gifts and still have the time to enjoy your friends, family and true spirit of the season? Easy, start now! There are so many things you can do in the summer to prepare you for the Fall Holiday Season. Here are a few (ok, several) suggestions to get the ball rolling.

1. Start collecting! Start collecting pine cones for decorations (or one of these cute, homemade fire starters) on your next camping excursion. Not only will you save time, but you will save money, buy not having to buy them.

Click picture for link!

2. Spray Paint now! If you have items (like your pine cones) that you want to paint gold or silver (or white, or green, or red…) do it now. Spray paint doesn’t dry well in the wet Fall weather; dry summer heat is ideal for spray painting.

3. Get cooking! (Or canning.) Homemade jams or jellies, and liqueurs are always appreciated. Jams can be made and stored for months in advance, saving you time later. Liqueurs need time to infuse with flavors and taste better with a little age, so they really need to be made ahead of time. In order to save yourself precious “holiday time,” avoid giving “fresh baked” gifts that have to be made the same week they are given. If you like giving fresh baked cookies, consider making the dough ahead of time and freezing it in an airtight container. That way you will always have fresh baked cookies on hand within 15 minutes.

4. Get Sewing! Or Crafting. There are so many handmade gifts that can be sewn or crafted ahead of time. My current favorite blog is EverythingEtsy.com They have…

5. Simplify! Don’t try to design a different homemade gift or basket for every single person on your list. Pick one or two crowd pleasing themes for your baskets, (or sewing pattern, or craft) and stick to it. Here are two of my favorite gift baskets:

  • Coffee for Two Basket: Include 2 coffee cups, homemade irish cream, chocolate or coffee liqueur (made ahead), a tin of your favorite coffee and a bottle of milk or cream. Save your coffee tins and frappuccino bottles over the summer. Remove labels and decorate with your established theme between now and Halloween. Set aside until Christmas, then fill with store bought bulk coffee and milk or cream just before gifting. You can even make Biscotti a month in advance and store in an air tight container, or cheat, and buy it from your bulk store. Oh, and one more tip; wait to buy your baskets until you know what is going in them! This will save you money, and a head ache, when you go to put them together. I speak from experience on this one.
  • Spa Basket: Make skin care items over summer and decorate the jars ahead of time, so all you have to do is put the basket together come gift giving time. Here are a few recipes for DIY Skin care products: Exfoliating Scrub, Bath Salts, Bath Bombs.

6. Pick one theme and stick to it. Whether it be red, green, and blue plaid; blue and white snowflakes; snowmen or nature inspired; pick a theme and stick with it. You will be amazed at how much easier it will be to decorate your home, and your gifts, if you pick one color combination or character and focus on that when purchasing or creating your decorations. Plus, your friends and family will be amazed at how well “put together” everything looks when even your tree decorations and presents match.

5. Start your decorations early. You don’t have to hang them, but most decorations can be made ahead of time and stored unit the fall.

I hope I have motivated you to get started on those Christmas gifts and decorations, or at least got your wheels turning. For more DIY decorating and Gift ideas, see my Pinterest page!

 

8 Things Every Parent Should Know For A Successful And Affordable Family Fun Day

I could pretty much sum this post up in two words; PLAN AHEAD, but I will elaborate. If you want your family fun day to be both successful and affordable, planning ahead is key. Following is a list of things to consider when planning a fun and affordable Family Fun Day…

1. Create a checklist of items to take a few days in advance (not the morning of) and check them off as you prepare for the big day of fun. Think towels and dry clothes for beach or lake trips; snacks, meals and drinks; sunglasses and sunscreen for summer days, rain or snow gear for winter days, maps or directions, schedules for events, etc.

2. Check the weather the night before and be sure everyone dresses appropriately. Pack extra clothes, umbrellas, sun hats or whatever is appropriate the night before, so as not to forget in all the excitement of the next day.

3. Plan and pack meals and snacks. Not only will your family fun day go much smoother if your food is already prepared, but it can save you loads of money. The price of a snack at a movie theater could buy you a meal at the grocery store, and beverages are one of the highest marked up food items. Insulated beverage cups are a huge money saver in our house. I use mine every single day, and Little R’s milk stays cool and fresh for hours longer in her insulated sippy.

4. When planning your family fun day, check event schedules and business calendars for discount days and times. Everyone knows mattine movies cost less, but did you know, most zoos offer a discount day, as well as most county fairs? Even our local pool has one day a month when entry is half off. Just be prepared you may have to deal with larger crowds those days.

5. Speaking of crowds, check event calendars for special entry days and times. For example, our local pool offers “toddler time” for a few hours before it opens to all ages. This is great for little ones (or parents) who get a little overwhelmed by large crowds and noisy teenagers.

6. Consider your regular daily schedule and try to keep to it. Family fun time can quickly turn not-so-fun, when interrupting normal sleep and meal times. If your family is anything like mine, they get a little cranky when they are hungry and a lot cranky if they don’t get enough sleep. Try to avoid any activities or events that interfere with normal sleep patterns, and pack “emergency” snacks, meals and beverages. If you have nappers in your house, then be prepared to get out of the house early enough to be back in time for nap, or leave after they’ve woke from nap.

7. Dress appropriately. Okay, so I kind of touched on this one, but I want to remind parents that this one is for you too. As a stay-home mom, i don’t get out much. Sometimes I can get a little overexcited when I do leave the house and forget to dress for the occasion. Like I want to wear a skirt and strappy heals to the bounce house. Yeah, I actually did that. Oops! So remember, comfy clothes and tennies are best for keeping up with your kids, and trust me, they will want/expect you to do everything they do.

Last but most importantly…

8. Choose age appropriate activities. Remember, Family Fun Days are all about the kids! This is an opportunity to build lasting memories (as well as impressions) for your kids. You may be an avid fisherman, but your 2 year old daughter may not be ready to sit in a boat for hours on end waiting for something exciting to happen. Young kids have very short attention spans, so activities in which the entertainment changes as quickly as their interest is best. For example; the zoo has a ton of different exhibits, if your child gets bored with one, then you can simply move on to the next. Just remember to stop for drinks and snacks along the way!

4 Games to Play With Pool Noodles!

Summer is in full swing, it’s hot, my little one is bored of the kiddy pool already, and all of our “fun money” is going to camping. What’s a mom to do?! How do I entertain an active 2 year old in the summer heat? Pool Noodles! These babies aren’t just for floating in your swimming pool. I have found several ways to use them as educational entertainment for my little one.
Here is a collection of …

R’s Favorite Noodle Activities:

Noodle Pointer:
Educational Benefits: Gross Motor Skills, Color and Shape Identification
How: Let your little ones pick their favorite color pool noodle, and tell them to “touch” the noodle to the shape, color, object etc. We combined sidewalk chalk with this activity; I drew shapes on the driveway and told little R to “touch” the heart, flower, etc. You could cut out paper shapes and tape them on the ground or omit the shapes completely and tell them to “touch the tree, bush, dandelion, etc” This latter option may be better for your especially energetic kids. You can have them race to the objects, back and forth across the yard. They’ll be wore out in no time!

Noodle Obstacles:
Educational Benefits: Gross Motor Skills and Balance
Use several noodles to make obstacles (inside or outside) for your kiddos to go through without touching the “lasers” (or whatever fun name you give the noodles.) You can lay them across chairs, lean them against tables or walls, or simply criss-cross them on the ground and have the child jump over and between them.

Lacing Noodle Doughnuts
Educational Benefits: Fine Motor Skills, Number, Color and Pattern Recognition
How: First use a sharp serrated knife to carefully cut noodles into 1-1.5 inch slices, making “doughnuts.” Use a permanent marker to write numbers on the “doughnuts.” Lastly, give your little one a long shoelace or rope (may want to ten a big bead or something on the end, so the doughnuts don’t fall off) and have your little one lace the string through the doughnuts. For older kids give them a color pattern or number sequence written on a pice of paper or card stock to follow.

Noodle Doughnut Toss
Educational Benefits: Gross Motor Skills, Color Identification
How: Slice Noodles into doughnuts as described above (or use the same ones.) Next, float plastic plates or upside-down frisbees in kiddy pool. Ask your little one to toss the doughnuts onto the corresponding colored frisbee, or just toss them on a plate. Remember to cheer them on and reward them with lots of hugs, kisses and claps when they make a “basket.”

I hope you enjoy these activities as much as “R” and I did!

Today’s Money Saving Tip:

“When kid’s grow tired of old toys, find new uses for them. “Paint” with toy car tires, tie ribbon onto long bubble wands to make “magic wands,” or simply allow your little ones to take outside toys in, inside toys out, or bedroom toys to the bathroom! You will be amazed at how an old tired toy will become a new favorite.”

 

 

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loving this crazy life

Italian Mellocello

Italian Mellocello-Refreshingly Mellow Lemon and Vanilla Infused Alcohol

So refreshingly "mello"

So refreshingly "mello"

OK readers, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. We like to booze it up a little at my house. Especially during the summer. There’s just nothing like an ice cold fizzy concoction to take the edge off, and cool your head in the hot summer sun.

This amazing lemony yellow treat is bright and summery, not just in color, but in taste as well. Plus it has a lingering “mellow” vanilla finish that will definitely “chill you out” this summer. My husband and I made this for the first time last year and we loved it so much that it ended up becoming the unofficial “Signature Cocktail” for our wedding, or rather wedding party, as it was just too good to share with all of our 250-odd guests. This summer, we doubled the recipe with intent to share a little… We’ll see how that goes.

I’d love to take credit for this amazing liquer recipe, but I can’t. Unfortunately, I can’t give anybody else credit for it either, as my husband printed it (without reference) off the internet last Spring, and I have no idea where he found it. No matter where it came from originally, you are going to thank me for sharing it. I guarantee it. You will notice this is a two part process with a bit of waiting for the alcohol to infuse, but it is totally worth the wait!

Drink up!

Italian Mellocello Recipe

INGREDIENTS:
20 Lemons
2 750 ml bottles of Everclear (or Vodka if you prefer)
5 Vanilla Beans
6 c distilled water
4 c sugar

EQUIPMENT:
Sanitized 2-3 Liter glass jar with lid (we used a big pickle jar)
cheese cloth
Fine mesh sieve
Bottles or container for bottling final product

DIRECTIONS:
Part 1:
1. Wash and dry lemons thoroughly.
2. Pare off spots, blemishes and stem ends.
3. Using a very sharp paring knife or peeler, remove zests (that’s the yellow part of the peel) and place in distilling container, or pickle jar as we like to call it. Be sure you do not get any of the white pith, for it will make your mellocello very bitter. If you do, just use your knife to scrape it off, before dropping the peel in the jar.
4. Add Everclear to jar.
5. Slice vanilla pod down the middle and scrape insides into your mix.
6. Seal tightly and allow to steep in a cool, dark place for 3 months. We sealed our lids with Saran Wrap and duct tape to be sure it was air tight. If your container is not air tight, the alcohol fumes will evaporate and the drink will lose it’s potency.
7. Swirl lemon peels around twice a week to mix oils and alcohol.

Part 2:
1. After 3 months has lapsed and you are ready to bottle your concoction, you will want to sweeten it up a little… or a lot, whichever you prefer.
2. Bring 4 cups of sugar and 6 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
3. Meanwhile, strain your lemon infused alcohol, through a cheese cloth lined sieve, removing all the peels and vanilla grounds. Squeeze cheese cloth to be sure you have removed all of the alcohol and oils from the peels.
4. Add sugar-water to lemon-alcohol and stir.
5. Bottle your mellocello! It’s done! . . . or drink it, whatever. I won’t judge you.

The longer you let it set after bottling, the smoother it will become, but it is perfectly drinkable right away. I suggest storing it in the freezer as it is delightful served “up” ice cold. I prefer mine in a rocks glass topped with seltzer water. So refreshingly mellow. I really hope you try this recipe. I know 3 months is a long time to wait for a cocktail, but it is so worth the effort and time put into it, and it will be ready before you know it. If you start yours today, there will be plenty of hot summer days left to enjoy your mellocello.

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Mixitup

Cake pops tutorial

Easter egg, chick and bunny cake pops! They were a hit with both the kids and adults.

Cake Pop Tutorial
(as per my interpretation of Bakerella’s video tutorial)
Ingredients:
One box of your favorite cake mix or your own favorite cake recipe.
One can of your favorite frosting
1-2 bags of candy melts (or chocolate chips and 2-3 TBLS cooking oil mixed)
Cake decorations of your choice

Tools and Supplies
Mixing bowls (one microwave safe bowl)
13×9 cake pan
Parchment paper
Cookie sheet
Lollipop sticks
Styrofoam block for standing pops in once complete.
Decorating accessories of your choice. I used Wilton Decorating Frosting and decorator tips.

Directions:
1. Prepare cake and bake in 9×13 or larger pan.
2. Allow to cool.
3. Cut cake in quarters. Working with one quarter at a time, break in half and rub halves together over large mixing bowl to crumble. I found it best to have small crumbles, and wonder if this may even work better if you let the cake set overnight uncovered befor crumbling.
4. Once cake is crumbled, add Prepared frosting starting with about half the can, adding more as necessary until you get a nice soft doughy consistency. (Think something between refrigerator cookie dough and regular cookie dough.)
5. Roll dough into balls (or egg shapes for Easter egg pops) and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Allow to refrigerate at least an hour to set up befor skewering.
6. Once cake balls are set up. Melt your candy melts in the microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until melted. Working quickly, dip tip of lolli about 1/2 inch into melted candy or chocolate, push tip 1/2 way into ball, then dip ball into melts, coating completely. Allow the excess to drip off into the bowl, rolling the pop back and forth between your finger tips. Then push other end of stick into styrofoam block and allow to set until hardened.
7. If you plan on piping, let the candy harden first. If you want to sprinkle them with sprinkles or colored sugar, you will need to do that before the melts set up completely.
Presentation: I let mine sit over night then placed small cellophane bags over them and tied it with curly ribbon to make them a little more fancy. I also wrapped my block in brightly covered wrapping paper for a nice table presentation.

Pop! Goes the Easter Bunny

Easter Cake Pops

My mother in law hosted a huge Easter celebration this year, and I knew there would be lots of kids, so I wanted to make something fun and special for the kids to take home, and really, what is more fun than cake on a stick?! I mean you can put any food on a stick and it instantly becomes more fun and enticing. Ice cream, hot dogs, even vegetables! I’m sure many of you have seen the cake pops that Bakerella is popular for making. If you haven’t heard of her, I’ll just tell you, I don’t know if she is the one who came up with the idea of putting cake on a stick, but she has definitely mastered it! I watched her video on how she makes her cake pops, and decided “This looks simple enough. I’ll just whip some up for Easter!”

Well… let’s just say, “she makes it look easier than it is.” I’m no Bakerella, but I think I did a pretty decent job considering. Check out the pics below and if you feel inspired, check out the recipe here. Please share with me if you have experience making cake pops and if so, what you have learned. I think the most important lesson I learned is that refrigeration is key! The cake balls really need to set up before moving forward. Anyway, enjoy the pictures and give them a try!

Easter egg, chick and bunny cake pops! They were a hit with both the kids and adults.

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Red, White and Black & Last Chance Giveaway

Unfortunately, I am not recovering as quickly from this surgery as I hoped, so I have not been as busy crafting, cooking or decorating as I’d like to be. As of this morning, I had not come up with a new tablescape for the dining room yet, and had pretty much given up on it. Then, as I sat in my recliner drinking my coffee, I recalled something my cousin told  me when my daughter was only a few months old: “Sometimes you just have to tidy up one little area and stay there.” At the time she was responding to my comment “How do moms accomplish any cleaning with a baby in the house?” Well my little munchkin isn’t a baby anymore, but I believe the comment applies to recovering from surgery or an injury (or both in my case) as well. For this reason I have decided to clean up and decorate my entertainment center/buffet, as it is in my direct line of sight from the recliner. I feel much better now having something to look at while I relax and recover. Hope you enjoy, and sorry about the pictures; the lighting is not very good in that corner. Maybe I will rearrange and add a lamp there next week. I know just the one too! Happy Tablescaping, and don’t forget to enter the Giveaway drawing! Today is the last day!

 

I was missing the snow (we don’t get much here,) so I went for a snowy theme with a few pops of red for Valentine’s Day. I pulled out my “snowiest” looking doilies and some snow flakes from the Christmas decorations box.

What’s a snow inspired theme without a snow globe? I remembered I had been looking for a place to use this darling little angel ever since I laid eyes on it (you’ll never guess where!) at Dollar Tree. (I know big surprise, right?!) You can also see my favorite iron fleur de lis candle stick in the background. I stole those off the mantel, and then proceeded to clear it completely in preparation for the next “mantelscape.”

Closer up you can see there aren’t any photos in those frames. I am actually going to upload some to Costco online this week (I can do that from my chair, yay!) and order some prints for those. I would also like to do something with that tall plain frame to make it more interesting. Any ideas? Please share your inspirations with me! In the center you can see my antique crystal and silver cake stand (another great Goodwill find!) is decorated with faux flower garland wrapped in circles, pinecones and more Christmas decorations. Er, I mean Valetine’s Day ornaments! LOL Here is a close up so you can appreciate the ornaments.

Here is a closer up of the apothecary jar, plain Jane frame, fluer de lis candle stick, and the candy dish you may not have noticed before. Remember the apothecary jar full of pinecones from my winter white centerpiece a few weeks ago? I just added snowflakes, changed out the ribbon and hung a sparkly “crystal” from it. Ta-dah! The candy dish is full of glass beans (also featured in winter centerpiece) then I set in my pretty glass bird and another snow flake.

You may also remember the bird from last weeks’ Casual Country Dining. Here is a close up of my dear little bird.

So that’s it. Here is the price break down.

Doilies -Goodwill- Free from Aunty for wedding decor (I think she said she paid $12 for 10)
Candlesticks -have had them for ages, but I will guess $20 for the two of them
Apothecary Jar -Christmas Gift- I think it was $14
Picture frames -wedding gifts- FREE… accept the cost of the wedding LOL
Cake stand -Goodwill- $15
Table Runner
Flower Garland
Mercury Glass Ornament
3 bags of pinecones
Glass beans
Snowflakes
Snow Globe
Red candles
Heart Shaped Candy Dish -All Dollar Tree- $11
Mercury Glass Bird $17
Finally the sparkly “crystal” (it’s really acrylic, but sure is pretty) -Michael’s Christmas Clearance sale- 20 cents! (Oh you better believe I bought 20 of them!)

For a grand total of… drum roll please… FREE! Because I stole everything from other places in the house!
Seriously though, if you had to buy everything I’d say approximately $120 and 20 cents ;-)

That’s the great thing about borrowing from storage and other areas, everything is free. My one money saving tip for the day: If you see something you love at a decent price, it’s worth the money, but if you find something you love that is out of budget, take a mental note of it (or a picture on your cell phone) and keep looking. I guarantee you will find a better deal on a similar item somewhere. Case and point here would be my beloved apothecary jar. Some retail for as much as $200, I found my exact one online selling for $42, but it only cost Mr F $14 at ROSS. Another tip, (ok so I have 2) always check out your local discount stores before buying a piece from a big retail store.

Alright, well I need to rest now, so that’s all for today. Hope you enjoyed! Remember the Blog Launch Giveaway ends tonight! Don’t miss out! Oh, and if you have any suggestions for that picture frame I’d love to hear them! Thanks!

Home Stories A2Z

five days five ways  feature friday free for all

Easter Egg Tree and Giveaway

Hello and Happy Monday to all of you! Today I would like to show you how to make an adorable Easter or Valentine’s Day Decoration: an Easter Egg Tree! I just love this idea, so cute and easy to make. Plus, the materials are cheap and easy to find. Be sure to visit my post “Snow Day” for more ideas on how to make a Valentine’s day themed tree.

I have also included the details of my Blog Launch Party Giveaway drawing, and how to enter for those of you who are hearing about it for the first time. I was in a hurry when I posted the original photos of the giveaway prize last Thursday, so I have posted some better pictures at the bottom of this post as well. First, let’s check out this awesome little craft that could be your next centerpiece or even gift for Teacher.

Easter Egg or Valentine’s Tree:

Materials needed:
Small clay pot
acrylic paint and brushes (optional for decorating pot)
craft glue
sharp knife
foam block(s) for floral arrangements
cotton balls
sharp scissors
cloth material for base of tree
butter knife or tongue depressor
bowl for tracing circle
pruning sheers
small sturdy branches
Easter egg or Valentine’s Day ornaments

Directions:
Step 1: Select your pot and paint it if you prefer. I cheated and found this pre-decorated one (as well as foam block and Easter eggs) at Dollar Tree.


Step 2: Using a sharp knife, cut foam block to fit in decorated pot. You may need more than one block, if so then be sure to poor glue between blocks, so that the blocks stick together.

Step 3: Remove block(s), poor a large amount of craft glue into bottom and along sides of pot. Replace foam block(s.) Add more glue and top with cotton balls, leaving a space in the middle for the “tree.” Wipe any excess glue off of the rim or outside of pot and set aside.


Step 4: While glue sets, lay out cloth material face down on a clean, flat surface. Use a bowl with an opening at least an inch in diameter wider than the pot as a stencil. Invert bowl on material and trace with ball point pen or fabric pencil.


Step 5: Cut out circle. Fold the circle in half and cut a small v in the center of the fold. When you open it up you should have an x in the center of the circle.

Note the tiny v at bottom center

Step 6: Apply a thick bead of craft glue along the inside edge of the pot. Place circle of material over pot with x in the center. Use butter knife or tongue depressor to tuck ends of material down into the pot. Set aside.


Step 7: Use a pair of pruning sheers to trim up small branches to create the look you like. Then pinch stems together and trim to desired height leaving at least 3 extra inches of length.


Step 8: While holding stems together, push branches through the x in the material and down into foam at least 3 inches. You may want to secure with a little extra craft glue, but it may not be necessary.


Step 9: Finally, decorate with egg ornaments from Dollar Tree or consider making your own!

Pat yourself on the back. You made an adorable tree your kids will love to decorate for Easter.

Now about that exquisite giveaway…

Here is how to enter…

First Entry: In order to receive the first entry please leave a comment on your favorite Fabulously-Homemade blog post thus far, telling me what you like about it AND follow me via e-mail, FB or Twitter. The first entry is required in order to receive additional entries.

Additional Entries: You may receive an additional entry for each of the following, but you also need to post a separate comment on my blog telling me you did each one:

  • Post a blog about my Blog Launch Party and giveaway on your blog or website with the following link: http://fabulously-homemade.com/easter-egg-tree-and-giveaway/
  • Post a Facebook update about the Launch Party and giveaway with the link: http://fabulously-homemade.com/easter-egg-tree-and-giveaway/
  • Tweet about it with the link: http://fabulously-homemade.com/easter-egg-tree-and-giveaway/
  • NEW! Pin me to your home decor, arts and crafts or food and beverage boards on Pinterest!

It’s that simple! Just blab about me to your friends, then comment every time you link my page, follow or Pin me. (If you are already a follower please let me know in a separate comment as well.) That’s a total of 5 comments equaling 5 entries!

And here is what you can win…

Start your morning (and end your day) with spa quality skin care, that will leave your skin as soft (and as beautiful) as silk. The TimeWise® Miracle Set® provides incredible age-fighting results to help give you younger-looking skin. Don’t believe me? It has been featured in Good Housekeeping Magazine, In Style and several other “glossy” publications. Click here for more information on the 11 age-defying benefits of the Miracle Set.

Next in the bag we have a little something for those other areas you may want to firm up before the warmth of Spring: The Timewise Body Visibly Fit Lotion. This silky-smooth body lotion combines the benefits of Mary Kay’s patented* TimeWise® complex with the benefits of amino acids and botanicals. It improves skin firmness, provides up to 10 hours of moisturization, and improves skin elasticity and texture.

Do you love perfume? Wish you had a fragrance for every day of the week? If so, this next gift is for you! Enjoy six mini fragrances in a pretty little gift box tied with a pink satin bow.There is a fragrance for every person and every occasion in this set, and they could all be yours!

Look at the beautiful drape in the wrap and the sheen on the bag. Luxurious!

Finally, engulf yourself in this glorious, silky-soft, light pink wrap. This wrap is big! We are talking a whopping seven and a half feet long by 2 and a half feet wide big! Or is it the other way around? Anyway, it’s big enough to keep you warm in a chilly winter breeze. It’s satiny smooth with just enough soft fuzz to make you feel glamorous and comfortable. Whether going to a cocktail party or just the craft store, you won’t want to leave home without this gorgeous wrap!  It can even double as a throw for your Valentine’s Day Tablescape! The satiny bag can double as a matching decorative pillow case too. Just place a small throw pillow inside and button it up!

Well get posting ladies, because you do not want to miss any opportunities to enter this drawing. You and your skin will thank me. Remember, contest ends at 10PM PST, this Thursday. Good Luck!
Mrs. F

I am participating in Metamorphosis Monday


and

Home Stories A2Z

Snow Day

It’s snowing! Snow is a rare occurrence at the Flescher homestead, so I will be taking a snow day with my family today. I will be back tomorrow to celebrate Metamorphosis Monday with Between Naps on the Porch. In the meantime, check out these fun Valentine’s Day Crafts! (Click on the image for tutorial.)

Cupcake Liner Pomander:

Valentine’s Love Trees:

Valentine’s Heart Wall Hanging:

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