DIY Table Settings: A Little Effort Goes a Long Way

We have all seen place cards set out on elaborately decorated tables..Are they only for weddings? I think not! Not only do place cards direct guests to their seats, but have the ability (when done correctly) to dress up a table and encourage conversation. What better time to do that, but at holiday gatherings?

Table Dressage

Traditionally, Thanksgiving tables consist of heaping bowls of potatoes, cranberries, pies and, of course, a giant golden turkey. There is something to be said about elevating the experience for guests beyond just the intake of scrumptious dishes. For the past few years, I have been mildly obsessed with creating unique place cards for the Thanksgiving table. The first year, paint card samples, buttons, and flourishing handwriting were utilized. Another year, I made mini pumpkin pies (think Quiche size) and toothpick flags with names printed on them.

This year's place card setting.
Mason jar place settings are perfect for dressing up a traditional Thanksgiving feast.

This year, we have a larger table to set, and we will have little ones with us as well. My vision included wanting a vintage/rustic theme. Thanks to 50 percent off mason jar shot glasses and some mason jar packaged moonshine, my vision came together quite nicely. I’m quite pleased with the direction the place cards will take our Thanksgiving. Please note, the “little ones” mentioned above will be receiving place cards tied on Frozen and Minnie Mouse lip glosses – it’s important to cater these place cards to your audience, after all!

Conversational Atmosphere

The moonshine filled mason jars will no doubt be a visual focal piece on the table. They will,  at the very least, encourage conversation, as their contents is surely a surprise. With place cards, there is the unique opportunity to invite individuals to sit next to one another that might not have naturally gravitated towards each other. This can make or break conversation. My advice would be to place people near one another that may have similar interests or are good at striking up and maintaining conversation with others.

Place cards do not need to be dull and stuffy; dressing a table is an opportunity to let creativity flow and to serve as support to a greater experience through the atmosphere for your guests!

How do you dress up your table for holidays?

Thankful Children

It’s November! Holy moly where did this year go? November in our house is big because we have Hank’s birthday (my baby is 1) and Thanksgiving (Steven’s favorite holiday). We are particularly excited about Thanksgiving this year because we have family coming out from Indiana and some of our closest friends are back from Japan and will get to come spend it with us too!

In the midst of all the excitement, one thing that has become increasingly important to me is teaching my children to be thankful. I like to do this all year-long but for the past few years I have tried to be very intentional about it in November. Teaching children to be grateful for the things they have is extremely important. We don’t want to raise children that cannot appreciate the blessings in their life.

I have mentioned before I am not crafty, but I have found that crafts are often a good way to get the girls to be involved and engaged in hands on activities. Continue reading “Thankful Children”

Getting Crafty

I am not crafty. I’m just not. I try. I try really hard. Art class was never my favorite. I still cannot cut a perfect circle. I have half finished scrapbooks and supplies for well intentioned projects that just never seem to happen. But I also have 2 little girls who like to draw, color, paint, and make crafts. So while I may not be the best at it, I still try.

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Recently I decided I want to finally get working on decorating some unfinished places in our house. This includes the kid/guest bathroom. I don’t have a “theme” or design in place but I want it to be colorful and fun (and cheap). So I thought it would be fun to let the girls use some fun right colors to paint on some canvas I had and then I would write Bible verses on them. While doing this I thought back to all the other projects I have done with the girls and realized some things I had to remember and I think is important to all craft/art attempting parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends to small children to remember.

1. Let go of what you think this is going to look like. My girls are 3 and 4, and both have a mind of their own. They want to do what they want. And truthfully they create much more beautiful things when I let go of my perfect image of what it “should” look like if I just step back and watch. There are times I give direction, but if I can I try to let them figure it out. (My only requirement this time was that they could have a gray filled canvas. Somehow they mix all the colors together and I turns into this yucky muddy gray color, and it drives me crazy. Weird, I know.)
2. If possible do it outside. Or cover your floor, chairs, table, anything you don’t want glue, sparkles, marker or glitter on.
3. Get all supplies out and ready before calling them over to do the project.
4. Remember they are going to get messier than you thought. Seriously, Brynn ended up with paint in her hair. But it all washes out and didn’t hurt a thing.
5. Tell them it is beautiful, hang it up, and let them show it off. We have very little art bought in a store in our house. I can’t find anything I like. But we do have drawings, paintings, and crafts hanging. And in this stage in our life, that’s the kind of art we enjoy. And it gives the girls a big self esteem boost to see their paintings hanging in their bathroom.

And for those who are curious I discovered this week that I am not a treadmill fan. I would much rather pound the pavement and endure the hills than deal with running and getting nowhere! But I did run 1.3 continuous miles on it, so maybe it has some benefits.

DIY Bird Feeder: So easy, a Toddler can do it!

It’s that time of year again; time to break out the pumpkin spices and pie pans and decorate your porch with pumpkins. I love fall. I really do. If it was up to me, I would have only fall and summer as seasons. Along with fall, comes many fun crafts that you can do with your kids. My daughter is a couple of months away from turning 2 so I have to get creative when I think about what her skill level is right now. Today, we made some fun little bird feeders!

These are very simple to make and seriously only took us about 10 minutes (TOPS!) to complete. You will need:

  • bird seed (I chose the “wild bird food” since it would be outside and the off brand only cost $5 for a huge bag)
  • peanut butter
  • pine cones
  • yarn or twine

First thing you want to do is cut a length or your yarn or twine and attach it to the pine cone. I intertwined it and tied a knot using the middle of my twine and left the two ends open for when we hang it in a tree. Then spread peanut butter onto the pine cone.

pbpineconeAfter we were done and my daughter had difficulty spreading the peanut butter, my mother-in-law had a great idea: warm up the peanut butter and then have your child dip the cone into it! Or roll it in a pan! Genius! So that’s definitely on my “next time” list for this craft.

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Your next step is to cover the pine cone in bird seed. We started with my daughter holding the string and dipping it into the bowl, but she had more fun using the spoon. Whichever method you use, you want bird seed in all the nooks and crannies. And there you have it! Super easy, inexpensive, and fun, bird feeders! And they are so simple, even a toddler can do it! What is you/your child’s favorite fall craft? Tomorrow we are off to the apple orchard to pick some apples! Another amazing thing to do in the fall! Thanks for reading 🙂

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It Was Time

I finally did it. I took the initiative and got it done. I put aside all other things and made it happen. What is “it?”

A new pincushion.  I know, I’m weird. Here is my poor old one:

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Such a sad sight isn’t it? I had finally had enough of trying not to let the stuffing spill out everywhere as I worked. So I did a little search on my favorite little site that rhymes with “interest,” and voila, I found the perfect replacement. The tutorial was great so I am not going to rewrite it all here; head over to Sew Mama Sew and check out the free tutorial! But, before you head on over, here are the pictures of my finished pincushion.

ImageNot only is it a pincushion, complete with a flannel strip in the middle for needles so you don’t lose them, but it has a “snipped threads” detachable fabric bag and a pocket for scissors and seam rippers etc. It is also weighted so that you can set it on the side of a table (or arm of a chair) and it won’t fall off – such a genius idea!

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I love how bright and cheery it is!Image

While I was at it, I decided to make one for a friend who needed some cheering up:ImageWhile I liked the original tutorial, I did make a few changes. First off, I used sand for the weight instead of rice as I wanted the option of sticking the whole thing in the washer if needed. I also made some slight changes in the size since I was using scraps from my stash. Otherwise, the tutorial was great and very easy to follow. Make sure and post pics below if you try your hand at it!

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