Holiday Wood Sign

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So many cute holiday signs out there this year. I saw so many different versions, I couldn’t decide which one to buy. Finally, I saw one that I liked, it was on the Instagram account of a local boutique that I follow. The problem, the actual boutique is not very close to where I live and the thought of making the trip, in recent weeks, just didn’t seem that fun. Why is it that I’m so willing to drive anywhere and everywhere in the summer but not in the winter? It’s gotta be the weather. I am NOT a cold weather fan. Thus why I always suggest going to the beach for our family vacations. I was vetoed on that this year, by the way. Spending a week in the snow…not sure how I feel about that…can’t win ’em all I guess. Anyway, I was putting off the trip to the boutique until finally I decided to just make a sign myself since I had most of the things I needed. I already had the wood and paint in the garage, so one quick trip to Michaels for the metal and wood letters, and I was in business.

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I started with a 1×10 piece of scrap wood that I had in the garage and I cut it to 37″ long with a jigsaw. The trim I cut out of wood lath, I had a bundle of it from a previous project so I decided to put it to use, but you could use a 1x2x8 board and that should be enough for your whole sign if it is 37″ long. I liked the lath because it has a really rough texture so it gave the frame more of a rustic look. I painted the 1×10 board with white chalk paint and stained the frame pieces with Minwax Dark Walnut. Once both were dry, I attached the frame pieces with wood glue, a nail gun and 1 1/4″ brad nails.

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For the letters, I picked up these 2.5″ wood letters by ArtMinds at Michaels for “FRESH CUT” (spray painted with a red matte paint) and these 3.5″ galvanized letters by ArtMinds for “CHRISTMAS TREES”. Full disclosure, the metal letters actually had little magnets glued to the backside. I didn’t feel like spending time looking for letters without magnets, so I just used needle nose pliers to pull the magnets off. Most came off pretty easily, a few took a little extra strength. Also, the galvanized letters come in silver, gold and rust but the letters I needed were almost all rusted, which is not the look I was going for, so I just sprayed them each with a light coat of this Rust-Oleum hammered silver spray paint for a full galvanized look.

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To create the trees, I used acrylic craft paint in a dark green and dark brown. This part might be intimidating, but honestly, it is easier than you think. Start with the large tree. Use brown, with a small (1/4″) paint brush and paint a straight line for the trunk, making it a little wider at the bottom. Once the trunk is dry, use the same brush (cleaned and dried) and begin to paint on the branches. I painted 1 long stroke to the side for each branch, then light little strokes jetting out along the top and the bottom of each branch. Start with sparse branches (I started with 7 on each side of the large tree), fill in the shoots on each branch and then go back and add more little branches to make the tree look full. On each branch, allow your brush to get a little dry without reloading it with paint in order to get a whispy look here and there.

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That’s it! What do you think? Worth it to not make the drive? Haha!

If you want to hang your new sign, just add one of these saw tooth picture hangers to the back side, centered, about an inch from the top. Just make sure your nails are not too long and won’t go through your wood board, no more than 3/4″.

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DIY Holiday Wreath

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So, this was not a project or post I had planned on, it pretty much happened on accident while I was decorating the mantle today. I had a different plan as to what I was hanging above the mantle and hated how it turned out so I started over and this is what I came up with. I actually LOVE how this wreath turned out and wanted to share with you how simple it was.

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The wreath I started with is this 24″ faux flocked wreath from Walmart. I just happened upon Walmart’s flocked Christmas dรฉcor this year after seeing it in some other bloggers homes and it was all so inexpensive that I had to try it out. You guys, for the price, the quality is GREAT! I got my tree there as well and will absolutely be back for more next year (sadly, they’ve been sold out of their best selling items for a while already). Here are some other great flocked wreath options…

Target Wondershop 18″ Flocked Wreath
Vickerman 30″ Snow Ridge Flocked Wreath
Telluride 24″ Frosted Faux Pine Wreath

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I wanted to add a little more color to the wreath so I decided to use some of the stems I had purchased to use throughout the house. I think this is why I love this wreath so much, next year, I can easily remove the stems and add something totally different to change the look. Here is what I added to the wreath…

Ikea Smycka Eucalyptus Stem
Michael’s Red Mini Berry Stem by Ashland
Michael’s Scented Large Pinecones by Ashland
22 gauge floral wire

Because I wasn’t planning on this being a blog post, I didn’t take pictures in the process of putting it together. However, it was honestly so simple. I used 2 of each stem, one on each side. The wreath is 2 rows of branches attached to 2 metal rings which are visible on the back side of the wreath with about a 2″ gap between the 2 rings.
1. With the wreath facing up, take 1 stem of Eucalyptus and insert the end of the stem through the 2 rows of branches about 2-3″ from the bottom center of the wreath. Leave the end of the stem sticking out the back side of the wreath pointing toward bottom center (you will secure it later) and manipulate each branch of leaves to intertwine it with the wreath branches. These branches are wired so you should be able to get the branches where you want them to go by bending slightly. Don’t spend too much time on this because you may make more adjustments when you add the berries.
2. Add 1 stem of berries the same way, layered over the Eucalyptus stem and intertwine them together to the placement you prefer.
3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 on the opposite side to get a balanced look.
4. Use 3 pinecones and 3 pieces of wire, each approximately 1 foot long. Take 1 piece of wire and 1 pinecone, about 1″ from the bottom of the pinecone, wrap a piece of wire around the pinecone, maneuvering the wire between the pinecone scales (scales? is that what they’re called??) You want the center of the wire wrapped around the pinecone 2 times, and be left with a few inches of wire on each end sticking out the back of the pinecone. Take those wires ends and stick it through the wreath at bottom center. Turn the wreath over, find the wire ends and wrap them around one of the metal wreath rings to secure. This is when I secured the stems as well. I held the stem against one of the rings while I wrapped the wire around. Repeat with the other 2 pinecones.
5. Now that all of you stems and pinecones are attached, your stems should be secure at the center and you’ll just have the ends of the stems loose. I just kind of bent the end of the stems and tucked them under and between the 2 wreath rings to keep them from showing. Very technical, I know ๐Ÿ™‚

That’s it guys! So simple!! AND, the whole wreath cost me $20!!!! Obsessed!

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Now for a few other mantle details…

I had this vintage frame that I picked up at an antique store forever ago and had never used. It was gold so I put a coat of white chalk paint on it to 1) match my dรฉcor and 2) disguise all the chips in the frame. I then used a 4″ wide burlap ribbon, about 2 feet long, to attach the wreath to the frame. Just a simple knot hidden behind the wreath.

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The candlesticks I’ve had for years, a wedding gift from my parents from a little boutique in their hometown (here is a similar style from Ethan Allen)

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If you follow me on Instagram and watch my stories, https://www.instagram.com/justlikeplayinghouse/ you’ll know that the mantle dรฉcor decisions started with my love/hate relationship with this garland ๐Ÿ™‚ I LOVE the long flocked needles but HATED that the pinecones were covered in glitter. I bought a couple of strands anyway, thinking I would remove the glitter pinecones and replace them with plain pinecones. End of the day, I was too lazy to remove the glitter, left them and just added a few plain. I didn’t even secure them, just sort of wedged them in between the needles. I also added a few stems of the eucalyptus to tie it all together.

I also came across these galvanized metal stocking hangers at Walmart when I picked up my tree. Pretty excited when I spotted those little cuties. I’m still working on the stockings themselves so I’ll update you when I decide which style I’m going with this year ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy holidays friends! And happy decorating!!

DIY Baby Gate

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Ok…let’s get something out of the way. November kicked my butt. Big time. I took this break from blogging to get my stuff together, get organized, be more consistent. And, October was great! I posted consistently, I was happy with what I was posting. Then, November happened. Halloween (ok, that’s October, but still) and DIY Halloween costumes, Landon’s first birthday and a fun party to celebrate him (where I may or may not have gone a bit overboard with the theme and dรฉcor), a trip to California for a family wedding which included Landon’s first airplane ride, and was promptly followed by his first cold, and then Thanksgiving. It makes me tired just thinking about all of it. I certainly didn’t get any of my blog objectives accomplished this month. However, this weekend has been SUPER productive so far and I already feel good about December and what I’m going to bring your way, starting with…DUN DUN DUUUNNNN…a DIY Baby Gate! I am so pumped about how this gate turned out but that brings me to point #2 that we need to get out of the way…

The elephant in the room is that I put up a baby gate. And my child has been mobile for 5 months. (*insert face palm emoji here) Now, I started this project when he began to crawl. I had the gate completely built, within a day or two, sitting in my garage. And then…that’s it, it stayed in the garage. Even though all I had to do was paint it and put it up. I’m really unsure when this trait started, beginning a project and then not finishing it. Usually I don’t finish it because it turns out the project was much harder than I thought it would be (ugh eh…our deck) but I can’t use that excuse here, the gate was SO simple! I’ve always been such a procrastinator, wait until the last minute to get something done and then stress out about it not being perfect because I’m rushing to finish it. I’m not sure which is worse, procrastinating or starting a project and not finishing it. I think it has to be the latter, because that leaves me with 3,495,383 half done projects around the house! Anyway, this is my focus area, to make myself better, to stop starting projects and not finishing them. There’s about 5 major projects in the house right now that have been unfinished for sometime. My goal is to complete at least 1 per month (I know that doesn’t sound like much but they are BIG projects…deck, painting the kitchen cabinets, painting the downstairs, finally building benches to go with the dining room table and turning the carpet stairs to hardwood). So that would mean, all 5 of those projects 100% done by my birthday, at the latest. I’m writing it here so you all can hold me accountable, okay? (I know if I write it here, there is at least 1 person who will stay on my case about it, right mom?)

And now, what you all came here for…the baby gate! Like all my projects, this came about from my desire to find a cute baby gate with a barn door-esque look to it. Of course, I couldn’t find anything like it out there, so, I built it. And truly, you know it had to be easy because I didn’t follow a plan, I just made it up as I went. That part was a little scary and took some planning and measuring beforehand but it all turned out well.

Before I share the steps with you, you should know that the opening I built this gate for is not a standard door-size opening so it is a bit of a custom build. I used the width of the opening to determine what size boards I would use and also had to take into account needing 2 pieces of wood attached to the wall on either side for anchoring the gate and attaching the lock. If you are interested in doing this in your own home, please feel free to reach out to me and I’d be happy to help you determine the necessary measurements as well as what size boards to use.

The full space I had to work with is 46 1/2″ wide x 35 1/2″ tall. I needed a little space on each side of the gate for the support boards as well as a little room for the gate to swing open and closed. I calculated that if I used 1×6 boards, it would leave me just enough space. (If you do this, make sure you look up the true measurements on the board you’re using, i.e. a 1×6 board is only 5 1/2″ wide, not 6″, which could make a big difference to your overall project.)

Supplies
4 – 1x6x10 boards
1 – 1x6x8 board
1 – 1x4x8 board
1 – 1x3x8 board
jigsaw, table saw or miter saw (any will work, I used my jigsaw)
wood glue
nail gun
1 1/4″ brad nails
44″ grips (not necessary, but helpful for keeping boards lined up for step 1 & 2)
gate hardware (2 hinges, 1 handle, 1 lock)
paint or stain of your choice
drill with 7/32 drill bit
2″ wood screws

1. Use the 1x6x10 boards, on each board, cut 1 piece @ 44″ and 2 pieces @ 34″. You should have an 8″ piece of scrap wood left over from each board. Line your 34″ boards up side by side, making sure the top and bottom edges line up evenly. Use 44″ grips, across the middle of the boards, to hold the boards together and keep them from moving. If you don’t have grips, you can just hold each board in place as you nail it to ensure it doesn’t move.

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2. Once your grips are secure, use wood glue, the nail gun and 1 1/4″ brad nails to attach a 44″ board across the top and bottom of the 34″ boards. Once secure, remove the grips, turn the gate over to the other side, and attach the other 2 44″ pieces the same way.

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3. Use the 1x6x8 board, cut 4 pieces @ 23″. These pieces are going to lay along the right and left sides and you want them to fit snuggly between the 44″ pieces. I suggest measuring for each one individually before cutting, just to be sure of the exact length. Once cut, attach using wood glue, nail gun and 1 1/4″ brad nails to both the left and right edges of the gate, on the front and back sides.

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4. Use the 1x3x8 to cut 1 piece @ 44″. This is going to be your top trim board. I didn’t snap a picture of this in the construction process because it was actually an afterthought. I wasn’t going to add the trim to the top but decided to in the end because the top edge was a little rough and I thought it would just look more finished this way. Measure the width across the top of the gate before making the cut, it should be close to 44″. Attach using wood glue, nail gun and 1 1/4″ brad nails.

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5. Use the 1x4x8 board to cut your support post and block for the lock to attach to. Make sure you look for studs in the area you will be attaching the gate. This gate is a heavy beast so you definitely want to secure it through studs. Cut 1 piece @ 34 3/4″, this will be the side you attach your hinges to. Cut a 2nd piece @ 3 1/2″ long, this will be the block you attach the lock to. (Once I had those final two pieces cut, this is when I painted everything. Much easier to do before you install. I used white chalk paint on mine.) On the 34 3/4″ piece, use your drill and drill bit to make 3 small notches in the wood where you will secure it to the wall. You don’t want to drill all the way through the board, just aย  slight indent, so the head of the screw will sit below the surface of the board. Then secure the board to the wall using 2″ wood screws and screw into a stud. Set the 3 1/2″ piece aside. I didn’t attach this one until the gate was installed, so that I could line it up with exactly where the edges of the gate would sit.

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6. Now you are going to attach the hardware to the gate. Be sure to pay attention to the top of the gate, and if there’s a certain side you want facing in or out of the room. The hinges I used are these National Hardware Steel Painted gate hinges from Lowes. You will attach the decorative end of the hinge to the gate, when figuring out placement, I held the hinge at a 90ยฐ angle up against the gate and then secured the decorative end with the screws it comes with. Attach the second hinge toward the bottom of the gate the same way. I also attached the handle before hanging the gate, you can do this now or later. I used the Gatehouse Black gate pull and placed it on the right edge of the gate on the same side as the hinges, halfway down the gate. Now you can hang the gate by securing the other side of the hinge to the anchor board that you attached to the wall. *Note: since the gate is so heavy, it is best to do this with 2 people. If you can’t do it with two people, I suggest using something sturdy underneath the gate to lift it up to the appropriate height for attaching. You WILL NOT be able to hold the gate up and attach it by yourself, please don’t try. I used pieces of 2x4s to raise the gate up to the proper height but please be careful if you’re using this method. Use the screws that accompany the hinge to attach the rectangular side of the hinge to the anchor board.

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7. Now that the gate is hung, you can determine the placement of the 3 1/2″ block. I just pushed the gate into the “closed” position to see where it naturally rested, then marked on the wall with a pencil where the block should sit. Use the drill and drill bit to make 2 notches into the block the way you did with the anchor board, then attach the block to the wall using 2″ wood screws. Line the gate up with the block, put the locking mechanism into locked position while you are attaching it. This way, you know the pieces are lined up properly. I used the Gatehouse 3-in steel bolt, mostly because of the small size. I knew I wouldn’t have a ton of space for a larger lock.

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Done and done! Lock that puppy and keep your little one contained to one room ๐Ÿ™‚ I absolutely love how this project turned out and like I said before, if you are interested in doing this in your home and need help adjusting the measurements for a custom fit, I’d be happy to help. Just go to the contact page and send me a message!

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Landon’s “Wild One” Birthday

I thought I jump on here while Landon is napping to share what has been keeping me so busy this last week. Our little guy turned 1, so naturally, I had to throw a party. Granted, this was more of a party for the grown ups than for the kids as there were only 5 kids there…oops. But, after our first year as parents, I think all parents deserve a party ๐Ÿ™‚

Like everything, I always turn to Pinterest for inspiration and found a few cute themes for a first birthday, but ended up going with Where The Wild Things Are or Wild One. I had actually planned on doing a few other things than what is pictured here but because I ALWAYS procrastinate, I ran out of time for a few projects.

Anyway, the party was so much fun, Landon was such a trooper and had fun the entire time. A huge thank you to all our friends and family who came to help us celebrate this little guy. It’s been one wild year and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

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“Welcome to my party!” ๐Ÿ™‚ This kid! His crown was a little floppy AND the fur trim came off because I used iron-on adhesive instead of sewing it…fail. So, we switched to a different crown later that I had order off Amazon. (You’ll see that in the cake smash photos). His onsie was just a plain white one that I added an iron-on transfer to. He also had a tail made from the same fur as the trim on the crown, sadly, we never really got a good photo of it.

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I set up this little area for the kids to play in. Teepee and rug are from Target. Chalkboard sign is from Michael’s and says “Let’s make mischief of one kind or another!”. Banners are both blank banners from Target. On the Wild One banner, I just used a black sharpie on the letters and in the same felt I used for Landon’s crown, I cut out little crowns and used wood glue to attach them to the wood banner pieces.

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This is probably why I didn’t get as many little projects done as I had planned on. I spent a few hours, at least 4, working on this guy. I love it though, it was a fun way to let everyone know a little more about the birthday boy. I already had the chalkboard door, this was a DIY I did a while ago. You can see that post here.

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ย I have to give a HUGE shout out to my sister and my mom for getting all the food ready the day of the party, while I was running around doing other things. Food at parties always stresses me out and I always wind up wishing I’d had it catered. But, it turned out great thanks to my helpers!

I tried to keep the menu pretty simple because of the timing of the party, late afternoon to early evening and tried to come up with fun names for the food that went with the theme of the party. Some of the names were a stretch :). We served veggie sticks (Veggie Vines) with dip (Wild Thing Dip), fresh fruit (Speared Fruit), goat cheese rolled in chopped chives (Mossy Rocks), Party Mix w/Goldfish crackers (Fish Food) and Ham & Cheese Sliders (Wolf Biscuits). The Ham & Cheese Sliders are amazing, by the way, and I always use this recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything.

The tree trunk plaques I used as serving platters are from Michaels and the chalkboard food signs are from Target.

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The desserts (and Landon’s cake smash) were probably my favorite part of the whole party. I did not make these! No way! I went searching for a custom cake shop in the area and came across Laurie Clarke Cakes in Wilsonville and you guys…AMAZING! I felt so silly when I messaged her because #1 – that party was 1 week away (me the procrastinator…remember?) and #2 – I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted, just had a photo of the smash cake and pretty much just said “here’s what I like, do what you can”. I know…who am I? But this is what she came up with!!!! So perfect and SO delicious! If you are in the Portland area and need cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, use Laurie…you won’t be sorry!

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Just a couple little touches…bubbles to keep the kids occupied. Just used little white craft bags from Michaels and printed labels on the computer that said “A trick to tame the wild things”. I also got Landon a copy of Where The Wild Things Are and had party guests write a little note to him. A fun reminder for him to look back on one day.

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We ended the evening by singing happy birthday and letting Landon go to town on his smash cake. It was pretty cute, he would get a hand full of frosting, put it in his mouth, and then look around as everyone laughed at him. Then, repeat ๐Ÿ™‚

Such a fun evening. And I would do it all again. Just maybe not procrastinate so much next time ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sausage & Apple Stuffed Squash

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This dish just screams fall to me! The squash, the apples, the herbs. Made me want to curl up on the couch with a blanket and a glass of wine, which is exactly what I did right after eating this ๐Ÿ™‚ For the presentation that you get with a stuffed squash, the prep and hands-on time is relatively easy. This makes a great dish on it’s own for dinner, or as a side dish for a dinner party. You could even use a roasted acorn squash to serve your Thanksgiving stuffing, if you really want to get crazy! The other great thing about this recipe, you can easily change up the ingredients that you put inside to tailor it to your own diet or tastes. Add some grains, like cooked rice or quinoa, remove the dairy, change the meat to chicken sausage or add beans for protein instead. The possibilities are endless. So get creative and let me know if you try any substitutions. I’d love to hear about it!!

Sausage & Apple Stuffed Squash
3 Acorn squash
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
1 lb ground pork sausage
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled & diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 Tbsp rosemary, chopped
1 Tbsp thyme, chopped
1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp shredded sharp white cheddar cheese

1.ย  Preheat oven to 400ยฐF. Prepare squash by cutting 1 1/2″ off top and use a spoon to scrape out seeds. (If you want to keep the squash tops for decorative purposes, set them aside until step 5, otherwise, discard them.) Once the inside is clean, cut approximately 1/2″ off the bottom to create a flat surface, trying not to puncture through the bottom of squash into center opening, if possible. (If you do puncture, it will still work, you’ll just need to use a non-slotted spatula when moving the squash from baking sheet to plate to avoid losing the filling.)
2. Use a brush to coat inside of squash in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Place squash on baking sheet and roast in oven for 1 hour.
3. While squash is roasting, prepare the filling. In a skillet or deep frying pan, brown the sausage over medium heat until no pink remains, approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once browned, remove sausage to a plate using a slotted spoon, leaving grease in frying pan.
4. Add onion and celery to frying pan and cook until they begin to soften, approximately 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add apple, cook an additional 3 minutes. Add cooked sausage, herbs, 1/2 cup cheese and salt & pepper to taste, stir to combine and remove from heat.
5. When squash is finished roasting, remove baking sheet from oven. Spoon the filling equally into the squash and sprinkle with remaining cheese. (If you are serving with squash tops, place tops on baking sheet at this point.) Place baking sheet back in oven and roast for an additional 15 minutes. When finished, remove from oven and serve.

Enjoy!

Fall Home Tour

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We officially have a walking baby!! Landon has been taking a few wobbly steps each day but last night he walked all the way across the living room! It was cute, exciting and terrifying all at the same time ๐Ÿ™‚ With each new milestone comes a whole new stage of unexpectedness (I’m going to pretend that’s a word).

With this milestone has come the 12 month sleep regression. Landon has been waking up at 5:30 every morning for about a week now. Now that he’s walking, he should go back to his normal sleep pattern soon. This morning he woke up at 6:00 but then fell back asleep until 7:30. Hopefully, with a few days of practice walking under his belt, we’ll get back to normal.

I spent the weekend cleaning the house and shooting my fall dรฉcor so that I could put a little home tour together for you. It’s later than I wanted to have this post done but, better late than never?? I’m loving everything I added this season and I tried to keep things simple, not too busy. I stuck to a bit of a pumpkins and galvanized metal theme with all of my pumpkins being from Michaels and all of my greenery being from Ikea.

I hope you guys enjoy the inspiration! And I’m already thinking about what I want to do for Christmas and my hope is to get it done and posted EARLY so that you can have some inspo in time for your own decorating!

Happy decorating ๐Ÿ™‚

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Home Bar

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Why is it that when the time comes around for family photos (or any type of photos for that matter) I immediately feel like I have no style sense, whatsoever? Anyone else? Ah, well…that’s what style bloggers and Pinterest are for, right?

I posted a few days ago about the paint transformation on this little piece of furniture and now I’m showing you how I dressed it up. (In case you missed it, click here for the transformation and product info) I wanted to downsize our bar area and put it in a less focal area of the dining room. This piece worked out great for that because it is about half the size of the buffet I was using for the bar area.

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I wanted to keep the dรฉcor really simple since it is such a small area. On the bar top, I stuck to a tray for alcohol and a simple arrangement. This wooden tray has moved throughout my entire house! I’ve used it to hold a candle surrounded by potpourri on the table in the breakfast nook, a small flower arrangement, candle and a framed photo on the coffee table and now alcohol on the bar. You can really get a lot of use out of a little tray like this. Those eucalyptus stems are one of my favorite fall finds this year, from Ikea. I should have grabbed so many more! The little watering can is also from Ikea and contains 3 stems.

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If you remember the post of my home bar from a few years ago, you’ll recognize those shelves. Originally, I had stained the shelf with dark walnut stain but wanted a lighter look this time so I just painted over it with 2 coats of white chalk paint. Click here to see the last home bar I set up. I loved it at the time, but definitely a bit darker and heavier than what I’m going for these days. In the post that I linked above, I talked about how I made the shelves, I put these together with some items from Lowe’s. Really basic. However, if you aren’t into that and want something that’s ready to go, I’ll link a few shelves below that I like. The rope handle jar is a few years old from Pottery Barn but I linked something similar below. I love using something like this to fill a space because you can put anything in it to match your dรฉcor and easily switch it out for the next season or holiday if need be. Plus, it’s a good way to add some height and color to a shelf or table.

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I’d love to hear what you guys think of the new look! And I’ve linked sources below, or similar items if it’s no longer available, so you can create a similar look in your home.

Click the items below to shop the look!

Enjoy!!

 

DIY Toy Box

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I think I officially have a toddler. I mean, when I spend the entire day either chasing the little munchkin or saying “No, Landon…no, no, no….Landon, that’s not to play with” that equals toddler, right?!?! When he first learned what the word “no” meant, he would usually stop whatever behavior I was saying no to. Now, he is testing the limits and repeating the behavior, over and over and over. The latest, picking food up off his high chair tray, holding his food-filled fist for me to see and dropping it while I tell him not to drop the food. Big heavy sigh.

Once Landon turned 4 months, we started accumulating toys at rapid pace so I needed a place to store them. I started searching for toy boxes and toy storage. There were some cute options out there but not a lot that really went with his nursery or my dรฉcor style. Baskets would have been the best option if I had a big shelving unit to store them on, but, space in the nursery was becoming limited.

I came across this unfinished wood toy box on Wayfair and decided to customize it to fit the style of the room.

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I painted the toy box white with Heirloom Traditions A La Mode chalk paint, 3 coats total, and then used DIY Big Top Aftershow top coat. I followed it up with a light sanding on the edges with 180 grit sandpaper.

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Next, I decided to add a padded seat to the top of the toy box. I added the hinges to the lid so that I could cut and attach the padding and fabric around them. Lay out your fabric on the ground (design side down), making sure that if you are using fabric with a pattern, you pay attention to the placement and angle of the pattern. Next, lay out a piece of 1″ foam on top of the fabric followed by the lid placed upside down on top of the foam. At this point, you can cut the foam and the fabric to the appropriate dimensions. Leave a 1″ border of foam around the toy box lid. Leave a 2″ border between the fabric and foam to allow for folding the edges over and attaching with staples.

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To attach the padding and fabric, I folded the edge of the fabric over on itself, the folded the remaining edge of the fabric over the foam and toy box lid, securing it with staples and my electric staple gun. When you are securing the fabric, work on one side at a time and secure only to within 2″ of each corner so that the fabric at the corners is loose. You are going to make some cuts and folds in order to tuck the corner fabric in. Also, when securing the fabric on the hinge side, staple everywhere except at the hinges, leaving the fabric loose there as well.

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To secure corners, you want to cut away the extra layers of fabric that were folded under, leaving only 1 layer of fabric. Take the tip of fabric at the corner, fold it over the lid and secure with a staple. You should now have loose fabric on either side of the corner. On each side, you will fold and roll the fabric under itself at an angle so that when you bring the two sides together they will meet at the corner. Secure with staples.

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To secure fabric around hinges, again, cut away some of the layers so you have just 1 layer of fabric, refold the fabric so that it fits around the hinge and secure with staples.

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Once I attached the lid to the toy box, I wanted to add a little more detail so I picked up some metal T strap and L strap angles , spray painted them black and attached them at each corner for a little industrial touch.

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That’s it! Totally customizable to your color and design! Just change paint color, fabric, spray paint and done ๐Ÿ™‚

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Apple Chips

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It finally feels like fall! Like everyday fall, not just a day here and there. I’m going to revel in this for a while because I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m cursing all the rain. Not happy in, not happy out, ya know?

We spent the morning at a cute little pumpkin patch farm, complete with hay rides, pony rides, tractors, slides and fresh made pumpkin spice doughnuts! I mean, sign me up! Especially the donut part ๐Ÿ™‚

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Landon is so intrigued by everything these days, this fall and holiday season is going to be so fun exploring with him.

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He seemed to like the cows the most and it was pretty cute to hear him say “mmmm” when I asked what sound does a cow make ๐Ÿ™‚

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Ok, apple chips. So easy! They take a little time but the hands-on time is nothing and they make such a great fall snack. I literally can not stop eating them.

Apple Chips
1 apple
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 250ยฐF. Slice apple very thin, approximately 1/8″ thick. I used a mandoline slicer and put it on the middle setting, not paper thin but 1 setting past that.
2. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper, lay apple slices on parchment paper in a single layer. Sprinkle apples with cinnamon on both sides.
3. Bake apples for 2 1/2 hours, turning once halfway through baking time.

See?!?! So easy! The more baking sheets have, the more you can bake at a time. I was able to fit 1 apple on each XL baking sheet.

Enjoy!

Small Buffet Upcycle

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Hi everyone!!! Wow, it feels like I’ve been gone for SO LONG! I mean, 2 months isn’t forever but still, I missed posting for you and I’m glad to be back at it. Thank you for hanging in there while I took a little break. I was able to accomplish quite a few things around the house, get myself organized and reprioritize what I want and need to do with this blog going forward. I’m so excited to get back to sharing things with you and have so many fun projects in store, so I hope you love them as much as I do!

How about a little life update first ๐Ÿ™‚ Not a ton has changed, just the usual day-in and day-out of stay-at-home motherhood. We have been taking more weekend trips as a family and I’ve been getting Landon out into some play groups each week, which he loves! So, we’ve been more social in the last couple of months I guess. The little one is seriously on the move! He is crawling and cruising SO fast! Walking is just around the corner…(heavy sigh). And no, mom, I still don’t have the baby gate up. :/ Landon is also adding to his vocabulary. He now says mama, dada, nana, & Ella (except Ella sounds more like Elwa, but so cute!) Speaking of Ella, I think she may have kennel cough. Ugh! Have any of you dealt with kennel cough in your dog? She is current on vaccinations, we did board both dogs about 2 1/2 weeks ago and she started this awful cough/choking sound just over a day ago. I’m hoping it’s not something more serious but we’re going to the vet today, so I’ll keep you posted.

So, this mini buffet. What do you think?!?! I’ve had this piece of furniture for years, 7 years to be exact, as it was a wedding gift from my little sisters. I honestly never had a true home for this piece but recently, have not been liking our bar area. It was a bit too big and in a very focal point of our home so I want to make it smaller and de-emphasize it a bit. This mini buffet seemed like the perfect size. Of course I forgot to take a picture of it before painting…this is why I needed to get organized about my projects, I start projects on a whim, only get them halfway done, never feel like I’m getting anywhere with this house! Before, it was a cream/yellow tone with bronze hardware and chalkboard doors. It was super cute but the yellow tone just didn’t go with the rest of the house anymore.

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I did want some of the black to show through when I distressed this piece, so to start, I painted 1 coat of Heirloom Traditions Black Bean on any area that wasn’t already black. Once that was dry, I added 2 coats of A La Mode (White). Most of the time, when I distress furniture, I just go over the edges with sandpaper. This time, however, I used a technique called Wet Distressing. You distress right away after the paint dries, don’t give it any time to cure because you want the paint to come off easily. Using a sponge or rag, and a bowl of water, you get the sponge wet, ring out the excess water, and lightly rub the area you want to distress. This will essentially peel off the paint giving you more of a “chippy paint” effect. ย I actually found this method of distressing much easier than sanding and WAY less messy.

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For the knobs, I went with this simple matte black round ceramic knob from Home Depot.

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ย And that’s it! Just a simple upcycle that made a world of difference to our bar area. If you have followed for a while, you’ll remember when I originally put the bar area together. It turned out like this…

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I did like it but have since taken our dรฉcor in a different direction so I thought this area needed an update. I also moved it to the opposite side of the room so that it is tucked away in the corner instead of front and center when you walk into our kitchen/dining room.

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I’d love to hear what you think of the new version! I also have a fall dรฉcor post coming later this week where you will be able to find sources for all the dรฉcor pieces you see here.

Happy Wednesday everyone! And it feels great to be back, I missed you friends!! ๐Ÿ™‚