Monday, September 30, 2013

Aqua and Natural Wood Fall Mantle

Fall Mantel Blue and Natural

Happy Monday friends!  I’m excited today to finally show you my aqua and natural wood fall mantle!
This mantle has slowly been in progress over the last week, but the already shorter days of fall were making it a little difficult to get decent lighting for pictures when I got home in the evening.  I was finally able to snap some pics for you and here it is!

Linen Oak Leaf Garland

If you follow me on Instagram, then you got to see a sneak peek of this linen oak leaf garland early this week.  To make this, I simply traced an oak leaf image from my computer screen, then traced onto my fabric.  I got this gorgeous floral linen long ago on clearance at Hobby Lobby, and it’s been sitting quietly in my stash waiting to be made into something beautiful.  After cutting out the leaf shapes, I tied them to a thin twine that I hang from my mantle with Command small wire hooks.

Fall Mantel Wheat

I used the leftover wheat from my Wheat and Hydrangea Wreath by placing it in the aqua vase that I found on my recent IKEA shopping trip.  And in lieu of the traditional real pumpkin, I made some of my own… Embroidery Hoop Pumpkins, which I’ll show you how to make later this week.

Fall Mantel

Aren’t they fun?!  *squee!*

Embroidery Hoop Pumpkin

Keeping with the embroidery hoop theme, I also made a hand-stitched pumpkin with an oblong embroidery hoop, some osnaberg fabric, and some hand-stitched pumpkin grooves.  I love how the wooden brackets on top resemble a pumpkin stem without even trying.

Blue and Natural Mantle

So that’s it!  This will be my view for the next several weeks until it’s time to start spookin’ things up around here for Halloween.  I already made a trip to the costume store today with one of my littles, so it’s just around the corner.  Hope you’re enjoying these first weeks of fall…

Are you decorating for fall or do you skip straight to Halloween?

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Friday, September 27, 2013

What's for Dinner? with the Wisest Kid in the Whole World!

What's for dinner?  Ahhh, the million dollar question, right?  While I'd love to say that I'm one of those moms that has my menu planned out and ready to go every week, instead I'm usually standing in front of the pantry in the evening, waiting for some mealtime inspiration.

Now, though, mama's got a little helper: Campbell's Kitchen  has new, kid-friendly recipes like Mini Chicken Pot Pies, and fun ways for your kids to eat tomato soup or chicken noodle soup.  Campbell's soup is a pantry staple around here, so I'm excited about this new recipe resource.

I don't know about you, but nothing makes me happier than when my kids enjoy the food that I've made for them.  (I've had my share of recipe fails around the home.made. abode, so believe me when I say this!)  My oldest daughter actually told me this past week "Mom, if you want me to eat, you need to make this more often."

Out of the mouths of babes...

Campbell's new Wisest Kid in the World widget allows you to plug in your kids' words of wisdom for all the world to see, so I thought my girl's advice to me should be shared.  If your child has had something crazy come of his/her mouth, plug it in to the widget so we can all enjoy!

I'll be taking my daughter's words to heart and making her new fave dinner more often, so she'll eat as opposed to saying she's not hungry and then wanting a snack an hour later.  (Tell me this doesn't only happen in my house!).  And I'm sharing the recipe with you for this new fave of my kids... enjoy!

This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

Monday, September 23, 2013

If Family Heirlooms Could Talk…

Family Heirlooms

I recently paid a visit to my childhood home after my father broke the news that he is planning on selling it.  The visit was the first of what will be many trips back and forth, removing treasured items that belonged to my mother and have been sitting there, untouched, for the past nearly thirteen years since her death.

Just typing that sentence makes me miss her so much I can hardly breathe…

I’ll be quite honest and tell you that I’ve hardly set foot in that house since she died.  In the time after her death, it was just too painful.  Every room, every wall was a memory and a painful reminder that she was gone.  I was 23 years old and didn’t want to be reminded that I was motherless, that my mom wouldn’t be at my wedding or see my children be born or get to be a grandmother.

So fast forward thirteen years.

I’m 36 and it still took every ounce of courage I have to walk in that house and gather her things and remember…

home.made. Family Heirlooms Silverware

And I find, as I look at each heirloom, that I’m suddenly trying to remember more… like the stories she used to tell us about her grandparents, whose well-loved silverware and china was passed on to her.

home.made. Family Heirlooms

Didn’t they own a store?  Isn’t that what she told me?

home.made. Family Heirlooms Silver

They had two children, but I think they also adopted two who later separated from the family… right?

If only the silverware and the china and the glassware could fill in the rest of the story…

As I was unpacking these items and washing them, ever so carefully, my oldest daughter came up and grabbed a punch glass and admired it, asking “Wow! Was this fancy stuff your mom’s?!”.  After a brief panic (Don’t drop it!), I laughed and said no and began to tell her the story (what I remember) of my great-grandparents.

I imagine that, as I make more trips and bring home more treasures that more stories will be told to my daughters.  I’ll be sure to include all the extra details that they won’t want to know now, but that they will want to know someday, and I’ll be sure to tell them everything I can about my mother so they feel like they knew her.

I’ll remember her.

I’ll miss her.

I’ll tell her story, so that they may someday tell it too.

home.made. Hutch

And I’ll remember to soak up the memories from my own story along the way…

Friday, September 20, 2013

Wheat and Hydrangea Fall Wreath

Simple Fall Wreath

Hey hey friends!  I’m finally starting on my fall décor after crawling out of the craziness of school starting up again and having one kiddo in soccer and the other in karate (parental torture… can I get an amen?).  Anyhoo, back to the fall décor, right?  Today I’m sharing my Wheat and Hydrangea Fall Wreath with you.

Polka Dot Burlap

I found all of the supplies for this wreath at Hobby Lobby: a grapevine wreath, faux wheat and pumpkins, and the coolest polka dot burlap hydrangea picks ever.  With the fall items on sale and my 40% off coupon, I spent less than $10 total and I have enough leftover wheat stalks to use elsewhere around the house.

Wheat Hydrangea and Pumpkin

I love the combination of natural elements like grapevine, wheat, and pumpkins with the unexpected pop of the fun polka dot flowers.

Simple Fall Wheat Wreath

The brown, orange, and white color scheme will lend to a smooth transition to Halloween décor next month… and it just so happens to go pretty well with a turquoise door.  But I’ll let you decide that for yourself…

Simple Fall Wheat and Hydrangea Wreath

Hope you’ve had a great week… tell me, is it cool where you are?  If so, please tell me all about it so I may live vicariously through you!

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fall Decor Ideas

Hi friends... are you ready for fall yet?  I know I am!  I am so over these hot Texas days and am ready for the cooler days ahead.  Although I'm still working on this year's fall decor, I thought I'd share some of my favorite past fall decor ideas with you.

A Simple Moss and Pumpkin wreath is perfect for early fall.

You can use the leftover moss to make a Moss Pumpkin Topiary.

Ric Rac Pumpkins are a quick and easy way to personalize small pumpkins.

Silver Leaf Pumpkins are a nice touch for any mantel.

And just in case you're ready for some Halloween inspiration... here's the second version of my moss wreath: the Spooky Skeleton Wreath.

So, are you ready to get your fall decor on?

I will be pulling out the pumpkins this weekend and adding some fall touches around my home.  I stocked up on fall scents from Bath and Body Works a couple of weeks ago so it already smells like fall - now I just have to add my little autumn touches here and there to make it official!

My project list seems to be getting longer lately but I have plans to knock out a few things this weekend.  A certain dresser is begging to be my milk paint guinea pig...

Hope you are having a great week!  What projects are you working on right now?

Monday, September 9, 2013

My First Slipcover!

home.made. Slipcovered Chair

Well, I did it.  I survived the making of my first slipcover.

I showed you the beginning stages of this project here when I decided to tackle making my first slipcover.  I referenced multiple tutorials in that post, but Miss Mustard Seed’s Slipcover video tutorials were the most helpful.

I used some white cotton twill fabric from my stash and an old, stained Rachel Ashwell tablecloth to cover this chair.

home.made. Slipcover Chair

The seatback, seat bottom, and arm pieces were cut individually from cotton twill.  The back piece and the front skirting were cut from the old tablecloth so I could use the crochet trim as the finished edge.

Slipcovered Chair

Now, in case you were expecting a Miss Mustard Seed caliber slipcover here, complete with piping and a pleated edge… well, ahem, you might need to go visit her blog.  Ha!  Since this was my first slipcover, I thought I’d try and simply succeed in piecing it together before I went and got all fancy schmancy.

home.made. My First Slipcover

I think it turned out pretty cute, wonky seams and all.  In retrospect, there are some things I would have done differently… for starters, I would have not done the separate arm pieces but rather would have extended fabric from the back of the chair to wrap around and join to the seatback. Those little pieces were very difficult to maneuver while sewing, causing me to rip a few seams and suffer a few poked fingers.  *ouch*   I also would have sewn the back portion in two pieces with a center seam to help it hug the chair a little better.

So, will I make a slipcover again?  Maybe.  Hopefully if I do try this again, I’ll take my time and make it a little more Miss Mustard Seed.  As for the chair, I’m not quite done with it yet.  Those little legs need a fresh coat of paint, don’t you think?

home.made. First Slipcover

This little corner is in my Master Bedroom, and I’m working to make it a cozy little place to sit and read.  I still need a small table and a lamp and a few more things on the wall… but it’s getting there.  This slipcover marks another project off the to-do list – woot!

Hope you had a great weekend and an even better Monday!

Linking here:

Savvy Southern Style

Inspire Me Please Party

The Inspiration Gallery

Fabulously Creative Friday

Somewhat Simple


Tatertots and Jello

Funky Junk Interiors

Too Much Time

I Heart Naptime

Three Mango Seeds

The Sunday Showcase

Home Stories A to Z

Inspiration Exchange

Power of Paint Party

The Scoop

Tuesday’s Treasures

The 36th Avenue

Transformation Thursday

Be Different Act Normal

It’s Overflowing

Beneath My Heart

Happy Housie

Friday, September 6, 2013

Living Debt Free–Nine Months Later

It’s hard to believe, but it’s already been nine months since my husband and I announced we were debt freeDave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover was the catalyst for this life change, and his Seven Baby Steps are our roadmap to financial peace… here’s where we are in this journey thus far.

Baby Step 1.  $1000 to start an Emergency Fund


Baby Step 2. Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball


Baby Step 3. 3 to 6 months expenses in savings

So, nine months later… we’re still working on baby step 3.  We had a big setback in May when I had to have an unexpected surgery that cost quite a bit out of pocket.  It sucked for several reasons, but was a perfect testimony to the importance of the emergency fund.  We were able to pay for the surgery in cash, something we wouldn’t have been able to do before we were debt free.

We also diverted a little from the Baby Steps by setting aside a home improvement fund.  I admit this was with a lot of persuasion from me… but luckily I was able to win over Mr. home.made.  I set up a budget worksheet for the various projects and purchases and have been keeping close tabs to be sure I stay within my budget.  I’ll share this with you soon…
Right now, we’re almost halfway to our savings goal and hope to be there by the spring.

  Next baby step?  Invest 15% income into Roth IRA and pretax retirements.

Of course, we have something a little more fun in mind…

Doesn't get any cuter than this!! miss gracie's house: DIY camper remodel

We’ll see what Dave says when we get to this point…

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

American Girl Crafts Roundup

American Girl Crafts Roundup

I recently took my daughters to the mother ship of little girl dolls: the American Girl store.

photo (46)

The trip was a belated birthday gift for my youngest, who was ever so excited to pick out her very own AG doll:

photo (49)

After a quick bite at the Bistro located in the store, we picked out her doll and then, of course, had to get girl/doll coordinating outfits.  And while I would have loved to have purchased every thing her little heart desired for her new “friend” the prices had me feeling a little weak in the knees.  ($200 for bicycle… for a doll.  Really?)

Luckily, there are loads of DIY American Girl Crafts I can make, so I’ve rounded them up here in case you’re part of the AG family too!  Enjoy!

My daughter really wants this farmhouse doll bed from Ana White.

American Girl Doll Sleeping Bag Tutorial

Melissa at Polka Dot Chair shares this sleeping bag and pillow tutorial.

KC at the Real Coake blog has a lot of great AG ideas, like this mini chef set!

American Girl Craft ~ Mailboxes

And these adorable mailboxes.

If you need an inexpensive alternative to the American Girl horse stable, girl. Inspired. has this one for you.

American Girl Crafts

And what about a Gymnastics Ribbon for your budding doll gymnast?

costume, halloween, robin, batman, spiderman, wonder woman, holiday, dress up

Lastly, perhaps my favorite American Girl craft of all: DIY superhero costumes from Theresa at Theresa’s Mixed Nuts!  Are these not the most fabulous things ever?  Must.  Make.  All.

Have you joined the American Girl family yet??  I’d love to hear all about your daughter’s dolls (or maybe your dolls – we did see a group of adults having lunch at the Bistro with their dolls)!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

{Kid’s Craft} DIY Apple-Stamped Placemats for Fall!

home.made. Apple Stamped Placemats

It’s officially September, so it’s time to decorate for fall (even if it’s still 100 degrees outside…) - I’m so excited to show you a fun project I did with my girls a couple of weeks ago to add a little touch of fall to our kitchen table: DIY Apple-Stamped Placemats!

This project was easy, my kids loved it, and I used things I already had on hand so it cost me nothing!

You’ll Need:

Sturdy Fabric cut into 12” x 18” pieces (I made four)
Fabric Paint or Acrylic Paint mixed with Liquid Fabric Medium
Apple, cut in half
Cutie-pie Kiddo Helpers :)


I used cotton duck cloth for our placemats – after cutting, I simply washed and dried them for a rustic frayed edge.  We kept it traditional used red and green for our apples, but any color would be fun so feel free to experiment!

** Kid’s Craft Tip** Kraft paper works great to protect your work surfaces while crafting (especially when kiddos are involved).


Coat apple stamp with paint (you might need to help with this part)…


And stamp away.


Allow your paint to dry and follow instructions for setting paint (if applicable).  That’s it!  You’re ready to set your fall table with your new apple-stamped placemats and if you’re a blogger like me, take the obligatory photos!  My kiddos always think mama’s a little crazy when I snapping photos of my projects – do yours act this way too?

home.made. Apple Place Setting Close

home.made. Apple Place Setting

home.made. Apple Stamped Placemat

Hope you’re having a great start to your September…

Linking here:

Savvy Southern Style

Inspire Me Please Party

The Inspiration Gallery

Fabulously Creative Friday

Somewhat Simple


Tatertots and Jello

Funky Junk Interiors

Too Much Time

I Heart Naptime

Three Mango Seeds

The Sunday Showcase

Home Stories A to Z

Inspiration Exchange

Power of Paint Party

The Scoop

Tuesday’s Treasures

The 36th Avenue

Transformation Thursday

Be Different Act Normal

It’s Overflowing

Beneath My Heart

Happy Housie


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