Saturday, November 30

A Winter Maternity Shoot

I had to share some of my favorite shots from a quick maternity session outside my parent's home this morning!  We can't wait to meet you, baby E ;)

Monday, November 25

DIY Advent Calendar

I'm so glad to finally get this tutorial finished- this Monday through Friday work week is really cutting into my creative time.  I'm really going to get a good schedule figured out soon, I hope.

I was inspired to make a natural/rustic appearing advent calendar after months of admiring this one at Pottery Barn, which was obviously outside of my "advent calendar" budget for the month.  In all honesty, I think this one cost us about $5, considering we had to buy a box of staples for the staple gun and a yard of burlap.

So here are the details:

a board/old piece of wood/cut piece of plywood (basically whatever you've got): ours was 30"x 20" x 1/4" 
approx 1 yard of burlap (or other similar fabric)
staple gun
staples (appropriate for the width of the wood backing)- we used 1/4" thick wood/craft staples
filler/decorations for each pocket
a handy helper (ie husband), especially if you're not keen on running a staple gun ;)


The fabric ladies always mention that to cut burlap, you must first grab a loose string and pull it through the entire piece of fabric to create a place to cut, in order not to fray the fabric.  You then line your scissors up to the opening in the fabric, and cut along that line.

I honestly did have the majority of the work, though, because I had to cut twenty five pieces of burlap.  And mind you, I was just guessing sizes, but this is about what we found worked the nicest.  I measured approximately 8 inches by 4 or 5 inch rectangles (I'm no pro).

I then folded each rectangle to create the pocket-  I tried to make them as close to the same size as possible, and those were about 3 inches wide (overlapping the burlap), and 3 inches tall.

To form the pocket, I folded the bottom of the burlap up, and held it in place until my stapling helper could connect it to the board.

Notice the measuring guide- we did want to follow an appropriate pattern in order to fit all 25 pockets on our board.  I wanted to keep the shape of a tree (triangle), so we used the obvious pattern seen in the finished project:


We did use 3-4 staples in each pocket, to make sure it was secure enough to hold some gifts/candies with which I intend to fill it!

Repeat the process, attaching each pocket.  I would definitely recommend sizing your pockets by a rough drawing prior to beginning (unlike us).  We ended up removing the first 3 rows after we realized I had spaced them too far apart.  The second time around, we used a pencil to mimic the pockets and appropriately placed them before actually stapling each one.
I'm really not that patient, it seems.

I grabbed some artificial berries from our decorations last year and some greenery from one of our trees to keep this calendar company until the small gifts/treats arrive.  

It's just beautiful.

I'm really excited about teaching our two-year-old the miracle of Christmas, and though I know she'll be so excited to get gifts, we're going to use this Advent Calendar as a reason to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas.  I think I'll be able to keep her attention for a few minutes each night during advent, knowing there's a special treat waiting in a burlap pocket, just for her :)

I hope you get a chance to celebrate the season of Advent.
Or, at least, to make and enjoy an Advent wreath :)



Linking up at SongBirdblog, Funky Junk Interiors, Shanty-2-chic and Inspired by Charm

A Snowy Weekend


It's during this time of the year that we appreciate a calm snowfall so, so much.  The soybeans have been safely harvested, our propane tank is prepaid and full, we're all home together for the day, and the Holiday season is just around the corner.  I always try to appreciate our seasons here in PA, because though at times they seem to last forever, they're just a part of a beautiful year.  And winter? Though I can't say it's my favorite, is always welcome right now.  

Molly asked to have her cousin over to play in the snow this weekend, and we just love having him here.  Child labor?  I started gathering some greenery from the trees on our property for some winter decorations.  I love having these energy-loaded kids around.  I only asked once and they were happy to help.  Besides, these pine trees have soft needles, I promise. :)

Molly was so grateful to have a riding companion in Quinton.  Last year, that kid hated the cold, the snow, any thought of sled riding.  But what a difference a year can make!  He was a trooper, despite being snow covered by a rather aggressive trip down a hill.  I blame my husband.  But, seriously, look at those faces! ahh, my heart :)

My adventurer of a husband decided, while we were sled riding, to cut a little misfit tree from our property for the kids to decorate.  I was assigned tree pulling duty- actually, I opted for tree-pulling.  That sled was weighed down!

We came home to some warm soup, a quiet nap, and tree decorating.  Of course, my kid eats everything.  This photo is of her telling her cousin "it's yummy, Quinton!"  He's a bit older and wiser- his palate mostly contains chocolate milk and Life cereal while at our house :)

The kids loved, loved the tree decorating (that's after an incident which quickly made them realize how sharp the tree was- they have since become very cautious around those needles).  Molly was fascinated by the lights this year!  Like I just mentioned, I can't believe the difference one year can make in a child's life- it's amazing.  This whole day was just so magical, I tried over and over to just watch her face. Watch her eyes light up at the simplest things--the snow, the sled, the cold wind, deciding which tree was "best" for her playroom.  Of course, that's her trying to blow out the lights, after exclaiming, "a candle, Mummy!"  That girl.

I'm so glad we had the perfect snowfall at the best of times- it was such a beautiful way to enter into Thanksgiving.

Here's to a continued beautiful and blessed Holiday Season!
(and, of course, a markedly short work week!)