Friday, October 31, 2014

DIY Window Treat Boxes (For Halloween Sweets!)

As you might expect, we've been a little distracted around here the last few days with Greg returning home! Thanks so much to many of you who left comments and extra "likes" here and on Facebook. It's always so heartwarming to receive love and support from the Internet community! 

Anyway, I know as a blogger, I really should get seasonal projects up here on the blog in time for you to do them too. But, per my usual, I squeaked out a few oh-so-sweet teacher gifts last minute (as in: last night) and really wanted to share them with you anyway! I know I'm a bit too late for this Halloween, so bookmark these for next year! This same gift-box technique could also be used for the upcoming Christmas holidays...so maybe you can consider me early for holiday gift ideas - heh heh heh ;) Let's get to it, shall we?

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I came across these neutral 3.5" cube gift boxes in the Target Dollar Spot. Sometimes I snag up things like this just to have on hand; other times, an idea comes to mind right away and a project is born. So was the case with these. As soon as I saw them, I had a Halloween gift idea in mind! Specifically, I really wanted to make window boxes to hold some Halloween candy!

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To make the windows, it is easiest to work with the box completely opened up. Simply separate the glued tab (below on the very left of the box) and unfold the four panels of the box.

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To cut the windows, I used a scalloped oval framelet and my Big Shot (along with my magnetic platform = best thing ever!). To fit the box through my Big Shot, I did have to fold it back up. The cardboard is pretty thick, so you'll have to run it through your machine to cut the first two layers, then flip it over and cut the other two layers.

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Although the idea came to mind weeks ago, like I said, execution of the idea was somewhat last minute. I wasn't sure what I was going to use as my see-through window. Looking through all my craft supplies, I had a brilliant idea: laminating sheets! I ran a few empty laminating sheets through my laminator to create firm, glossy, see-through paper...then cut them down to size to fit my windows! I secured the clear plastic to the insides of the windows using roller adhesive right around the very edges of the window cutouts.

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Next, I assembled my boxes (although it is probably best to decorate them while flat, as well). My boxes were going to hold lots of little candies, so I really taped up the bottom of the box from the inside!

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To make the pumpkin leaves, I cut a bunch of leaf shapes out of circles with a circle punch - this brilliant idea came from the very talented Amber. To make the orange pumpkin frames, I used the next two scalloped circle framelets up from my window box cutouts. Everything was attached to the outside of the box with roller adhesive.

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Halloween Candy Boxes-010

I filled the boxes up with candy corn and tied them shut with pretty orange ribbon. Note: these boxes are 3.5" square which holds A TON of candy corn, to fill them up I had to go buy more - ooopps!

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Halloween Candy Boxes-012

To make quick little tags, I cut a bunch of flags from white cardstock, colored the edges with a marker and punched them with a small circle punch. Quick and easy!

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All together, these turned out just so darling - I can't wait for Henry to cart them into school! I love it when an idea in my head plays out just as cute in real life! I really enjoy doing small, simple craft projects like this. Having no rules and just trying things until something looks right really feeds my soul!

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Halloween Candy Boxes-015

Sooo...Henry, Greg, and I have awesome family costumes for tonight. For a gal who doesn't particularly love Halloween, I'm pretty giddy about it all! I can't wait to show them to you. But since I'm still sewing a few last final items for Greg, I couldn't get pics in time for today. On Monday, I hope to have all the details here for you! If you're curious, you can check for hints over on Instagram!

Until then...I hope you all have a fantastic Halloween!!!!!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Really Good Day

We had a pretty big day around here yesterday and I'm so excited to show and tell you! I've dropped hints here and there on the blog, but have had to stay mum for security and safety purposes. Those of you that know us personally or who are veeeery good at reading between the lines were able to put it together...but for the last 9 months, our family has been incomplete. 

And after months of waiting and counting down...months of long days and longer nights...months of keeping busy and saying lots of prayers...months of shedding lots of tears and sharing lives via phone lines and FaceTime...

We got to hang our yellow ribbons...

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...and the helicopters arrived...

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...bringing him home to us!!!!

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Suffice to say, we've been through a lot this year. Three weeks after we buried my mother, Greg had to get on a ship for a long and tough deployment. He's been to a lot of hot and dusty places, working tirelessly at one of the many, many jobs that keep America safe and free. Meanwhile, at home, I've been single mom, sole home-maker/book-keeper/dinner-maker/laundry-doer and more. I've been grieving the loss of my mom, alongside my amazing family as we've cleaned out my childhood home...and I've been (trying to!) keep this little blog of mine afloat...because honestly, bringing homemade pretty things into my life has never felt more necessary. Needless to say, we're all pretty tired...and this happy day has really been too-long in coming!

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As challenging of a year it's been. I've also learned a ton about myself - isn't that always how it is when we are stretched to our limits? I've learned that I'm tougher and stronger than I ever knew, that I'm more capable than I give myself credit for, that I have gifts and talents that I'm not yet sharing with the world. With Greg back in our lives, everything feels much more complete...and I hope, with a bit of time and rejuvenation, I can return to a state where I can thrive instead of survive! 

The day that felt like it would never come, finally came. 

And this moment.... 

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...will stay in my heart forever. 
(Family photos by Jessica McAndrews Photography)




Monday, October 27, 2014

Evolution of a Front Porch

Last week, I showed you all our latest (and final!) front porch setup. While I am so completely thrilled and content with how it looks now, I mentioned that it was practically comical the number of "looks" our front porch has had over the 2+ years we have lived here. I wish I could say that the porch decor merry-go-round was intentional and all in an attempt to keep up with the seasons. However, at the heart of it, I think I just never really found a setup I truly loved (until recently). As I've been (slowly) doing with each and every space in our home, I've been going back to the beginning and chronicling everything - all the projects and progress and looks - in one big post. Here, not only does it show the evolution of my porch, my style (and my photography and styling skills!), but it also makes for a tidy one-stop shop for all things porch-related! Let's get to it! Like usual, all the links to all the projects are down below!

Here's our front porch pretty close after move-in day. Our pots (bought overseas in Okinawa) were out of boxes and still empty, and our red garden bench was recently re-finished. 

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Our garden beds were a hot mess. For some reason, our housing agency doesn't keep up with the landscaping, so our garden had been completely over-grow and were un-kept. I spent DAYS digging everything out (including a fresh garden bed along the front porch) so we could start from scratch!

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I did some minimal research (lesson learned) and brought home a whole car load of plants and shrubs for our garden. Look at my little Henry - just 20 months old!

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Just about two months after moving in, we had fresh garden beds full of living plants and a porch decorated with colorful outside accessories! I proclaimed the front yard and porch done! Ha!

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Soon after, we cycled into Fall, the Christmas, then Valentine's Day...and I did my best to keep up with seasonal accessories, wreaths, and plants that always eventually died. Looking back now, I realize I wasn't playing to my strengths. Wreaths are not my thing, styling takes me forever, and I do not have a green thumb. And so things continued to change because nothing felt quite right.

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With the arrival of our next summer, I was eager to get our porch into shape, and gave it a makeover with a new outdoor "rug," a two-tone star, and some fresh flowers. I absolutely LOVED the whimsical yet patriotic and very summery feel to this porch...

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But when summer turned to Fall, I had such a difficult time transitioning all the reds and blues into something that would work for the colder months. Then inspiration struck. I put away the red bench and started from scratch. I sawed an old table we had in half and spray painted two old chairs my neighbor had given me. A few lumbar pillows and neutral accessories later, and I had one of my all-time favorite porch looks ever!

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All this time, our turquoise poly-wood chairs were out in the lawn. These suckers are super comfy and were super expensive...and yet we never sat in them because they were way out in the grass. Then this past summer, I did the great purge of our house. I evaluated everything we owned and only kept the things I truly loved and were good quality. I determined we didn't need so much front porch/yard furniture. And so, the red bench and the black table/chairs set were sold off (which I still partially regret. The black set, not the red bench). And up came the turquoise chairs to the porch. After a bit of tweaking, I've landed on our final look. It's simple, it's neutral enough (for southern coastal living at least!) and nothing feels unnecessary or over done. 

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I wanted to give one final little lesson learned with our garden. I definitely should have done more research! I bought dwarf boxwoods, which I thought were the cutest little things ever in the store. And while they work well for our climate and the deer don't eat them...they are the most slow growing things ever! When you only live in a home for 3 years, fast-growing plants are important. They've done well (we've only lost one to root rot of the 8 originals), and there is some growth, it will takes years (long after we're gone) for these bushes to fill in. 

My other lesson learned: "know when to fold 'em." After years of waisting time and money trying to keep the dear from eating my plants, this is the first year I didn't plant anything new. I'm focusing on keeping my boxwood bushes alive and my potted plants watered...and that's good enough for me!

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See? Like I said...practically comical. And I didn't even include every wreath and holiday look we've had over the last 2 years, ha! However, if you're interested in the details for any of the images or projects you see, you can find all the details here:


Final Porch Reveal

One Table Becomes Two

Black and White Porch Reveal

Striped Outdoor Rug

Two-Toned Painted Star

Valentine’s Day Porch

Winter Porch

Red and White Christmas Porch

Bright Fall Porch

Landscaping

Red Garden Bench

Outdoor Drink Holders

Tiled Planter Box

Sandbox from a Bookcase

Burlap Fall Wreath

Like I said, with 6-9 months left, I'm calling our porch done - for real this time! No more futzing and re-arranging...we're just gonna enjoy what we've got: beautiful weather, great neighbors, and super comfy chairs to enjoy both!

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So what do you think? Which "look" is your favorite? Do you change your porches out as much as I have mine?

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Halloween costumes and crafts are in full swing. Hope to pop in later this week with some really exciting news!


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