Sunday, June 4, 2017

Father's Day Inspiration with JORD Watches (+GIVEAWAY)

Father's Day is just two short weeks away! I am a one-upper (can't help myself), so usually around Mother's Day I start thinking of things I want to get Nick for Father's Day or what I can do for him.


After looking at the calendar, I realized that Father's Day falls on June 18th this year, AKA our anniversary! Nick and I have been married for 6 years, and sharing this day with Father's Day definitely means I need to be giving the better gift for sure this year.


Nick totally deserves a great gift and a great day. He really is the best dad to our kids, and they both just adore him.  Any free time Nick has, he is spending with our kids and me. Anyone can see from spending time with him that home with his family really is his favorite place to be, and I am so beyond grateful for this.  Nick is like the perfect mix of a modern yet traditional dad and husband. He helps with housework and chores, gets down and dirty changing diapers, giving baths, and playing with the kids. He also works hard to support us, and also encourages me to stay home with our kids and raise them the old-fashioned way. I am one lucky woman to be married to him.

 
When the opportunity to write an opinion post and do a giveaway with JORD Watches came along, I KNEW that this would be the perfect thing that Nick would love not only for a fabulous Father's Day gift, but also a little somethin somethin extra special for our Anniversary.


Do you follow the anniversary gifts by year? I usually look them up on the internet each year, and if it coincides, then I will try to follow along. This year it is so perfect because guess what? The "Modern Theme" for the 6th year anniversary gift is WOOD! So perfect because JORD watches are made from beautifully crafted wood.  Each watch is made with a variety of woods from around the world and they are hand finished, scratch resistant, splash proof and treated with Tung oils.


Nick's watch, the Conway Series - Dark Sandalwood and Burgundy, is a dark chocolate wood with sapphire glass and has hours, seconds, minutes and date display. The watch has a beautiful muted burgundy watch face, which perfectly accents the deep chocolate tones of the band.


Also, something has to be said about their packaging.  Every watch comes in the best smelling magnetic-closing wooden keepsake box that I was beyond impressed with. I'm guessing it is cedar, because it somehow smells like bacon and nature and manly goodness all rolled into one.


I just really can't say enough good things about this watch and this company, and I wasn't even paid to say any of it! Every experience with JORD will be an exceptional one.


Just want to mention real quick that they also sell women's watches, so if you're ever looking for yourself, they sell such beautiful, elegant, and timeless women's watches as well.

That reminds me - JORD is giving my followers a $100 dollar gift card to their website. One lucky person will win, BUT… EVERYONE will receive a consolation code worth $25 once the contest ends!



THE CONTEST CLOSES JUNE 25 AND THE CONSOLATION EXPIRATION DATE IS 8/31/17

Thank you, JORD, for this wonderful gift for my husband.  I can't wait to celebrate him!

  Luxury Wooden Watch

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Lemon Wreath Tutorial



It is a dreary day here - drizzle, rain, sticky.  And my day has not been very fun.  It was just one of those bad Mom days where I woke up before I wanted to, my kids were horrible at the grocery store, we got home and they were still horrible so I yelled and made one of them cry.  Then the other one wouldn't take a nap... So now we have just retreated to the T.V. for the rest of the day because I have nothing left. It is fitting I made a lemon wreath because I am in a sour mood.   

I did at least finish up this wreath today, although I did 90% of the work last night so I'm not sure I can even give any credit to this not-so-great day. But typing this out is already helping me get into a better mood so the Daniel Tiger show parenting my children is worth it, right?

Well then, let's get to it! 

First, I collected my supplies.  And I did that all from my phone! Amazon same-day shipping that is.  I ordered these at like 11:45 AM, and they were at my door by 6:30 PM

Supply List:
Black and White Ribbon - Amazon Again (You ideally should use wired ribbon, it just looks so much nicer)
Twine, Wire, or thick string of some sort
Large Wire Wreath Form - mine is the biggest one wal-mart sells. Its got to be at least 20 inches big. 
Hobby Lobby bunch of artificial baby's breath-like florals (not pictured)
Metal Wire (like the really thin kind you hang pictures with) (not pictured)
Wire cutters (not pictured)
Scissors (not pictured - wow I really suck at this point at taking supplies pictures)
Hot Glue Gun and - Pictured!


Now, if you are too lazy to go find your wire cutters, yank really hard and try to separate the greenery into individual stems.  If you find your wire cutters, cut the stems apart leaving as long of a wire edge as you can and your hands will thank you later by not giving you carpal tunnel in a few years.


Now, start wrapping the wire around the wreath form and securing as tightly as possible.  After you've done about a quarter of the stems, count how many you've used and see if you need to space them apart more or if you can fit more onto the space you've already done.  You will use the white flowers later to fill in the gaps where the metal is showing through.


Now attach your lemons! There are lots of ways to do this.  The easiest but also most likely to get you, your table, and others burned is to use a hot glue gun.  If you go this route, you'll have to hot glue onto the leaves and the metal, because it might easily come off the metal.  

Another method (that I ended up using) is to thread some wire into the back of the lemon until its pretty lodged in there.  String the wire tail that is hanging from the lemon wire around the wreath form as tightly as you can without pulling out the wire from the wreath.  If the wire comes out of the lemon thread it through into a new place and really get that sucker in there. 

I tried to do a needle and thread but could never get my needle to come back out of the lemon.  If you have a curved needle this would do the trick, but I don't have one and refused leave my house for reasons mentioned at the top of this post.  

Then add some of those little white flowers to hide any spots that are showing the wreath form.  Or I you don't want more than just green and yellow on your wreath add more greenery. 

Lastly make and attach your ribbon.  There are SO many great tutorials on ribbons on youtube, and I plan on doing one sometime, but just make a cute bow if you don't think you can do a fancy one and call it good.  Wrap some wire around the ribbon then secure it to your wreath form.  

If anything is loose, use more wire or hot glue to secure it into place. Yay! You just made a wreath for wayyyyy less money than it would cost you on Etsy (which is the only place I've seen a wreath this cute).





P.S. My knocker is from Anthropologie - and it's two little lovebirds that kiss every time they are knocked together.  Kind of my favorite. I hope everyone's day is going better than mine! Go forth and decorate!

P.P.S If you are still reading this the TV is off and my kids are happily playing, so maybe things are looking up? Stay tuned.



Friday, May 19, 2017

Noah is 2!

Noah is turning 2 tomorrow! He started talking this year and has really exploded with words starting in 2017. He says 5 word sentences all the time, and is always impressing me, so I've felt like he was 2 for a while now.

Here's some of my favorite things Noah does lately:

Ends most sentences with "me." It can be anything - "I'm all done me." "I want more me." "get away me" My favorite is "I burps me"

Loves pickles! This one just amuses me so much because Nick ABHORS pickles. Noah asks for a pickle multiple times a day.  Should I be worried he has a vitamin deficiency??

Obsessed with everything boy, but pink is also his favorite color.  Ok fine pink is actually the only color he actually knows.  But he loves trains (he used to call these choo choo trucks and it made me more happy than anything ever has and it was one of those things I was so sad he learned) and , mario, balls, trucks, being outside and of course watching daddy play video games.

Only in the last 2 months or so has Noah FINALLY sat down to watch a show.  Before this, he completely ignored the TV and it made me happy but also sometimes irritated that he could never be distracted by it when I desperately needed to get something done.

He and Amelia play so well together.  He goes along with all of her games and follows her around and they are best friends. This truly makes my heart melt, and life so much better in general (as long as they are not fighting which happens a lot too).

Loves his Daddy so much but I would say he is primarily a Mama's boy.  He still loves to nurse, prefers to sleep next to me, wants me to hold him all the time, and likes to be near me in general.  I will relish this while it lasts.

Still takes a nap nearly every day! I LOVE this about Noah!

Didn't scream through every swimming lesson unlike his sibling who will not be named. And he actually enjoyed himself and did the activities for the most part.  It's so fun to have a baby who will participate!

Just so easy going and is ready and willing to do whatever anyone is doing and participate in whatever.

Last of all he is just SO. DANG. CUTE. I mean, perfect those eyes, nose, ears, mouth, hair, skin, and everything else. But he really does have the softest skin.  Can you tell I just really love him? I can't wait to watch him grow up this next year and learn even more every day.

Happy Birthday Noah!

PS Noah is getting a scooter, a Blaze toy, and a remote control car as presents :)




Noah off to work!







Thursday, May 18, 2017

Easy Chalkboard Chicken Wire Kitchen Organizer


Hey hey hey! Another 2 dollar project! Guess what the I fashioned this note organizer/chalkboard out of? A cabinet face! I picked up a few of these (that included the drawer fronts) from my local habitat for Humanity ReStore for 2 dollars each. I originally wanted to use the drawer fronts as a little frame to put some key hooks and knobs on to hang things from in my kitchen, but I came up with a way to use the cabinet faces as well that I like even more than my original idea. See it always works out to just buy lots of random crap at thrift stores even when your husband begs you not to! (ok fine I have a problem) But that aside, at least I made use of this random purchase!



Here's how I did it:

First, I think this could easily be adapted to a picture frame or made with pallet wood as well.

To make it, first I found some thin wood and cut it the shape of the top two openings plus at least 1/2 on each side to be stapled on later. Then I painted the wood with chalkboard paint and set that aside to let it dry.

For the bottom chicken wire part, I stretched out my chicken wire and unmangled it (google is telling me this isn't a word, but I'm pretty sure it should be for the action that describes what you have to do to get chickenwire to cooperate) and got it to be stretched out and then layed it flat (lied flat???). Then I used wire cutter to cut all the little edges to fit the opening of my bottom row on my cabinet face.

Then I got out my staple gun, loaded 'er up and got to it. I individually stapled down all the loose wires so that nothing would be pulled down or loose.




When the chalk paint was dry I did a second coat, let that dry, then stapled it on chalk paint side down.

This project was so easy, and so perfect for some inexpensive and somewhat fun and functional home decor. Currently the one in my kitchen reads "Let us all speak kind words to each other" and I think it's actually been working! My kids don't read yet so you can guess that the kind words need to be coming from me...




Who's excited for Summer? I'm excited for swimming and the beach but not the mosquitos who seem to really be enamored with me and the humidity and heat that I could just generally go without all year long.

P.S. it's Noah's birthday on Saturday, what the heck my baby is going to be 2!


Friday, May 12, 2017

Flower Arranging Tips for Beginners



Mother's Day is THIS weekend! Last minute bloggers usually post something 2 weeks before a holiday, and here I am 2 days before Mother's Day posting my ideas "man-style" - last minute. Nevertheless, here I am sticking to my goal to be a blogger this year and I'm almost 6 months in.


My sister Erin gave me flowers a few weeks ago, and I took them out of the vase, clipped all the ends 1 inch and stuck them in a vase.  When Erin visited, she actually arranged my flowers for me and they looked SO much better.  Each flower had a varying height and the pretty ones were in the center. Also, they had a frame of flowers around them to add interest.  I was so impressed and knew I wanted to learn from her and share her technique, so I asked her for help with a blog post.

Based on how she arranges flowers, I have come up with 3 things that a true beginner should start with when they want to arrange flowers in their own house, or to make an arrangement for a friend or loved one.

1. Choose Variety - Pick more than one type of flower! My grocery store Harris Teeter sells a small bunch of a single type of flower 3 or 4 for 12 dollars (the extra dollar is if they are on sale or not.) In this bunch, I chose pink carnations, pink tulips, and white mini daisies (I just made that name up since I never checked the label). I also bought a single hydrangea bunch that I didn't end up using. So this particular arrangement cost me 12 dollars.

I chose 2 shades of similar pink for my arrangement, but definitely mix it up.  I have seen beautiful arrangements with shade of dark flowers like deep reds and blues, or go with jewel tones like deep red, purples, and greens.  A bunch of pastels would be so pretty and fresh, and different shades of one color always looks amazing.

Just a last thought on having variety. This is also what often separates cheap from expensive arrangements.  The 30 and 40 dollar arrangements at the grocery store are the ones with 5 + varieties of greenery and florals, lots of short and tall.


2. Height Matters - This really does make all the difference from boring to beautiful - or from what looks like a few small flowers that don't look right in the vase to fitting perfectly in a vase and looking full and professional.

When you cut your flowers, cut them at a 45 degree angle. Why? It's supposed to help them last longer because of the increased surface area to draw up water.

Start by arranging them in your hand.  If you have a lot of flowers, the bigger ones should be all around the outside and shorter, and the taller, thinner ones should be towards the inside.  The middle can be greenery mixed with taller, thinner flowers. Some of the thinner small flower can go shorter and in front of the big ones that are cut short and near the front, but not too many.

If you have few flowers, you may have to have the arrangement facing only one direction, so it won't be pretty from all angles, but will have a definite front and back.  In this case, you can keep the same idea, but put the bigger and cut shorter flowers near the front, and then fill in taller thinner flowers near the back.

Somewhere along the line put the flowers in your vase and start filling in holes.

3. Add Greenery - to fill in holes, use small fillers like greenery or baby's breath, or even the little mini daisies like I did. Also, use greenery and fillers to create a sort of backdrop for the flowers. These elements take an arrangement to a new level.

before
after

If you pick fillers from your own yard - try to pick something a little waxy and sturdy so it will stand the test of time.  Cut them, shake off the bugs and then bring them inside and trim them up.  Pick off the bottom leaves so they have stem.

Voila! Don't worry if it doesn't all come together until the very end.  That's the point, you keep working with it until it looks good.

Don't forget to check out my friend Brooke's post about keeping flowers fresh longer - click here!

I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day, and don't forget to celebrate and remember the women in your life that mean the most to you (including yourself hehehe)!


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Cider Jug Decor + ideas

Hey Friends! I decided to one-up myself and go from my 3 dollar Easter Centerpiece and do a 1 dollar centerpiece this week.  My living room is kind of like beige on beige on beige on brown, so I always need to add some color in there. Eventually I will paint it something that's not beige, but for now I try to add color in my decor with flowers or plants.  I usually have a vase with bright pink flowers but it has been MIA lately (I blame the children), so I wanted to add something else. I have had my eye on a Fiddle-leaf fig for a while to add to the room, but I just can't decide if I want to go that direction yet. Enter glass jug I got for one dollar (!) strawberry picking this week.  Now that I think about it I realize you can get a glass jug for FREE if you just buy the cider, but I have never thought of that before, ok???

I went out to the backyard and trimmed a few branches of my neighbor's tree that was hanging into my yard, and voila I have a one-dollar centerpiece.  Ok, fine...I was fibbing...I spent a few dollars on the basket I ended up using underneath the jar to take up more space.  Don't hate me, please? I got the basket/tray at Wal-mart, and I'm pretty sure they still sell it.  I would rather have something that looked like this, but that's ok. Eventually I can try to go more formal in my house, but I have tried to embrace the casual look, which is much easier to keep up with children.

Here's my finished product:



P.S. that coffee table I got at the ReStore and I used ASCP in Old White to repaint it. It looks brighter in the picture because it's a bit over-exposed.


My mirror is from Kirkland's, and my mom saw it and like begged me to paint it. Mom, it's suppossseeedd to look like that!

Also, I bought 2 more cider jugs! For some inspiration, I've rounded up a few ideas to decorate other ways if I decide to do a little sum'n sum'n later with these.  Obviously these ideas could be done with any sort of see-through jar :)

1. DIY tiki torch - I am actually tempted to try this because I think the flames would keep the mosquitoes away, and they are already out in the south :'(

2. Cider Jug Terrarium - so cool and so pretty! Here is the tutorial 


3. DIY Bottle Lamp - I REALLYYYYY want to do this!!! And I could even use my silhouette to do like "Allred Orchards" on the bottle.  I'm already making this in my head so stay tuned.  Here is the tutorial from Shades of Blue Interiors


4. Chicken wire jug decor - just found this on Pinterest, and it took me to the Park Hill Collection website. Super cute idea, and it makes such a cute farmhouse decoration. I can also see this with nautical rope/webbing for a beach themed room.



5. DIY "Vintage" Jars - One Good Thing By Jillee (and a slew of other blogs) teach us how to blue tint glass jars to give them that darling vintage look.  Jillee gives directions with for something that is permanent, and dishwasher safe, although probably more expensive and using something you don't have around your house.  I'm still tempted to try it though! Here is her tutorial


There you have it! So many things I want to try, so little time! This weekend there was so little time because I spent like 10 hours canning strawberry jam.  I felt like a pioneer, but also I wanted to shoot myself - a strange combination I know.  It's done though!!!! so many hours of work and like 12 jars of jam... uneven trade off for sure.  And now I just HAVE to make a bunch of homemade bread because we all know homemade jam just isn't the same unless it's on homemade bread.  

Hope you have fun with all your glass decorating! 





Sunday, April 30, 2017

Airplane Party ~ Noah's First Birthday


My Oh My How Time Flies! My baby boy is going to be 2 this May *gasp!* and I am reminiscing about his airplane themed birthday party we threw last year.  We had only lived in our new house 1 month, and there were still boxes in plain sight and hardly any furniture, but we had a brand new house, and a 1 year old baby, so I wanted to do something special dangit!

I did this "hot air balloon" themed photoshoot a few weeks early to put as the background of the invitation. I then made the invitation like an airline tickets for "Allred Airlines Flight 1."




I found the vintage looking planes and number from Hobby Lobby. When I got the balloons into my house, I suddenly remembered Noah HATES balloons and big balls. Whoops. There were seriously 3 seconds in this whole photo shoot where he was smiling at all, and thankfully I captured them! Now that Noah is 2 he loves balls and throwing them, but he still hates big things coming towards his face that are unfamiliar (I guess don't we all?)

For his actual party, I did a few main decorations, and tried to keep the menu low-key.

Decorations were so fun! A few of the big ones I did were:

Photo Board: I went through all my photos of his first year of life and printed them all out! It's a fabulous idea to keep yourself updated with printed photos.  I found a piece of extra plywood in my garage and painted it red.  I bought washi tapes in some cute red white and blue designs, (and also used red ribbon when I ran out of washi tape.) Then I staped the pictures onto the ribbon and washi tape, then taped them onto the backside of the board.  My friend Christine wrote "Time Flies" and drew a little airplane in sharpie at the top.  This has been SUCH a cute decoration for his room (while it lasted.) I should have made sure it was out of reach of little hands because now there are always pictures of Noah flying around my upstairs.



Chalkboard: For the entry Christine also did a wet-erase chalkboard marker for the cute welcome sign, and we blew up a big balloon and made tissue paper tassels to hang on it.


Balloon Cloud: This was so fun, and people really noticed and loved it.  I bought three 18 inch inflatable airplanes on amazon (they can be found here) and a ton of white balloons for the cloud. I tied the balloons individually to a string, and made a few strings of probably 10 or so balloons, then taped them to my light fixture above the island in my kitchen.  We hung the airplanes from strings below, and one airplane fell down before the party, and the whole thing ended up being hard to photograph, but I promise it looked cool in person! We also wrote "Allred Airlines" in sharpie on the balloons because we're awesome like that. 




For Food I made Pioneer Woman's Chicken Salad and put them on Costco Croissants. We also had watermelon, grapes, and a veggie plate. And can't forget chips and soda! We made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the kids as well.  His birthday is in May, so I could conveniently find Red, White and Blue plates and napkins that fit the theme.  

Dessert was Costco cake, pre-decorated.  Costco cake is pretty dang good.  I've had better definitely, but to feed a birthday party crowd, this is the perfect option.   We home-made a little cake for his smash cake, and my friends decorated it with blue frosting and white clouds.  It was so cute, and so perfect! Noah went at it for like 10 minutes until he got really sad his hands were so dirty.  



We bought little model airplanes for party favors and I think they were a hit. A lot of them got opened before the party ended and we definitely had the airplane theme going on all around us. 

We also had a paper airplane making station AND airplane sugar cookie decorating! It was all a blast, and it was definitely a sweet day for me to celebrate my little boy and put on a fun party for my friends and family.  







Now Noah is going to be 2, and who knows if he'll even get a party this year haha!