Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My (frugal!) Fall Front Porch

Welcome to our front porch all decorated for the Fall season!  I am sad to say, this is about the only decorating for Fall that I have done this year since we have projects going on around the house (including a room addition that is nearing completion....I hope!!)  I can't wait to show it off to you guys when it's finished.  I'm calling it the 'playroom' but it will be a mulitpurpose room for the kids to play, watch movies, extra seating/elbow room for when guests are over, etc... 
Anyway, enough of that!  On to the front porch :)

I did something similar to last year with putting pumpkins in my planters.  I had high hopes of making these cute pumpkin topiaries I saw on Pinterest, but alas, it would have been a little too pricey to make them with buying all the pumpkins needed to make them.  So, instead I found these fun giant gourds for $6 and then just placed a small pie pumpkin on top.  They were cheap too, I think $4 each.  The garland is leftover from last year so I consider that 'free.'  ;)

The wreaths on the windows are from last year as well.  I just hing them right back up for this year!

So, there you have it!  Nothing spectacular, I would have loved to do so much more but this year we are putting all of our money towards projects (and baby rooms ;) 

p.s. I'm linking up to Rhoda's Fall Door Party!

All photos taken by Kristen (blog author) unless otherwise stated. Do not copy/save or print without permission. Thank you!

Friday, September 23, 2011


Some days I have difficulty getting my 2 year old to take a nap...
Some days he wants to play instead...
Today was one of those days...
"I want Jessie to take a picture."
And even though he is rotten as can be...
He still melts my heart!

All photos taken by Kristen (blog author) unless otherwise stated. Do not copy/save or print without permission. Thank you!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tennessee Valley Fair 2011

Last night we took Hayden to the fair for some family fun.  He was excited :)

"come on, guys!"
We went later in the evening after Jeff got home so it was dark while we were there...not the best conditions for picture-taking but I wasn't gonna let that stop me! :)
I had such high hopes of my little man getting to ride tons of kiddie rides...

I even got him a wristband so he could ride to his hearts' content...

But alas, my "little" man did not meet the height requirements for more than a few of the rides :(  I managed to sneak him on a couple that he wasn't tall enough for but I was still heartbroken that he couldn't ride them all.

So, we did other things.  Like get a 'face' painting on the arm.  He LOVED it.

And feeding the animals.

He is such an animal lover.  He would tell all the aminals "come here!"


We skipped the farris wheel but I had fun watching it.
We ended the night with a fried oreo and lemonade snack, YUM!!!

All photos taken by Kristen (blog author) unless otherwise stated. Do not copy/save or print without permission. Thank you!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

2 Ingredient Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Frosting

With the fall season in full-swing after the Labor Day weekend, I was in the mood for a fall recipe when my mom was here visiting.  These pumpkin cupcakes hit the spot and were such a yummy treat! 
This recipe is a variation of a cake I saw on Pinterest (I did not come up with this cake recipe.)  For the (2 ingredient) cupcakes you will need only a cake mix and a can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling.)

For those who may be confused by this, you read it right and you only need a can of pumpkin and a cake mix.  Mix together with an electric mixer or hand-mix (which is what I did) until well blended.

The batter will be very thick.  Scoop out into cupcake papers and try to leave the top as smooth as possible because the batter keeps its shape and doesn't level out so the tops of the cupcakes will not be smooth if your batter is not smooth in the cups before baking (as mine were not ;)  Bake for about 20 minutes at 350.

For the frosting, my mom made buttercream frosting (2 sticks of butter and approx. 3 cups powdered sugar) and added half a package of cream cheese and Pumpkin Spice seasoning.  We didn't measure how much seasoning we used so just add to taste. 

I hoped to add drizzled caramel on top of these but we didn't get any so I added some festive candy corn.  These would be perfect for a fall party!

The candy corn turned out to be cute atop these little cupcakes...

I ate three of these babies today.  I cannot resist a tasty cupcake!

All photos taken by Kristen (blog author) unless otherwise stated. Do not copy/save or print without permission. Thank you!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Knock-Off Ballard Designs Burlap Crewel Damask Panel (tutorial)

A few days ago I happily pulled a new Ballard Design catalog out of my mailbox and began flipping through it.  These beauties immediately caught my eye....


Then I immediately noticed the outrageous price tag....$179-$229 per panel.  Ummmmm, it's Burlap people!!!  And then I started thinking how easy it would be to make these.  I had been considering doing something with burlap in the new bonus/playroom (that is not yet finished) so when I saw these I knew they would be perfect for that room. 
I started brainstorming on how I could make curtains that looked like these for a fraction of the cost.  The damask design on theirs is actually embroidered on but I figured stenciling it on with paint would give virtually the same look.  As I started pricing large stencils, I noticed they were a little pricier than what I was wanting to pay so while I was at Hobby Lobby yesterday, I came accross this

(excuse the crappy photos, I took a lot of these at night when I was working on this project.)

It wasn't the size I wanted (I was wanting to find one at least 12 inches but preferably more like 17 or so and this one was only about 9 inches long) but the price was right at only $2.99.
I found this paint which I thought would work well on the burlap.

  I asked an employee about painting the burlap with the acrylic paint and she suggested adding a medium to it that would make it better for fabric.  I decided against using the medium since it said that it would be washable and I wanted a permanent finish, also it was over $5 and I was trying to keep the cost of this project as low as possible.  The paint went on fine without the medium.

As of tomorrow, I will be the proud owner of a sewing machine (my mom is bringing my grandmothers machine when she comes to visit tomorrow) but as of last night when I made these, I did not own one.  So, I had to make these no-sew.  I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for the burlap but its definitely do-able and fairly simple.  It's just a little more difficult because the burlap is so porous.  I ironed a hem to make a crease then I hot glued the burlap to attach it. 

That was by bottom hem.  Then for the top, I created a pocket for the rod by just wrapping my burlap around a tape measure (we have a big fat one) because it was the first thing I could get my hands on.  Then, I glued down the entire bottom edge creating the pocket.  I didn't get pictures of this step but it's pretty simple.  I chose to do an 84 inch length for my panels.

I should note that instead of going with the typical 54 inch width for the panels, I used the 47 inch width of the fabric so that I would not have to piece it together and have a seam.  Also, I didn't have to hem the edges of my burlap since it already had this finished edge
Yay for skipping a step!  :p 

Now, my panel was ready for stenciling!  This proved a little more tedious than I anticipated but it wasn't bad.
I measured 2 inches from the top and side to start my first row.
I used electrical tape to hold the stencil in place.
(the stencil had paint on it because I did a test run on a piece of cardboard first ;)
Ballard's panels have 5 rows alternating a row of 3 and a row of 2 in their example panel which was (judging by the photo) the 108 inch length since it was puddled on the floor.  I did 4 rows since I was doing the 84 inch length.  Measuring out the space between the designs was easy because I just did the same thing on the other side of the panel (measured 2 inches from the top and side) and once I had the designs on either side, I measured equal distance on either side of the stencil between the two designs for my middle design. 

As for the design, I mentioned that my stencil was small and I wanted something larger.  After looking at it, I realized that I would not like using the small design.  So, the solution to the small design?  Flipping it and making a mirror-like image below it to double the size of the design!

  Awesome!  And it beats paying over $30 for a stencil that size!  If you don't prefer this look, you could of course get a larger stencil design and it would still be an affordable project.  I just wanted to keep the cost as low as possible.

To apply the stencil, follow instructions that come with the stencil.  I ended up using a small sponge roller and just sort of dabbing it on (and some rolling) but there were some places I had some bleeding so maybe a regular sponge would work better?  I didn't necessarily mind some minor bleeding.  Also, make sure that you place something like plastic under the burlap because the paint will bleed through (I used a couple of the thin flexible plastic cutting boards.)

As for spacing in-between rows, you could measure everything out (which is probably best) but I used my old paper method of marking where I would place the designs and just worked with it till I got it looking like I wanted but still measuring the 2 inches from the side on the rows of 3.

Then, I just slowly but surely completed the stenciling row by row till I finally was finished.  I am pretty happy with the result!

Obviously it doesn't look exactly like the BD panel but close enough for me!  Especially since my version was about ten percent of the cost of theirs!!! (The burlap was $4 a yard, the stencil was $2.99 and the paint was $6.99.) 

I actually really like how the design turned out even though it wasn't what I originally wanted.

I hung this panel in a couple different rooms of the house since it doesn't have a 'home' yet as the room is still being completed but I wanted to give you an idea of how they look in a room.

LOVE!  I can't wait to see how they look in the new room!

You will notice I only completed one panel.  My girl at Hobby Lobby shorted me some fabric so I have to get more to do the 2nd panel.  I will be back to show you both panels after I get them hung in the finished room in the nex few weeks!

p.s. I'm linking up!
Somewhat Simple


French Country Cottage

The Shabby Nest

All photos taken by Kristen (blog author) unless otherwise stated. Do not copy/save or print without permission. Thank you!