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Last weekend, Olive and I built a couple of small vintage-styled poster frames together for their room. We’ve had a few Cavallini posters around our home, tightly rolled up, waiting to be hung for a while, and I finally decided to do something with them. It was such a quick and easy project, I thought I’d share it here with you, as it would be a perfect way to add some pretty visuals and freshen up your your school or play space for the new school year. Either way this project is easy enough to do with your children or during a nap time.

The supply list is minimal and inexpensive. We used pieces of scrap wood leftover from the girls’ loft bed project, but you could easily use small wood dowels, too. And although we only used one piece at the top, opting to let the poster hang freely, it’s possible for you to attach a wood piece to the bottom of the poster for a more tidy finish. I found this spool of the thin rope at the dollar store, although a sturdy baking or jute twine will work well, too. We used regular transparent tape this time which worked well-enough, but I’d recommend double-sided tape for a firmer finish, to keep the poster from dangling off of the wood.

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SUPPLIES WE USED:

  • 1 -2 wood pieces/dowels cut to the length of the poster (2, if you plan to use one at the top and bottom)
  • thin rope, jute, or sturdy baking twine for hanging
  • double-sided transparent tape
  • a drill
  • measuring tape (optional)
  • poster
  • pencil
  • scissors

STEPS:

  1. Measure and cut the wood to match the length of the poster. Decide whether you want the wood to overhang or to be flush with the poster edge.
  2. Mark a dot on each end of the wood piece, approximately 3/4″ from the edge.
  3. Drill a hole through each dot.
  4. Cut two feet of rope, threading each end of the rope through each hole in the wood.
  5. Before tying off the rope, use your finger to create a triangle with the rope, estimating how long you want the poster to hang from the nail.
  6. Double-tie the rope and trim off the excess.
  7. Using the double-sided tape, adhere the poster to the wood, so that the front of the poster meets with the back of the wood piece. Repeat for the bottom part of the poster, if doing so.
  8. Hang it on the wall!

 

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Since moving to our home last spring, I’ve wanted to make a wreath for our front door–something organic and simple that reflects the rest of our home. So when my sister called earlier this week and asked if I wanted to make holiday wreaths together, I answered wholeheartedly, “yes!” A wreath seemed the perfect way to begin gathering this cozy holiday season into our home. We loaded the kids into the car and snipped a few branches from nearby trees, made hot chocolate, and got to work. It really was a very simple project, something easy enough for kids to help with or create on their own. I used 8-10 branches for my own wreath made with standard-sized hangers, and the entire project took under an hour (minus the branch-gathering)–a reasonable afternoon holiday project. Enjoy!

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When we first bought the house, the kitchen was dark and ugly. The faucet leaked incessantly so that the sealant around the sink wouldn’t hold. Although the space was decently sized, there was barely any counter space, half of which we allotted to a dish rack (no dishwasher). It was dark, which we helped immensely with white paint, and divided into two parts by a partial wall/shelf, limiting the flow light of the space. Since the kitchen was built in the 1920s, it’s doubtful they ever considered a place for a large fridge. As a result, the fridge sat on a wall too short in depth, making it feel like it was floating out of  place in the middle of the kitchen. Ironically, my favorite part of the kitchen was the vintage oven/stove. The stove heated instantly (once I turned the gas knob on the wall and lit a match), but the oven would never reach above 200 degrees. After a handful of service visits, our home insurance decided we needed a new one–a huge gift for us although we were sad to see the old one go. We did hold onto the old one as a future project or in case any of you know how to fix it. (Wink.) Regardless of all of the ugly work this space needed, Mark and I fell in love with the place, determined we could love it back to life and planned a full kitchen renovation in 2015. I was convinced we could make it work a year while we adjusted to our new home and saved money for a larger renovation, but after a few months of cooking and preparing food with the kids, I felt more and more defeated by the dirtiness and lack of counter space. Mark and I decided we needed to move this project up on the priority list.

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During the girls’ weekend earlier this month, Mark sent me a picture of the kids tearing out the kitchen laminate. He was dying to discover the condition of the wood beneath FIVE LAYERS of laminate flooring. If any of you have renovated an old home, you know it’s a surprise each time you tear something out. The wood was a pleasant surprise–it needed scraping and sanding but otherwise was in good shape. He then tore out the partial wall–we had already removed the shelf above it–and discovered this wall was not load-bearing, another win! Originally, we planned to leave the top cabinets, but now we could remove that entire wall and lengthen the shelf and counter space! At that point, everything came out.

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We moved the fridge to the boys’ room, stacked all of our dishes temporarily on the dining room wall, and began clearing out everything including the leaky, dingy kitchen sink, the tile board wrapping the bottom half of the kitchen, and the cool but not practical ironing board cabinet on the kitchen wall.

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The guys re-wired the kitchen installing a new larger ceiling fan, grounded outlets, and spots for new light fixtures in the next phase. Mark tore out the rest of the overhangs, opening the ceiling and walls, making the space feel more cohesive. Although we would have loved opening and moving the wall with the oven, the gas line is on that wall and the water heater is behind it in the pantry. We knew that small wall would drastically increase our rather small kitchen budget, so we left that entire corner alone structurally. We plan to cut into the existing cabinet to add space for a fridge, but that will happen in one of the next phases. Now, it’s time to begin the rebuild.

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Hallelujah, it’s Friday! This week, in addition to all our typical work, we’ve been busy plugging away on our new space and are planning to spend the weekend painting the indoors and cleaning out more overgrowth in the yard. The weather here has been warm and humid, inviting new grasses and bugs. For us, it means we’ve been outdoors more. Do you have anything specific planned this weekend or will you just decide when you get there?

linger // This week Design Sponge featured DRIFT, a new place in San Jose del Cabo in Mexico. Considering itself a hybrid between a boutique hotel and a hostel, DRIFT was minimally designed to keep the expense down for travelers to this Mexican city.  The most incredible part? The rooms rent for $75/night. Doesn’t that sound dreamy right at the end of February?

buy // In spite of my often black thumb, I’m smitten with potted plants. Right now, I’m really wanting to buy citrus trees to plant at our new place. In this article, Gardenista gave a few tips for growing citrus indoors–a helpful read before I purchase one.

read // Preparing to move, I’ve already been thinking of all of the [clothing, linens, toys, books, shoes, school and art supplies] I want to clean out. So I really appreciated when Jodi gave several wonderful thoughts and useful tips for simplifying your home earlier this week.

try // Although this project was originally created for Christmastime, I love these DIY himelli ornaments enough to hang them year round. I’m hoping to make them soon–after the move of course.

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I’m not sure why, but Valentine’s Day often sneaks up on me. Mark and I usually plan something small for ourselves, but I often forget about the exchange of sentimental goods kids share, too. I used to love it as a child. We’d decorate boxes and share cards and candy with one another. When my own kids were young, they didn’t really know (or care) or understand about Valentine’s Day, and I never pushed them into it–a heart-shaped cake or cookie usually did the trick. I still remember the year that changed. Since then, I make an effort to remember: they want to share on that day, too.

As I scoured the internet, laden with adorable Valentine DIYs, for ideas this year, I realized I would be doing a large amount of the work (which for me, defeats the purpose). I decided instead to just let the kids make their own. They love creating their own masterpieces to share with others and I’m always amazed at what their minds and hands can do together. I brought out the felt heart-shaped stickers and different washi tapes I found last weekend in the Target dollar section, along with several other art supplies we had on hand at home. After spreading them out across the table and introducing the materials (especially the ones in limited quantity), I let them loose to create. They cheered, literally. Meanwhile, I sat down with them, helping them spell names and creating on my own paper. The projects belonged to each of them: specific gifts handmade with love.

{materials we used–this can vary}

  • heart-shaped cookie cutters (for tracing)
  • washi tape
  • oil pastels
  • construction paper
  • red + white twine
  • felt heart stickers
  • glue sticks
  • scissors

 

 

 

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The Gingerbread Man
by Rowena Bennett
The gingerbread man gave a gingery shout:
“Quick open the oven and let me out!”
He stood up straight in his baking pan.
He jumped to the floor and away he ran.
“Catch me,” he called, “if you can, can, can.”
The gingerbread man met a cock and a pig.
And a dog that was brown and twice as big.
But he called to them all as he ran,
“You can’t catch a runaway gingerbread man.”
Then he came to a fox and he turned to face him.
He dared old Reynard to follow and chase him;
But when he stopped under the fox’s nose
Something happened. What do you suppose?
The fox gave a snap. The fox gave a yawn,
And the gingerbread man was gone, gone, gone.
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Today, the kids and I drank hot cocoa and read this poem aloud together, laughing at the haughty little gingerbread man and his fate. Over the weekend, we had built a gingerbread house together, something we do each year (the pre-made kits of course). Some years we build our house at the beginning of December and leave it out on display–their piece of art to discuss with friends and other visitors. Other years, they, like the hungry fox, snap it up only hours after creation. This year was the latter.

 

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painted leaves | chalkboard | twine | journal

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Have I told you that yet? While of course I love the entire holiday season (Christmas and New Year’s included), I especially love that Thanksgiving causes me–all of us– to stop and reflect. For one day, instead of looking to our wants and needs and TO DOs, we dwell on what we have, on the relationships we’ve been given, and say “thank you.” I’ve had to refocus my own heart in this way regularly the last two years. As life has seemed to size us down (you can read more about that here), it feels easier to focus on the loss, the lack, the want. Finding ways to say “thank you” in those moments seems harder, like trying to lift your arms on a spinning roller coaster with gravity willing against you. No, giving thanks does not always happen naturally. However, when we intentionally seek ways to be thankful regardless of the circumstances, our hearts always grow. That’s the real gift.

The kids and I began collecting thanks a couple of years ago in a journal. Each day we would pass the book around and write something/someone we were thankful for, things like family members and pillow pets and a new bug we discovered and sunlight and fireworks and ideas such as wisdom. I’m writing in past tense because somewhere in the chaos of the last six months, we stopped. We now do it orally each morning with our read-a-loud time, but I miss having the written record. So in light of the season and trying again to be more intentionally grateful, I have been finding easy ways to begin collecting our thanksgiving again. Here’s a few of my favorites. What about you? How do you cultivate thanksgiving during this season? I would love to hear.

 

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Every other year after age 5, we give each of our kiddos the option of a birthday gift or party. Blythe, who turned seven this weekend, had the choice this year. And until recently, she had wanted to repeat last year’s trip with just our family only to decide two weeks ago she wanted to celebrate her special day with her friends instead — spa style. So with two weeks to plan and a small-ish budget (under $100), we began to collect ideas. Her only requests? Nail polish and cucumber slices for their eyes. So with the help of Pinterest, my sister, and the dollar store, we changed our dining area into a {little} spa complete with manis/pedis and facials for nine little girls. Kristen and a few of my friends volunteered to help me as the spa technicians, and we all dressed in black accordingly. (Wink.) I bought the flip flops, pedicure sets, wash cloths, sequin head wraps, and plastic party buckets (“foot tub”) at the dollar store to use at the party and then send home with each of the girls. I also bought fake rose petals, lavender epson salt, crepe paper, and nail polish there as well. In the event you’re hosting a similar party for your little or wanting to adapt it for women, here’s the details. Have fun–these girls sure did!

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{menu}

+ yogurt bar  {yogurt, berries, granola, marshmallows, mini-chocolate chips, & sliced almonds}

+ powdered donut cake

+ infused water {filtered water with muddled blackberries, strawberries, peeled oranges, and mint}

{supplies} –all purchased at dollar stores or borrowed from our home

per person:

+ plastic party bowl (“foot tub”)

+ pedicure set

+ 2 washcloths (1 dry for feet /1 warm, damp cloth to clean their faces)

+ 1 rolled towel or pillow

+ head wrap

for group use:

+ 1 package of lavender epsom salt

+ 1 bag of fake rose petals

+ nail polish

+ candles

+ music (found an existing playlist)

{facial mask}

1 part parsley, 1 part cucumber, 1 part plain yogurt

Puree the parsley and cucumber together. Mix in the yogurt. You’ll need approximately 2 Tbsp per face.

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When the girls arrived, we “checked them into the spa” near the front door where they exchanged their shoes for their flip flops. We wrote their names on a list that we used later for gifts. The girls also wrote their names on little white tags that they carried with them to their seat inside the “spa room.” I really wanted to create the feeling they were entering a space, so we had twisted various shades of crepe paper to look like large beads and hung it from a string pinned between two walls. (I modified this tutorial to get the technique.) Each of the girls chose a seat and began soaking their feet in the lavender water until a helper came to gently scrub, dry,  and lotion their feet and then paint their toenails. After their pedicures, the helpers placed their name tags into their pedicure bags so we could make sure the right supplies went to the right homes.  We then gathered around the table just outside the “spa room” and sang Happy Birthday. The girls created their own yogurts using mini-jelly jars, ate mini-donuts on cocktail napkins, and drank the fruit-infused water. During this time, the helpers and I emptied water buckets, cleared the chairs, and prepared the same “spa room” space for facials. We pulled out rolled towels, placing head wraps for each girl on top (so their facial mask wouldn’t get in their hair). When the girls finished eating, they put on a headband and laid their heads on the towel rolls. The helpers and I went around brushing their facial masks on–complete with cucumbers over the eyes–and painting their finger nails. After sitting for a few minutes (some of them would have fallen asleep), we used warm, clean washcloths to wipe their skin. When the girls were clean again, Blythe opened her gifts and the two-hour party ended.  (And all the adults needed naps–wink.)

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swing | paper craneschalkboard wall | water colors

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we sold our home. What I didn’t mention is we are moving in with my sister (Kristen), brother-in-law (Tim), and their two children, Shepherd and Brighten. Let’s refer to it as a cohabitation experiment. In the past, we’ve had young singles live with us, but this will be a first for combining entire families. Stick around — things may get really interesting here. (Wink.)

To prepare for the move, the four adults have been busy rearranging, tearing out, building, and preparing spaces. Currently, Kristen and I are recreating what will be the play + school room for our combined six children. We began this last week with a fresh coat of white paint and a chalkboard wall. Here’s a few things inspiring our design. Happy Monday!