Painting a Recipe Box to Give as a Gift

I was invited by Havalah and her sisters from Sisters, What! to participate in a Handmade Christmas Gift Blog Hop along with 14 other bloggers.  I know what you are saying.  "Tomorrow is only the first of October.  It's too soon to think about Christmas."  But if you are planning on making gifts to share with your friends and family, it is not to early to start crafting....or at least be inspired to begin!

When making a gift for someone, it needs to be something that the recipient will actually want and will use.  You don't want to spend your valuable time making something that isn't going to be appreciated.  A handmade gift also needs to be simple to create, especially if you are making gifts for many people.

6 Fall Wardrobe Essentials

I love clothes as much as I love decorating.  I love shopping for them.  I love mixing and matching pieces to create different outfits.  And fall is my favorite season for clothes because it is the perfect time for layering and adding accessories.  Decorating yourself is just as fun as decorating a room....and many of the same "rules" apply!

I admit that lately I haven't been taking the time I should to plan my outfits each day.  It is easier to just throw something on in the morning without taking the time to plan.  Easy is not always better, though.  I'm always pinning outfits that I'd like to wear, but like most of what I pin, I rarely refer back to them.  I've made the decision to change that and to start putting a little more thought and care into what I'm wearing this fall.

Friday Favorites #7

I want to begin today by sharing with you that I've had the honor this week of being featured on  I was so excited when Lauren contacted me a while back for permission to share the Pottery Barn knock-off I had done earlier in the year.  In addition to writing for SheKnows, Lauren (who prefers to be called Lo) has a beautiful blog called A Lo and Behold Life.  I can't thank Lauren enough for not just choosing one of my projects, but for the super nice things she had to say in her post.  Click here if you are interested in seeing the feature.

Tomorrow I'm going to a craft festival at Delgrosso's Amusement Park in Altoona, PA with my mom and my aunt.  It is a lovely fall setting outdoors walking underneath the trees that are beginning to change colors.  The path weaves all through the park.  There is also events throughout the day and free rides for the kids (or adults!).  I'll also be taking one of my four trips to Hobby Lobby for the year.  The disadvantage of living in a small, rural town is that there are no great places to shop without driving for a couple hours.  Trips to Target and Hobby Lobby become something to treasure rather than something done each weekend!

10 Ways to Decorate with Pumpkins

Fall decorating ideas seem to be exploding on Pinterest and blogs lately.  Everyone seems to be very excited about decorating this year which is fantastic.  And while it is great to have huge, amazing displays, sometimes all you need is a couple pumpkins.  Even if you aren't that into decorating, there isn't anything easier than sticking a few around for just a glimpse of fall.

Here are some easy ideas for using real or fake pumpkins around your DIY or decorating skills needed!

10 Ways to Decorate with Pumpkins |

3 Must Haves for Great Pictures | Photography 101

Vintage Minolta Camera |

Even as a child I loved taking pictures.  Granted, those pictures were not always good....sometimes a little blurry....sometimes a little dark.  But there has always been a part of me that enjoys holding a camera and snapping pictures from different angles.  My dad enjoyed taking pictures (this is his camera in the pictures), and I think I probably developed an interest from watching him.

As I've gotten older, my cameras have gotten to be of a better quality (and of course, more expensive).  About a month after starting my blog last year, I purchased my first DSLR and love working with it.  It is a Nikon D5100.  I'm dreaming of this camera, but for now with my budget the Nikon that I have is going to do.

Friday Favorites #6

Happy Friday friends!  How has your week gone?  Mine seemed to be crazy busy with blog stuff this week, which has been amazing.  I have to say that I am grateful for all the beautiful comments and emails I've been receiving lately.  I really feel like this little blog of mine is beginning to take off and I appreciate all the love and support you've been sending my way.  It feels so nice knowing that I'm making friends out there, even if I may never get to meet you face to face.  So whether you subscribe to my blog or follow me on social media, thank you.  And for those of you who are visiting for the first time today, I hope my blog can provide something that will interest and inspire you!  

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and enjoy my favorite links from the week!

My Dining Room Decorated for Fall

Last week I shared some pictures of my living room decorated for fall.  My goal was to create a cozy space where you could curl up by the fire.  The comments I've received seem to confirm that I accomplished what I set out to do.  Today, I thought I'd share some pictures from my dining room.

Vintage Radio Stand Makeover with White Chalk Paint

Refurbishing a Vintage Radio Stand |

So the consensus last week seemed to be that I'm not going insane just because I purchased another piece of trashy furniture I didn't need.  That was reassuring.  Of course I think most of the comments I received were from people who can also see potential in discarded items, so the opinion may have been a little biased.  I'm hoping that all of you will agree now that this little $5 yard sale stand was a great find.  It turned out better than I could have ever imagined.

Buying Natural Dish Soap

I want this to be the type of blog that you never know what I might post on a given day.  Today is good evidence of that.

Lately, I've found that I have been dissatisfied with the dish soap I'm using.  There is not a dishwasher at my house, so all the dishes are washed by hand in the sink.  I've always used Dawn, but it just doesn't seem to be lasting as long in my water as I'd like.  I've also been trying to find more natural alternatives to the things that I buy.  It kind of bothers me that the ingredients are not listed on the bottles of Dawn.

Cranberry Pumpkin Cookies with Burnt Butter Icing

Cranberry Pumpkin Cookies with Burnt Butter Icing |

I love the tastes and flavors of the fall season.  Warm cider.  A slice of pumpkin pie.  Apples covered in caramel. Squash seasoned with butter.  Do I need to go on?

These cranberry pumpkin cookies with burn butter icing are the perfect flavor for the fall season!  |

And at the top of my list of favorites for autumn is pumpkin cookies.  For me, they just scream fall.  Today I'm adapting an old family recipe a bit to make these cranberry pumpkin cookies.  They are soft, chewy, and practically melt-in-your-mouth.....the perfect combination for a delicious cookie!

Friday Favorites #5

Before I get into my favorites for the day, I have a couple random things to take care of first.....

A reader left a comment on my Hometalk page about problems she was having mixing up the DIY chalk paint I had posted.  Her paint turned out very thick and grainy.  While I've never had any problems mixing up the paint, I was wondering if any of you had experienced similar problems.  My only thought about why this might have happened is that the plaster of Paris was added to the water, rather than adding the water to the plaster.  Any other ideas?  If you have any suggestions, I'd love if you'd let me know in the comments section below!

Second, I am super excited to share that a girl from my hometown is going to be competing on Sunday as Miss Ohio in the Miss America pageant.  And to top that, she was actually the winner of the preliminary talent competition.  I haven't watched in years, but will definitely be tuning in this year.  I live in a very small, rural area so this is a really big thing.   I'd love to see her make it into the top 15.

And now on to my favorite links of the week....

Favorite Organized Storage Cubbies | Friday Favorites on

Decorating My Living Room for Fall

I received such amazing comments and compliments last fall on the mantel display that I posted.  It was very layered and complex.  While I enjoy doing displays like that, I can also get a little stressed out making it look perfect.

This year, I decided I wanted to go simple (and stress free) with my fall decorations.  I wanted something laid back and cozy, yet still have all the elements of fall.  You can't go wrong with some leaves, pumpkins, and pine cones!

An Experiment in Overwintering Geraniums

Better Homes and Gardens magazine published an article last fall about saving your summer geraniums through the winter.  They claim that geraniums can survive in a dormant state for long periods of time.  I ripped the pages out of the magazine so that I could try the idea on my plants, but then the fall season came and went and my poor little dying plants froze.  I was too late.  

Fall Banner....A Great Alternative to a Wreath!

I wanted something different than an ordinary fall wreath for my front door this year.  I was imagining something that was eye catching from the road, yet still simple and relatively inexpensive to make.  I think I came up with a great DIY alternative using supplies you may already have or can pick up at any craft store.  

My Worst Furniture Find Yet

So, here we are to Monday again.  Time sure does fly over the weekend, doesn't it?

Just a little forewarning.....This is a wordy post and it will have you on the edge of your seat with anticipation of what will happen next.  Or maybe it won't.  Either way, enjoy!

I do not need to go shopping for anything.  I have plenty of things at my house to work on.  Yet, I see an estate sale listed in the newspaper classifieds and I have to take a look.  Friday I left work around 2 PM planning to make a super quick stop at just the one estate sale I saw listed and then head home to work on a post for today.  I was looking for one or two small things at a cheap price.

Friday Favorites #4

Thank you so much for visiting today to see my favorite links of the week!  I've heard from some of you that you are really enjoying this on Fridays.  It is so much fun to put together this post each week and look back over all the things I've discovered, so I'm glad that you are enjoying it as much as I am.  I'd love to know what you've found interesting this week, too.

Have a fantastic weekend and I'll see you back here on Monday!

Let the Fall Decorating Begin

Fall Vignette in a kitchen scale |

I want to thank you all for the fantastic comments and numerous pins on my  DIY pumpkins that I shared yesterday.  It means so much to me to know that you think my mission of creating a realistic looking stem was successful!

It isn't much, but I've started decorating for fall.  This is a little vignette I've thrown together to sit on the kitchen island.  The kitchen remodeling isn't even close to being completed and the countertop is currently made of a few boards, but this little display instantly brightens the entire room.

DIY Pumpkins with Realistic Looking Stems

DIY Pumpkins with Realistic Looking Stems |

I'm aware that painting pumpkins isn't anything new.  And if you search DIY pumpkin or pumpkin tutorial, you'll find plenty of inspiration.  But my problem is that even after painting a plastic pumpkin, it still looks, well, plastic.  The basic plastic cut stem is always going to give it away.  I set out on a mission to create a realistic looking DIY stem to take my chalk painted pumpkins from ordinary to extraordinary.

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