Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Jute Pumpkin {tutorial}

Is it fall yet? I usually like to wait until Labor Day to bust out the fall décor, but this pumpkin was so cute I just couldn’t wait to make {and share} it! In my Pinterest hunting I saw Sarah Dawn Design’s twine pumpkin photo and knew I had to make my own! I love getting inspired – don’t you? Wait until you see what is hiding underneath this pumpkin pretty!

Here is my version using jute:

PumpkinBLOG 007FB

What you will need:
  • Jute {or twine}
  • Toilet paper roll – yep – that’s right! {one for each pumpkin}
PumpkinBLOG 001FB

  • Glue/Hot glue
  • Scissors
  • A short stick for the stem
  • Any embellishments you would like


1. To wrap your pumpkin, cut long strips of jute rope {about a yard at a time, give or take}. Glue the end of your first strand of jute in the center of your toilet roll and start wrapping it carefully around the roll:

PumpkinBLOG 004FB

2. Continue wrapping around the roll, gluing the ends {and beginnings!} of each strand of your jute as you go!

PumpkinBLOG 006FB

Sarah recommended wrapping your twine in sections {i.e. skipping 2-3 inches between each strand the first time around and then rewrapping in the spaces the second time around so the toilet paper roll doesn’t bubble. I think my roll was smaller because I didn’t have a problem continuing around until the end. Mine closed up nicely, but, you may need to play around with the wrapping until you find a method that you like.}

3. And then, just keep going and going… and going! Wrap until your roll is completely covered! It’s easy, but takes a little while to wrap, so be patient! Watch a TV show or listen to some good tunes! {Rap while you wrap anyone? hee hee}
4. Secure your last jute section with hot glue and gently place a stick in the center of the roll. Add a little dollop of glue to secure your stem and you are done!

And all your patience will be worth it – because here is your shabby sweet pumpkin sitting pretty!

PumpkinBLOG 010

After I finished making this 'lil pumpkin, I decided to play dress up:

FBPumpkinBLOG 016

FBPumpkinBLOG 015

FBPumpkinBLOG 019

Which style is your favorite? Or do you prefer to keep it simple?

PumpkinBLOG 007FB

Thanks for reading! Fall – here we come!

Linking up at some of my favorite parties this week!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mirrored Key Holder

Ever since I remodeled my kitchen, I lost the spot where I used to hang my keys. {I used to have a key holder on my kitchen wall, but my new backsplash won’t allow me to hammer a hole in it. Boo!} I kept saying I would find a new spot {Hmm, maybe under one of those frames already by my door?} but I never did.

It has been one year since that remodel. ONE YEAR people! And my keys have been everywhere: on my table, in my purse, on the counter. Everywhere but in the same spot. Ever. So finally I had to do something!

Enter the only wall space by the door that I have:

AugustBLOGit 016

I LOVE that “You are My Sunshine” canvas and will be finding it a new home fast! But, that wall corner was the best place for my keys. If you follow me on Facebook, you may remember some of my recent garage sale finds. One of my favorite purchases was this wooden mirror for $2!
All it needed was a little TLC to get rid of the spots and dirt and it was good to go!

All spotty...

AugustBLOGit 018

All pretty!

AugustBLOGit 017

To make this mirror an official key holder, I added some hooks on the bottom edge of the frame. I originally wanted dark or black hooks, but since my goal for this project was also not to go out and buy anything, I used three white hooks I already had.

AugustBLOGit 020

I screwed them evenly into the bottom of my mirror but, still not satisfied, I distressed them a little to go with the wooden border.

Yes I distress everything – even hooks! lol It was quite easy – the paint chipped off as I was hammering them into place and I just scraped the side of the hammer against the hook until I got the look I wanted.

AugustBLOGit 021

I liked them much better after that! I even distressed them a little {a lot} more than this pictures shows:

AugustBLOGit 022

After that, all I had to do was anchor my mirror to the wall! I envisioned shattered glass everywhere, since hanging heavy objects isn’t my strong point, but hey – it’s been a couple days and it’s still in tact! {Yay!}

The final product…



I also like that the hooks aren’t super obvious when no keys are on it. You know, in case the Queen comes over for tea. ;-)


What’s funny, is the first day I used my new mirrored key holder – I couldn’t find my keys! Why? Because I was looking where I usually do: on the counter... in my purse... on the table... Sure enough, they were hanging right where they should be – on their new hooks. Now I know. And won’t forget. ;-)

Sometimes the simplest projects are my favorite!


Linking up at: TCB; Boerman Ramblings;

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Create a Living Wall

If you look up “Living Wall” on Google, it will tell you a lot about how to hang your plants vertically. So right away, those who know me, already know this post has nothing to do about gardening. {If there was an opposite of a green thumb – I would have it!} So, what IS a living wall? My version involves writing.

A living wall is a space in our house that my kids and I can draw or write notes for each other. We call it LIVING because it is constantly CHANGING and evolving as we grow and write new things.
So where is this beautiful space? Maybe not where you’d think…

Normal kitchen cabinets on the outside…

AugustBLOGit 006

Our Living Wall on the inside!


This really is a simple project, as well. Last summer I remodeled my kitchen. One touch I added was chalkboard paint to the inside of my pantry cupboard!


Plain inner cupboard. {Okay, this is the opposite pantry door, I guess I was too quick with the chalkboard paint! But they are identical doors – guard rail and all.}

AugustBLOGit 029

To make the chalkboard cupboard, WHILE THE CABINET DOOR WAS OFF IT’S HINGE, {trust me – ever try spray painting around your pantry? Not fun.}

1.  I taped off the entire raised border around the inside of the door and covered what I could with plastic. {Spray paint can be tricky and I didn’t want it getting anywhere on my white door!}

2. I spray painted the chalkboard paint in the center of the door. I recommend 2-3 coats. I used 2.
And the end result was a chalkboard cabinet!



Originally I envisioned this chalkboard cupboard as a cute shopping list area. I’d mark things I needed as I used them up, and keep chalk handy in my pantry. I actually did use it that way for a while… but…

I have two boys. Boys are like chalk MAGNETS {I think they can sniff it out!} so once they discovered the chalk it was no surprise they got crafty too {hey, it IS in their blood} and started ‘adding’ to my shopping list. Every day I was constantly finding new notes and drawings on the chalkboard and it wasn't long before I was writing little notes back to them.

And thus our living wall was born!

Sometimes we write thoughtful notes, or favorite bible verses {see left} and sometimes we draw silly pictures. {right}


Sometimes things get erased quickly and sometimes they stay up for a looong time – note the Happy St. Patrick’s day! I guess they liked my Shamrock! But always, our notes create memories.


This week my boys are visiting their dad. They’ll be gone 11 days, just in time for school to start. Sooo, I erased the whole chalkboard.
I know.
It kind of made me sad actually. {I’m so glad I took a picture of it!} But now, it’s ready for the new school year!


I’m looking forward to all the new notes and pictures we will add this year!

What I love about this project is that you can create a living wall anywhere in your home – on any wall, picture frame or space! I’m even thinking of starting one in my classroom for my students to add favorite quotes and ideas. How about you – where would you put a living wall?


Monday, August 20, 2012

Where to Eat in NYC

Do you like food?
Well, then this post is for you!!

I recently traveled to New York this summer to visit my sister and nephew. I’d been to New York before and seen most of the ‘touristy’ stuff so this trip was just for family time. The only places I wanted to visit were the World Trade Center Memorial {more on that later} and Central Park. {I’d seen it, but never been!} So, other than those two stops, the rest of my trip pretty much involved my sister taking me to all the places she loves to eat! {Yay!} Can you imagine having an NYC tour guide take you to the best local little places to eat?  Well, that’s what I got!

And just so you know, we’re not talking the trendy expensive hot spots here. We’re talking little family owned restaurants and cafes, that you might accidentally pass by or happen upon out of luck, but that create the best food I have eaten in perhaps years. Yes, it was divine.

Stop 1: Numero 28 PIZZA FROM NAPOLI


This is a family owned restaurant and the owners really are from Italy!
In addition to the best bruschetta bread and pizza, they also had really good tiramisu. This was my official birthday lunch while I was in NY. {Thanks again sis!}


Some of you could probably stop at that delicious tiramisu – but there is so much more to share!!

Stop #2: THE LOEB BOATHOUSE in Central Park

I have to say this was my FAVORITE place to eat on the trip for many reasons. Yes, it had great food. Yes, the service was excellent – funny and nice waiters; efficient, yet relaxed. But you get the best of both worlds! The Boathouse has an indoor restaurant, it has a full bar area with TV’s, if you’re into that, {maybe next time for us, when we don’t have a 10 month old and stroller in tow}, it has an express cafe AND it has an outdoor patio area right on a lake in Central Park. That is where we sat. Who wouldn’t love a nice cool drink and meal with a view like this?

JulyNYC2012 079

I could have sat there all day with a glass of wine and a good book. But, hey, something else I had really wanted to do was go for a boat ride on this lake, so after we relaxed at the restaurant, off we went! Guess who got to row?


Stop #3: A PICNIC in Central Park!


Okay, this one isn’t exactly a restaurant, but if you’ve never been to Central Park {like me} or just want to get back to nature for a bit, then Central Park is the place for you. We just bought simple sandwiches on our walk, but you can even pack your own picnic to make it a fun day. This is also an inexpensive way to enjoy the city. We ate lunch with this adorable little gazebo in view:

JulyNYC2012 075

You could even stop by the Zoo or find a bench and have lunch near Belvedere Castle in the Park! {This CA girl thought it was a little reminiscent of Cinderella’s Castle in Disneyland! Just a little.}


And if you’re feeling very brave, you could buy a hot dog off of one of the many carts in The Park.
I did that.
That was not one of my favorite places to eat, but I had never eaten a hot dog off a cart before. Check #112 off the bucket list. I think we ended up getting a sausage and it was not good. Lots of people say the hot dog carts are good, so maybe we just got a bad cart? Time will tell if I give another cart vendor a chance, but at least I can say I tried it! lol


On my last day we took a dessert tour around the city! We had crepes, chocolate chip cookies and  cream puffs! We were supposed to have gelato as well, but I couldn’t hang and had to stop at the cream puffs!

The crepe I got was from the Café Deux Margot. We sat outside, had a French waiter, felt fancy and ate a delicious crepe!


Then it was off to Levain Bakery to get the thickest, biggest chocolate chip cookie in the city! If my sister didn’t know about this place, I very well could have passed it. The bright blue door is actually quite unassuming from the street. You have to go down the stairs once inside to see what the bakery looks like. There is no store front or bakery window showing their treats. Just this sign and their signature blue door {that I will be sure not to miss next time I’m in the city!}


Why no picture of the cookie? Let’s just say we ate it so fast there was no time to snap the evidence! By the way, this cute shop also sells milk. Good call Levain Bakery. Good call.

Last stop: cream puffs!


Beard Papa’s boasts the world’s best cream puff, and I have to say, they’re pretty close. My favorite EVER cream puffs are from COSTCO. Believe it or not, their small frozen hors d'oeuvres are quite tasty. BUT, I will say Beard Papa’s taste almost exactly the same only in a larger creamier version! Yum!!


Next time we’ll have to come here FIRST so I won’t be so full because I seriously want to try every single flavor! Éclair puff? Yes, please! And if you want to try some good gelato {also on my list for next time}, it's just next door or at least not far from Beard's Papa's.

A couple other side track stops – while walking, we got water. I HAD to snap a picture of these treats I did NOT eat. Apparently this shop had a fascination with BACON:

JulyNYC2012 071

Have you ever had a bacon cookie?? Not me – but maybe my next trip.

Because you walk everywhere in New York, we made sure to stop at my sister’s favorite bookstore. I know this picture is not about food, but we’ll just keep with today’s theme and say if you are hungry for books {get it? lol} like me, you won’t mind! This is my sister’s and now my favorite bookstore in NYC:

JulyNYC2012 070

It’s quaint atmosphere reminds me of ‘The Shop Around the Corner’ bookstore in the movie “You’ve Got Mail.” It’s locally owned, independent and lots of new and seasoned authors go there for book signings! My “I’m not going to buy anything” mantra did not last very long in this store!!

And finally, if you are at all worried about eating your way around New York City – then have NO WORRIES. New York offers FREE yoga in the park {Bryant Park} on Tuesday nights. Yes, I said FREE. And it was awesome. The only thing missing in this pictures is the sky scrapers in the background behind those trees.


Aaagh, good times. Thank you to my sister and little nephew {isn’t he a cutie patootie?} for being the best tour guides ever on my trip! {PS – the only other place to eat I left out was my sister’s house. She’s a great cook and if she wasn’t so dang private, I’d post her address and phone number here so you could pop over for dinner sometime.}


Are any of you planning a trip to New York soon? I’d love to hear if you eat at any of these places!! Or share a new place for me to try on my next trip!

For all of my foodie friends out there – what’s your favorite restaurant/place to eat where you live??? Cheers!!


Friday, August 17, 2012

I {Heart} Summer Vacation

Summer is quickly drawing to an end here in So Cal. Many students have started school already, but over here we have 2 more glorious weeks!! This past week we spent primarily at my favorite spot: the beach!

The best vacations {in my book} are stay-cations! Especially when we are lucky enough to live 15 minutes from beautiful scenery and days like this:

Doheny2012 046

Even though we were close to home, we felt miles away because we were CAMPING! It’s a new family tradition that we do every year! My son has even learned to set up the tent {mostly} by himself.

Doheny2012 001

The campground is right on the beach, which means we got to spend most of the days with our toes in the sand, splashing in the water, riding our bikes on the trail and just RELAXING!! Here are some pictures of the fun we had this week!

Doheny2012 018

Doheny2012 032

My friend, Valerie, made these neon yellow shirts for all the kids to wear! With so many families (10!) and kids, it made it easy for the adults to see which kiddos belonged with our group! I’m also glad they were all the right ages not to be ‘too cool’ to wear them!

Doheny2012 002

Doheny2012 022
My loves xo

Both my boys enjoyed some of their  favorite activities – riding bikes and boogie boarding!
Doheny2012 035

Doheny2012 080

Doheny2012 037

Our last night we all got together and had a potluck. I was amazed at how well we ate for camping! (That is all in thanks again, to my friend Valerie who organizes this all! I would probably starve and freeze if I tried to go camping alone!)

Doheny2012 089 

Doheny2012 090

Homemade Ice Cream while camping? I think yes!

PicMonkey Collage2

During one of our beach days one of the parents found a whole bunch of tiny brittle stars on some seaweed that had washed ashore!! {Don’t worry – they all made it back safely into the ocean!} There’s nothing like a little marine science education when you’re at the beach! {Yes, this teacher makes everything a teachable moment - wink} Can you make out the tiny sea star my son is holding?

Doheny2012 063

We even learned how to fry a freshly caught fish. Really.

Doheny2012 115

Despite all my 8 yr. old’s pleas, he was not allowed to eat it. I know. Mean mommy. But actually he was more fascinated in the bones afterward anyway. {That fish still grosses me out! But, hey, that’s nature! More power to my little nature boys.}

And of course we enjoyed the bonfires, s’mores, family time and beautiful sunsets…

Doheny2012 109

Doheny2012 100

Doheny2012 098

No matter what we were doing this week, we just HAD FUN together because that’s what vacations are all about, isn’t it? Until next year…

Doheny2012 055

Do you have a family vacation tradition? Where do you like to go?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...