Sunday, September 30, 2012

Moss Pumpkin Topiary

pumpkin topiary 2

I’ve finally completed my fall mantel, but before the full reveal I wanted to share my Moss Pumpkin Topiary (a complement to my Simple Fall Moss Wreath).

This topiary, in its previous life, was a felt circle topiary that I made for Valentine’s Day three years ago.  I had originally planned to make a felt circle pumpkin like Clean & Scentsible, but changed my mind once I remembered how long it took me the last time!  Instead, I decided to use some of the moss left over from my wreath.

Using the same technique as the wreath, I arranged the moss on the foam topiary and secured with florist pins/stakes.  Some teal velvet ribbon was pinned in place to mimic pumpkin grooves.  The final touch?  A cinnamon stick stem, placed on a floral pin.

moss pumpkin topiary 2

The bucket was pink and covered with hearts from its formed Valentine décor life, so I covered it with burlap (hotglued into place so I can easily remove it and reuse it later) and added some lace ribbon trim from my stash.

burlap and lace

So simple and pretty.  I love it.

pumpkin topiary

Full mantel reveal coming soon!


Linking here:  Jennifer Rizzo

Thursday, September 27, 2012

13.1 Thursdays–The Mud Run


Welcome back for another week of 13.1 Thursdays, where I chronicle my half marathon training adventure… the good, the bad, the ugly, and this week, the dirty!

I told you last week that my Saturday run was a mud run – some friends and I ran the Lozilu mud run in Austin.  It’s a combination of a 5k with an obstacle course and a few mud pits, which makes for some messy fun.  The event is also all women, most dressed up in some uniform or costume, so it’s a chick power kind of event.  Here’s our team before (that’s me on the far left):

We were the Red Hot Divas, although we got quite a few pirate comments.  Whatever.  Arrrrgh, matey.

We ran, climbed walls and giant fish nets, took mud baths, jumped off ramps, and then crossed the finish line together…

And then, of course, found the nearest cold beer!


It was awesome.  And just so you know, we’re already thinking of costume ideas for next year.

How I did this week:

Saturday: 5k Mud run

Sunday: Rest

Monday: Rest (gymnastics and homework interference!)

Tuesday: Ran 3 miles

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Rest (yes, again…)

So not that great this week.  Life sometimes has to come before running when you’re a mom and wife and work full time.  Planning on a morning run tomorrow and a long run on Saturday…

Running Gear I Can’t Live Without:


Say hello to my new little friend… the Sweaty Band.  I actually got one as part of the Lozilu swag (mine’s not giraffe, but I’m crushing on this one) and I loved using it this week.  I can’t stand my hair in my eyes while I run, and with short hair, most head wraps don’t fit right along the nape of my neck.  This one, with the skinny elastic, worked great.  And for reals, it doesn’t slip ya’ll.

My Pick-up-the-Pace Playlist:

Lights – Ellie Goulding

Titanium – David Guetta

Everybody Talks – Neon Trees


So even though this was one of those weeks where the training didn’t quite go as planned, I’m keeping the faith.  My run on Tuesday really felt good, strong… and I felt pretty strong on Saturday too.  My running confidence is slowly building, I think.  I’m still scared of the big 13.1, but maybe not quite as much?

So you think I can hit SEVEN this weekend?

Monday, September 24, 2012

{Fall Baking} Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

With the slight dip in temperatures, the weekend background noise of football, and the falling leaves that are starting to cover the ground… it is clear that fall is finally here.  Hallelujah.

I don’t know about you, but as soon as it’s fall, I always get the urge to fill my home with the scent of cinnamon, pumpkin, and nutmeg and of course, it’s always better if the scent is coming from my kitchen!  The best part about baking is that not only does your home smell wonderful, but there’s also a delicious treat for you to enjoy… this weekend, it was this scrumptious Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread.

pumpkin chocolate chip bread 2

This bread is the perfect blend of pumpkin and cinnamon – and the chocolate chips complement the rich fall flavors so nicely.  Just when your mouth is filled with pumpkin and spices… bam!  There’s a little chocolate for ya!


Bonus point?  The kiddos approved too!

pumpkin chocolate chip bread 1

If you’re a frequent baker like I am, you’ll have most of the ingredients on hand.  The only thing I had to purchase was the canned pumpkin and some more chocolate chips (those seem to disappear around here for some reason…).  The recipe makes a LOT.  I made a 9x5 loaf and four small loaves in my Pampered Chef Mini Loaf Pan.

Ready to make some of your own?!  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread


3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups granulated sugar
1 (15 ounce) can 100% pure pumpkin
1 cup canola oil
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9x5 inch loaf pan or mini loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.  (I always use Pam Baking Spray with Flour)

2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, canola oil, water, vanilla, and eggs. Mix until smooth.

4. Slowly blend in flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chips. Evenly divide batter between your loaf pans.

5. Bake for 60 minutes, or until browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove loaves from oven and cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. (My mini loaves took about 45 minutes – be sure to adjust baking time as needed.)

*** You can also use this batter to make some amazing muffins.  In that case, line your muffin pan with paper liners, fill 2/3 full with batter, and bake 18-20 minutes. ***

Original Recipe from Two Peas and their Pod


Hope you enjoy this treat as much as we have! 

Sharing here:

I Heart Naptime, Positively Splendid, Craftaholics Anonymous, Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, A Diamond in the Stuff, Savvy Southern Style, Shabby Creek Cottage, Craftberry Bush, Tatertots and Jello, Be Different Act Normal, It’s Overflowing

Thursday, September 20, 2012

13.1 Thursdays–The Long Run


Welcome back to 13.1 Thursdays, where you can  join me along my half-marathon training journey…

I don’t know about you, but the thought of running anything over 4 miles has always frightened me.  I’m not sure why; maybe it’s because I’ve never run any further or maybe it’s because, where I grew up, the nearest town was 8 miles away and I can’t imagine ever running that far.


Well, this past week, I got pretty close.  I conquered my first long run!

A glorious cold front hit our region late Friday evening, so we awoke to temps in the 60s on Saturday morning.  I laced up, planned my interval training on my running app, and headed outside… and not only did I complete the run, but I felt like I could’ve run a little more!

How I did this week:

Saturday – Six miles (yeah!!!)

Sunday – Rest

Monday – Cross Training

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – Three Miles

I overdid it on the squats with my cross training this week and my legs were hurting on yesterday morning’s run… but I’m happy to be off the treadmill and instead be running outside.  Yay fall!  I’ll get another run in tomorrow and then no long run this Saturday – instead I’ll be joining some friends for a mud run!  (Of course I’ll take pictures!)

Running Gear I Can’t Live Without:

iPhone Screenshot 1

This week, I’m sharing my favorite running app – Runkeeper.  I love it because it tracks my mileage by GPS and it has an option to have a “coach” while you’re running.  The coach feature tells me when to start my run/walk intervals, updates me on my distance and time and it lets me know how I’m doing with my pace.  It’s a godsend. (And free!)

My Pick-Up-the-Pace Playlist

Pound the Alarm – Nikki Minaj

Blow Me (One Last Kiss) – Pink

Whistle – FloRIDA

Still haven’t played with the playlist embedding tips you shared (thanks!), so this’ll have to do for now.  Love ‘em.


Hope you’re having a great week, and keep sending those tips my way… especially interested in everyone’s thoughts on energy gels/chews (Gu, PowerBar, Chomps).  Which to try?!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

DIY Coffee Table Roundup!

I am anxiously awaiting Thursday to arrive as it brings a long-awaited piece of furniture... my new sleeper sofa for my office!  This would be the same office that I repainted almost a year ago in the house that I moved into almost two years ago... so sad, right?  *sigh*  Such is the reality of decorating a home while trying to live like no one else.  It was quite gratifying knowing that this was paid for with cash, all earned from selling various furniture pieces that I've redone over the past year.  (Remember that red console and the sweet duck egg blue vanity set?)

The impending arrival of the sofa has my mind reeling with decorating ideas, particularly DIY coffee tables.  Who doesn't love those?  This is the one I'm 99.9% certain I'll make (I remember seeing it in Country Living and knowing I had to make it!):

But here are some other great ideas:

Source: via Jillian on Pinterest

Source: via Stephanie on Pinterest

Aren't these all such amazing ideas?  I'm sure you can detect a theme of repurposing old pieces of wood and throwing in a little industrial touch with casters, but the most important theme is that they can all be made pretty inexpensively, which works just fine for this gal on a budget.

How has being on a budget influenced your decorating style?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Simple Fall Wreath–Moss and Pumpkin

moss pumpkin wreath 1

A new wreath is typically how I begin changing up holiday/seasonal décor.  For some reason, it tends to be a great catalyst for getting me into full-on decorating mode.

I wanted to keep my fall wreath simple this year, an homage to the natural beauty of the season.  This wreath is simply a styrofoam wreath from covered in natural spanish moss and accented with white pumpkins and an open-weave burlap bow.

moss pumpkin wreath 2

In the making of this wreath, I discovered that moss is one decorative element that is not conducive to the use of hot glue – it was a sticky, stringy mess.  Luckily, I had some floral pins on hand that worked perfectly to secure the bunches of moss to the wreath form.  To conceal the pins, I placed a dab of hot glue over it and covered with a small bunch of moss.

moss closeup

Since real pumpkins aren’t yet readily available here, I substituted some faux pumpkins (bought for 40% off at Hobby Lobby).  I’d rather have real ones, but these are good stand-ins for now.

moss pumpkin wreath full copy

I found the burlap ribbon at Hobby Lobby as well and used my 40% off coupon – the ends are wired, which made for easy shaping of the ribbon.  (Helpful hint – in case you didn’t know, Hobby Lobby now has a mobile app.  You can open the coupon in-store for your discount!)

I hung my wreath lower than I usually do, so as to contrast the moss and white with the aqua color of my front door.  I sorta think I’m loving it.

Now I’m ready to spread the fall cheer around the rest of my home!

In what ways are you decorating for fall?


Linking up here:

I Heart Naptime, Positively Splendid, Craftaholics Anonymous, Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, A Diamond in the Stuff, Savvy Southern Style, Shabby Creek Cottage, Craftberry Bush, Tatertots and Jello, Be Different Act Normal, It’s Overflowing, The Vintage Farmhouse

Thursday, September 13, 2012

13.1 Thursdays

So here’s the skinny… my sister asked me if I wanted to run a half marathon on her birthday this year.  Foolishly, I said yes.

What was I thinking?!

Since I’m committed to doing this, I’ve had to start training so come November 11th, I’ll be able to cross the finish line rather than having my sweaty body peeled off of the pavement.  Ha!  I thought I’d share the experience with you, so welcome to 13.1 Thursdays, where I chronicle my half marathon training journey.


Each week, I’ll fill you in on my training plan, cool running gear that I can’t live without, and the latest tunes on my playlist.  I’ll also let you in on the challenges I’m facing as well as my accomplishments.

You ready?  Here we go with our first edition of 13.1 Thursdays!

Okay, so to be honest, I was going to wait to train until 12 weeks prior to the race.  Then, a friend talked me into running a 4.5 miler with her.  In July.  In Texas.

I thought I was going to die.

That event was a great eye opener for me about just how out of shape I was.  It also made me very scared for running a distance three times that much!  I knew I needed to get back into running soon if I was going to survive my 1/2.

After talking to several marathoner friends, I decided the Galloway method of run/walk was for me.  My goal is to survive training without injury and finish the 1/2 marathon in November.  I’m not out to be a marathon superstar and I’m certainly not so proud that I won’t walk.  Once I’ve got this one under my belt and decide to do another (riiiiiight), then we’ll talk about running the whole thing.

Because it has been dreadfully hot this summer, all of my training has been indoors, on a treadmill.  I know, it’s unorthodox, and doesn’t exactly simulate race-like conditions.  But here’s the deal: I’m a full-time working mom.  I have a spouse who works twelve hour shifts – so on days he works, I’m essentially a single parent (this includes every other weekend…).  I have to run when I can, and sometimes that means my girls are playing on the neighborhood playground or entertaining themselves with their games while mama’s on the treadmill. 

Any running is better than no running – I figure at least I’m building endurance and getting  used to the distances.

So, my current training plan consists of: running 3-4 miles twice during the week with alternating cross-training if I can, and a long run on the weekend.  It’s a combination of training plans I found through the Jeff Galloway website and Runner’s World.  Runner’s World even has a feature called Smart Coach, where you can build your own training plan.  Pretty cool.

So how am I doing, you ask?

Well, this past week, so far, so good (minus no cross-training)

Monday – 4.5 miles

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – 3 miles

Thursday – Rest

Tomorrow I’ll maybe do a light cross-train cause I’m planning on running 5-6 miles on Saturday morning.  I was hoping to get outside since a cold front is bringing us 60 degree weather, but unfortunately, it’s also bringing rain.  Good for the dry ground, not so great for running.

Running Gear I Can’t Live Without

My SPI Belt, which holds my phone during my run so I can listen to Pandora non-stop.  Love.

My Pick-up-the-Pace Playlist

We Run the Night – Havana Brown

Hello – Karmin

Stronger – Kelly Clarkson

I’m still trying to figure out how to embed a playlist, so hopefully next week I’ll have that for you.  If you’re in need of some good music to keep you running, try these.  Or try Today’s Hits on Pandora – that’s what I do!


I hope you stick around with me during this crazy adventure, and if you’re training as well, fill me in on any tips you have or maybe just empathize with me along the way!  Wish me luck for that long run this weekend!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My New Favorite Punkin'

In case you didn't get a chance to see this, you have to check out this fabulous Junkin' Punkin' tutorial from my girl Kristin at Simply Klassic Home!

Don't you just love it?!

In other news... I'm slowly working on adding some Fall to my home.  We're finally in the 90 degree temps here in Texas, so I'm sorta convinced that the dog days of summer are gone for now... and I'm ready to bring on the pumpkins and cinnamon!

And... stay tuned tomorrow for a new home.made. feature about my 1/2 marathon training!

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Chevron Wall Art Upcycle

When we moved into our home almost two years ago, the previous owners had left us an assortment of accessories… some good, some not so good.  This particular piece of wall art was one of them:

I’ll let you decide which of the aforementioned categories it falls under…

Yeah, not so good.  I mean, it’s not terrible, but I wasn’t going for the vineyard, bunch of grapes look for my outdoor space.  Of course, considering how long it’s taken me to redo said outdoor space, who knows what look I’m going for!

Rather than chunk it, I decided to upcycle the grape art into something a little more my style -

chevron aqua and orange sign

There… that’s better!

After a good cleaning and a coat of primer, I taped off a center chevron and painted it a bright orange color with some sample Valspar paint from Lowe’s.  I then removed my tape and realized I didn’t care for the white alternating stripes, so I painted those with some pearl gray craft paint.

After that… my wall art was starting to look like a road sign, so I added some antiquing glaze to soften the color contrast.  Then came the fun part… the message!

I thought about cutting out a vinyl image for the lettering, but thought it might not stick well to the textured canvas… bummer.  I dug around in my handy dandy craft closet and pulled out some chipboard letters.  Perfect.

I simply traced the chipboard letters and then hand-painted with some aqua paint left over from the Paint-Dipped Camp Stools.  Easy peasy, and the perfect message:

Life is good.

chevron orange and aqua art

orange and aqua chevron

It is indeed.

life is good


Sharing this here:

Show and Tell Saturday, I Heart Naptime, Positively Splendid, Wow Us Wednesdays, Tuesday’s Treasures, Transformation Thursday, Restored It Wednesday, The 36th Avenue

Thursday, September 6, 2012

School days…

So, it’s happened… my babies are both in school.

school 006

school 004

They look so sad about it too, don’t they?

Ha!  They were both so happy and so ready to get started that the first day of school was smooth sailing… for them.  I had to hide my mama tears as I left my youngest sitting at her big girl desk, playing with play-doh and having a grand old time.

Ugh.  Why do they have to grow up so quickly?

school 002

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pallet Board Back to School Countdown!

I shared this project last week over at Simply Klassic Home and now I’m posting it for you!  I have plans to make it work for other occasions too – will post those soon!

I’m not normally a “Back to School” decorator/crafter, but since both of my precious girls will  be in school this year, I thought it was only proper to celebrate the occasion!

back to school pallet sign

Here’s how to make your own:

You Will Need:

scrap pallet board (or other scrap wood)

leftover paint

chalk/chalkboard paint

antiquing medium (or stain)

decorative wood apple (I found mine at Hobby Lobby)

paint pen

hot glue


1.  Sand any rough areas on your board (to prevent yourself from getting splinters…) and paint with a thin coat of paint.  I used a watered-down mix of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Pure White to create a “wash”.  Set aside to dry.


2.  Paint your apple wood piece with chalk/chalkboard paint.  I used ASCP in Aubusson Blue since I had it on hand.



3.  While this paint is drying, you can work on your pallet sign (if dried – that’s another great thing about chalk paint, btw.  The dry time is super quick.)  I chose to freehand my letters, but you can stencil or trace from a printed font if you like.


4.  Then, trace over with your paint marker.  Easy peasy.


5.  I then brushed on an antiquing glaze made from craft paints from Hobby Lobby, wiping it off with a rag afterward.


6.  Once all of the paint is dry, hot glue your chalkboard apple in place… and let the countdown begin!

pallet back to school sign

pallet school sign

Hope you enjoy the rest of summer while it lasts!

Sharing here:
Transformation Thursday


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