A Little Pinspiration

I’ve tried a lot of Pinterest ideas and usually my attempts at being cute and crafty result in an epic fail… but this time a cousin of mine sent me a photography idea so I thought, why not? I’ve been saving for a professional camera so I’ve been getting all the practice I can get lately, and it also helps that there’s a lot of cute babies in my family to take pictures of right now.

My baby, Reagan, was a honeymoon baby so I thought this idea was absolutely perfect for her. It took a lot of calming and re-swaddling go get her to fall asleep just the way I needed her to but the results were worth it!

Here is the shot that took at least 40 minutes to get.

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It’s crazy how fast they grow, so I might be a little picture happy lately but I’m beyond happy to capture every moment I can of my baby girl.

-Rachel

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6 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

Whether you’re tired of shoveling snow or sick of dealing with the shorter, darker days of winter, this time of year can get you down.  Regardless of whether or not the groundhog saw his shadow, it looks like we’re in for another month or two of wet, yucky weather so we might as well make the best of it.  Here are some of my favorite ways to beat the winter blues without spending a dime or leaving home!

 

Do Some Reading

Stop making lists of all the great books you plan to read this summer and start one today! If you’ve got an Amazon account there are countless books available for free every day.  Not sure what to read? Check out the best-sellers list or find something that can help you in your career.  (I read a recent article said that the most successful business people read an average of four marketing/business related books per year.) If you’re looking for a romance or action packed novel, remember most movies were originally books so pick your favorite and get a new perspective.

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Have a Netflix Marathon

If you’ve never binge-watched a TV series, you don’t know what you’re missing.  Snow days are perfect for Netflix TV marathons. Simply get comfortable, make some snacks and settle in.  Start with a classic series like Friends or How I Met Your Mother, or catch up on the latest season of your favorite show.  Netflix has numerous seasons available so you can watch a TV series from start to finish, or get sucked into one of their original series like the award winning drama, Orange is the New Black.

netflix marathon

Build a Fort

This one is great when school gets cancelled and the kids are home for the day, but you don’t have to have kids to build a totally awesome pillow fort! Stuck at home with just your hubby? Get creative and relive your childhood days seeing who can make the best fort using only blankets, pillows and the furniture in the room. Does your fort have TV access? Host your Netflix TV marathon from your fort and it’s sure to win!

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Bake a Pie

You don’t have to be Betty Crocker to whip up a delicious pie to beat the winter blues.  Take stock of the fruit in your home – maybe you have some apples or peaches that are on the brink of going bad, or maybe you have a bunch of bananas that no one has eaten.  Instead of letting them go to waste, find a recipe for that type of fruit pie or muffins. (Bananas are perfect for muffins!) With just a few additional ingredients like flour, sugar, and heavy cream, you’ll have a delicious pie in no time.  Trust me, if I can make one of these recipes, you can too! Click here for some easy Pinterest recipes to get you started!

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Start Your Spring Cleaning

You don’t have to go all out, but a little bit of cleaning here and there can save you from needing a major “deep cleaning” down the road.  If you’re stuck inside for the day, make an effort to reduce clutter and start a Goodwill or Salvation Army bag to fill with items that can be donated.  Make another bag for trash.  Don’t be a pack-rat… If you don’t use it, donate it. If it’s broken, put it in the garbage. Start with your closets to free up storage space, then move to rooms like the kitchen and bathroom.

If you have kids, do a secret playroom clean up! Use the donation bag and garbage bag method but add a third bag or storage bin for toys that you know your kids like, but haven’t played with in a while.  Chances are, they won’t notice they’re missing and in a few months you can get them back out and they’ll be like new! “Rotate” toys like this every few months to eliminate clutter and save money.

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Take a Bath

When the roads are icy and activities get cancelled, take advantage of the unexpected free time and give yourself some “me-time.” Draw yourself a nice hot bath and give yourself at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted relaxation.  Light some candles, add some bubble bath or Epsom salts and turn your phone off.  Treat your skin to an exfoliating scrub or try this DIY mud mask.

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However you choose to spend your snow-days, remember to take some time to enjoy the little things!

– Rachel

Pumpkin Everything

Fall is one of the most beautiful and tasteful times of the year! The leaves are changing, the temperature is dropping and every coffee shop is serving some kind of yummy pumpkin themed latte.

One of my favorite fall memories is carving pumpkins with the family – dad’s was always scary, mom’s was always happy, my sister’s were always artsy and creative… and then there was mine.  Let’s just say carving pumpkins was not my forte so I was super excited when I found some awesome ideas for decorating pumpkins that don’t involve carving at all!  Here are some fun ways to get festive this season without the mess and frustration:

Glitter Pumpkins

Simply use craft glue to create your desired patterns and sprinkle on some loose glitter! Be sure to use newspaper to collect all of the excess glitter.

Monogrammed Pumpkins

With basic stencils you can create a custom monogram for your pumpkin. Simply outline with craft glue and sprinkle with loose glitter - Or fill in your stencil with paint for a different look.

Painted Pumpkins

Get creative with paint! Go scary or funny or turn your pumpkin into a Captain America shield.  The options are endless.

Ribbon Pumpkins

Pick up some colored ribbon and apply with craft glue to create various patterns and looks!

In addition to decorating with pumpkins, fall is the best time of the year for making fresh pumpkin pie, pumpkin bars and everything in between!  One of my favorite fall treats is my sister’s famous Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.  The recipe is simple and I usually double the batch:

 

1 C SugarPumpkin Choc Chip Cookies
1 C Canned Pumpkin (8 oz.)
1/2 C Butter
2 C Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 C Chocolate Chips

 

Beat the pumpkin, butter and sugar first. Add other ingredients saving the chocolate chips for last.  Drop with a teaspoon and bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes and top with your favorite cream cheese icing.  Enjoy!

Shabby Chic Wedding – DIY Ideas

8/23/2014 was my big day! My mother and I spent months shopping antique stores, running back and forth to Michael’s, and scouting the perfect venue but our hard work finally paid off!  My goal was “Shabby Chic” and I think we nailed it.

A big thanks goes to The Booking House in Manheim, PA for being the PERFECT event space with their beautiful staircase, exposed beams, gorgeous chandelier and original brick walls.  We were one of the first weddings to take place here and they could not have been more helpful!

Tons of people asked about our decor, where we found things or how we made them so this blog is dedicated to all of the other brides who are looking for the perfect Shabby Chic wedding, but may be on a budget. Without further to do…

DIY Burlap Pennants

DIY Burlap Pennants

Burlap is a must-have for any shabby chic theme. We purchased our burlap from a local craft store and used a regular fabric marker to achieve this look.  We sewed the top of the pennants over, creating a simple way to string them together with twine.  We found attaching a safety pin to the end of the twine made it easier to get through each pennant.   I found something like this at Michael’s for almost $40 – our version cost less than $10.

DIY Ring Bearer Pillows

DIY Ring Bearer Pillows

Close Up

Close Up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the same burlap we used for our Mr. & Mrs. sign, I made two little ring bearer pillows.  My mom sews often so she had some lace leftover from other projects I was able to use for trim.  If you don’t have lace on hand you can purchase some from a local fabric store for less than $5.  I wove some twin into the top of the pillows and secured with a knot so that we could tie our rings onto the pillows with a simple bow. I purchased the stuffing for the pillows at a local fabric store for less than $5. You can find these kind of pillows on Etsy for upwards of $20 or DIY for less than $10.

We wanted to use Ball jars for the centerpieces at our reception but I wanted them to be vintage – not the new ones you can find at any old craft store.  This took some time, hunting them down at local antique shops, but eventually we collected 16 blue Ball jars.  Over the course of 3-4 months we spent about $100 on all of the jars but they were well worth it!  We used some of the jars to hold our favors which were also DIY. We wanted to do something sweet that would look pretty so we purchased jumbo pretzel sticks from Costco and bulk chocolate wafers from Wilbur Chocolates in Lititz, PA.  With pink and white pearl sprinkles the pretzel sticks were a huge hit!

Antique Blue Ball Jar with Chocolate Covered Pretzel Stick Favors

Antique Blue Ball Jar with Chocolate Covered Pretzel Stick Favors

In addition to the mason jars we purchased some antique glass to accompany our centerpieces.  These little bottles and vases were inexpensive and we found most of them at local antique shops.  Instead of having our florist create lavish arrangements for each table, we saved a ton of money by working with a local Amish lady who sells cut flowers by the five-gallon bucket.  We had her fill two five-gallon buckets with flowers of my choice and then we simply divided them among our tables to achieve a beautiful, country yet shabby chic look. You’ll also notice the hat box in this photo – this was an antique yard sale find that we used for all of our cards at the reception.  It only cost my sister 50 cents!

Antique Vases and Bottles Added a Splash of Color and Character at Each Table

Antique Vases and Bottles Added a Splash of Color and Character at Each Table

Another way we saved money was by creating our own programs, invitations and menus. You can spend countless dollars on stationary from websites like Minted, Zazzle or Etsy but at the end of the day no one is going to say, “Wow, my favorite part of that wedding was the programs!” Luckily, I have a background in graphic design so this part was fun for me, but as long as you have an eye for detail and a good sense of style you can achieve the same look.  Pictured below are our programs and menus.  I had the programs printed at Staples and I purchased ivory, sparkly card stock from Walmart for the menus which I printed on my own.

Programs for the Wedding Ceremony

Programs for the Wedding Ceremony

Menus for Each Table at the Reception

Menus for Each Table at the Reception

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saving money on our decor and stationary allowed us to book the honeymoon of our dreams and pay for our first choice photographer.  We were able to achieve the shabby chic look we wanted by making smart purchases and taking our time to find the vintage items we really wanted like the blue mason jars. Here are some additional photos from the big day!

Bridal Party at The Booking House

Bridal Party at The Booking House

Mr. & Mrs. Kyle Kline

Mr. & Mrs. Kyle Kline