I FELT Crafty. Part 2

I had wanted to get this post up before Christmas was over but I think I was overly ambitious in that aspiration.  I decided to go ahead and post my creation since it really could be made in any color and put up at any time of year...

About a month ago now, I made some felt flowers for some bud vases I had around the house.  I liked them so much (and they were so easy to make) that I thought I would go ahead and create a wreath with some of the same flowers.  I've always thought of wreaths as being an old lady type thing but they can totally be a fun and modern element in any house.  

By the way, I promise I have more to talk about that home decorating, it's just been on my radar a lot lately with the holidays and it's fun to share:)

Here are the supplies I used for my wreath:
  • Styrofoam wreath form
  • Ribbon to wrap form in (25 ft)
  • Multiple pearlized pins
  • Several sheets of white and red felt
  • Brads for the center of felt flowers
  • Embroidery floss
  • Large needle
  • Nice scissors
  • Pipe cleaners
I simply wrapped the wreath form in ribbon (any type of ribbon will do but one that's not silky would probably stay put the best) and secured it to the back with the pearlized pins. Why use glue if you don't have to?

I created some felt flowers via this tutorial and also attached them using the pins.  

I wrapped the pipe cleaners around a pen to curl them and attached them as well.  

Here's the semi-finished product:

I thought I was done at this point but as the weeks went on, I kept staring at the wreath just thinking it needed something more.  I like clean and simple but NOT boring and I knew a few more layers would spice it up a bit and make it look more grown up.  I found this yarn and felt wreath tutorial online and went to town to up the umpf factor.

This time I needed:
Pom Poms
Pearlized Pins
A roll of tulle (a few dollars at JoAnns)
A glue gun

I started out with the rose-like flowers and was pleased with the ease that they came together.  They may look hard but trust me, you can't mess them up!  I was digging through my craft supplies and found the tulle and pom poms and decided it would make the wreath a little more exciting to add them too.  

I love using the pins to attach things because I can move them around if things aren't in the right spot.  It can be hard to commit to placement sometimes and this takes the stress out.

Here's a tip: always create a focal point when making a wreath with embellishments... either put all the weight on one point (I like it to be at 5 or 7 O'Clock) or offset it with the most visually weight-y (how's that for technical speak?) part at the bottom.

So now that the wreath project is officially done, I think I'm ready to make another one.  Possibly something green and white that I can hang on the door all year long.  Look at these for inspiration-they could easily be adapted to fit any color or holiday.

So what do you think, would you ever feel the urge to attempt a project like this?


Play date!

Maggie is still taking a brief hiatus after all the moving and such so I thought I would pop in and post some pictures from a few weeks back.  Jude and I went up to Ames before the big move to help pack.  And by that I mean, the kids ate cheerios/played/screamed while Maggie and I drank chocolate shakes from McDonalds.  It's easy to forget how little you can get done with two little ones around.  I did get one box of linens packed for her though;)

Pretty blue eyes!

I'm glad they will have each other since it doesn't look like they will have cousins for awhile:)

My little man in suspenders.

Peyton likes to laugh at Jude.

 This one is my favorite; Peyton is telling Judah a very thought provoking secret.  

Leaning in for a kiss!


I'll give you a sheep for some brick...?

One of the many games my family and I play.



Along with... Ticket to Ride



 And Carcassonne...


Ok, I know, I know. They sound like the lamest games ever. And you feel kinda like a nerd playing them. But you have to try them if you haven't already.

They can be kind of frustrating to learn in the beginning, so be patient and give it some time. Or, if you can play with an experienced player that's even better. 

So now that my nerd-o-meter has just gone up quite a few notches...I think I'm off to go play some of these games with the fam! And we're going to try a new one....


I'm excited! It's so fun being a nerd!

 P.S. What games do you and your family play? Do you have any fun ones to share with us?!


Merry Christmas!!

Sorry we've been a little absent here on the blog lately....we've been busy, as we assume you are too!

But we just wanted to take this moment to wish all of our readers a very merry Christmas!!

Lots of love,
Hannah, Rachel & Maggie



Usually today would be Maggie's day to post & I just wanted to let everyone know it's been a rough past week for her, Brandon and Peyton.  They moved to Des Moines and the home closing process has been nothing short of CRAZY.  It's been stressful and complicated and isn't over yet.  AND to make matters worse, they spent Tuesday night in the hospital with their dear daughter.  Don't worry, she is OK now.

Everything is shaping up and we believe will end up being fine but it's been difficult on them to say the least.  If you have time to send a text or sweet comment to Maggie, I'm sure she'd love it:)  They're excited to have their new house (it's so cute) but sad that they won't have a Christmas this year with all the decorations and "normalcy" of the holidays.  They are closer to family now though (and Hannah and I) so that's great!

If Maggie feels like she wants to, I'm sure she'll explain all the chaos that's been surrounding them on the blog eventually.  I'm not sharing too many details because I feel it's up to her but hanks for being good blog buddies and be sure to send thoughts, prayers and messages their way.

Merry Christmas!!!



Christmas has always been a magical time for our family...filled with lots of food, presents, celebrating, laughing, game playing, excitement, family and tradition. But what do you do when people grow up, move away, start their own families, and things start to change? You start new traditions of course!

You see...as we've all gotten older, my immediate family has recently started a newer tradition. Here's a preview:

You see....it starts to get expensive....really expensive actually when you try to buy for everyone in your family (anyone else share this problem?). Most of the time you get them something kind of crappy, because in order to stick to your budget and still get everyone a gift, they're unfortunately not gonna get much. Uh hem.....here's a candy bar, brother....Merry Christmas!

Sooo, we decided to each draw one name, stick to a budget we all agreed to, and stuff stockings! Literally stuff...take a peek at mine this year!

Brimming with goodies!!

All most of us got matching stockings from Pottery Barn. One of these is not like the others!

 Eric wanted to be different. :)

After a few years of experience, we all decided it was more fun for the girls to shop for the girls and guys to shop for the guys. We give each other ideas/lists, and sometimes people just even ask for money. But be careful if you choose this route...you might end up having to go on a scavenger hunt for your money or you may get it all in the form of quarters! (We have to make it interesting somehow!)

And usually we all get one or two things that don't fit in the stockings so we wrap the presents and stick a clever note in the stocking for the person to go and find their other gift(s). You can get really clever with this too...like make the person find their gift under their tree by measuring with the tape measure you just gave them in their stocking along with the note giving the measurements. Ummm, yes, this was the boys.

 We also take this evening to complete our tradition of sugar cookie making.....


and lots...

of sugar cookie making!!

We have to  make sure to have enough for all the different family celebrations we have! And trust me....we definitely have some cookie monsters.

Last but not least, we've decided it is so much easier to get Chinese takeout than to have to make dinner for the whole family (not to mention the messy cleanup afterward!) Sorry--no pictures of my beef lo mein, but it was scrumptious! Tsing Tsao is the only way to go.
(delicious. efficient. cheap). YES.

Oh yeah, it's probably wise not to leave the stocking you're working on stuffing in a little boy's room....otherwise you might come back to this....

Here's a closer look....

Oops! Guess Ollie realized these presents weren't for him...

Needless to say, the evening is always fun and stuffed full with cookies, stockings, food, and fun!

P.S. What traditions does your family have?!


life in a box

does anyone else's house look like this?

 i hope not. i wish this upon no one. i DESPISE packing. so much so that i have been putting it off and putting it off, until i just can't anymore. and the only thing worse than packing, is having to live in a house that is already packed. every square inch of your home is uprooted and moved into a new and temporary home.

for example: let's say that one's husband needs new batteries for the remote. like, really NEEDS. it's his last night (for a few weeks) to completely veg out and his precious remote does NOT WORK. seriously? seriously. so, since this husband may (or may not) have the best wife in the history of the world, she goes rummaging through 75 different boxes, to find the one with the batteries. all to find out that one's husband needed AA batteries, not AAA.


the new house can't come fast enough. i'm ready to live my life again.

anyone up for a bonfire? we've got lotsa boxes to burn:)


Not much has changed since Driver's Ed.

Like any childhood friends, the three of us girls love to sit around and reminisce about growing up together. We could laugh forever about the time I got stuck in a baby's dress, Hannah dressed up as Mrs. Swishbone and Maggie peed her pants.  As our time writing on this blog goes on, I'm sure you will hear all those stories and more but today, I thought I would share a funny story during Maggie and I's first few months as friends...

Hannah and I had met over the course of the 9th grade school-year, and Maggie and her were the best of friends but I didn't really get the chance to know Maggie myself until the summertime.  Although-- Maggie would say she knew who I was but didn't like me because of some girl-drama from 8th grade;)  The only thing I knew about Maggie was that she liked to wear blush- lol.

In the summer of 2001, we started Driver's Ed. Maggie and I took our class at Auto Pilots- the biggest joke of a driver's ed company in existence- where the classroom instructor had a curly mullet and every test was open-book.  We got to choose the groups we would learn to drive with and ended up partnering together along with our (still) good friend Hailey.

Hailey and Maggie sporting our awesome T's!

Since there were three of us taking turns driving, we had to spend three hours in the car on select early Saturday mornings that summer.  We brought the Blink 182 CD to rock out to while we drove the PT Cruiser around town accomplishing our instructor's errands.  

Right away, we knew it wasn't going to be good when she would stop randomly for verrrrrry looooooonnng and drawn out "potty breaks".  It seemed like we would just start to head in some unknown direction and she would ask us to stop at the nearest restroom for just a minute. Teenage girls do NOT have time for people with IBS.  BUT, if we didn't stop, she would threaten us silently with her deadly toots.

Sidenote: now that I think about it, one of Hannah and I's first classes together was speech and our teacher constantly left the room for long potty breaks too. I think we ended up having to teach ourselves speech that year! Hannah and I still laugh about this... anyone from 9th grade speech remember???  Megan? :) Lol.

Anyway, I remember one particular morning that we drove out to Adel or the boonies or something (the country is relative when you're from West Des Moines) and she had us drop her off at a rodeo (in actuality it was probably something waaaay cooler like a tractor show).

We waited in the car for 30. WHOLE. minutes. while she perused the vintage John Deere's.  Aren't we supposed to be DRIVING??  This is driver's ed, ya know?!

As you can imagine, at 15 years of age, those 30 minutes felt like 7 years.  So we did what every logical teenage girl would do (is that an oxi-moron?) and decided to mess around with the car.

Hailey was in the driver's seat and Mags had her head out of the sunroof dancing to All The Small Things. Meanwhile, Hailey decided to inspect the car's dash in preparation for her high school Auto class (err something) and while unsuspecting Maggie enjoyed her dance moves on top of the car, Hailey's hand slipped and Maggie got a face full of wiper fluid.  Whoops.

Poor Hailey, it's not like she'd had a lot of experience behind the wheel of a parked car before! ;)

There must have been something other than cow poo in the air that morning because our adventures continued to worsen. Upon our instructor's return from the epic tractor-sale, I got behind the wheel and was determined to get my hands on a Sausage Egg McMuffin.  I jerked the vehicle into the nearest McDonalds and began to place our order at the drive-thru.

The man on the other side of the speaker box told me to pull around to pay and because NO McDonald's EVER seems to have the first drive-up window open, I bypassed it and headed straight for the second one.

All I remember was a frantic McDonald's cashier in a visor running from window #1 to window #2 to get the money for our order all while screaming, "Ma'am, Maaaa'aam!". I sped on by, clueless of what I was doing while the girls screamed and laughed.  We received our food and in my embarrassed attempt to get the heck outta dodge, I ran over the median and bottomed-out the Cruiser. Gosh, how complicated can a drive-thru get??

Maggie (left) and I, later that fall.  The date on the camera is about 5 years off, btw;)

Those first few weeks as friends, goofing off in the car learning how to drive, really bonded us that summer.  Despite the lack of a quality instructor, I was so glad to have wonderful friends to help me navigate through the rural roads of Adel and soon, the hallways of Valley High School.


DIYin' it

i have to admit...the term "do it yourself" really intimidates me. i have a history of starting various DIY projects and then coming to the realization that i actually have to "do it myself", and the whole project sort of goes down the drain. or in the trash. i come from a long lineage of "do it yourself-ers", so i have a lot to live up to. my dad built peyton's crib with his bare hands (see picture below), not to mention thousands of other projects he's successfully completed...yeah, i should have inherited this trait of craftmanship, but sadly, i did not.

i have never been a very "artsy" person but lately my brain has been flooded with all sorts of projects and ideas as i daydream about how to decorate my new house. just for a quick run down: brandon and i bought our first house and it will officially be ours TOMORROW! i'm sure there will be many more posts on this later...so stay tuned:).

anywho...i have been feeling especially inspired after spending hours and hours reading "Young House Love" and watching HGTV. we will be gaining some more square footage with our move, which also equals more bare walls. i love how a great piece of art can transform a room. As renters, we've been subject to white walls for years, and a family photo or a favorite poster with a simple frame can help to break up any drab or empty wall.

about 6 months back, i found this sweet, happy wall sticker for peyton's nursery (the big pink flower above her crib). it matched the colors and theme of her bedding, so i didn't hesitate to snatch it up (actually, my mother-in-law was with me and bought it for me for mother's day...thanks, jenny!). it peels right off the wall and that's one less nail hole we have to Spackle before we move, right? i love it so much, that i wanted to find a way to transfer it to the new house. then came my "light bulb over the head" moment....i can turn it into art! (duh...i know, but like i mentioned before...not artsy).

i ran loaded up peyton in her hat, mittens and coat, shoved her in her car seat and slowly made my way to the nearest hobby lobby for supplies. i could spend all day in that store:) i found a piece of white foam board, some white spray paint and my favorite customized "build it yourself" frame.they only come in silver and black, hence the spray paint. i am usually okay with these choices, but for peyton's room, i felt white would look the best. i'm not much of a planner, so i might have forgotten to measure the size of the sticker...oops. but i guesstimated 30 inches by 30 inches and whaddya know? i guessed right.

i got home, waited anxiously for nap time and then jumped right in. project time.

i found something to balance my frame pieces on to spray paint and few coats later, they were ready to be pieced together. meanwhile, i went to work on peeling the large, flower shaped sticker off the wall. needless to say, it was quite the task to make sure it came off in one piece and good enough to salvage. i stuck it on the foam board, cut it to fit and built my frame around it. i like it even more now, with the super simple face lift that i gave it.

ta dah!...the finished product!
i'm excited to see the finished product on peyton's wall in our house...only one more day and we're homeowners! yahooo!
pray that i can get off my booty and finish packing:)


question for you wonderful readers: any DIY projects going on at your house? i wanna hear about 'em! maybe it will give me some more inspiration to tackle something more difficult than cutting foam board and spray painting:)


That's a Wrap.

So the wrapping party was a success!  And by that, I mean we ate sugar cookies to our hearts content, rocked out to Winter Wonderland and wrapped *almost* all of our gifts.  A snow storm came through on Saturday but it didn't get us down and by 7:30pm we were surrounded by bows, ribbon and wrapping paper with one deliriously happy kitty snacking on it all.

The party was easy to prepare for since my house was already decorated for Christmas and I just had to haul out my wrapping supplies a few minutes before the girls got here.  I made a few snacks and decided to focus most of my "party planning efforts" into some yummy sugar cookies.

My Aunt gave me an amazing recipe in March that I had been begging her to give me for nearly 5 years.  She would cut off my fingers if I shared it on here, so I found another recipe that's almost as good (I've made these before).  The key to awesome sugar cookies is not rolling them out too thin and then making sure to not over bake them so you keep them nice and soft.  You never want them to get brown or crispy.

Here's my decorating station, it's not that exciting but ya know:

I lined up some dip-bowls with sprinkles for easy access. I'm not afraid to say I picked up a container of cream cheese frosting; it's easy to mix up but when you're striving to make things simple you have to know your boundaries.  Right?  Anyway, it glided on the cookies and was wonderfully tasty.

By the way, you gotta get the gel food coloring.  Colors have never been so vivid, so fabulous, so edible!  No more "red" frosting that looks pink instead.  You'll love it.

I like to use cookie cutters as "stencils" to decorate.  

Trader Joe's Mac N' Cheese Balls and fudge too- yum!

Now, onto the fun part, the actual party! The supply stash (probably only half of what we had/brought): 

Wrapping paper, bows, embellishments, tape scissors, bags, tissue, and my personal favorite this year: tulle.  It works great instead of ribbons and bows and a roll of it will adorn gifts-a-plenty. This is where you pretend that I took a picture of one of the gifts I used tulle on, so you could see an example. Sorry!  

 The beautiful Hannah after her wrapping was done.  I surprised her with some peppermint coffee:)

The beautiful Melissa displaying one of her gifts.  

Sorry I didn't get any "in progress shots", I was busy;) And of course there's no Before and Afters 'cause a lot of you cute people reading are on the receiving end of the gifts and we wouldn't want you to see what you're gettin'.  Plus, we forgot to group all the wrapped gifts together and take a shot- whoops!  Still tryin' to get this blog thing down, he he.

I invited 5-6 people but a lot couldn't make it because they hadn't done shopping yet.  Maybe next year:)  It is best when the party is small because each person takes up so much space.  Unless you have a HUGE house or don't mind having people in your bedroom, on average, about 4 people is good to have over.  

So, we chatted, we wrapped, we laughed and we made one of the biggest tasks of the holiday season as easy as that.