Succulent Cross

Succulents are my one of my all time favorite things, and so are topiaries.  Here is an easy DIY project to add some green to your decor – a succulent cross!    It’s finally warm enough to spend some time out on the porch. My first priority of course, are plants and accessories. Never mind that there is no where to sit, or that my pile of rummage sale junk still sits in the corner of the porch. A pretty front door is so welcoming, and something green by the door just makes it so much more inviting. Succulents are my one of my all time favorite things, and so are topiaries. I used to work in a green house and we planted dozens of topiaries early in the season. Topiaries were always hot items and they really aren’t difficult to plant. Succulents work well in them because they have shallow roots and don’t need a ton of water. I found this cross topiary online last year and thought it would be perfect for my Easter decor. This would also be a nice project for a grave site planting, as the succulents don’t need a lot of maintenance. The first step is to soak your topiary in a bucket of water for 10-15 minutes until saturated. Then it’s ready to plant. I only used 6 plants for this project, but I broke them down into smaller pieces as I planted them so they wouldn’t be too big for the narrow parts of the cross. I used a screw driver to poke holes into…
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A Trip to the Orchard

It’s hard to believe that fall is here AGAIN. Wasn’t it just fall last year? My sense of time gets more warped the older I get. It seems like we were just here picking apples last year. This year is even better for we had an excellent growing season. I love the apple logo at our favorite orchard. It’s so quaint. It’s even more adorable on this old truck. Our youngest son was rather reluctant to come apple picking. He quickly changed his mind when he realized how beautiful the apples were. He now tells me he wants to work here some day. We came home with bags of Empire, Golden Delicious and Jona Free apples. We sampled each one on the drive home. They were all excellent. The orchard also has several different types of grapes that you can pick. The vines were loaded and we brought home a bag full of Concord grapes to make jam. More on that soon! I always enjoy seeing how professionals find ways to use sustainable gardening methods. This Mason Bee house was one of several along the orchard groves. The bees make there homes in here and pollinate the apples in the process. I love it! This farm raises black Welsh sheep. They sell their wool for yarn and you can buy fresh mutton, although I can’t imagine eating such a darling creature! They use the sheep to clean the orchards after the picking season is over. The animals eat the fallen apples and even find the weeds. Such smart farming! Isn’t…
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So You Think Your Crafty Week 3 and a Giveaway

    Here we are on Week 3 of the 8 Week So You Think Your Crafty Challenge! I am still part of the challenge, but this is bound to be the toughest week yet! This week’s theme is “Paint”. I love painting, but will I make the cut? You decide! You can vote for your favorite project over at So You Think Your Crafty. Voting will remain open until Wednesday evening at 6 pm MT. Last week’s winning project was Virginia with her tiny little Peg Doll Craft. Isn’t it cute? The complete tutorial is on the So You Think Your Crafty website today. Congrats Virginia! Here’s our giveaway link for this week! You can win a $25.00 Home Depot gift card! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/f4c4f74567/  

Kid’s Travel Pillow

This easy to make kids travel pillow does double duty as a toy for entertainment and a neck pillow for when your child finally falls asleep on those long road trips.     It’s time for Week 2 of the So You Think Your Crafty Contest! If you missed last week’s project, click here! This week’s theme is “Kids Can Do”. How fun is that? Now, it’s fairly easy to keep entertained at home when you’re working on a project together like my very easy to follow angel wings wall hanging project. But I decided on a Kid’s Travel Pillow for this project, because it’s so hard to keep kids entertained while traveling in the car. To make the pillow you will need: A pair of argyle soccer socks (any size, I chose a size large since my kids are older) You can order these green ones on this website. Red and Pink craft felt Poly-fiberfill stuffing Wiggly Eyes in two colors Craft Heat Bond, Craft Glue or Fabric Glue Large needle and embroidery floss (to match your socks) Small pieces of stick on velcro (optional) You can keep all of your material in your diy wooden tool box if you’ve already created one! To make the mouth, cut two pieces of the red felt into ovals. Trace the red felt pieces onto the pink felt for the interior part of the mouth. Cut the pink felt, with the red being slightly smaller so you can see the two colors. Pink felt first, then the red on top will make an…
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DIY Chalkboard

Are you ready for the school season yet? I am not. I don’t want to let summer go. Not yet. The start of the school season means the end of summer, and I was just starting to enjoy it. However, you can’t bury your head in the sand forever, as much as I would like to. I have books to order, classes to schedule, ACT’s to register for, the list goes on and on. Today, I decided to have a bit of fun and make a little chalkboard for my school lists. This board started out as a cabinet door that I found at Habitat Restore. I think it was $1.00.             I had purchased a bunch of yard sticks to have on hand and decided this was the project to try them on. I love the old fashioned vintage charm the yard sticks bring. The chalk paint, I had on hand from another project, so I didn’t have to buy any of that either. The door was pretty smooth and didn’t require any additional preparation.   I gave it two coats of chalk paint, covering the whole surface and edges. I left the hinges on the door, they make great picture hangers.     After the paint had dried I cut the yard sticks up into pieces that fit along the edge of the wooden door. I didn’t miter the corners but went with an unfinished over lap on the edges. The yard sticks were stained with a color wash of craft paint and…
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Blue Moon Ice Cream

Did you see the Blue Moon this week? It’s the second time this month we have had a full moon, the second cycle is referred to as the “Blue Moon”. The phrase “once in a blue moon” has brought on new meaning to me as I have gotten older. There are things that I just never have time to do that I enjoy, one of them is making fresh ice cream. Life is too short not to take time for simple little pleasures. Blue Moon ice cream is a Wisconsin favorite, a best seller at our family’s restaurant. It has the suburb combination of watermelon, blueberry and raspberry that can’t be beat. You can make your own ice cream simply with a few plastic baggies and ice, it’s a fun project for kids and great entertainment for a hot day. Ingredients: 1/2 pint fresh blueberries 1/4 of a large watermelon, Rhine removed, seeded and chopped into 1″ cubes 1/2 pint fresh raspberries (you can substitute 2 Tablespoons low sugar Raspberry jam if needed) 2 cups almond milk or whole milk 1/2 cup sugar 4 cups ice 1/2 cup table salt 2 large gallon sized zip lock baggies 2 sandwich size zip lock baggies   Directions: Blend the fresh fruit and milk together in a blender until smooth. Add the sugar, blend again. Pour the mix into two sandwich baggies, only filling them about 1/2 way. Close the bags, releasing as much air as possible. Divide the ice and salt into the two gallon sized bags. Close the top, shake the…
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Copper Falls State Park

  I have been off the grid this week. We have returned from our travels to the great Northern Territory of Wisconsin. We enjoy camping and this year we decided to explore one of the parks in our home state. We have lived here most of our life, but have yet to see all there is to see in our home state. Copper Falls State Park is one of several parks in the northern area. It has 5 star ratings across the board on Trip Advisor, Yelp and just about every other site I looked at. The park has many amenities like hiking, swimming and boating, and the ones they don’t have are available near by. We chose to hike into our tent site which was a mere 250 yards from the parking area. The park provides a small wagon for hauling your equipment to your site which made it very easy. We have never used a hike -in site, and would do it again. It was a lovely spot, with very tall maple and ash trees. Sleeping under the canopy was great, we were protected from the majority of wind and rain. There were a few Mosquitos, so bring your repellent just in case. Temperatures can be very cool at night here, it was in the mid-forties the few nights we were there, so bring lots of blankets. During the day we explored the parks hiking trails. They were well marked and we appreciated how well groomed they were. As we neared the end of the 2.5 mile trail…
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How to Keep Your Family Safe Online

Keeping your family safe online is a huge topic of discussion and concern for people today. I hear every day of families who are distraught, trying to keep their children safe from the uncontrollable Internet. The statistics of children viewing porn and graphic content at younger and younger ages is staggering, even among Christian families. No one is safe from it. As a parent, I don’t want to see it either, it is annoying, frustrating and shocking. One wrong click of the mouse and your child’s innocence can be lost forever. How are we to keep this unwanted content out of our homes? There are a number of things you can do to keep the Internet in check. 1) Set up parental parameters: Devices your children use such as the Wii, XBox, Nook, the Kindle and hand held game systems have improved internet safety software to keep children from viewing inappropriate content. Set up a parental login and get started.  Check regularly to see what your children are viewing and downloading online on each system. If you don’t know how to set up your device, call technical support and have them help you set it up over the phone.   2) Set Up Cell Phone Blocking. Did you know you can pay a few extra dollars per month to your cell phone provider to block inappropriate content on all the phones on your plan? We use AT &T, they only charge $4.99 per month for this service.  Click here to find out more information. You can set up time usage…
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Charmed Collections

  I thought I would build you up today. Somedays we all need some encouragement. You know the encouragement I mean, the kind that takes you by surprise when you least expect it, and fills you up so you can pick your pathetic self up, off the floor and do great things against all odds. Who doesn’t need something like that? Trouble is, it’s hard to find.   These beautiful jewelry items from Charmed Collections are just the ticket. They are meant to build you up, no matter what stage of life you are in. These pieces were a gift from the SNAP Conference that I attended recently. It’s amazing how much I have worn them. They fit very comfortably, which is rather unusual. Most costume jewelry that I find runs very small and is usually too tight around the neck in the necklaces, and too small around the bracelet to even get it on my arm. These pieces though, are different, they fit. I am even allergic to most costume jewelry (it turns my skin green), but these don’t bother me at all. It must be a SIGN.   In my mind I am afraid of so many things. Put on this necklace and suddenly…………….. I am fearless. I can do anything. I can take on the world and be successful even though I have no idea what I am doing. Sometimes I feel like I drag my feet all day long. I trudge through life, shuffling one foot at a time because I am in a time warp…
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How to Make a Flower Crown

    I have been dreaming about flowers lately. They find their way into my dreams, my shopping cart, my home and garden. I just can’t get enough of them. Recently, I attended a party at the SNAP Conference where we made Floral Crowns from faux flowers. They were nice, but I am a sucker for the real thing. I found these flowers at the market the other day and on a whim, I decided to give the Floral Crown a try. The flowers weren’t all that expensive, about $15.00 for all. I was not disappointed. Here’s how to make your own Floral Crown: Supplies: Floral Wire Floral Tape Wire Cutters Pruning sheers 1 bouquet Baby’s Breath or other small flowers 1 Mixed flower bouquet with Daisies and Chrysanthemums 6 spools 1/8″ craft ribbon in various colors (white, blue, pink, purple, magenta, green) scissors measuring tape   The first step, is to cut 20 pieces of wire, about 6″ long. I attached my measuring tape to the table with Scotch tape to make it easy to measure. I also cut 9 pieces of 3″ wire. Then I measured the circumference of my head, mine was 21″.   Starting with the small baby’s breath branches, I wired several of them together with the 6″ wire pieces. I trimmed the ends of the flowers to about 8″ in length. When they were firmly attached, I grabbed another spray of them and wired them to the stems first ones, making a chain. I continued this same process until my chain measured 23″. This was…
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