Well, I finally got around to putting out some fall decorations at our house. I use many of the same decorations year after year. See some from previous seasons here.

I guess I was suffering from too much Pinterest! Too many cute decorations out there that I had no money to buy! “But wait…,” I told myself, “I don’t need to buy ANYTHING! I have TONS of craft supplies to make my own cute things!” So, I dug around in my fabric stash–pulling out ALL of the fall-colored fabric. I didn’t have a pattern. I did see a picture of a cute little hoot owl wall hanging that served as my inspiration. Sorry about the picture quality.

Hootie wall hanging

I love the hooties! The homespun border is pretty great, too. I didn’t go crazy with my quilting. just some outlining. If the black stitching around the owls looks messy, it’s supposed to! I love how my little wall hanging looks hanging on the inside of our back door. I had fun working on it!

When I was ready to put my cute men’s shirts pillow cases on my porch pillows I couldn’t find them! We had drug all the fall decorations out of storage and the pillow cases were nowhere to be found, along with a few other things.

Well, I just happened to be at Goodwill Outlet store the other day. I ran across a great plaid shirt. I LOVE PLAID!!! (I may have mentioned that a time of two! Like here, here, here and I’m sure a few other places!) I thought I would grab it for crafting something. I also came across a ’90s fall sweater. Sorry, I forgot to take a “before” picture. I loved all those fancy sweaters back in the day! I was an elementary school teacher back then. I guess those sweaters just WENT with elementary teachers! Plus, I have always seen myself as having a bit of a Mrs. Frizzle personality!



I knew immediately what to do with that sweater!

recycled fall pillow

The front of the sweater was perfect for a pillow case!

The back was cute with just a little pumpkin on it. However, I thought it was a little out of balance with the scarecrow pillow. I roughly stitched “Pumpkin Time” on the sweater. The back of the pillows is made from old blue jeans. I had to add the twine ties on one side of each pillow to make a pillow case and not a pillow.

I think they turned out cute. Don’t you like the new plaid shirt pillow case? Pillow cases are much easier to store than pillows!

By the way, I did find my other box of fall decor hidden under a table and behind a box of Christmas decorations.

One more crafty show and tell item…a sweater pumpkin!

sweater pumpkin

This orange sweater also came from the Goodwill Outlet. The leaves were from a moth-eaten jacket that was headed to the dump.

Here is another picture for you to see the size of the pumpkin.

Size of sweater pumpkin

I simply cut a square form the sweater. I gathered the ends together at the top. Before closing the top with a rubber band, I stuffed the pumpkin. I wrapped a little twine around and around the pumpkin to give it the pumpkin sections. Then I tied the leaves on with the same twine. I thought about stitching some veins in my leaves. I still might do that one day. It was quick to make! The front of the sweater had a zipper. I’m not sure what I want to do with the rest of it yet.  For now, I’ll stuff it in one of my craft closets for another time when I need to have something new!


I participated in the Arkansas Women Bloggers Ornament Exchange again this year. I participated two years ago. You can read about the postal adventure here.

I don’t remember why I didn’t play along last year. (See postal adventure post!)

I decided to be brave and try again this year. I am really glad that I did. Check out this adorable ornament I received from my Arkansas secret Santa…

Arkansas Ornament


This came from Tiffany over at Secret Life of a Betty Crocker Wannabe. Tiffany and I have never met but I think we would get along great! Tiffany is a baking contest junkie! I love that! The biggest baking contest I have ever participated in was the Lonoke County Fair. I think my big prize package was about $6.32.

Tiffany may be a Betty Crocker Wannabe but apparently she is quite a crafter as well. You can see her step-by-step tutorial for the ornament here.

This is the little note that was attached to the ornament.

ornament note

The note says there is something hidden inside. I could not bring myself to cut into it to out take the treats. It was just too cute!

Here is the back, uncut.

craft paper ornament

Thanks so much for my Arkan-Santa, Tiffany! I hope we can meet at an ARWB function some day.

I know you are all wondering about the ornament I sent.

I sent my ornament to Gina from Desperately Seeking Gina. I met Gina when I attended my first Arkansas Women Bloggers event.

Gina is a crafter–with a real craft room and everything! That was a little intimidating. I felt up for the challenge though.

Here is the ornament I sent Gina. Hopefully, I will be able to post a “how to” soon. You can see it on her tree here.

homemade ornament

I got a little extra crafty and made the card out of old Christmas cards.

There was no postal drama this time! My ornament made it to Gina’s just fine.

Merry Christmas, Tiffany and Gina. I’m so glad y’all played along this year.

I was pleased with how some of my pictures turned out from the Moss Mountain tour Mom and I took. You can read about the tour here.

Since Mother’s Day was the following Sunday, I decided to make Mom some notecards from my photos.

Moss Mountatin Farm notecards

I should use “I” loosely. Actually my sweet hubby did most of the work. I did take the pictures! I did some of the layout, too. And the cutting–I did the cutting!

selection of notecards

photo cards

DIY notecards


garden notecards

homemade notecards

cards as gifts

Check out the back. That was my idea.

back of the card

Cellophane wrapping was my idea, too.

cards with envelopes

Everything looks better in a cellophane bag!

farm equipment

I was pleased with the way the cards looked in the little bags with envelopes. Mom loved the cards, especially since there was nothing like it in the gift shop.

packaged note cards

Surely you have some photos worthy of becoming a gift. Start printing! Just don’t forget your cellophane bag.

Pillowcase from a man's shirt

I hate to throw things away. My Dad’s favorite saying has always been, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!” As a teen, I grew to hate that phrase! Now, as an adult, I embrace it!

Since my husband never wore this plaid shirt, he decided to send it to Goodwill. I always liked the colors of the plaid So, I snatched it out of the donation bag and stuck it in my craft closet. The poor shirt sat there in the craft closet for about two years.  I just didn’t have a plan for it.

Finally, this fall, I took the scissors to it.

Since I had floral pillows on the porch in OCTOBER, I decided they needed a change.

I still like the floral pillows, so I didn’t want to change them permanently. Using a shirt was the perfect solution. Plus it didn’t cost me anything! (Another plus-I didn’t have to find a place to store the floral pillows.)

Measure twice-cut once

Just measure your pillow and add enough for a seam allowance. I think I added a half-inch and had a quarter-inch seam. Then measure that amount on the shirt. Cut. Sew, right sides together. You can even stitch all the way around the pillowcase. Turn the pillowcase right side out through the opening where the buttons are.

Perfect pillowcase!

The floral pillow is still usable!

Pillows before and after

Cute-huh? (I later made another one to cover the other pillow. Sorry, no photo.)

You can always turn the buttons to the back side if you want. You could even tie a ribbon around it for extra cuteness, too.

I was really happy with this little recycle project. It was a great temporary fix for my pillows. I have another recycled shirt project to show you soon. Stay tuned!

A School Spirit Wreath is not my original idea. There is nothing new under the sun! I was inspired to make one after seeing the one Amanda Jane Brown made. Amanda is a fellow member of the Arkansas Women Bloggers group. I have not met Amanda in real life but I hope to soon. I am going to the AWBU conference next month! I am beyond excited!!!! Check back mid-September to hear about it.

On to the Spirit Wreath…

music themed spirit wreath

Too cute, huh?

I enjoy going to the high school football games. However, as a mother of two band students, it’s all about half-time to me!

My oldest recently was bestowed the honor of drum major! That was when I decided to make our spirit wreath have a musical theme.

Our school colors are purple and white, so the purple and white were obvious choices for fabric. When I came across the black fabric with PURPLE TREBLE CLEFS I gasped and snatched it up before anyone else could get to it. I’m sure that is right where everyone in Joann’s was headed. HA! What can I say, I was excited!

Black and white check is one of my all-time favorite prints, plus it went well with the others. Since Amanda used fancy ribbon on her wreath, I figured I could, too. The wire wreath was already hanging in my garage.

spirit wreath supplies

Amanda said to get a yard of each fabric, so I did. However, I had quite a bit left when I was finished. You be the judge of if you want to buy a little less than a yard.

cutting fabric

She cut her strips to be 10″ x 1.25″. Mine ended up being 10″ x 1.5″.

spirit wreath fabric

I got a little crazy with the cutting wheel. Wanting to get on with my project, I stacked my fabric too thick. It was a chore to cut through. I ended up with a numb finger for several days!

spirit wreath supplies cut

Once all the fabric is cut and orderly, you are ready to start tying.

spirit wreath ties

Figure out your pattern and start tying the strips onto the wire wreath. I have to admit, I was somewhat skeptical about the instructions to only tie onto the first and third rows. I was afraid the wire would end up showing. I tied accordingly, and it turned out great! No wire showing!

music themed spirit wreath

I just love the way it looks all finished. I really wanted to find a trumpet and a flute to hang on the wreath, since those are the instruments my girls play. None could be found that weren’t $20! I found the glittery, black musical ornaments at Hobby Lobby for 99¢ each. Much better! They were also available in gold or red. They do not, however, come in silver, which was my first choice. I wanted silver to match with the musical fabric. Oh, well, I like it anyway.

music themed fabric

musical ornament

musical ornament glitter

musical ornament treble clef

Thanks, Amanda Jane, for the great idea!

Go, Jackrabbits! (and Jackrabbit Band)

I thought I would share a DIY placemat project. I picked up these vinyl tablecloths a couple of years ago on an “after Easter” sale.


They were only 10¢! How could I refuse?! Yes, I bought many more than what you see here.

At least I had a plan for them! Hoooray! Miracles DO happen!

When I got married, my Mom made me these great placemats as a wedding shower gift. I think she got the fabric at Joann or somewhere like that.

Fruit Placemat

They don’t look 20 years old, do they. They have gotten a TON of use. Vinyl is the way to go with kids. Just sponge off the mess and you are good to go.

When my girls were little, I used these placemats to make a cardboard template. I then used that template on some leftover, new, vinyl kitchen flooring. I painted the back side with chalkboard paint.

Guess I was ahead of the trend. That was about 10 years ago. Who knew?

Chalkboard Placemat

My kids never used these much. They don’t like the feel or sound of chalk.

About 6 or 7 years ago, Walmart had some cute fabric-backed vinyl, so I made me some cute new placemats with my same template. That was back when Walmart carried fabric.

Striped placemat

So, here’s the “how-to”…

First make a template.

This was easy for me because I could just trace my existing placemat 1/4”-5/8′ wider to allow for the seam allowance.

Template Size

The long sides are 13 3/4 inches.

The short sides are 7 3/4 inches.

The corner pieces are 2 3/4 inches.

Now, let me just say, I don’t sew a lot. I have to give myself a refresher course every time I use the sewing machine. You may notice a mistake or two. Try to ignore them!

Placemat template

Ok, I’ll point out the first one for you. I should have ironed the fabric. I just placed my template down on a “smooth” part and hoped for the best.

So much for “the best”. I couldn’t stand it! So I had to do something.


Yes, I ironed the vinyl–ON THE BACK! Use some common sense here. Hot iron+plastic=huge mess. IRON ON THE FABRIC SIDE!

ironedTa Da! Now, isn’t that better?

You may have noticed the green Sharpie a couple of pictures ago. I used that to do my tracing. It will be on the inside, so it won’t show. I didn’t use a black because I thought it might show through the white part of the vinyl.

Next, you get out your fabulous box of thread your Mother-in-Law brought you back from Germany. Oh, sorry. Guess that was just me.

thread box

thread candy


Oooo! Ahhhh! I know you are jealous. I’ll quit.

Next, you get some average thread that will match your fabric. ; )

With right sides together, sew around your placemat. Use whatever seam allowance you like. I tend to go with a 1/4″.

See that space where there is no stitching? Be sure to leave an opening, unless you like the cheesy fabric side better.

sew edges together

leave an opening

Turn you placemat right-side out. That is why you left the opening. Sorry, no pictures of me wrestling placemats.

You do want to have nice crisp corners on you placemats. I used this little corner tool. I’m pretty sure you can find them at fabric shops. I have had mine forever. You don’t have to have one. You could use something like a chopstick to push out those corners.

Corner Tool

Now top stitch all the way around the mat. Remember to tuck in the seam allowance on the opening.


I made two rows of stitching around my set. I think it looks a little fancier that way.

corner detail

finished product

Make them all the same or different colors. Give them as gifts or keep them for yourself. Be sure to look for vinyl tablecloths at those post-holiday sales. Maybe you can get a bargain like I did!

(Guess I didn’t get a picture of the place mats in use. I’ll remedy that on Sunday, maybe.)

What a great day we all had on Valentine’s Day!

It seemed to be a day full of FOOD! Yes, I know a muffin doesn’t actually mean “I love you.” My diet has not completely gone to my head!

(By the way, I managed to make it through the day without gaining any weight!

I’m now down 12 pounds! Woo Hoo!)

I didn’t really plan to take pictures of breakfast. Since it was an after-thought, there are bites missing.

We started the day with a toad-in-the-hole. The hole was heart-shaped!

Valentine breakfast

For those of you who may not know what a toad-in-the-hole is, here is what you do:

Cut out a hole from the center of the slice of bread.

Throw a pat of butter into a hot skillet. Add the “holy” bread and the cut out part.

Crack an egg into the hole. Let it set up nicely.

Add more butter and flip to toast on the other side. Finish toasting the toast and cooking the egg.

You can toast then flip and add the egg for a sunny side up egg. My family likes it the other way. They really like the little cut out toasty part, especially with strawberry jam!

I passed out little donuts and tried to say “Do you not know I love you a whole bunch.” Inspiration came from this cute idea. It came out all garbled and strange. Everyone got a big kick out of that!

On to packing the kid’s lunches.

I have been going to do this for a long time. When I cleaned out the craft closet I came across my supplies and MADE myself remember to do it!

Pizza Box Valentine copy

These little boxes came with stoneware cookie molds in them from Pampered Chef, like these. I saved them all these years to make them into pizza boxes! I just used some double-stick tape to attach a piece of cellophane over the opening.

I made cheese pizza from good old Pillsbury Pizza Crust. We usually make homemade crust. This was not the day for that.

Don’t you like my corny little Valentine saying?

The girls LOVED their pizza surprise. They usually take PB&Js to school. Pizza is king in the teen/pre-teen world. Score!

Not only did they have cute pizza boxes in their lunches, but they also had cute cookies!

Dipped Valentine Cookies

I got the idea for these here  on Pinterest one day. Why have I never done this before?!

This is what I took to my hubby for his Valentine treat:

Stud Muffin Valentine

A cellophane bag filled with store-bought mini muffins. Yes, it was another Pinterest inspiration! There are a lot of creative people out there! I did make my own tag though!

Dinner was our traditional steak and potato meal.

Steak and Potato

The girls took charge of the table this year.

candles and sequins copy

White tablecloth, pink tea light candles, red sequins.

water glass

It just wouldn’t be our Valentine dinner without tomato roses. I usually use Roma tomatoes. Walmart was out of them when I went shopping. I think the slicers actually made a better rose!

Tomato Rose

I got some lovely REAL roses from my Valentine! They looked great on the table, too!

Valentine roses copy

Let me just say, the fancy dessert we had this year was to die for!


Barefoot Contessa’s Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp.

Oh, my lands! I can not even begin to tell you how yummy this was!

I have seen Ina make this before on her program. I had never had rhubarb before this Valentine’s night. You can read all that Wikipedia has to say about rhubarb here.

I had no idea what I was going to make for our fancy dessert. I was at the health food store with some friends last week when I saw the rhubarb. I recalled seeing the recipe on tv. I bought 5 stalks. Just a hint: unless you are really into organic food, don’t buy rhubarb at the health food store. The tag was missing from the produce section. I only was buying 5 stalks, how expensive could it be? $6.27! I almost didn’t get it. I knew my time to track down more was scare, so I bought it anyway. I’m really glad I did though!

Strawberries and Rhubarb

Just look at that fruit! The smell was amazing! This is the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, orange zest, and orange juice mixed with corn starch.

crumble topping copy

There was so much crumble topping! Oats, sugar and butter=heaven!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp baked copy

There were lots of oohs and ahs when it came out of the oven.

Serving Dessert

I borrowed the fancy glasses from my Mom.

family photo

The “Critics” are off at school today. If I remember, I’ll add their comments later. They did fuss at me for once again putting a vegetable in dessert. Hey, the Beet Cake was good, too!

Oh, yeah! I made ’em!

Okay, this information is actually from LAST Valentine’s Day, but it never got posted.

As soon as I saw this tutorial for Bacon Roses, I knew I would have to make them for my sweetie!

The tutorial is great!

Now, as I said, I made these last year, so the details are a little fuzzy.

bacon roses

I do wish I had made more!

I did not drill a hole in my muffin pan like the link suggests. Seems like I just rolled up the bacon slices and put them in my mini muffin pan. I may have stuck a toothpick through them.

I made them on Valentine’s morning–if that lets you know how easy they were.

They were a HUGE hit!

Group Therapy

My quartet helped me deliver my treat along with a song!

the happy couple

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Click here to see more of our family’s Valentine craziness.

What are you cookin’ up for your Valentine?

Happy 2013 everyone!

The kids went back to school today. Therefore, life must return to “normal”. Normal, I suppose, includes a blog post! So, we have come to the point in the year, the first post of the year, where I tell you all the stats from last year.

Why? Why do I feel I must do this? Peer pressure? Everyone else is doing it!

If you are a regular around here, none of these posts will be new to you.

However, if you are new, maybe you’ll see something you like and go investigate.

Here goes…

According to the statisticians at WordPress, thank you very much, these are the posts that got the most views in 2012. (Strangely enough, all of the Top 5 are actually from 2011. I guess I can look at that in a couple of different ways…1) Stuff I wrote about in 2012 wasn’t as interesting as 2011 topics, or 2) These posts have staying power–like a little black dress! We’ll go with #2.

#5 Christmas Tree Tour

Bible made from a matchbox and alphabet pasta

Bible made from a matchbox and alphabet pasta

#4 Tie Dyed Fingernails

swirling polish 4

#3 Linguini Salad

Linguini Salad finished

#2 Christmas Party Food


#1 Dr. Seuss Snacks

proud moment

I had a hard time trying to decide my favorite post of 2012.

I have to say, I was extremely happy to finally finish the Impressionist series. You can see the entire series here. Part X is here.

waiting to go inside

I piggy-backed this post in the BLOGtober series I did with Arkansas Women Bloggers. That was fun too. You can see that series here.

I think my favorite new recipe I tried was Cannellini Beans. Y’all, it is just so good!

spooning beans

Looking back on 2012, we really did a lot! We ate great food, at home and off of trucks! We visited family and friends. We crafted.

My favorite thing we did last year was make a pirate movie with the kids and some of their friends, then hosted the premier for the movie.

The planning, the scrounging, the cooking…it was all good!

table 2

And now, here are the Critics’ favorites.

Critics’ Corner


Favorite dish–Pork Chops and Field Peas

ready to serve

Favorite Restaurant–The Bavarian Chef


Favorite Event–Movie Premier

watching movie


Taste–Bud Biscuits

15-hot biscuits

Coolness–Butterfly Cupcakes

completed butterflies

Creative Title–Help! I ate something green!

more kale

Fun–Bocce Ball

bocce ball 1

Gross–Welch’s Fruit FIZZ



Great Wolf Lodge!

main attraction

Strawberry Delight!

Strawberries outside

Thank you for following my little blog. Whether you are a subscriber to the blog or the Facebook page, get here from Pinterest, or stop by at random, your visits, “likes” and comments are appreciated!

Now I know why people do the “year in review” post…happy memories! I plan on making some more in 2013! I hope you are there to share them with me.

The Lord works in mysterious ways. I have wanted to share this post for a week or so. Time just got away from me. Today, the day AFTER Christmas, I finally have time. We had a wonderful Christmas with lots of family at our house. After all the family made their way to their homes, it started to snow! (For those of you not in the South, snow on Christmas day is rare. This was the first time it has snowed on Christmas day in 80 years, or so they say.)

When I read today’s devotion from my A.W. Tozer book, it talked about how when Christ was born, all of nature went out to greet Him. The star in the sky, the shepherds in the fields, the cattle in the stall–his own creations worshiping their Creator. Pretty cool!

This post, too, involves God’s creation! I thought it was neat that my devotion for today coincided with me having time to do this post

Several years ago, after Christmas, I was out in the yard and noticed my neighbor had set her fresh wreaths out for the trash man.

I couldn’t let those wreath forms just go in the trash! So, I cleaned out the forms and they found a new home at my house.

wreath supplies

Making fresh wreaths is now one of my favorite things to do at Christmas. I love walking around the yard gathering bits and pieces of beautiful things to use in my wreaths.

When we get our Christmas tree, we always get a bag of greenery for just this purpose. It is free!

wreath making

The smells are wonderful–fir, pine, cedar!

I made all the wreaths different and hung them on my porch. Our holly tree was not as full of berries as it usually is. Most of the berries I used were from my Nandina bushes.

Ivy, boxwood, and magnolia were nice to use in the decorations as well.

with ivy and pine

holly and ivy

The big green balls are called Osage Oranges. I picked them up near my sister’s house.

ice skates

partial wreath

Photographing wreaths against a back-lit screen was difficult. I took some more at night, but they were okay at best.

cedar wreath

wreath with nandina berries

osage orange with magnolia leaves

window decor 2window decor

Thank you, Lord, for the beauty You have created.

holly with snow


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