staying busy

extra time at home these days has created extra opportunity to tend to things i’ve neglected.  these could be things i’ve wanted to do or, just as easily, things i have avoided.  either way, there is no time like the present, and i’ve tried to balance rest with productivity over the past several months.

this post includes snapshots of some crafts we’ve done, foods we’ve tried, or activities we have enjoyed.  with so many circumstances being less than desirable these days, it’s important to find that silver lining and focus on the things that can still bring a smile to your face.  🙂

first, no project can start off without the perfect beverage to set the mood, right?  right!  whether a summer fad, an old standby, or a new favorite, here are some of the tasty treats we’ve concocted recently.

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with thirsts quenched, phillip and i have tackled countless improvements and chores around the house.  one of the most labor-intensive yet rewarding has been the transformations in our yards.  over several weekends now, we’ve nursed our variety of rose bushes, mowed that grass, potted some impatients, moved some shrubs, laid out some pavers, and spread some mulch.  we also got to watch some birdies build a nest on our front door for their five chicks.  maybe we do have green thumbs!

and when it’s too hot to work outside, we take things inside to do stuff like paint mason jars to hold all our flours

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and turn a tired footrest into a charming stool

and clean up some silver from my grandparents

and craft a sign for our nephew’s playhouse

the first official craft in our craft room. 🙂

and hang up some frames.

might be time to change out that trio of pics, lol.

now, i think all that hard work deserves a reward, and you all know by now we are self-proclaimed foodies.  take a look at some of the eats we have treated ourselves to lately.  disclaimer:  none of it is healthy, lawlz.

if you’re interested in any of the recipes or locations mentioned above, you can easily find the link below.  and if there is an at-home must-try you think i just cannot live without, leave a comment to let me know!

pumpkin pie candles

earlier this week i had the strong urge to craft something.  nothing too involved, but something that would make me feel accomplished at the end of my efforts.  so, i browsed facebook and pinterest in search of something fall-ish, seeing as how the new season is just around the corner.  come on, september 22nd!

i’d say after about a half hour of hardcore scrolling, i finally came upon the craft that i would attempt to satisfy my creative needs:  a homemade pumpkin pie candle!  i mean, how much more autumn can you get?  the financial and time effort seemed relatively beginner-level, so i made a list, grabbed my reusable bags, and headed out the door to gather my supplies.  i optimistically walked into the local binders art supply store, assured they would have everything i needed.  well, what do you know.  binders doesn’t offer candle-making supplies; the cashier told me i’d need to go to hobby lobby or michael’s to get that sort of stuff.  ah!  well, good thing there’s one right down the road from me.  discouraged not a bit, i drove right on down to michael’s and got everything i needed.  then, because i didn’t like the jars they had at michael’s, i moseyed into world market to find something cuter.  well, wouldn’t you know that they had just what i wanted!  i swear, world market is my soulmate store.  so, after finding a couple other things that looked like they would make me happy, i returned home with my purchases.

the first thing to do in this craft is prepare your oil so that it will be all pumpkin-infused.  this step was rather straightforward.  however, i highly recommend you follow davida’s instructions, which clearly state to not bring the oil to a boil, just a light simmer.  however, my patience was wearing thin when i saw no bubbles after about ten minutes, so i cranked up my stove to heat things up.  well, wouldn’t you know that the oil bubbled up (and nearly over) tremendously when i added the pumpkin pie spice.  oh, and i ruined a perfectly good spatula because the temperature was too high.  well, lesson learned…eventually i at last got the oil cooled off and put in a little jar to infuse for five days.

once the oil was infused, i was ready for the rest of the project.  i got the wicks all semi-attached to their jars, cute little raffia ribbons tied around them, and then got to work on melting that wax.  what i am going to advise here about the wax melting is this:  i highly recommend you use some older pots and spoons and ladles.  not that any of my kitchen supplies got ruined, but i had to soak the pot for a good two days just to try and loosen the wax so that i could actually wash the thing.

anyway, once the wax starts to melt (it won’t take long) go ahead and scoop out the liquid wax into your little jars.  i thought about pouring the wax directly from the pot to the jars but quickly reconsidered when i realized i only have two hands and probably needed four to truly do the job right.  besides, the ladle i have has little side spouts, so that made for easy pouring.

the only thing i will say that was difficult at this point was that i couldn’t really stir the infused oil with the wax.  the wax started clumping so quickly that the “ingredients” never really got mixed.  the result?  a funky looking candle, as you can see below.  now, am i proud of my craft?  well, of course!  i just hope that the lucky recipients of these cute little jars appreciate the homemade-ness of them.

regardless of my few mishaps, this craft was simple and fun and did awaken some fall sensations inside me.  once it’s officially autumn, i plan to bust out the scarves, soft boots, and psl’s immediately.  🙂

carrollton girls’ weekend

last weekend i cruised west of atlanta to visit my dear friend sarah over in carrollton.  we were long overdue for some girls’ time, and since phillip was occupied for a couple days, i insisted i come into town.

the quick drive on i-20 led me to a few more turns and a relaxing whirl through her stomping grounds.  i pulled up to her humble abode and nearly jumped out of my car, i was so excited to see sarah and her home!  she came answering when i came knocking, gave me a quick tour of the house, and tried to keep her sweet pup maggie from attacking me with kisses.  i can’t say i minded the last one at all; everyone knows i’m a dog lover!

now, this visit wasn’t just about sarah and me catching up – it also was about getting to see her family.  her parents and siblings just have hearts of gold, and it wouldn’t be a complete visit to west georgia without seeing them, too.  so, sarah and i met up with her mom, dad, sister jenny, and other sister katie at a local antique shop.  hugs and stories were exchanged among us all as we perused the aisles and shelves in search of a hidden treasure.  although there were plenty of refurbished dressers and chairs i would love to have had, i knew phillip would kill me if i came home with another piece of furniture!  the condo and our storage unit are at maximum capacity!  i couldn’t leave the store without a souvenir from the weekend, though, so i found a lovely little rosemary mint candle from a darling little shop called uncommon scents.  the smell is subtle and relaxing and perfect to light for an hour or so before hopping in bed.

we all piled up and after shopping through another antique store and a local book shop, we met up at little hawaiian right near downtown carrollton for some dinner.

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you get a jewelry dish & you get a jewelry dish!

like many of you fellow creative minds out there, i have been racking my brain the past couple of weeks to try and decide what to get some of the special ladies in my life.  i didn’t really have much of an idea until i came across a post from a pinterest link that just seemed too good to be true.  it looked straightforward, it looked darling, and it looked like something i could actually do myself!  with that confidence, i was off to the local binders art store to stock up on the goods and see what kind of magic i could make.

ready to go, i cleared the dining room table to create some work space, pulled up the instructions, and tore into the supplies.  what would i be attempting to make?  these precious little jewelry dishes!

now, i’m not going to repeat the steps here, for i want the original geniuses elsie and emma to get all the credit.  their instructions are so easy to follow and so accurate that the whole thing is just about stupid-proof.

i will say, though, that i do have some tips from my personal, novice clay knowledge, and they are as follows:

  • make sure you’re not working on a precious surface.  i would never have done this craft on the beautiful wood surface of my table, so i used a flat board (basically tough cardboard) that i have lying around the house for an occasion such as this one.
  • be sure to use a good amount of white clay so that you have enough material to create a whole, sturdy dish.
  • don’t be shy with the colors!  one of the dishes had, i think, six different colors in it, some more than the others.  it all depends on the desired effect.
  • if you want more mixing of the colors to come through in the final product, then yes, as suggested in the original post, pull the ball of clay apart and smoosh it together a few times to get them all intermingled before you roll it out.
  • unless you absolutely want to be like a real artist, there’s no need to buy a little clay-cutting knife like the wooden one you’ll see in my pictures.  any ‘ole knife will do ya just fine.
  • the gold gilding, in my opinion, is a must!  it helps finish the sides nicely and bring a little pizzazz to the dishes.
  • also necessary is the glaze.  i did two coats on mine and i loved the dishes even more after coating them and making them shiny.

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this craft is simple, inexpensive, and quick.  with so many color combinations it was fun to decide which to pick for each girl so that the dish would match their personality perfectly.  a great Christmas gift, birthday gift, or even bridal party gift, this craft is sure to please.  amusez-vous!