Tuesday, September 16, 2014

100 Days till Christmas, 72 Days till Thanksgiving, 45 Days till Halloween!

Let the countdowns begin!  I am so ready for a fun season this year.  Last year my pregnancy and complicated delivery slowed me down from doing quite as much, but now I'm ready to be back in the game!  Tomorrow I will be pulling out the Halloween d├ęcor and getting it set up.  It will be interesting this year, as my almost ten month old is in to EVERYTHING.  I may have to try that whole hanging a tree from the ceiling deal. ;-)

To get the season kicked off, here are a few of my favorite ideas, Pins, and links.

DIY Large Outside Halloween Spider

Turkey Cupcakes

Vintage Christmas

I also follow along with 100 Days to Christmas on Facebook, viewing and sharing with other readers some of our favorite ideas. (Website link here.)

Tomorrow I'll be posting about my month's worth of cooking in one day, including recipes.  A good start to the hectic and busy season ahead, is to get your dinner time routine simplified.  After some research, I decided to give it a try.  I can't wait to share the info with you!

After that, I will be sharing more holiday decorating, baking, gifting ideas for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Yay for the holidays!

Until next time,

Amy~The Dixie Diva

Sunday, August 10, 2014

81 Days to Halloween! Halloween Sweets and Treats Vol. 1

Seasonal treats can be so much fun to make and experiment with.  Finding sweats to make with the little ones can be more of a trick than a treat though.  Here are some of my favorite Pinterest finds that should be fairly easy to accomplish:

Candy coated pumpkins.  All you need is a package of Orange Wilton Candy Melts, some green icing and pretzels.  I always melt my candy in a microwave safe bowl on half power (or defrost) in the microwave and stir every 30 seconds to a minute.  Insert a pretzel stick in one end and dunk in the melted candy.  Lay on waxed paper or a cooling rack to harden.  I place mine in the fridge or freezer for 10-15 minutes for faster drying.  Pipe on some little leaves and all set.

Candy center piece.  I have been in love with this since the first time I saw it.  Take a large vase and start layering with your favorite Halloween candy.  This would be great for other holidays as well.

From Parents.com 
Green ice cream cones decorated with some black icing gel to look like Frankenstein.  Add pretzels in the sides for his bolts, and use a little white icing to glue on candy like M&M's for eyes.  Fill up with tasty snacks and it becomes a great party treat, or classroom treat.

From Taste of Home.  Marshmallow witches.  Use a large marshmallow for the face and pipe on eyes and nose with chocolate icing.  Use chocolate cookies of your choice for the hat brim, and attach to the top of the marshmallow with icing.  A mini Reese cup and Hershey Kiss finish the hat.
What are your favorite Halloween sweets and treats to make?  I will post an additional blog with more in the coming weeks. 
All photos are from items I have pinned to my Pinterest page and are not mine.  If you are the owner of the photos above and wish these be removed, please email me and I will do so right away, or link if you would like.  I'm not claiming rights to these, simply showing some of my favorite ideas!
Until next time...
Amy~The Dixie Diva

Saturday, July 26, 2014

96 Days Until Halloween! Halloween and Harvest Mantles

Every year I decorate my mantle with a mix of fake and real pumpkins, spider web and other trinkets.  This year, I may have to do something a little different.  With a just crawling infant, I may have my hands full.  Right now, the front of the fireplace is where I keep her box of toys and things.  Not how I want it for the holidays.  So, in searching for new ways to express our Halloween spirit, I'll share with you some really cute and scary finds from Pinterest.

All of these can be found on my Pinterest page here, with links to their original sources.  I apologize if I am posting someone's photo that doesn't approve: please email me and I will remove asap.

Keep counting down to all the holidays with me and let me know what you'd like to see!

Until next time,

Amy~The Dixie Diva

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

99 Days Until Halloween! Halloween and Harvest Wreaths

I love decorating for Halloween and finding new ideas every year.  This year, I plan to make my own wreath for the front door.  Even if you are not the crafty type, these examples are really easy to make.  Really want one but do not have the desire to make them yourself?  Check out Etsy.com where other crafters make and sell the product at great prices.  Here are some links to my favorite Pins, as well as links to several Etsy sellers.

Tulle Wreath:  Simply cut to desired length and tie on to wreath form.

Burlap Wrap Wreath: Same process as above, using burlap.  Add some card stock letters to give it an extra touch.

Washi Tape Mason Jar Wreath:  Take the open lids from mason jars and decorate with washi tape, or you could paint them.  String them in to a wreath form.

Here are some beautiful Etsy listings:

Burlap Wreath in Purple and Orange

Deco Mesh Wreath

Ribbon Wreath

Since these are not my photos, I do not have rights to post them here on the blog.  But each link will take you to the product.

More Halloween inspiration to come!

Until next time,

Amy~The Dixie Diva

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

100 Days Until Halloween! Crafts, Activities, Goodies and Scares

Those that love the summer time do not want to know how close we are to Halloween, Thanksgiving (127 days), or Christmas (155 days).  However, there are those of us that just do not care for the heat and humidity.  We live for cool autumn days, football, bonfires, and decorating for the seasons.  Creepy, crawly, scary and fun fall festivals.  Cooking, (or as in my case-eating) a great turkey with all the fixings.  Cursing as we string lights on an artificial tree but staring in awe at the completed project.  If you fall in to these categories, then make sure to follow along!

Here I'll be bringing you fun ideas for all of the holidays to try.  Some will be great Pinterest finds, links to other blogs, or some fun tutorials of my own.  My daughter shares my passion for Halloween, so she is always game to try new projects.  Here are some of my past craft attempts to get things started:

Halloween Countdown.13 Days of Halloween countdown fun for the kids.  Make foldable pumpkins (click on link for tutorial) and write a fun activity on the inside.  Examples would be going to a pumpkin patch, pumpkin carving, making a Halloween snack, decorating treat bags for school and so many more ideas.

Make a Mummy Bucket
Take a sand bucket from the summer, wrap in gauze or torn white fabric, add some googly eyes and you have a cute and creative personal candy bucket for the big night.

TP Pumpkins
So easy and inexpensive.  Simply wrap a roll of toilet paper with orange tissue, crunch up a used toilet paper roll for the stem and add some green ribbon for leaves.  The kids can do these too and even add a face to the pumpkin as well.

Just a sneak peak to get the countdown to the season started.  Stay tuned and please feel free to share any ideas or links below for me to check out.

Until next time,

Amy~The Dixie Diva

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Teacher Gifts-Orange You Glad it's Summer?

I really wanted to make sure we sent end of the year gifts to all the teachers my two kiddos had before school let out, but financially I just couldn't figure out what to do.  I have a great board on Pinterest called Teacher Gifts filled with all kinds of lovely and cute ideas.  However, I just couldn't afford to do most of them.  This being on a lay off from work and now being a mom to three has really put a damper on the budget.  I knew I could make something work though, and I did.

The one idea I kept coming back to was the "Orange You Glad It's Summer?"  I looked and looked for orange bags and could not find anything.  I couldn't even find an orange gift bag!  Finally I found my inspiration: ORANGE FELT.  For only 27 cents a sheet.  Here is what I came up with.

 Felt, ribbon, and sewing machine.

 Simply fold the felt in half and stitch up the sides.

 If you want a more open bottom, form a triangle on each end and stitch across.

 Stitch ribbon in place on each side.

 Time to fill them up!

 We went with everything orange.

Total cost for 4:
Felt 4 @ .27 = 1.08
Orange Crush 12 pack = 3.00
Box of cheese crackers = 2.88
12 pack of Reese Cups = 1.78
Tic Tacs 4 @ 1.00 = 4.00
Nail Polish 4 @ 1.00 = 4.00
Total = 16.74
Comes out to just over $4 for each one!  Completely affordable, totally easy and a cute, unique gift!  These were a hit with their teachers and I am so glad I found a solution without breaking the piggy bank.
Hope you all are having a great summer!  I would love to see your teacher gift ideas.  Please feel free to include a link in the comments.
Until next time,
Amy~The Dixie Diva

Friday, April 4, 2014

Craft Room Makeover with Homework Station CHEAP!

After the birth of our third child, I had complications that required emergency surgery.  I was unable to do a lot of the things I used to do for quite some time.  The recovery has been lengthy but I feel like I am ready to get back in the game, slowly but surely.  I am under a lay off at work, so I have had extra time to bond with my new baby and recover.  I have also had a lot of time to look at this house and nit pick all the things wrong that need to be updated.  I have been on a major updating spree.

First on the list was my craft "room".  Technically it's the dining room my dear husband let me transform to my work area.  I have rearranged, removed, added, you name it, trying to get it just right.  Here are some pictures to show how it started.

This worked great for a while but then the tables became "catch all's" for everything from mail to homework, groceries to laundry.  It was a hot mess.

I started cleaning everything out before taking pictures of it at it's worst, but here are some.

After searching through Pinterest and doing some research, I came up with an affordable solution.  I was able to get it done in one day which was great too.

What I used:

2-Five Shelf Book Shelves from Wal-Mart less than $30 each (total $60)
2-Three Shelf Book Shelves from Wal-Mart less than $20 each (total $40)
1-Flush unfinished door from Lowes about $23
2-Cans of Spray paint around $4 each (total $8)
16-Storage Bins from the Dollar Tree (Total $16)
Baskets I had on hand

Total Project Cost? Approximately $147

I'm so in love with this.  It's not as fancy or expensive as some other systems, but this does exactly what we need.  I had 2 large plastic drawer sets on wheels and 4 small ones (like you see under the table).  I was able to store away everything on to the shelves in the bins or baskets.  What couldn't fit in them, went in the short book shelves where they are harder to see.  My dining room is wide open into my living room.  The way it was before was becoming an eye sore to me.  Anytime someone came over, my craft cluster was the first thing you could notice.  Now, this just feels so much better.

My wall is 12 feet in length.  I put the two 5 shelf cases on each end against the wall.  Next, I turned the three shelf cases facing inward, to create the base for my table top.  We took the flush door purchased at Lowe's and spray painted a rustic black on the top and sides (took about 1 1/2 cans).  The door is 30 inches wide and each shelf was just over 29 inches in width, so it made the perfect fit.  The two plastic rolling bins underneath contain all of my daughter's craft supplies.

I have seen many great ideas to make work benches, craft stations, homework areas, ect.  This was very practical for us and the function is perfect.  The kids come straight in from school and have a snack at the counter, then move to this area to do their homework.  No school work where we eat thank goodness.  Here are some close ups of a few extra things I did to enhance our work station.

 Here is my current stash of all season fabric, ribbons for hair bows and thread.  I keep the seasonal fabric put up and out of sight until I need it.
 This side contains our rainbow looms, crochet/knitting, beads and sizzix tools.
 Our Lazy Susan full of school supplies was less than $1 to make!
I found the Lazy Susan in my Mom's garage sale pile, the cups we part of a 6 cup pack from the Dollar Tree and the crayon holders?  Baby food jars!  Everything is hot glued in place to keep from spilling.  The kids loved this idea.  Functional and used daily.  No more: "where is the homework box?" "why does the glue stick go missing so much?" "I can't find the scissors."  

Simple. Functional. Cheap.

I took a notebook and started writing down different options on how to make this.  I wrote the sizes and costs for closet storage systems, actual craft desks, and cube storage.  I went to Lowe's and took photos of different items and their price tags.  It may seem like a lot of work but it really wasn't.  We are all bad to just jump in to something without fully thinking it through and sometimes spend way too much.  I took about a week researching and planning the right way to set this up.  I knew I was going to need my husband to help get the big items with his truck and what day he was off, so I gave myself time to plan and I am so glad I did.  I really don't think these pictures do it justice.

Recycling items you have on hand for storage can save you a ton of money.  Also check Dollar Trees, Mighty Dollar, and thrift store before paying full price for any storage.  These collapsible bins can cost $6 and up depending on size and color.  I went to the Dollar Tree and bought all they had in two different sizes and made sure they were all in the same color family.  This worked perfect for me.
Another great trick was this one:
Can you guess what the cylinder containers are?  Good Start Formula containers!  I've been cleaning and saving them since she was born.  I wrapped some decorative scrapbook paper around them and sealed with double stick tape.  What you can't see is that I wrote on the top of each one in a sharpie what is stored in them: Buttons, elastic, bias tape, safety pins and so much more.  All those little items now have a safe place!

I really am happy with how it turned out.  Oh and that table and stool sticking out in the right hand corner of the picture?
My sewing machine and serger.  I love having these in front of the window for natural sunlight, it makes sewing so much easier when your eyes get tired.

So that's it, you have my craft and home work space make over directions!  The possiblities are endless so get busy creating one for yourself! 

Things to remember:

Measure, measure, measure.  Your wall space, the width, height and depth of the storage items you are looking at.  Draw it out.  You don't have to be an artist, just a ruler and some squares and rectangles is all you need to do!  Good luck!

Please let me know if you make one of your own, I'd love to see photos!  If you find this information helpful, please be sure to leave a comment and share!!

Until next time...

Amy...The Dixie Diva ;-)