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The Ultimate Fall Bucket List

Here are the 20 activities that I am most excited about doing this Fall.

Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year. Unfortunately, last year I was unable to enjoy many classic fall activities as I had undergone surgery on my ankle. Therefore, this year I am looking to make up for all I missed out on last October and November. Here’s my ultimate fall bucket list, which I will be checking off on the blog throughout the season.

 

  1. Bake a pie
  2. Make a DIY fall wreath
  3. Try the velvet fashion trend
  4. Go apple picking
  5. Carve pumpkins
  6. Host a fun Halloween for neighborhood kids
  7. Eat maple candy
  8. Go to a farmers market
  9. Go on a hike
  10. Enjoy the fall foliage
  11. Try the metallic beauty trend
  12. Get lost in a corn maze
  13. Visit a winery
  14. Plant for next spring
  15. Read a great book
  16. Make a dinner with buttersquash as an ingredient
  17. See a scary movie
  18. Invest in a comfortable pair of all-weather booties
  19. Visit the beach off-season
  20. Make caramel covered apples

What activities are you most excited about this Autumn? Comment below!

DIY Bridal Emergency Kit

What’s unique about today’s post is that instead of sharing a DIY project I made, I’m sharing one that was made for me. It’s a gift that I was surprised to receive but excited to talk about! As someone who is always forgetting something and tends to be a klutz, I could definitely get use out of it. What is it? A bridal emergency kit.

The kit is easy to put together and has many uses both before, during and after the big day. Plus it’s unique and can be personalized to the bride that you make one for!

What’s inside?

My best friend used a decorative photo box to hold the kit’s contents. I love the black and white strips pattern with the flowers. But I also like that I can reuse it to store photos in after the wedding.

Here’s what’s inside:

  • Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes
  • Nivea Moisture Lip Balm
  • Qtips
  • Gum
  • Hair Ties – I’m always losing these!
  • Bobby Pins
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Decorative Pouch with bobby pins and safety pins
  • Mini Cosmetic Case with lotion
  • Lip Color
  • Bed, Bath & Beyond Gift Card – An early wedding gift that is much appreciated for a new homeowner like myself

If you were making or receiving a bridal emergency kit, what would you add? I’d love to hear your comments below!

Cake Decorating Made Easy

Over the weekend, my sister turned the big 3-0! Instead of making her a usual cake, I decided to make a two-layer number cake with brownie and candy flower decorations. My extended family seemed super impressed with the candy flowers, but as I explained to them and will now share with you, they are incredibly easy to make!

Supplies

  • A microwave-safe cup with a handle
  • A spoon
  • A knife
  • Candy Melts – I chose Wilton pink candy melts that I picked up at Michael’s Craft Store
  • Flower Mold – I actually used a fondant mold that I found on Amazon, but Michaels and JoAnn’s also have a wide selection of candy molds to choose from in their baking aisles

Step 1

Place candy melts into your measuring cup. After a couple rounds, I figured out that 6 candy melts was the perfect number needed to fill my mold. Depending on the size of your mold, you may need more or less.

Step 2

Microwave your candy melts. I started with 30 seconds and then removed the candy melts and stirred with a spoon. When all of the candy melts didn’t liquify (there were still solid chunks), I placed the measuring cup back in for 15 additional seconds and then stirred again until all the candy had melted. In my condo, the microwave was a lot stronger, so I only needed about 15 seconds total rather than 45 seconds to melt the candy. Get to know the strength of your microwave and adjust accordingly. Remember that this process is all about having fun and that there is some trial and error involved.

Before microwaving

After 30 seconds

After an additional 15 seconds

Step 3

Spoon the liquified candy into your mold.

Step 4

Tap the mold against the table or counter so that the melted candy settles into the mold and to get rid of any air bubbles.

Tip: I’d recommend washing the spoon and measuring cup immediately, while the candy is still liquified, as they are much harder to clean once the candy dries.

Step 5

Set the filled mold to dry. I’ve waited a minimum of 4 hours and a maximum of overnight.

Step 6

Turn the mold upside down and gently invert so that the now hard candies loosen and fall out. You can use a knife to carefully cut off any excess candy that may have resulted from overfilling the mold.

Step 7

Decorate and enjoy!

More Personalization for Pets

A couple months ago, I first experimented with using stencils to create personalized items for my pets, i.e. a custom wooden toy box for my dog, Sandy (which you can read about here).

Recently, I purchased a wire and wood basket at Michaels Craft Store to better organize cans of food and containers of treats for my cat, Olive.

While I’m still not a pro at stenciling, I am definitely making progress. I also was able to reuse the set of stencils I purchased for my first project for Sandy.

The first time I used these stencils on Sandy’s toy box, I applied too much pressure while applying the paint and let the paint dry too long, resulting in some of the blue lines of the stencil transferring onto the surface I was painting. I then had to remove the blue bits with tweezers. This time I removed the stencil sooner after painting, but possibly a little too soon – as you can see, there is some smudging in the bottom corner of Olive’s name. I’m hoping to get the timing just right on my next try!

Here are some photos I took along the way and a glimpse at the final basket with Olive’s name!

Feel free to share in the comments what you think I should personalize next! I am always looking for ideas and additional opportunities to practice stenciling.

Positioning the stencils.

Taping the letter stencils down so they don’t move while I paint (even though the backs are sticky, the extra reinforcement helps make sure they don’t shift).

The supplies I used.

I applied the painting by carefully dabbing.

Almost there!

Ta-da!

No-Cost DIY Dog Toys

When my significant other and I first adopted our dog, my growing pup would (literally) tear through every new stuffed or squeaky toy in a matter of minutes. So I decided to supplement her toy box with an array of homemade toys that could withstand her tugging and that I wouldn’t feel bad about throwing out on a frequent basis. Plus, it was a great way to repurpose a supply of items I wasn’t really using in my home — old t-shirts — meaning it cost nothing to make.

You can easily make these braided tug toys too!

Supplies

  • At least two old t-shirts
  • A pair of scissors

Everyone has that old t-shirt that maybe they received free as a promotional item or maybe they wore to the max and really should get rid of it, but haven’t “gotten around to it” yet. I’m a size medium and like longer t-shirts which worked great when my dog was a pup. Length is definitely important for this project. As my dog has gotten older (and a lot bigger), I have needed longer shirts, so I have “taken off my dad’s hands” a few of the 4x tees he doesn’t wear. As a personal preference, I like to use two different color tees for each project for aesthetic reasons and stay away from anything with a graphic printed on it or I cut out and discard the graphic before proceeding with the project.

To make this particular toy, I chose to use a tie-dye shirt and a baby blue shirt.

Step 1

Lay out your t-shirt on a flat surface. Starting at the bottom of the shirt, cut a straight vertical line until you get to the top seam.

Step 2

Move a couple inches over and cut again. You can also make a small cut and then “tear” the t-shirt the rest of the way to the top seam. It is quicker and more fun!

Step 3

When you get to the top seam, cut the strip horizontally below the seam so it is not part of your strip. Also, cut off the bottom seam of the strip.

Step 4

Repeat Steps 2 and 3 for the entire shirt. When you get to a graphic or an arm hole, you can cut around it and then keep going.

Step 5

Repeat Steps 1 through 4 for the second t-shirt.

Step 6

Lay out all of your strips flat on the table (it’s ok if individual strips curl). Trim strips where necessary so that they are all about the same length.

Step 7

Take your strips (I used about 13 to make each toy and was able to make two toys from this set of strips – but this can vary depending on the weight of the t-shirts you’re using and the size of your pup) and tie a knot at the one end. Pull hard to make sure the knot is as tight as possible.

Step 8

Separate your strips into 3 equal sections and start to braid.

Step 9

When you have about 5 inches of strips remaining, tie a second tight knot.

Step 10

Trim the ends of the toy so that all strips are again the same length.

Step 11

Start playing!

DIY Marble Coasters

Growing up, my mom had a lot of rules about what you could and couldn’t put on wood surfaces. As a child, I didn’t really understand why these were necessary, but when I became an adult with my own furniture that I worked hard to buy, I was glad my mother instilled in me how to take care of these surfaces. As a result, I always have a supply of coasters on hand for family and guests (and me) to use.

Recently, the set of cork coasters my mother gifted me several years ago when I moved into my condo, started to look worn. As the time to discard of those grew nearer, I decided to make my next set of coasters.

Having been looking at flooring a lot online recently for my kitchen, I decided to order a sheet of Carrara white marble 4inch hexagonal tiles to make the coasters. The sheet included 12 tiles and cost about $15 (shipping was free). I’ve always seen marble coasters in home stores and thought they were beautiful, but too expensive. So I was super excited to test out my coaster version of a “look for less.” Not only was this project budget-friendly, it was also quick, once I had all of the supplies.

Supplies

  • 12. 4-inch polished hexagonal marble tiles
  • 72 1/2-inch diameter adhesive felt pads

Feel free to make more or less than 12 coasters depending on your needs. Also, feel free to substitute the hexagonal shape tiles with round or square ones. I used 6 adhesive felt pads per tile. When I moved to my new home, my dad gave me a pack of hundreds of adhesive felt pads of varying sizes. No surprise, the leftover pads from the move ended up in my craft room. However, adhesive felt pads can be found in a number of stores for relatively cheap like Home Depot, Target, or even a Dollar Store.

Step 1

Carefully peel each tile off the netted backing that binds them together.

Step 2

Flip over each polished tile to the bottom (the side that was adhered to the netting) and apply a felt pad to each corner. Feel free to add additional pads if you see fit.

Step 3

Repeat for each additional tile you have and enjoy!

DIY Wedding Countdown

After seeing a “Days until” wood and chalk board sign at Michaels Craft Store this past weekend, I got on an “I-need-to-make-a-wedding-countdown” kick. At first, I looked to buy one, but my handwriting is not good enough to actually write the numbers out in chalk and I just didn’t understand the ones with the blocks (doesn’t a cube only have 6 sides?) My final concern was convertibility. I love the idea of having this for my wedding, but it would be great to reuse for birthdays, vacations and other special occasions as well.

Supplies

  • A pack of at least 20 gift tags – I chose mint
  • Number stickers – I chose white (you will need at least two sets of 0-9)
  • Special occasion stickers – I purchased wedding-themed ones
  • Photo frame (glass removed) – I found this 5in x 7in one at a local dollar store out of all places! It was complete coincidence how perfectly it matched the gift tags.
  • At least 2 hooks with screw backs – I chose straight gold ones but there are also silver and curved options below.
  • Masking tape or another easily-removable tape
  • Pen or pencil

All of the items I purchased for this project were on clearance (mint gift tags from Michaels), on sale (40% + an extra 20% off stickers from Michaels), or regularly under $2 (frame and hardware from a dollar store). Making the grand total for this project less than $10!

Step 1

Number hangtags from 0 to 9, with one number centered on each tag and making sure that the punched hole is above each number. Repeat until you have two sets of tags labeled from 0 to 9. If you are intending to count down more than 99 days, feel free to create a third set.

Step 2

Disassemble your frame. I flipped over the image my frame came with to reveal a clean white page to use as a background for my hangtags. I laid out two hangtags and marked where I wanted each to hang in the frame (aka where I would later insert the screws) with a pen. Please note, you will need to leave extra space above the hangtags for your occasion stickers.

Step 3

Next, I removed the hangtags and lined up the white sheet with the inside of the thick cardboard backing of the frame. Then I delicately taped the corners of the white sheet and backing together with (my favorite) chevron masking tape. The purpose of this is to make sure the two don’t become misaligned and the white sheet does not tear when you twist the screws through.

Step 4

I will admit, this took a little more effort than I thought, and I would have probably been better off making a tiny drill hole with a power tool, but nevertheless, I twisted each gold hook into the white paper and cardboard where I had previously marked. The screw portion of my hook just pierced the back of the frame (but not enough to cause any sharp edges). The screw portion of the hooks I purchased is about a half inch in length.

Step 5

Put the frame back together. I chose to keep the “mat” that came with the frame, as it was white on white, but feel free to discard if you like or don’t worry if yours did not come with one.

Step 6

Hang up your letters. Use the occasion stickers to “title” your countdown.

And voila! Let the countdown begin!

Feel free to replace “Wedding” sticker with “Vacation,” “Summer,” “My Birthday,” or any other occasion you can’t wait for!

Quick and Easy Valentine’s Day Banner

Looking for a last-minute Valentine’s Day craft? Whether it is a quick and easy project for your kids, students, or just yourself, this Valentine’s Day decor banner is the perfect!

Supplies

  • Banner Paper or Pad (Also feel free to cut your own banner pieces from construction or scrapbooking paper)
  • Alphabet Stickers
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Ribbon

I had clear tape, ribbon (I used 1/4 inch pink satin ribbon, but feel free to use thicker ribbon or a different color), and scissors at home. Since we recently painted our walls, I used removable masking tape to hang the banner to prevent any damage when the decoration was taken down. I purchased the pad on clearance at Michaels Craft Store and used a coupon on the letters – bringing my total out-of-pocket cost of this project to about $7.

Step 1

My pad has three different types of paper – polka dot, striped and solid. So first, I decided on the pattern I would like my banner pieces to follow. Then I tore each page I was using out of the pad. I was very impressed with how easily and cleanly they tore out!

Step 2

Choose your saying (and make sure you have the letters to complete it). I chose the words “I LOVE YOU.” Peel off each letter and place one letter on each triangular page. Leave a blank banner for space between each word.

Step 3

Lay out your saying banner. Then flip over each banner page. Leave yourself about 6-12 inches of ribbon to hang your banner with before taping the ribbon down to the wide end of each triangle. I placed 2 pieces of clear tape on each page – one on either side about a 1/4 inch from what would become the “top” of the banner page when it is hanging.

Step 4

Leave about a half inch between each piece of paper and continue taping the ribbon to the back of each banner page. Leave another 6-12 inches of ribbon before cutting the ribbon.

Step 5

Use masking tape to hang up and enjoy!

Happy Valentine’s Day!