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Felt Flower Frenzy

Clearly, it’s been a while since Katie or I have posted anything. To be honest, we kind of burned ourselves out from all of the crafting we did around Christmas – more than we initially even realized. And again, in full disclosure, that’s kinda my (and her) usual mode of operation after the rush from Christmas crafting and gift making. But we got started back up again and have been working on some big projects. Thing is, we were so busy with these projects and our deadlines that we didn’t even get a chance to document any of our processes!

March Madness

The main thing I worked on kept me busy all through March. I, along with the help of Katie and my mom and my sis-in-law, made a gajillion felt flowers for my brother and SIL’s wedding. I wanted to bless them somehow and knew they were on a tight wedding budget, so I made it my mission to add as many felt flowers as possible which went perfectly with their country-boho-chic themed nuptial decor.

It was at times a little stressful but mostly just a heck of a lot of fun. I was able to try out a lot of new techniques that made a huge impact in the way my flowers turned out and got me all re-inspired on trying new ones. Some of them took FOR-FREAKING-EVER – seriously – and some of them were so quick and easy that we were able to bust out a whole bunch with minimal effort. I’ll get into those techniques and details for each flower in other posts later on…but here are a couple of shots mid-process that I managed to snap:

Since the focus was getting the flowers done for the wedding, I didn’t stress about photographing each step, supplies, etc. I’ll have to re-do some of them another day and provide instructions and templates, but today is not that day. Today I just feel like we have been quiet for too long and need to provide some sort of an update – so here it is! We are still live and well and crafting our butts off.

Pictures!

So, here are literally the ONLY photos I have of these Completed flowers right now. I even missed taking photos at the actual wedding (to be fair, I had to do the bride’s makeup, my niece’s hair, my mom’s makeup, and my hair and makeup, place the flowers for the reception, be in family photos, dance with my hubby and son and daughter, have fun and visit with people I hadn’t seen in forever, etc…so I’m not at all upset about forgetting to take pictures)!

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Handmade Bows

Happy New Year everyone!! I hope you all had an amazing holiday like Jen and myself.  We are jumping into 2019 with newfound vigor and ideas for our blog and couldn’t be more excited for things to come!

One of my favorite things to do while wrapping presents, any time of year, is making a gorgeous bow.  A nice handmade bow can make any gift look expensive and glitzy!  And lets be honest, it will also make anyone you give a gift to “oooo” and “ahhhh” over your gorgeous masterpiece. My mom taught me how to make bows when I was a teenager and it’s been one of the best craft secrets I’ve ever learned; and today I am passing down the knowledge to you!

Supplies

  • Sharp scissors
  • Wire Edged Ribbon

The Ribbon

The best ribbon to use is wire edged ribbon, which you can find at any craft or fabric store.  You can use non-wired ribbon as well but it’s more difficult to shape, especially when starting out.

Pictured above is the ribbon I will be using.  It’s important to note which side of the ribbon is the font side and the back side.  On some ribbon it’s quite obvious, and with others like this it’s a bit more difficult.  In the picture on the far right the piece of ribbon that goes to the left is the front side and the other is the back side.  You can tell this by two factors: the front side is more shiny or bright and the back side is dull and mate, also the wired edge sits on top of the front side and is flat with the back side (see the middle photo).

Bow Making

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Make your first loop as pictured above, making sure that you have the front of the ribbon facing outwards.  However big your loop is, is about how high/wide your bow will be.  These directions will work with just about any size bow you’d like.

 

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You’ll then pinch the middle of your ribbon where you’d like the base of your loop to be, this will be the middle of your bow.

 

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Next, make another loop, making sure the front side of your ribbon is facing outward, you may need to twist the ribbon in the middle to make this happen.  I use my thumb to measure out the bottom loops and my index finger for the top loops.  This helps in making each loop approximately the same size.

 

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Continue this process until you have 5 loops on each side, you can do more if you like, but 5 is my go to amount.  The more loops you make the fuller and more dense your bow will be.

 

Once you’ve reached your 5 (or more) loops, grip your bow in the middle and cut the ribbon leaving a few inches for the tail.

 

Cut an additional section of ribbon to tie around the middle and secure your loops in pace.

 

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Now you begin to “fluff” your bow.  I do this by taking a loop with my index and middle finger inside the loop and thumb on the outside.  I push inward towards the middle with my thumb to fluff out the loop.  Continue to do this with all the loops.  This is where the wired edging helps tremendously!  You can pull and push and bend the loops in any way you’d like until you get a look you’re happy with.

 

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And….Voila! You have a gorgeous handmade bow.

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New Year, New Projects!

We are a little late in saying this but HAPPY NEW YEAR! Katie and I took some time off during the holidays so we could focus on our families and our holiday plans, so it’s been a minute since we posted anything. I spent a lot of time making felt ornaments for family members…I can’t wait to share how I took the DIY Tree Ornaments to a whole different level with you all (saving that post for next Christmas!). Katie was lucky enough to go to Disneyland and Monterey during our break. And I know she spent a lot of time catching up on crochet orders that she has received (her stuff is AMAZING!!!).

The First Project of the Year

Today I’m sharing my very first experience with the vinyl transfer process just in case you can learn from my trials and errors and final success. 🙂

Step 1: Lettering

I’ve been excited to get into using my Cricut Maker to cut vinyl but hadn’t attempted it yet until this month. My project was simple but detailed: I wanted to turn the quote I digitally hand lettered on my iPad with my Apple Pencil from November into a pretty little framed piece for one of our giveaway winners. This is the file I had to work with:

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As an aside, and this is something I plan to post more about another day, I love hand lettering! I have been doing it since high school. I wish I still had copies of the hand lettered pages me and Katie and our girlfriends would make for each other. We would write out a friend’s name in a cute, custom font and add all sorts of doodles around it and then pass them to each other between classes. But I threw out all of my old notes in a fit of purging years ago, knowing as I did it that I’d regret it some day. In the moment I just wanted less clutter and fewer boxes to store! Oh how bummed I am now – especially since I had a sweet little poem from an elementary school “boyfriend” (and my first kiss) who turned out to be famous years later. The only line I remember was something like “I like you so much. Your skin is like smooth Dutch.” Hah! Needless to say, he isn’t famous for being a poet (he is a painter).

But I digress, BIG TIME. Back to talking about cutting this quote out in vinyl….

Step 2: Cutting

So while I wasn’t layering different colors of vinyl, I did have some really detailed bits with small lines to deal with. I was nervous, first of all, that some of my letters were too thin for them to cut properly on the Cricut. Secondly I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to get them to transfer correctly. Thirdly I was just kinda nervous in general because I didn’t want this project to be a total bust!

Thankfully, the Cricut had ZERO issues cutting all of the letters out. So at this point I breathed a huge sigh of relief. And was all the more impressed with this amazing cutting machine.

Step 3: Weeding

The next step was what is called weeding – removing all of the tiny bits of vinyl that don’t easily peel off (think of the middle of an “o”, or the little inner semi-circle part of an “e”). This is tedious, but incredibly necessary. I used a Weeding tool from Cricut that reminds me of what dental hygienists use when cleaning your teeth. It’s a metal hook with a sharp point at the end. You stick a corner of vinyl you want removed carefully and pull the piece up/away to get it out without messing everything else up. I got mine in a kit from Hobby Lobby during one of those rare moments when Cricut accessories go on sale (it was all 40% off!!!)

Step 4: Transfer Paper

After taking plenty of time to carefully weed my quote, I was ready to move it to transfer paper so that I could then place it onto the final product (paper in this case). This step is all about taking some clear sticker-paper (think Contact paper, the kind you line shelves and drawers with) and adhering the top of the vinyl, the part you will have showing once all is said and done, to it. Doing so enables you to have your “sticker” of vinyl all in one piece when you apply it to the final product.

For me, this was definitely the trickiest step. First, because I tried to go the cheap route after reading on some forums that others have done so successfully. So I bought actual clear home-use style Contact Paper and tried, with vigor, to get my vinyl to stick to it. No luck, whatsoever. Katie and I took turns pressing as hard as we could, using the scraper tool that came with my kit. It’s like…using a credit card to apply pressure to something…only this scraper tool has a much better and sturdier grip.

While some of the vinyl stuck, not much of it did. I gave up for the night and figured I would get some actual cutting-machine-vinyl-purposed transfer paper the next day.

Upon attempt #2, this time with standard transfer paper (I also bought strong grip transfer paper but haven’t tried it yet) learned a few more things.

  1. If you’re having trouble getting the sticky part to separate from the backing, use the weeding tool and pry up the corner of the transfer paper. This is the quickest method from what I’ve found.
  2. For the really small letters/thinner lines, it’s best to use your scraper tool and follow the boarder of the section in question all the way around. What do I mean by this? For example, on the letter “t”, you would take your scraper and trace around the letters pressing down as you do, to ensure all edges – every square centimeter – adheres to the sticky part of the transfer paper. Tracing the outline of every part ensures things stick much better.
  3. Once you’re sure everything is properly “stuck”, peel the transfer paper off at an angle, but not too sharp of one.
  4. Make sure you’ve paid attention to the lines on your transfer paper and haven’t applied it to your vinyl crooked. These lines are key in centering your piece and making sure it is straight on the final product.

Step 5: Applying the Vinyl

This is the fun, and not too difficult, part! Now that you have a properly aligned and ready to go vinyl “sticker”, line it up accurately to your final product, stick it on, scrape it to get a good adhesion, and then peel off the transfer paper. Voila!!!

As an aside, I read many forums that recommend pulling the transfer paper off at a 45 degree angle from the paper. While this worked, I actually found that my letters remained in place and stuck to my paper if I peeled it off with the transfer paper being pulled back, parallel, to my paper. I’m not sure if this is the case with other materials you’d transfer vinyl to, but I’ll test it out in the future.

I mounted the final product to another paper that was a beautiful dark green and placed it in a frame:

 

I was pretty pleased with how this project came out and am looking forward to more ways I can use my cutting machine and vinyl!  I hope you enjoyed the read….and am very excited to share more projects with you as the year goes on!

 

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I’m Dreaming of a Felt Christmas – DIY Tree Ornaments

Tis the season for custom-made Christmas presents!  If you’re like me and have a large family but a small budget, making gifts for everyone is a must. We actually draw names for gifts between the adults, but I like to come with a little something for everyone regardless of that.  Giving is the reason for this season of celebration and I like to take part and make something from the heart for each member of my family if my budget and time allows. The Man of the hour said it Himself, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”

Last year I made hand-lettered coffee mugs for everyone which was fun but also a lot of work!  I didn’t have my iPad and Apple Pencil yet so the design part took a while, a lot of erasing and re-doing, but all in all I think my designs came out great.  I found a quote or phrase that spoke to each member of my family and used Sharpie oil paint pens to write them out, then baked them in the oven to really let it set.

This year, with the help of my new Cricut Maker and my iPad/Apple Pencil setup, I created templates to cut out and sew together cute little felt ornaments.  Personally, I think we have some incredibly cute designs for all of our amazing Hedge & Fox fans who are into making things and would like to give this one a try! If you’re interested in any of these let me know in the comments and I can send you the details! 🙂 You don’t have to use a cutting machine – trust me (up until a few months ago, I never used one to cut out my felt projects)!  So don’t let that stop you from giving this a try.  It’s actually really easy and there aren’t all that many pieces to cut which is great.

This is a fantastic project to do with kids but takes some prep work beforehand if your kiddos are between 3-10 or so years old.  The amount of prep all depends on your kids abilities, of course, so if you have a little sewing genius on your hands you can probably skip some of the steps outlined below in the tutorial.  Another thing to note is that you can use all different types of hand sewing stitches when sewing these together… a running stitch being the quickest and easiest method.  Check out this amazing post for more info and video tutorial instructions on different types of beginning stitches!

Supplies:

  • Felt in multiple colors, depending on which template you use and what overall result you’re hoping for
    • On a side note, while I didn’t do this myself, I would recommend using premium felt for these – especially
  • Embroidery thread (or yarn) matching the colors of felt you selected or in a contrasting color of your choice
  • Embroidery needles (or yarn needles)
  • Stuffing
  • A small hole punch (if you have small kids doing the sewing….I have a leather hole punch which I found on Amazon
  • Depending on which item, you may need an assortment of add-on supplies (as little or as many as you want):
    • Glue and glitter (or glitter-glue! My son used this to decorate his H&F Christmas Tree ornament)
    • Beads (you could use these to make the face and buttons of the snowman, or the eyes of any of the ornaments needing them.
    • Tiny pom-poms (I used a red one for the reindeer’s nose…but if you get an assortment of colors you could use them in many different ways!)
    • There are a lot of other things you could use, like ribbon, buttons, tiny jingle bells…let your imagination go wild!

Since I have a mini supply of kid-friendly craft supplies, I just used what I had around already, like glitter-glue and beads.

Cutting the felt:

  • Start by cutting out all of the pieces you’ll need. third color if you choose!).
    • If you are using one of the templates that has a scarf (for the snowman or the penguin), you can add some fray at the ends of each side of the scarf by snipping four ½” slits like so

Putting the ornaments together:

Here is where the instructions will vary piece by piece.

General:

  • Depending on the ornament you’re making, if you are going to add details like eyes or buttons or noses, do this FIRST before sewing any pieces together!
  • If you have small kids doing the sewing on this, you’ll need to punch holes around the edges of the felt so they know where to sew and don’t have any trouble getting their needle and thread/yarn through the pieces.
  • Before getting your kiddo started, take a safety pin and pin the two pieces of fabric together for them to keep them in place.
  • If you’re planning to embroider the year or any wording, write out what you want the ornament to say first in a marker that’s close to the color of the felt. This will help ensure your embroidered lettering/numbering turns out the way you want it to, and as long as your marker color is close enough to the felt color, you won’t even see the line once the threading is done.
    • Make sure you explain where to start and where to stop, having them stop early enough to leave space for adding your stuffing before sewing the piece shut all of the way
    • Note: If you have a kid who maybe isn’t ready for sewing yet, you can get everything prepped for them to just add the accent pieces once it’s already sewed together and stuffed!

    For Santa:

    • Start by sewing the front piece that is for his beard/hair to the background piece that is his face, then add your details for eyes and nose and/or mouth (if you’re adding those, that is).
    • Next sew the back hair piece to the front hair/beard piece.
    • Sew the hat together, leaving the bottom open like a real hat so that you can place it on his head and tack it down once you’re finished
      • You can either sew the white rim and ball to the red pieces before sewing the hat together or you can glue them on, it’s your choice

    For the Penguin:

    • After adding his eyes and beak, start by sewing the white accent part of the body to the black piece that will be the front.
      • You can glue the feet and beak on, if you’d prefer, to keep things easy

    For the Snowman:

    • Be sure to add all details to the front before sewing the 2 pieces of white felt for the body together (eyes, nose, mouth, stick arms and mittens if you’re
    • When sewing the piece together, start with the hat but leave the brim open – sew the front brim to the front part of the snowman’s head.  Then sew the back brim to the back of his/her head.  Last, sew the body pieces together and then add stuffing.

    For the Reindeer:

    • When sewing this guy together, place the antlers in between the 2 pieces for the head/body until they line up perfectly.
    • If adding a pom-pom for the nose, take your scissors and cut a little flat space on the bottom of the pom-pom for where you will place the glue (I find that the nose sits on the top a little better when doing this)

    For the Christmas Tree:

    My 4 year old decorated this for our tree and I love it!

    • Place the trunk piece in between the 2 tree pieces at the bottom and pin together before sewing
    • If you’re gluing on all of the décor pieces, sew the tree together first and add your stuffing before decorating.

    One last thing I like to do is add the year to the back of any ornaments I make. For these, I just grabbed a fine Sharpie marker and placed “2018” on the back. I also added my son’s initials for the ones he helped with so that I always know which ones were his and how old he was when he made them. I find this is a lot of fun to talk about years later when pulling ornaments out to decorate the tree!

    What do you think about how these turned out?  I absolutely adore them.  My favorite is the Christmas tree that my son decorated.  I know I will treasure it for years and years and have fond memories of making it with him every time I unbox it and go to put it on our Christmas tree!

    If you’re interested in using any of my templates let me know!

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    ‘Tis the Season to Get Cuddly!

    Hello my favorite Hedge and Foxers! Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving like Jen and I did.  It’s finally starting to rain here (I LOVE the rain!!), and that makes me want to cuddle up in my favorite blankie, eat some chili and watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S.  So that’s exactly what I did with Jen and her family the other night, except we needed another blanket for the couch.  My mission was clear, make a super soft cuddly blanket ASAP and make some homemade chili!

    First let’s talk about this chili I made.  I’m currently doing Weight Watchers, so I was looking for a chili recipe that was good for points and good for those who aren’t dieting.  I ran across this receipie on Pinterest, and let me tell ya…it was delicious!! So if you’re looking for some good chili check out this Zero Point Chili Receipie.

    So now that you’ve got your chili cooking in your crockpot, time to make a cuddly blanket! If you’re thinking, “I wont be able to get a blanket done in 2 hours!”, well I’m here to tell you that you can!!! Let’s get started!

    Supplies

    • 2 yards of fleece in two different patterns (2 yards in one pattern and 2 yards in another for a total of 4 yards) – I suggest getting the “anti-pill” fleece, it’s softer and wont get those annoying little balls all over.
    • Measureing Tape
    • Sharp fabric scissors or rotary cutter and mat
    • Masking tape
    • 4×4 template

    These tie fleece blankets are so easy to make and fun!  This is something you could totally do with your kids as well.

    Step 1

    Take each cut of fabric and trim the edges off.  Generally one side will have a white edge in writing and the other will have a slightly curled edge. One of the best things about making this blanket is nothing has to be exact, meaning don’t worry if you’re edges aren’t straight, it won’t matter in the end.

     

    Step 2

    Check your fabrics and see if there’s any difference between the sides.  The fabrics I picked below are slightly blurry on the “back” side.  Place the back sides of the fabrics together as evenly as you can.  Again, it doesn’t have to be exactly even, just as close as you can.

     

    Step 3

    Next you want to make yourself a 4”x 4” template with some cardboard or something else semi sturdy. Once your template is cut place it at the corners of your fabric and cut around the edges as shown below.

    Step 4

    533B62B1-FBD1-4F5D-9558-5E5E7787F9BBNext take your masking tape and stretch it along the side of the blanket from the corner of your cut edge to the other corner as shown in the photo.  Once your tape is in place start cutting strips about an inch in width and stop at the tape.  Continue cutting strips until you’ve reached the end and repeat this process around the blanket.  I eye-balled the strips, because once again…. it doesn’t really matter.  At the end of the day you won’t be able to tell if there are any imperfections.

     

    Step 5

    Now is the fun part (at least I think its fun). Start tying the bottom and top strips together. Be Sure to tie the first one tight and then tie it one more time.  Continue this around the whole blanket.

    Step 6

    Your yummy chili should be done, so scoop yourself some into your favorite bowl, grab your new blanket and turn on your favorite TV show and relax!

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    These are great for Christmas gifts and can easily be put together at the last minute for anyone who is a procrastinator like me haha!  Have fun!!

     

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    Happy Thanksgiving!!!

    The day is here! If you’re American, like me, then today is all about three things: Pausing to give thanks for all of the things you are grateful for; spending time with the ones you love; and feasting on roasted turkey (or maybe deep fried or cooked in some other fashion), mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, casseroles, and pumpkin or sweet potato pie!!!! I love this holiday for all of the aforementioned reasons, and in honor of today I am also going to list 10 things for which I am thankful like Katie did in our last post. These aren’t exactly in order of importance because it’s hard to say one is more important than another, but here goes….!

    1. My husband

  • I married an amazing guy, folks! He is hilarious, sweet, sexy, and he is also my best friend. I was a ball of crazy when we first started dating (ok, still am sometimes!) and his patience in helping me through a lot of the emotional baggage I had at the time was unbelievable and incredibly selfless. And more than I think anyone could ask for, but exactly what one should hope for from a life-long mate. And today he is still the same way.
  • 2. My kids
  • Like most parents, I could gush on and on about how amazing I think they are. My son is 4 (and a half! That’s a big deal, ya know…) and is so much fun. He is silly, unbelievably smart, and a natural at almost any sport. I always figured I would have at least one athletic kid since I never was really into playing sports myself, and boy do I!!! We have a ton of fun playing soccer, flag football, and baseball in our backyard. My daughter will be 9 months in a few days and she is just the sweetest little thing ever. She brings us so much joy and has added so much more fun to our lives. She is babbling a ton (and will give you an earful when she feels it is needed, let me tell you!), cruising around on the furniture, says a few words already and is crawling everywhere. She started waving hello recently which is so cute to watch her do out and about with random people. I honestly can say that having 2 kids is way more fun than just having 1!
  • 3. My parents

  • They’re wonderful and fun and wise and they help us out in more ways than I can count. We live about a 5 minutes away from them now (we moved this year) and we really enjoy it! They help with childcare during the week and even on weekends sometimes, give us great advice but typically only if we ask for it, and are just generally fun people to be around. My mom is one of my best friends, and I am and have always been an unashamed daddy’s girl through and through. I adore my father! And I treasure the relationship my parents have with my kids. It is a blessing to watch them together and makes my heart so very glad.
  • 4. My mother-in-law

  • Yes, I’m dead serious about this. I think I have the best MIL ever. She also lives nearby (within walking distance) and helps is with childcare and just in general quite often. I truly value the relationship I have with her and the one she has with my children as well. She is always so sweet and helpful. I know this is a huge blessing – I’ve heard and seen horror stories about in-laws throughout my life and was always worried about this dynamic, but thankfully I do not have that situation to deal with. And for that I am eternally grateful! And I treasure her relationship with my kids and am blessed to watch them together.
  • 5. My siblings

  • (including my sisters-in-law)! I have 2 big brothers who are buckets of fun and both are married to women I love, am close to, and get along with well. And my husband’s sister and her husband are incredible, too! We all live around each other and are able to get together as often as life allows, which sometimes is a lot and other times not nearly enough. My brothers have always been there for me, made me feel loved, protected and safe, and have been there to make me laugh harder than almost anyone else. I treasure the friendships we have developed in our adult lives and also the times from when we were kids and they would actually let their kid sis be around and play.
  • (I need to take more photos with these awesome guys…learned this lesson while searching for something to post!)
  • 6. My friends

  • I have the best, most amazing, most drama-free group of friends! Of course my sister-friends, Katie and Christine, are in that bunch. I love them both so much and am so grateful for our friendship. The memories we share are truly priceless! And Miranda, my BFF, mommy-friend, and the mom of my beautiful god-daughter. She and I became best friends shortly after Dan and I were married, at a time in my life where making new close friends was a scary thing (that’s a long story that goes way back to pre-Katie stuff which I won’t get into). Miranda is one of those friends who always checks in on you, calls you out on your BS but in the most loving of ways, and is a total blast to be with. I am so grateful for her and for our friendship!!! And for the amazing god-daughter she has given me – I love my Baby Girl sooo much! I am also thankful for her sister, Nicole, who is another close friend of mine. Nicole and I encourage each other during tough times and during great times, too. Her heart is made of the sweetest of things and she walks with an air of grace and love that makes I want to emulate. I have many more friends I want to mention but this post would go on forever and ever if I did! I love and appreciate you all so very much <3
  • 7. My job

  • I feel so blessed to have the job I do – one that I enjoy and one with amazing coworkers. I am a geek for data and for process improvement and I get to combine these things and find data-driven process improvements! I work for a large company where you’d thing the inter-personal part of things might be lacking, but my company and my co-workers are actually really amazing! To top it off, I am able to work from home and have for over 5 years now. While working from has its challenges, overall it has been a huge blessing for this full time working mama.
  • 8. Our new house

  • I LOVE our new home, being so close to our families, and the neighborhood we moved to. It reminds me of the neighborhood I grew up in and felt like home the moment we turned the corner to go and look at the house the first time. It was all by the grace if God that we got this house when and how we did. It was by accident that we even came to look at it with our realtor – I had seen it on the real estate apps and knew it was perfect but out of our price range. When we saw it for the first time I didn’t let myself say out loud “I love it!” because I didn’t want to be let down when we didn’t get it. Low and behold, 2 weeks later our realtor called to say they had received no offers (at a time when houses were selling left and right) and that the owners were willing to negotiate with us. It was miraculous and I am soooo grateful! Dan and I still look at each other at least once a week and say “I cannot believe this is OUR house!!!”
  • 9. My pastor and my church family

  • Folks, I feel like I found, hands down, the most amazing church to be a part of in existence! Dan and I have been members since we first started dating when he got invited to go, having never been a church goer before (I on the other hand grew up in church all of my life, even went to Christian school until I graduated 12th grade). What God has done through the ministry at our church has dramatically changed our lives. I had all but sworn off going to church if I’m being honest – and this is a long story that I won’t get in to now – but after going here and really receiving a revelation of God’s love and grace, I’ve been completely changed. Which brings me to the next item, and it is the MOST important one in my life.
  • 10. Receiving the revelation of God’s grace and the gift of salvation.

  • I remember what I was like, my view of life, before I learned about real and true grace, and I don’t miss that life at all! Am I perfectly “Christian” now, never struggling with sin? Far from it!!!! That’s not the point! I still struggle with sin, some great and sin small, on a daily basis (or minute my minute, really!). But now I walk in confidence that God’s grace covers my sin through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and sees me as faultless. And so I can confidently go to Him with my praises, pains, joy, sorry, frustrations, and struggles with sin, knowing that He hears my cries and turns His heart toward me. Not because of anything I’ve done or will do, but only because of what Jesus did! This is the greatest thing in my life for which I am thankful and I want to SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS!!!!
  • Ok, I’m off to finish up the mac and cheese that I’m bringing to dinner. I hope and pray you have a wonderful day celebrating all of the things for which you are thankful and that you don’t get too stuffed on turkey and all the good things that go along with it! May God bless you and your family, and keep you all in His protection this holiday season and always.
  • Let me know what you’re thankful for in the comments if you have a moment to spare and can do so!
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    What are you thankful for?

    November is one of my favorite months; the air is crisp, the leaves are changing into their beautiful fall colors, and Thanksgiving and its glorious food is around the corner!  This time of year also reminds you to be thankful for the large and small things in your life; and I’ve always found writing these things down to be soul soothing, so that’s what today’s post is about!  Here are ten things I’m thankful for this year (in no particular order):

    1.  My Mom

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    Besides giving birth to me, which let’s be honest is a big deal, my mom has been and continues to be my biggest supporter in everything I do.  She’s my best friend who I know will never leave my side.  She loves me for who I am, what I believe and does so without judgement. She’s always been accepting of my friends with open arms and has taught me to be the caring woman I’ve become.  She’s probably the most selfless person I know who is always willing to help anyone in any way she can.  She’d give you the shirt off your back if you needed it.  I strive daily to be more like her, and don’t know what I’d do without her. Love you Mom!

    2. My Sisters

     

    I refer to these two amazing women as my sisters all the time.  They may not be my sisters in the conventional sense, technically I’m an only child, but they’ll always be in my life and I love them like they’re family.  As long as we’ve known each other their families have treated me like family and vice versa.  Their kids call me Auntie Katie which warms my heart every time I hear it.  So to Jen & Christine, I’m so thankful for your loving spirits and loving hearts. I love you both!

    3. My Friends

    I’ve been so lucky to have some really incredible friends in my life, friends that are truly like family.  I know that no matter what happens my friends will be there for me if I need them.  If I call broken down on the side of the road, I know every single one would come and help me, no doubt in my mind.  Also, my friends are hilarious, hands down the funniest people ever! (And if you’re not pictured, I love you too don’t worry! haha)

    4. My Best Friend (aka Craig)

     

    IMG_0448Now saying my “Best Friend” is a difficult statement to make, because a lot of my friends I consider my Best Friend.  But this friend in particular holds a very special place in my heart.  Not everyone has a friend who is so willing to help their friend’s Mom whenever she needs a man’s help.  Since my Dad passed a few years ago, Craig has taken over helping my mom whenever she needs it, no questions asked.  Craig treats my mom like his own and that’s more than I could ever ask for.

    5. My Job

    There’s not a lot of people who get to do what they love.  Yes, my job is stressful.  Yes, my job is tiring with long hours.  However, my job is AWESOME! I get to help people and help support our law enforcement by being their first line of defense.  The excitement and adrenaline rush I get from my job keeps me going!  Also, I’ve met some of my favorite people through my job.

    6. My Landlords

    I’ve lived in the most adorable little house for over 6 years now and not once have they raised my rent! If that’s not something to be thankful for then I don’t know what is!

    7. Pizza

    Well…because Pizza.

    8. Hedge & Fox

    I’ve had so much fun thinking of creative things for our new blog and most of all spending the with Jen and her family.  I get to see my niece and nephew on a weekly basis and catch up with Jen & Dan, it’s been a blast!!

    9. My Aquarium

    Ever since I lost my two dogs a couple years ago I’ve not been able to bring myself to get another one yet.  But, I have invested in an aquarium which has brought me a lot of joy.  Maybe not as much as a dog would but my fish & friends have helped fill that void.

     

     

    10. All of you!

    Each and every person who subscribes to our blog and supports us means the world to Jen and myself.  We work hard every day with our full time jobs and we work hard on bringing content to you as well.  Thank you for being there 🙂

     

    So what are you thankful for?  I challenge you to write down ten things you’re thankful for!  In fact that is this months giveaway entry!  Post a picture on Instagram of one of the ten things you’re thankful for with “#HFThankful2018”! Winner will be announced on December 1st!

     

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    Trick or Treat!

    Its Halloween time!  And who doesn’t like free candy?!? Especially all the cute mini humans.  So what better craft for this month than making trick or treat bags? Even if you don’t have your own little ones like myself, they make cute shopping bags for October.

    I have to admit this has been my favorite project thus far! These bags just turned out so darn cute I can hardly stand it!!! The best thing about them (besides being this freakin cute) is they are so quick and easy. Now when I say “quick” for crochet, that means you can get it done in a day.

    Supplies

    • 1 skein of orange yarn (I used Red Heart with Love – Tigerlily)
    • 1 skein of black yarn for the handles
    • Felt – 1 sheet of black , 1 sheet of yellow, 1 sheet of white
    • Crochet hook (I used a 5.5mm hook)
    • Embroidery Thread (I used the thicker Pearl Cotten kind like this)
    • Needle for sewing
    • Straight Pins

    Pattern for “Trick or Treat” bag

    This pattern is worked in the round and uses the Half Double Crochet Stitch and assumes you as the maker know general crochet terms. Hook size used it 5.5mm and finished bag is 15″ x 10″.

    Abbreviations

    • CH-Chain
    • HDC-Half Double Crochet
    • ST-Stitch
    • RD-Round

    Pattern

    RD 1: CH 46, working in the back of chain only (see photos below), place HDC in second “bump” from the hook, and repeat until the end of the row – [45 stitches]

    To work in the back bumps, simply turn your chain over and look for the “bump” on the back , place your hook under the 2nd bump from the hook and crochet as normal.

                                                  Front                                                   Back

    When you reach the last ST (ST 45) place two more ST in the same ST for a total of 3 HDC’s in the last ST – [47 stitches]

    IMG_0254

    Instead of turning our work keep working your round by crocheting on the opposite side, placing HDCs in each ST along the row – [92 stitches]

    When you reach the last ST place an additional HDC for a total of two ST in the last ST – [93 stitches]

    This should give you about 15″ in width.

    RD 2-end – Continue placing a HDC in each ST around until your bag reaches 10″ in height. Once height is reached end your row on the side, making sure both sides of your bag are even, and weave in end.

    At this point choose which side of the bag you like better, the inside or the current front side.  The look is slightly varied and can simply be turned inside out!

    Handles

    Make two – start chain with about a foot of tale for sewing

    Row 1 – CH 6, working in back bumps, place HDC in 2nd bump from the hook and across, CH 1, turn [5 stitches]

    Row 2-end – HDC in first ST and across row [5 stitches]

    Continue until your handle is 12″ in length, leaving 12″ of tail after ending row for sewing.

    Attaching Handles

    Count 11 stitches from each end of the bag and place a stitch marker as shown below.

    img_8392.jpg

    Then from each stitch marker count 5 stitches inward and place another stitch marker.  There should be 11 stitches between each end of the handle.

    Sew in ends of the handle being sure not to twist the handles during placement.

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    Sew across the bottom of the handle and top of bag about 2-3 times until secure then weave in the tail and repeat for other end and other side of the bag.

    IMG_0248

    Felt Embellishments

    Next cut out your felt letters and candy corn pieces and pin them to your bag, being careful not to pin both sides of your bag together (I may or may not have learned this the hard way…).

    Then begin sewing on your letters! This is where all the cuteness happens right before your eyes!

    Now theres only one step left… and it’s by far the best step. PUT IN CANDY!

    I hope you enjoy making this bag as much as Jen and I did. Even my neighbor’s cat Lily was in love!

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    Lily photobombs

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    Super Sunny – DIY Felt Sunflower Wreath

    Hello my lovely fellow craft-loving friends! I hope your September has been fun and creatively inspired! Ours sure turned out to be. Oh and it’s been busy, and at times hectic, and at others felt chaotic, but that doesn’t change – whether we craft or not – right?!? So might as well carve out a little time for some art therapy :oD The dishes and vacuuming can wait till tomorrow!  I find crafting cathartic and the end result once my craft is finished rewarding – usually, anyway. I do totally bomb on an attempt to make something sometimes, but I chalk those up to a learning experience and then give it another go on the next attempt (I do my best to stay focused on the positive rather than wallow in the “what or how I did wrong” so that I don’t get down on myself or my failed attempts at creativity). And that my friends is how I usually stay inspired to keep on making things! Or at least trying to…

    And on that note, here is something newly made which luckily didn’t bomb at all in my opinion. I really love the way this felt sunflower cafe out and am pretty pleased with my second attempt at adding bead work details to fabric (my first one was a ribbon belt piece I made for my Aunt to wear at my parent’s vow renewal ceremony which they did for their 40th wedding anniversary! 40 YEARS!!!!!!). Anyways, I digress (because 40 years of marriage isn’t exactly something to gloss over). My point is that I think this flower turned out to be absolutely stunning. Especially when paired with the beautiful crocheted leaves that Katie made to go with it for our 2nd fall wreath!!! I’ll get into the details of how to make the flower, the leaves, and attach them all to the wreath below.  As usual, I have added notes on steps you can skip if you aren’t trying to spend as much time as I did in making this flower.

    Supplies

    • 1 piece of felt fabric in yellow (or alternate color of your choice)
    • 1 piece of felt fabric in brown (or alternate color of your choice)
    • Scissors
    • Thread in the same/similar colors as your felt
    • A needle for sewing everything together (if you’re going to do the beadwork on the center, you need a needle small enough to fit through the smallest beads used)

    Optional – for the more detailed look:

    • Assorted brown beads for the center detail (or alternate color of your choice)
    • Marker to add petal detail (I used an orange permanent chalk marker)

    Also optional – to make the wreath

    • A wreath to add everything to once it’s finished (I used a birch twig wreath that I already had which you can find at just about any craft store)
    • Crocheted leaves (or you can make some out of felt if you’d prefer!)

    Cutting the Felt

    I lucked out in a BIG WAY this time around when it came to cutting my petals!  Katie and I got together for a crafting night and invited our other sister-friend over to hang out and help (her name is Christine, and she is absolutely WONDERFUL!).  So while I worked on beading the center, Christine cut out ALL of my petals!

    • Cut 35-40 petals out in the color you want the flower to be
    • Cut out a medium-ish circle in the same color (this is for the back and won’t be seen)
    • Cut out a small-ish circle in the color you want the center to be

    I didn’t add any waves to these petals – sunflower petals are typically pretty crisp so I just left them as-is.

    Adding Detail

    As I scoured the internet for photos of sunflowers, I knew I wanted to find a way to make the center of mine the focal point.  I didn’t want to use embroidery, and I knew I didn’t want to just throw a felt center in there.  Thankfully the idea came to me while looking at images to attempt a beaded center that had tons of texture and a circular structure!

    As usual, some or all of these steps can be skipped if you want to make your flower much quicker. 

    Adding Detail to the Petals

    To add some depth to the petals, I took my orange marker and swept lines from the base of the petal out toward the tip (just like I did in my last post where there are photos of the process – only this time I didn’t do them fanned out, rather just down the length of the petal, stopping just before reaching the very tip).

    Next I stuck the two bottom corners of the petals together (the same way I did with the felt peony post from last month, but this time with thread instead of glue). You can skip this step, but it gives the flower more depth and volume once it’s all put together if you choose to do it.

    Making the Pistil

    This is where the bulk of the work happens with making this particular sunflower. I started by sewing a larger bead to the very center of the small circle and then went around that with my small beads, sewing each one to the felt individually. The best way to really keep the circular shape is to first sew each bead of the circle to the felt, then take your needle and go back through the whole circle of beads with the thread, then sew back down into the felt and pull somewhat tightly.

    You keep doing this, one circle at a time, until you’ve got a beaded circle in the right size.  I alternated beads whenever I felt like it but kept the same size of bead at least while sewing each individual circle. Here is what it looked like once I was finished:

    Making the Leaves

    Katie crocheted the leaves that go with this flower and they look AMAZING! She found and bought a super cute leaf pattern here and used leaf 2, generic leaf. She used “I Love this Cotton” yarn from Hobby Lobby (the pattern calls for thread size 10 but we wanted the leaves to be bigger and sturdier). Since we couldn’t find yarn in the exact color of green we were hoping for, we went ahead and used some green fabric dye. Once the dyed leaves were dry, I starched and ironed them to give them some stiffness.

    Don’t you just love them?!

    Putting the Flower Together

    To put this flower together, I took the medium sized circle of felt and started sewing petals to it, starting with the very back layer of petals and working in towards the center.  I used yellow thread and added my first round of petals which had 13 total, and then I placed my next round so that each petal was sewn in between the previous and just a tad closer to the center than the last.  I did this over and over until I had all of layers of petals attached with the layer at the center being the topmost one. It looked like the picture below once I was all finished.

    Next I attached the beaded center using a brown thread. I went around the outermost layer of beads and sewed the middle to the petals, making sure each stitch landed in between two beads and not over the top of any of them. I started my stitch inside the outermost circle, went up and over it (again, at a point where two of the beads met so my thread ended up hidden) and back down into the circle with the petals attached. I did this all the way around the middle, adding a stitch every 1/4″ or so until it felt securely tacked down.

    And this is what my flower looked like when it was all finished!!!  I LOVE IT!!!

    Putting the Wreath Together

    I laid the flower out with the petals in order to get an idea of how it would look once I attached it to the wreath.  It wasn’t until I did this with the wreath behind everything that I really figured out how it was going to look and what would be just right for the overall look.

    At first I wasn’t sure it was going to look good at all – and then I found that adding some movement to the leaves made ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD!!!  So, when placing the leaves on the wreath, I laid them in such a way that the leaves curved with the wreath but also up away from the wreath, then back down toward it.  Sewing the leaves onto this wreath took a lot of patience as I had to navigate through all of the sticks and take care not to break any off (ok, so I broke a few, but not so many that it mattered!).  While I could have glued the leaves and flower down, since this is going to be outside and possibly in the heat, I felt it was best to stick with sewing in spite of the frustration doing so caused for a short while.

    It took a little playing with it to get the overall finished look but it was well worth it, don’t you think?!?

    I hope you enjoyed this post! I sure do love my new front door wreath 🙂

    I would love to hear from you – your thoughts on the tutorial, questions, or whether you tried making this yourself!

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    Precious Little Pansy – DIY Felt Flower

    Hello again!  I hope the temperature is starting to cool down for you, wherever you’re from, and that the joy of fall’s crisp, cool morning air has become a reality (if you’re into that sort of thing like I am, that is)!

    Today I’m going to walk through the process I took in making this felt pansy. It was my first time making one of these, although the photo below is actually of the third and final version (I had two prototypes that I thought were ok and cute enough, but weren’t exactly what I had in mind for this post. That’s why they call it the “creative process” right?!).

    I made a video tutorial this time (my very first one ever!) which covers every step in detail, but will outline the information below as well.

    As I was preparing for this post, I was trying to think of the best flower to use to attach to one of the headbands Katie made from our last post.  I wanted something that didn’t stick up too high but had a decent amount of detail to it.  The poppy flower from my previous tutorial was out of the question since it indeed would have stuck up to high, and the peony was just too big.  I started searching through Google images for different types of flowers and at first was looking at orchids and daisies when a pansy popped up in my screen.  I never would have thought to make a pansy – In the past I’ve had almost a disdain for pansies (maybe because I remember my mom giving me the chore of planting them in our garden what felt like all of the time when I was a kid lol).  But as I looked through pictures of them, I started to realize just how intricate and diverse they are and found a whole new appreciation for these beautiful flowers!  I love them so much now that may even plant some in my own front yard…maybe.

    A couple of disclaimers: The photos below are from screen shots of the video, so please forgive their lack of clarity at times. Also, for the video, it is my first one like I said so hopefully I did a decent job and explained my process well!

    Supplies

    This time around I decided to sew the flower together instead of glue.  This was partially due to the fact that this is for a baby’s headband and I worry that somehow my crazy-strong daughter could pull a glued one apart (I doubt it but that thought did cross my mind), but mostly because I don’t want the extra bulk from the glue. That and I want to use embroidery thread to add details that using glue just wouldn’t accommodate. So here is the list of supplies:

    • Felt (I used 2 colors, but you don’t have to)
    • Scissors
    • Embroidery needle
    • Embroidery thread (I used 2 colors, but you don’t have to)
    • Optional:
    • Markers in similar colors to your felt. I used some Tombow brush pens that I already had on deck.

    Cutting the felt

    Pansies come in a ton of color combinations. I used a light aqua-ish blue and a dark teal for my flower because I want to attach it to a teal headband that Katie made for our first September collaboration project. You can use just about any colors you want though.

    Cut out the following from the color you want the front petals to be:

    • 2 medium sized petals
    • 1 larger heart shaped petal
    • Cut out the following from the color you want the back petals to be:

      • 2 medium-large sized petals
    • Optional – for extra detail:

      2 small petals
      1 small heart shaped petal

    You can download this pansy flower template if you’d like and use it to get the same shape I have for my flower. Here is what my petals looked like once I cut them out initially.

    Below in the Adding Details section, I added steps on adding some curves and movement to them, which is something you may want to do as well.

    Adding Details

    There are pansies with really clean, crisp petals and some where the petal has waves alllllllll the way around it. There are some that have both crisp petals and wavy petals. Some have multi-colored and others are fairly monotone. Your options are pretty endless on how to make one. For mine, I wanted a monochromatic appearance for the most part but with a soft, organic appearance and a lot of extra detail.

    All of these next steps are optional – you can do as few or as many of them as you’d prefer.

    Cutting waves

    I’m going for a softer, slightly wavy look, so I cut small shallow curves around mine.

    Adding lines with markers

    Next I added lines in a fan shape, starting at the point and fanning out toward the petals edges. I used some brush pens I have which if I’m being honest was not the best choice. They turned my fingers so very blue as I worked with them because it took forever for the ink to dry! Oh well – love and learn, right?! :oP

    That being said, I used a dark blue for the dark teal petals and a light blue for the aqua.

    Shaping

    Then, I pulled the edges of each petal in all different directions to add movement to them.

    And this is where I REALLY started to get blue fingers…if you watch the video, they just get more and more blue as I go along. It washes off within a day, thankfully, but I don’t think I’ll use these particular markers for working with felt ever again lol!!!

    Adding embroidered lines

    The last step I took was to add some embroidered lines on the petal in the same fan shape as I used to add the marker lines. After I was all finished, I took my dark blue marker and colored some of the thread lines at the base of the flower just to add even more depth.

    I walk through the steps of how I added my embroidery lines in the video tutorial.

    Putting the flower together

    This part is easier than it sounds and actually very quick to do.

    I wanted my Pansy to have a yellow center, so I used yellow thread to sew the points from each of the front three petals together. First I placed two petals together face to face and added a few stitches to the just side of the points to secure them. Next I took the third petal and placed it face to face with one of the two I had just sewn together. I added a few stitches to the side of the points (the opposite side on the one that I had previously sewn) to secure them together. I placed the remaining two front petals face to face and stitched them together as well.

    Then, I took my needle and thread and embroidered a circle in the flower’s center. I went about 1/4″ from the center to start my stitch and always went back down through the center as shown in the photos below.

    With my last few stitches of yellow thread, I attached the two back petals securely using the same method of adding to the yellow circle as I did. And then took a step back to admire the result. I really love the way this flower came out and have a new adoration for pansies that I never thought I would thanks to the process of making it!

    Just for reference, here is what it would look like if you chose not to add all of the wavy lines on the petals and used a different method of embroidery.  It was the my first prototype in preparing for the post.  For it I added short stitches for the lines rather than the long stitches in the alternate example.  I also didn’t put the “heart shape” into the bottom petal.  This flower is adorable but is just more “cutesy” than I wanted my final product to be…

    Attaching the Flower to Katie’s Headband

    The final step I took was to sew the flower onto the incredible headband Katie had made. I secured the center of the flower down first, then tacked the bottom and top petals to the band a bit as well so that the flower didn’t stick up more than I wanted it to. I think it looks SOOOO AMAZING!!! Don’t you?!

    And is even cuter when you put it on an adorable baby!!! 🙂 I am biased since I’m her mom, but still…..the level of cuteness here is off the charts!!!!

    I hope you enjoyed my tutorial! Let me know what you think about making it yourself in the comments, and be sure to check out the video version for step by step details. If you give this a try and/or have anything you’d like to share about it, I would love to hear from you!

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