DIY Necklace: Wearing the Beach all Year

Beach Necklaces

I grew up here, ten minutes from the beach. I can’t imagine having to plan on going to the beach. It’s something I do so casually that I still forget what a special place it is. I usually go to the beach during the week, after work, and alone. We love Island Beach State Park. If you drive past their first two bathing beaches, there is some amazing scenery. I don’t think people realize there is so much beauty right in NJ. Pictures of the walk to the ocean rival some you can find on a tropical island. I love the walk to the ocean. As you walk through the trees and sand, at first all you hear are birds. Then the smell of the ocean comes and you start to hear the sound of waves, and finally you get to the view. When I head to the beach most people are leaving it, so it’s like my own private oasis. I always keep a blanket or chair in my trunk, and if I know Matt will be late coming home from work I just head to the beach and read for an hour or two.

Walk to the Beach

But I didn’t really get to do that this summer. I was afraid of going to the beach alone. I’ve never had fainting spells or anything, but I didn’t want to risk overheating by myself while pregnant. I only went to the beach a few times, and I did have to plan around it. It made me appreciate my proximity more. I don’t think I’ll ever want to live far enough away where I have to plan a beach trip. I know that with a baby I’ll have to be more structured with my beach time next year, but I’m glad that if I ever am bored and we have nothing to do we can always walk to beach to pass the time.

Beach

September is a great time to go to the beach. There aren’t many people and the water is super warm. Matt and I went recently for no reason other than we were bored.  We collected seashells, put our feet in the water, and watched as the tiny clams and sand crabs burrowed into the sand. It made me sad that summer is pretty much over. I can still walk the beach in the fall and winter, but it’s not really the same.

SeaShells

So I’m going to wear the beach all year long. I made these simple beach bottle necklaces to keep the sand close to my heart. I found a set of tiny bottles at Michael’s. Attach the ring to the cork (You might have t trim the metal with some wire cutters. put some sand in the bottle. It’s easier to scoop the sand rather than pour it. Then I used needle nose tweezers to put in a tiny sea shell, apiece of sea glass, and a piece of faux moss (to look like seaweed). Use some leather cord as the necklace, and you viola!

beach necklace

I made a second charm as a message in  a bottle. With less sand, I added some small shells, and I wrote a note on a piece of scrap paper (I ripped the paper so the edges weren’t so straight). I realize I could have just scribbled or not have written anything at all, but I like an ocean quote for my ocean necklace. I know it’s there, after all.  My message is from Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic.” I rolled up the scrap and put it in my bottle. How sweet!

message in a bottle

If you don’t live near the beach, you could make your necklace with sand and shells from your favorite vacation destination and keep it close to your heart too.

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Cape May and Fairy Gardens

I’m kind of sad that summer is unofficial lye over, but I can’t complain. I’ve spent the last few weekends of summer happily. A few weeks ago, Matt and I decided to go on a mini road trip down memory lane to our old Stockton stomping grounds. Normally our trips to our old college town would take us to the winery, but since only one of us can enjoy the wine, we ventured down to a Chinese take-out place we often went to through college. They have the best sweet and sour chicken ever. We continued south to Cape May where we explored the shops (where i found a lot less antiques than I expected, but some great craft ideas), walked the boardwalk, and enjoyed an indirect flashback to our alma mater again. Despite a few holes in one, I fell apart and panicked at the end of our game, and Matt beat me by 5 points.

a lovely time

Even though I lost, Matt still treated me to a beautiful had beaded bracelet in my favorite color. I can’t even tell you the shop he bought it from because there was no sign on the building.  We had dinner at an Irish pub where I, of course, ordered the butter lobster rolls, and stopped for smoothie desserts.

 Making the cake!

We also celebrated my niece Laila’s birthday. The night before the party, the kids all came over to watch the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie (which they loved) and help bake Laila’s tie-dyed  cake and cookies. Everyone was in charge of mixing and poring a color.

Laila's Frozen Cake

 

They turned out great!I decorated the cake for a Frozen theme party with blue frosting and white snowflakes.

Happy Birthday Laila! Laila & Olivia, or Ana & Elsa

To add to the birthday festivities, we made a fairy garden in a hollowed out tree stump.

Fairy Veggie Garden Fairy table

We used a fairy garden kid along with a few mini items I found at Michael’s.

Adding to the fairy garden All the kids helped

I glued floral pins to the bottoms of everything to stake them into the ground.

Welcome Fairies!

The only thing left to do is plant some pretty fall flowers. with a hideaway like this, fairies are bound to make this their new home!

Fairy Garden!

 

Gardening Wreath

I’ve been behind posting my wreaths, but here is my gardening wreath I made to hang before and after my flag wreath.

Gardeoning Wreath 2

So cute! The base of the wreath is a 10ft. leader hose in a wire wreath. You also need twine, gardening gloves, flowers of your choice, and a toy gardening kit.

Use twine to tie the hose in a circle.

Then tie the hose into the concave part of the wire wreath.  You can add a dab of hot glue for reinforcement. You can also cover the twine with the flowers and gardening tools.

tie to wire wreath

 

The flowers I chose pop right off their stems.

pop flowers off stems

 

Just hot glue them onto the hose.

 

The base of the flowers fit nicely in the hose crease.

 

flowers!

For the opposite side, I used the gloves and the toy kit. The handles are bulky and hard to attach, so I unscrewed the heads off the shovel and hoe.

detach heads from handles

I screwed just the heads together and used glue because I didn’t have a small enough washer.

use glue as a washer

Tie the toy tools to the hose.

tie down tool heads 

Glue the gloves down to cover that the handles were removed.

glue down gloves

The toy kit I bought had flower markers, so I used white nail polish to write in some flowers before I glue them in.

sprinkle in flower tabs

Finished! And adorable! Happy gardening!

Gardening Wreath

 

Toadstool Planter and Lilu’s Big Announcement

Toadstools are adorable. Last summer I made these ceramic toadstool houses and a toadstool bird feeder. 

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To bring the toadstools outside, I made toadstool flower pots. They are really easy and cheap to make. I used inexpensive plastic planters and painted them red.

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Then I used white caulk to make the spots on the planter.

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The caulk dried overnight and the planter was ready to go. I planted red Gerbera Daisies surrounded by little white flowers.

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Easy and sweet looking!

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In other news, Lilu made a big announcement this week. She’s going to be a guard dog/big sister!

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We’re expecting the little one on December 5th. We’ll find out if it’s a he or a she then. In the meantime, Lilu’s very excited about the position

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Easy Flag Crafts

It’s been a little over a year since I started my blog, and I feel accomplished  having a second post about the 4th of July.

Flag Crafts

Between Flag Day and Independence Day, I keep the patriotic decor up in my house from the middle of June to a little into July. Last year I made a flag wreath out of a flag rag streamer that Michael’s sold It was really easy, and took less than 5 minutes. As embarrassing as this is, I can’t get into the attic because I’m too short to reach the pull down cord on the ceiling, and Matt has been so busy building a rock wall in our backyard that I feel bad bothering him to get the decorations down. So the house hasn’t really been festive for these holidays this year. Eventually I’ll post that the other flag wreath, but for now I made an even prettier one plus a USA letter display.

Supplies

The wreath is made with a grape vine wreath, red whit and blur “berry” sprigs, and an “aged” American flag. I bought the flag and berry sprigs at The Christmas Tree Shoppe for $2 each piece, and the Wreath at JoAnne’s for $5, so this is a super cheap wreath! It’s super easy too.  First I separated the  berry sprigs.

Separate the twigs

Then I glued them around the wreath.

Berries glued on

 

I detached the flag from the pole and put it in the dryer so it wasn’t so stiff. Then I attached the flag, gluing down the top left and bottom right corners first to make the flag look longer, then folding and gluing some of the edges for a ruffled look.

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Very easy! And so are the letters. I just painted the U and S, and Modge Podged the A with a blue and white star paper. I wanted the letters to match the aged look of the flag on the wreath, so I used a deeper red and an eggshell white.  I also made sure to paint the edges of the letters, even the A!

SA

I was originally going to add the USA to the wreath, but I then I thought they were each was pretty enough on their own. I think I may attach the letters to some wood for a different type of display.

USA!

Super easy, super cute, and super cheap flag decor.

Aside

Pot Tower

So you’ve probably seen these adorable pot stacks on Pinterest. I made them last year for the front of the house. This year, I put them on the side, against our fence.Image

 

I think like them better there because the honeysuckles on the fence make them look even more whimsical. I didn’t use a tutorial, just figured it out by eye.

The towers are made with a 4ft concrete rod and 6 terracotta pots.

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1 – 11″ pot

1 – 10″ pot

2 – 8.5″ pots

2 – 6″ pots

I spray painted mine last year in fun colors (they’re also the color scheme I used for my pot wreath).

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You also need something to help stabilize the pots so they look like they are going to tip over. Use whatever you have, like rocks, broken brick or you could even use those small water bottles filled with sand. I have lots, and lots of river rocks that were all around my yard, so I used them.

Start by staking in the concrete rods.

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Thread the pot 11″ through the drain hole.

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Use rocks and dirt to fill the bottom of the pot (The rocks will help stabilize the top pot and help you use less dirt)

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Thread the 10″ pot through the drain hole and tilt the pot. Adjust the rocks from the bottom pot for the top pot to rest on.

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Use a rock inside the top pot to weigh it down on one side.

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Continue with the rest of the pots, alternating which side you tilt the pot. You may have to shift the rocks and dirt to support the different pots.

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At the top, you can hammer in the concrete rod deeper into the ground when your closer to the top.

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Now plant away! Because I disassemble these for the winter, I only use annuals in the pots. Now I guess you could plant as you go so you don’t have to remove the dirt you just put in, but I like to be safe and not risk crushing the plants.

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I like to plant a different flower on each tier, and I try to mix in some whimsical looking flowers (like those tall red ones and the fuzzy cone shaped ones). I planted the extra flowers between the two towers and in tiny, 4.5″ pots.

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I love my pot towers. I love the colors, the flowers, the way they look against the honey suckle fence. I just plain love them. They didn’t take too long to assemble, but I started late in the day. By the time I was finished it was dusk. A lightning bug cruised on past my tower. I think she liked my flower pots. In my book, the lightning bug means it’s officially summer. Happy Summer everyone!

Pot Wreath

Ok,  it’s been over a month since I made it, but I thought I should put my May wreath up. If you haven’t seen the wreath on Pinterest yet, prepare yourself for something pretty.  

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My friends Caroline and Sarah came over for a Pinterest party, and we decided to make these wreaths.  We found them on Pinterst, and used the tutorial here:

http://www.bloglovin.com/viewer?blog=1809101&post=2628708147

The tutorial has all the materials listed and is very easy to follow.

I decided to paint my pots to match the pot towers I put outside (another Pinterest inspired project I’ll be posting). Sarah and Caroline didn’t paint their pots.  I think their wreaths look very sophisticated, while mine looks a bit more on the whimsical side.  

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If you want to paint your pots, do that first. Tie down the larger pots first. 

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Then fill in the spaces with the smaller pots. Switch up the direction of the pots, they shouldn’t all face the inside of the wreath.

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We cut cubes of floral foam and filled the pots with it after they were all tied down.

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Then just hot glue the faux flowers. I used a lot of succulents mixed in with purple flowers and some faux moss. I added the moss last as a filler.

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They’re not very difficult, but they are pretty heavy. Make sure your wreath holder is a sturdy one. Also, this may be too big if you have a screen door. Mine barely closes with the screen door. I think I may move this to my side door to be closer to my topsy turvey pots.

Happy July 4th Weekend!

Happy Independence Day, and happy long weekend to some of us. This is one of our favorite holidays. We get to spend time with our friends and family and enjoy the weather with no pressure of having to buy gifts and no one judging you for slipping into hot-dog induced comas.

One of the dishes I made for the day was pulled pork. The recipe is super easy, and thanks to my Aunt Barbara. All you need to do is put some pork shoulder in the crock pot (fat side up) and cover with root beer. Cook on low overnight (8 hours). Pour out the rootbeer and shred the pork with a fork. This part is basically effortless at this point. After you’ve shredded, add in a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce. Tada! Perfect pulled pork.

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It’s O.K. to let the dog have a small piece before you add the sauce. Don’t judge me, with eyes like that, who can say no?

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For the 4th, we celebrated at my sister Maria’s house. I thought it was “just us” and a few friends, but I always forget how many people that actually turns out to be. At one point we counted 90 people. Holy crap. That’s a lot of people, and that’s a lot of food. I think the grill was on for 6 hours straight, then we gave it a break for about an hour and turned it back on. We stopped cooking around 10pm. It was wonderful.

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I also brought some festive, Red White & Blue sangrias. Most people don’t know that the great state on New Jersey isn’t all manufacturing and  actually beautiful, and yes, there are farms and wineries here!  Blueberries and cranberries are two major fruit crops in New Jersey, and Valenzano winery uses them to make some tasty wines.

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Base Sangria:
1 cup juice
1/2 cup rum or brandy
1 bottle wine

Fruit:
1 pear
2 oranges
1 nectarine
1 apple
lemon
lime
frozen berries and grapes

In the “Red” sangria I used Cranberry wine, cran-grape juice, and Captain Morgan rum. The “White” sangria was made with white wine, white grape juice, and Cruzan Mango rum, and the “Blue” sangria was made with blueberry juice, blueberry wine, and blackberry brandy.

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Make the Sangria at least two hours ahead of time and chill. Use the frozen berries and grapes instead of ice.  Be careful; this stuff creeps up on you!

Today’s the last day of the long weekend, and we’re celebrating at Mom’s pool. Oh how I love the summer!

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Texas Craft House

blood, sweat, and glitter y'all