Why I’m “Nuts” for my DIY Melted Crayon Teal Pumpkin

Growing up with a severe peanut allergy was nuts.  I developed the allergy before I was two years old, and my parents didn’t know anyone else who had the same allergy.  There wasn’t a huge food allergy movement back in the 1980s, so other parents didn’t believe that I could possibly be *that* allergic to peanuts (thanks to that one mom for the anaphylactic shock!).  Halloween and Christmas were always scary times with nut riddled candy and homemade baked goods.

My own children tested negative for a peanut allergy when they were infants.  But, because you can become allergic to anything at any time AND because they have the genetic predisposition for a peanut allergy, they live by the same peanut-free rules that I do.  Whomp, whomp.  No Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for us.

When I saw that the national non-profit group FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) was pushing for a new Halloween tradition, I immediately got on board.  The group is encouraging families to put a teal pumpkin on their front porch as a sign to Trick-or-Treaters that the home has non-food treats available.  Their Teal Pumpkin Project has gotten a lot of interest in the media, and I’m hoping that a lot of homes will be participating.  As a family, we have always offered nut-free candy, but now we are also going to have non-food treats, too.

Of course, a teal pumpkin was an excellent excuse for me to put together a crafty Halloween project. Since I’ve been eyeing the crayon drip pumpkins for years, I decided that this was my chance!

DIY melted crayon pumpkin for Teal Pumpkin Project

I started by grabbing a live white pumpkin to decorate.  I really wanted a fake craft pumpkin, but those have apparently been sold out for over a week at my local Michael’s.  A WEEK!  People have moved on to Christmas.  Poor guy at Michael’s had to hear my “But it’s not even Halloween yet!” rant.  Bless his heart

Five Things to Do When You Hate Your Living Room

I have a confession.  I hate my living room.  Now, I know that hate is a strong word, but I really do mean it in this case.

In its current state, my living room is a hodgepodge of mismatched furniture – and not ‘mismatched’ in a good way.  The “media center” is too small, the coffee table is too large, and the top of the room doesn’t coordinate with the bottom of the room in any shape, form or fashion.

What to do When You Hate Your Living Room

I can’t believe I just revealed this to you.  This is honestly what my living room looks like on a good day.  I’ve lived with it like this for about six years, and I will probably live with it like this for a few more.

If you have a room in your house that you hate (or strongly dislike), here’s how to live with it.


What to do When You Hate Your Living Room

1.  Make Peace – One of the best things you can do about a room that you hate is to make peace with it.  Sometimes I feel silly writing each week about decorating, because it’s not one of the “big” things in life.  It may feel big when you have a room that you hate, but it obviously pales in comparison to what a lot of other people are dealing with.

What to do When You Hate Your Living Room

In the past few years, my kids have managed to destroy this chair that I rescued, meaning that there is old, exposed hot glue on its sides and wash faded throw pillows on its back.  That’s okay.  I know that I won’t have this chair in my home forever (or at least this chair in its current state), and if I do, I at least know that it’s comfy and well-loved.

Make peace with your room (or rooms) in their current state, and remember that they won’t always look like they do today.

Anatomy of a Simple Fall Tablescape

Fall Table Styling

I absolutely love fall entertaining.  And better than that, I love SIMPLE fall entertaining.

You can create a beautiful table in just a few simple steps.

How to Create a “Make a Change” Kids’ Chore Chart

Recently, Tom and I agreed that in order to have more quality family time, our kids were going to need to start helping out around the house.  As it stood, Zack (8) and Emma (4) acted like the world was coming to an end if I asked them to pick up their dirty socks.  I was spending all of my work day picking up after the kids (and including Tom, if we are being honest), so little of my own tasks were being accomplished.

I still have tons of tiny little squares to paint, people!  No, I’m not done.  Just shush.

As we were figuring out what responsibilities each child should have, an idea was brewing in my head.  If we were really going to make this change for our family, I was going to make it cute.  And use real change.  And put magnet strips behind two metal boards we’ve had in the attic for years and real change would stick to it.  And the kids would just collect their change (10 cents per task – $7/week if they do everything they are supposed to) at the end of the week put it into their piggy banks.  And I was an awesome genius!

Well, until Tom pointed out to me that dimes aren’t magnetic.  Neither are pennies, nickels, quarters, 50-cent pieces, dollar coins, or any other random piece of change that the Toothfairy or your grandmother gives you.  Doh!  That’s too bad, because that was a fantastic idea.

Back to the drawing board I went.  I never could figure out an easy (and inexpensive) way to have a magnetic board where the kids collect their change at the end of the week (I could have used jars, but I was determine to make it a chart).  However, I think I figured out the next best thing:  penny magnets.  And now I don’t have to have endless amounts of change sitting around the house each week.

"Make a Change" Chore Chart for kids - use pennies as magnets to mark completed chores

I call it the “Make a Change” chore chart.  I  crack myself up.

Kim’s Blank Wall: A New Digital Gallery Wall Design

A blank wall is perhaps one of the most daunting challenges in decorating. Although there’s all sorts of things you could do there – hang a piece of art, add a piece of furniture, paint crazy stripes – it’s hard to make a decision when there are so many options.

My friend Kim had a similar problem in her eat-in kitchen.  She has a blank wall next to the back door that is begging for attention.  She’s a really great photographer (seriously) so she knew that she wanted to hang some of her images on the wall.  But, even coming up with a plan for doing that felt overwhelming, so she hasn’t done anything yet.

Don’t we all know that feeling?  I hear it over and over again.  I’m even guilty of it myself!

So, I asked Kim to send me the dimensions and take a quick photo of her wall so that I could help her come up with an idea for a gallery wall of some of her images.  This is the image that she sent me:

Digital Gallery Wall Design

I set to work recreating this wall in my photo editing software (Photoshop Elements, if you were wondering).  I was careful to make sure that the digital image I created was scaled to be the same dimensions as her wall.  Then, I came up with a layout that I liked for the space using different sized frames that were also appropriately scaled from their actual dimensions.

What I came up with was this gallery wall of mixed dimension frames:

4 Ways to Decorate for Fall for the Reluctant Seasonal Decorator

I am a reluctant seasonal decorator.  I absolutely love the thought of decorating my home to usher in each season.  But, the thought of putting things out only to be taken down and stored a few weeks later brings my lazy side to the forefront.

This year, I haven’t even started adding any Fall decor into my home.  In all honestly, we are still wearing shorts and flip flops in Central Texas, so it’s hard to embrace the new season.  I have been thinking about it, though, and I have come up with some ways to help me decorate for Fall without feeling like I’ve gone overboard.

In case you also consider yourself a reluctant seasonal decorator, I offer you four ways to embrace Fall in your home:

1.  Start Small

When seasonal decorating feels overwhelming, start small.  Often times, the best styled rooms just give a hint of the season at hand.

Take this gorgeous living room by Julia at Cuckoo 4 Design.  She usually has some mini disco balls in the coffee table vignette.  By replacing them with some mini pumpkins, she was able to give a nod to Fall without moving around everything in her room.

4 Ways to Decorate for Fall for the Reluctant Seasonal Decorator - image via Cuckoo 4 Design