Christmas Windowpane Cookies

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I’ve finally been getting into the Christmas spirit and all the cozy traditions of the season. Normally way before Thanksgiving I’m itching to throw up the tree and dance around the house to some Christmas tunes BUT this year it’s not been quite like that. I’m blaming it on the warmer weather we’ve had here in Indiana. (60 degrees in December just confuses my norm.) But make no mistake. You won’t find me complaining. I would have it this warm every year in December but at the same time it doesn’t feel quite as much like the holidays without a little crisp chill. Every year once Fall hits I start getting in the mood to bake everything. That’s why black leggings are my best friend during Fall and Winter. Can I get an amen?! I throw on my stretchy pants under a long sweater to hide a little extra 5-10 pounds I’ve happily put on over the seasons. In all seriousness though, the grinch has left and I’m baking Christmas cookies like a crazy lady. I thought these windowpane cookies were cute and tasty and figured you all would enjoy throwing on your stretchy pants and chowing down with me…

CHRISTMAS WINDOWPANE COOKIES

Ingredients:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 sticks butter (at room temp.)

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Confectioners’ sugar (for dusting cookies)

1/2 cup peppermints

Instructions: 

1.) Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Then add the egg and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.

2.) Roll and flatten dough into small disks, cover and refrigerate for approximately one hour.

3.) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

4.) Generously dust a work surface with confectioners’ sugar. Roll each disk one at a time and cut out shapes using 3-4 inch cookie cutters and arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. With a smaller cookie cutter or a knife, cut out a small square or circle in the center of your cookies for the candy to go in later. Refrigerate the cookies for another hour.

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5.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

6.) Place the peppermints in the center of the cookies and bake for 16 minutes. Let cool and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

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These are a process to make but make delicious results in the end! If you have kids, I’m sure they would love to get in there and get there hands a little messy and “help” out. I allowed my kids to help in the kitchen today which ended with us being about two cookies short after they devoured some dough when I wasn’t looking BUT they had a blast being helpers.

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Oh and P.S. I feel like these are perfect cookies for a cookie exchange or a Christmas party! Don’t you?

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Enjoy!

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Suggested Posts: Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies, Momma’s No-Bake Cookies, and Hot Chocolate Cookies

Peanut Butter Playdough

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Raise your hand if you love to play with play dough! Both of my hands would definitely be raised. I won’t even try to play like a grown up. I’m a straight sucker for play dough and so are my kids. I mean what kids aren’t though? It’s easy entertainment for those restless children who struggle to sit still and for the creative souls who love to make wonders with their hands. Growing up, my mom would always make this edible play dough made from peanut butter and I remember loving the smell of it as well as creating masterpieces with it. I hadn’t thought about it in years but when my kids went to play with play dough today, I had a blast from the past moment. I threw the ingredients together and replaced the kids standard play dough with this edible one. Let’s just say they had an awesome but ridiculously messy time. I’m pretty sure Lyla ate WAY more of the play dough than the recommended about (whatever that is) but hey, at least it’s edible right? Well here is an easy recipe that you can throw together for those desperate times of trying to wrangle your children to stay in one spot or just a fun hands-on day. Either way, enjoy taste-testing some for yourself.

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INGREDIENTS: 

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

RECIPE:

Mix all ingredients into a medium sized mixing bowl. If your play dough is slightly sticky, add small, additional amounts of powdered sugar to the mix.

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Side note: If you pre-make this ahead of time, refrigerate in a sealed container. The play dough will become firm once refrigerated but should “thaw out” quickly when taken out.

I know your kids will love playing with this play dough and maybe munching on it a bit too. Let me know in the comments if you add any additional ingredients that you think are beneficial as well.

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Other related posts: Peanut Butter Banana Oat Smoothie and Peanut Butter Granola

Halloween Recap

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I just wanted to pop in for a moment and share some of our Halloween pics!

Every year we have either had plans or kids fell asleep too early to trick-or-treat so this year was the first time we broke them into the idea of going door to door. Lyla, normally the outgoing one, was a bit hesitant with ANYTHING that looked slightly ‘unusual’. She proceeded with being choosey with which houses she wanted to get candy from depending on how freaky the decor outside was. However, Nolan, normally the shy one, heard that he would get candy when he went to the door and with that on his brain, he didn’t miss a house. He even attempted to get seconds from some places.

I have this love/hate thing with Halloween though. I want my kids to get their full childhood experience with dressing up and doing their candy rounds but I despise how much candy is in the house afterwards. Neither me or my husband have ANY self control when it comes to chocolate. I decided to let the kids have a certain amount of candy on Halloween and then hid their candy once we got home. (I know that gets me into the bad mom club…) Before you decide to judge, I didn’t hide it for good, just out of reach. I give it to them in small doses instead of them just binging on the countless amounts of snickers and hershey that they got. It does come in handy for bribery and for tough mommy-hood days.

Anyways, here’s a few of our Halloween pics that I wanted to share…

Jake & I: Deer vs. Hunter

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Lyla: the Magical Unicorn

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Nolan: the Construction Worker

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Also, let me just share the classiest Halloween baskets known to man. Nolan wanted to carry a bucket he got from McDonalds and Lyla decided to use an Easter basket. To each their own…

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Well I hope you all had a wonderful holiday spent with friends and family! I would love to hear about what your family dressed up like or any funny Halloween stories/mishaps. Please share them in the comments!

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Staging to Sell

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I’ve shared my story many times how Jake and I were 6 months into our marriage when we found out a precious little surprise was on the way. A baby girl, Lyla Mae, was going to be arriving in August. We were living in a one bedroom, small apartment and planned to be there for some time but had to fast forward a bit and go ahead and start the hunt for a home. We bought our first home when I was 7 months pregnant and although I was excited, it was stressful. I was slightly (more like majorly) overwhelmed with the idea of having a baby and a new house to care for. Eventually things died down and I enjoyed making a room for our baby girl and making the space our own. That’s where all the DIY’s started kicking into full gear.

Now fast forward two years later, baby number two is just born and our first little home is quickly becoming crammed and cluttered with baby things. We enjoyed our first home but felt like we were all on top of one another at all times. It was time to sell our first home just after two short years of living there. I learned a lot through selling our first home and it actually led me to me current job as a home stager today. Our realtor brought in a home stager to make sure our home sold fast, and it did. After a week and a half on the market our home was sold! I loved the staging side of selling our home and making it look the most appealing to the potential home buyers so I figured I would venture into home staging as a job to pull in extra money. I put myself out there and contacted our realtor who hooked me up with the lady who staged our home. She trained me and then I was off to stage my first home! I have a full detailed list I check off when I stage homes but I’m going to give the 8 top points to make your home sell FAST!

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1.De-clutter- De-cluttering your home is one of the biggest beneficial tips you can take from this list. It’s best to just have the basics out (furniture, side tables, coffee table, etc…) and then simple decor to go with it. Anything excess that you find you don’t need/use on a daily basis can be either put into a different part of your home or pre-packed. Items such as shoes, coats, keys and bags need to be put in a tidy order. De-cluttering gives the illusion of your space being larger and more room for opportunity for your potential buyers which means selling your home quickly!

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2. De-personalize- This is a tough one for a lot of people BUT I promise you, it is important. Removing any personal photos off the walls helps to “de-personalize” your home and allow people to envision their family living there. Walking into a ‘strangers’ home is already uncomfortable but seeing their family photos everywhere makes you feel like you are invading someones space. Feel free to replace those photos with inspirational sayings, more contemporary style art OR remove that art from the wall all together but be sure to patch the hole.

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3. Neutralize- I’m one that’s all about a large statement wall and a pop of color. I definitely had to do quite a bit of painting before we sold our home. Although the charcoal accent wall was an amazing, bold statement, potential buyers just saw it as extra work on top of furnishing a home. Keep colors neutral: light grey, light cream or off white. These are safe colors that most potential home buyers can live with when they first purchase a home. If you want to add a pop of color bring it in through your throw pillows. It gives a little spice without it looking like a permanent color for the home. You want potential buyers to walk into a space and be able to look past the walls and picture their own furnishings in the space. So paint over those accent walls to gain money in your pocket fast! 

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4. Open Concept- An open concept sucks buyers right in! Your home doesn’t have to actually be an open concept where you knock down walls just to sell your home. It simply means making the most of your space. If your living room is on the smaller side then find a furniture placement that makes it look larger and more open for buyers to walk through. This goes for dining rooms, offices, bedrooms and even bathrooms. You want EVERY room to be as open as possible. You may need to even remove some extra furniture or decor out of the space to make the most of it but once you find the right placement you will see how much of an impact it does make!

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5. Quick Fixes- Quick fixes are the things we overlook daily as we go freely in and out of our home. Unfortunately, these are normally the things that our friends first see when they come to our home and what potential buyers will first see as well. Examples of this are: a light bulb out, paint on the door knob, handprints on the windows, lose trim, nail holes in the walls, etc. These are all things we casually overlook when in our own home but can notice in someone else’s. Once again, buyers are wanting to walk into a move-in-ready home and not feel like there is extra work to be done. Normally these things can all be fixed in a weekends time. Before putting your home on the market, take the time to walk through your home and make a list of things that you think buyers would see as a “red flag”. Maybe even have a friend come through and have them tell you what they notice may be a problem for buyers. Take the weekend to fix these items so when your home is on the market you don’t need to stress about the small fixes. 

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6. Pre-Pack- Pre-packing saved us when we went to sell our home. Our closets were bursting at the seams and I went ahead and just left the necessities in the closet and packed up everything else that we weren’t using at that time. We stacked them nicely in our garage and then when it was time to move out we had already got a jump start on the packing. It saved time and energy which worked wonders for us since we had an infant and a toddler on our hands. It also gives off the vibe to buyers that you are motivated to sell. That’s a double win!

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7. Curb Appeal- Normally, potential buyers will find your home online on a home listing site and then they will drive by it to check out the area, curb appeal and if they are interested. THEN you will get them to see inside the home if that all seems to appeal them. This shows the importance of the first impression so to say. Painting your door a pop of color (you can get away with a pop of color here) and dressing it up with a wreath is a great first step in curb appeal. Additional things that are equally important are making sure you plant bushes or flowers outside the home, clean the sidewalk and yard, a clean front door rug (scuff-free) and making sure outdoor lights are all in check. You want to suck them in as they drive by!

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8. Tidy- Keeping a tidy home sounds like common sense but for a lot of us (especially those with kids) this is sometimes a chore. Make sure all spiderwebs are clear from the ceiling, corners and light fixtures. Dust and organize decor if needed and make sure baseboards and doors aren’t dirty. We all live with dirty baseboards for the most part and don’t even notice is. Do a quick run through of your home and if you find a spot that needs a little TLC, take a magic eraser or a dryer sheet to it and the baseboards will be good as new! Lastly, keeping your carpet freshly vacuumed and floors mopped is an easy way to make a great impression!

Additonal Notes:

  • If you have animals be sure your home does not reflect that with a pet odor. Whether that’s a thorough carpet clean or a candle/scentsy on while buyers come in to disguise the smell. You do not want that to be the make or break for potential buyers. You may be a passionate pet owner but they may not be.
  • Leave all blinds up, curtains open and all the lights on when you have house showings. This “tricks” the eye and makes a space look brighter & more open than what it actually may be. 

Best of luck with selling your home! Just make sure you’re prepared to move fast if you follow all of these 8 tips because I’m sure your home will shine above the rest! Also, if you have any additional tips that you think would be helpful to others, please drop it in the comments. Thanks!

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Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

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I know it’s nothing new and many of you probably grew up on the tradition of roasting pumpkin seeds but for whatever reason in my family this wasn’t a ‘thing’. My family had many other wonderful traditions that I’ve continued to carry on with my own children but pumpkin seeds was not one of them. Hold on though, don’t chalk me up to drowning in my pumpkin seed sorrows. Even if my parents did make them I was so darn picky there is no way I would’ve ever even put one to my mouth. However, I love food now and couldn’t stand to dispose of the delicious pumpkin seeds this year.

Last night was family night (that statement sounds like it happens all the time… it doesn’t) and I figured why not go all out for Halloween?! Slay the night. Hot cocoa, pumpkin carving, Halloween movies and pumpkin seed roasting. Lyla being the princess that she is, was not feeling the “guts” of the pumpkin one bit though. Nolan on the other hand was sad when the guts were gone and proceeded to put them back into the pumpkin just so he could scoop them out again. Once the pumpkin was cleaned out we separated the seeds from the “guts” and then sat them aside. I didn’t get around to roasting them until today and let me just tell you guys, even if no one else eats the pumpkin seeds it’s still going to be a tradition around here just because I love them. I figured I’d go ahead and share how to do it since Halloween is tomorrow and some of you may be carving pumpkins tonight.

SALT & PEPPER PUMPKIN SEEDS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (per half cup of raw pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Soak your seeds in hot water for about 5 minutes to let any excess of the pumpkin that stuck to the seeds fall off. IMG_7628 (1)
  3. After 5 minutes, scoop seeds out and pat dry. IMG_7629 (1)
  4. Quickly cover the seeds with the ingredients starting with the olive oil (Remember for every half cup of raw pumpkin seeds you’ll need 1 teaspoon olive oil.) and then the seasoning thoroughly covering ALL of the seeds.
  5. Line a pan with parchment paper (or foil) and scatter the seeds across. IMG_7631 (1)
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes until they are a light brown color.

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I hope you make this is a tradition in your home too! It’s a fun and easy way to let the kids get there hands in the mix of cooking too. Enjoy!

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Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Today I staked my claim with laziness. I was home all day with the kiddos and really just wanted (more needed) a chill day with ZERO interruptions. Do you ever have those days? Like someone could say, “Your house is on fire!” and I’d be all like “Cool man. Just let me get a nap in and then I’ll be out the door.”  Obvious exaggeration but sometimes I’ve just got to take a moment, kick back and enjoy the small things in life. Today I took parenthood by the horns. We did sensory play, cooked & baked together, built mansions out of legos and watched Paddington Bear on a pallet bed. I truly enjoyed just slowing life down and being a kid again. My daughter was dying for chocolate chip cookies today and at first I told her not today (mostly because I knew I would eat a ridiculous amount) but after seeing the disappoint cover her face, I caved. I did eat a ridiculous amount but every lonesome pound that hugged my hips from those cookies was dang good going down. We even took on the cookie dough until the bowl was bare. I couldn’t help myself and had to share this easy, tried & true recipe for your careless days, your eat-your-feelings days and your ‘just because I can days’. Enjoy.

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Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

Serves: 12 cookies

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 tablespoons of salted butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt the butter for 30 secs or so in the microwave until it’s just melted but not hot/scolding.
  3. Mix the butter and sugars until creamy and smooth. Once mixed, add in the vanilla and egg and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until “crumbly”.
  5. Form the dough into 12 balls and place on a cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 9-11 minutes.
  7. Let cool for 5 minutes and then serve… or devour.

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Now stop reading this and get to eating those delicious cookies. Enjoy every last bite.

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Suggested posts: Momma’s No Bake CookiesStrawberry Cake Mix Cookies, Hot Chocolate Cookies 

PEANUT BUTTER BANANA OAT SMOOTHIE

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Hey guys! I’m just popping in for a quick sec to share an easy recipe with you that will make your mornings run smooth and taste delicious! I love making batches of this recipe up and refrigerating it to prep for the crazy mornings. It’s easy to grab and go and it’s a healthier option than many other things out there. You’ll be happy to find that the kiddos will love it too!

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PEANUT BUTTER BANANA OAT SMOOTHIE:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 bananas
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Toss all of the items into the blender. Work blender from low to high until thoroughly mixed. Refrigerate or serve over ice and ENJOY!

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Yummm! I’m sipping on mine as I type.

Have a wonderful day everyone!

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(DIY) Watercolor Bookends

IMG_4743You know those over-used rustic slabs that everyone seems to have right now? Yea, I have one too. Actually, I’m guilty of owning two of them. I’ve had one of the stumps setting on a side table to add in a little character but I get sick of it being so “cliche” looking. I’ve been dying to try my hand at some watercolor projects but let me just state, I am not a painter. Let me repeat, I fail when it comes to painting an art piece. Epic fail. I mean, I desperately need to take a class (…or twenty-five) to give me the basics of how to be painter and then still sign up for like 125 more classes. I attempted to make a massive abstract wall painting with watercolor paint and I seriously had high hopes for myself. I really did, but apparently way too high because when I was finished it looked like my 1 year old had created it. Agh! For now, I’ll stick to DIY-ing and all the other stuff I can conquer and just buy art from all of the other creatives out there. However, I’m killer at painting with food coloring. I never thought I would be stamping bragging rights on that statement but here I am. I’ve lowered my standards. In all seriousness though, this DIY is straight-up easy and took no time at all. If you are able to hold a paintbrush, then you can do this project! Read on for the simplistic tutorial…

ITEMS NEEDED:

  • Tree slab (I purchased mine at Joann Fabrics)
  • Saw
  • 3 Food coloring options
  • 3 Small cups (to hold food coloring)
  • Paint Brush
  • Plastic Tarp (or trash bag to put under wood slabs)
  • Small cup of water

HOW TO:

1. Cut your tree slab into fourths. You will use two of the four pieces for your bookends.

2. First, lay out your tarp (or trash bag) and lay your slabs on it.IMG_73533. Fill your three small cups with a fourth of water and then add at least three drops per cup of food coloring. (I did a dark pink, dark blue and dark green and used four drops per cup of water.) Mix with your paint brush.

3. Dip your paint brush in the desired color of food coloring and paint the first “ring” in the slab. After you paint that “ring”, dip your paint brush in the cup of water as if you were using watercolor paint and repeat painting another “ring” until you have created three “rings” on the slab.IMG_7354IMG_73574. Let them dry and then display!IMG_7355IMG_7360IMG_7372

I’m loving how it’s adding a little vibrancy into the home! This project resembles a rainbow and of course you can’t look at a rainbow and not feel happy. Enjoy creating!

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RECOMMENDED PROJECTS: DIY Cheese Tray and Pallet Chalkboard Tray

DIY Strappy Top

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I have been itching to start up a DIY fashion section here on the blog and I’m proud to say this is officially the first style post! (woo-hoo!) As we all know, DIY is a huge part of my home decor but…

it doesn’t stop there.

It passionately spills over into my wardrobe as well. What can I say? I’m addicted to creating. Creating anything with my hands gives me some kind of high that I get the crave to come back to. Before I get into the tutorial, I’ll go ahead and share with you that many of the items I will be making over in the near future will more than likely be thrifted (like this top is) because I find it thrilling to strike a good deal on a basic clothing item and DIY it enough to add a little extra “flavor-flav” to it. There’s no coming back from that ridiculous reference. None at all. Anyways, I can’t help but enjoy the mere fact that it’s a one of a kind creation and that EXACT item can’t be purchased anywhere else. Check out how basic this revamp was…

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  • Basic Top
  • 1 1/2″ Soft Waistband Elastic
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Sewing Pins

HOW TO:

  1. First, started by cutting out whatever shape you would like the back of the shirt to be. IMG_7272
  2. Using your sewing pins, pin the paper to the back of the shirt starting directly below the seam and cut out the shape you’ve pinned on.IMG_7274
  3. After you’ve cut out your shape, fold the un-sewn edges in approx. 1/4″ and use your pins to hold in place.IMG_7275
  4. Now it’s time to sew the edges! Start and finish like you would do on any other basic sewing project.
  5. Once sewn, cut your elastic a 1″ longer than the top of the shirt is across and then repeat for the middle of the shirt as well so you create the look of two “straps” on the back.IMG_7278 IMG_7279
  6. Turn the shirt inside out and place the “straps” where you would like them to be located and pin them in that spot.
  7. Now, sew the strap to the shirt and voila, you are done!

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I feel like this shirt is screaming date night! It’s a good excuse for one at the least.

Be sure to tag #DIYconfessions on Instagram if you post a pic of your DIY clothing item!

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DIY Triangle Jewelry Holder

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I’ve been in the process of going through each room and starting to organize anything and everything in drawers, baskets and all the other places I throw things around. I get in these moods where I just want to strip the house down and clean and organize the day away. Don’t let me sound to motivated though. It only comes in rare spurts. Very rare. When I was searching through all the cabinets and drawers in the bathroom, I found more jewelry than I knew I even had. I’ve never been one to bedazzle myself up but I am noticing I’m starting to collect more and more. I’ve seen so many different styles of jewelry holders that are adorable but just don’t fit my chill, casual style. They’re normally just a little too fancified (yup, I just made that up…) for me. As a die-hard DIY-er, I got the urge to make my own. I started out using cork board to create a jewelry holder and that was a complete dud. When I say complete dud, I mean it. It was shredding as I was making it. So, I turned to the tough stuff, the real deal. There’s nothing more solid and stable than a wood board. I love how it turned out and I even decided to keep the raw wood look!

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ITEMS NEEDED:

  • 1/2 in thick Wood board
  • Drill
  • 3 wood screws
  • 1/2 in Dowel Rod
  • Pencil
  • Saw
  • Ruler
  • Gold Paint Marker (optional)

HOW TO:

  1. Trace a triangle onto the wood board using a ruler and pencil. (I used these dimensions: 12 in x 12 in x 15 in)
  2. Measure and mark every 4 inches onto the dowel rod. (Example: I only did three “pegs” so I only marked three lines.)
  3. Using a saw, cut out the triangle from the wood board and cut the dowel rod into “pegs”.
  4. Now, mark with your pencil onto the wood board the desired spots you would like the “pegs” to be. I placed one alined with the center of the triangle and then 2 1/2 inches apart on either side.
  5. Drill a hole through the markings on the board and through the center of each “peg” to prep for the screw.
  6. Place a “peg” on top of the hole and attach with a screw from behind the board to secure and repeat until all “pegs” are attached and secure.
  7. Last but not least I wanted to add just a touch of flare so using a gold paint marker I colored the ends of each “peg”.

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Now that it’s organized and readily available, I find myself wearing it more! There’s so many possibilities with this project to make it unique to you. Have fun creating your own and don’t forget to hashtag #DIYconfessions on Instagram so I can see yours!

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Related post: HOMEMADE JEWELRY CLEANER

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