“birthday season” & confetti pockets.

Four out of five (5 out of 6, if you count the pup) of us will celebrate birthdays within the next two months! Therefore, I tend to refer to these weeks for our family between March 31st and May 20th as “birthday season”. It’s a season full of so much busy (but so much fun), lots of celebrating and of course so many sweet memories (& treats).

In honor of “birthday season”, one of my favorite simple paper projects – confetti pockets! I have customized and done so many of these over the years. You can’t help but feel at least a little “happy” when making them and what a sweet gesture they are for the recipient!

Supplies:

  • Scraps of cardstock (whatever color combo you wish)
  • Vellum (clear transparent-like paper)
  • Various punches or even a good hole puncher will work
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine (or you could hand stitch)
  • Printer
  • Scissors

Instructions:

Step 1: Make your confetti. The more, the merrier! From rainbow to pastels, be picky about your color palette or just use whatever paper scraps you have lying around. I love using various textures and/ or throwing in a few pieces of metallic or glitter here and there. I have collected a variety of punches over the years, but even a hole punch will do the trick. OR to save time, feel free to use store bought confetti (so easy, but still so pretty). One of my favorites was a New Year’s greeting that I did several years ago – the pocket included a Polaroid and metallic store bought confetti.

Step 2: Print & cut your pockets. Make your own or feel free to use one of these:

confettipocketsyay.pdf

confettipocketshooray.pdf

For the above pdf’s use an 8.5 by 11 inch sheet of vellum. I have set it up so that two pockets will print per sheet of vellum. Once printed, cut your sheet in half so that you have pockets 8.5 inches by 5.5 inches (before folding). Then fold your pockets in half so that your finished pocket is approximately 4.25 by 5.5 inches in size.

Step 3: Sew your pockets. Pick your thread color, set up your machine and zig zag stitch the side and bottom of your pocket. Then fill the pocket with your confetti and whatever else your prefer. Once filled, zig zag stitch the top of pocket closed. Knot and trim your loose ends.

*You can also hand stitch if you don’t have a sewing machine.

The End!

In a few short steps, you have a fun-filled pocket that makes the perfect party favor, birthday greeting, invite or decoration! Tis’ the season for all of these around here!

As the years pass, the celebrating becomes less but the things to appreciate are so much more! Here’s to pockets full of confetti this “birthday season” and every season!

~ xoxo ~

hanging accessory organizer. diy.

Just recently I did a little sprucing up in the kid’s bathroom which is also our main bath. I kept coming across all of those little things that almost 10 year old girls tend to accumulate and throw into drawers. In addition to buying a few drawer organizers, I thought it wouldn’t hurt (and it might be fun) to provide her with another way to not only stay organized but keep things easily accessible. In other words, something that will hopefully help the drawers stay cleaner longer. 🙂

Materials & Supplies:

  • 1/2 yard of canvas fabric (or another type of heavyweight fabric)
  • 1/4 yard of clear vinyl – medium to heavy gauge
  • Dowel (I used 3/8 inch round and cut it down to around 21 inches long)
  • 2 dowel caps (3/8 inch hole)
  • Upholstery thread
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Cutting mat, clear cutting ruler and rotary cutter
  • Rope, ribbon or string (for hanging organizer)

*Optional: paint, paintbrush, painters tape, grommets

Instructions:

Step 1: Cut fabric and vinyl pieces. The size and dimension of your organizer is entirely up to you. Keep in mind the space you have available and the materials you have on hand (how much fabric and vinyl you have, the size of your dowel, etc). I cut my canvas down to 18″ wide by 60″ long (this was already the width of the fabric so I just kept the finished edges and went with it). For the vinyl, I cut two pieces 8″ tall by 17″ long, one piece 8″ tall by 6″ long, and one piece 8″ tall by 10″ long. These will be my pockets. When cutting your vinyl pieces/ pockets, keep in mind what types of items you will be storing in your organizer (example: bigger items, bigger pockets). I also mention later on how you can make a bigger pocket multiple pockets by doing an extra stitch. This is your chance to really customize your organizer!

*The final size of my finished organizer is 30″ long by 17.5″ wide.

Step 2: Finishing edges. In order to avoid fraying edges. Fold and iron down 1/4 inch of fabric on all unfinished edges. Then sew the edges. (refer to photo below)

Step 3: Create pocket for dowel. Fold your canvas fabric in half and place your dowel in the fold. Roughly pin down where you should sew your pocket for the dowel making sure that all edges of your canvas are even with each other. (refer to photo below) Remove dowel and then sew pocket. Mine was approximately 1″ from the fold.

Step 4: Sew the front and back of your folded canvas fabric together. Once you have sewn your pocket for the dowel, pin and sew the two halves of your folded canvas together. You will really only need to sew along your sides and bottom. There is no right or wrong way to do this, just make sure you don’t sew your pocket shut.

Step 5 (optional): Paint design. This step is fun but definitely not required. My intention was to add a little color while keeping the design and painting relatively simple. I used painters tape and taped off some areas underneath where my vinyl pockets would be and painted them with a color that would somewhat match the bathroom. Once the paint is dry, remove the tape. (refer to photo below)

Step 6: Layout and sew pockets. You want to make sure that the vinyl pockets you cut earlier fit the layout of your canvas and your design. Once you have your pocket layout determined, pin down your first pocket into place. (refer to photo below) Then sew your pocket onto your canvas. Repeat with each pocket. If you have a bigger pocket, you can always make it smaller once it is sewn on by stitching a line down the pocket to create a seperation in the pocket. Make sure you don’t sew the tops of your pockets closed. And feel free to reinforce your stitches at their start and stop points by reversing and forwarding over them once or twice.

Step 7: Finishing touches. Once all of your pockets are sewn on, you can add your finishing touches. I added four screw on grommets at the bottom (for necklaces and bracelets). I then placed my dowel back in its pocket, added dowel caps, tied on a piece of thin rope for hanging and tied on some decorative tassel trim to each side. (refer to photo below)

Total cost: around $12

Total time: 2 hours (give or take some depending on whether you partake in the painting step or not)

The windows are open and the sun is shining. Have a beautiful first weekend of Spring!

~xoxo~

recipes. a few of our favorites for the Lenten season.

Lent. The forty days of fasting, prayer and service leading up to Easter, beginning Ash Wednesday. When I was younger, I never really “got it”. I didn’t enjoy nor welcome the solemnity or extra giving of myself these several weeks before Easter were supposed to require. After all, shouldn’t our days always include service, prayer and giving of ourselves. Why were “these” so special? However, the more years I gain the more I understand. It’s kind of like that new start and those resolutions we make at the start of a new year. “Lent comes to reawaken and shake us from our lethargy.” – Pope Francis

Here are some foods we enjoy all year round but also nicely fit into the Lenten season.

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Recipes:

1 – Roasted Cauliflower Soup

This recipe is my “go to” and has it states there are many different variations. Feel free to leave out the cream, add greens or beans, etc. On this particular occasion I left off the hot sauce because I was sharing with the baby (my first photo).

In my second photo, I didn’t use the cream and instead of making it a purée I just used the pulse setting and chopped (and then added a little cheese).

2 – Honey Ginger Shrimp

I found this recipe of Ayesha Curry’s a week and a half ago and have already made it twice. The flavor is just so fantastic! Not to mention, the whole recipe from start to finish takes less than thirty minutes and requires few and simple ingredients.

3 – Wild Rice Soup

I love this soup! And even though it’s called Cozy Autumn Wild Rice Soup it’s perfect for a cool Spring day as well (especially those ones leading up to Easter requiring no meat). It’s packed full of veggies and really so delicious.

Plus, most of the ingredients are common and ones you might already have in your fridge or pantry.

Variation: Add baked and then shredded chicken. I did this a couple of times this past winter.

4 – Southwestern Frittata (minus the meat)

(from Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain – Meals Made Simple Cookbook)

Ingredients:

1/2 pound ground beef (or negate for a meat free Lenten meal)

1/2 cup diced sweet potato, peeled

2 tablespoons diced red onion

2 1/2 teaspoons Taco Seasoning

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups baby spinach

1/2 cup diced zucchini

10 large eggs, beaten

(salsa, chopped cilantro or sliced avocado for serving)

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In an ovenproof 10 inch skillet over medium heat, sauté the beef, sweet potato, onion, taco seasoning and salt for 6 minutes, until the meat is mostly cooked through.

Add the spinach and zucchini and cook for 4 more minutes.

Pour the eggs into the pan and bake in the oven for 12 minutes, until the eggs have puffed up and are cooked through.

*I have also transferred all to a glass baking dish before adding in the eggs (like the above photo). Which perhaps makes it not as much “frittata-like” but a bit fluffier and just as tasty.

5 – Lime and Thyme Carrots with Salmon

(from John Whaite’s Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients Cookbook)

*not pictured

Ingredients:

14 ounces baby carrots

4 banana shallots

Juice of 2 limes

4 sprigs of thyme

4 salmon fillets

(sea Salt and coarse black pepper)

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the carrots in a large roasting pan or baking dish. Peel the shallots and slice them in half lengthwise, and add them to the pan along with the lime juice, thyme, and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cover with foil and roast for 1 hour.

While the carrots are roasting, season the fillets with a pinch of salt and pepper. After the carrots have cooked for an hour, remove the foil and place the fillets into the roasting pan. Return to the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the salmon is cooked through.

All of the meals in this cookbook are simple, yet feel really special!

6 – Breads or Pizza (veggie and cheese)

Breads topped with preserves or butters or paired with baked or grilled veggies is also another favorite.

I’m definitely still working on my bread making skills but these are a couple simple, less time consuming recipes that we like (that have turned out ok enough to eat 🙂 ).

Mark Bittman’s No-Knead Bread

Julia Child’s White Sandwich Bread

And we love this thin crust pizza dough recipe.

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“Fasting makes sense if it really chips away at our security and, as a consequence, benefits someone else, if it helps cultivate the style of the good Samaritan, who bent down to his brother in need and took care of him.” – Pope Francis

hair and skin. some “cleaner” basics i’ve been loving lately.

I love messy hair (held back with a kerchief) and a simple beauty routine. With my routine and products, I normally find something I like (or grow accustomed to) and stick to it. Pretty much followed the same routine for 15+ years, ugh. However, throughout the past few years, my search to find cleaner and safer products for myself and my family has encouraged me to find and use some products that not only “just work” but ones that I really love. Also, our first winter back in the midwest (after living in the south for six years), has prompted me to find a few new ones recently to help my skin deal with the colder, dryer temps. Here’s some of the basics that I’m loving right now . . .

Beautycounter Hydrating Foundation

I had used the same foundation for well over fifteen years (I like change but not always :)) when a little over two years ago a friend shared Beautycounter’s story on one of her Social Media pages. At the time, I had just began looking for cleaner, safer and healthier products for ourselves and our home. I have been using this foundation ever since and I love it. I’ve always had somewhat problem skin so I was nervous to make a change (especially with my foundation) but I really think I have benefited from the change. It’s lightweight and blends nicely. Not to mention, it feels great on the skin no matter the climate.

You can read Beautycounter’s story here.

Acure Facial Scrub

Acure Night Cream

I have also been using a variety of Acure products for the past couple of years as well. They have just recently changed their packaging and added some new products. I’m currently using these two and their eye cream. I’ve also used their day cream but this winter I just dab a little of the night cream on in the morning as well.

Ere Perez Face Nectar

Ere Perez Face Tonic

I have just began using these in the past month or so. I absolutely love the little extra punch of moisture they have given my skin during this dry winter. My skin is definitely combo skin that can be both oily and dry at the same time. These seem to take away some of that dryness while not making it more oily. Before I started using these, I used argan oil some with my nighttime routine.

Sailor Sea Salt Refresh Spray

I don’t really use any other hair products but this one. I use it to increase texture and make it workable on those days I want it to look at least one step above messy. 🙂 I’m definitely more of a “beach hair” type girl so this spray works great for me.

Quinn’s Witch Hazel – Rose Petal

The smell of this one reminds me of my great aunt. XO! But even more so it doesn’t leave your skin feeling greasy or too tight like other toners I’ve used in the past. Not to mention the million other ways it useful.

Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap

Dr. Bronner’s soap varieties have been a staple in our home for several years now. It is a pure castile (olive oil based) soap and can be used for just about anything from washing your hair and face to cleaning your fruits and veggies (you would want the liquid variety for this). I’ve been particularly fond of the peppermint this winter!

Weleda Skin Food Cream

I love the texture and organic smell of this cream! I’m not always big on creams because I feel as if they are just too heavy and sit on top of the skin rather than nourish, but this one isn’t that way at all. I liked this one so much that I gifted it at Christmas to a few close friends including my mom.

Pacifica Face Wash

I’ve used a couple different types of their face wash and they both have left my face feeling good (not too tight and dry nor too oily). This particular one I’ve been using for about the past six months or so.

Young Living Essential Oils

We love essential oils. The Thieves and Lavender are the two that we use the most – either by themselves or combined with others. I also love this brand!

Happy Sunday! It’s a cold and snowy one here on this third day of March . . .