Posts Tagged ‘simple’
When I was a kid my grandma would make us the best Halloween Costumes. She’d take us to the fancy fabric store and we’d spend hours looking at all the books with samples of the different patterns. It was always really hard, but eventually we’d narrow it down and she’d make our costumes completely from scratch. Now these were not your flimsy Big Box Retail Costumes, these were handcrafted, tailored, pieces of art that were made with lots of love (and blood, sweat, and tears I’m sure!). Back then we actually got to wear our costumes to school, which was always my favorite part. For a whole day we’d get to prance around in our homemade garb as a pretty witch, a silly clown, or for my brother; Captain Planet (which included a fabric six pack of course)!
Unfortunately my kids won’t have the same quality handmade Halloween Costumes I had as a kid, but I’m gonna do my best to make something a little crafty and original. The last few years we’ve participated in our church Trunk or Treat. As a family (including Cale’s five brothers and sisters and children!) we’ve done everything from the Super Mario Brothers to a Bakery complete with the most adorable cupcakes and cookies! This year everyone’s schedule is a bit more crazy than usual so we are trying to keep things fairly simple (although we say that every year!). I love a good hoodie costume cause you can buy the base at a thrift shop, purchase some felt for simple handmade add-ons, and finish with some fabric glue baby and you are good to go! Even if you’d don’t have a sewing a machine you can still create something unique and fun for your little minions that’s simple and one-of-a-kind.
Below is a roundup of links to some of my favorite easy handmade costumes. I’ve been searching for a particular hoodie tutorial myself, but you’ll have to wait until after Halloween to see our final costumes and theme this year!
- Care Bears by See Vanessa Craft
- A Minion from Despicable Me by Not So Idle Hands
- Octopus by dollarcraft on Instructables
- Unicorn by Fiskars
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Vanilla Joy
- Knight by fjnorm on Instructables
- Shark by Fiskars
- Little Red Ridding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf by Martha Stewart
A little bit of forethought goes a long ways! Halloween might be a week away, but I promise you’ve still got time to create you own costume that is way cooler than something from the store (and probably a lot less expensive too!). Get together with some of your friends for a craft night, and cut and glue your own hoodie costume together. Who knows, the materials you need may already be in an old box just waiting to be used.
What’s your favorite handmade costume? Leave us a link in the comment section.
From The Farm
With winter in full swing I’ve been utilizing the extra indoor time to organize our pictures from this past year. It turns out, in all of our big family events we totally forgot to share images from James’ First Birthday! Talk about first time parenting FAIL! We obviously decided to keep it real low key. Call us crazy, but we just didn’t see the point in going “all out” knowing that there will be a lot of other really important birthdays to come (that he will actually remember!).
Our theme was simple: cows, dirt, homemade cobbler, and an old fashion weenie roast! It was truly a celebration of James’ favorite things!
GAMES: Pin the Tail on the Cow: My brother-in-law Jeremy is an amazing artist and he hand drew an identical image of James’ stuffed cow just perfectly! We loved it so much we’re saving it for his “big boy” room.
CRAFTS: Cow Faces out of Paper Plates: Since the party was for a 1 year old we cut out all the noses, eyes, ears, horns, etc. and put them all into different jars with the parts and pieces labeled. The older kids loved getting to use the glue sticks!
DECOR: Tied bandanas together and created a canopy under our large oak tree in our yard. It’s our favorite place to hang outside with friends. The black and white balloons were a fun connection back to “cow”, without being overly cheesy.
FOOD: Hot dogs, mini bags of chips, a bowl of fruit, veggie tray, and dessert. Kept it super simple, but kid-friendly!
FAVORS: Adorable farm animal crayons from Etsy! One of our favorite little finds for the party.
Other then that, we just pulled the highchair out on the lawn and let James enjoy his birthday cobbler the old fashion way (his love for blackberries definitely runs in the family)! It was a wonderful evening catching up with old and new friends while the kids ran around getting dirty and really worn out for the drive home!
What’s your favorite kid-themed party?
From the Farm
Living in a farmhouse built in 1910 definitely has it’s moments of nostalgia, but also frustration when it comes to organization. There are hardly any closets, the house was not built for a washer and dryer, a dishwasher, or even A/C. If we add any of these items to the house we take away highly valued real estate forcing us to consider every inch of space we leave open or fill up.
This wall is about 4 ft from our kitchen island. Normally we would love to put a thin table along the wall for more hidden storage, but it would make getting in and out of the kitchen very difficult. By creating a storage unit that hangs everything up on the wall it allows us to utilize the precious wall space without taking up any floor space.
We found these great raw shelves from IKEA and painted them white (they didn’t have the white option when we purchased them). These shelves have become the perfect place for stashing teas, sprinkles, paper muffin tins, and other spices that we don’t use on a daily basis. As a semi-closed storage system they help us organize all the little stuff that would otherwise get lost in drawers. Their tiny size keeps us from overloading them with “stuff” and helps us remember what is in each box. I also love that they are easy to pull out and use as a display for specific items, like tea bags, on the counter when entertaining guests.
My mom is so great at finding vintage items and using them in a way I would never have thought of. She is the one who gave me the idea of taking a floral frog pin, originally used for standing up flowers in a vase, as a way to display cards from friends and family.
(The boots image is a thank you card I received from my good friend Shelley. She takes wonderful photos of her own farm life. Check em out here!)
Our giant coffee mugs are a must, but they take up a TON of counter space. By hanging them with these screw-able hooks (you can buy at your local hardware store and you don’t even need a fancy tool to attach them to the shelves!) they clean-up extra cups in a very organized manner.
I also love hanging fresh onions or even potatoes in my no-sew market tote bag I made thanks to Martha (a really great homemade Christmas gift idea… just sayin!)! I’m looking for a vintage wood potato/onion bin, but until then we have no extra space in our cabinets for our farm fresh veggies!
This little shelf unit gives me a great place to display holiday decor and fresh flowers in the spring. We recently got some tiny pumpkins and Indian Corn in our latest Bountiful Baskets Order (find one near you!) and I am totally obsessed!
Don’t they look adorable?!
Living in 1,000 square feet definitely presents it’s challenges, but it also encourages us to live simpler and come up with invent storage solutions that really utilize each bit of extra space. There are days I would REALLY love a bigger house, but then I think about having more to clean, and more rooms to fill up, which means more excuses to buy more “stuff”.
Do you have any tricks to share in organizing all the little spices and such that take up counter space in your kitchen? We’d love to hear your ideas!
From the Farm
More and more I’m not really a “recipe girl”. I like to use recipes as a guideline, and then substitute my favorite ingredients and flavors to make a recipe my own. Typically it’s hard to find just “one” recipe I like. I tend to find several with different pieces and parts that sound good, and throw them together to make one awesome meal. So, in an effort to keep my options open, but still stick to the basics, I’m going to be breaking down recipes to their basic measurements. You fill in your favorite meats, sauces, and veggies to truly make it your own! At our house we definitely aim to use the healthiest ingredients, but sometimes it just comes down to what is on hand!
Now, get in there and own that potpie!
Everyone loves a potpie (unless you don’t like pie and if that is the case there is just something wrong with you!)! The thing I love about potpies is that they are so versatile. From the crust to the meat and vegetables you can mix and match or pull out leftovers in your fridge.
** Keep in mind I’m providing the quantities you’ll need of each ingredient, but feel free to substitute meats, seasonings, vegetables, sauce and crust to taste.
- Meat: 1 lb; chicken, stew meat, or hamburger.
- Seasoning: 1 teaspoon; Parsley, tarragon, salt, pepper, celery seed or celery salt, and cayenne pepper (if you like a kick!).
- Vegetables: 2 cups (1 cup each) of vegetables; typically we like a combo of peas and carrots, but you can also use corn, asparagus, green beans, etc.
- Creamy Sauce: Typically 1/2 cup; of skim milk, whole milk, or even coconut milk + 1 cup of broth; chicken, beef, or vegetable + 2 tablespoons; of flour for thickness.
- Cheese: 1/2 cup; low-fat cheddar, but substituting some other sharp cheese like Munster or even swiss maybe fun to try?
- Crust: 1) Make a basic pie crust the old fashioned way with butter and flour, 2) Substitute regular flour with whole wheat and butter with olive oil (delish!), or 3) purchase a pie crust from the store and have it ready to go!
- Additional: 1/2 cup; onion finely chopped.
- Make/Prepare pie crust so it is ready to go. Look for a variety of pie crust recipe links in the ingredients list above or you can probably find a good one in any standard cookbook you’ve got laying around. (If I am making the pie crust from scratch I like to make two at a time so that I can freeze one, and have it ready to go the next time I want to make a potpie. Saves a TON of time and cleanup!)
- Pre-heat oven to 375. If you are not using a oven save skillet you’ll just have to use a pan to cook the meat as well as grease a 9″ pie pan.
- Heat up the skillet with a dab of olive oil. Cook the onions until clear, add in the meat, and cook thoroughly through. Remember you are going to bake the meat as well so if things are slightly pink the meat will finish up nicely in the baking process.
- Step 3: Add harder vegetables (like carrots) and cook for 5 minutes, until softened (if you can stick them with a fork or toothpick they are done!).
- Add flour, whisk in for about 30 seconds, and then pour in milk and broth. Let simmer until the creamy sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
- Whisk in cheese, additional seasonings (to taste), and other softer vegetables like peas or asparagus. Stir until the cheese is melted.
- If baking in a SKILLET: Center the pie crust over the filling and tuck the extra parts draping over the side in. I typically use a spoon to help me get down in there since the ingredients will be hot! If baking in a PIE PLATE: Pour filling into prepared pie plate. Center the pie crust over the filling and tuck the extra parts draping over the side in.
- Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the crust comes out dry. (I like to use the baking time to cleanup so that by the time you are ready to sit down cleanup is practically done!)
Here are some yummy references of potpies I used to come up with my own version.
Let us know what you think about this new little series and ways that we can help clarify things? I’m always open to trying different ingredients or suggestions to make prep for a homemade meal easier and faster.
Now get in there and make yourself a homemade potpie. You can do it!
From The Farm
The older I get the more I like visiting my parents house. The longer I’m a parent, the more house chores I have to get done, and the more house projects we have to finish up, the more I appreciate all the hard work that goes into creating a home.
My parents and I live in different states now. We don’t get to share in Sunday dinners together, or the occasional “just stopping by” on a random weeknight, but that is what makes visiting them feel so special. It is special. Every moment. Our visits are weekends filled to the brim with family and friends, homemade garden wine, searching through the Sunday ads, and fitting in a garage sale or two (or three, or four!)! Sometimes we even have a few chores, like back in the day, where we’ll help load up wood for the winter. Whether it’s relaxing or working we don’t mind, it gets us away from our day to day, an escape from our own To-Do List.
The house I grew up in has become a sorta mini vacation home for us filled with homemade meals (that I don’t have to plan!), and lots of time hanging out on the back porch. My mom does a lot of things to make our stay feel special, but the thing I love the most is her tiny vases filled with fresh flowers. These are not store bought flowers, oh no, these are the real deal. Cut straight from her own yard. These are the flowers she tends to like little grandchildren. She handpicks each one and arranges them just so, displaying them throughout the house and next to our bedside table.
I’m always amazed at how much a little touch of flowers can bring life to a room. It’s like a breath a fresh air, and it’s moments like these that make me realize what makes moms so amazing. How they can take something so simple, and make it so beautiful. And how that little gift can make you feel so loved, even at 30!
Thanks mom for making our visits so special, and putting so much thought and detail into every meal, every flower, and every moment. I hope I can learn to love people like that. Without even meaning too. That true hospitality flows out in the things I love, and love to do.
What simple things do you like to do for guests to make them feel special?
From The Farm
Lately, we’ve been doing a lot of thinking, re-thinking, designing, and re-thinking of our someday Modern Farmhouse. We love looking at small spaces, and collecting ideas on how to create a home that is both pretty and functional. For us, good design means it has to work. And with our growing family, a VERY large extended family, and our love to entertain it has been hard figuring out how space we really need?
As we look into all of the possibilities it’s always fun to strip living down to it’s simplest form. How much space does a family of 2, 3, or 4 really need to function?
How about 196 square feet?!
As designers we are constantly challenged to break down complex ideas, visions, and dreams, into their purest, most simplest form. This Track House definitely does just that. Now, this doesn’t mean Cale and I will be selling all our processions, but the idea of how small is too small is definitely up for debate. The bigger the house the more expense it is to build and maintain, not to mention what it does to the environment around it. So the question of the day is how small is too small? What are we REALLY willing to live without? If we breakdown the form and function of our family structure, what does it look like? How does it move? How much space do we really need to live a comfortable and happy life?
From The Farm
See more photos and info about this house design here.
Ok, it’s hot, here in Oklahoma and right when we were getting excited about the 70 and 80 degree weather! This is no longer the case, the hot dry wind of reality has started to blow. It caught me napping, I hope it didn’t catch you, but just in case here are a few pointers, learned the hard way, on how to beat the July heat, and help your garden out a little too.
I lost our entire batch of squash plants because I didn’t keep the watering as it needed. I’ll be replanting some myself. The pests look to be bad this year, so below I’ve attached a few links to some organic and natural pest fighting tools.
Enjoy, and keep those green thumbs growing!
From the Farm
It’s snowing and I’m excited, not for the normal reasons, like a day off (didn’t get one), or snow angels, or snow ice cream. No, the reason I’m excited is that snow equals moisture and moisture equals growing, and due to some very awesome people at Territorial Seed Company my garden is three steps ahead and no going back.
Garden planning is one of the hardest things for me to do. I love gardening but I’m the type of person who moves in the moment. When the sun comes out I don’t need a jacket anymore, I’m ready to play in the dirt (a.k.a. garden). The problem with this is that I’m always working to catch up (so it seems) and even as I present my Garden Checklist for the month I’m wondering how I’m going to get it all done!? Then I stumbled upon this wonderful digitized and computerized garden planning tool from Territorial Seed Company. I order seeds from them occasionally, and I love looking through their catalog, but what’s won me over is this little jewel.
It’s a simple subscription style online garden planning software that allows you to layout your garden, draftsman style. With actual dimensions, specific pathways, and an overall look you can see our raised bed layout (below) as it looks after the drawing and planting schedule was complete.
Then you add plants! They have a full range of basic plant types and blanks for you to create your own from the seed packet information you have on hand (or look up specific plants online). You can work in standard row gardening formats or as I’ve chosen to do this year try out the Square Foot Gardening Method.
Within each square you can see the number of seeds that need to be planted for that specific plant and how much space it might take up. As you can see (below), some of my zucchini squash and butternut squash didn’t fit the square foot so it’s been planted in rows shown by the pink cloud under the image. When you plant in the row format the number of plants/seeds is shown by the number of vegetable icons present in each row. As you can see with my squash rows they are intermingled with tomatoes, cucumbers and beans. I’ve dedicated approximately 2 squash plants per row.
This weekend we left our baby (for the first time) with Grandma and spent a day around a table covered in coffee cups and creative juices. We doodled on old school tracing paper, wrote down thoughts of insight and inspiration, and thumbed through magazines like we were in high school.
We discovered honest and yet professional business practices that are not afraid to put it all out there.
We found the kind of people we dream of being best friends with.
We oohed and aahed over beautiful home decor made with good design and true character.
And, we fell in love with a world that celebrates small gatherings with friends.
It was a Saturday worth every minute of sleep loss and we’re still mulling over the outpouring of ideas, common ground and future plans. We’re so thankful to have friends that inspire us, encourage us, and help us find the right tools and resources to make sure we don’t screw it all up!
Remember that Comic Book Inspired Wedding Invitation we designed a while back? Turns out the wedding was just as memorable! We should probably be fare and let you know that it was pretty special since Cale’s brother was the groom. But still! The bride’s Italian family arrived from Connecticut armed with good food and cheek kisses. Paired with some good old fashion Okie hospitality it was truly a wedding weekend to remember. Not only was it a beautiful day but the weekend was full of friends and family.
Here are a few of our favorite moments…
From the potluck dinner served family style to the old records serenading the evening it was truly one of our favorite weddings (outside of our own of course!).
Congrats to the newlyweds!
From the Farm