Friday, November 21, 2014

a heart of thanksgiving & a painted pallet sign

Were you expecting a post sprinkled with cranberries, flavored with squash, or buried in butter? Sorry to disappoint you, my friend. But there's just no need for me to reinvent the Thanksgiving wheel. My ma is truly the queen of Thanksgiving. I do my part setting the table, taste testing, washing dishes, singing "let's have a parade!", making deviled eggs, eating everything...but mostly my job is helping the Thanksgiving queen simultaneously make 20+ beautiful, flavorful dishes ready to serve in one single moment. It's a completely homemade and completely perfect Thanksgiving. There's absolutely nothing that needs to be added. Nothing. Well, except a precious Montana family sitting around the table with us...soon enough!

Instead of thanksgiving food, let's talk about a heart of thanksgiving. I'm taking a step back and working on truly be filled with thankfulness in every season. Thankfulness that I was blessed to be born into such a family. Blessed to never know hunger. Blessed to be taught kindness, truth, and love. Blessed to know Jesus. Blessed to be married to a man that desires my good and loves always. Some days thanksgiving is hard. Life trips us up. The world is broken. The hurt is real. The waves are big.

Because I'm a visual, verbal person (does that even make sense?) I decided to make a sign to remind us each day to be thankful. Remember wayyy back in the beginning of summer when I shared a collection of projects in various stages of "doneness"? Well, I'm finally making progress! That lonely rugged, slightly warped, nail-filled plank I found in my parent's garage has been given a new life. It now reminds us every morning to choose joy. Even when stormy seas surround us, our Anchor holds. Just a simple line from Hebrews that speaks to my heart. My soul is firm and secure in the Lord. I know the One that can calm the storm. And that in itself should be cause for thanksgiving in my heart and overflow into my life.

Looking to beautify your own plank of wood? It takes just a few simple steps:
1. Use a pencil to write the words out. I prefer the authentic handwritten look. But if you've got horrible penmanship, find a friend. Or print out the words in a font you like and use them as a guide.

Don't worry I didn't actually paint on the chest, mom. I paint on the carpet instead...;)
2. Paint over the pencil with an acrylic paint and a small paintbrush. I mixed a squirt of black acrylic craft paint into a little leftover sample Behr paint called Silver Charm. The product was a gray blue - perfectly illustrating a storm at sea. Once the paint dries, erase any visible pencil marks.

3. Sand over the wood focusing on the words with fine grit sand paper to give the words a weathered-look. Vacuum periodically to better view your progress.

Display somewhere you can be reminded to live with thankfulness for life's everyday ordinary blessings.

The Girl Creative

Thursday, November 13, 2014

these are a few of my favorite things (lately)

...what is man that You are mindful of him?
Mat's new single, Heartbeat! It's impossible not to at least bob your head to this song.  Literally on repeat (free on Spotify) as I write. Young Love was pure music perfection and the choice tunes of our honeymoon and pretty much every other road trip we take. Can't wait for his new album!!

Did you know that you can boil apple cider down to a sort of apple cider syrup? Maybe this is old news? But I did it and am now drizzling into anything and everything. Like this cinnamon applesauce recipe from King Arthur Flour's blog, Flourish. P.S. Add this blog to your feed if you don't follow already.

If you're looking for some Thanksgiving books to read with your little ones this year, here's some suggestions from The Children's Book Review. I haven't read all of these nor have I loved all of them, but there's some good options in here.

I'm working on a project to share. Actually, I'm working on about ten projects to share, but this is the one you get a sneak peek of :) It involves paint and an old ladder.

The Book with No Pictures. Because words are powerful and funny. For the little kid in all of us.

An easy peasy marbled ring dish. Easy, cute, and homemade. I'm in.

Frugal cooking tip: buy tortillas in bulk. Freeze half wrapped in foil. Cut up the other half into triangles. Bake for about 4 minutes on each side in a 350 degree oven with a sprinkling of salt. The amount of time will vary based upon what type of tortilla and what kind of baking sheet you use. Watch carefully - they can turn dark quick! Oh so simple, but so deliciously satisfying. Warning: they are mildly addicting.

This book is on my list of things to read. Anybody read it?

I'm definitely decoupaging letters for the office gallery wall. Because let's be real - a beautifully written and illustrated children's book is art.

And in Etsy shop news: my shop has a name! It's a secret though. You'll just have to wait with baited breath on the edge of your seat. Just be sure to eat, sleep, and do the other necessities of life while you wait. My only hint is there's a nod to my family and one of our beloved traditions in the name. Now onto all the business license yada yada stuff. Ick. Brings me back to my grant writing days...

Hope you've found a new favorite thing of your own on this list <3

Friday, November 7, 2014

dreaming big

Happy November, friends!

I currently sit in the middle of craft chaos while the north wind whistles under the front door and up the stairs. [Note to self: buy a new door sweep.] There's card stock piles, overflowing boxes of ribbons, old scraps from past projects, rolls of kraft paper, paintbrushes, and rumpled burlap strewn about our office. Total chaos, and yet it's monumental! For the first time in years, I have all my crafting supplies together in one place. Let's just soak this moment in...

Ok, moving on because there's important work to be done - purging, organizing, and decorating! I've got a few ideas for the office percolating away in this crazy brain of mine....
1. Our old apartment kitchen table will get a chic makeover and become my new crafting table (and blog shoot background! Finally!)
2. An old frame the hubster thrifted for me will lose the nasty quilt and become a bulletin board in a diy-inspiring gallery wall. I'm thinking a spring green frame and painted burlap cork board.
3. Empty gallon paint cans will be upcycled into beautiful containers. 
4. And my crafting supplies will get organized in some sort of cohesive, efficient way on a shelving unit we don't presently own. In time, my friends, in time.

And in this space, I will create, blog, and craft unique and beautiful things for our home, friends, and my Etsy shop.

WHAT??! I know! I know. I just shocked myself by writing it out loud for all the world to read!!

A creative fire has been kindling inside of me for years now. Thus why the blog was birthed two years ago - a place to share creativity and hopefully inspire others to work on their own projects. I actually made a shop account two years ago, but chickened out on launching it. In hindsight, I'm glad I waited. The years have given me time to mull over the details of what I want the shop to look and feel like.

Fast forward to last March when I could no longer stand the dreary days of winter and longed for anything bright and cheerful. The billy ball flower tutorial was born and blogged. I never imagined I'd get such positive feedback. I knew then the time was coming for me to take a step of faith and see what happens.

And so friends, expect word in the near future of a Etsy shop grand opening featuring stationary, painted gift bags and gift wrap, billy balls (because they'll forever have a special place in my heart), and perhaps even an upcycled art piece or two.

 With love, Caitlin

P.S. If you've got an idea for a shop name, I'm open to suggestions!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

link love lately

Fuzz bud has absoultely nothing to do with the links below except that he was a perfect model resting in the fallen leaves. Ok, let us continue with links I'm loving lately...

Homemade Cookie Butter. I repeat HOMEMADE cookie butter. Since the hubster and I have now moved to the land of no Trader Joe's, this officially saves us from cookie butter withdrawals. And you can choose your own cookie base! Even better. 

Roasted Carrot Hummus - I've been waiting until I had some sweet, fresh from the farm carrots to try this recipe. The perfect protein-rich snack!

DIY Crepe Paper Pumpkins - Pumpkin decorations that can used again next year? And made out of paper? What's not to love?! I'd also suggest making them in white and gold for a Thanksgiving table centerpiece. 
I've made it my mission to not stop until I find the perfect shoo fly pie recipe. I'm starting with this recipe that Bon App├ętit published from Wendy Jo's Homemade in Lancaster Central Market. 

Gold Tipped Cork Leaf Wreath and Copper Herringbone Pumpkins - Still loving metallic accents especially for the holidays.

Extra Flakey Broccoli Cheddar Soup Mini Pies - The mix of flavors and stellar photography on Tieghan's blog are incredible.  Add this one to your blog feeds if you haven't already!

For your inner-child or your actual child, monster s'mores!

P.S. I'm the Crafty Superstar (eek!) this week on Cut Out + Keep! Thousands of crafty tutorials and inspiration from talented bloggers...need I say more?

Friday, October 17, 2014


We're currently in the process of planning, designing, painting and fixing abijillion things in this place. Ok not literally, but it certainly feels that way. My brain has been boggled more than a couple of times since moving in. There have been days of unending painting, but there have also been small triumphs...

The gallery wall from our abode days has made a comeback.

I now have a cozy new home for my spices. 

We bit the bullet and bought an Ikea metal shelving unit for the pantry to hold the all-important baking ingredients.

And then there are the questions (and occasionally answers) that mull around in my head for days... 

How much foaming sealant do we need to rid the basement of secondhand smoke? A lot.

Where is the slow leak from the toilet coming from? The rubber seal. It's been fixed!

Where do we find a bookshelf big (and cheap) enough for all the stuff that still need a home in our office? The re-store! But how in the world do we get it home? 

How many cans of carpet cleaner does it take to eliminate the carpet black lines along the the trim? More than one...

Where are those ginormous spiders coming from and how do we make them go away now

What should I plant in a sun-less, weed-infested flowerbed? Is it worth the dozens of dollars in bulbs? 
How many coats of paint does one door need?! At least three.

Should I make a some art or thrift a large statement piece for the wall above the big couch? Thrift.

How is it possible that our trash/recycling company does not recycle cardboard? Who wants all our broken down boxes? Anybody???