So I'm Hosting My First Thanksgiving... Now What?

The past decade has seen me make the transition from Thanksgiving attendee to
 Thanksgiving hostess.   While the thought of hosting Thanksgiving might seem daunting, it's really not so bad.  Come check out my latest post in Wayfair's Idea Lounge for all of my tips and tricks!

photo credit: David Goehring


Dachshunds and Scrabble and Other Things

{I have been provided with product compensation for this post; all opinions are my own.}

You know what makes gift giving easier?  

When the recipient has a thing.  

You know what I'm talking about, a thing, as in, a thing they're really into.  When you absolutely can't think of anything else to buy that person you know that you can aways resort to their thing.  

For example, my brother and his wife have a dachshund—cutest dog you've ever seen—so I know that when push comes to shove, something dachshund-related will always be a hit in their house. Needless to say, when I came across these adorable dachshund pillows recently on Wayfair, they stopped me in my tracks. 

Seriously, aren't they the cutest?  And from there I just found myself one dachshund pillow after another...

...and that was a real shame because, well, truth be told,  I've actually already bought my brother and his wife their Christmas gifts.

But then it occurred to me that my mother also has a thing.

Her thing is Scrabble.

(Seriously, my mother is the Scrabble Queen and if she ever invites you to play Scrabble, don't do it!  It's a trap.)

So anyway, just for kicks I typed "Scrabble" into the Wayfair search bar and look at what I found:

Scrabble letter pillows!  (Complete with the appropriate letter score.)   Leave it to Wayfair to have a pillow for every thing

Naturally I bought them for my mom who, conveniently, has a two letter name.  (Though as the Scrabble Queen her two-letter-name is still worth nine points!)

Great news: if these (or any of the other pillows on the Wayfair site) are your thing, 
Wayfair is offering 15% off ANY Pillow, Pouf, or Throw Blanket 
from November 20th through November 24th.  
Just use the code WFPTP15 at checkout.  


Gumball Machine Halloween Costume

Halloween is coming, and I am proud to say that, unlike last year, this year our costumes are finished early.  

This is due in large part to the fact that my girls chose easy costumes (and for the first time ever, they are wearing the same thing).

That's right, it's a bubblegum machine (inspired by the one pictured here), and if you are need of an easy, homemade costume, there is still plenty of time to make one yourself.

I should probably begin by saying that my methods were extremely imprecise.  I did a lot of eyeballing and estimating (which made the whole process very laid back and pleasant—remember folks, it's just Halloween).


As you can see below, I began by tracing a large bowl on a plain white tee shirt in order to get a nice circle.  Thankfully I had her try it on before I began adding the "gumballs" because once I did it was obvious that the circle was way too low on the shirt.  (The picture below is of the first circle.  I ultimately positioned it about two inches higher.)  So, dear readers, learn from my mistakes and have your child try the shirt on before sketching the outline of your machine.  

When that's done simply hot glue 1.5" pompoms to the shirt until you've filled the space. Notice that you don't need to fill in the whole circle.  Rather, when your child is trying on the shirt, draw a straight line across the shirt at the waist line.  This is where the bottom half of the costume (the "apron") will meet the gumballs.

 For the bottom of the machine I took a large piece of red felt, sketched out an apron, and cut it out with fabric scissors.  That's right, this is a no-sew costume (because I am a no-sew mom).

Next I took an 8.5x11" sheet of gray felt and glued it to the apron.  Then I drew a knob and the numbers free-hand and cut them out.   I glued the "25" to a small square of white felt (also drawn free-hand) and hot glued that square and the smaller black one (representing the hole where the gum comes out) on to the gray felt.

After that I added red leggings for my younger daughter and a red skirt for my older one.  Red felt berets finish off the look.

If a bubblegum machine isn't quite what you have in mind, check out these costumes from years past:

American Girl Doll Box Costume:

Happy Halloween, everyone!



Gather, Give Back, & Create (at the Charity Wings Art Center)

Recently a friend of mine began volunteering at the Charity Wings Art Center in San Marcos, CA (just north of San Diego).  As soon as she explained the concept I made visiting a priority.  

Before I go any further I want to give you a little background on the center.  According to their website:

The Charity Wings Art & Craft Center hosts free classes and events for their beneficiaries on site... providing the hope and healing that only art can provide.  Serving as a hub for the arts and crafts community,  Charity Wings Art & Craft Center memberships support non-profit programs as well as give members access to open studio time, classes, events and opportunities to give.

In addition to classes, the center also has Open Studio Time when you can go in and use their space and their supplies.  This is what really appealed to me:

During open studio you are welcome to use all available supplies and tools in the Art Centers. You are also welcome to bring in your own projects and use all of our supplies and tools to finish your project.
We have tools and supplies for:
  • sewing
  • fiber arts
  • polymer clay
  • jewelry / beading / metal
  • scrapbooking
  • mixed media arts
There are no additional fees to use all of our supplies and tools. You simply pay the hourly open studio fees accordingly.   Click here for more information about memberships/fees.  
Guys, this is a 6,000 square foot warehouse filled with every supply you can imagine AND enough space to execute any project.  How many times have you seen a project on Pinterest and dismissed it out of hand because you didn't have the equipment/supplies or the space?  How many times have you gone to Michael's (or Hobby Lobby or Joanne's) and spent a fortune on materials that you might never use again.  
Access to a place like this will eliminate such problems.  Just look at this space: tons of room to work, craft supplies galore, and inspiration everywhere you turn.

Supplies on these shelves are organized loosely by color.  

Here are some closeups.  (Please ignore the glare in these photos.  Without my tripod I had to shoot in automatic.  Shooting in automatic meant using my flash.  Using my flash meant glare.  And now I am hanging my head in shame.  ;)


In addition to the embellishments you see above, there are also colored pencils galore. 

Paint in every color of the rainbow.


Pipe cleaners.

Every type of adhesive imaginable.  (Think about that: no buying a whole tube of adhesive for one little craft.  Browse this shelf for exactly what you need in the exact amount that you need.  And with a membership, the open studio time costs less than a container of Modge Podge.)

This flat file holds rubber stamps. 

About a jillion of them.

I'm not exaggerating.

Look at all of those beads.  

Organized by color.  

Not to be crass but it's like a crafter's wet dream in here.  

And the only thing better than looking at the supplies is browsing what other people have done with them. 

For the knitters and crocheters there is yarn.  (And lots of comfy couches on which you can sit and knit.)

There's also a whole sewing area.

With patterns.  (Of course, as with everything else, you're also free to bring your own.)

There are a bunch of sewing machines under those drop cloths.  (I didn't peek because sewing machines frighten and confuse me.)

If you like to work with metal there's this area...

You also have access to a Cricut, which is great for making stickers and stencils. 

Still unclear on why you might need an electronic paper cutter?  Here are just a few projects from my blog that require a Cricut (or a Silhouette):

For the little ones there is a fantastic kid's area.

They even hold Mommy & Me-type classes where the children learn to do fun projects like this:

Everywhere you turn in the center, you find inspiration.

Sometimes it's in the form of signage:

Other times it's in the unexpected details.

And frequently it is the work of others that inspires, like this dress made from book pages. 

Or this blinged-out Hello Kitty bike.

Naturally wing-themed projects abound.

I loved this collaborative piece covered in paper feathers. 

When I was there we made resin-filled bottle cap charms.  

A good time was had by all.

If you are local to San Diego I urge you to check out this little slice of heaven.  Even if you don't want to buy a full membership, you can still do individual sessions.

If you're not local to San Diego, click on this LINK for a list of similar places around the globe.  And please, if you go to Charity Wings (or any place like it), please leave me a comment and let me know.  I would love to hear about your experience!