Maybe Matilda

Friday, October 31, 2014

October Reading

October turned out to be a rather surprising month of reading in two ways: 1) 6 books?! I generally average 4 books per month, and was surprised to tally it up this morning and find I’d read 2 more than my usual. I attribute it to a lightbulb finally switching on in the old noggin, and the realization that I could listen to audiobooks instead of Carrie Underwood on morning runs (yes, I run now—contain your shock and disbelief), and hence have more ‘reading’ time. So I did read my typical 4 books this month, but managed to squeeze in another 2 while running. And surprise #2) so much non-fiction! I am generally not a great reader of non-fiction, but have found some I’ve been loving lately (it started with All Joy and No Fun, followed by Quiet). Who would have guessed it—non-fiction is only boring if you try to force your way through topics you don’t care about. All sorts of genius revelations over here.

October Reading + Book Reviews //

I’m a Stranger Here Myself I’m a rather devoted Bill Bryson fan (other favorites are The Mother Tongue, At Home, and A Walk in the Woods), and I think this is probably my least favorite of his books so far. This isn’t saying much, however, as I still thought it was tremendously good. This one reads quite a bit differently than his other books--it’s a collection of his newspaper articles observing American life after spending 20 years in Britain. If you’re new to Bryson, I’d recommend starting with something else (A Walk in the Woods might be a nice one to begin with).

Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (Rob Thomas) Very ‘meh.’ I listened to this on audio while running, and it was just interesting enough to be able to run to, but not a single ounce more. I’ve already forgotten the plot completely. Maybe I would have liked it more if I had ever watched Veronica Mars—I have no experience with it whatsoever, beyond hearing other people say they love it (makes me wonder why I thought to check it out in the first place? I must have been desperate for an audiobook).

The Secret Keeper (Kate Morton) I’ve now read everything Kate Morton has written, and I’m a little upset about it. I love her dearly—her blend of mess-with-your-brain and history and suspense and creep factor is so spot on I could cry—and I can only hope she’s got something new in the works, because I may go into withdrawal. On a happy note, though, this was a fantastic book to go out on! This one and The Forgotten Garden are hands down my favorites that she’s written. And if anyone knows of any Morton read-alikes, I’m all ears.

The Confidence Code (Katty Kay and Claire Shipman) I’ve got some seriously mixed feelings on this one. The first half of the book delves into the research and science and stories behind women’s lack of confidence—why do we hold ourselves back and doubt ourselves and worry so much (especially compared with men who seem to never question or second-guess their decisions or abilities?), and how does this low confidence affect our professional lives? It was engrossing and, truth be told, a bit scary to see just how much we women doubt ourselves and prevent ourselves from moving up and forward. And the source of my mixed feelings came in the second half of the book—I don’t feel like any meaningful solutions were given. Yes, the authors gave some advice and tips for improving confidence, but they felt so general, so meaningless, and so vague that I was left with more questions than I had started with. I also wish the authors had focused less on the career effects of low confidence and talked more about how confidence also affects our personal lives (which I don’t believe was ever mentioned).  I still think it was a fantastic book, but only as a look into confidence and not as a guide to developing it.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (JK Rowling) My second audiobook of the month, and oh, how I love Harry. The audio is unbelievably good, and how often do you meet a book that is just as wonderful re-read at age 27 as it was the first time at age 14?

Secrets of an Organized Mom (Barbara Reich) This caught my eye at the library since I’ve been working on getting my house under control lately. Nothing mind-blowing or revolutionary, but great motivation to get things orderly and throw practically everything I own away. Reich approaches organization one room at a time and gives specific tips for keeping each space in your home neat and orderly. She definitely comes across as holier-than-thou and preachy, but it got me itching to drag garbage bags full of junk to the curb, so I consider that a job well done.

What did you read this month? Any recommendations for me?

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The DIY farmhouse table I didn’t DIY

We’ve needed a new kitchen table for probably 2 years now. Our previous one lived a great life (you can see it HERE if you so desire, as well as our mid-renovation kitchen), and it filled our needs for a good long time. But it was getting too small for our needs (we always had to pull up stools and try to cram people in when we invited friends for dinner, and it was nearly impossible to host any sort of get-together of any size), and the table was really starting to show its age (and not in a cute rustic way, just a low-quality table getting old and falling apart way).

I’ve wanted a farmhouse table for a long, loooong time, and the internet abounds with fantastic tutorials and detailed instructions for building them. There’s just one problem.

We are terrible at building things. Really, deeply terrible. Some day, just for kicks, I need to post the ‘craft table’ Jeff built for me in our basement. You will laugh and cry so hard that you’ll need to head to the hospital for an IV to replenish your fluid loss, I swear it. But that’s a post for another day.

Jeff very kindly offered to try and build me a table, but I was concerned that we would spend all the money for the necessary materials and tools, spend a few weekends working on it, and still come out at the end of it without a nice-looking, usable table. (He has a lot of great talents! But building things is absolutely not one of them.) So I saved my pennies and hoped I’d be able to find one someday at a decent price.

I kept my eye out for farmhouse tables on our local classifieds site and on the Facebook yard sale groups I’m a member of, and although a few occasionally popped up, they were usually way too big for my dining area (which isn’t enormous), or priced much higher than I was willing to pay. Finally, fortune struck: someone in one of the FB groups I’m a member of asked for bids on building a farmhouse table, and among the responses was a lady whose own FB business page was full of fantastic farmhouse-style furniture. I contacted her, her prices were very reasonable, and I hired her to build a table and bench for me.

She did a beautiful job.

The DIY farmhouse table I didn't DIY //

The DIY farmhouse table I didn't DIY //

This is one DIY project I am so glad I didn’t attempt myself. I think I would have been miserable during the entire process, and there aren’t enough fingers and toes to tally up the number of arguments Jeff and I would have had if we’d tried to work together on something like this. It came out exactly how I pictured it (I am in love with the two-tone look!), it fits perfectly in our dining space (at 6 feet long, it isn’t outrageously big and doesn’t dominate the kitchen, but easily seats 6-8 people), and I am so very glad I didn’t try to do it myself. I love how it fits into the style of our kitchen. I call it ‘modern farmhouse.’ I don’t know if this is really a thing. Just roll with it.

I’m so happy with how our kitchen is coming together. I’m crazy about how light and bright and fresh it feels. And that killer sign above the bay window? Now that’s the scope of project I can handle. An entire table? No. But a vintage-looking ‘groceries’ sign? Check. I whipped it up a few nights ago, and have been gazing lovingly at it ever since. I’ll post instructions for it later this week.

Modern Farmhouse kitchen //

Modern Farmhouse kitchen //

Modern Farmhouse kitchen //

Modern Farmhouse kitchen //

For those of you who are local to Utah County, the table and bench were built by Brandi of Eternal Harvest Home Décor, and you can find her Facebook page HERE. I think she did a wonderful job, and I’m thrilled with my new table. I thought her prices were great, and she was a pleasure to work with also. (And for the record, this post isn’t compensated in any way. Brandi didn’t know I’d be posting about her, I paid her full, normal prices for my items, and we have no connection other than as Awesome Table Builder and humble building-talentless customer.)

And as a reminder, here is the kitchen when we bought the house:


You’ve come a long way, baby.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Party Animal Turns One

Darcy’s birthday was this past week, and we celebrated as only the most in sync mother-daughter duos can: with a visit to the pediatrician and an ear infection the doctor delicately described as ‘raging.’ I’ve been misinterpreting her ear infection symptoms for a few weeks now (“boy, teething sure makes her cranky!” and “awww, it’s so sweet how she lifts my hand up and rests it over her ear when she nurses!”) and I’m a bit surprised the pediatrician even let me take her back home with me after a peek in her ears (“it’s like a warzone in there!! you didn’t realize her ears were hurting?!” “erm nope”).

Happy birthday baby. As a gift to you, I’ll work on interpreting your pain signals.

Maybe you could also work on learning to speak English? That would sure come in handy in avoiding such situations in the future.

We kept trying to come up with a birthday party theme for her and drew one blank after another. Forrest’s 1st birthday theme was a total no-brainer—his obsession with Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs started young and strong and the love burned with the intensity of a thousand suns, but Darcy doesn’t really have a ‘thing.’ There are no books or toys or characters or shows she is particularly excited about, but we kept returning to one thing. Cheese. Girlfriend loves cheese. So we jokingly called it a Whine and Cheese party (I’ll go ahead and take the blame for the whininess as I pump her with industrial-grade antibiotics—that’s right, the antibiotic the pediatrician normally prescribes isn’t suited for such a severe infection, hashtagmomoftheyear).

I took precisely zero pictures of the party that didn’t involve Darcy going at the cake, but her party was small and fun with lots of cheese. We set up a ‘build your own grilled cheese bar’ with lots of different cheeses and filling options, let people put together whatever struck their fancy, and cooked them up on an electric griddle. Popular combinations were Jalapeno Popper (made with velveeta and jarred jalapenos) and Apple Bacon Cheddar (thin slices of granny smith apples with bacon and sharp white cheddar).

Predictably, Darcy was miserable during her party (the eeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaars!!!) . . . right up until she got her hands on some cake.

Cake cures all ills.

(Although I am told she must, in fact, take the full run of antibiotics, regardless of cake consumption.)

I don’t know what prompted this face but I’ll never stop laughing at it. Never, I say!

At one year old, our Darcy bean is:

- gigantic
- still army crawling on her belly using just one leg like a poor wounded soldier
- a cheese fanatic and aspiring apple juice addict
- Forrest’s biggest fan
- giggly and sweet
- so snuggly
- ^ mostly with her stuffed animals
- particularly attached to one little cuddle bear, who she scoops up and presses to her cheek the second I lay her down in her crib
- an enthusiastic waver
- a discriminating kisser
- just starting to allow Very Frightening Strangers to hold her (such as my Very Frightening brothers and her Very Frightening Papa)
- the cutest, most pleasant little bean ever

Happy birthday sweets. May your next one be every bit as delicious but much less infected.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Living Room Updates

How’s that for a riveting post title? Reeeeaaaally drawing you in with that sexy, irresistible little tidbit.

I don’t claim to be any sort of expert on home design/décor/what-have-you, but I’d sure like our home to be a comfortable, cozy, welcoming place. And I am definitely not willing to spend very much, so it’s a bit of a project to make any sort of decorating dreams come true, but we have made some little changes lately in our front room that I’ve been enjoying. You can see the previous version of this room HERE, if you’re so inclined.

The main things that bugged me about this room:
- I thought (still think) the old rug was really cute and fun, but the color was too light and it was impossible to keep clean. It always looked dingy and dirty.
- There is no overhead lighting in this room. It boggles the mind that builders think lights are optional in any room. No amount of lamps were making much of a difference in here, but considering our very high, sloped ceiling, recessed lighting was the only option we could think of, and much too expensive for us right now.
- The gallery wall felt much too small for such a big wall space above the couch. It needed to spread out a bit.
- I also thought the gallery wall was too light in color. It’s hanging above a black couch, but the frames and photos were all white and pastel, and I thought it looked weird. A new couch definitely isn’t going to happen anytime soon, though, and the gallery wall seemed like an easier change to make than a new couch.

Rustic gallery wall //

Rustic gallery wall //

Rustic gallery wall //

I switched out our old rug for this one from American Rug Craftsmen, and it has been a much much much much much better fit for this room. It doesn’t show messes at all (a must-have for our family), it’s incredibly soft and comfortable, and I like that it deepens the room’s color scheme a little bit. It’s been a winner, for sure.

We also had an electrician install two barn-style sconces for some lighting, since there is no overhead lighting in this room. It makes a huge difference in the evenings, and I love how they look. They are outdoor lights from Home Depot, and I love how they coordinate with the Barn Light Electric fixtures in our kitchen. For those of you in Utah County, we’ve used Mark from Hugh Electric for quite a few projects around the house, and cannot recommend him highly enough. He does a wonderful job, we love him, and he puts up with Forrest’s nonsense/‘help’ with amazingly good humor.

Finally, I updated our gallery wall. I spaced things out a little more, added a few non-photo items gathered up from different parts of the house, and swapped out the old photos for our most recent family pictures. I knew before we had those photos taken that I wanted to bring some darker colors into the gallery wall, so I took that into consideration when planning our outfits, and made sure to toss some navy and green in there.

Gallery wall //

I hope no one has any questions whatsoever about the arrow, because I slapped it together myself on a whim, was (still am) utterly amazed that it came out looking as I’d intended since I had no idea what I was doing, and doubt I could put together any semblance of usable instructions for anyone else to make something similar. #problogger

If money were no object, there are all sorts of things I’d do differently in here, but considering our budget and the amount of time and work I’m willing and able to put into it, I’d still like to do a small handful of things in here.
- Maybe figure out a coffee table or end table situation? I think it looks a little empty/unfinished without one, but I also don’t want to purchase furniture just for the sake of purchasing furniture if we’re getting along just fine without one, you know? I’ve seen some styles I love that I think would be great in here, but I’m holding off for now. Dang budget.
- Different chairs. I hate those stupid wicker chairs in there. We bought them purely because they were so incredibly cheap at Ikea and we needed to get something, but I think they look so dumb in here.
- Roman shades for the windows.

Baby steps.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

DIY Marauder’s Map Shirt (and free Silhouette template)

You’ll never guess what audiobook I’ve been listening to this month.

Go on, guess.

Make a cute and easy Marauder's Map t-shirt with your Silhouette and this free template!

The correct answer is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and no one saw that coming at all.

The words needed to open the Marauder’s Map seem extremely appropriate for a certain someone I know—and I don’t want to embarrass anyone, so I won’t name any names, but it starts with a 4 and ends with an ‘est.’ This child is never not up to no good.

Make a cute and easy Marauder's Map t-shirt with your Silhouette and this free template!

I’m still learning all the ins and outs of my Silhouette Portrait, but even with my beginner-level knowledge, this was still a very quick project to put together. And I wasn’t sure how well it would turn out, so I didn’t take any progress pictures, but it’s a simple enough project that hopefully you don’t need them.

I just set up the text in Silhouette Studio how I wanted it, then grabbed a stock image of footprints online and added them to the design. After cutting the design onto vinyl, I peeled the letters out and tossed them, then used the rest as a stencil. I mixed craft paint with textile medium and sponged it onto the stencil to create the letters and footprints (with a layer of cardboard inside the shirt to make sure you don’t get paint soaking through to the back, of course). I’ve seen people do painted t-shirts without using the textile medium, so I’m assuming it holds up fine without any issues, but I’ve always used the textile medium. In my experience, it gives a very smooth finished product and holds up beautifully in the wash. After peeling up my stencil piece, I just let the shirt air dry overnight, then ironed it to set the paint (your textile medium will give instructions on how to set it).

DIY Marauder's Map t-shirt with free template for Silhouette

I’m happy to share the Silhouette Studio file here for anyone to use to make their own shirts (personal use only, please!)—I hope I’ve done this right. Please tell me if something doesn’t work properly and I’ll work on figuring it out :-)

Get the file for the template as shown HERE.

And get the file for the REVERSED template HERE.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Peter Pan Family Halloween Costumes

Before too many of you climb aboard the ‘Jeff’s such a good sport!!’ train, I’d like to state right up front here that he is fully invested in Halloween and general costumery. Like, to the point that when he first tried on his Captain Hook costume, the first thing out of his mouth was, “Do you think patients would like it if I wore this to work on Halloween?!”

Peter Pan Family Halloween Costumes

Um, yes. Yes, I think they would like that very much indeed.

Last year, these two made a pretty adorable Monsters’ Inc. duo. And this year’s Peter Pan / Captain Hook duo is pretty dang adorable, too, if I may say so myself.

Peter Pan and Captain Hook costumes

We started casually brainstorming family costume ideas in early September (I plan to take advantage of the opportunity to do a family costume for as long as possible—I know our days are numbered here, Forrest isn’t going to think it’s cool to do a family costume theme forever, so I’m enjoying it while I can). We tossed around quite a few different ideas, and ended up realizing that it didn’t matter much what Jeff and I wanted: it all hinged on Forrest and his willingness to participate. The rest of us will go with whatever, but if he wasn’t into a costume idea, there was no way we could force him to do it. He almost backed out of last year’s costume when he saw Jeff in full head-to-toe monster garb and freaked at the oh-so-frightening sight. So I pulled up some pictures of different costumes (some of which included superheroes and a full Star Wars gang), and let Forrest decide which one he liked best.

Who would have guessed he’d pick Peter Pan? He had never even seen Peter Pan.

Family Peter Pan Halloween costume idea

While we waited for the costumes to arrive in the mail, I made sure he watched the movie. I’ll never know what possessed him to choose Peter Pan, a character and movie he wasn’t even familiar with (actually: sword. it was almost definitely the realization that being Peter Pan meant he’d get a sword), but I wanted him to see the movie so he knew what the heck he was dressing up as (although, I mean, he has a sword. he probably doesn’t care about anything else). And who’d have guessed it—he’s been requesting to watch the movie almost every day. Good thing he didn’t hate it, or we’d have been back at square one for costumes.

Just like last year, these costumes were sent to us by HalloweenCostumes.Com. After two years of DIYing Halloween costumes for this kid, I’m totally on board with store bought costumes. Sewing them myself is just too much work for this lazy seamstress. Kudos to those of you who design and sew amazing costumes! My sewing talent just doesn’t extend that for. For Forrest’s first Halloween at 2 months old, he was a very adorable corn cob (we lived in Iowa at the time, and a corn cob costumed baby was just too perfect to pass up); for his 2nd Halloween he was a very pathetic last-minute Batman—I literally cut the Batman logo from felt at about 2PM on Halloween and hot glued it to a t-shirt. It was extremely lame. For his 3rd Halloween, I dyed a shirt maroon so he could be Malcolm Reynolds (now that was an awesome family costume). The impressiveness level of my DIY costumes was declining steadily by the year—clearly time to hand over the reins to someone else. And Halloween Costumes does it swimmingly.

Family Peter Pan + Pirates costumes

Our costumes are pretty rad. Jeff’s is the clear winner—that thing is amazing. The jacket and vest are velvet, and look so awesome in person. It’s one of those situations where we keep thinking, ‘this thing is gorgeous; think of a way you can keep wearing it past Halloween.’ We grabbed the wig and hook from Savers, but everything else was included, from the lacy neck ruffle to the boot tops, and it looks so cool. Forrest’s Peter Pan is adorable (I’ve had to talk him out of wearing the costume to preschool a few times) and Darcy makes the sweetest little Tinkerbell I’ve ever seen (when I first showed Forrest the family costume idea, he thought the plan was for him to be Tinkerbell, and weirdly enough, he seemed pretty cool with that idea).

And I’d like to blame Jeff for my costume. He insisted—absolutely insisted, with 100% confidencethat no one would know who I was if I dressed up as Wendy, which was my original plan. I don’t even know what to say about that, except that it’s ridiculous because—I mean, really. Wendy. He was totally baffled when I showed him the Wendy costume I planned to get—“who is that? Is she even in the movie? I’ve never seen her before. No one will understand that. And you can’t dress up as a character who’s younger than Tinkerbell when our baby is being Tinkerbell.” So I let him talk me into being “one of Captain Hook’s pirates,” except that Captain Hook did not have any lady pirates on his ship, and if he did they probably would have been less swashbuckle-y and more prostitute-y, and now here I am in a pirate costume, just hoping no one thinks I’m dressed up as a pirate prostitute. Whatever. Jeff’s fault. At least the kids look scrumptious.

Peter Pan and Tinkerbell Costumes

I sort of want her to wear this everyday. Can she just always have wings on, all the time? That would be okay, right? Because it’s so cute I can’t stand it.

Tinkerbell Costume

Big thanks to for setting us up this year! We love our costumes and are so dang excited to get some Halloween festivities going.

Do you do family costumes?

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Deep Thoughts with Forrest #7

Jeff was helping Forrest get ready for bed, and pointed out his post-bath pruny toes.
Jeff: Look at your toes! They’re all wrinkly, like an old man’s toes. Just like mine.
Forrest: (with a look of horror on his face) . . . am I a daddy now?
Jeff: What?
Forrest: My toes are like your toes so I am a daddy now. (with tears in his eyes) I don’t want to be a daddy!

Jeff pulled one of my hairs off Forrest’s shirt, aaaand:
Jeff: Hey, what’s this?
Forrest: It’s a Mama hair. Is Mama’s hair falling out?
Jeff: Looks like it. Will Mama be a boy if her hair falls out?
Forrest: No, boys have hair.
Jeff: Well, what will she be, then?
Forrest: Mama will be a monster.
Further conversation revealed that he was not being rude—he was referring to the hairless reptilian monsters of Monsters, Inc. I guess he basically sees me as Randall in a wig. Encouraging.

Completely out of the blue.
Forrest: I don’t fink I want Daw-see to be my sister anymore.

Jeff recently joked while we were out for an evening walk that we’d better hurry home before it got dark and the hoodlums came out. A few days later Jeff was staying late at work, and Forrest asked where he was.
Me: Daddy has to work late tonight. He won’t be home until after you’re asleep and it’s dark outside.
Forrest: Oh no!!! That’s vewwy bad news!!!
Me: Why?
Forrest: If he is out at night and it is dark, the hoodlums will come into his office and get him!!

Our electrician, Mark, was over recently updating some light fixtures, and Forrest was absolutely desperate to ‘help’ him (more like chatter at him incessantly, roughly 5000 words per minute). I told him Mark didn’t need his help, and Forrest shouldn’t bother him, and he sulked for awhile before coming up with a brilliant plan to get past me and talk to him.
Forrest: I weally want to tell somebody all about my day at preschool today.
Me: Leave Mark alone.
Forrest: (offended) I didn’t say Mark!!! I said somebody!!!
Me: Okay, who did you have in mind?
Forrest: (tapping chin thoughtfully) Hmm, well, I fink Mark looks like he would like to hear about preschool.

I think they’re doing a lot of ‘what letter does this word start with?’ at preschool, because Forrest keeps coming up with the most random letter starts (clearly, he’s a total rock star at preschool, top of his class). For instance,
Forrest: Hey Mama, do you know what sound starts Wednesday?
Me: No, what?
Forrest: We can twy it together. It’s W-W-W-W-Wednesday. So what letter does it start with?
Me: Hmmm. It sounds like a W to me.
Forrest: No, that is not wight, but that was a vewwy good try. It’s W-W-W-Wednesday, and it starts with the letter W-W-W-kangaroo.

On our way to the grocery store, where I always buy him a donut if he behaves.
Me: Make sure to behave nicely at the store—if you’re a really good boy, you’ll get your special treat.
Forrest: What is my tweat?!?
Me: We get it every time. It starts with a D. D-D-D . . . (waiting for him to finish it for me)
Forrest: (blank stare)
Me: Do . . . dooooo . . .
Forrest: . . . bwoccoli? I don’t weally want that.

While watching a movie, he noticed the subtitles were turned on.
Forrest: Oh Mama!! Makes those words go away!! They are disgusting to me.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

10-Minute ‘Boo’ Sign + My Fall Decorating

I can almost hear my mom and sister laughing at the post title already—10 minute ‘boo’ sign!!! We got together last week to do some Halloween crafting, and I’ll just give you a quick run-down of our day . . .

Number of hours we spent together: 5
Number of projects Bekah planned to make: 4
Number of projects I planned to make: 0
Number of false starts and do-overs on just 1 single project: 50382
Number of pumpkin scones consumed: 6
Total number of projects Bekah completed: 0
Total number of projects I completed: 1

As a reminder, peek back up at the project plans—Bekah wanted to make 4 things, and I wasn’t going to make any. Yet somehow I ended up with the only project of the day, even though we spent 4 or 5 hours together. We are slow, easily distracted, very hungry crafters who take frequent snack breaks.

But—but! If we had actually had a plan for this sign, and known what we wanted it to turn out like, and just made the dang thing instead of fiddling around, changing our minds over and over about how it should look, messing things up and trying them again a different way, I bet it would have honestly been about a 10 minute project. So I’m just going to call it that. It’s just too embarrassing to title this post ‘My 4 hour ‘boo’ sign.’

10 minute Halloween 'BOO' sign with painted pumpkins
At any rate, it was a very fun 4 hours (although there was minimal crafting involved), and I love how my little sign turned out. I used my brand spankin’ new Silhouette Portrait, and guys. This thing is fun. I have so many things I want to use it for, and so many ideas I’ve been hoarding and imagining for, quite honestly, a few years now. This is an exciting moment. But I figured I’d better start small while I get to know the machine and learn what it can do, and this sign was a great little intro. It’s a simple, fast, very basic project that turned out so sweet.

Halloween BOO sign with painted pumpkins

All I did was lightly paint a store-bought plaque (purchased from JoAnn with a 50% off coupon, so it came to about $4), then used spray adhesive to mount the letters on it (which I typed up and resized for my sign, then cut from cute paper with my Silhouette Portrait). I added two of these little spiderwebs in the corners, resized to fit perfectly behind my letters without too much overlap. A thick layer of mod podge over the whole thing, plus a little watered-down black paint sponged around the edges and flicked with a toothbrush over the front, and it was good to go!

10 minute Halloween BOO sign

For the little pumpkins, I just grabbed some cheap plastic pumpkins from a dollar store and slapped a few layers of white chalk paint on, then added some black dots with the non-bristled end of a paintbrush (for the small dots) and my fingertip (for the bigger dots). Makes for a cute little Halloween display, if I may say so myself.

Elsewhere in the house, I’ve stuck more to a fall theme instead of Halloween.

Simple fall display

The window, lamp, Scentsy warmer, and wreath are always in this spot, so I just added a few little things to make it look a little more ‘autumn.’ I made the Halloween paper garland a few years ago, and am sort of amazed at how well it’s still holding up. I added candy corn to my DIY hurricanes (made with this tutorial), and tossed some moss and pumpkins (which I already had) into a planter that migrates throughout my house all year. A little burlap as a table runner and a leftover wood slice from my sister’s wedding this summer, and it looks all sorts of autumnal.

Outside, I got rid of my summer flowers in my planters (they were well past health anyway) and added some mums. I’m hoping they’ll fill out soon and look a little more lush. I think a fall wreath would look a little more appropriate on the door, but I haven’t seen any I’ve fallen in love with yet. The search continues.

Fall exterior

If budget allowed, I’d have like 4 times as many pumpkins as you see here . . . but dang, those puppies add up fast! I’m now doubly impressed by porches that have dozens of pumpkins set out. Impressed once because they look so cheery, and again because they must have taken out a second mortgage to pay for them. Between the mums and the pumpkins, I spent about $20 out here. Inside, all I purchased was the plaque for the Boo sign, so my total money spent to decorate for fall is about $24. Not bad, I’d say.

pumpkins and mums

How do you like to decorate for fall?

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