Monday, August 20, 2012

An Amazing Log Planter {Guest Post: Sweet Sparrow Design}

Diana and Tara are the creators of Sweet Sparrow Design, eco friendly products for children, moms, and home. I have just come to love their products as well as the country life that they live! I was talking to Diana a little while back and she brought to my attention this log planter! I'm all for a great repurposed project! I wanted to know all about it!! So when I opened my email to find the story behind the planter, I couldn't wait for you guys to see it too! So here ya go...

The Story Behind the Original Country Log Planter...

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I can across the idea of a log planter this spring on Pinterest. Yes I am on there once in a while, although I really try and limit my time there. As I saw the planter I knew I had just the tree right on our own country yard to make one for ourselves. I talked about it with my husband as this was no small task. This tree was a huge tree that happened to be hollow inside. We actually did not have to discuss it long as my husband thought it was a great idea and it would really “fit” our style and yard when it was done. The evening we started on it Mr D. went up the tree as high as he could with a ladder and cut down some of the limbs one at a time with his chainsaw. We had other trees that we did not want to damage in the area. I of course was supervising on the ground and telling him how to be safe and letting him know how great he looked manhandling that chainsaw! This is a similar cottonwood tree still standing close to the one we took down.


 Finally we were far enough to pull the last part of the tree over with the tractor. As my husband was towing the tree to position by our patio we were chuckling and teasing. We do not do things small around here. This tree planter at its largest point measures 8 feet in diameter! Now I have my HUGE planter and my husband has his HUGE stone. A couple years ago I watched him work for days at digging and towing this big stone out of our bush. It now sits proudly on our front yard.


I think my planter is doing great this year and I am very happy with how it has turned out. If you have time I would love it if you would come by and visit the Sweet Sparrow Design shop I have together with my daughter on Etsy or visit us on Facebook and see what we are up to when we are not busy with country living. We are so excited to have just arrived at over 700 fans on our facebook! Diana

Thanks for sharing this with us Diana!! I only wish I could cut down the tree in front of my condo! Make sure to also follow Sweet Sparrow Design on Twitter!!

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Guest Post: Living Loving Crafting...TUTORIAL!

I'm so excited to introduce you guys to Jeannie, who blogs over at Living Loving Crafting. She has a fabulous blog with some great tutorials! I was so happy when she said that she would guest post and excited to see what she would come up with! She reminds me so much of myself with the way that she love to dabble in everything. Thanks Jeannie for coming by today! I thrilled to have you!

Hi!!  I'm Jeannie from Living Loving Crafting.  I want to say a big Thank You to Jill for letting me stop by and take over for the day.  To let you know a little bit about me, I'm a stay at home mom of twin toddler boys. To say life is interesting would be an understatement, but I love it!!  I have definitely been blessed!  To ensure that I don't lose my mind in the process though, I craft.  I dabble in just about every kind of crafting you can think of, but jewelry making is my favorite.  In fact, I'm doing a giveaway on the blog this week of one of my pieces. Stop on by for an entry or I can show you how to make it yourself.

A turquoise pearl necklace.  The thing that I love about this necklace, it's simple, but packs a statement.  For a beginner, this is a great necklace to start with.  You can choose any bead in any size you like.  

Here are your supplies:  
  •                                      You need round pliers
  •                                      Wire cutters  (raid your husband's tool box if you don't have jewelry tools)
  •                                      Your choice of beads.  I used nine.                                    
  •                                      Chain
  •                                      Head pins for each bead
  •                                      A lobster clasp
  •                                      1 jump ring
  •                                      1 small pearl/bead

If you are unsure of any of these items, email me or browse the jewelry supply wall at your local craft store.  You might even find a clasp you like better than the lobster clasp. 

1.  Measure the length you'd like your chain and remove excess

2. Add bead to headpin and make sure the headpin doesn't pull through the end of the bead.  Sometimes headpins are different sizes and the pin will pull right through the bead.

3.  Cut your headpin down to about 3/4-1in.  You just want enough left over to manipulate around your chain. 
4. Use your round pliers and bend your headpin into a half circle.  You need to leave the space big enough to add your chain.

5. Find the middle of your chain.  Place the chain link in the headpin and close up the circle.  

6. Alternate adding beads on either side of the middle bead.  You want to have the same number of beads on either side of the middle and alternating will help you keep track. 

7. Open up the last link on one end of your chain using your pliers and add the lobster clasp.  Close link up.

***Since my necklace is for a giveaway and I didn't know the neckline of the person wearing it, I made my necklace adjustable.  

8. Measure 2-3 in of a smaller chain and cut off excess.  This will make it adjustable.  
(I didn't take a picture of this but I also added a small turquoise pearl to one end)

9.  Open up the jump ring.  Add the smaller chain to the jump ring.  Before closing the jump ring, add it to the end of your necklace.  Close jump ring. 

10. Wear that baby proudly!!

So there it is.  Simple enough to wear with a pair of jeans and elegant enough to wear with a dress.  I hope you had fun making it!  Stop on by and visit for other tutorials!  Thanks again, Jill!!
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I love that necklace Jeannie! Thanks for sharing the tutorial! I'm heading over now to enter to win...and YOU ALL SHOULD TOO!! Jeannie's blog is still pretty new, and I know that she will have no trouble! Make sure to head over and say hello. Jeannie is a sweetheart and worth getting to know! And if you haven't link up to the Coffee Link Up and Giveaway....make sure you do!

P.S. Since we are on the topic of jewelry making, I am so proud to announce that my new jewelry line Speak Out Loud is on it's way!! I've been stamping away and the big launch will be in just a few weeks! So please stick around for the details! I'll post all about it this weekend!!

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What to do with broken crayons....Crayon Art

There is something that every family has in common. No matter how well we keep our houses up, no matter how good we think our kids play, no matter how well the toys stay organized....there are always broken crayons hiding somewhere. We all have them....ya know you do! Just like you know that it's inevitable, that at some point of your couches life, it WILL eat your change! I used to constantly pick up the broken crayons and throw them away. I used to get so mad at the kids for purposely breaking them! At one point I even stopped buying crayons. Last year, I changed my thinking. I would re-use the broken crayons. I welcomed them {secretly}. I started collecting them! I put them in a basket where the kids wouldn't see them, because I just know my kids. I would be picking them up again....and again, and probably again, if they knew where they were. I also didn't tell them what I wanted to do with them or they would ask me 20 times a day if it's time! I was able to get quite a bit together! Is this amount that I collected normal? So maybe not every family would find so many. I guess I would rather have my couch eat more change, but broken crayons is what we get!
A few weeks ago, the kids were crazy bored, and needed a project. What do you do to keep 2 kids occupied for hours? Have them take paper off of crayons!
Now that is what I am talking about! Peace and quiet! I remember sitting them on the couch and thinking that I could get so much work done. The baby was napping, the dog was napping, and the 2 of them were excited...and quiet!! Why didn't I do this sooner?? 

Notice that her eyes have found the tv! It's only minutes now until she quits! (He followed soon after). I'm pretty sure it wasn't even 15 minutes, before they were complaining of their nails hurting from ripping the paper off, and yelling at each other about whose crayons were whose. I found myself spending the next hour or so taking off the paper myself, while the kids played outside.  

The Crayola's were much harder to get off. Carefully slice the paper  longways with a razor. It will make your job SO much easier!

I thought I would never finish! More just kept appearing!

Now your ready to start making your new crayons!

Put the pile into a trash bag or you can place them in between wax paper, and using a hammer or a rolling pin make the pieces smaller.

Make sure to spray the tins with cooking spray before you put the crayons in. 

Make sure that there is no paper in the tins before you place them in the oven. I did take out the paper in the photo above, apparently just not before snapping the photo :) 
Heat the oven. I'm not sure if there is a correct temperature to set the oven to, there probably is, but I think I set it to 375. If you've done this before, let me know if I'm wrong. Heat until melted. When you check on them, you'll see chunks if they aren't ready. They will liquefy completely.

I kept them in the fridge for a couple of hours. Once they cooled, they kind of all sunk in the middle, and looked milky like. See the photo below. I got a bit worried thinking that they became a gross color. 

I banged them on the counter just to loosen them, and they slid right out. Look how pretty they are now!! wasn't a waste of time after all!

You can obviously choose to keep all of the colors the same to make solid colors, but I love the rainbow (and I didn't want to take the extra time). I love that the crayon (dust) left speckled patters throughout!

The idea was to make these for the kids {of course}....
but once they were finished, I thought they would make great art! I kinda had to bribe them to let me have them. I only had 1 new canvas left, and it didn't seem fair to clean up and save take their crayons, make them work so hard for 15 minutes all of that time peeling the paper, to not let them keep them! So I gave them a couple canvas' that I had used for nothing special. Covered the table with a drop cloth, and let them go to town making their own art! This is what I came up with....

I painted the canvas and glued the crayons on with Tacky Glue. For obvious reasons...don't use hot glue ;) And this is what they came up with....

I think all 3 turned out great! Don't you?? It was a fun afternoon!
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Have you recycled crayons before? Have you used them for anything other than coloring? I'd love to see! Thanks for coming by today. If you liked this post, I'd love it if you'd take a quick sec to vote below, and click the G+share!

Also, make sure to check out the coffee link up and giveaway going on now!

Sharing over at:
Live Laugh {Linky}
Fantabulous Friday
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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

For the L♥Ve of Coffee.....

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I am a coffee girl for sure! I drink it all day long! I haven't always liked coffee. In fact, it wasn't until I was an adult that I began do drink it. Growing up, my dad drank him some coffee (that hasn't changed)! I'm not sure that I remember him not drinking coffee throughout the day. So it must be in my blood. My entire family is a family of java addicts lovers addicts. I'm not sure what changed to bring on my love of coffee. Maybe it was how much I love that it give an excuse to get together to catch up with friends and family, maybe it was realizing that if you put enough cream and sugar in HAS to be great, maybe that I don't drink soda and iced tea just isn't that great in the winter, or maybe just the fact that I have kids and don't sleep! What ever the real reason, to tell you the doesn't matter anymore! Haha! I NEED COFFEE!! It's no longer my winter wake-me-up-er, it is my year-round perc-me-up-er ;). My blood-caffeine levels are probably {point~way~too~much}! 
There really is something to say about a good cup of coffee, and good company. I can't tell you how many times I have said, "lets meet for coffee" or visited in the mornings with great friends for hours drinking coffee. For a long time I met my dad every Friday morning for coffee. It didn't matter where we went, or what we talked about, we could just sit and enjoy our cup of Joe. You can't really say that about many other drinks (other than alcohol, which doesn't usually end the same lol). It just doesn't sound right to say, "remember the days that we could just sit and drink apple juice and bull shit about nothing?? Hmmm, yeah not so much. You can actually make a conversation about coffee! Favorite kinds, favorite blends, how you take your coffee, the worst kinds, and so on! I mean, look, there are COFFEE LINK PARTIES! Coffee Giveaways! Coffee Date Vlogs! It brings people together. 
I know a lot of people like Starbucks, but for just plain coffee, not for me. It tastes too strong for me. I love a strong cup of coffee, but not a bitter taste. I like the Bread Co. and McDonalds even has good coffee. Have you ever had White Castle coffee?? It is SO good! They even sell it in stores! At home, my husband and I usually drink Maxwell House Master Blend. I drink mine with plenty of cream and sugar, and he just uses a little sugar. Everyone else in my family drinks it black, and as much as I would love to like it like that, I just can't :( Diabetes here I come! How do you drink your coffee??

Now it is your turn!
1. Write a coffee related post (it can be anything, make it the way you like it)
2. Link your *coffee related* post up on one of the host's blogs
3. Follow your 5 hosts via GFC & check out some other cute coffee lover's blogs
5. Grab a button and spread the word
6. Have an extra cup of joe today FOR THE LOVE OF COFFEE!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Like Giveaways?? Head over to Eloping Stethoscope for a HUGE ad space giveaway along with a few prizes! 11 prizes with 11 winners!! 
Blog-working Wednesday!

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For the L♥Ve of COFFEE...Link Up and GIVEAWAY!

Now it is your turn!
1. Write a coffee related post (it can be anything, make it the way you like it)
2. Link your *coffee related* post up on one of the host's blogs
3. Follow your 5 hosts via GFC & check out some other cute coffee lover's blogs
5. Grab a button and spread the word
6. Have an extra cup of joe today FOR THE LOVE OF COFFEE!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pin It!

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