7 Ways to Increase Efficiency

7 Ways to Increase Efficiency

How important is it to you to have a little extra time to relax at the end of the day?  For me, it’s pretty vital to my sanity.  Without it, I get grumpy, and nobody likes to be around a grump.  With so much to do in a day, how do you ever get any kind of time to relax?  Our daily activities do not have to be so time consuming that we struggle to get them done.  Let me share with you how I have found ways to add a little more free time to my daily routine.

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First off, I plan out what I want to accomplish in a day.  I think of what is absolutely essential that I really need to get done, and the most logical order to get things done in, and then start with one task at a time.  I try not to overload myself with too much at once, which leads to my next suggestion:

Set small goals for yourself.  Don’t boggle yourself down trying to clean the entire house from head to toe in one day, or build a garden and plant one, or do all five of the activities you’ve been saving to do with the kids… keep things simple and be realistic.  An example of my daily goals would be this: get my laundry done and put away, do the girl’s laundry and put it away, vacuum upstairs, sweep downstairs, clean the kitchen.  That’s it!  That’s what I would set for myself for an entire day.  Sometimes I get it done, and others I don’t, but is anything on that list so essential that I would just not be able to function if I didn’t accomplish it?  No.  For days where I have bigger tasks, I give myself less to do.  Of course, there’s always other things that are done throughout the day, too, like prepping food, cooking, bathing the kids, feeding the pets, cleaning up throughout the day, the general things we do everyday typically.

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It’s still hard to get even the everyday tasks done when we are DISTRACTED.  Immediately when you think of this what comes to your mind?  For me personally, it’s my phone, and sometimes even my kids.  Let’s face it – you’re a mom, you may be stuck at home sometimes with the kids on your days off, trying so hard to get things done but also have a little bit of a social life.  It isn’t a bad thing to be on facebook or instagram.  I use them all the time to connect with my friends and outside world.  They are great tools.  Just use them with caution.  Know that if you open up your app, especially on your phone, you will more than likely spend twice as long as you initially intended to, if not longer.

Instead of using your phone for these things, plan time when you can jump on an actual computer to check your accounts.  This is a lot less time consuming and you will be less likely to allow it to interfere with getting the tasks at hand done.  It’s all part of eliminating distractions.  Of course, we are always going to have to stop what we are doing to help our children out.  That should never be looked at as a burden, just part of being a parent.  Try to find ways they can help you out with what you are doing.  My oldest is turning 4 in a few weeks, and recently she has become more interested in helping me with folding some of the laundry, feeding the animals, and sweeping the floors.  I actually got her a small broom and dust pan for Christmas because that’s what she loves to help me with so much.  She is also great at helping me keep her baby sister entertained, who is turning 1 in a few weeks also.  Sometimes I’m not able to keep the baby happy unless I’m holding her, so I vacuum with her on my hip.  It slows me down, sure, but I keep going anyways.  Eventually she’ll go down for a nap, right?!  Do what you can to keep focused while you are trying to get done the tasks you most desire to that day.  Use what would be a distraction as more of a reward once you’ve accomplished something off your list.

This leads me into the next step: planning for breaks.  I think this is really important.  Work towards getting something done, then (once it is actually done) give yourself 10 or 15 minutes to relax, check in on your kids, jump on facebook, then get back to it!  I have to plan breaks in my day because, again, the baby just won’t let me go more than 20 or 30 minutes before she needs to be all over me.  I just feel extra loved, that’s all!

break time

I do what I can, when I can, and sometimes that’s all anyone can do.  This keeps me from feeling overwhelmed.  I can’t foresee the future: sometimes my day does NOT go how I planned.  Let’s be real: most days don’t go 100% how we planned.  That’s alright.  If I realize half-way through my list that there is just no way I’m going to get everything done on it today, then I don’t stress over it.  I’ll revisit it another time.  Sometimes it’s helpful to wait until the kids are in bed to try to finish up a few things, when there is quiet time to yourself.  I get a lot done in a little amount of time when it’s just me that I have to worry about.

things are heavy

Some days, I wake up and I can’t use my left wrist, or my right index finger, or bend my elbows, or it hurts to walk, because I get random flare-ups all over my body and never know when or where they will be.  That blows my entire plan for the day before it’s even begun.  In these situations I am grateful for a husband who never expects anything from me in a given day.  If I keep our kids healthy and happy, I’ve done a good job.  And I have learned that I can’t expect much from me on those days, and that’s ok.  Trust me, over the past year and a half I have grown to be able to humble myself a LOT more.  I can’t do it all, and I certainly can’t do it by myself.  I am no longer afraid to accept help when it’s offered to me.  I am grateful for it.  Those who care enough about you to be willing to help you clean your house or help with dinner so you don’t have to will not be judging you for the condition of your home, I guarantee it.  Don’t feel bad for needing help.  We all do.  Don’t you dare think less of yourself for it.

Throughout the day check to see how you are doing.  Are you close to getting the things done that you wanted to for the day?  Will you need more time than you thought?  It’s alright to change your plan.  Sometimes we add things to the list, and sometimes things need to be moved to another day.  When trying to improve on your efficiency, you’ll find you need to play around with the amount of time you give yourself to do things.  Evaluate your progress.  In time it will pay off, I promise.

do it right the first time

My dad always taught me to do things once, do it right the first time, as I’m sure practically all of our parents taught us to do.  He’s totally right.  When one of our most frequent complaints in our adult lives is “I don’t have time…”, we definitely don’t have any to waste on re-doing something that we could have done better the first time.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wiped down the kitchen counters, and then when the sun reflects off of them I see all the stuff that I missed and have to go back over them again.  Gross.  I feel lame for missing it the first time (and yes, sometimes it’s hard to see that stuff), but still!   Having to go back and repeat things is an unnecessary waste of time.  Don’t do that!  Take 5 extra minutes before you start vacuuming to actually pick up the floor first, and move all the crap out of your way so you don’t have to stop and do it in the middle of your task.  This is something your kids can help you with if you let them.  My daughter is awesome at this stuff, but because I’ve always had her doing it since she was old enough to put a ball in a bucket.  Again, I’ll take all the help I can get.

Let’s recap on what we just talked about:

  • Plan out your day
  • Set small goals
  • Eliminate distractions
  • Plan for breaks
  • Don’t get overwhelmed
  • Evaluate your progress
  • Do it once

You got this!  You can do this.  Set your mind to it, focus, and get it done.  You NEED the free time at the end of your day!  I know I do.  If there is anything I can do to help you further so you can relax a little more, please let me know.  I want to help.  I’m just like you – trying to work, do a good job raising my kids, and keep an orderly house while having a little free time to do the things I truly love to do.  I hope this can help you in some way.  Again, keep on keepin’ on.

 

XoXo,

Erika

7 Ways to Increase Efficiency

Stress Relief: Do What You Love

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Thanks to millionwaystomother.com for these beautiful images.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed?  Do you feel like there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done?  You wanted to go to the grocery store, but ran out of time; get that load of laundry put away, but threw it to the side instead so you could sleep; wanted to go to the gym but was too exhausted to change your clothes and get there; finish painting that wall, but it was too much to get everything out again…

Why do we work so hard during the day that we leave nothing for ourselves at the end of it?  When I get home I want to be able to play with my kids.  I want to have a family dinner together.  I want to be able to let my kids play in the bath for 20 minutes, to spend time with them.  Time.  That’s the problem, isn’t it?  We “don’t have time” for the things we most desire.  But why?  Why can’t we manage our time better?  Because we are stressed out.

Stress is overwhelming.  We stress about everything!  Is the house clean?  What do I have to get done at work tomorrow?  Did I get everything packed for the kids for school?  What am I forgetting to do?  The grocery list keeps getting longer and longer, but when will I get there?, etc.  Let me tell you a little secret that took me years to discover: everything will work out!  Stop stressing!

I think this is why I find that I have so much time to do the craft projects that I have.  Because I need them.  They allow me to focus on something besides all of the day-to-day tasks that I know will get done anyways.  They allow me to focus frustrations on something better, something that’s more productive.  They allow me to vent.

 We all need some kind of avenue to relieve ourselves from the stress we encounter every single day.

My house does not need to be perfect.  It will never be perfect.  I will never be perfect, and that’s completely fine with me.  My family doesn’t have to be perfect, and that’s O.K.  As long as we are happy, we are healthy, and we have adequate time with each other, we’re good.

When things aren’t in harmony in the home, at work, within family relationships, or anywhere else for that matter, where, what, or who do you turn to?  It is so important to have something to take your mind off of things for a while.  If you’re spiritual, then pray.  Pour your heart out if you need to, it will help.  I do this on the daily!  I also like to find things that just take my mind off of my worries for a while.  CNN actually reported on the importance of crafting and how it acts as a natural antidepressant years ago (find the article here).  There have been countless studies on the benefits of things like knitting, playing a musical instrument, painting, coloring, building things, and so much more.  There is something very powerful and fascinating about creating something from nothing, making things with your own hands.

I craft because I love it.  I also craft because it is soothing for me.  It’s important to me.  My husband knows how important it is and never questions me when I get started on a project; he never gives me a fuss about needing to watch the kids so I can work on something.  He’s amazing in that way.  He’s always supporting me, and loves what I have been able to do for our home.

be better

Raising children is so hard.  It’s even more challenging when you are home alone with them all day long.  I give a huge amount of praise to full time stay at home moms.  I think that is much more difficult and tiresome work than going to a physical job during the day.  I love that I get to work a few days a week.  I need that, too.  I enjoy the adult interaction.  I enjoy what I do.  I think it helps keep me sane at times!  But there is absolutely no greater joy for me than getting to be with my kids.  They are remarkable little people that teach me new things every. single. day.

Choose the Kids

Whatever struggles you are facing, whether they are day to day or completely new, off-the-wall, did NOT see that coming type of struggles, know that you can and will make it through.  I truly believe that.  If you feel like you are unable to find time for yourself, make it a priority.  Put yourself first for once.  Every night I give myself a “cut-off” time.  The kids are both in bed by 7pm.  By 7:30pm, I am done with whatever it is that I needed to get done for the night.  In those 30 minutes I usually clean up dinner, make lunches, pack diaper bags, lay out clothes for the next day, feed the pets, straighten up the living room, and get ready for bed.  I leave my phone somewhere out of sight (and I do this frequently throughout the day).  Why?  Because it is a terrible distraction that can make any mundane task take 5,000,000,000 times longer to get done that it really should.  Agreed?  Again, I don’t like wasting time, because there is always too much to get done, and time is too precious.  When my phone is around, I am usually on it, as are most of us I would think.  If you are having a hard time getting things done in the day, PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN AND FOCUS!  Seriously.  Give it a try.  I promise you it will help you stay on task better and become more efficient.

Stop making excuses.  You have plenty of time.  Use it efficiently.

I don’t mean to sound harsh.  This was a reality I too had to learn.  But now that I have, look at the things that I get to spend more time on… my kids, cooking meals, reading a book, crafting, practicing my piano, having play-dough cook-offs, going to the park, going jogging, getting the shopping done, riding my bike, and writing this blog!  How wonderful it is to not be ‘as stressed’ over time.

Think of the things you love to do the most, but haven’t for a while.  Promise to give yourself 10 minutes tonight to focus on that one thing.  You have 10 minutes to give yourself.  And tomorrow night, try to devote 15 minutes to yourself.  Keep going.  It will be life-changing.  Put the focus back on yourself for a little while each day.  Breathe.  Do what you love to do.  It will be such an incredible outlet for you.

I hope this reaches you in a good light.  I know it has helped me tremendously over the years and struggles seem to become more frequent visitors.  I hope it helps you too.  Good luck with your endeavors.  You can do it.  Keep on keepin’ on.

XoXo,

Erika

DIY Sofa Table (using scrap wood)

fresh summer looks by style bloggers

Our two year anniversary of moving into our house is just a couple of weeks away.  There was a small bucketlist of things I wanted to do right after moving in, which quickly turned into what seemed like an overwhelming, never-ending notebook of things.  I’ve been slowly getting things done, like painting the house, replacing the carpeting (which happened much sooner than I imagined it could, thank goodness!), getting the girls’ rooms set up, creating a cozy guest room, etc.

When my husband and I picked out our couch for our living room, we realized that it would take up basically the entire space.  I always dreamed of having more lamps than I really needed sitting on top of matching end tables, with a storage coffee table in the middle that contained candles, a fake plant of sorts, and magazines no one reads on them – you know, just like a model home: model home living room

Never in my life will this be realistic.  And frankly, it doesn’t look very comfy to me.  I think the couch my husband and I have is the most comfortable couch in the entire world!  It has definitely made watching movies at night a little more difficult – I tend to fall asleep before the ending.

So, I love my couch.  I can’t fit end tables next to it.  I want to be able to put a lamp in the room, and have something to keep remotes and drinks and what not on.  Solution?  Build a sofa table!

I didn’t use any plans to build this, I just measured the distance between my windows, the height of my couch, and got to work.

We have an excess of wood in our garage from various projects we’ve done over the years.  20170311_101450

I picked out my best planks of palate wood, got my sander with the roughest grit paper I had (80 grit I believe is what I used), and got to work.  Shortly after starting my husband mentioned that he wasn’t sure the palate wood would be sturdy enough for a table.  Really?  Ok, fine…

I found some left over MDF board we had from when we built his mom and dad a custom master bedroom closet last summer.  Perfect.  I needed it to be 102 inches long, and each piece was 97 inches.  Grr.  I liked the vision I had in my head this entire time for a sofa table – a rustic-looking stained wood top with visible screws with a gray painted frame.  That’s what I envisioned.  That is not how this turned out.  But, it’s ok.  I still really like my table, and it completely serves it’s purpose.

I started over by trimming the width of the MDF to 6″ each.  I wanted to make two tables, one for each backing of the couch, but only finished one this day.  I’ll do the other one this coming weekend.  So, after the board was trimmed I cut the leg pieces.  I just used 3 pieces of 1×2 wood cut to 31″ in height.  I sanded everything, painted it, and then realized I needed to cut some support pieces for the legs.

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Fortunately, we have this awesome chop saw that makes cutting angles ridiculously easy.  I cut 4 pieces of support wood to 45° angles, sanded and painted them to match.

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I drilled right through the top of the table into the legs after pre-drilling some holes first so I didn’t split the wood.  My husband was a good sport and helped me with this part because trying to drill holes, hold two pieces of wood together, and keep a screw in place was just too much for 2 hands to handle.  After all the pieces were put together I filled the holes with fast drying wood filler.  I used this stuff in my entire house for all the nail holes I had to patch when painting.  It isn’t very noticeable, especially with things on the table.

Finally, after everything was assembled I put two coats of matte polycrilic over everything to seal it in.

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It’s perfect for what I need it for.  It’s not super fancy, and I whipped it together in a few hours, but I love it.

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fresh summer looks by style bloggers

A step closer to having a cozy living room!

 

Thanks for stopping by!  I’m working on a lot of projects, so stay tuned for more!

XoXo, Erika

 

 

 

Let the Home Improvements Begin

Have you ever gone looking at a model home and thought, “this looks amazing in here!”, “I love these floors!”, “I want that table…” etc…  I have!  All the time.  So what do you do about it?  Well, I take pictures of it all.  I have an entire folder of over a dozen different communities of model homes that I have found inspiring over the years.  Not that I want my house to look like a model home, because, let’s be honest, with people actually living in it that’s not very realistic, BUT, I do want it to be something I enjoy coming home to everyday.

When my husband and I bought our house two years ago, we knew there were several things we wanted to change in the near future.  Some of them are little, like cosmetic updates, whiles others are pretty involved (like the kitchen and master bathroom).  We never thought we’d be able to get started on changing out nearly all of our flooring as soon as we have, but we are!  We can’t wait to have new carpet put in next week.  For now, we are keeping the current tile we have, which thankfully goes well with my new paint color, Sherwin William’s Mindful Gray (I wanted to go ‘greige’ throughout the entire house).

One of my least favorite things in my house is the carpet in the dining room.  It’s always building up crumbs (for me, more play-dough than food), and the chairs get stuck on it when you try to scoot yourself out.  It’s completely annoying.  Knowing we were replacing the carpet everywhere but this room, I had to change it out somehow.  I was fortunate enough to find this awesome wood flooring at Home Depot while we were carpet shopping http://www.homedepot.com/p/TrafficMASTER-Lakeshore-Pecan-7-mm-Thick-x-7-2-3-in-Wide-x-50-5-8-in-Length-Laminate-Flooring-24-17-sq-ft-case-35947/205349795.  At 79¢ a square foot it was a total steal!  I wanted to go for a ‘French Oak’ kind of look; something light enough to blend the gray walls and beige tile.  Perfect!  I love it.

When it comes to projects I get very impatient.  I had to get started on this as soon as possible.  After I got home from work last Thursday I had some time to myself.  Once dinner was cleaned up and the kids were in bed I got started taking off the baseboards.

Then that went so smoothly I continued taking the carpet out…

Then the padding.  And then I scraped all the glue off the floor.

The best part was next: putting the actual wood down.  Of course I couldn’t wait so I kept going.  I got the underlayment down fairly quickly and was able to get about 1/3 of the flooring down before my sweet husband made me stop and get ready for bed.

The next day I continued on.  I put the remaining padding down and was able to finish with the wood in just a few hours (while trying to keep a fussy baby and toddler happy).  I had to trim down the baseboards about half an inch because the tile next to it was slightly higher.  This is when we (my mom came to help me with this part) found the wall texture where the baseboards used to be needed to be smoothed down.  Then we painted the wall an extra inch lower than where it was before.

Next I had to put the baseboards back on before putting the t-molds down between the wood and the tile.  I used my nail gun to reattach them, filled the holes with spackling and sanded it down.

It’s finished!  Finally I love the floors in my front room.  It was around $300 for materials and took about 11 hours to completely finish.  This was a super impactful and fairly inexpensive update to my house.  I am so glad it turned out so good.

Next week we will be getting new carpeting, which means before that goes in I need to paint my master bedroom in preparation for it’s makeover!  I am so excited for it.  Stay tuned for more home improvement projects coming VERY soon!

 

XoXo,

Erika

 

 

 

 

Mommy of Many Talents – Projects Over the Years

I wanted to start this blog to show the different things I’ve learned to do myself over the years.  I love being a mom.  It is by far the biggest blessing and best calling I will ever receive.  I want to teach my kids that they can accomplish the things they work hard for.  Working on projects allows me to challenge and express myself while learning and growing at the same time.  This is why I craft, why I love using my power tools, why I love to paint rooms, re-purpose furniture, make things more usable and beautiful.

These are some of the projects I’ve worked on over the past few years.  I wanted to show that this blog is all encompassing.  I really am trying to be a ‘mommy of many talents’.

Baby Taylee’s room:

Melanie’s nursery:

(I sewed her crib skirt and bumper pads.  These were my first ever sewing projects and amazingly they turned out really well!).

Replacing our floors:

Painted accent walls:

(I also made the headboard and valances on the left)

Various Craft Projects:

Old master bedroom closet renovation.  This was awesome and turned out so good, we loved it and it sparked our fire for building things together.

The before (eek!!!):

The after (still needing paint but basically done):

Bathroom accent walls:

Furniture renovating:

I’ll updated the dressers with more recent pictures of the completely finished products because they turned out so so good!

Bench/furniture upholstery and refinishing:

I love doing these.  I currently have 2 more tables in my garage waiting for their makeovers!

Melanie’s Big Girl Room:

Scrap-booking:

Sewing and custom clothing:

These are carseat swaddles that I love sewing for my friends who are having babies.  They’re awesome because the straps go through it, so you just put your baby in and secure them, then bundle them up.

Landscaping and Gardening work:

Wood Signs:

I have at least a dozen more wood signs that I’ve recently made and will add to this collection soon.

More recent miscellaneous crafts:

There have been many other projects that I’ve done that I wasn’t able to find pictures of to share.  I truly have such a passion for creating things – all kinds of things.  I just love working with my hands.  I love challenging myself to learn a new skill and figure something out on my own.  I’m definitely going to continue growing my repertoire of ‘talents’ and hope to be able to share these things with my kids along the way.

I hope you’ve found something you like on here, maybe it will even inspire you to try your own projects.  And of course, if you have any questions on anything, or would like to see a tutorial done on it, please let me know.  I would love to help you accomplish your goals!

What type of projects do you enjoy working on?  Please share some things you’ve done, I would love to see them!

XoXo, Erika

 

Felt Flower Wall Decor

Felt Wall Flower Canvas

Yesterday my sweet little girl was running a pretty good fever, so I stayed home from work with her.  Because she was so sleepy and miraculously so was my 9 month old, I got some serious housework done.  It was wonderful (not my daughter being sick, of course, but getting ahead of the housework for once).  So today, being my regular day off and my kids both feeling great for the first time in what seems like forever, I was able to focus a little bit more on fun projects again!

I’ve had some sheets of felt rolled up in a basket in my room for months now.  I have been wanting to make a few things with them but couldn’t ever find the time to do it.  I also always have random canvas on hand hiding under my bed (I promise when I get my craft room up and running in my house these things won’t be in all sorts of places in my bedroom anymore).

Last year I converted my toddler’s room into her ‘big girl’ room. She’s 3 and has a queen size bed in there.  I know, it’s a little overkill, but now I don’t have to worry about upgrading her again in a few years.  Plus, the bed is from Ikea and has a ton of extra storage in it, which I’m all about.  Anyways, when I redesigned her room I also created a lot of the decorations for it.  One of the things I made were these super cute almost 3-dimensional felt flowers.  Today I’m going to walk through how I made these.  I absolutely love how much they can brighten up a space.  They’re fun for the kids and you can make them to match any decor in your house.

You’ll want to make sure you have all of your materials first.  Here’s what I used to make the flower:

  • 6 sheets of felt fabric
  • Ruler
  • Fabric Scissors
  • 12×12 canvas
  • 12×12 scrapbook paper
  • Scrapbook glue
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Clothespins
  • Buttons or small decor for the center

 

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Before getting started on the felt petals, glue your scrapbook paper to the canvas and let it dry.  This way you won’t have any down time when you are finally ready to start gluing things down.

Choose the colors you want to use for the flower.  I typically pick 3 different colors to use, but you can keep it all one color or use up to four.  My daughter helped me with this part.

After you decide which colors you want to use arrange them in the order you want them on your flower – the larger petals will be in the back.  For the largest size petals you’ll need two sheets of the same color felt.  Cut them in half long-ways (shown below), and then cut them into 3 sections, four inches wide each.

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The next size petal you will need will be cut in half again, but measured to be 3-inches in width.  Each petal size gets slightly smaller.  For the 3rd row of petals cut the felt into 3 long pieces and measure them to be 3-inches wide also.  Finally, cut 2×2-inch pieces for the last row that will be on the top of the entire flower.  If that seemed a little confusing here’s a picture of what your pieces should look like:

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After all of your squares are cut out trim the tips of them to make a point like shown above.

Next you are going to start hot gluing the felt pieces to form petals.

I like folding them in half and gluing the center together near the base, and then folding the sides down and gluing them in place.  This helps keep the petals a little more even looking.

This is where the clothespins come into play.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve burnt my fingers holding these together while waiting for the glue to dry.

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Continue gluing all of your petals together.  Once you’re done with this you’ll lay them out on the canvas like a clock.  Place and glue down four of your petals in the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions.

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Fill in the space with the remaining eight petals.  When your first layer is done it should look something like this:

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Continue gluing on your next row of petals.  I try to space them in between the other petals so it fills in the space nicely.

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Now the third row…

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And finally the fourth row of petals…

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After all of your petals are glued on, put a decoration in the center to pull it all together.  I usually just use a button.  Because I had a little more room to cover I used a knitted flower that I had left over from some headbands we made at my baby shower, with a button on top of it.

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That’s it!  You’re ready to decorate your house with some awesome artwork you made in just a short amount of time.  I hope you love it!

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I love these flowers.  I think they bring so much fun, beauty and color into a room.  I’d love to see how yours turn out!  Happy crafting!

 

XoXo, Erika

Spicy stuffed mushrooms

View More: http://christinaerdmanphotography.pass.us/mushrooms

With Superbowl Sunday this weekend, it’s time to start thinking about what kind of food you’ll be serving at your party (if you’re hosting).  I have a great appetizer suggestion for you that is guaranteed to please!  Spicy stuffed mushrooms.

Not a huge mushroom fan?  Neither was my husband, until he tried these babies.  They are so delicious and fairly simple to make that I find myself making them at least once or twice a month now.  I would honestly just eat these as a meal if I had a choice, but my toddler won’t eat spicy things, so that wouldn’t go over too well at home.

Alright, ready to learn how to make these bad boys?  Let’s get started!

View More: http://christinaerdmanphotography.pass.us/mushrooms

Things you need:

  •  About 3 dozen medium-large white mushrooms
  • 1 package hot Italian sausage
  • 1 package mild or sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup crushed red pepper
  • 5-6 cloves garlic

 

To get started, thoroughly wash the mushrooms and separate the stems from the caps.  Keep the stems in a separate container and put them to the side for now (you will be chopping these up to add into the mix later).

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In a large skillet cook together the hot and mild Italian sausage.  Once it’s cooked down a bit and you have some grease in the bottom of the pan crush the garlic and add it to the sausage.

Chop the mushroom stems and add them into the mixture.  You can use as many or as little of these as you’d like.  I typically use at least 3/4 of the mushroom stems in my mix.  After this is almost all cooked down drain the grease, then add the crushed red pepper into the sausage mix.  If you like your food really spicy use more crushed red pepper.  I am a moderately-spicy type of gal, so I don’t use as much as some might.  I find that about 1/3 cup is sufficient for my taste buds.

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Once your sausage mixture is cooked down set it aside to cool.  During this time I shred all of the cheese.  You can buy pre-shredded cheese, but I find that it doesn’t melt down the same way that the deli cheese does.  I use a block of mozzarella and a block of Parmesan and grate it myself.

View More: http://christinaerdmanphotography.pass.us/mushrooms

After the cheese is shredded add it to the sausage mixture.

Finally, add your breadcrumbs.  Your mix is ready!  Now we need to prep the mushrooms.

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I use a small knife to trim the outer edge of the mushroom.  Then, I use a spoon to scrape out the insides until it’s fairly clean.  This is the most time consuming process, but once it’s done you’re ready to stuff!  Stuffing your mushrooms doesn’t take very long, so now would be a good time to preheat your oven to 350°F.

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Spread your mushrooms out on a cooking pan.  Take your mix (I use my hands to stuff them) and fill them up.  I pack the mix in fairly heavily.  Bake your mushrooms in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

That’s it!  Once the mushrooms have cooked down a little and the cheese is nice and gooey you are ready to take them out.  Let them cool for about 5 minutes, then feast!

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These suckers are seriously delicious.  Enjoy the fruit of your labors!

Let me know what you think!  How did your mushrooms turn out?  When will you be serving them next?  Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!

Delicious Spicy Stuffed Mushrooms (1)

 

Xoxo,

Erika

Rainy-Day Canvas Crafts

Canvas Crafts.pngJanuary can be pretty dreary at times, wouldn’t you agree?  The holidays are over and seem forever away and nothing super exciting is going on this month.  Kids are back in school (unless you have little ones that aren’t there yet like me), husband is working, and now it’s cold and rainy outside.  I need to keep myself and my kiddos entertained today, so what to do?  How about make some awesome artwork using an old piece of canvas you’ve had hiding under your bed that your toddler can help with?  Sounds like a perfect solution to staying indoors!

This is our current view from our front window.  Brrr!!!  There’s nothing more my daughter loves than helping mommy with her projects.  This one I wanted to be special.  I wanted it to be about my kids.  So, naturally, I did something that my sweet girl could help me with.  Here’s how we made our awesome canvas artwork.

First, I dug out an old and already slightly used 16×20 canvas that I got from a yardsale for about a quarter.  I decided I wanted a quote on there that reflected how important it is to spend time with and invest in your kids.  I also wanted there to be some artwork on it to brighten it up and make it more fun.

   

                 

I brought my canvas outside and spray painted it this awesome gold color that I had left over from a Christmas project my little brother came up with.  While it was drying, I went onto my computer to get started on the saying I wanted on the canvas.  I used my Silhouette Studio software to design it.

      

The quote I chose to use was from C.S. Lewis: “Children are not a distraction from more important work.  They are the MOST important work”.  I just love this.  Once I finally settled on a font (this only took me 20 minutes, I went with Segoe Script), I used contact paper on my mat to cut out a stencil.  My cut settings were blade: 2 and material: vinyl.

After my stencil finished cutting I used reverse weeding (find a great tutorial of that here from Silhouette School http://www.silhouetteschoolblog.com/2015/03/reverse-weeding-explained-how-and-when.html) to remove the negative pieces that I didn’t need.  I then used clear contact paper as transfer paper and made my stencil ready to be placed on the canvas.  I put this aside for now and got started with the flowers that I wanted to add some color to the artwork.

 I used three different clip-art flowers for my middle design.  I traced them and cut them as I did for my quote above.

 I taped off the section of the canvas that my toddler was going to help me paint.  We chose a few bright colors and got to work painting random colors in the middle.

After the paint dried I placed the flower stencils on top of it.  A neat trick I’ve learned to do when using canvas is to place a book underneath it so you can firmly press the stencil onto it without ruining your canvas.  Now we can take it outside and spray paint over it again.

   

Once the spray paint dried I brought the canvas back inside and placed my quote on it.  Make sure you don’t remove the flower stencils!  You will be placing your quote on top of them for now.  After my quote was placed, I painted the entire canvas again, this time a different color.

    

I use my cutting mat to line up my stencil before smoothing it down.  This helps me visualize it better to make sure it’s straight because I am absolutely terrible at eye-balling this kind of thing!

We took a break while this was drying and made some chocolate chip cookies, because who doesn’t love to bake during cold weather?

Now we are finally ready to take off all of the stencils and enjoy our awesome rainy day artwork!

At last!  The finished product!  I love how it turned out and I love even more that my daughter helped me with it!

What kind of rainy day craft projects have you done?  I’d love to see them!  Thank you for visiting this tutorial.  I hope you are able to make some awesome artwork with your little ones too!

Xoxo, Erika

Hello Everyone! Welcome to my blog!

I am so excited to be starting my very own blog.  I cannot wait to share with you some of the projects I’ve done with various things in my own home, from wall decor to repurposing neighbor’s curbside finds.  I look forward to sharing my experiences with you and working on some major upcoming home rennovations!  Stay tuned.  I am working hard every day on getting things up and running.

 

Xo, Erika