$0.75 Decorative Gift Bags

Fun, fancy, and decorative gift bags are getting pricey! Here’s a fun way to make them yourself for under $1! You can also get creative and use the idea for some fun Christmas bags!

Happy Crafting!

Cost Per Bag: $0.75
Time: Less than 5 minutes

$0.20 each Flower-Deconstructed (Bunch of 5- $1 Dollar Tree)
$0.50 each Plain Gift Bag (Set of 2 – $1 Dollar Tree)
$0.05 each Tissue Paper (Package of 20 – $1 Dollar Tree)
Hot Glue Gun

Deconstruct Flower
Remove leaves and flowers from stems.

Flower Prep
Use the hot glue gun to attach leaf to the base of the flower.


Gift Bag Prep
Use flower stem to measure and make hole for flower base.


Attaching Flower to Bag
Use hot glue gun around hole then firmly press flower down while it dries.


Add some tissue and your bag is ready to go!




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DIY Eli Shane (Slugterra) Costume

si-2This Kid.

He wanted to be Eli Shane of Slugterra for Halloween.

The problem: This costume doesn’t exist. Eli is just obscure enough to be absent from every Halloween Costume web-site in America… and the world.

So, off I went to the store to obtain the necessary items to make it happen. People if you can talk your child out of this costume… DO IT! However, if you must make it, here are the steps to get it done!

Happy Crafting!


Eli Shane, Slugterra


Silas as Eli Shane, Slugterra














$15 Black, White, and Orange T-Shirts (Wal-Mart $4.97 each)
$12.99 Orange Backpack (Amazon Backpack)
$8 Fabric Spray
$4 Yellow and Orange Puff Paint (Wal-Mart $2 each)
$18.99 Blaster: Eli’s Gun (Amazon Blaster)
Golf Ball Sleeves
Black Fabric Scraps
Sewing Machine

Yes! This costume added up, however, Silas used his allowance to buy the blaster and we had a lot of the items on hand to save money.



Shirt: Cut, connected with adhesive fabric spray, and ready to sew.

Fabric Being Sewn on Shirt

Measuring and cutting orange fabric trim.
After this it was attached with adhesive spray to keep it in place before sewing it together.

Measuring, cutting, and sewing orange fabric under arm.


Shirt Finished!


Backpack – Ready to be made into Eli Shane’s Backpack

Fabric sleeve made from black fabric and pulled on over strap. Once a sleeve was sewn together for the strap, It could easily slide on because of the detachable strap on the backpack. Strap is pinned on underneath so it can be easily removed for use as a regular backpack too.


Each “Slug Holder” made from a golf ball sleeve (plastic). It was easily cut down to size with scissors.

Velcro sewn on to the fabric backpack sleeve and stuck onto the “slug holder”.

Star Decor: Black fabric used to sew and stuff a mini pillow. Then added a star with puff paint. After drying, the star pillow was sewn to the fabric backpack sleeve.

Backpack Finished!


Just add boots and jeans! 🙂


Ready To Go!



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DIY Thing 1 and Thing 2 Costumes



These two cuties (Shiloh and her friend) decided to be Thing 1 and Thing 2 for Halloween on the bus last week Thursday. As luck would have it, we couldn’t get the costumes in time so I got out the sewing machine and puff paint and got to work.

For the record, I recommend buying the shirts if you have the time to wait for them in the mail. They’re only about $13 on Amazon.

Two positives of making the shirt:
1. I was excited to be able to get them long sleeves so they would be a little warmer when they were out and about Trick or Treating.
2. This could be a super fun parent/child project! 🙂

Happy Sewing… and Puff-Painting!


Shirt, Skirt, and Leggings

Red Shirt:
$4.97 (Wal-Mart)
Leggings: $10 (Target)
Tutu: $10 (Party City)
Puff Paint: $2.47 (Wal-Mart)
Sewing Machine
White Thread
White Fabric Scraps

Creating the Circle
After I finished, the shirts I realized that sewing the circle’s edge before putting it on the shirt was unnecessary, I could have just left the edges without sewing as the puff paint covered it all. However, I wasn’t sure so I didn’t leave it to chance.
If you and your kids try this one I would drop this step.

Puff-Paint Time!
Don’t forget to let it dry for a day. 🙂

Measuring and Sewing

More Puff-Paint… and Dry Time!


Thing 1 & Thing 2


Thing 1 & Thing 2






A little blue hair to finish the look!


Thing 1 & Thing 2


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Backyard Transformation!

Our Backyard Journey: From Muddy to Magnificent!

Source: Backyard Transformation!

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God’s Creative Third Option

My momma heart was utterly broken as I brought my little five-year-old girl to Kindergarten for the first time. She had a May birthday and I had been hoping to keep her safely under my wing for an extra year. I felt convinced that the longer I kept her tucked by my side the better off she would be. In fact, I had even tried homeschooling for preschool; unfortunately it turned out to be a tough year riddled with personal illnesses that had left me jaded and unable to continue.

swingsI had longed for my daughter to be home for that extra year. My husband and I had talked and prayed about when we would send her. We had debated about it for months and we just couldn’t agree on the subject. He thought it was best that she start school at a younger age and I remained in the opposite camp.

Ultimately, we knew that she would be okay either way but we still couldn’t agree on which option was the very best for her. I finally agreed to do it my husband’s way even though I strongly disagreed with him. We had to decide at some point, after all.

shiloh-up-closeSo here I was, bringing my blue-eyed, red-haired baby to school. Her body was nearly being swallowed by her full-sized backpack as she searched for her classroom. I longed to change the decision, to grab her back out of school and keep her with me. Without even realizing it, I began secretly complaining.

With a Side of Anger…
Unknown to me, as I grumbled and grieved, a bitterness and anger were growing within me towards my husband because of our disagreement and, quite frankly, because I hadn’t gotten my way when I was clearly the one who had the best opinion.

Any time my daughter had a hard day, I mentally complained. I continued to think that if we had waited, each challenge she faced would have been easier. Slowly, those little pieces of bitterness and anger grew into a big rock in my heart.

I knew things couldn’t change. The decision was made. So I didn’t pray about it and accepted my anger and frustration as my lot to bear. I stuffed it down, deep inside. The bitterness came out in occasional comments to my husband, but mostly, I kept stuffing.

I didn’t even recognize that it was happening but the anger kept growing. Every year at every teacher meeting I would ask the teacher if she was in the right grade. Every year, the teacher assured me that my daughter was doing great.

But it didn’t matter. I was still angry.

si-3Kindergarten… Again
Nine months ago, it was time to put my son in kindergarten. I felt the same emotions brewing in my heart again. My husband and I had discussed what to do and remained in disagreement on how to proceed. Again, I verbally conceded but was so incredibly disheartened and angry inside.

Finally, I became consciously aware of how angry and bitter I had become over three years. A few days into the school year, I knew I couldn’t hold the anger anymore. This couldn’t be God’s best for me or this situation.

Nothing could change. But I finally chose to pray anyway.

si-2Anger and Prayer
I prayed that God would do something. Something. I didn’t care what but something to make the situation right again. Something to shave away three years of anger. It didn’t seem possible, it seemed hopeless, but still I prayed.
I prayed daily, in anger and in desperation, waiting for God to show me a third option that my little earthly mind couldn’t fathom. What did I expect from this prayer? Honestly, I was hoping it would have something to do with my husband changing, not me. I wanted vindication, and yet, in my fury, even with clenched fists, I prayed openly for God’s will, for God’s best.

Forgiveness and Freedom
One month, just one month after I started praying, I was walking through the hallway in my house and I just stopped. I realized something. I wasn’t angry anymore. I was starting to forgive and let go of the deep hurt I had held for so long.

I couldn’t see anything that could possibly change in that situation but God could. God knew my heart needed to change. It didn’t matter who was right any more, my heart and my relationship with my husband were what mattered.

I began forgiving my husband, and the load got lighter. The rock of anger in my chest was slowly starting to wear away with each prayer. I continued to pray and began to embrace forgiveness and let go of anger. I finally spoke with my husband about it and was encouraged by his openness and love as we discussed the topic.

3rd-and-kI don’t know why I so stubbornly held onto the lie that nothing could change for so long. I don’t know why I couldn’t believe that God might have a third option for me, for us.

Continued Forgiveness, Continued Healing
It’s been about nine months since I began praying about the thing that couldn’t get better and I still disagree with my husband. If you ask me about when to send kids to school, I will get fired up when sharing my opinions, but I’m not holding anger anymore. I’m not only okay, but at peace with the choice we made for our kids.

When God started showing me that third option I started trusting Him with more things. I started praying about more things that couldn’t change. I started bringing things to Him that I hadn’t considered bringing to Him before with a new hope that Jesus could enter the story and do a new thing.

This story has been the start of many new beginnings in our relationship. I began realizing there were many more rocks in my heart over a number of topics I had been stuffing. We’re still having many conversations and praying through old hurts. However, all those rocks I had been holding onto are slowly melting away.

brOur relationship is healing in these other areas I didn’t even realize it was broken and hurting. It has brought new life, love, joy, and openness to our marriage.

I’m so thankful I prayed when nothing could change because God brought new hope to a situation steeped in lies. He made my hopeless story beautiful again.

Your Turn
The beginning of this story is embarrassing for me. I don’t like it. It exposes much more about my humanity and brokeness than I would like to share. However, more than maintaining my pride, I long to see my brothers and sisters in Jesus daring to pray. Believing that God has a third option for us, whether it is a new path we didn’t have eyes to see without His guidance or even a path that includes a change in our hearts.

If you are like me, there is something in your life that can’t and won’t change. I pray that my story gives you the courage to hope and to lay your heart before Jesus with an openness that just maybe He can show you a path you cannot perceive on your own.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
-Isaiah 43:19

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Roman Shade Redo & Kitchen Pictures!

Before                                                        After
Roman Shade Redo
Scroll Down for Kitchen Pictures

Roman Shade (19)

Roman Shades- Before

So, we had these amazing superior custom-made Roman shades in our kitchen when we moved in. The only problem was that they were brown and I was going with the gray family. Seriously, everything in gray (or white, or cream). These were brown and once I painted the walls gray they just had to go.

The price of new custom Roman shades of the same quality would have cost between $500-$1,000 (price comparison below). Panel curtains were out of question for me because this is a high traffic area in the kitchen. In addition, any “off the shelf” shades/blinds didn’t fit because of the windows being custom sizes. I was convinced I could recover these Roman shades for a fraction of the cost of getting them professionally recovered while maintaining the superior quality, and you know what? I was right, I could. And they look amazing and it only cost me $50.

This project is a simple process with no sewing, however, it is super time consuming and slow. Do you have Roman shades you are thinking about recovering or replacing? Check out the process below and see if you’re up for the long haul and big savings involved in recovering them or if buying new is the right path for you!

Happy Crafting!

(Superior Grade, Roman Shades with fabric backing)

Cost Comparison
My Cost: $50
Lowes (In Stock): $204.91* Large Shade: $95.97, Small Shades: $108.94 ($54.47 each)
*Not actually available in the custom sizes I needed. Closest price comparison was Levolor Brand – Oak Wood Blinds.
Special Order Shades: $597.48 – $1,146.69 ($199.16 – $382.23 each)
Custom Roman Shade Estimates

Supply List
$40 Fabric (I used 2 curtain panels from Target that I found on sale- $20 each)
$10.99 Fabric Spray
Fabric Scissors
Ironing Board
Spray Bottle (water)
Long Nose Pliers
Scrap fabric/plastic (for over-spray from fabric spray)

Part 1 ~ Curtain Prep

  1. Take Pictures!
    Get an accurate sense of what the shades look like and document in pictures.
    *We’ll be covering the brown fabric on the front of the shade, however, the white backing on the shade will remain.
  2. Detach Roman Shade from Window Frame
    Use a drill or screwdriver to carefully remove curtains from window frame.
    Roman Shade (39)
  3. Detach Eyelets and Pulley System From Wood Frame
    The Roman shade uses a wooden frame at the top to hold the curtain together. Put curtain face down and the backing facing up. Use 2 sets of pliers and screw driver to remove eyelets and pulley system from wood frame. Leave the remaining pieces of the pulley system intact. I just left the rest of the rope attached down the back of the shade. Yes, It was a bit awkward when working with the front of the curtain but since the back had a plain white fabric which I kept as the backing, it was worth just dealing with the awkwardness and saving myself some extra work later.
  4. Prepare Fabric
    Measure and experiment with fabric. Consider where you want the pattern of the fabric to start at the top of the window frame and how you want the fabric to be balanced. Each curtain will need to be set up similarly to ensure that the look is consistent.
    *Check and recheck before cutting!

    Roman Shade

    Choosing the right fabric! It took a while for a family consensus. I still like the small sample in the middle best but chose to compromise. I’m so agreeable. 😉

  5. Measure and Cut Fabric
    Allow 3-5 inches on either side of the edge for folding over and mistakes.
    Do the same for the top and bottom of the shade. Don’t forget to take into account that you will roll the fabric around the wood frame on top and fold it under at the bottom.
  6. Iron Fabric


    I’m pretty much an ironing ninja.

  7. Prep Wooden Frame
    The wooden frame is part of the top of the curtain which is used to attach it to the window frame. Gently pull back curtain fabric from around wooden frame. Pull off old curtain material that is wrapping the wooden end. Repeat on other side.

Part 2 ~ Bring on the New Look

  1. Recover Wooden Frame Edges
    Use scraps of fabric left from the larger curtain to recover the edges of the wooden frame. Trim excess fabric so overlap won’t be too thick. Use a hot glue gun or a wood stapler to wrap it like a present on both ends of the wood frame.
  1. Prepare Wood Frame
    Put new curtain fabric over the top of old fabric. Turn shade face down. Pull up new fabric around the wood frame and carefully position. Cut excess fabric for a smooth surface. It doesn’t matter if some of the original curtain gets cut or damaged as it will merely be the surface which we base our covering on. T
    *Remember that the curtain needs to be positioned so that when it is wrapped around the wood frame the pattern is even. Check and recheck this before moving on.

  2. Attach New Fabric To Wood Frame
    Staple/glue the fabric even with the wood frame over the old fabric. Roll wood frame and fabric while carefully folding in the new fabric over the old along both edges. Staple and glue as necessary. Once the fabric is properly attached on the wood frame very little glue will be needed.
    *Roll Wood Frame until in the position it will be when hung.
  1. Reattach Hardware
    Carefully screw in the hardware and rope system for the shade. I tried to put it back in the same location as before. I also marked where I would be screwing the wood frame into the window frame. Ensure that it is working properly. If you forgot what it was supposed to look like check your pictures to reassemble.
  2. Cover Original Fabric
    Flip the curtain so the front is facing up. The new fabric should be resting loosely on top of the old fabric. The Top of the curtain should be securely attached. Smooth new fabric over old fabric and gently wrap the sides.
    *For those of you who like wrapping presents think of the old fabric as the thing to be wrapped up in the new fabric.

  3. Iron Edges
    Once the body of the curtain is laying in place iron the edges so they fold neatly over the old fabric and tuck under the backing for a clean line. The curtain should look almost done aside from the fabric still hanging loosely at the bottom of the shade.
    *Keep in mind that I am tucking the new fabric only around the old brown fabric. The white fabric that makes up the backing will continue to be the backing of the curtain when redone.

Part 3 ~ Finishing Up

  1. Connect Old and New Fabric
    Your new fabric should be lying loosely over the old fabric with the edges ironed, still able to fold or unfold from around the old fabric. It’s time to make a decision on how/if you will connect the old and new fabric.

    Here are your choices:
    1. Use spray adhesive between old and new fabric. This is adhesive-spraywhat I did. It works well but is a lot of work to smooth out and shows the bends in the fabric very clearly. My shade will be up the majority of the time so this worked great for me. If you will have your shades down often, I recommend option 2.
    2. Sew new fabric to old fabric in a few places. This is the best option but it’s more work. Choose a few spots in the bend of the fabric to attach the old and new fabric. This will keep the new fabric in place and it won’t show the spots sewn when the shade is pulled up.
    3. Do nothing to attach and see if it stays together well enough. This might work great but if it doesn’t you might need to go back to option 1 0r 2.

  2. Fold In Edges
    Position shade so the new fabric is facing up. Check to ensure edges are still crisp, iron again if needed. Use fabric adhesive to spray underneath the edges of the fabric then fold back in an press to secure. Be sure to guard from over spray with an old towel, plastic, or newspaper. Again, I folded the new fabric around only the old brown fabric and left the white backing exposed for a clean finished look on.
    *As I went I continually checked to ensure my pattern was straight and my fabric wasn’t wrinkling.
  1. Finish Bottom
    Use spray adhesive to fold the new fabric around the bottom of the old fabric and fold it over the edges at the bottom to give a clean finish. Iron the edging at the base if necessary.
    *Also, notice how the front fabric has been separated from the backing so I can create a new look with the updated fabric while maintaining the clean lines the white backing will give when put back together.
  2. Smooth
    Smooth out any bumps or crooked lines on the shade.
  3. Attach to Window Frame
    Screw shade into window frame.
    *Some nudging and pulling may be necessary to get the pattern perfectly aligned when being hung.

    Roman Shade -Backing
    Completed shade and backing will have completely clean lines.
    No evidence of the old fabric remaining!

Roman Shade (34)

One Completed… Two To Go!

You Did it!
*Repeat as needed to get all of your shades recovered.

Kitchen Pictures




Kids’ Art Wall


Roman Shades – After




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Backyard Transformation!

Here it is! My first “outsourced” house project. This summer, my husband and I asked Joe Farmer and his crew at Livin’ Green to help take our backyard from muddy to magnificent! It was especially fun to watch the progress out the window since all my personal projects were on the shelf in lieu of summer fun with the kids.


The Side of our Home – Before and After

This home and our last drew us in with the gorgeous trees that covered the property, however, they have both missed other perks like grass, plants, and landscaping. We never had a chance to make changes at our last house so we were thrilled to work with Joe and find just the right look for our new backyard.

Walkway Between Garage and Patio – Before and After

What started with a simple idea to fix the erosion problem and sew some grass seed became a great fire pit backyard redo. After several tons of dirt were brought in, the crew pulled out the old warped and cracked concrete steps and sidewalk and began to rebuild the foundation.

Patio Steps – Before and After

I was a mess over the stone and paver choices for weeks. My love of all things gray had to be balanced with the warm red and tan colors that made up the outside of our home. Finally I settled on retaining wall colors that were a warm brown color and Driftwood pavers that blended browns and slate gray tones.

Patio Deck Steps – Before and After

Livin’ Green went to work with our newly chosen pavers and stone. After much diligent labor in the hot sun they created beautiful steps and paths out to our new fire pit. As an added bonus they built-in some natural curves and slants to work with the gradual slope down the hill that will keep all that dirt in place.


The Back of Our Home – Before and After

Livin’ Green installed a sprinkler system and then got to work on landscaping, sod, and mulch. It was SO much sod! Some glowing LED lights were also added to for just the right amount of light for us to find our way to the fire pit without detracting from the beautiful night sky.

Yard and Fire Pit Area – Before and After

Now, we are on the search for the perfect Adirondack chairs and preparing to have one last portion of the backyard to completed. It’s so much fun to have a backyard after four years without one.

We are loving our new yard and plan to roast s’mores all throughout fall!

Scroll Down to see all the detailed pictures of the finished product and the process







Here’s our next project in the back yard. I’m standing on the tall stairs looking over the wall at all the… ahem… opportunity that we still have left in the backyard.


To Be Continued…. Our Next Project (the rest of the back yard).

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