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December's Hot Cocoa Chalkboard

It all begins with an idea that catches my eye. This one was found via Pinterest, and is a print by Lily&Val. Hot cocoa screams cozy and comfy and Christmas to me, and so I chose to use this for my next chalkboard design (see how i actually made my chalkboard, and my first design HERE).

After I screen-shot-ed (haha oh my word i know that's horrible...how do i say that anyways?!)  the Pinterest pin, I sketched it out on a random piece of mail i had lying around (a hospital bill, lovely).

Then I taped up my sketch next to the board so I had it at eye level.

I sectioned off the board (you can BARELY see the pencil marks here), and then I used a pencil to draw the design on.

Then comes the chalk pen!

LA LA LOVE how this one turned out!! My husband even complimented me on it...and that's big for him (hah!)!

See how I made my kitchen chalkboard HERE!

White Chocolate Mummy Pretzels

My oldest (4) is in soccer right now, and today was our turn to bring a small after-game snack + drink. Since he truly is obsessed with all things Halloween right now (and has been talking about it for the past 3 months, i swear), we decided to make a "spooky" treat to share with his teammates. I let him scroll through my Halloween board on Pinterest, and he chose this pin.  White chocolate mummy pretzels (reminds me of these ones we did last year). I was so happy because I knew these were fast, cheap, and doable. Something he could help with too. Win win win.

S U P P L I E S:

• pretzel rods
• white almond bark/melting chocolate (plain white chocolate chips work fine too)
• vegetable oil
• wax paper
• small handful of chocolate chips (for the eyes)
• toothpick

So it's not rocket science. And I feel silly even writing out steps, but here's what I did:

STEP 1: broke off some chunks of Almond Bark, put them in a bowl, and melted in the microwave
STEP 2: used a spoon to spread the white chocolate all over the pretzel rod (this is the step my kids helped a lot with)
STEP 3: placed dipped pretzel rod on wax paper to dry (doesn't take long!)
STEP 4: repeat steps 2 and 3 until you are out of chocolate or pretzels, or have your desired amount
STEP 5: warmed up some more Almond Bark, added in a small amount of vegetable oil (like a teaspoon-add more if needed. be careful you don't overdo it or the chocolate won't dry!), and mixed it up. i've found this makes drizzling the chocolate so much easier and smoother.
STEP 6: drizzle that white chocolate mixture over your pretzels, creating the desired "wrapped mummy" look, let dry
STEP 7: in a separate bowl, warm up the small handful of chocolate chips
STEP 8: using a toothpick, create chocolate mummy eyes on your "mummys", let dry
STEP 9: share and enjoy!

We wrapped ours in plastic wrap and tied them with an orange bow to hand out after the game. My son was way excited when his teammates came over to see what we were giving them, and kept saying: "It's a spoooooky treat!"

DIY Wood Slice Wreath

What do you do when your man brings you home a bunch of freshly cut wood slices? Make a wood slice wreath of course. Ever since I saw this one on Pinterest a few weeks ago, I have been bugging mine to go cut up a tree for me. Well, we finally got out and made it a family affair. We found this tree already chopped down/dead on some of my husband's grandparent's land.

What do you need to make your own?


• wood slices (so obviously i enlisted my husband's help and made him do this part for me, but i also found that you can buy some here or here on Amazon!)
• wreath backer/flat frame (to connect your wood slices to. i used cardboard)
• hot glue gun + glue sticks
• any material for decorating it (i used burlap and cotton fabric)

Step 1: I first laid out my wood slices, and arranged them how i wanted them to look

Step 2: Grab your cardboard and re arrange your wood slices on top of the cardboard ( so technically, you don't have to even do step 1, but that's just what i did). Also, I at first didn't even use cardboard or anything to back my wreath (so dumb, what was i thinking!). I tried to glue the wood slices together with some Loctite that I had, and that was a big fat fail. Then one of my girlfriend's told me to try just using some plain cardboard as a backer....genius! I never would have thought of that!
Step 3: Take a pencil and trace around the wood slices
Step 4: Carefully remove your wood slices, and cut out your cardboard frame (you can see i cut in further, and rounded my frame, so that less of the cardboard showed from the front and it wasn't all "bumpy" looking...if that makes sense! haha)
Step 5: Hot glue your first layer of wood slices to the cardboard frame. then hot glue the second layer onto those. below is how the back of my wreath looks, just to give you an idea:

Step 6: Dress it up! I used some extra burlap and fabric I had to make a big bow

This is the best shot you're getting from me of my little kitchen. The lighting is killing me but oh well. So I had originally made this thinking it was going outside, but then I ended up hanging this one inside! But then the next day I took the leftover slices and made another that I hung on our back door:

I didn't have enough wood slices to layer over top, and  you can see the cardboard frame more on this one. But I still am happy how it turned out. And i literally just used a thumb-tack to attach the bow to the wreath, because I want to be able to change it up when Thanksgiving and Winter come around.

Another other small "fall" project i've done lately? I made that "FALL" banner hanging in my kitchen window. Super simple. Just cut up more burlap, painted the letters on, and hot glued the burlap to some twine.

Blog Design: Sunshine & Munchkins

Shani got referred to me through a mutual friend, and I'm so glad she trusted me to help her with the overhaul of her Blogger blog design! It was exciting to see this come together! Here's the mood board we started out with:

After the mood board was agreed upon, I started dishing out some header ideas for her to look over.

After the header design was decided upon, I was able to start putting together her blog design (aka i got to start the template coding). This part is so fun because things start feeling more "real" and it's exciting to see your thoughts come alive on the great big internet! Here is her final design board:

Always mobile responsive. Always. If you don't have a mobile responsive blog currently, I can't stress to you how important it is to have one! It like, shouldn't even be a question. Update that shiz! I promise you will be over-the-moon happy you finally did. Pinky swear.

Just like I did on my last blog design, I styled a fun drop down menu with images. Images just make things 10x more fun to look at! They draw your readers in and get them hooked with all your pretty content and posts.

Another one of my favorite parts of her blog design, was creating her background. I was super hesitant/nervous at how it would look and turn out, but I think it looks awesome and is so perfect for her blog's personality.

Go check out Shani's new design for yourself here!
You can see my latest designs in my portfolio here.
Or if you want, you can just search through allllll my past designs here.

October Desktop Calendars

Fall is officially here, and I think it's safe to say it's now the month of all things pumpkin and spice. Today I want to share two October calendar options you can use as backgrounds for your desktop!

» if viewing from your phone, simply click the image you want and save it. then transfer to your desktop. (i have found the fastest/easiest way to do this is through Dropbox)
» if viewing from your desktop, simply click the image, then right click and “save as”.
*for personal use only, thank you!

» view my other freebies here!

Pregnancy and Life Challenges

Mommy bloggers. Heard the term? Funny how it's legit and a big deal nowadays. But that's definitely what I'd call myself I guess, a mommy who blogs. A mommy-blogger. Although if you're new around here you might be thinking: uh, okay. but mostly you just post crafty/art stuff. And yep you'd be right.  And that's how I like it. If you read my about page, you'd find that, when i started out, it was important for me to separate my family blog and my "hobby" blog. As I've grown and now have two - almost three - littles around me daily, I find it harder to not post things about them on here. Sharing our more routine and daily family moments. Especially because I love following and drawing strength from all the other moms out there. I've gained new friends from this online social world, that I wouldn't have made any other way. And I think that's pretty cool. I seriously love my - haha i don't even know what to call them - social friends!

Today I wanted to take a step to open up to you a bit more. Show you all a little more personal side of me....man even writing that kinda freaks me out. As a young mom who is in the throes of "adulting" and "mommyhood", my life right now consists of play times, nap times, temper tantrums, punishments and rewards, discipline galore, and yes - wait for it - many golden happy moments that make all the tears and meltdowns bearable. Dare I say even insignificant? Funny how my little monsters can do that to me.

When I found out I was expecting my third I was pumped. Excited and "ready" and I couldn't wait to find out the gender...just like any other expectant mother. I've always wanted a big family. Maybe because my husband had 10 kids in his, and I had 6? Who knows. However, when we went in for the 20 week gender reveal/anatomy scan, we found out this sweet little baby girl (yep another girl! woo!) had some problems.  In a nutshell, she has what's called Pulmonary Agenesis. Meaning she has only one lung (i mentioned briefly here).  Due to this abnormality, and a few other sad issues we've found with her little body, we aren't sure what the future holds for her or us. We've had multiple visits and appointments with specialists and doctors down in Utah (The University of Utah and Primary Children's), which is where I will be delivering. You can read more about our journey thus far with her here.

Sometimes life hands us lemons....and sometimes I want to stomp on them and squish them in anger and throw them right back. My first two pregnancies were the most boring/easy/non-problematic things, and Bronx(4) and Tinley(2) are totally healthy. Pregnancy number three has rocked me. One of the hardest things for me right now, is looking at baby clothes. I have a month left (I get induced on November 3rd!), and have finally started feeling that urgent need to GET ALL THE THINGS DONE! Which isn't a bad thing. It's actually good for me to be keeping busy. It takes my mind off of the sad and unknown of what's to come.

I know that we all have different trials and life challenges. And I know we all process them slightly differently. And honestly, when I step back and look at this current situation my husband and I are dealing with, I start feeling guilty. I feel guilty because I have cousins and friends who have and are going through what seem like even harder situations. Like not being able to get pregnant. And I feel so ungrateful. But I know I can't compare like that...it's not healthy for anyone to do that! I guess I just wish I could hug all you mommys out there and want-to-be mommys, who are struggling with your own battles every day. I wish I could just invite you over to hang out and talk about everything you are feeling and we could laugh and cry together.

I came across this quote the other day and it now stands as my new favorite.

Fall Phone Wallpapers

I thought I'd be more sad about summer coming to an end, but turns out, I really REALLY love the fall. I enjoy the change of seasons, the different smells, the excitement that the upcoming holidays bring. Not to brag or anything, but living in east Idaho, we do get pretty perfect sweater weather. And I love wearing a good thick sweater. Layering is my fave!

It's been embarrassingly too long since I shared some freebies with you guys. I'm pretty sad about it. Over the weekend I had some creativity hit, carved out some time (aka staying up past 12am...please tell me some of you mommas can relate?!) and I came up with these 5 backgrounds for your phone. I think they look best on your "lock-screen" setting, but you can use them however, obvi. Enjoy!

Here's how my desk looks most days. Clipboard + paper for doodles and sketching ideas. That little notebook serves the same purpose...pencils, markers, scrap paper and more notes...

» hello fall
» sweater weather
» fall + windowpane background
» falling leaves
» autumn
*for personal use only, thank you!

» view my other phone wallpapers here!

Blog Design: Mr & Mrs Powell

I am beyond excited to be sharing this new blog design with you today. But first, a back story! Karina found me when I was pregnant with Bronx (my first) in 2011, via my family blog. I was not designing blogs for other people at that time, but in the back of my head I knew that someday I wanted to design for her! I think her style sense and Fit Friday posts were my fave (and still are!).

She's been such a fun online blogging friend, and then in 2015 we found out that her little brother was dating one of my cousins. Crazy and random right?! Well those two hit it off and Karina and I got to meet for the first time in person at their wedding last year! You guys. Karina is even more perfectly adorable in person...I know! It's crazy! But she's like the cutest thing, and so SO incredibly nice. Plus, yes her parent's house is bomb, and their play room is to die for...Bronx had a blast exploring that giant room!

Things clicked from the beginning of this design; we were both on the same page the whole way through. It almost shocked me how quickly and smoothly this process went! Here's how we started out with her design. The mood board:

From there I got to start designing some headers for her to look over:

And here's her final branding board, where you can see what fonts were used and the pattern i created for her site:

If there's one thing that I really, really get annoyed by when reading blogs? It's a non-mobile template where I have to scroll in on the text and move back and forth across the screen...torture! I think the second thing would be a bad design (geez i feel bad even writing that out! i promise i am not a blog snob, but honestly, don't those things bother you too?!). So I always, always make sure to create a beautiful design for my clients that is mobile friendly! You can see Karina's different views below for desktop, ipad, and phone:

If you've been hanging around here for a while, you'll know that Blogger is my favorite platform. I know, shocker. It's where I started in 2007 and feel most comfortable. Even after doing the major switch myself to Wordpress for this blog....I still question it (another topic for another day!). I know there are limitations when it comes to using Blogger vs Wordpress.com, but I strongly believe that you can still have a beautifully functioning site on Blogger! It's all about that code and knowing it backwards and forwards. This is the first time that I added in a mega menu dropdown option on a Blogger blog (see image above). And I was STOKED to do it! We are such visual people, and being able to see the labels/categories/topics on the left there, and the post images on the right...it's a game changer you guys.

Definitely go check out her new site for yourself here!
You can see my latest designs in my portfolio here.
Or if you want, you can just search through allllll my past designs here.

At Kaleb and Adria's wedding summer of 2015, Karina was pregnant with little Luke! Does anyone else wish they had her hair?!

Baby #3: Wish List

I only have about 3 months until baby girl is here(eeeep)! I figure it's about time I start gathering up her stuff and setting it aside so that I'm ready. Since her due date is mid November, I have a feeling things are going to get cra-zay that last month (Halloween!Thanksgiving!), and I want to be prepared. Here's a little list of some items I've been eying (aka filling my shopping carts up with)!


1 - Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor - i honestly have never used a baby monitor before. at least not a ton. i think i used it a little with Bronx (my first), but then we've always just been able to hear our babies, so there was no need. however, my sister in law has this one she just got for her new baby...and she swears by it. i've checked it out in person and am now in love with it. especially how you can SEE your baby, and talk to them through the monitor!

2 - Baby Car Seat Cover Canopy - yes, i have made a lot of these. and maybe will end up making hers, but i looooove this one that i saw my friend had. all things blush and stripes? yes please. and when i saw how affordable it was on Amazon...well, it's sitting in my cart :)

3 - Ellebowtique bows - cutest stinkin bows. i make a lot myself too, but sometimes i just want to...be lazy and not make them myself! haha. and how cute are these ones for November?! She has a ton of adorable options in her shop!

4 - Baby Bandana Drool Bibs - never used them, but just look how cute you guys!! Tinley (my second) was a major drooler, and i so wish i had had these with her!

5 - Owlet Care Baby - another monitor, i know. but this one goes on her foot and monitors her heart rate. huge peace of mind. most of you don't know (unless you read my family blog), but this third pregnancy of mine is considered high risk and this little baby girl will most likely undergo surgery shortly after birth. we've seen some specialists and are going to see more. Basically it looks like she has one lung, and so i am having her down in Utah by Primary Children's. Having something like this is basically a must for me!

6 - Floral Pom Pom Swaddle Blanket - I mean, just look at it! The florals, the pom poms...!!

7 - Fawn Design Diaper Bag - I finally bit the bullet and bought it. This is the one thing i have purchased so far for her. i had 2 friends that also have this same bag, and so it was really helpful being able to see and feel it before buying...because hello it's not something i usually spend so much money on! but you guys, i'm slightly obsessed and LOVE it!!

Heaven Is Cheering You On Printable

This quote is a popular one from General Conference this past April, and rightfully so. The whole quote by Jeffery R. Holland goes: "Keep loving, Keep trying, keep believing, keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever." I need to make a print of the first half, but chose to focus on the second half of the quote in this printable.

Here is the exact talk, in case you'd like to listen to it yourself!


Download your free 8x10 copy of the printable below:

My DIY Kitchen Chalkboard

I finally did it. I made my own chalkboard for my kitchen. And I love it. Here's what I did:

• I first painted most of the wood, the color that matched our walls (Revere Pewter). No sanding or priming or anything.
• Then I taped off the main size I wanted the chalkboard to be (13"x51").
• I then used Rust-Oleum Chalkboard Paint (i think i just picked mine up from Walmart or had it on hand already. HERE it is on Amazon as well) and painted the chalkboard area (don't have a picture of this, i'm sorry you guys!)

• I went to Home Depot and bought boards that were 3.25" wide, and 1/2" deep.  and I had them cut there in the store, to the right sizes (i cut 2 boards to be 51" long, and 2 boards to be a little under 19.5" long).
• At home, I painted the boards and let them dry completely
• I then used Loctite (exact stuff i used HERE), and glued the boards onto the paint. no nails. I held the boards in place for a few minutes and pressed firmly for it to stay and attach nicely. (tip: be sure you look and make sure the boards you are buying are flat and straight! no good if you have crooked boards to begin with)
• let them dry overnight

mas diychalkboard1

mas diychalkboard2

Here's what it looked like when I finished...late late at night! So nuts how lighting changes the way things look (like paint!). Also, not that you care or anything, but K said we can get new flooring and he's letting me paint our kitchen ALL WHITE. I am freaking out over here because I'm SO. EXCITED. all caps excited. haha happy day!...do you think it's pressing my luck if i ask for new counters and backsplash too?? (insert sheepish emoji here)

And here is my very first design on my chalkboard:

mas diychalkboard3