Give Thanks Sign

Yey, Friday! Not only is it Friday, but it’s Halloween as well. I don’t really care much about Fright Night, but it’s a holiday so it makes me happy. Plus, Ryan and I are heading to a friends house to hand out candy. Sweet!

I’m already decorating my house for Thanksgiving and created a sign to remind me of the season. The quote “In all things give thanks” is a nice reminder to see the good things that surround you everyday and be grateful for the little things that make you smile. There’s something to be thankful for every single day.

Give Thanks Sign quote

Ok, back to the sign. Here’s what you need:

  • printed design in heavy paper
  • fabric or burlap roll
  • twine
  • dowel
  • paint and brushes
  • scissors and/or rotary blade
  • exacto knife
  • ruler
  • tape
  • hot glue gun
  • cutting board

Give Thanks Sign materials

Create your stencil. I made the design using Photoshop, but Word should work just fine. Play around until you find something you like. Print the stencil in heavy paper. I printed out two copies because I used various color.s If your design will be all in one color, one stencil should work just fine. Cut out the patterns with a sharp exacto knife.

Give Thanks Sign stencils

Roll out your fabric. I found a roll of laminated burlap at Michael’s which worked great. It’s sturdy, but still had the rustic look I was going for. To keep it in place, use some tape to pin the fabric down.

Give Thanks Sign burlap

Place first stencil over fabric. Keep in place with tape and start painting. Hold down the stencil while you do this. Don’t put too much paint on your brush to keep it from bleeding underneath the stencil. Remove and let dry.

Give Thanks Sign stencil one

While it dries, you can cut the dowels to size, one for the top and one for the bottom. My design is 8” wide, so I cut the dowels to 9”.

Give Thanks Sign dowels

Place the second stencil on the design and paint. Peel carefully and let dry.

Give Thanks Sign stencil two

With the rotary blade and a ruler, cut the burlap to size, 8”.

Give Thanks Sign trim

Attach the dowels to the top and bottom. About 1” from the bottom of the design, apply a line of hot glue and place one dowel on it. Apply one more line of hot glue to the back of the burlap, close to the dowel, and fold the extra burlap over to enclose dowel. Cut excess fabric. Repeat on the top edge.

Give Thanks Sign glue

Cut a piece of twine to desired length and attach with knots to either end of top dowel. With a couple of hot glue dots on the back, fix in place. Cut off excess twine. Done!

Give Thanks Sign twine

I absolutely love how it turned out! I started this project without a real plan and I’m so happy it turned out perfectly.

Give Thanks Sign closeup

Clean and simple wall hanging. Love!

Give Thanks Sign

Happy weekend! Try not to eat all the candy!

Give Thanks Sign last

Fall Wreath

Hello hello! Happy Hump Day! Can you believe October is almost over? Insane. The crazy Holiday season is just around the corner and I have no idea if I’m ready for that or not. Let’s see…

To get you ready for your transition from Halloween to Thanksgiving, I’ve got a tutorial that’ll tap into your creative juices. A Fall Wreath made with random orange hued items. Here we go!Fall Wreath

Materials needed:

  • 14 inch grape vine or willow wreath
  • variety of dry or fake flowers and leaves in orange, red and yellow tones
  • wired ribbon
  • decorative stems (tip: sometimes I just get the garlands or napkin holders and take them apart)
  • hot glue gun

Fall Wreath materials

First up, wrap your ribbon around 3/4 of the wreath. If the ribbon has wire, you can just wrap the ends to twigs in the back. If not, a couple of dots of hot glue should be enough.

Fall Wreath ribbon

Start arranging your flowers on the wreath with hot glue. Group them by color and size.

Fall Wreath flowers

Also, try to ignore your dog who hates it when you choose crafting over playing.

Bored Boone

You can never have enough flowers, so add some more. To add volume and depth, place some leaves on the side of the wreath toward the back.

Fall Wreath leaves

Finally, add some of the beaded decorative stems to either end to create a final look.

Fall Wreath stems

To fill it up a little bit more, you can add some small flowers to the inside of the wreath.

Fall Wreath extra flowers

Hang up and enjoy!

Fall Wreath on door

There’s really no right or wrong arrangement as long as the objects are placed close together to hide any gaps and give it a full look.

Fall Wreaths

Have fun with all those hot glue strings!

Low Key Weekend

Good morning! Hope you had a great weekend. Mine was pretty good since I was able to rest and see some friends and family I haven’t seen in a while.

I stayed home from work both Thursday and Friday since I was sick, so after spending two full days on the couch, I was ready to get out of the house. We got to Pocahontas fairly late so we just hung out with Ryan’s parents for a bit.

Car Ride

Saturday morning, Ryan and his dad left with Boone before sunup to go pheasant hunting. I spent my Saturday chatting with Laurie, my mom-in-law, before getting ready for our girls activity. Every year during the Fall, the girls of the family get together for lunch and tea. We met up around noon at Tea Thyme in Fort Dodge. It was a great meal and it was fun catching up with everybody: new jobs, new houses, new babies, lots to talk about!

Tea Lunch

After we got back, I spent the rest of the day hanging out with my bestie Kayla and her son. What a bundle of joy. We chatted our ears of and time flew by. Before I knew it, it was nighttime and Ryan was home, so he stopped over to hang out with the little dude before bedtime. After some lasagna dinner back at the house, it was time to pass out before the Kansas City vs San Francisco game was over. We’re so lame.

Little Monster

Sunday morning I head out for a walk with Kayla and Ryder before driving back home. Spent some time cleaning ALL the leaves from our backyard and then just relaxed for the rest of the day. Try this Tortellini soup for dinner some time, it’s delish. (I also have it tagged on Pinterest) Just don’t add cinnamon instead of nutmeg like I did. It wasn’t really noticeable, but just not intended. That’s what happens when I multitask!

Sunday AM

Have a good week!

Fall Centerpiece

Good morning and happy Friday! I’ve been feeling a little under the weather but it’s all getting better now. The prospect of the weekend always puts me in a a good mood. I’m especially excited for this one because I get to see my best friend’s baby, who is a ball of pure cuteness and I haven’t seen him in a long long time. I also have some girls only activities planned with Ryan’s family while the boys go pheasant hunting. Should be fun!

Fall Centerpieces

So, I’ve been slacking a little on decorating the house, mainly because it is not done yet. There’s nothing on the walls yet, the furniture is everywhere, it’s kinda a mess and not conducive to wanting to decorate. But I know I needed a little something festive in my life, so I made a quick fall centerpiece.

All you need is a wreath (I had mine already), a couple of vases, filling for the vases (I went with pinecones and beads), a small pumpkin (second hand store find!), a candle, some ribbon, some gold paint, glue.

Fall Centerpiece materials

First up, the wreath itself. I used to put this fall wreath over my kitchen sink, but now I have a window and I like it too much to just get rid of it. It is perfectly decorated already, so it’ll go as the edge of my centerpiece. It’s pretty old, but I believe I got it from Michael’s.

Fall Centerpiece wreath

Next, the candle vase. Take the shortest vase and fill it with beads of choice. I got some red beads with gold tones because I thought they would be perfect to reuse for Christmas. Place a tea light candle in the middle and done.

Fall Centerpiece candle vase

For the tall vase, half of the cones went into the vase as is. The other half got a coating of gold spray paint. To accentuate the difference I made a loop with some green felt trim I had and placed it between the two colors.

Fall Centerpiece pinecone vase

Finally, my favorite, the gold pumpkin. I found this small ceramic pumpkin at a second hand store for 99 cents. Perfect! Put a gold coating of Krylon’s Short Cuts paint and it turned out great.

Fall Centerpiece pumpkin

Once all items are placed, the centerpiece comes together and makes my house a little bit happier and in tune with the weather outside. Love it!

Fall Centerpiece

Have a great weekend!

Fall Centerpiece closeup

2014 IMT Des Moines Half Marathon

I still can’t believe I did this! The training for this race was better than for my first 10K for some reason. I really put my all into it, ran even if I didn’t feel like it and kept up with my training as best I could. The days I couldn’t run, I biked. On most of my off days I either did yoga or a small strength routine. Definitely put a priority on resting on Sundays. Even when my runs weren’t the best during the last week, I felt ready for the challenge come race day.

Was I a nervous wreck before? Yes, especially on Friday before getting to Des Moines. But I just kept telling myself: do what you can, have fun, don’t pay attention to the time, just keep swimming, trust your training.

Bib Number

Saturday morning I was shaking like a leaf, which made it a challenge to brush my teeth, but I was super excited at the same time. On the way there, I ate a toast with almond butter, couldn’t stomach a second one. Once Ryan dropped me off, I had about an hour to start so I drank some water, walked around and stopped at the restrooms before heading to the corrals and lined up at the 11 minute pace to make sure I didn’t start super fast. Definitely was feeling overwhelmed with emotions and just kept picturing the finish line.

DSM Morning

And off we go! The first few miles were kinda tough. My legs took their time to adjust and I was running a route I wasn’t familiar with, just kinda going with the pack. I knew Ryan would be around mile 4, so I kept on trucking.

Pre Race Pic

Once we got to WaterWorks park, I started to ease into my pace. I was a little more familiar with the area because it’s where we got some of our wedding pictures taken. A little after mile 4 I saw Ryan and Mike, my father-in-law, cheering me on. By this time the sun had come up completely and it felt pretty good, plus being able to see them was awesome!

Start Finish

I was enjoying the entertainment they had, walking through the water stations, reading the signs, smiling at the cameras, high fiving waiting spectators,  just taking it all in.

Some of my favorite signs:

  • Run now, poop later. Never trust a fart.
  • My arm hurts (as the lady was holding the sign up)
  • Run like someone just called you a jogger
  • What did the fox say? Run Run run run run
  • You’re my hero
  • Go ninja go
  • Run like you’re in a buffalo stampede being chased by a pack of hyenas

A little after halfway, I did make a bathroom pit stop, there’s a ton of water stations. I actually ended up skipping a couple at the end. For fuel during the race I ate three Clif Shot Bloks, which I had tried during my long runs during training and loved.

Mile 4

Then, I was set to do a negative split. I picked up my racing, but not a whole lot because I wanted to leave energy for the push at the end. Saw Ryan and Mike once more at around mile 8 before heading to Gray’s Lake. Here, around mile 9 or 10, the would be marathon winners passed by in a full sprint. Seriously?!?! This guys are amazing!

Mile 8

Around mile 11, my left knee started bothering enough to make me think about taking a quick walking break. But I fought it off for two reasons. One, I just decided to take the walks during the water stations and two I just wanted to finish. Thank goodness my phone was listening to my thoughts because my favorite songs to run to came on my playlist for the last couple of miles.

Home Stretch

Once the mile marker for 12 came along I sped up considerably. I ran all the way to the finish line. Since I did a negative split, Ryan and Mike caught me just in time on my last stretch. Crossed the finish line smiling. I felt a super calm sense of accomplishment. It wasn’t like a surge of emotion like I thought it would be, it was more of a quiet pat in the back to yourself.

Almost there

Got my medal, posed for some pics, hugged Ryan and Mike, scarfed a couple of sandwiches and drank some water. Needless to say, I was a hurting unit afterwards. My muscles didn’t really feel sore until Monday, but my left knee, right hip and right foot would have preferred to not have any weight on them for a week.

My chip time for the first half was 1:15:07 (11:33 pace) and finished in 2:20:25 (10:43 pace total, 9:53 pace for the second half). It was a great experience and I would probably do it again. Already thinking about next year…

Half Marathon Finish

What would I do different?

  • Keep a running journal to track miles, pace, how I felt, what I ate (not for calories, but for how it affects my energy and stomach), time of the month, other activities that would affect my energy, time of day, etc
  • Do an actual rehearsal of waking up, waiting, drive time, etc before race day. I kinda did this, but not quite.
  • Get fitted for shoes. If I’m staying serious about this, I need to get properly fitted and get the right foot for me.

So what’s next? During winter I plan on emphasizing strength training doing a couple of strength days and a couple of run days during the week with a long run day on the weekends. I hope to keep my long runs at around 6 miles (4, 5 and 6 in rotating weeks). During the weekday runs, I want to do some more speed work to slash my time a little. Not going for any world records here.