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laser pumpkins.

The same friend who laser beamed craft goodies for my Crafty Bebe Shower last year also created these laser beamed geometric wood pumpkins for a special Halloween DIY kit to gift to my fam.

I gave my friend a photo of what I wanted and she created pumpkins in the perfect size.

These kits were really fun to put together.

I included paint pots filled with Martha Stewart acrylic paints (my fave) and brushes.

Here’s how I packed them up. I included a string of orange lights, snacks, pumpkin spice goodies, googly eyes, and a fun Halloween card. I love putting together items to make the unboxing super fun!

Some of the creations!

I got in the fun, too, of course. Here are my pumpkins:

What’s on your Halloween craft list this year? Share!

sunflower.

Since I’ve been back to work full time I’ve found myself working long hours most days. So I’m doing my best to carve out some days where I can take a break. I’ve been averaging one day off every two months. It’s not much, but it’s a start.

I’ve spent my days off with my little family visiting somewhere new together. So far, we’ve gone to the beach in Pacifica, strolled a Petaluma neighborhood, and went sunflower field hunting in Dixon – featured here! We even made a music video.

There are so many sunflower fields in the area. Take your pick! Just note, the ones we spotted were all on private land so we stayed on the outskirts of the property, was careful not to damage any of the plants, and of course did not take any blooms. It was such a treat to catch a glimpse in real life.

What do you like to do on your days off? Share below!

go big!

What happens when you haven’t created with your hands in over four months and you sign up for your first in person creative workshop in over a year and a half?

You get super excited and create a larger than life wreath, question if it will fit in the car to take home after class, and wonder if it will even fit your regular sized front door. Seriously, I thought my 2019 winter wreath was gigantic. I didn’t think I could create something even larger!

Abby Dale of Craft + Work taught this wreath making class in the Royal Bee Yarn Company‘s recently renovated garden space. Abby has taken some of my felt workshops at Craft + Work; it was so fun to take a class that she was leading! She provided lots of guidance, inspo, and encouragement throughout class.

Abby brought a huge spread of foliage – milkweed, sage, rosemary, magnolia leaves, eucalyptus, succulents… – some from the San Francisco Flower Mart and others from her garden. You really couldn’t go wrong selecting foliage for your wreath. Everything worked with each other effortlessly.

For this wreath we used a wire base (this was my first time using this kind of base) floral wire, wire cutters, and all the foliage. I hadn’t made a wreath with live plants since 2019, but it was just like riding a bike. It all came back to me with Abby’s help!

It was so relaxing and fun to get creative for a couple of hours. Plus, the foliage scents were soooo lovely ~ added aromatherapy! And, I could not be more excited about this wreath!

Thank you Abby for the best time and for answering all my questions! Also, look who stopped by – it’s Roberta of Craft + Work!

PS It sort of fit my door. 🙂

Do you like to adorn your door with festive decor? Share below!

pumpkin fluff.

Fall is the perfect season for felt (IMHO all seasons are the perfect season for felt, but Fall especially!). And you can never go wrong with a pumpkin craft. Let’s make fluffy felt pumpkins!

For this craft your will need:

  • Felt in your favorite pumpkin color (10” square for a pumpkin 5” in diameter, plus an additional piece for a 3” circle)
  • Felt for pumpkin stem (any size, I used a piece of felt 2” x 3”)
  • Nylon cord or upholstery thread
  • Sewing needle
  • Polyfil / fluff
  • Fabric scissors

This will make a pumpkin approximately 5″ in diameter and 2 1/4″ tall.

Cut felt circle 10” in diameter. It doesn’t have to be a perfect circle.

Loosely measure out cord. You want at least the circumference of your pumpkin felt + 10ish times the diameter of your pumpkin felt + a little more.

Thread your needle with cord; knot one end of your cord. Sew a running stitch along the perimeter of your felt circle 1/4″ from the border.

Begin to fill with fluff. Tighten the running stitch so that the pumpkin begins to close on itself. Continue to fill with fluff until your desired firmness and tighten as your fill. Tie with double knot to secure. There will be a hole at the bottom – we’ll cover that up later.

Now we’ll create the pumpkin ‘wedge lines’. The side with the opening will be the bottom of your pumpkin. Sew up through the middle top and pull tightly. Bring the thread along the side of the pumpkin and sew through the bottom up to thru the top once more. Continue pulling the cord along the side of the pumpkin and sewing from the bottom to the top to create more wedges.Once you have the desired number of wedges, knot your cord at the bottom of your pumpkin. There should be a loose cord at the bottom so you can tie a double knot. Trim cord.

Cut another circle ~3” in diameter, big enough to cover the bottom of the pumpkin. Cut a piece of nylon cord, knot one end, and begin sewing the circle onto the pumpkin. End with a double knot and trim excess cord.

For the pumpkin stem, roll a piece of brown felt and sew it shut. Leave a tail and sew a running stitch from the bottom of the stem to the top. Sew the needle through the center of the stem back to the bottom of the stem. Adjust loose ends so you can tie a knot.

Sew one strand under 2-3 of the wedge lines, then double knot the stem onto the top of the pumpkin. The tighter you pull, the more curve your stem will have. Trim excess cord. Add optional pumpkin leaves and/or jack-o-lantern features.

All together now!

Are you into all things pumpkin this season (craft-wise, food-wise, or other-wise)? Share below!

tasting, tasting. 1, 2, 3.

Hello Yelp Elite badge 2021! We’re already more than a third of the way through 2021 so I best recap some tasty Yelp events! So far I’ve been able to participate in a virtual beer and snack pairing, yogurt tasting, coffee run, and sushi take out! All the Yelp Elite events, though still virtual, are still deliciously fun! Here’s what I’ve been snacking on…

Anaviv’s Table and East Brother Beer

One of the first Yelp Elite events of the year was a virtual beer and food pairing with Anaviv’s Table and East Brother Beer, both located in Richmond, California. Anaviv’s Table, pre-pandemic, was a communal dining experience (they sat 12 max per seating) that focused on featuring local food from nearby farms. Today, they sell goods market style and a select nosh offering. East Brother Beer is a local favorite brewery (I enjoy their house stout!) among many of my friends, and it’s a family friendly spot, too.

This was the first event with a delivery option for the tasting menu and if I have learned anything during this pandemic it is that I love me some food delivery. Our tasting kits came with slow roasted almonds, crispy sage and rosemary chickpeas, soft pretzels with a creamy mustard dipping sauce, and three beer selections, plus a Yelp mug!

The almonds were paired with the pilsner, chickpeas with the IPA, and pretzel with the red lager.

As we noshed, we chatted about tasting notes, listened to business stories, and learned all the snack secrets!

SAGA Kitchen

Every now and then businesses offer Elite Perks where you can stop in over the course of a few days and pick up a treat. SAGA Kitchen in Alameda, California, hosted an Elite Week during Lunar New Year celebrations. SAGA kitchen is a shared kitchen and a platform for food start-ups that provides support in business consulting, accounting, marketing, and social media management. As part of the perk, Elites got to choose a set menu item from one of four restaurants: Koharu, Sachi Sushi, Wok Chi, or Yue Club. I chose Sachi Sushi and it came in a cute bento box – I had a ‘eating a bento under a sakura tree’ flashback.

Red Bay Coffee

This Elite Perk was mega! Elites were treated to a charcoal latte, a trio of coffee beans, and a Yelp mug (now I have a set!). I also picked up an extra charcoal latte for the Hubs and a mocha for me in case the charcoal latte was not a hit. Oh, but it was! Have you ever had one?

Red Bay Coffee also sells pantry items and they have a little parklet spot across the street so you can stay awhile.

I love visiting local coffee shops, and now that I’m much more of a caffeine drinker (hello momhood!), I can enjoy said cups of caffeine without the jitters.

Ellenos

The Ellenos yogurt scoop shop (yes, a yogurt scoop shop!) is located in Pike Place. This virtual yogurt tasting took us on a trip to Seattle! One of the owner’s gave us a tour of the shop, shared his coming to America to sell yogurt story (he was previously in Australia with Greek roots), and then we learned and enjoyed the proper way to consume Ellenos yogurt – scooped, not stirred!

We picked up our goody bags from the Ellenos set up at Dracenos Park in Oakland. Each goody bag came with a handwritten note, Ellenos swag, and four flavors of yogurt: marionberry, passionfruit, vanilla bean, and brownie batter. All the yogurts start with the same base: milk, honey, and cane sugar – Grandma’s recipe! I enjoyed all of the yogurts, but of course my favorite was the one with chocolate.

Ellenos sources their ingredients locally; they even source their milk from a small dairy farm. And everything about their flavors is thoughtfully put together, even down to how the vanilla bean flecks look like in the yogurt. Have you tried Ellenos? Their yogurt is available at Costco, Whole Foods, and other select retailers throughout California.

I love being part of the Yelp Elite Squad because I get to discover places and eats that I might not otherwise discover on my own. What are some of your most recent tasty local finds? Share below!

oh hi 2021.

Remember when I took a stamped calendar workshop in Seattle? I loved the idea and wanted to share the experience with my family. We had originally planned for this to be our activity for Christmas Craft Camp 2020, but guess who stored away their craft kits through the winter and start of spring? Yuh, all of us. So for Mother’s Day we brought out our crafts for another virtual Mom’s Day activity – a bit late for a calendar craft, but still just as fun.

For my calendar, I used gouache! I not-so-secretly want to be a surface designer so I decided to practice with pattern play.

I tried to vary shapes and colors throughout the calendar, but I clearly had some favorite patterns – splotches and stripes for the win!

My very favorite design out of the twelve months is March. It might stay March all year. 🙂 I can envision this as a fabric print!

I have a long way to go before I can be a legit surface designer, but this was fun practice. Also, PS 2022 calendars are already available. Maybe I should get started for next year; I already know want to paint plants!

cookies at the claremont.

To celebrate being fully vaccinated I met up with my basically-family friends for an outdoor cookie decorating event at the Claremont hosted by East Bay Provisions. The Claremont had converted part of their parking lot into an outdoor restaurant and event space. It was the perfect weekend to be outside!

Each ticket came with a dozen sugar cookies (we received kitten, bear, turtle, and butterfly shapes), four icing colors, assorted sprinkles, popsicle sticks, and hand wipes.

Our host came around and provided a quick demo. I was hoping for more direction, but it really was meant for open play. Since I do much better looking at samples, I watched my niece decorate her cookies first and was inspired by her creations.

My favorite technique was piping out splotches of color and then taking one of the popsicle sticks to drag the color across the cookie. It made it look like watercolor and blended the colors (almost) seamlessly.

I really liked how my bears turned out! In the end, they all tasted the same so we really couldn’t go wrong with how we decorated.

To top off our first time hanging out in over a year, we noshed on burgers – decorating cookies goes well with burgers, obvi. We all ordered the same thing – the Berkeley Smash Burger with bacon jam, pickled green tomato, mustard aioli, cheddar, and fries. The fries are easily on my top three list – so good. And I dared myself to try the fries with the cookie icing – not bad.

What a lovely day to spend outside with fresh air and fambam!

PS East Bay Provisions hosts food and non-food related events throughout the year.

bloombox.

What better way to celebrate another pandemic wedding anniversary than with Matilda’s Bloombox! Ever since I spotted Matilda’s seafoam truck at a local craft event adorned with the prettiest blooms, I’ve wanted an excuse to treat myself to a box (I mean, ya, this one is also for you, too, Hubby). What a delight!

Each box comes with a beautifully designed information sheet with details on each grower and each flower/herb, plus owner Emily’s suggestions for how to prepare and arrange the blooms in your vase of choice. I love that each flower/foliage is sourced from local growers, the box is hand delivered, and it’s also a fun DIY activity.

Matilda’s Bloombox is not a subscription, but rather you select in advance which weeks you’d like to receive a box and you are charged upon delivery. They give a preview a week or two in advance to give you time to say yea or nay, and when it’s delivered, there’s no address label on the box – it’s like a friend left you a surprise gift (but that friend is you. :))

This bloombox included:

It is an understatement to say that this box smelled so good.

I used our head table flower jar from our wedding for this arrangement. The info sheet included recommended vessel size and tips on building the base (with rosemary and boronia), adding the focal flower (ranunculus), and adding the secondary flowers (tulips and lavender).

I am majorly crushing on this arrangement. So pretty!

The blooms opened up after just a few hours in water, and even more so during the week. Check out the tulips on Day 3!

I love love loved everything about this floral experience, and I’m looking forward to another occasion (or just because) to order my next box. Affilink alert: Save $10 on your first box! And happy anniversary to us. 🙂

homegirl.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas, mother figures, and future moms! This is my first Mother’s Day, and the only craft I was able to put together in the last month was this iron-on letter onesie for my little. It’s super simple and you can gather all your supplies from your local craft store or craft closet.

Materials and tools:

  • Onesie or any clothing item of choice (I recommend washing before applying letters)
  • Iron-on letters (Pick your fave font and color)
  • Scissors
  • Iron (Remember I have a dedicated craft iron now? Ha!)
  • Ironing board or other heat-tolerant firm surface
  • Towel (A tea towel works nicely)

I made a similar top for myself many years ago to celebrate my mom. Mine said Mommy is my Homegirl. I was inspired by a Gwen Stefani bag I used to own that said Gwen is my Homegirl.

Cut out letters and arrange as you wish. Remove the protective backing; the letters should stick in place. Place a towel on top of the letters, then firmly press with the iron (I used the cotton setting) for 20-30 seconds. Allow the letters to cool, then peel off the plastic. If it looks like the letters have not yet set, stop peeling and iron them for a little longer.

I realized as I was cutting out letters that getting glitter letters was probably not a good idea for a baby, but the font was so cute! Also, the glitter seems to be sticking well so far, and he will probably spit up on it soon after our photo opportunity and we will need to change him into something else. 🙂

So easy right? I have so many more letters left, too. What should I spell out next? Happy celebrating the Mamas in your life!

annie’s.

One day I’ll have a garden of my own. For now I have a patio with potted plants and places like Annie’s Annuals and Perennials to enjoy.

This was my first time at the nursery, and I almost didn’t make it in time. I was the last person allowed in ten minutes before closing. It wasn’t enough time to explore the whole nursery, but it was plenty of time to be in awe of the plant varieties they carry and take lots of pictures.

The nursery is large and packed with so many different kinds of plants that there’s a guidebook! It’s like the Disneyland of nurseries.

I feel like I could learn a lot about flowering plants from hanging out in the nursery and talking to the staff. Each plant has an info card with care tips and photos of the blooms, too. I love me a good info card, and I will stop to read all of them.

I was thinking I wouldn’t be able to make any good plant decisions in my limited nursery time – oh, but I did! I selected a trio of plants to take home: Dahlia merckii, Papaver rhoeas “Falling in Love,” and Phacelia viscida. Wish me luck that I can keep these plant babies alive and get them to bloom.

Visit any good nurseries lately? Share below! And let me know what you’ve been planting in your garden.