Autumn Heart Door Hanger

A couple of years ago I gathered a bunch of horse chestnuts. I think they're so beautiful and I just knew I'd think of something fun to do with them. I've enjoyed displaying them in jars with other fall items, while I waited. A few days ago, I finally had the perfect inspiration! I'm so excited to share this beautiful autumn heart project and I hope you love it as much as I do!

I started with a piece of corrugated cardboard cut into a heart. Then, using school glue, I glued dried green moss to one side letting it hang over the edges. After letting it dry for a while, I used scissors to cut off the overhanging moss. Then, using horse chestnuts, acorns, and hot glue, I created a simple design on the heart. I made sure to press each chestnut or acorn into the moss very firmly as I glued them. Lastly, I hot glued a bit of twine on the back for hanging it.
If you decide to use acorns, you might want to check out this post HERE to find out how to pre-treat them. Trust me, I know from experience, you won't want to skip this step.

I am displaying mine on a dresser top for now, but I might hang it on my front door eventually. I think it'd be a nice alternative to a wreath. Just be sure it's not on a door that's exposed to the elements because cardboard and moisture don't mix well.
I love that it's in the shape of a heart because I love the Fall season. It's almost here! Check out some of these other fantastic Fall crafts:


Acorn Toadstools

 My husband was driving up in the mountains the other day and saw some of the trees were beginning to change color! Fall is quickly approaching, and I'm excited because it's one of my favorite seasons to decorate for! I love using natural elements in my fall decorating and I love little details. This project is fun, simple, and so cute!

Supplies needed:
Acorn tops
Hot glue gun and glue
Cotton balls
Optional: paint

Glue a tuft of cotton into the inside of the acorn top. Into the center of that, glue your little twig use the clippers to shorten your twig if necessary. Once the glue is dry, blow on the cotton or gently brush it with your fingers so it flares out up and around the acorn mushroom top.

At this point, your mushroom could be finished if you want it to stay natural. You could also pull out some paints to decorate it. I plan to use inexpensive acrylic paints to make the mushroom/acorn top red then paint little white dots.

Once you're done with your mushroom, have fun decorating with it! Try making a mushroom "terrarium" in a little glass jar, or gather a few together with string in a tiny mushroom bouquet. I think little red mushrooms will look especially cute in a fairy garden, maybe even with a little glittery fairy dust. There are so many fun possibilities!
How will you use your acorn mushrooms?

For other fun acorn projects, check out these posts:
 photo TWTfeatured_zps4mrhyudc.jpg


After School Peanut Butter Bites

Growing up, my little brother and I could always count on one of two things happening after school. Either mom would be there to greet us and we'd enjoy a yummy snack while talking about our day, or if mom was gone, we'd find a note on the door, written in code to help us find where she'd hidden the house key. You know those fake rocks that hide your spare key? My mom was way more creative than that! She had us hunting through flower pots, or poking around in the barn. It was quite fun!

Most days, she was there when we arrived and without fail, there would be a snack of some kind for us. A regularly occurring snack was the infamous peanut butter logs. I say infamous because some of my older siblings used to receive these in their school lunches. This was rather embarrassing since my mom's traditional peanut butter logs do look rather like another kind of log if you're a young kid into silly potty humor. My mom caught on however and by the time my little brother and I (the two babies of the family) came along, peanut butter logs had been reserved for after school snacks.

Recently, I suddenly had a hankering for a peanut butter log. It's been years since I even thought about them, let alone ate them, so I gave my mom a call and she laughed when I asked her for the recipe for peanut butter logs.
This is my adaptation of my mom's peanut butter logs. I've made them gluten free for me, dressed them up a little, and given them a brand new name. I think they're are great! What do you think?

1/4 C natural, unsweetened peanut butter
2 tsp honey (or to taste)
2 TB oat flour (gluten free for me!)
Approx 1/8 C mixed chopped nuts, seeds, chocolate bits, etc (I used sunflower seeds, and dark chocolate bits, but use whatever you like.) 

Blend the peanut butter, honey and oat flour well. If more thickening is needed, add a little more oat flour. Roll into bite sized balls (or logs if you prefer). This yields about 6 bite-sized treats. Roll them around in the chopped nuts, seeds, or chocolate. You're done! Eat and enjoy!


Sparkly Snow Trees

I know, I know, it's not even Thanksgiving yet... I'm not one to decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving. In fact, I really love the autumn season and I'm always truly a little sad to see it go, but I also love winter and Christmastime! If I'm going to decorate homemade style, then I have to plan ahead. Life gets busy during the holidays and if I don't start creating early, then I may not get my decorations done at all.

It is rainy and dreary outside my window today, although I'm expecting the raindrops to turn to snow at any moment because it's getting quite cold out there. It's a perfect day for staying indoors and creating.

Step One: Start with a rectangular piece of thin cardboard, such as a cereal, or cracker box, etc. Roll it into a cone and secure using staples and/or glue. I think the easiest way is to use a couple staples to hold things in place, then hot glue to seal it up. Use some sharp scissors to cut the bottom of the cone so that it sits evenly. Once you have your cone, you are ready for the next step.

Step Two: You will need cotton balls, a hot glue gun with glue, and scissors. Cut a bunch of cotton balls in half and use the glue gun to begin attaching them to the cardboard cone. Start at the bottom and work your way up. Try not to leave any spaces between the cotton balls. once you get to the top, take a half a cotton ball and poke/pull the center into a point, so it makes a nice top for your tree.

Step Three: Use a stiff paintbrush to gently fluff out the edges of the cotton balls, then use your hands to press the fluffy stuff smooth against the tree. This step blends the edges of the cotton balls into each other a little bit, to give a softer look.

Step Four: Mix a little bit of water into some glue. Use a paintbrush to "paint" the glue onto the cotton ball tree in whatever fashion you desire. I did some randomly curvy brushstrokes. Then sprinkle with glitter. You can also roll it across a pile of glitter. I did both methods and I think I prefer the rolled way, but they both work well. Let your tree dry, knock off excess glitter, and you're done!
This is pretty simple, but I love how they turned out. I put them away for now and will pull them out later when I do my Christmas decorating. I'm getting excited!

Shared Here:


Name That Critter!

A couple of months ago, we noticed something was digging outside our animal run. Inside the run is where our three Cayuga ducks and three dwarf rabbits live. We were concerned that a predator was after the animals. Although we had predator proofed the run as best as we could, we were still worried.

One morning as I was trying to get a few extra winks of sleep, my husband burst into the room exclaiming that there was a large white rabbit in our garden. At first, I thought I was just having a weird dream, or maybe my husband was talking in his sleep cause he does that sometimes (a lot actually!). I got up anyway and looked out the back window. There really was a large white rabbit in our garden and it was trying to get inside our run! I tip-toed outside, quietly opened the gate, and corralled the ducks inside their house. The white rabbit watched without running away, so I stepped back and it hopped right inside the open gate.

What a relief to know there wasn't a determined predator, just a lonely (and very hungry!) male New Zealand White rabbit. Now I wouldn't have to fill in a bunch of recently dug holes around the perimeter of the run each morning! ...Or so I thought. The next day I happened to be chatting with our neighbors and mentioned the white rabbit. "Oh good! Maybe you can catch the two brown ones now!" TWO BROWN ONES? Sure enough, we noticed the digging continued around the outside of our run.
We tried a live trap, and several other brilliant, but unsuccessful plans. Then one afternoon I saw them outside and quietly opened the gate again... in they hopped! Silly rabbits! These two were large, brown mixed breeds with definitely a little lion-head in them. Another male and a female. We quickly found homes for the two males, but the brown female one we kept "temporarily" to make sure she wasn't pregnant.

Well, here we are, about a month and a half later and she is still with us. I think it's time to admit that she is going to stay with us. We just can't bring ourselves to look for a new home for her.
There is one main problem, however. We can't seem to find a name for her that fits. We just keep calling her "the girl bunny", which is ridiculous. Especially since she isn't even the only girl bunny we have! I would love some great name ideas! Ideas anyone?
I just love the tortoiseshell markings on her face, her fluffy white tail, and long wispy lions-mane. Plus she is so friendly and will come right up to me for treats and petting. ...Just ignore my falling apart shoes in the photo below. I'm not going to wear my nice shoes out to play with the animals! Never mind the fact that I was wearing a dress and striped stockings at the time...

*Just a side note: after asking around our neighborhood, it was determined that these rabbits were drop-offs. Sometimes people decide they no longer want their animals and just drive them out somewhere and dump them. As winter approaches, this is more common because people don't want to care for them in the cold weather. Please don't ever do this! This particular story has a happy ending, but that is not the norm. If they don't die from starvation or predators, they can reproduce and begin a feral population which can easily get out of control and cause a lot of damage.
Shared Here:


Spicy Apple Muffins

I was mixing up a batch of apple muffins, when I suddenly wanted something spicy. Muffins can be spicy, right? Why not!? These spicy apple muffins will warm you up on a cold autumn day. These are made using more of the one-handed apples that my brother picked for me. I've been enjoying eating them raw and baking with them too! I don't know what variety they are, but they are delicious! 
3/4 C oat flour (Gluten free if needed)
1/2 C brown rice flour
1/2 C yogurt
1 large egg
1/4 C sugar
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp soda
3/4 C diced fresh apples

Mix all ingredients well. Spoon into muffin tins, I set aside a few of the apple pieces, tossed with some cinnamon and placed them on top of the muffins, but that is not necessary, it just looks cool. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.

The muffins are spicy, so if you aren't a fan of "hot" stuff, then you might want to skip this recipe. I write about my brother a lot, I know, but I'm going to do it again... When he was little, he was so sensitive to spicy foods, that he refused to drink soda or eat peppermint because it was "hot". He's grown out of that and although he doesn't like a lot of heat in his food, he does enjoy a little spicy flavor. I think these muffins are mild enough that he could handle them, but they do have a bit of a punch to them. If I have him taste-test these, I'll give him a big glass of milk to go with them just in case...

Shared Here:


Last Minute Thanksgiving Decor

Sometimes things sneak up on you. You think you've got all this time and then suddenly you look at the calender and realize that Thanksgiving is only a almost here!

One thing I love about Thanksgiving is that it's kind of the last hurrah for the autumn season and there are so many natural elements that you can use to decorate for the fall. If you're running out of time and you need some ideas for quick and fun Thanksgiving or fall decor, give these a try!
These are all very inexpensive; I just used things I already had on hand. They are also very easy. If you can handle simple tasks involving cutting, gluing, and writing, then this will be a piece of cake (Mmmm... CAKE! That sounds good! I might have to do some baking later today!).

Autumn Leaf Wreath:
The idea is very simple. Glue some fall leaves to a cardboard circle and you're done. There are a few tips though that will make this easier. Choose leaves that are mostly dry so they will keep their shape better and work gently because any dry places will crumble if you use too much force. Also, use larger leaves in the back, smaller ones in the front. I used a variety of maple, and tulip tree leaves. I have neither one of these trees. It has been rather windy lately and these leaves blew into my yard just so I could use them to create fall decorations. How nice!
Autumn Leaf Garland:
All you'll need for this simple leaf garland is string, wire, or ribbon, glue and an assortment of leaves. Arrange your leaves in the order you want them, or grab them randomly. Glue them along your string and hang them up to enjoy. As with the wreath, use mostly dried leaves so they keep their shape better. Some curling will happen and that's ok. If you use completely dried leaves, they will be very brittle. Work gently so as not to crush the drier parts of the leaves. Also, you may choose to cut off the stems or leave them. I cut mine off, but it doesn't really matter.
Thankful Banner:
This is the most difficult of the three projects, but it's very simple also. Cut uniform triangles out of brown paper grocery bags. Stamp them all over with various leaf patterns in fall colors, then use a good quality marker to write the letters. I spelled out "Thankful", but you can choose any word (or words) you please. Next, glue them onto a ribbon. You could also use decorative yarn, string, or whatever strikes your fancy.
There you are! Three simple ideas to decorate for this season. I hope you enjoy them and maybe they will inspire you to come up with some other ideas as well. If you have more time on your hands, consider checking out these other fall decorating tutorials:
Acorn Branches

Shared at these blogs:
Craftastic Monday at Sew Can Do
Monday Funday at Lines Across My Face
What'd You Do This Weekend at Tumbleweed Contessa 
Manic Monday at Serendipity & Spice 
Link Party Tuesday at A to Zebra Celebrations
Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures
30 Day Holiday Linky Party at The Shady Porch
Cottage Style Party at Lavender Garden Cottage
Down Home Blog Hop at Tilly's Nest
What We Accomplished Wednesday at Green Willow Pond
Work It Wednesday at The Happy Housie
Lovely Ladies Linky at Life With The Crust Cut Off
Whatever Goes Wednesday at Someday Crafts
Home & Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life
Treasure Hunt Thursday at From My Front Porch To Yours
Four Seasons Blog Hop at Easy Life Meal & Party Planning
Clever Chicks Blog Hop at The Chicken Chick
Sunday Linky at Suburbs Mama
Silver Pennies Sundays at Finding Silver Pennies
Creative Home and Garden Hop at Little Homestead On The Hill

Blogging tips