Showing posts with label Fall. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fall. Show all posts

Thursday, November 14, 2013

8 Thanksgiving Traditions {Sister Inspirations}

With the start of the holiday season, we were obviously inspired by Thanksgiving. Instead of writing about the food or holiday decorations, we wanted to focus on the spirit of thankfulness. So here are eight traditions that you can start with your family this year.

Thanksgiving Crescent Rolls

This is not an original idea to us, but we thought it was a great idea and wanted to test it out to see if it really worked. And it did.

Cut small slips of paper for each family member to write what they are thankful for during the past year. Gently roll each paper into a crescent roll and bake like normal. At dinner each person can share out the message they found in the roll. You can even make a guessing game out of the activity.

A couple of tips:

  • Roll them up gently. If you smoosh them too much, the paper will stick to the dough and you will have be eating paper with your rolls.
  • Fold the slips in half. We didn't do this to all our rolls and there was a small bit of ink transfer on the ones we didn't fold. Though a little ink didn't kill anyone that I know of. . .

Thanksgiving Chalkboard

If you have a chalkboard wall or canvas, your family can write their thanksgivings to display in your home.

Thanksgiving Stones

This is an activity that can be a way for your family to express their gratitude throughout the year. Thanksgiving is a great time to start.

You will need stones, a vase or other container, and a notebook. I found polished river stones at our local dollar store that worked perfectly for this project. When you have something you are thankful for, you place a stone in the vase and write your thanksgiving in the notebook. In time you will see how your family blessings stack up.

Thankful Tree

I've always liked the idea of thankful trees. In fact a couple of years ago, I posted one of my own. This year I thought it would be great to incorporate it as a centerpiece for the family meal.  I chose one of my favorite vases and brought in a couple small branches of the beautiful fall foliage.  I then wrote the things I am thankful for on a few leaves with a fine sharpie. If you keep water in the vase, the branches should keep for at least a week.

The other four traditions can be found on Megan's blog. Click here for the rest of the list.

Linking to Tutorials & Tips at Home Stories A to Z.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sister Inspirations: 5 Non-Traditional Painted Pumpkins

Welcome to the second installment of Sister Inspirations. This month we felt compelled to take a nod from the season and decorate pumpkins. We realize that there aren't many new ideas that haven't been done before, so we put our own flair on a few "non-traditional" pumpkin designs.

We went with painted pumpkins because they last longer and they are not Halloween specific, so you can use them through Thanksgiving. Also, they tend to be more kid-friendly than wielding sharp tools to carve a pumpkin.

Gold Studded Pumpkin

I saw a studded pumpkin by Sweet Paul, loved the idea, and wanted to put my own spin on it.

I thought painting it white would be a great contrast to the gold studs. The studs are actually beads I found at Michaels.

After the paint was dry, I simply hot glued the studs in a star pattern. Perhaps the most difficult part of this pumpkin was planning out the design of the studs. I recommend laying them out before starting so you know where you're going.

I love it. So fierce! :)

Irregular Chevron Pumpkin

For this pumpkin I was inspired by this wall design. I liked how it took a classic chevron pattern and switched it up just a bit with the irregular angles. For high contrast, I painted the pumpkin slate gray and used white puff paint for the stripes.

My sister, Megan, is sharing the other three pumpkins on her blog, A Little Nutmeg. She is featuring a glittered polka dot pumpkin, a crosshatched patterned pumpkin, and an ombre pumpkin.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

DIY Cinnamon Scented Pinecones [Celebrating Fall, Day 16]

I love the time of the year when you walk into a store and smell the aroma of cinnamon scented pinecones. It's a sure sign of the approaching holidays.

I have bought them every year, but not this year. I've kept many of the pinecones because I like to have them around for decorating, but they usually lose most of their scent after a year. I learned recently that it's usually cheaper by half to make your own and it's super easy.

You'll need:
  • pinecones
  • cinnamon essential oil
  • a zip-lock bag

Place the pinecones in the bag, then put in 3-4 drops of the essential oil. Seal up the bag and give it a little shake. Store the sealed bag for 3-4 weeks, then take them out, and enjoy your scented pinecones!

Note: I picked up the cinnamon essential oil at a local health food store. It cost me less than $5. The bottle will last a long time and will scent many batches of pinecones.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Pumpkin Patch [Celebrating Fall, Day 14]

If you've never been to your local pumpkin patch—go. I know the pumpkins at the supermarket are cheaper and more convenient, but going to the pumpkin patch is an experience.

It's one of the main ways we celebrate fall as a family every year. You're not just going for the pumpkins, but for the tractor ride, the farm animals, hay maze, and the apple cider.

pumpkin patch 2013

Our local pumpkin patch has been around for over thirty years. It's located on a farm just outside of town. When you get there you can grab a hayride out to the fields or you can just walk out yourself. They have over 100 varieties of pumpkins, which is not something you would get from the grocery store.

One tip for finding the perfect pumpkin: Look for a green stem. If the pumpkin has a shriveled, brown stem, it will likely rot soon.

pumpkins 2013

Once you've found your perfect pumpkin, you can enjoy concessions, look at all the farm animals, take a few shots at the pumpkin slingshot, or get lost in the hay maze.

We took Indiana out with us this time. He enjoyed the experience maybe even more than we did. Walking around with a Great Dane is like walking around with a minor celebrity. He got a lot of love from the families at the patch.

Indiana at the pumpkin patch

We picked our pumpkins this weekend, but we probably won't carve them for another week. Carved pumpkins only last for about 7-10 days. So if you want them to look great on Halloween night, save that activity until next weekend.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Milkshake [Celebrating Fall, Day 12]

A couple weeks ago was National Milkshake Day. I don't remember what day it was, but ever since I haven't been able to get milkshakes off my brain.

Since we are celebrating fall here on The Happy Tulip, I thought that a pumpkin flavored milkshake would perfectly commemorate the season, as well as  feed my craving.

It's rather simple, but so delicious.


  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • A pinch of allspice
Blend all ingredients in a blender. Depending on your preferred milkshake consistency, you may add more ice cream for a thicker shake or more milk for a thinner shake. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

It was so good, I'm dreaming up more flavor combinations.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Early Fall Mantel [Celebrating Fall, Day 11]

The last few days I've been working on unearthing the holiday paraphernalia and sorting out the fall stuff. I don't have it all done yet, but I have the mantel to show you.

It's not a true mantel, but rather the top of some built-in bookshelves in the office.

This is an early fall version because I intend to change it up a bit when the leaves start to change color. I like to decorate my home with as many of the beautiful natural elements found outside that I can. Since nature is still green around here, I decided to bring that green in through a few apples from my sister's tree.

early autumn mantel

I also needed to use what I already had around the house. I am certainly not an expert in styling shelves and mantels, but each time I try I think I get a bit better. This is perhaps my favorite yet.

fall mantel

The twig pumpkins were on clearance at Crate and Barrel last year. The tarnished silver bowl was thrifted.

autumn mantel

The armillary sphere is one of my favorite trinkets I have—I love the structure. The flower I made from a brown paper bag. The white vases and deer head were from Target.

early fall mantel

That's it for now. I'll share more of my fall home…as soon as I get it done. :)

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

How To Easily Create Chalkboard Art Without Needing Great Handwriting [Celebrating Fall, Day 9]

I love chalkboard. I know many people view it as a dying trend in home décor, but I think it's here to stay. It's a timeless medium for quick memos, kid sketches, and even gorgeous art. Dana Tanamachi, anyone?

Many people are hesitant to have their own chalkboard, I think, because they feel the need to have great handwriting or an art background. Not true.

I wanted to change out my chalkboard wall with something for fall, so I thought I would share a process of creating beautiful chalkboard art without the need for fancy handwriting skills. All you need is a printout of your design and some chalk.

how to create a beautiful chalkboard design without needing great handwriting

Step 1: Find/create your design

If you're intimidated about creating your own design, you can use mine or look for others online. There are so many free printables out there these days. Just type in "fall printable" in the search box on Pinterest and I'm sure you'll find hundreds.

You can download my design here. Right click on the image and save to your computer. It is free for personal use.

Step 2: Print it out

If the design is already the size you need—great. If you need to blow it up bigger then I use a free website called Block Posters. You upload the image, specify the size, and they give you a pdf of your image. Your image will print out as a group of papers that you can tape together to form the larger image. My design used 6 pages to create a 12" x 24" image. One thing to note: the smaller or more fine the image, the more difficult it will be to create with chalk. That doesn't mean you can't have details, just be aware it won't be as crisp as a pencil.

how to create chalkboard art without fancy handwriting skills

Step 3: Chalk the back

Once you have your image, flip it over to the back, and chalk it up generously.

Step 4: Tape it to your chalkboard and trace

Tape your chalked image to your chalkboard, right side out, just as you would look at it. Now with a pencil, trace the outline of your design firmly. Be careful that you don't trace so firmly that you will tear through the paper though.

Beautiful chalkboard art without needing fancy handwriting skills

Step 5: Take off the paper and reveal your transferred design

Once you are done tracing, you should take off the paper and see the outline transferred to the chalkboard.

Don't be alarmed if it's not absolutely perfect or slightly smudged. It should be clear enough for you to see where you should fill it in.

tutorial for how to create chalkboard art without needing great handwriting skills

Step 6: Fill in the outlines

Carefully fill in the outlines of the design where needed.

how to create chalkboard art easily-- no fancy handwriting needed

Step 7: Clean it up

If there are some areas that are smudged or need a fix, you can use a moistened q-tip to clean it up.

Step 8: Admired your work!

For more chalkboard inspiration, check out my chalkboard Pinterest board.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Fall Simmering Scents [Celebrating Fall, Day 8]

One of the best parts of fall is the scents, whether it's the brisk air outside or a pie in the oven. The sense of smell is one of the easiest ways to cozy up your home and bring a little autumnal cheer.

One way I use to make my home smell heavenly is by making my own simmering scents. It's simply looking in your kitchen and spice drawers, pulling out your favorites, and putting them in a pot of simmering water.

This time I used apples, vanilla, rosemary, cloves, and cinnamon.

how to make your own fall simmering scent

Simmering scents are hard to mess up, though I do have a few pairing suggestions:
  • Oranges, cloves, nutmeg, and vanilla.
  • Cranberries, cinnamon, and allspice.
  • Lemon, bay leaf, vanilla, and rosemary.
  • Cedar and cinnamon.
Use your imagination to create your own signature scent. Once you've decided on your ingredients, put them in a small pot and fill with just enough water to cover. Heat to boiling, turn down to low, and let simmer away. If you have it simmering for several hours, watch the water level and refill it as necessary; otherwise it may burn. And of course, don't leave the house with it still simmering on your stove.

Each batch can be used for several weeks. I store mine in the refrigerator between uses. When you are done with a batch you can put it through your garbage disposal to freshen your sink.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Pumpkin Pancakes with Pumpkin Syrup [Celebrating Fall, Day 6/7]

Sorry about the absence yesterday. Life caught up with me and I dropped the ball. Oh well.

I thought I'd share with you some delicious pumpkin pancakes with pumpkin syrup that I made yesterday. If you have a pumpkin craving—this would be the perfect fix!

pumpkin pancakes with pumpkin syrup

Pumpkin Pancakes

Adapted from Brunch and the City


  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp. vinegar
In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil, and vinegar. Stir in the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture until just combined. Do not over mix.
I started with 2 cups of milk, but needed to thin out the mixture with a bit more.

Cook pancakes over medium-low heat on a greased pan or griddle. Flip when bubbles rise to the surface.

Pumpkin Syrup

Recipe from my mother.


  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Mix ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat until warmed through.

pumpkin pancakes

I toasted some chopped walnuts to add some crunch. Yum!

Friday, October 04, 2013

Five Fall Pinterest Boards You Should Be Following [Celebrating Fall, Day 4]

When it comes to inspiration, Pinterest has long been my go-to source. If I'm searching for pumpkin recipes I no longer "google it"—I "pinterest it." So I thought I'd share five of my favorite fall boards. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it's a great place to start.

In no particular order . . .


Name: Suzanne Walizer
Board: L'automne

suzanne walizer pinterest

What's great about it: Gorgeous outdoor settings, landscapes, and lots of pumpkins.


Name: Chrissy from The Perfect Palette
Board: Fall + Harvest Ideas

perfect palette pinterest

What's great about it: This board has a little bit of everything. Recipes, projects, vignettes, style, and landscapes. She's known for her great taste on Pinterest and this board is no exception.


Name: Holly from Happy Food, Healthy Life
Board: Pumpkin Recipes

Holly at happy food healthy life pinterest

What's great about it: The name says it all: she has the mother lode of pumpkin recipes. Pumpkin Pie Reese's? Come to mama.


Name: Carrie Hampton from Lifestylesfiles Blog
Board: Autumn

carrie hampton pinterest

What's great about it: Beautiful scenery. Looking at this board really makes me feel the charm and coziness of fall.


Name: Rebecca from Walnut and Vine
Board: Fall/Thanksgiving Tablescapes

rebecca pinterest

What's great about it: Festive tablescapes. She actually has twelve different fall boards and they are all worth checking out.

Of course I think my Fall Pinterest board is pretty fabulous too. :)

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Pumpkin and Spice Sugar Scrub [Celebrating Fall, Day 3]

I'm so excited about bringing you this post because this is a little bit of autumn heaven. I'm weird in the way that I don't like coffee or tea—or any hot beverage for that matter. Many people herald the beginning of autumn when a certain coffee chain brings back their pumpkin spiced lattes. I get it. There's something special about the scent of pumpkin laced with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

This recipe brings together those same magical ingredients in a wonderful, aromatic, exfoliating, and moisturizing sugar scrub.

pumpkin and spice sugar scrub

It only uses 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree, which is perfect because I often seem to have just a bit left over from another recipe. I also used coconut oil in the recipe, but if you don't have that in your pantry, you could use olive oil instead.

This left my skin so soft with just a hint of fragrance from the spices.

pumpkin spice sugar scrub


  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/8 cup coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
I mixed all the ingredients together and stored it in an empty, clean condiment jar. You'll want something with a lid. The scrub does not have any preservatives in it, so I suggest you store it in the refrigerator. This recipe makes enough for approximately 10 full body uses.

To Use

Massage into damp skin and rinse well.

Of course with any skin care product, discontinue use if it is causing any irritation. Also, be careful; the oil in this could make your tub slippery.

I hope you make this scrub and enjoy it as much as I do!

Linking to: Home Stories A to Z's Tutorials and Tips Party

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Easy and Free Twig Leaf [Celebrating Fall, Day 2]

Today I have an easy (and free!) décor hack for you. I've been seeing a twig leaf around Pinterest that is apparently from Joann's. I'm sure you've seen it. This one here.

As soon as I saw it, I thought to myself what many of you crafters out there probably think … "I can make that!"

Here's my version:
how to make a Joanns-inspired twig leaf

Gather a bunch of sticks about the width of a pencil or smaller. Don't worry too much about length because you can always break them into the lengths you need.

Before you begin, I would advise you to protect your table with paper or a silicone mat. If you're like me, you might make a mess with hot glue.

Set out the sticks into a shape of a leaf. Take some time and play around until you're happy with it. When you're sure you like what you have, begin hot gluing each piece together. You only need a small bead for each joint. It may seem like it won't hold together at first, but have a little faith. After the glue has cooled and set, it'll stay.

twig leaf outline

Next, add in the interior sticks-- this is more to your preference. The Joann's version had more interior sticks and I liked mine with less. I would advise you at least add an interior stick to each intersection of the leaf outline.

When you're happy with it, let it cool for a bit, and then give it a little wiggle to see how secure it is. Mine was good to go, but if anything is loose, you'll have to add a touch more glue.

twig leaf

I hung mine on a bare, lonesome wall for now. I'm thinking of making two more with slightly different shapes, so I can have a triptych of twig leaves.

How's that for a free project? :)

Monday, September 30, 2013

31 Days of Celebrating Fall

It's that time again! I'm going to participate in Nester's 31 Days of Writing challenge. She asks us to pick one topic and try to write about it every single day for the month of October. I can't help but pick Fall as my topic yet again.

This will be an attempt. Posting every day is certainly a challenge. Even now I'm writing this first post "behind" because of a rather unfortunate leak in our water heater leading to a mini flood event in the laundry room. But enough with the excuses, Amy. :)

My vision for this month will include recipes, projects, and other posts that celebrate the season.
31 Days of Celebrating Fall at the Happy Tulip
Please feel free to check out my Fall series last year. You can find an index for all the posts here.

Some of my favorite posts from last year were my Thanksgiving sign, writing on my windows, and a yummy chocolate chip pumpkin dip.

I hope to see you tomorrow!

Linking to Nester's 31 Day challenge.
Day 1: Introduction
Day 2: Easy and Free Twig Leaf
Day 3: Pumpkin and Spice Sugar Scrub
Day 4: Five Fall Pinterest Boards You Should Be Following
Day 5: Music For Your Fall Weekend
Day 6/7: Pumpkin Pancakes with Pumpkin Syrup
Day 8: Fall Simmering Scents

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fall Nesting: Three Fall Projects I Wish I Had Time To Make {Day 17}

Busy, busy, busy.

But who isn't these days?

If you are one of the lucky few with a couple spare minutes, I would make one (or all!) of these projects if I were you.

1. Ombre Pumpkin from Funky Time
Beautiful, huh?

2. The Great Pumpkin Cake from a Merrier World
It's just two bundt cakes. Genius.

3. Leaf Roses from Design Sponge
Gorgeous. To make these roses I would have to resort to stealing though, since we only have the yellow and brown leaf varieties in our yard. Humbug.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall Nesting: Rosemary Parmesan Popcorn {Day 16}

I have a very busy week ahead of me. And I came home from work today wanting a quick snack and a little down time on the hammock in the backyard. The only snack I had in the pantry was a lonely little bag of popcorn.

It needed a little snazzying up so I mixed together a few things and came up with something pretty good.

This recipe is not an exact science. I can tell you the measurements I used, but you should feel free to adjust for your taste. I don't think you can get it wrong.

I don't have a popcorn popper, so I used the 100-calorie, 94% fat free microwave popcorn I had on hand. So keep in mind, that it was a smaller size bag. You should double the recipe for a normal bag of popcorn. If you air pop some corn, that would probably be best though.

  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary 
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 small bag of popcorn
1. Pop the corn.
2. Immediately stir in the butter, then the rest of the ingredients.

If you wait for it to cool too long, the cheese mixture will not stick to the popcorn.

Hope you all are having a restful week!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fall Nesting: Decorating My Fall Mantel {Day 15}

I finally did up my mantel for the fall this weekend. I thought about doing a Halloween mantel, but I didn't want to redo it again in a couple of weeks so I'm skipping right to Thanksgiving decorations.

I'm keeping it pretty simple this year.

And cheap. I just used things we had on hand. The letters I made from cardboard. I printed the letters out in a size 640 font that I liked. I traced and cut them out of an old cardboard box, then sprayed them with leftover paint from the marquee letter project. I could have bought chipboard letters from Hobby Lobby for $1/piece, which would have been easier.

But you can't beat free- when it's basically the same thing.

Three little pumpkins sitting on a fence . . .

I bought a few pumpkins on clearance at Crate and Barrel last year that I was excited to finally get out of storage. I had to add a few bright leaves for a pop o' color.

Yes, that's the same trough that was added my kitchen a week ago. I moved my DIY trough to the mantel and flipped it over for a bit of height. I loved it in the kitchen, but I'm always changing things up. We'll just have to make another.

The old books are Josh's contribution to the mantel. I was rummaging through the house trying to find needed something to balance the wheat and he pulled out his box of old books. Perfect-- except I had to turn one of them around. I didn't want to include "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" to my mantel.

The wheat is leftover from last year. I stuck it in a pitcher I bought from TJMaxx a couple years ago. The more I stare at it the more it looks like the pitcher had a crazy hair day, but I decided that I like it anyway.

And there it is again!

How are your mantels looking? Did you spookify your home or have you skipped ahead to Thanksgiving?

Linking up to: