Sunday, June 28, 2015

Patriotic Decor

 It's officially summer! Hooray! (Those of us living in New England feared it would never come.)

My favorite part of summer is celebrating the Fourth of July. Parades, picnics, and fireworks are all apart of the fun, but, I fear the reason for the holiday is set aside while the party is taking place.

The actual name of the holiday is Independence day. It commemorates the adoption of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, on July 4, 1776. 

So, as we celebrate, let us remember to be grateful for the freedoms this beautiful country provides. Let us remember to stand united and be proud to be American!

Now, let's talk about ways to decorate for the occasion.

I had a hard time sticking with one "theme" this year. There were several different aspects that I felt passionate about. The historical, cultural/personal, and the trendy aspects were all on my mind. So, I made all three work in our home. We have three locations in the living room in which to decorate. I chose to make each a different theme. 

1. The Historical Aspect

In this set up, I draped the flag over a floating shelf. It is being held up by a tack at the upper grommet. You could put a tack in the lower grommet also, but it held just fine and I like the hanging look. I like how the bottom of the flag hangs down, now I just hope and pray that my kids don't yank on it while sitting on the couch!
I found the painted ceramic piece at Goodwill for $3. George Washington is in the middle with two others on the sides. On the bottom is painted 1776. I was drawn to the piece. I admit that something about it bothered me at first, but I grew to love it. I like how it added the historical reminder to my decor. The bicycle also came from Goodwill for $3. I like the uniqueness of it. 

2. The Cultural/Personal Aspect

I really wanted to incorporate baseball into my decor but wasn't sure how I was going to pull it off. While visiting my parents, I talked to my Nana about it. She told me about her Grandfather, the minor league baseball player. My mom dug out this photo and it all started coming together. The photo is dated June 6, 1915, which makes it 100 years old! I like how it adds an heirloom to the decor.  The story behind it makes it apply to the holiday also. My Great, Great, Grandfather, Robert Siberia Eaves was born while at sea, over the Atlantic Ocean on March 27, 1871. (Can you imagine giving birth on the ocean in wintertime?!) His parents desired the freedoms that the United states offered and moved from England to America. The name of the ship was "The Siberia", which explains his middle name. His nickname was "Si". I am so grateful for the sacrifices that my ancestors made, which made it possible for me to be born in this wonderful country! I am proud to hang his picture in my home!
When I think of baseball, I think peanuts, so naturally I had to incorporate them and the flags help tie the decor themes together.

3. The Trendy Aspect

This display is not my favorite and needs work. It is staying as-is for now though. My favorite piece is the Proud to be American set up. This is one of the first projects I shared on my blog. (view HERE)
I did change the "P" because the kids broke if off and I replaced it with a blue block and stamped a "P" in white paint. It's growing on me, and I think it adds more character. 

I love decorating for the Fourth, it is so much fun! I recently filmed a Fourth of July show for Holiday Fun with Hillary on Amherst Public Access TV. For the show, I blended all of these concepts together into a beautiful display. As soon as I receive those pictures, I will post them.

I hope you all have a great Independence Day, and enjoy the decorating process!


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Easy DIY Valentine Cards

So, I struggle with Valentine's Day Cards. There are some seriously AWESOME handmade card ideas floating around the web. If you search Pinterest or Google for DIY Valentine's Day Cards you will see some amazingly creative ideas. I am not that great with graphic design (It's a goal I'm working towards), which makes my handmade cards look much less polished. But, I'm learning to be okay with that. 

I came from a family that did EVERYTHING over-the-top. If you saw my post about Halloween costumes (Here) you can kind of understand what I mean. I used to stress myself out over being the best, and having the cutest gifts and cards etc. I have come to realize that it's not worth the stress. Plus, who really likes that over achiever Mom? Last year, there was a parent in my son's kindergarten class that did all of these amazing and expensive things which made the rest of us feel like we could never amount. I was not a fan of that feeling and do not want to makes others feel that way. 

I try to make my cards cute but not overwhelming. Some are even hand written, and I'm okay with that. Here are some easy, fun homemade card ideas. They are not perfect, but they work just fine. 

<< This is what one of our sons will be bringing to his classmates this year. They are dinosaur erasers from Target. I printed the phrase on cardstock, punched two holes, and wrapped baker's twine around the dinosaur. Goose LOVES it. That's all that matters.

 This Valentine is going to Pre-K this year. This is just a bouncy ball in a jewelry bag. It's nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.

 Last year the boys handed these glow sticks out. I made the printable below using Picmonkey. You can print it by saving the image by right clicking it and saving it to your computer. A single hole punch is the perfect size for the glow stick to fit into. These were a huge hit late year!

 Hand written notes are more personal/intimate. For the Hubs, my cards are always hand written.

 Not everything has to have a creative saying. I made a creative saying using Play-Doh for the show and it was a mouthful! It was also wicked cheesy. I like this simple version better. I wrote on the Play-Doh container with a fine Sharpie then stuck the Play-Doh to a paper heart with glue dots.

 I LOVE these shoes laces or should I say shoe lace impostors. They are silicone and aren't actually laces. They are the perfect gift for the tween/teen in your life! (Notice the typo there -- Like I said, being perfect is not what I am trying to achieve.)

These Tic Tac labels are AWESOME. They are wicked cute and very easy! Props to Sarah over at Somewhat Simple for her talent and creativity. Print yours out today! These make great teacher gifts. Click above ^

The Clementine was a random thought that I had as I was getting ready to go to rehearsal for the show. I was eating a clementine and was still in the cheesy phrase making mood, when I walked up to my husband handed him a clementine and said, "Will you be my clementine?" He rolled his eyes and validated that the fact that I was nuts. It is SO simple. Take a sharpie and write whatever comes to mind. It's an awesome addition to a child's lunch or snack!

Well... That about sums up my Valentine Card thoughts. I hope that you take some time to have fun with Valentine's Day crafts and don't stress yourself out. I'm learning more and more that it is better to just be me and to try not to live up to everyone else around me and those on Pinterest...

Happy crafting and cheesy phrase inventing! 


Valentine's Day Decor

This post is last minute, and most people probably have decorations up already, but here are some ideas anyway.

I have a few different set-ups to share with you. I have the set-up for Holiday Fun with Hillary and also how I have decorated my home for Valentine's day.

1. Holiday Fun with Hillary set-up

You can watch the show by clicking HERE.

2. LOVE displayed on a shelf with accents

 For some reason I find that every picture I take of this set up is visually distracting. It is not in real life, however. I was just looking at it, I am thinking that I can trade the hurricane glass with gumballs for the letter "L". I might play with that and make an update.
Credit for the wicked cute printable goes to Desiree from The 36th Avenue <~ Click here to get  yours!

3. Window display

This window stays up almost all year. I love it, so I try to find ways to incorporate it into each Holiday. I used chalk markers and wrote on the glass. I am not a huge fan of how it turned out, but I have set a goal to not criticize myself so much, so I left it. There is also a mason jar sitting filled with M&Ms, a jar with washi tape arrows sitting on old books, and a block calendar. 

4. Melted Crayon Art, Healthy Heart Attack, and Lollipop Tree

The "Healthy Heart Attack" is the the heart bouquet on bamboo skewers. This is something Patrice has done in past years. Cut out paper hearts and tape them onto skewers. You can write messages to make it more personable. Stick them into floral foam in the bottom of a floral pot. It is simple, easy, and cute.

The Lollipop tree is reused from Christmas. Patrice replaced the Christmas ornaments with paper hearts (still using the ornament hook) and stuck lollipops through the open holes. This is perfect for Grandma's house, doctor's office, or simply for fun decor. 

The Melted Crayon Art was a Valentine's gift that I made for my husband a few years ago. It absolutely poured on our wedding day and I thought this was the perfect way to recreate those moments. I used a white canvas, traced the picture onto the canvas with a Sharpie, took the wrappers off of blue and gray crayons, and pushed them through a glue gun. It made a huge mess, but it was fun. It about 3 hours total. I do not have step by step photos because I did this way before my blogging days. This hangs in our bedroom and we love it!

Hopefully you found some ideas to spark your creativity. Coming soon will be a post about DIY Valentine Cards!

Have a happy day! Remember to SMILE!


Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Adventure

I'm starting a new adventure!! (NO, I AM NOT PREGNANT!) If you are still interested in finding out what the adventure is after learning that it is not a potential baby girl, continue reading...

Living in Western Mass has been a challenge. People here are very different from the other places that I have lived. The first thing we noticed when we moved here (5 years ago) was the first question asked was, "What is/was your major in college and where do/did you attend?" My husband was just starting an associate degree at the time (yes, he started later than normal), and people became awkward after we told them. It felt like we weren't good enough for them. Sadly, this even happened at church, a lot. It was frustrating. I did not attend college. I did, however, attend beauty school and after an intense testing process in Maine, received my license. Still, I was not respected because I was not a college graduate or working mother. 

I stopped telling people about myself and even limited attending social/church events where these questions would be asked. I did not answer questions in church classes out of fear that it would not be an intellectual thought. It's been a hard 5 years. 

My husband and I have talked about me going to school. But, nothing ever came of it. That was because I wasn't sure I really wanted anything to come of it. Then came an option that I felt was the Lord saying, "Hillary, this is for you!" It came in the form of Pathway. Pathway is a low-cost educational opportunity that combines online courses with local gatherings. Students earn college credit that is eligible for transfer to BYU-Idaho and other universities.

It is an AMAZING program. The cost per credit hour is $65 for U.S. residents and the cost is significantly lower in many other countries. Check out the program here

So, as crazy as it seems, I am enrolled in college courses!! Holy Smokes! It still seems weird to say. I'm nervous, excited, overwhelmed, yet totally calm all in one. Some members of my family are very concerned about the toll it will take, but I am confident that the Lord will bless me and that this was the right decision.

I'm sure the stress, pressure, and whining will come in time. But as for now, I am excited. I have even completed my first two assignments as a college student! It may seem small and insignificant, but it's a big deal to me. I never thought college would be an option for me. I was embarrassed to tell people at first, but now I am embracing it. I'm a college student am I am learning to be proud of it!!

Stay tuned for my fun and crafty girls outing last week. It may be the last one I see for a while!! Creative Fun in Easthampton will be posted soon!

Have a wonderful night,


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Do you have time for JOY?

Amidst the hustle and bustle, shopping, wrapping, school plays, and down right STRESS of the Holidays do you remember that this is supposed to be a joyous time of year? Sometimes it's very hard to remember, no matter what Holiday you celebrate. 

I put up the word JOY as a part of our Christmas decor because I though it would be cute, but also as a reminder to be happy amid the stress. 

I found the O at Hobby Lobby (my favorite craft store ever!) on clearance several months ago. I think I think paid 3 or 4 dollars for it. I loved it the second I saw it and knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I didn't have the other letters yet, but I was working on it. 

I found the Y at Joann Fabrics. I believe I paid around 2-3 dollars for that one as well. It was a brown letter awaiting some creative love... 

(Yes, it's upside down. But I'm okay with that right now.)

All I did was add Washi tape around it. I found festive Washi tape at TJ Maxx recently. When you are close up you can see the overlap, but from far away you just see a cute polka dotted Y. 
 It looked a little plain so I added some thick twine and slipped on a brownish/gold glittery ornament. 

So, I was stuck on the J. I didn't like anything the I could find in stores. I was hoping to buy it because I wanted to take the easy out because I didn't have a ton of time. But I would rather take the time to make one then to be unhappy with what I bought. 

I had some foam board left over from another project and decided to use that. I drew out a J on cardstock for my template. You can print a J off of a word processor if you don't feel like you can free hand it. I traced it onto the poster board three times. Then I took a razor blade and cut each one out. 

I glued the three J's on top of each other to make it thicker. I just used white glue. I then painted the J with red paint. Only only had a dark barn red which was not the look I was going for but I used it anyway. I decided to pour some glitter on it while the paint was still wet. It didn't spread well so I used a lot of glitter. I used course and fine red glitter. The glitter covered up the darker red paint and gave it the look I was going for. Sorry I don't have pictures of this part or the next.

The edges were all raw from the razor blade and it didn't look very nice. I thought about it for a while and then decided to put Washi tape on the edges. In that pack from TJ Maxx came a pretty silvery glitter tape. It was the exact width that I needed. So it worked out perfectly. The tape adhered nicely and I didn't need any extra glue, but it could have been added for added security. 

These are all pretty poor pictures, but there it is. I forgot to take pictures of our set up while in the studio, but I am hoping to get some from the staff. I am still setting my Christmas decor back up in my house since filming. It's been crazy around here. When I get it all set up, I will post more decor pics. 

Until then, I hope that you can find time to enJOY your life throughout the next few weeks. 

Oh, and Hanukkah begins tonight at Sundown. Happy Hanukkah to all those celebrating. I learned a lot about this celebration this year. Hope you all watched Rabbi Weiner on Holiday Fun with Hillary on!


Friday, November 14, 2014

"Show Your Thanks By Giving To Others"

Throughout the holiday season is a great time for us to remember to give to others. Patrice came up with a great slogan for our Thanksgiving special on Holiday Fun with Hillary.

 "Show your thanks by giving to others"

I love it! What a wonderful reminder the holidays give us to reach out and serve in our community.

Two great examples that we talked about on the show were the Amherst Survival and Foster Care bags for DCF. I am including more information in this post for those that would like to learn more about these organizations. 

If you do not live in the Pioneer Valley, I encourage you to research similar organizations in your area. 

I was very surprised at how much these organizations do to assist others, I invite you to take a look...


The Amherst Survival Center is an incredible place! Continue reading to view their services and for ways to help!
Hours:   Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 11 am to 3 pm
Open Thursdays until 7 pm
Closed Wednesdays

Open 3rd Saturday of the month, 9:30 am - 11:30 am
(Food Pantry and Community Store ONLY)

Here is a list of the amazing services they provide...
  • Breakfast Bar 11am
  • Hot Lunch 12-1
  • Fresh Produce and Bread 
  • Food Pantry for people who live in 13 towns including Amherst 
  • Community Store 
  • Free Health Clinic M 12:30-1:30pm, TH 5-6pm
  • Lite Supper TH 5-6pm
  • Family Friendly movies TH 3pm, 5pm
  • Community Partners during the week (see website)
There are several ways to help...
  • They are always looking for volunteers.
  • Donations of food, personal care items, diapers, or funds.
  • They are also looking for people, schools, or organizations to run food and diaper drives.
  • Thanksgiving boxes ($10 gift certificates to grocery stores)
  • Holiday Gift Distribution of new books and games for children (for the month of December)
Check out their website
or their facebook page

Friends of ours fostered a sweet little girl for several months. While they were preparing to foster, they had to take classes. They were informed that most children that are taken out of their homes come with very little or nothing at all. The Department of Children and Families tries to supply them with basic supplies. 

Our friends wanted to do something to help. They organized a service project which involved bringing donations and sorting them. It was an incredible event to take part in. 

Here is the list that we worked from that came from a local DCF branch:

            Hygiene Items:
             (Travel Size)
  • Toothbrushes/ Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Sanitary napkins/ Tampons 
  • Baby items (diapers, wipes, baby shampoo, powder, pacifiers, bibs, onesies)
Blankets are one of the greatest sources of comfort for these children.
(*personal opinion interjection: Fleece blankets are relatively inexpensive to buy or make. They need blankets for all ages (0-18 +). Fleece blankets are a great option if you are considering donating.)

Overnight Bags:
These bags are assembled by DCF workers. They would LOVE to have volunteers sponsor an overnight bag for a specific age child and include items like:

  • Toothbrush/ Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Washcloth
  • Soap
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Brush/ Comb
  • Pajamas
  • Underwear (boy or girl and any sizes are acceptable)
  • Pens/Pencils/Crayons (preferably not markers
  • Books/Coloring books
  • Small toy or stuffed animal
  • A BAG/pillowcase to carry items in
Reusable bags work great and are inexpensive.

*I've heard stories of children lighting up at the sight of these items. Many of them have little to no possessions of their own. These items our THEIRS and it is important to them. When we did this
service project my heart ached. It was so sad to think of these children not having anything. I wanted to buy everything under the sun to put in these bags.

This is an idea that you could do as a family or do over Thanksgiving. You can invite everyone to bring an item from the list when they come to dinner. This would be a great way to do service and be united as a family or group of friends. Even if you gather enough supplies to make one overnight bag, that is one child that will feel loved.

You can look on or your contact your local DCF office (or equivalent) to learn where to drop off your donations.
If you have friends or relatives that foster children, they would also be a good contact.

There are MANY wonderful organizations that help those in need. Now is a great time to search for opportunities to serve.

I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and our church has an incredible humanitarian aid program, encourages active community service, and counsels it's members to help care for those around us.

I am proud to be Mormon and to participate in these efforts.

If you have an organization that helps and serves others that you are passionate about, I would love to hear about it. 

It is my hope that you will take the time to serve someone this Thanksgiving season. Hold a door, flash a smile, send a card, bake some cookies, or "pay it forward". Simple works just as well as extravagant. You never know when a small and simple act will greatly change someone's life.

Remember -- Show your thanks by giving to others!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


A Memorable Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is such a warm and wonderful Holiday. Families gather, hearts are grateful, and memories are shared. 

Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to incorporate family heirlooms into your decor.
Here are a few examples to get your creative juices flowing.
1. Side table display with heirloom candy dish and recipe box
I did some rearranging at my Mom's house while we were visiting a few weeks ago so I could use them for this post. I picked this particular spot because there are so many memories and heirlooms. The mirror was placed there by my Great Grandfather (by direct order of my Great Grandmother) so the kitchen could easily be seen by anyone sitting in the living room. It has only ever been moved to paint the walls.The table was also an original piece to the house. I simply added a few basic Thanksgiving decorations and included my Great Grandmother's candy dish and her recipe box. Simple, easy, and full of memories.

 2. Recipe box, salt and pepper shakers, and figurines
 Here is another that I displayed the recipe box from my Great Grandmother. Also, not pictured is a recipe from that box that I enlarged on our printer/copier and framed. I love the idea of taking something that is used for a specific purpose and displaying it in the house. I also added heirloom turkey figurines and salt and pepper shakers as accents.

3. Trice's Grandparent's antique goodies
Here is a display that we used in the show. These are from Patrice Wilson's (co-host) Grandparents. For family gatherings Patrice uses these items for serving. The handmade toolbox is great for silverware and the fruit crate is sturdy enough to hold the drink container on top and plates or glasses underneath. It is a beautiful way to display these items. She also uses a sewing box that she inherited from her Grandmother. Trice uses it as a candy dish. I love not using things for the original intended purpose, it makes the display a eye catcher! 

** Don't have family heirlooms? It's okay! Use what you like, so your children and grandchildren will have items to cherish. 
*Even if an heirloom that you have may be simple or less-than-extravagant, use it! Think of a way to use it so you can continue to keep those memories alive. By doing so you are honoring your heritage and those family members will be well represented during your Thanksgiving holiday.

Have fun digging up old treasures!!