Wednesday, April 2, 2014

DIY Burlap Ribbon Wreath

Once I got the hang of it, this wreath was pretty simple to make! These are the supplies I started out with.
  • Medium wire wreath form
  • 3 rolls of burlap ribbon (15ft each)
  • Twine
  • Wooden Letter
  • Craft paint
  • Scissors
  • Floral wire

I ended up ditching the floral wire and starting all over again about halfway through. The floral wire didn't work well with the wire wreath form and ended up just flopping the wrong directions, so I changed up my method a bit.

Leaving a few inches hanging out, I began looping the burlap ribbon through the wreath. Make a loop in each section (outside, middle, inner) and then push them together. I continued doing this around the whole wreath form until the roll ran out, leaving a few inches hanging out again.

Here is what it looked like at the end of the first roll...not too pretty yet!

Repeat this same process with your other two rolls of burlap, weaving them so that the colors are dispersed evenly (I kept an extra piece of the blue burlap ribbon to use as the bow).

Once the looping was complete, I flipped the wreath over and tied together the various ends that I had left hanging out. The back kind of braids together, which keeps it secure.

I made the bow by simply folding over the 2 sides and tying twine around the middle, then around the wreath.

Next, I painted the wooden letter and then added polka dots once that dried!

Tie the letter around the wreath with twine, fluff up your burlap loops and you are all set!

Linking up:
Fluster Buster
Someday Crafts
Common Ground 
All Things Pretty 
The Pin Junkie 
Pinworthy Projects

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Organized Bill Pay {and a Printable!}

This is probably the simplest method of keeping track of bill pay to ever exist...but why would you want to make it complicated? All it takes is a binder and my bill tracker printable.

Every single time a bill arrives in the mail, I put it in the pocket of our finances binder (that way it doesn't get mixed up with other papers...or thrown in the trash). 

Then, I immediately fill out the bill info on the printable. The list makes it so much easier to see what is coming up, rather than having to go back through each individual paper. I list our bills that are on auto-pay as well, just to keep up!

After the bill is paid, I put a check mark in the paid column, remove the bill from the binder and file it (for easy file organization click here). 

Download the bill tracker printable here.
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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

An Easy Guide to File Organization

Nothing stresses me out like trying to find an important document and having no clue where it is, which is why I am a little OCD when it comes to filing paperwork. Before I got married I didn't really have any files to worry about, then one day BOOM...we were on our own :) Then came marriage documents, new health insurance, new car insurance, new financial documents, new house, new bills, etc. etc. You may not think that knowing exactly where to find a particular piece of paper is that important, but I can assure you that sometimes IT IS.

Once I realized my little plastic file organizer was no longer doing the job, I invested in this pretty white filing cabinet from Target, and I love it!

See it here

Then of course you have to buy the hanging folders to go with it. I really like the colored ones, but I don't think I could ever bring myself to spend $35 for a box of 25, so I went with the typical green Target brand. Much better deal!

Get them here

You also need file folders to go into the hanging files. Again, it's much cheaper to stick with the basics on this one.

Get them here
 And of course, labels!

Get them here
Now for the most time-consuming part...sorting your paperwork. For those of you that are already slightly organized, this shouldn't be too bad. But for those of you that have papers everywhere, this may take you a little longer. I promise it's worth it!

Here are the major categories I used and possible subcategories that would fall under each one:


Important Documents

  • Social Security Cards
  • Passports
  • Birth Certificates
*I keep our social security cards and passports in a small photo book to be sure they don't slip out of the file.


  • Marriage License
  • Wedding Ring Insurance
  • Name Change Documents


  • Student loans
  • Transcripts


  • Resumes
  • Hiring Documents
  • Company Information
  • Paystubs


  • Purchase Information
  • Registration Papers
  • Immunization Records 


  • Car Insurance
  • Car Payments
  • Maintenance Receipts
  • Tolls
  • Traffic Violations

Health Insurance

  • Insurance Information
  • Primary Insurance Claims
  • Secondary Insurance Claims


  • Flexible Spending Account
  • Prescription/Medical ID Cards
  • Office Invoices and Receipts (separate file for each office you visit)


  • Dental Insurance Information
  • Office Invoices and Receipts (separate file for each office you visit)


  • Retirement Accounts
  • Life Insurance Policies
  • Wills
  • Taxes by Year
Obviously if you have kids, then you will accumulate even more files! I  recommend having a separate drawer or file box designated for each child. I love this system from a bowl full of lemons! One box for school documents and another for medical files, etc. would be perfect!

The second drawer of the filing cabinet is all paperwork for our house. These are the categories and possible subcategories for these files. 

 Home Bills

  • Mortgage
  • Electric
  • Gas
  • Water/Waste
  • Cable/Internet

Home Improvement

  • Home Improvement Receipts
  • Paint/Color References

HOA & Taxes

  • Homeowner's Association Documents
  • Property Tax Documents


  • Homeowner's Insurance


  • Home Warranty Documents

Purchase Documents

  • Offer on House
  • Contract
  • Inspection
  • Appraisal
  • Title
  • Closing Documents

Most of our files are letter size, but there are a few house documents that are legal size and do not fit in the file cabinet. For these, you can use a legal size storage box like this one from the Container Store.

If I am in a hurry and don't have time to file something right away, I have a magazine file that I use as my "To File" holder. This helps keep papers from accumulating in different areas of the house when you are rushed!

Even if it took you a while to organize your files, I know that it will save you a ton of time in the big scheme of things. No more wasting time looking for a piece of paper! This system works great for us, and I hope it is helpful to you too!

Click here to see how we organize our bill paying!

Linking up:

Thursday, March 6, 2014

DIY Brooch Bouquet

I knew I wanted a brooch bouquet for my wedding because it would hold sentimental value with brooches from family members and I would get to keep it forever, so I searched the internet for a good tutorial on how to make the "perfect" one. All of the tutorials gave the same instructions more or less, so I picked a detailed one, bought all of my supplies and got started. It was a total fail.

After hours of attaching floral wire to every single one of my brooches, I attempted to make it work...but it didn't. I know, I know...why in the world would I not have tested it before putting the wire on every brooch? I don't know. Since I am a huge procrastinator, I of course only had a few days until I needed my bouquet done for bridal shots.

Luckily, my mother (and floral pins) saved the day! I proceeded to cut off every piece of floral wire from my brooches and got to work on my own version of a DIY brooch bouquet. And trust me, it was so much easier. I don't have step-by-step photos because that was the last thing on my mind at the time, but I will make sure to give you enough info to do this yourself without floral wire.

*disclaimer: I am sure that there are plenty of people who can make an absolutely beautiful brooch bouquet with floral wire, I am just not one of those people. I personally just found using the floral pins much easier.

Supplies Needed:
  • Brooches
  • Small styrofoam ball (you don't need the large one because the brooches make it look big)
  • Wooden dowel (and something to cut it down with)
  • Lots & lots of floral pins 
  • Filler pins (corsage pins)
  • Ribbon (I used thick satin ribbon)
  • Hot glue gun
Let me start by saying that I needed a lot more brooches that I anticipated. You can use fabric and other things as fillers if you want, but I really wanted mine to be all brooches.  If it's not too late and you still have a bridal shower coming up, I recommend asking your shower guests to each bring a brooch (put it on the invite)! That way you get a fun variety from your friends and you don't have to pay for them.  I got my brooches from family members, flea markets and then turned to Sam Moon when I needed to add a little more bling.

1. Spray paint your styrofoam ball if needed (I used a white one and did not paint it, but silver or gold would have looked good too).

2. Cut down your wooden dowel to the length you want your bouquet handle to be, plus about 2 inches.

3. Drill a hole 2 inches deep into your styrofoam ball with a slightly smaller diameter than the wooden dowel.

4. Push the wooden dowel into that space (if you drill the hole too big than the dowel will not be as snug...and nobody wants the top of their bouquet to fall off as their walking down the aisle).

5. Starting with your least favorite (because they will be slightly covered by other brooches), begin attaching your brooches to the styrofoam ball using the floral pins.

I looped a pin through each end of the brooch and then pushed them into the styrofoam (you will occasionally need to use your hot glue gun to be sure that the brooch is secure). Remember, it's ok to pull the brooch off and move it if you decide you don't like where you put it!

6. Once you start stacking the brooches, they will obviously feel a little more loose because they are not pushed all the way into the styrofoam. Just secure it with hot glue and then make sure it doesn't budge when you move the bouquet around.

8. After you have added your brooches, wrap your wooden dowel with whatever ribbon you chose. I used a thick satin ribbon and did one loop over the bottom of the dowel and continued wrapping up the length of it at a slight angle, occasionally using a small dot of hot glue. I secured mine with corsage pins as well (it helps it stay put and it's pretty too!).

*You may want to add the ribbon before you put your final brooches on the bottom of the styrofoam ball. I chose to add it last so that I wouldn't get the ribbon dirty or mess it up.

9. Fill in any blank spaces with filler pins (I used the same corsage pins as I did on the ribbon).

10. YOU ARE DONE! Double-check to make sure everything is where you want it and secure.

Butterflies kept landing on the bouquet during my bridal shots!

You probably don't need this reminder, but please do not throw this during your bouquet toss! Use one of your bridesmaid bouquets :)

*update: it has been almost 4 years since I made this brooch bouquet and it has held up perfectly! No brooches have ever fallen off and it looks the same as it did the day I made it.

Linking up:
Embracing Change
The Dedicated House 
Delineate Your Dwelling 
The Dwelling Tree 
Fluster Buster
Someday Crafts

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Firefighter Baby Shower

My sister, Amanda,  is going to be having her first baby in one month! We got to host a shower for her last Sunday and it was so much fun to plan! My brother-in-law is a firefighter so that was our theme, even though they are probably really sick of  firefighter baby stuff now. But it was too cute to pass up and was different than the typical blue baby shower for a boy.


Entry table: We had a baby book as the guest book and had everyone fill out their return address on an envelope for the thank you cards (Amanda appreciated this)!

Food & decor

The cake: My friend Kim did an amazing job on the themed cake and cupcakes!

Late night diapers: Have everyone write a message on a diaper for the mom and dad-to-be. People came up with some funny stuff!

Shower games: I am not the biggest fan of shower games. Our goal was to pick 2 quick games that were not super obnoxious, and we accomplished that goal! I actually liked these games and they did not take long at all! For the "Baby Babble Word Scramble", the first person to unscramble all of the baby-related words won a prize. In the next game, we played 18 songs that have the word baby in them and you try to guess the title and artist of each song (1 point for each). Whoever had the most points won a prize. 

Gift Opening!

Party favors

Lots of fun with friends and family!

The Hostesses