Tag Archives: chalkboard ideas

DIY Fall Decor

DIY Fall Decor

There are lots of easy things you can do to decorate your home for fall, autumn, Thanksgiving, all the fun October and November times! 聽Look around to see what you have on hand, hidden away somewhere, like baskets and birdcages, then add some nature and raffia 馃檪 聽Here are some of the things I came up with for this year….without really buying anything new except the hens and the moose….DIY Fall decor ideas by dennasideas.comDIY Fall decor ideas by dennasideas.comA few years ago I invested in a wicker cornucopia basket, so that always comes out of storage, to be filled with flowers or fruit for our Thanksgiving table. 聽Started with some fake flowers, then added some small red lights, some dollar store grapes and free picked nature!DIY Fall decor ideas by dennasideas.comI loved the green vine flower things that I found on one of my walks, they really dried nicely…DIY Fall decor ideas by dennasideas.comBaskets stuffed with nature:DIY fall basket decor for Thanksgiving centerpiece by dennasideas.com

A brown feather wreath for the front door:DIY Fall decor ideas by dennasideas.com

This next photo isn’t home made, but could be….little stuffed hens on a beaded cord….our newest Fall decor addition to hang by the window and by our chore chalkboards in the kitchen:DIY Fall decor ideas by dennasideas.comAlso in the kitchen, a little gnome who doesn’t want to freeze outside (he’s also afraid of being gnome-napped), an old apple basket and our avocado plant, also afraid of freezing….DIY Fall decor ideas by dennasideas.com

Another one of my little friends who always seems to be hanging around, the blackbird. 聽I just love watching the blackbirds, crows and magpies out the window in the fall…DIY Fall decor ideas by dennasideas.com

Add in some of my favorites: pumpkins!DIY Fall decor ideas by dennasideas.com

And if you can’t find real pumpkins, make some chubby stuffed pumpkins, no sew!聽fast and easy  no-sew DIY fabric pumpkins by dennasideas.com, Fall Decor ideas by denna's ideasTiny colored frames from Michaels can be filled with black cardstock, then written on with chalk for a chalkboard look, add a big-eyed owl…
4x6   - Page 004Some table decor:
DIY Fall decor ideas by dennasideas.comFruit and veggies always make colorful decorations. 聽This year’s splurge: a pomegranate! 聽And how about some fresh cranberries floating with some apples stuffed with candles….this was a combination of ideas that I pinned on my Fall Ideas Pinterest board.DIY Fall decor ideas by dennasideas.comMy Guatemalan textiles always come out for fall….ok, they’re always out, all year around! 聽And Pies are a great fall decor idea!! 聽And they are good for so many things….
DIY Fall decor ideas by dennasideas.comPumpkin, a tradition.cherry pie by dennasideas.com, DIY Fall Decor ideasMy first cherry pie and dollar store ceramic pumpkins.A Canadian Thanksgiving by dennasideas.comA very old painted Canadian flag made by one of my kids a long long time ago. 聽Something else made by my kids: a clothespin wreath hanging on a chalkboard!DIY Fall decor ideas by dennasideas.comMy last DIY Fall Decor Idea: plant sunflower seeds in the spring and transfer them to your backyard for super Natural fall decor! 馃檪 聽Doesn’t seem like ours bloomed early enough to get the seeds for eating, though…
DIY Fall decor ideas by dennasideas.comHave a great rest-of-the-fall!! 聽Looks like it could snow in a couple of days around here…..so soon I’ll be packing up and disassembling my fall decor…..Christmas is coming!!! 馃檪

Back to School party table with no dessert….

Back to School party table with no dessert….

Calling all children back to school….oh wait, that’s mostly in North America, and I suppose that they are already all in school by this date. 聽In other countries kids are counting down the last few days till the end of school, lucky ducks! 聽It just seems to me like we’re still at that bright shiny newness of going back to school days. 聽Maybe that’s because I still have a big poster hanging in my living room and haven’t actually finished sending all the school supplies to school with my kids yet….

Oh well, I’m just living in/enjoying the moment I guess. 聽Sometimes it just takes me longer than it does others to transition into the next moment…. 馃檪

I had been looking at photos of peoples’ back-to-school parties and wishing that I could make one, so I’ve been kinda planning it in my head….but we’ve been busy and out of town. 聽School supplies were bought before the day before the first day of school, really, they were. 聽But we were having our last trip of the summer, and we came home late, and I ran out of time. 聽But such is my obsessiveness that I just couldn’t let go of my party idea.

Even when one of my children said to me: 聽“Mom, we don’t need any more parties!!” 聽(Now how often do you hear a kid say that? 聽Must be only one of mine….) 聽But I wasn’t going to let that stop me. 聽On the first day of school, when most of them were out of the house, I started to rush about and throw things together. 聽I had purposely bought some very-on-sale school supplies earlier to use for this party table display. 聽Thinking ahead helps, so I can throw everything together last minute….that’s the way I work.

So I was finishing up the display, when I suddenly noticed, oh, there are no desserts on this table….dennas ideas_back to school party - Page 009I had a globe, books and even an old typewriter….dennas ideas_back to school party - Page 005 dennas ideas_back to school party - Page 006 dennas ideas_back to school party - Page 007dennas ideas_back to school party - Page 002Some fun erasers in a gumball machine (not edible)denna's ideas: back to school party: eraser gumball machine - Page 003

But no food.

I had run out of time to make these super-cute apple cookies that I had seen on the Living Locurto blog. 聽Or to dip oreos, or to bake a cake. 聽NOthing.

Oh well, I actually felt a little pleased. 聽My big beef with kids’ party tables is all the awful sugary things that kids are encouraged to eat. 聽(Though that doesn’t usually stop me from doing anything). 聽This table was decorated with school supplies, useful, shiny, new, needed, sugar-free, gluten-free school supplies. 聽I could feel good about that. 聽There was a “cake” of supplies….denna's ideas: back to school party ddenna's ideas: back to school party I had worked away at my decorating while my little buddy did some “painting homework” of his own,denna's ideas: back to school party and my other little friend looked on,聽denna's ideas: back to school party

But the kids were due home from school soon and I felt that they would appreciate some sort of a snack to take the edge off the day….so we went for easy snacks, with a twist…a twist of paper that is….denna's ideas: back to school party , popcorn conesdenna's ideas: back to school party , popcorn conesAnd there were some Oreo cookies in the pantry, but first I just had to try out something I’ve been thinking about for awhile…denna's ideas: back to school party , rainbow oreosRainbow oreos!! 聽I saw a photo of them on Pinterest, but was ticked off to see that the color was edited in. 聽So I figured I could just brush on some food coloring….it worked well enough. 聽Add some milk and chalkboards and wooden blocks:denna's ideas: back to school party cookies and milk denna's ideas: back to school party  cookies and milkPrint off a sign from Balancing Home, there are a lot of cool signs to choose from.
denna's ideas: back to school party signsOh, mustn’t forget the stash of Kex cookie biscuits from Ikea, they are always fun!! 聽At least, I always have fun spelling with them…..denna's ideas: back to school party cookie letters from IkeaJust stick that in there…..denna's ideas: back to school party snacksAnd finished, right before they all exploded through the door to fling their backpacks down!!denna's ideas: back to school party They were impressed with the oreos at least…..denna's ideas: back to school party snacksNot so super impressed with me when I continued the fun by giving them some questionnaires to fill out!! 聽I had printed out some really cute “how was your day” and “first day of school” questions and “how was your summer” type stuff. 聽You can find some聽here and here. 聽And maybe not so impressed when I told them the popcorn had no salt and butter (because that would ruin the photos with all the greasyness on the paper!) 聽So we didn’t acutally eat the popcorn, that was for photos. 聽But to make up for that, the next day I made it into popcorn marshmallow cake, for the second day of school treat!! 聽I sure enjoyed that snack, reminds me of Auntie Darla’s popcorn cake….

And lest you are too impressed with my party table, I must say that I was totally inspired by some awesome parties I found online (and “lifted” a few ideas). 聽Mostly by this Vintage Schoolhouse party by Kara’s Party Ideas.聽 If you would like to see my Pinterest inspiration board where I found a bunch of ideas, look here. 聽There are lots of fun printables and ideas, food, snacks, etc. 聽There is a gorgeous party on Catch My Party, here that I just loved! 聽So many ideas! 聽But I couldn’t squeeze them all in. 聽馃槮 聽Maybe next year.

(Hmmm, as a P.S. maybe I should mention that this is a budget-friendly “party”, just use the supplies that you already need to buy for your kids and add in a few extra pencils and crayons for crafting, like covering a tin can in new pencils and taping/rubber banding them on. 聽I already had chalkboards, and what I do a lot of the time is use black poster paper/board for chalkboards. 聽That’s what I did for the chalkboard in a frame: it’s a poster. 聽I don’t own chalkboard paint, but love the look! 聽I already had the black circle banner from another party, so just chalked ABCDs onto them. 聽The backdrop is an Ikea duvet cover that was on sale last year, yes I love those ABCs! 聽Most of the props were things I’ve had for years, like apple Christmas ornaments and white metal trees. 聽I just searched the house for fun things, like the Felix clock. 聽The little desk was my most exciting find of spring garage-sale-ing this year, oh yes, my only find, too!! 聽Anyways, I know I’m kind of a pack-rat and have lots of fun junk cluttering up my house, but really this is an improvised little party that you can make with chalk, paper, school supplies and some sweat and time!)

Oh, and by the way, a note about that “we don’t need any more parties”…. 聽I had figured it came from someone wanting to go do other things instead of setting up a party, but apparently the reason was that I “get too tired and cranky” when I’m in party mode!!!! 聽How do you like that? 聽I told the truth: 聽“I’m going to be tired and cranky anyways, so you might as well enjoy getting some good snacks out of a party once in a while!!” 聽馃槈dennas ideas_back to school party - Page 001

It’s The Amazing Sock Carnival!!


The other weekend I made the mistake of writing something incendiary on聽our chalkboard,聽having one idea but getting different results.聽 (I love聽the dicitionary meaning of incenidary: tending to arouse strife, sedition, etc.; inflammatory. yup, that’s what I mean!!)聽 It wasn’t incendiary at first…just way more exciting than I meant it to be….

The real story is this: 聽I had just set up a chalkboard in the living room and wanted to practice some cool-and-so-in-style-right-now chalk lettering.聽 And it was a weekend.聽 And I really really wanted everyone to pitch in and get some chores done.聽 So I wrote this:the amazing sock carnival by denna's ideasThat’s all I did.聽 Then I left it.聽 Well, it was surprising how much excitement and speculation stirred up suddenly!聽 And then I realized….they actually were expecting something exciting and amazing.聽 Oh no!聽 I had just been hoping to get some socks folded and put away….now what was I going to do?

What with one thing and a lot of others….there was no time for the Sock Carnival.聽 At all.聽 For a whole week.聽聽I couldn’t help but feel slightly guilty about not coming through with it.聽 And there were still enquiries about when were we going to do the carnival….”sometime” was my only answer.

Exhausted after all the events of the week, I wasn’t even thinking about Socks.聽 Until Saturday morning rolled around, and I was up way earlier than I ever want to be on a Saturday…and I felt that obsessive urge: I should do the Sock Carnival (whatever it will look like).聽 And so, to give myself some motivation, I dressed in the most brightly colored clothing I could find (it happened to be a mou-mou that my Grandmother made for herself out of woven Guatemalan fabric!) and started to decorate.聽 That took all of 10 minutes (I happen to have a stash of clowns, ready to appear at any moment.聽 Don’t ask why).聽 As I was throwing things together, I realized that my husband was face-timing his family in Guatemala on the iphone, and telling them about the Amazing Sock Carnival that we were going to have!!聽 Oh!聽 Now I really had to come聽up with something resembling fun…but I’m afraid that at that point, all I felt like doing was yelling at people (kids) to just help out without complaining and get their laundry put away!!聽 (My efforts to whip up something fun weren’t going over too well with the kids when they saw the giant bins of socks that really did need sorting, and when certain people realized that it wasn’t a real carnival)聽the amazing sock carnival by denna's ideas(couldn’t resist adding that photo, though I know she’ll not be happy with me! heh heh, sweet revenge!聽 There were moments when I thought that this just might turn into an Amazing聽Carnival of Complaining聽like we watched years ago.)

And so I got busy and another sign went up to add to the “carnival decor” this time in Spanish….the amazing sock carnival by denna's ideasthe amazing sock carnival by denna's ideasSend in the Clowns!! 聽Add some mate-less socks to my hanging display…the amazing sock carnival by denna's ideasMy little friend joined the decorating…the amazing sock carnival by denna's ideas

I happily modeled my mou-mou for my mother-in-law (even though I knew I that looked terribly exhausted and just, well..terrible)the amazing sock carnival by denna's ideasAnd blew up a few more balloons while I tried to get myself into the party-type mood to happily persuade the kids that this was really going to be fun and not just plain work.聽 I must say that it helped to have an audience!!聽 (I had to get my impatience under control!)聽 3-2-1 and the Amazing Sock Carnival had begun!!

Festivities began with all the socks being dumped in the middle of the living room.聽 This might not seem like a big deal to you, but I’ll just say that there are 6 people in our household and no one likes washing or matching and putting away socks (that’s normal enough) and so bins of washed socks have been accumulating for awhile….

The聽first carnival activity: the timer was set for 5 minutes and a prize would go to the person who made the most matches of socks right off the bat.聽 I shouted gleefully聽 “this is not nicey-nice school where everyone gets a prize!!”聽 when there were comments聽like “where’s my prize?”聽 The winner received a yummy Ikea chocolate.聽 This prize-giving gave the whole proceeding a bit more of an edge!聽 The next round was a quick one, and involved pulling out all the clean underwear that had been mixed up with the socks.聽 The least said about this round, the better!the amazing sock carnival by denna's ideas

By this time, we were all having fun!聽 (I’m not quite sure what our family who were watching by face-time thought about our antics….I’ll have to ask!!)聽 Another “sock round” involved everyone pulling out any socks that were theirs.聽 There were “breaks” when everyone rushed up to put away their armloads of socks.聽 Oh and of course, each person had a tally sheet to keep track of the pairs they were making.聽 I was really really curious to know how many socks we have.聽 It just made it that more exciting (for me anyways.聽 I don’t get out much).the amazing sock carnival by denna's ideas

Snacktime at the Carnival!聽 The smell of buttered popcorn kept everyone going.

the amazing sock carnival by denna's ideasAnd so it did turn out to be a fun carnival after all! 聽I’m afraid that not every sock was matched up, since some of them are still hiding in strange places around the house and haven’t come to light yet. 聽So there is still a small bin of matchless socks sitting around, but I did come up with a final tally……drum roll please……180 pairs of socks! 聽That’s 360 socks, not counting the rest that were in hiding. 聽It seems like a lot, doesn’t it? 聽It’ s not that we have a sock fetish or anything like that….I guess it’s just that I don’t throw out socks until they are really full of holes, and some of these socks have literally been around for years and years–they must have been well made!! 聽Anyway, yes it still is a lot of socks, and just imagine having to wash them, dry them and match them up and then put them away in everyone’s drawers…it’s enough to drive anyone crazy!!!

After the sock carnival (and after we had watched the previously mentioned Amazing Carnival of Complaining by the 3-2-1 penguins) 聽I wrote up these verses from Philippians 2:14, 15 which are mentioned in the cartoon. 聽A good time was had by all, and maybe a lesson was even learned. Maybe. 馃檪

chalkboard with verse about complaining by denna's ideas

Hello (and Goodbye) Valentine’s Day!!


Hope you had a sweet Valentine’s Day!聽 Personally, I think it should be Valentine’s Week, just to fit everything in.聽 Around our house, things do tend to get drawn out, birthdays, holidays, stuff like that, so maybe it was Valentine’s Week around here 馃檪

I always tell myself that this Valentine’s Day I’m not going to go crazy getting stuff done for the kids’ school valentines…but every year (excepting one) I stay up late getting cookies baked, bags packed, labels stamped, gifts wrapped, etc.聽 It’聽s one of those obsessive things I can’t seem to get past!聽 Here are some of the cookies I was working on, denna's ideas: hello kitty cookies for valetine's day denna's ideas: hello kitty valentine's day cookies Denna's Ideas-- hogs and kisses cookies Denna's Ideas-hedgehog cookies for valentine's dayI don’t always do cookies, but rather send candy, since kids nowadays don’t seem too content with just small paper valentines 馃檪 but this year I did go for cookies since I had this cute cutter and the first grade has a pet hedgehog named Chloe!!

Here are some more photos from our Valentine’s Day (week)….and for some reason I put quotes on them……聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽follow the way of love--valentine's day decor by denna's ideas valentine's day squirrel cookies by denna's ideas valentine's day decor by denna's ideas valentine's day train cake by denna's ideas 聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Fondant train made by Amber!!聽valentine's day train cake by denna's ideas valentine's day tulips by denna's ideas - Page 001denna's ideas--tulip love 聽聽 Some of our pixelated Valentine’s Day decor came from the Minecraft birthday party we did at the beginning of the month (and which I will post about soon!)Valentine's Day Chalkboard by denna's ideas - Page 001All in all,聽it was a sweet week!!denna's ideas: valentine's day