Archive for the ‘DIY’ Category

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans

Monday, September 16th, 2019

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com

If your favorite jeans have faded and you would like to restore the color, you won’t want to miss today’s tutorial to help you get that perfect wash back on your denim items. Follow these steps for restoring color with fabric dyes in the washing machine or even over the stovetop with this easy DIY tutorial.

Several years ago I bought the best pair of jeans ever made. They were a classic pair of black Gap Straight Fit Jeans that I found from Goodwill with a Fall ’03 label on them. They fit me like a glove, made me feel slim, and hit at the perfect length.

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com

Have you ever wondered what to do with a favorite pair of jeans you really love and that are really starting to look like they should be retired?

Well, today I wanted to show you how I dyed my black jeans black again and restored this old pair into something that looks like brand new for less than $5!

Yup, you heard me right!

You CAN dye jeans.

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

These jeans were black, but they have faded after a million times in my washing machine.

I actually think these would have been cool in eighth grade when I begged my mama to buy me a pair of stonewashed jeans that looked like they had been beat to death.

Sadly, I am no longer an eighth grader and I am starting to feel self conscious when I wear these out.

I’m tired of being judged.

Time to hit the craft store. Grab your coupons!

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

I headed to Joann Fabrics and over by the t-shirts and t-shirt decorating supplies is an aisle filled with fabric dyes.

You will need two boxes of the powdered Rit dye in your desired color.

They do offer a liquid version, but it is my understanding that the powder seems to be a bit more concentrated and adhere a little better to the fabric.

I haven’t tested this theory, but I wanted this color to stick so I went with the powdered version.

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

Back to black, old friend.

It makes me want to break out my Amy Winehouse playlist right now.

I used two boxes of this Rit dye in black for my jeans. If your aim is to go back to blue with your jeans, you will want two boxes of Navy (for dark jeans) or Indigo (for a lighter wash).

Be careful with the Indigo & Navy though as there are many comments reporting that this one can turn your jeans more purple than blue.

Always follow the package directions for the best advice!

My only experience is with the BLACK dye. As you can see in the after pictures, it isn’t a true black so this is the color that I would recommend for a dark wash jean!


Let’s get started!

 

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans Tutorial

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

Our family has a HE washer so I am sharing with you how to dye your jeans using your HE washer.

At the end of the post, I will share the other Rit recommendations depending on your own scenario.

All scenarios create a big mess, but just think of your new-to-you jeans!

Did I already warn you?

This is going to get really messy.

I recommend throwing on old clothes and a pair of rubber gloves while you mix this.

In a glass measuring cup add four cups of the hottest water possible out of your tap.

VERY carefully, add 1 cup of table salt and the contents of two of the powdered packet.

Using a metal spoon and VERY carefully stir the contents.

In your laundry sink, wet your jeans in warm water and then place them in your washer wet.

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

It is important to use the washer’s hottest water setting.

Additionally, a wash cycle of at least 30 minutes is recommended to obtain a satisfactory dyeing.

I set my washer to the Whitest White Cycle because it had hot water and was one of the longest running cycles on my washer.

Consult your washer manual to figure out which setting would be best for you. Go ahead and start the cycle with your wet jeans in there.

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

Here comes the super scary part.

VERY carefully pour your dye solution into the spot where you put your detergent after you start your cycle.

Try to not panic like I did. I promise it will all work out.

Once the dye goes into the cycle (you will be able to tell when you open up your detergent compartment and see the dye filling in the washer) fill it with four cups of the hottest tap water possible and put it in the same exact spot you put your dye in (the powdered detergent holder) to flush the color out.

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

If you value your sink, this might not be a good thing because your sink will turn blue from the dye.

You will have to bleach it if you want to maintain a pristine sink.

Ours is obviously very classy down in our basement with a single light bulb attached to a piece of string.

Try not to be jealous of my laundry room.

Once your jeans are done, run it through another round or two of a warm wash cycle with detergent.

You want to check the water to see when it begins to run clear before you dry them to make sure all the color has absorbed into the jeans.

As a precautionary measure, wash the jeans separate from other items until you are completely sure that the dye will not transfer.

After that, just run them through the dryer on your usual cycle.

Notes on Retaining Color and Resisting the Fade

Other readers have shared that Retayne is a great product to use to help your fabrics retain the rich colors that you have dyed them.

Soaking your already-dyed garment in salt and/or vinegar will not set your dye.

At best, it will just add another washing, which will help to remove some of your excess dye.

The salt in the dye bath, however, helps the dye to approach the fabric instead of staying in the water, and vinegar can helps dye nylon or wool, but not cotton (like these jeans). Neither salt or vinegar is actually a dye fixative for already-dyed fiber.

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

After you are done, you will want to clean your washing machine.

Clean your washing machine immediately after dyeing has completed using the hottest water setting.

Since the machine automatically weighs fabric to determine the water level, place 3-4 old towels into the washer along with detergent and 1 to 2 cups chlorine bleach.

Wipe spills with paper towels sprayed with a chlorine bleach solution. Plastic or rubber parts may be tinted but will not stain laundry.

I happened to have a box of this Tide Washing Machine Cleaner and I used that in lieu of messing with the bleach.

That’s it.

A day of effort with less than $5 in supplies for a pair of new-to-you jeans.

Here are my new-to-me jeans…

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

My faded barely gray jeans are now a much richer and more solid color.

I still can’t believe that this is the same pair of jeans.

Just to be up front, I used the same exact spot in my house, same time of day, and same settings on my camera so this is no trick in photography.

It really has restored the color in my jeans.

How To Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

Here is a side by side of the jeans.

When they are lined up next to each other, you can see just how dramatically different this pair of jeans is.

I am amazed at the results and feel like I got a brand new pair of jeans for less than $5 in supplies.

How To Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

The one thing I was worried about was that the seam would be dyed along with the rest of the fabric, but the seam actually didn’t absorb the dye.

This was a lovely, lovely surprise!

If you are in love with a pair of jeans at the thrift store or simply want to restore some color in your old jeans, I encourage you to pick up some Rit fabric dye and give this a try!

The results are dramatic, while still being easy on your wallet!

How To Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

Other Methods of Dyeing With Rit Dye

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com

For Top-Loading Machines

Fill machine with enough hot water for fabric to move freely. Refer to the chart below for the right amount of dye to add. Pre-dissolve powder in 2 cups of hot water. Add pre-dissolved powder or liquid to hot dye bath.

Wet fabric in hot water. Uncrumple and add to dye bath.

Set machine for extended wash cycle. Fabric should be in dye bath for at least 30 minutes before rinse begins. (You can reset your washing machine before the rinse cycle begins for extended wash cycle.)

Rinse in cold water until water runs clear. Wash deep shades in warm water with mild detergent and rinse thoroughly in cool water.

Dry item in dryer or hang to dry.

Clean washing machine using highest water level with hot water, detergent and 1 cup chlorine bleach using complete wash cycle. Clean lint traps. Plastic or rubber machine parts may be tinted but will not stain laundry.

For Front-Loading Machines

The settings and options of various front-load washing machines vary among manufacturers.

Even though there are slight differences among differing manufacturer’s wash settings, they are common in that they all introduce water to the tumbler once the garment is placed inside. They allow a time period to introduce detergent (or dye in this case), and they all finish with a spin cycle.

It is important to use the washer’s hottest water setting. Additionally, a wash cycle of at least 30 minutes is recommended to obtain a satisfactory dyeing.

Because front-load washers have built-in heaters to maintain the washer’s temperature and the water to fabric ratio is relatively high as compared to top-load machines, deep rich colors can be achieved using Rit dyes.

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com

For Stovetop

Fill pot with enough hot water for fabric to move freely.

Remember: Use 1 package of Rit powder or 1/2 bottle of Rit liquid dye and 3 gallons of hot water for each pound of fabric.

Pre-dissolve powder in 2 cups of hot water.

Add pre-dissolved powder or liquid to dye bath. Stir to mix.

Wet fabric in hot water. Uncrumple and add to dye bath.

Bring dye bath to simmer. Stir constantly (back and forth, up and down) at least 30 minutes.

Rinse in warm water, then gradually cooler water until water runs clear. Hand wash item in warm water with mild detergent and rinse thoroughly in cool water.

Dry item in dryer or squeeze out excess water and allow them to air dry.

Clean containers immediately with chlorine bleach. Scrub with chlorine-based powder, liquid, or gel cleanser, if necessary.

Love this thrifty tutorial? Here are a few others I think you will love just as much!

How to dye canvas shoes how to dye canvas shoes

how to make a blanket scarf how to make a blanket scarf

No-Sew Scarf With Hidden Pocket scarf with no-sew hidden pocket

diy fitbit bracelet diy fitbit bracelet

knitted boot cuffs diy knitted boot cuffs

cabled earwarmer pattern cabled ear warmers

DIY Outdoor Movie Night diy outdoor movie night

 

 

 

How to Dye Your Jeans from MomAdvice.com

 

Have you ever used fabric dye for any projects? Any tips or recommendations when using fabric dye? Let’s share!

 

*This post contains affiliate links*

 

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Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints

Thursday, September 12th, 2019

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint from MomAdvice.com

Have you ever decorated for fall with acrylic paint pumpkins? This tutorial shows you what kind of paint to paint pumpkins with and how to paint those faux pumpkins to match your home decor.  You’ll love these creative ways to paint a pumpkin.

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

Who could use a pumpkin decorating craft for fall?

I decided to decorate fake pumpkins this year and am showing how you can do the same thing with supplies from your local craft store or even dollar store.

This was my first time painting our pumpkins this way and it could not be easier. I wanted to create a pumpkin display that would be perfect for the entire fall season and wanted to show you a cute way to display your pumpkins this year!

I am not big on decorating for Halloween and would prefer to skip right over that part of the fall decorating.

This month’s challenge was to create a Halloween decorations so I wanted to create a minimalistic display that would give a nod to the season, but complement our decor until it is time to deck the halls.

The best part is that these pumpkins can be used year after year and the painting is a lot less messy than carving pumpkins or using spray paint.

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com


How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed (all of these supplies can be found at Walmart!)

Any size you like of their faux pumpkins- the small ones are just $.98!! (you could also do real pumpkins!)- try Etsy for supplies.

Waverly Inspirations Acrylic Paints in Elephant, Plaster, Pool, & White

Waverly Inspirations 4-piece wide brush set

Cup with water, paper towels, and something to cover the surface while painting

Wooden Crate 

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint from MomAdvice.com

Remove the labels from the pumpkins and protect your surface with cardboard while painting.

With a clean wide brush, begin painting your pumpkins, using the stalk of the pumpkin as a handle to work around the surface.

If you find the area around the stem to be difficult to decorate, you can pull the stems off carefully and use hot glue to reattach after they dry.

Paint the entire pumpkin and then set it aside to dry. Don’t feel limited by painting them all one color though. Feel free to add designs on your pumpkin for Halloween too or decorate your pumpkins with an autumn-theme. The possibilities are endless on the pumpkins you can create. Personally, I love polka dots and think that would be fun AND easy.

 Drying time can take anywhere between 15 minutes to one hour, depending on how thickly you applied the paint.

Repeat this process as many times as you like to achieve the hue you are going for.

I found the gray pumpkins only required a single coat, while the white pumpkins required two coats.

Once dry, sprinkle these pumpkins throughout your house or create a crate display like I have done.

I love how these pumpkins spill out onto some of my favorite childhood reads.

The chalkboard side on this crate gives me the chance to make this display feel a little more Halloween and then can be replaced with a different label later in the fall.  I added my knitted leaf centerpiece to the side of the table- I can’t believe how well these branches have held up over the years!

For a corner in our home that used to have nothing, this has quickly become my favorite focal point in our living room.

 

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint from MomAdvice.com

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint from MomAdvice.com

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint from MomAdvice.com

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint from MomAdvice.com

 

I love how these pumpkins spill out onto some of my favorite childhood reads.

The chalkboard side on this crate gives me the chance to make this display feel a little more Halloween and then can be replaced with a different label later in the fall.  I added my knitted leaf centerpiece to the side of the table- I can’t believe how well these branches have held up over the years!

For a corner in our home that used to have nothing, this has quickly become my favorite focal point in our living room.

Do you prefer to paint your pumpkins with chalk paint? I think you will get a kick out of the pumpkins we created for the season when our kids were small.  We really have some of the best pumpkin painting ideas on here so please stick around!

What is the Best Way To Clean Up After Painting With Acrylic Paints?

Acrylic paint crafts can get pretty messy, especially if you are involving your kids in on the fun. I use a simple formula for removing paint from little hands that you should definitely try.

Whether you are dying eggs for the Easter season or painting pumpkins for Halloween, this formula is a great one to keep in your back pocket.

The best way to remove acrylic paint from your hands is to squirt a small amount of whitening toothpaste, add a squirt of facial exfoliant (or body exfoliant), and a squirt of baby oil.  Just rub this combination on your hands until you have removed all the paint. 

The best part is that you will have baby soft hands after you are done! 

This post contains affiliate links. I receive a commission if you make a purchase through our links.

Love this project? Check out these additional craft projects!

dollar store thumbtack pumpkins

autumn burlap wreath

slow cooker pumpkin spice candles

diy game day bar cart

no-sew blanket scarves

Do you want more craft inspiration from Waverly? Try these!

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions

Fabric Wreath & Matching Garland

Fabric Bulletin Board Tutorial

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations and contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint from MomAdvice.com

 

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Handmade Autumn Burlap Wreath Tutorial

Thursday, September 5th, 2019

//www.momadvice.com/post/easy-burlap-wreath-tutorial

This diy burlap wreath is eye-catching and oh-so-easy to make. Let me show you how to make an autumn burlap wreath for your door with this simple tutorial and just a few craft supplies items!

Have you made a burlap wreath before? If you can believe it, our most popular craft on our website is this simple burlap wreath that can be used for just about any holiday. It was with that in mind that I decided to explore some new ways to play with burlap in our craft room. 

Honestly, I can’t begin to tell you how happy this autumn wreath makes me hanging our front door and the pop of color this fall wreath brings to our home decor. This orange hue is just what our door needs for the holidays and this wreath is perfect for all fall through Halloween and Thanksgiving.

If you haven’t made a burlap wreath before, this tutorial is for you! It outlines step-by-step how to recreate this wreath with my picture tutorial.

Handmade Autumn Burlap Wreath Tutorial

The crisp coolness of fall is moving in here in the Midwest and with it comes the urge to decorate every square inch of my home to honor it. 

Dare I say that we do more fall decorating than we do Christmas decorating? 

With simplifying as our goal, though, instead of decorating for Halloween and decorating for Thanksgiving, I am trying to create pieces that can double for both holidays and be appreciated until it’s time to break out the Christmas decorations.

The best part is that this burlap wreath requires no crafting skills, no cutting, and is very inexpensive to create.

The one thing I will say with making burlap wreaths is that you need to have a little patience with yourself in the beginning. My first wreath, I took apart three times before I got the hang of it.

Once you get the bubbling of the burlap down though, this really is a quick and easy craft and such a great way to dress up a door. 

If you are feeling inspired, I highly recommend making a craft date with a good friend. My best friend and I got together to make our holiday crafts and she was quite amused when I stood up her chair to take photos of my process to make my first wreath.

The thing was, NO ONE showed you how to actually start a burlap wreath and how you were supposed to be even feeding this burlap ribbon into the wire wreath frame.

I told her that I just knew that this was going to be a popular post and just in the last 30 days, that image has been viewed over 322,000 times and pinned countless times.

Do I know my audience OR WHAT?

Let’s get started with this super easy craft that would be fun for your door or to share as a holiday gift with someone you love!

How to Make an Autumn Burlap Wreath

Fall-Burlap-Wreath-Tutorial-Supplies Supplies Needed:

Autumn Burlap Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

Directions:

Begin by folding your burlap in half, like I have shown above, and keep the fold going as we go along. 

Select one section of the wire wreath to start in. 

Feed the beginning end through the wreath as shown above: over the outer ring, under the next, over the next, and under to finish. 

Leave a little loose end to tuck in or you can wire it to the wreath with a little floral wire in the back. Now you have started your wreath- super easy!  This is the technique we are using throughout.

Note: I am showing it to you tightly so you can see how this will work, when you do this, you will actually be pulling out the burlap a bit to give it to that bubble effect that we are going for. 

Using the working end of the burlap (the working end is the side that isn’t the final end of the burlap, but in the end you are working with), we are going to begin making the bubbled burlap right next to this row, within the same section of that metal wreath, but we will begin weaving in the opposite direction, continuing to pull out and bubble the burlap as we go, moving the working burlap into each section, weaving one direction than weaving the other direction. 

If you are still confused, this is the most pinned article on our website that shows you how to get this wreath started easily.

When you run out of burlap (it should be when you are about halfway through covering the wreath), tuck the end towards the back and pick up where you left off. Again, you can wire these ends with a little floral wire on the back.

Once the entire wreath is covered, secure the final end with floral wire on the back of the wreath to make sure everything is held into place, twisted around one of the metal strands of the wreath.

Now you can fluff your burlap out to create that bubbly effect and to cover any of the metal you can see peeking out..

Clip small stems of your greenery to weave into your wreath. Starting with the front, add bits here and there, but not in a pattern, to make it look natural. Repeat this process with the middle layer and then finally attach a few towards the back to add texture to this wreath.

Handmade Autumn Burlap Wreath Tutorial

I don’t want to brag, but doesn’t this look like something out of a magazine?

Weaving in the texture of the greenery really makes this wreath pop and looks professional.

Thanks to catching some half-off sales at our local craft store, I was able to make this beauty for less than $20 which also makes me very happy!

Handmade Autumn Burlap Wreath Tutorial

I hope you can dress your home up simply and beautifully for the fall holidays with this fun idea!

Are you looking for more wreath ideas? Check out these fun craft ideas below for fall or visit our entire crafts section for more inspiration!

how to make a yarn pom-pom wreath

How to Make a Fabric Wreath and Garland how to make a fabric wreath and garland (you could use your favorite Fall prints for this one!)

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com dollar store diy thumbtack pumpkins

Knitted Leaves Centerpiece knitted leaves centerpiece

Happy crafting!

This post contains affiliate links.

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DIY Yarn Wrapped Letters Tutorial

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

Create a beautiful wall display with letters and scrap yarn. This Anthropologie-inspired craft really adds a beautiful element to any home. This tutorial will show you step-by-step how to achieve a wall display of your own!

There are a few decorations in our home that have stood their test of time and the wall display in our bedroom remains one of those tried-and-true craft projects that I still love today.

I love to create projects that can be great stash-busters for the knitter AND a great yarn project for someone who doesn’t knit, but would love to have those textures in their home. Today’s project requires zero knitting skills and is simple enough that you could yarn-wrap those letters with your child.

I can’t wait to show you how easy it is to make this yarn display for a wall in your home.

Additions to my home, like these, really bring that Anthropologie shopping experience right in my home. It is, in fact, a lot of the inspiration for the crafts I try to do around here!

Let’s get started!

How to Yarn-Wrap Letters


Supplies Needed

23.5” paper mache letters that spell LOVE  (or your word of choice)

6 skeins of bulky yarn (the back of the packaging should tell you the weight of the yarn)

Scissors

Hot Glue/Tape, or even a Thumbtack for securing yarn in place

Large Package of clear 3M hooks for damage-free mounting

 

Directions

To begin, grab a skein of yarn and begin wrapping your letters in one direction (I started going up and down first).

Do your best to cover the letter in that direction and feel free to cut and secure yarn on the back as you go to cover the entire letter.

You can begin and end the securing of your yarn with a thumbtack, a piece of clear tape, or a little dab of hot glue.

Once you have covered the letter to the best of your ability, now begin wrapping the yarn in the other direction.

Navigating around detailed corners will be tricky. Don’t be afraid to stop and start the yarn to wrap the letters. I found that the corners were a bit bulkier to try to cover, but no one will notice that.

For the last letter, utilize all the ends of each of your skeins to create a scrappy letter from the three colors used in your L,O, and V.

I tried to layer the colors in places, securing again with a little hot glue, tape or thumbtacks for starting and finishing these wrapped places.

I also added a few knitted accessories to my last letter. The same idea could be achieved with fabric, interesting buttons, or purchased accessories. The possibilities are limitless and can fit your own style.

To mount them, I used clear 3M hooks, and used a razor blade to cut an “X” in the back of the cardboard letter to create a spot to hide the hook internally. Some of the letters could be mounted with just one hook (like the O) while others require d two or three hooks to secure.

The best part is that you can move your letters around or remount the hooks if you struggle with getting everything level.

These won’t damage your walls and when you get tired of this display, you can remove them and try something else.

bed from overstock (if you can believe it!!)

DIY Yarn Wrapped Letters Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

As you can see from my giant display, I tend to go all out when I tackle projects like this, but you could definitely use smaller letters and thinner yarn to make this display of LOVE on a smaller scale.

Anybody else want to curl up and read Little House with me?

Love this yarn project? We have SO many more fun ways to use yarn on the site!

check out this viral sensation- how to make a pom-pom wreath

diy yarn trees (make in different colors for different seasons!)

6-stitch knitted ruffle scarf

knitted leaf centerpiece (made from scraps and twigs!)

quick & easy knitted boot cuffs

knitted sweater coffee cozies

how to make a pom-pom flower bouquet

 

This is one of those projects that you can make all your own and I hope you share your interpretation with us! xo

This post contains affiliate links.

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

 

This no-sew felt puzzle mat is the perfect foundation to build your puzzles on, allowing you to relocate your puzzle when you need to. Check out this fun DIY in honor of National Puzzle Day! 

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

What shows your love for someone more than something handmade by you?

Today I am sharing a tutorial for an easy no-sew DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat that I created for my family.

This mat makes it easy to relocate your puzzle projects when you need to use your table and it’s made with just a few inexpensive materials!

Are you addicted to jigsaw puzzles like us?

My kids are at a fun age right now where we are really enjoying playing board games and assembling puzzles together.

Right now we are tackling 1,000 piece puzzles which feels so ADULT. We haven’t had the courage to go beyond that size yet, but I’m sure we will get there.

Even after our kids have headed to bed, the hubby and I spend time together listening to podcasts or good music, while piecing together puzzles. I find it be quite therapeutic after sitting in front of a screen all day. It helps me decompress in the evening while giving my brain a break from my to-do lists.

To maximize our jigsaw puzzle collection, a couple friends and I trade puzzles after we finish them which has been great because we always have something to work on, while keeping it rather frugal in the process.

Trading puzzles has been a great way to keep our collection fresh and continue to keep our kids interested in putting these together with us.

My only gripe with puzzles is where to relocate them when we need to eat at the table.

We also happen to have a, “helper,” in our house who likes to flip puzzle pieces when her mother is ignoring her (we love you, Lulu the Cat!). I thought a mat might be a great way to discourage our helper and could be a quick way to clear the table for the dinner hour!

Let’s create this easy no-sew roll-up jigsaw puzzle mat!

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat Tutorial

 

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed (all of these supplies can be found at Walmart!)

1 yard of Waverly Inspirations Fabric  (check out the fresh new Valentine’s Day prints,  I picked a classic pink gingham!)

1 yard of felt fabric (any coordinating color)

1 package of Waverly Inspirations Ribbon (any coordinating color)

Cardboard tube (you can use a durable mailing tube, gift wrap roll, or even use plastic PVC pipe)

Razor blade (if cutting to size)

Hemming Tape or fabric glue

Scissors

Waverly Chalk Paint in a coordinating color  and paint brush (optional, but you can paint the cardboard roll to coordinate- I decided to leave mine in its natural state!)

PUZZLES!! (check out my suggestions below for a few of our faves!)


How to Make a DIY Jigsaw Puzzle Mat

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

1. Much like our reversible seat cushion project, we are going to begin by lining up the two fabrics with the right-side of the fabric facing INSIDE towards each other. That means the wrong sides will be facing out!

Trim your fabric and felt to the same size.

Remember, this mat can be ANY size that you want.

If you want it be the size of your kitchen table, for example, measure that first and use this as your guide for creating your mat. I created a generous mat for our large puzzles!

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

2. Once your fabric has been trimmed, use your fabric tape and line all the sides , making sure to leave an opening so that you can turn the mat out once you have sealed all the seams.

Using a very hot iron, carefully and slowly, begin ironing to seal the seam (you can see another example of what sealing this seam looks like over here!).

Typically doing this requires pinning, but I did find that the felt held the tape in place and made it an easy project to do without pinning.

Do this along all the sides (make sure you left that opening to turn it out!!) until the two pieces are fused together.

Carefully, turn the right sides out and then finish by sealing that last opening with fabric tape or a little fabric glue.

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

3. Trim your cardboard tube to the length of your finished mat.

If you want to paint this, you can! I finished each end with a little tied ribbon that can be used to tie the entire mat up when we are storing it.

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

As you can see, you can roll up those puzzles (take your time and roll carefully!) when not in use.

Please keep in mind, it is not recommended for  long-term storage since it can damage your puzzle pieces, but it is recommended for a quick relocation so you can use your table when you need it.

I am so excited to break this in and I’m guessing it is going to be a smart item to take when we rent our summer cottages too!

Looking for a few great jigsaw puzzles? Here are a few of my favorites!

I had one of those puzzle

great classic books puzzle

story time puzzle

nancy drew puzzle

harry potter puzzle

nevertheless she persisted puzzle

harry potter puzzle

 

video games collection puzzle

old bookstore puzzle

color me puzzle

 

 

 

PS- Seriously, start a puzzle exchange with your friends. You won’t regret it!

Looking for ways to store those jigsaw puzzles? This strategy works so well at our house!

Happy crafting!!

diy-jigsaw-puzzle-mat-9

Do you want more craft inspiration from Waverly? Try these!

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions

Fabric Wreath & Matching Garland

Fabric Bulletin Board Tutorial

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers

DIY Ottoman Serving Tray

15-Minute Scrappy Fabric Trees

Kid Craft: Easy Technique for Painting Gift Wrap

DIY Phone Charging Station

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

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Simplifying Your Holiday Gatherings

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

You will love these strategies for hosting memorable gatherings without the stress.

I’ve got everything from cooking shortcuts to decorations that transition through the seasons to your perfect playlist! 

This post is sponsored by Honeysuckle White. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

Now that Halloween is behind us, it is time to start thinking about all of those upcoming holiday gatherings. Hostess duties can often feel stressful and overwhelming, don’t they? That is why I’m excited to be partnering today with Honeysuckle White to share some fresh ideas for hosting your next gathering without the stress.

I learned that if I wanted to connect with my friends and family that I often had to be the one to step up to bat and offer to host. I have discovered, over the years, that so many people feel intimidated by hosting and are often self-conscious of things like undone house projects, their limited cooking abilities, or not feeling like they have that perfectly sized space for the ideal gathering.

The thing is, our own intimidations rob us of precious moments with those we love and the people that REALLY and GENUINELY love us will always, always be thankful to you for creating space in your home and day for them.

That is, truly, why I am excited to share that Honeysuckle White recognizes how precious our time is and wanted to take out that intimidation factor by providing a brilliantly easy turkey product that will make gatherings so much easier on busy moms.

Even better?

You can order it right through Amazon.

And, ladies, I KNOW we all have Amazon ordering down pat! (*ahem*)

Say hello to the world’s easiest holiday dish, the NEWS Honeysuckle White Bacon Wrapped Turkey Breast “Turketta”, inspired by the flavor profile of porchetta!

I gave ordering one of these a spin and really was surprised how well-seasoned and easy this was to execute for my Friendsgiving gathering this week.

In your package (that arrives right on your doorstep!)  you will get one of these beautiful roasts that serve approximately 4-6 people.  The packages arrive frozen and you can thaw it for an ASAP gathering or you can tuck this in the freezer for a future meal.

The bird is perfectly seasoned, boneless (no carving- woot, woot!), and requires just a simple quick sear on the bottom and baking.

This isn’t the only option you can have delivered. They also are offering Hickory Smoked Turkey Breast, a Honeysuckle White Fresh Traceable Whole Bird Turkey, & the Honest Turkey Whole Turkey.

Even better, for a limited time offer, MomAdvice readers can get 15% off using my coupon code 15MOMADVICE.

I can really get behind this company and the work they do with farmers, especially after having the opportunity to tour one of the farms.

The company is committed to raising their turkeys without growth-promoting antibiotics and no added hormones or steroids.

They also are committed to supporting independent family farmers to provide family farm-raised turkeys.

I don’t know if you know this, but my great-grandpa was a farmer and that is why that commitment and their true love for these families really warms my heart.

Now that you have the turkey covered, here are a few other ideas for a simple gathering of great friends and great food!

Send Out a Small Invite

I have done loads of large gatherings, but I find the best gatherings are often the intimate ones with just a couple of close friends so you can really catch up.

A friendsgiving need not be a large gathering and the invitation does not need to be a formal one.

Text invitations are perfectly acceptable, especially during such a busy season.

Also, allowing mamas to bring kids is a blessing to the mom (who won’t have to cook) and to you (to get to love on your friend’s beautiful kiddos especially since your kids are tweens/teens and you now have to FORCE YOUR LOVE on them).

 

Keep the Sides Simple

Roasted vegetables are an easy side that can be prepared a day in advance.

In fact, storing your carrots and potatoes in water overnight will yield a much crisper roast than if you cut them up immediately.

Toss your prepared vegetables in olive oil, kosher salt, and your favorite dried seasoning (I’m a thyme girl!) and roast them at 450 degrees for 25 minutes.

Love perfectly roasted potatoes?

Cut baby potatoes in half and put the cut side down on a cookie sheet that’s been lined with aluminum foil and is lightly greased. You will get a perfect roast every time AND they are so good that my kids call them mom’s french fries.

It goes without saying, but lining the cookie sheets with tin foil or parchment paper squares is also an excellent way to cut down on dishes!

Skip the Baking

Thankfully, there is no need to bake since we have so many delicious options for desserts that are already made and available for purchase at our local markets.

You can still make these purchased desserts feel really special though with quick homemade touches.

Spicing up your whipped cream, adding crunchy toppings, or adding details with pie cutters or an embossing rolling pin (made from refrigerated pie dough) are all fun ways to make pies feel special and more homemade.

This post offers 5 strategies for making store-bought pies feel special that I think you will find REALLY helpful for the holidays and even an idea for packaging up mini pies as a parting gift at the end of the night.

replicate my table with this easy tutorial

Think Evergreen When It Comes to Home Decorating

In the blog world, evergreen content is king. It means that we really focus on creating timeless pieces that can be shared over and over again and always feel relevant.

This is the SAME WAY we can approach our decorating. Purchase or DIY things that are neutral and can be used over and over again throughout the seasons. A bit of faux greenery, a roll of kraft paper (DO buy this– it’s such a affordable investment for decorating and gift wrapping), white plates, and loads of candles are perfect for ANY occasion.

Adding simple seasonal touches, like the small bundles of sage I gathered with cotton twine feel very Martha-y, but cost only a couple of bucks to pull off.

Stop pulling out and storing seasonal bins and buy a few items that you can use over and over and over again.

You can’t imagine the stress you will relieve yourself of!

Set the Mood

Before I go, I have one more fun fact for you…I used to be a glorified D.J. for my college’s radio station.

Music is essential to me like breathing and food.

Growing up, I played the violin, sang in the choir, did musical theater, and had parents who were crazy about music too.

I am also the one that hogs the microphone if you karaoke with me.

To me, a solid playlist for special occasions is oh-so-necessary.

Don’t have time to make one?

How about if I shared mine with you!

Also, as a thoughtful introvert, I have included three goodbye songs at the end that you can feel free to boot those up after the meal when you just need to retreat to your Snuggie and Netflix.

Hopefully they catch on..I know, “CLOSING TIME,” is a very, very subtle exit song!

I have embedded it here for you so be sure to bookmark this awesome post and give me a follow for more fabulous dinner music.

Now hurry on over to order your turkey and don’t forget to use my coupon code 15MOMADVICE to snag your 15% off!

this post contains affiliate links

This post is sponsored by Honeysuckle White. All thoughts and opinions are my own!

DIY Table Runner for All Seasons

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

Transform your table with this easy DIY table runner that you can use for any occasion. Who knew cardstock could look so beautiful?

Today’s tutorial is for a diy table runner made from humble cardstock, glue, and twine.  As a minimalist, I’m a big fan of any decorations that can be used for multiple seasons and I fully admit that I am REALLY proud when I craft something that is so very uniquely me.

As you guys know, I have really been on the struggle bus with my hand pain and I started thinking how I might need to start broadening my horizons with my crafting. It has been a dream of mine to own a Cricut so, after doing a ridiculous amount of research and price investigation, I settled on a Cricut Explore Air as the best option for what I needed.

Please note, they do offer a brand new Cricut Explore Air 2, but the price difference is $70 and the only real difference is that it can cut faster.

I can wait a few extra minutes if I can save $70!

Today’s craft is a great way to break in your Cricut since paper crafting is so darn affordable.

Before we begin, I decided to get a Cricut Access membership (I’m on the $7.99 monthly plan) so I could have unlimited access to patterns and get the discounts for the holidays. You can also pay individually for patterns, but so far the cost has been worth it for gift-making.

Do what makes sense for you and your budget though!

How to DIY a Paper Leaf Table Runner

Supplies

12-15 sheets Gray Cardstock (I used 4 different shades of gray)

Hopeless Romantic Garland Pattern– you will need to create a Cricut profile to access this

Hot Glue Gun (this is the one I use and love)

Glue Sticks

Cotton Twine

A pencil, pen, or end of a small paint brush for shaping your petals

Cricut

Cricut 12×12 Standard Grip Adhesive Cutting Mats

Kraft Paper (I bought this roll and use it for wrapping our gifts too)- this is optional, but helps the garland stand out!

Tutorial

Following the pattern listed above, begin by cutting all of the leaves for this project using a different shade of gray each time you load it.

Make sure that the dial on your Cricut is set to CARDSTOCK and make sure that the blade you have loaded is the FINE-POINT BLADE.

If you have not cut cardstock before, here is a tutorial and here is also a tutorial to switching your blade (if you haven’t done that before).

Begin by creating a gathering of four to five leaves that will look good layered together.

To make this look more natural, try to avoid making each of these gatherings identical and make sure to weave in those different subtle hues that you have cut.

Using the end of a pencil, end of a paintbrush, or scissors, gently begin curling these petals to add depth and shape.

If you have not curled paper before, I found this advice very helpful (and her patterns are just gorgeous too!).

Now we can begin gluing our stack together. Keep in mind how you had them originally stacked and replicate that.

You will also want to figure out how you want these to trail and be linked together. Once again, avoid your perfectionistic nature and don’t be afraid to have these going in different directions. If it looks too matchy-matchy, it won’t have a natural feel.

Along the back, you will then add a thin line of hot glue and attach your twine to help hold the garland together and that can also act as a tool for hanging, if you decide this one is better suited to your mantle or bar.

You can see the layer of brown paper has been laid underneath it.  To add a little more dimension to this table, I added two sets of these inexpensive votive candle holder sets (I’m pointing you in the general direction so you can pick out your favorite finish). You can get them in a variety of shades and I love that these sit low so you don’t have to try to talk around a tall arrangement.

Here are just a few other details on this table, in case you were interested in replicating this further.

I tied tiny bundles of sage to nestle on top of our cloth napkins with a little more of the cotton twine. It added a natural element to the tablescape which felt really necessary with the paper display. It also smelled divine which is always a wonderful bonus.

I have had a hard time finding cloth napkins that wash really well, but can’t recommend these beauties enough. I picked a dark gray to eliminate needing to bleach out stains, but they come in a zillion colors that can match your own table runner.

The dishes were such a steal and came with such thoughtful storage racks. I am in love with how everything nests together so well especially these bowls which are the perfect size.

I found the glasses on clearance and can’t tell you how beautiful they are. I have been dying to have some ornate glasses for our fancier occasions. Of course, these already sold out (boooo!!!), but here and here and here are a few gorgeous options.

Once again, thankful for this smart tool I bought for our water bottles because it gets things clean, but doesn’t scratch the pattern or gold rim on these.

I hope this spread inspires you to embrace decorations you can use for all the seasons.

I’m also excited to share with you about the Friendsgiving gathering I had to make use of this lovely display. Stay tuned for all the details on that!

Looking for some more great craft ideas? Check these out!

How to make a Yarn Pom Pom Wreath how to make a yarn pom-pom wreath

how to make a yarn pom-pom garland

how to make an autumn burlap wreath

easy burlap wreath tutorial

how to diy a no-sew blanket scarf

Happy crafting, friends!

This post contains affiliate links.

DIY Game Day Bar Cart

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

Entertaining is my thing. There’s nothing I love more than getting friends and family together for a great time.

And with a certain important game day party coming up, I knew just what I wanted to assemble to show off for my guests — a game day bar cart!

My favorite bar cart in our home is actually a tool cart transformed into this super functional and fun bar cart, so you can make your own too!

For my cart design, I decided to keep parts of the original surface paired with a metallic shade, but you can personalize this to your own taste and color scheme.

Just follow along with step two on the inside of your bar cart and apply your choice of paint if you so choose.

DIY Bar Cart Made from a Tool Cart Tutorial



Supplies Needed

Metal Tool Cart (check here or here or here to pick your favorite)
2 cans Krylon Colormaster in Metallic Gold (indoor) Spray Paint
1 can Rust-Oleum Hammered Brown Spray Paint
1 Spray Paint Trigger (should be in the same aisle as the spray paint)
Sandpaper
Painter’s Tape (to tape off your wheels)
Gloves

Directions

1. Begin by removing all of the parts and lining them up on cardboard or a drop cloth for painting. You will want the trays on this piece to be upside down since we are only spray painting the exterior of the tray. This will not only save you time spray painting, but the cart already has a nice finish on it that is easy to wipe and clean.

2. Rough up the exterior with medium-grit sandpaper. This will help our gold paint adhere to this smooth surface better.

3. Apply the trigger handle to your spray paint can. If you haven’t used one of these before it is a life-changing spray painting tool that offers even coverage and saves your poor trigger finger for long projects.

Begin by shaking your can for 1-2 minutes and periodically during use. Hold the can 10” – 12” from your surface, and spray in sweeping motions from side to side with a slight overlap.

Apply multiple thin coats, wait one minute between each.

You can add a top coat, if you like, with a clear topcoat, but it does dull the metallic sheen from this paint.

I chose to leave it without the clear coat, because I like the roughness and loveliness of the sheen of this paint.

I did find that this does adhere a bit unevenly to the surface, but creates more of the hammered metal look that I was going for.

4. Remove the trigger handle and now place it on your hammered metal spray paint that we are using for the handles and wheels on our bar cart.

Using the same technique, hold the can 10” – 12” from your surface, and spray in sweeping motions from side to side with a slight overlap.

Allow these to dry fully and then flip to the other side to spray paint the flip-side of these.

5. Tape off your wheels as best as you can and spray paint these with the same spray paint.

Allow them to dry and then flip to the other side and spray paint the flip-side.

When you remove the tape, if any of the paint has gotten on the wheel, just use your sandpaper to rough up the wheel to remove the paint.

6. Assemble after your cart, and all of its parts, are fully dry.

Keep your spray paint handy for final touch-ups and use a piece of cardboard to block and protect the areas around where you need to touch-up.

Allow this to fully dry before loading it with your drinks.

DIY Game Day Bar Cart from MomAdvice.com

DIY Game Day Bar Cart from MomAdvice.com

Once everything is assembled and dried, you can add your beverages of choice!

I decided to add my favorite beers to the top shelf for easy access, along with garnishes and drink tools.

On the bottom shelf I have glasses and liquors that can be wheeled around as needed.

Feel free to add any additional decorations like small treats, a chalkboard sign to message for guests or paper creations sporting the colors of your favorite team. Most of all, have fun!

Need More Game Day Party Tips?

Keep decorations simple for your game day party

Faux grass can act as a tablecloth for your table and a simple pennant banner can be created with your team’s favorite colors.

Add some fun football trophies to decorate around the food to pull your table theme together.

Have guests make their own food

Make creating your own food fun for your guests by creating a sub or Panini sandwich station from an assortment breads, cheeses, cold cuts, and a variety of toppings for your guests.

Each person can customize their own sandwich with their favorite additions.

Don’t forget to add a few gourmet flavors like pesto, Gouda cheese, apple slices, smoked bacon or prosciutto, & brie to your toppings bar.

These gourmet toppings will take your ordinary sandwiches into extraordinary ones and each guest can create their own unique combination.

The same idea can be applied to a fun slider bar, soup topping bar, hot dog bar, or baked potato bar.

snag my slow cooker pumpkin chili recipe

Host a soup cookoff

Have guests bring a pot of their favorite soup to share for a soup cook-off.

Have guests place votes on their favorite and present the winner with one of your fun football trophies from your table display to take home as the champion.

Not only will this be a fun way to sample some new soup recipes, but it will also relieve you of having to create as many dishes for your big game day party.

Round out the meal

Round out your soup & sandwich menu with an easy cheese platter, dips, a vegetable tray, and a fruit tray. Make the easy dips to go with your favorite crackers, but save some time in the kitchen and visit the deli in your store to pick up a simple fruit or vegetable platter to add on the side to save time spent chopping in the kitchen.

Invest in some inexpensive plastic containers for game day leftovers and send goodie bags home with your guests so they can enjoy the leftovers all weekend long.

Don’t forget to give the guests that stick around to help clean up afterwards a Most Valuable Player award for their assistance with the kitchen clean-up.

Love this DIY project? Here are a few others I think you will enjoy!

rosé strawberry wine pops recipe

slow cooker pumpkin candles

diy thumbtack pumpkins

diy ottoman serving tray

fall burlap wreath

painting pumpkins with acrylic paints

How do you celebrate game days at your house? I’d love to hear your tips for entertaining!

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Girls’ Night In: Rosé Strawberry Wine Pops

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

rosé strawberry wine pops recipe from momadvice.com This post is sponsored by Paramount Pictures. Thank you for supporting our sponsors! 

rosé strawberry wine pops from MomAdvice.com

Looking for your next Girls’ Night In idea? I have come up with the perfect recipe for a fun night with your gal pals and created a deliciously dangerous Rosé Strawberry Wine Pop recipe that is sure to be a hit at any gathering.

I mean, wine in a popsicle?

As Ina Garten would say, “How bad could that be?”

This treat takes about ten minutes to make and is the perfect accompaniment to a fun night in watching the movie, Book Club now available on Blu-Ray. If you haven’t seen it, you are in for a treat.  You can purchase your copy of  the movie and make plans to watch it at home this weekend. The release happens to include hilarious bonus content, like the making of the film, deleted scenes, and more!  Personally, I can’t think of a better way to spend the weekend than with my girlfriends, a pile of wine pops, and a ridiculously funny movie.

rosé strawberry wine pops from MomAdvice.com rosé strawberry wine pops from MomAdvice.com rose-strawberry-wine-pops-recipe-9

My girlfriend has the sweetest set-up for a movie night so when I proposed a girls’ night in, she graciously offered to have it in her theatre room so we could really get that movie experience.

Let’s all acknowledge that any mom that would offer up her home on a school night is a real gem of a friend.

Book Club is about four lifelong friends that end up having their life turn upside down when their book club starts reading the infamous, Fifty Shades of Grey, and they begin to rekindle their own relationships with their old flames.

The message is pretty simple… their next chapter is the best chapter.

rosé strawberry wine pops from MomAdvice.com

I feel like turning 40 has, truly, been a next chapter in my life. This year has been a real exploration in trying new things in my career, I am finally embracing the importance of self-care, I’m okay letting people see the unpolished version of me, and I have learned that there is nothing more important than our family and friends.

I am such a work in progress though and I acknowledge that I have a lot to still work through. I am thankful though that I have such a powerhouse group of ladies who love and support me no matter what. I, truly, can’t imagine my life without my friends. When the chips have been down for our family, they are the ones that take the mess of my life and lift me up with their encouragement. I never have to be anything, but this messy person.

That is what I appreciated about this charming film and how great it is to be part of a book club of girlfriends. I can attest that while we talk about books in our book club, we also talk about so much more as we support, encourage, and enjoy each other’s company.

Book Club is beautifully cast with four Hollywood icons (Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, & Mary Steenburgen) that have forged a believable friendship, with heart and humor, that any girl would want in her life…especially as she segues into the next chapter.

I hope you can pick up this incredible film that is now available to own on Blu-ray!

rosé strawberry wine pops from MomAdvice.com rosé strawberry wine pops from MomAdvice.com

Now, let’s talk about this incredible wine pop idea! When I heard that stores were carrying rosé pops, I just knew that I could make an inexpensive version of this treat at home.

Honestly, this is an excellent way to use up any strawberries that are nearing their expiration in your fridge, as they are blended in the blender with a touch of lime (to break up the sweet), a little simple syrup, and an inexpensive bottle of rosé. In fact, I found a decent bottle for under $5 at our local market, making these cocktail treats really affordable.

The one thing you will need to buy is ice pop holders and I think they are a smart investment, not just for wine pops, but for making healthy treats for the kiddos too. This set comes with a little funnel that makes pouring your blended ingredients in the pop holders a real cinch.

The most time-consuming aspect is waiting for them to freeze. Be sure to give them a good four hours in the freezer to harden up for distributing to all your gal pals.

I hope this treat inspires you to have a fun girls’ night in too!

rosé strawberry wine pops from MomAdvice.com

Rosé Strawberry Wine Pops
Author: 
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 ice pops
 
Share these Rosé Strawberry Wine Pops for a fun girls night in and pair it with the Book Club Movie, now available on Blu-Ray
Ingredients
  • 2 cups ripe strawberries
  • 3 cups Rosé Wine
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • Ice Pop Bags
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, whisk sugar and water on medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Set aside to cool.
  2. Slice strawberries and add them to your blender.
  3. Add your lime juice, Rosé Wine, and simple syrup. Blend well.
  4. Once blended, skim the foam off the top.
  5. Using the provided funnel, pour the mixture into the ice pop holder to the marked line. Seal tight and and place on a cookie sheet (this will protect your freezer from any possible leaking). Repeat the process until you have used up all your mixture (should yield approximately eight ice pops).
  6. Freeze for four hours.

This post is sponsored by Paramount Pictures. Thank you for supporting our sponsors! 

 

 

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7 Tips for Hosting a Successful Book Club

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

7 tips for a Successful Book Club from MomAdvice.com Thanks to my sponsor St Martin’s Press, I’m sharing about Kristin Hannah’s newest page-turner!

I joined my first book club when my children were small and I remember both how rewarding it felt to use my brain again and the challenges of carving time out to read. The beauty in being a part of that group though was that it pushed me to read books that were outside of my typical genre.

Historical fiction, for example, had never been on my radar until I joined a club.

Ironically, it is now my favorite genre.

Have you thought about hosting a book club? I have had the pleasure of hosting a local group and an online group and today I wanted to share 7 tips and strategies I’ve found for hosting a successful book club.

7 Tips for Hosting a Successful Book Club

1. Create Your Book Club Circle

Book clubs can be an opportunity to cultivate existing friendships or an opportunity to widen your net. If you don’t have an existing set of close friends, this can be a great way to get to know people from other contexts of your life.  Consider starting a group through your church, with your neighborhood friends, a mom’s group, with your coworkers,  your gym buddies, or as a way to get to know other moms at your child’s school.

Keep in mind, this club does not need to be just women either because men can add another dynamic to your book club discussions. If you have couples that you love to spend time with, for example, consider asking if they might like to meet up monthly for dinner and a book chat. I know that some of my best book discussions have happened when enjoying an evening with friends.

2.  Have an Organized Kickoff Meeting

The quickest way for a book club to fizzle out is to not have a plan and get your members involved.  With everyone’s busy schedules, it can be difficult to get a committed group and keep them committed for an entire year (or more).

In the past, our mimosa kickoff usually starts in September, once the kids have headed back to school. With a little more time in our schedules (sort of), it gives us a chance to regroup and make book selections. I ask each member to come with a book in mind and a month that they would like to host our chat. Allowing each person to make a selection and host gives everyone a chance to feel a part of things and allows the group leader to just micromanage the logistics.

7 Tips for Hosting a Success Book Club from MomAdvice.com

7 Tips for Hosting a Success Book Club from MomAdvice.com

3. Pick Books That Can Sustain a Discussion

The best books that we have talked about have meat to them and naturally cultivate an incredible discussion. Books with shallow plots are probably better for your beach bag than your book club discussion.

Stumped for a book selection this year?

Can I make a great recommendation for you?

As I disclosed earlier, I am partnering with St. Martin’s Press to share about Kristin Hannah’s latest novel and I TRULY believe this is a perfect pick for your book club reading.

I , honestly, would read anything Kristin Hannah writes, but her last few books have been among my favorite. The Great Alone is a contemporary coming-of-age story that is set in the seventies in rural Alaska.  In this story, a former POW father comes home from the Vietnam War completely mentally changed from his experiences there. His behavior and decision-making is wildly erratic and when a property becomes available in rural Alaska, he decides that they should seize the opportunity to live off the grid and make a different life for themselves.

Braving harrowing and life-threatening conditions is what it is all about and thirteen-year-old Leni is caught in the middle of it all as they attempt to carve a new life in the wild frontier.

Living off the grid is not all it is cracked up to be and neither is surviving the difficult Alaska winters.  Hannah writes so eloquently about this impossible marriage and the honest struggle of a Vietnam veteran.

As you can see, from my description alone, this has so many elements for discussion. The plot brings on the challenges of PTSD in veterans, what it is like to live with a mentally ill family member, homesteading (and if YOU could survive it), and if you would stay with your partner if they were putting your family through a potentially life-threatening lifestyle.

When I say that books have to have meat for discussion, you can be assured that there would be MUCH to talk about with, The Great Alone.

Look for books like these where the description alone showcases what kinds of ideas you could discuss in your book chats.

4. Don’t Be Afraid of Controversial Plots

One thing I have worried about is picking books that have controversial plots that might make people feel uncomfortable. What has surprised me though is that these are usually our very best discussions and that it is, truly, okay to have different viewpoints.

The way I lead these discussions though is that I ask that things are said with kindness and love, even if you don’t necessarily agree with one another. In an online discussion, I can swiftly delete comments that aren’t said with kindness, but that is a bit more tricky in an in-person book club.

Even in these tricky moments though, leading by asking everyone to be kind has always been a successful way to start a thoughtful conversation and I have never had any issues after stressing this importance.

It can be scary leading a controversial discussion, but I was surprised how it changed people’s viewpoints or hearing about someone’s personal story and why it made them feel differently than me. A recent discussion of a story on immigration, for example, lead to people sharing how it completely changed their viewpoint on the deportation process.

It makes me wish we had more kind and honest talks and how they could bring compassion to our discussions.

5. Prepare For Your Discussion

Discussion questions are so helpful to have, especially when first beginning your chats. I have found that selecting books with discussion questions already in place can be extremely helpful and relieve a lot of stress on leading a talk. The Great Alone, for example, already has a great discussion outlined for you.

I try to not limit our discussions to just outlined questions though. If it is a historical fiction book, for example, it helps to look up the true stories and images from that time in history. Reading or finding author interviews that explain why the author decided to write a book can also add a lot to a discussion.

6.  Have Each Host/Hostess Decide How They Want to Host

7 Tips for a Successful Book Club from MomAdvice.com

7 Tips for a Successful Book Club from MomAdvice.com

7 Tips for a Successful Book Club from MomAdvice.com

7 Tips for a Successful Book Club from MomAdvice.com

I am happiest when I am entertaining our friends and family. It brings me great joy to share my table with them and feed them my food. Since this book is set mostly outdoors, I set up our outdoor table for a discussion.

It doesn’t have to be complicated though. This meat and cheese board, for example, is a fun way to share food with your book club friends without even cooking.

Sharing book club in the morning? Change the charcuterie board to a bagel board and load it with bagels and toppings.

The truth is, most people don’t love entertaining. It may bring them great stress, they may hate cooking, or they may be juggling a huge plate of craziness and can’t possibly add one more thing to their plates.

I GET IT.

Let each host/hostess decide how, where, and when works for them.

Food is not required to have a gathering.

Cooking is not required to have a gathering.

Opening YOUR home up is not required to have a gathering.

Allow each person to choose their style of hosting however or wherever they want to do it.

Book club should be fun and not stressful!

7. It’s All Too Much? Try an Online Club!

Painfully introverted? Haven’t found your people? Working full-time? New to town? Homeschooling? Single mom? Full plate?

Adding one more thing to your agenda can be an impossible task when you already have so much going on. Online book clubs can be an incredible option for someone that desires a book club, but just can’t make that happen in their day-to-day life.

You can join the free MomAdvice Book Club and be a part of a monthly discussion all year long!

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

The Great Alone is available in stores now and is highly recommended for your next book club chat!

To learn more:

Visit Macmillan.com

Like Kristin Hannah on Facebook

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Do you have a tip for hosting a successful book club? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks to my sponsor St Martin’s Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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