My Adorable Nephew and His Fox!

I learned the basics of crochet from my mom when I was about 12 years old.  I crocheted a few scarves and then moved on to other crafts like card making, scrapbooking, painting.  (But not before establishing a bit of a yarn collection and it has only gotten worse!)  When my sister was pregnant I decided to return to the my old buddy crochet and try my hand at a baby hat.  That was 5 years ago now and she’s on her 3rd boy!  For the newest little dude I wanted to do something different so I turned to Amigurumi.

I never tried Amigurumi before because it looked super advance.  You guys, it’s really not. Or at least it doesn’t have to be. If you know your basic stitches and can count to 48, you’re set.  If you have been intimidated by it, just give it a try.  Fair warning though…it can be addictive! But then again, if you’re a crocheter, you probably already know a little something about addiction. 😉

This pattern is from the adorable site Amigurumi Today and you can find it here .  They’ve got tons of awesome patterns and inspiration so if you haven’t checked them out, definitely do so!

I mean seriously?  Does it get any cuter?  I think not.

 

Happy Crocheting!

 

April is National Donate Life Month

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I’ve been an organ donor since the age of 16.  I rocked that little heart proudly the second I was able to get my drivers license.  I figured, why not?  I’m not gonna need any of this stuff on the other side of this life.  Plus, there’s just something beautiful about giving life through your own death.  Morbid…but beautiful.  I never thought for a second that I would ever be someone who may end up in need of that gift.  Until recently that is.

In December 2016, after a half dozen tests and procedures, I was slapped with the news that I had a really terrifying disease.  I was diagnosed with a chronic illness with a really long and unpleasant to pronounce name.  My Dr. told me that I had Primary Sclerosing  Cholangitis.  Or as you will hear me refer to in the future, PSC.  PSC is a biliary disease in which your self hating body decides it’s in a particular mood and will attack itself.  Specifically the biliary system.  We all know what happens to your body when it is harmed…it heals itself.  And if I learned anything from my past dating life, wounds heal but can leave scars.  So, that’s what is happening to the tiny little ducts in my liver.  The biliary ducts are being scarred  to the point that they become dilated.  In turn, your poor over worked liver is takes a good beating.  It leads to fibrosis of the liver (which is what I have now) and then eventually to full blown cirrhosis.  Can I just say how offensive it is to be looking at the crap hand that is cirrhosis but with none of the fun drinking nights leading up to it?  Besides the fact that my drinking days are officially over, there is no cure and there is no real treatment.  The only thing really to be done is to wait and see just how bad your liver gets and in too many cases, in time, you begin to enter into liver failure.  Finally! The point of this story! No, this blog didn’t originally start out as an education on PSC.  Liver transplant.  So here I am, almost 20 years after first deciding to be an organ donor, facing a life that may in fact result in my own need of an organ donor.

So, if you aren’t a donor, consider it.  At this point, I am beginning to imagine what it would mean for a family to receive such an amazing gift.  For a Mom, Dad, husband, wife, best friend or child’s life to be spared because someone made a simple yet profound decision that in their death, they would give life.  To those who have chosen to donate, Thank you.

 

Happy Donating!

 

4 Year Annivesary and Wedding Throw Back

Today is a very special day for me!  Well, for the Hubs too.  4 years ago today, I married my very favorite person in the universe.  It’s crazy to me that it has only been 4 years.  It’s hard to imagine life before him at this point.  It’s like we always were.  I kind of feel like that’s God’s way of telling me, “Yep, I had you in mind when I made him.”  I recently came across a post in which a woman told the story of how she and her husband came to be.  It’s one of those magical stories where boy meets girl. 1 day later boy and girl profess their love and very quickly after boy and girl get married and then boy and girl become husband and wife and live happily ever after.  I always marvel at these kinds of stories.  That’s just not my personality.  In fact, everything in my very being is the exact OPPOSITE of that.   I’ve never been one to get too caught up in my emotions.  I remember wondering, as a young teen, what that would be like.  That Romeo and Juliet kind of love.   I’m methodical.  I’m cautious.  Even with my husband, who I knew after 3 months I wanted to spend my life with.  We spent 2 romantic, adventurous years dating before we got engaged.  He spent a year working over time to stuff money away for the ring he wanted me to have.  Do you want to know the message that sent me?  I was worth waiting for.  And I love that sentiment.   One of “I can’t afford to mess this up.” People get swept up in the romanticized stories of love at first sight and those statements of “I can’t live another moment without you as my wife!”  And I get it. They’re totally dreamy. Perhaps our language of romance looks a bit different than others.   Don’t get me wrong.  I am not saying one way is better than the other.  I understand both. Ours is not a grandiose love, rather a quiet love weaved into every word and every action.  I know, it doesn’t sound as romantic but take a moment to think about what that means.  Your partner is choosing you. Every minute of every day.  They are choosing you.  That sounds pretty romantic to me.

Well, now that you know my philosophy of marriage let me show you what our wedding was like!  We had it in an old theater so we ran with them theme.  We had program’s made up to look like playbill, however I don’t seem to have a picture of it and it’s boxed up in storage so you’ll have to use you’re imagination.

 

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Okay…I know it’s a weird picture to jump off with but I sent the boys a bouquet shortly before the ceremony.  I had to remind my hubby exactly what had caught his eye in the first place.  His is Jack Daniels girl.  We met at a birthday party and the moment he heard I was drinking a Jack & Ginger…it was all over.

 

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My hubby picked the colors and went with green, black and white.  A little more formal than I would have chosen however, I didn’t much care.  Plus the venue was a bit more on the formal side so it worked.

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My mom made my bouquet and wrapped it with black and white striped ribbon. I loved it!

 

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And here’s a picture of the hubs.   Just because he’s cute.  (But don’t get me started on his lapel flower!)

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I wore my green heels for the ceremony but changed into my converse immediately following!

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We both had our specialized Chuck T.s because live in ours.

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I love adding fun surprises to events so I loved the idea of a colored slip that popped out every now and then.  My sweet mom sewed me a very basic slip and it was exactly what I wanted.

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We had a friend make some movie posters for us and they lined the hall leading to our greeting line.  We had a play on “Meet the Parents” and  “Father of the Bride”.  Honestly…I think the “Father of the Bride” was my favorite.  I will have to find a picture to share but right now can’t seem to find them.  They were all a hit!

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One of my very best friends and bridesmaid gifted us our party favors.  Personalized Jones Soda!  They were totally adorable!  favors

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We also made these candy favors and used these adorable gift tags!  Get them here.  They became they’re very own photo op.


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Our cake!  I loooooved our cake!  We still get cupcakes from the bakery every year on our anniversary which means….YAY CAKE tonight!!


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We used these adorable Wedding mad libs to get some advise from our guests.  You can get them here.  These were super fun to read after the wedding!  We had a few guests that had a lot of fun with these…

 

Until next time….Cupcakes!!

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Elf on the Shelf and Scary Santa

I have been looking forward to using our Elf on the Shelf this year.  Zeke is still a little to young to really understand it but that doesn’t stop him from loving that elf to pieces.  As excited as I was for Patty’s arrival it is actually quite the task.  Just remembering that Patty needs to move has been a pain but then Zeke sees him drawing on his “mananas” or taking a marshmallow bath and he lets out that sweet giggle.  It’s totally worth it.  Plus, it’s kind of fun coming up with elf shenanigans.  What has are Patty been up to?  Well, Mom Patty is a bit lazy so he likes to keep things simple.  Check it out.

 

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From Top Left to Right…

  • Having breakfast with Zeke.
  • Building a house.
  • Just “hanging” with the snowman.
  • Adding some character to the Bananas.
  • Testing his new bendy arms by swinging on the chandelier.
  • Play duck hunt. (No duckies were harmed)
  • Getting in his spa treatment.  Peppermint bubble bath.
  • Getting the buddies together for their Christmas card photo.
  • Bedtime story.  About Elf, of course.
  • Changing the oil on the work truck.
  • Reporting to Santa.
  • No snow?  No problem. How about a “cutie”man?

 

Patty has helped bring the Christmas spirit and now we are in full blown Christmas mode.  Our lights are hung, our tree is twinkling, and our presents are purchased.  Well, most of them.  I am pleased that we have really been able to enjoy the season with the various events, such as Zoo Lights at Point Defiance Zoo, a visit to the “North Pole”, a petting zoo visit complete with a nativity and Santa Clause! I knew Santa was going to be a problem since Zeke is definitely in that stranger danger phase.  He’s incredibly social but if you aren’t one of his people, you may not want to pick him up or you will go full No Bones.  As we were waiting in line he was excited talking about Santa and sipping on his cocoa.  Then the big moment arrived!  So, how’d he do you ask.  Well, he did about this well…

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Santa’s smile can’t be more perfect for these shots!  He was a really sweet Santa.  The visit was unplanned since we have reservations this Saturday to have his pictures done with Santa but I thought why not give him a trial run since the line was short and the price was right.  Free.  Let’s just hope it goes a tad better then this visit!  Classic child meltdown Santa picture. Check.  Thankfully, the minute I picked him up off Santa’s lap we back to his happy self.  He even waived goodbye to Santa as we left.

Does your family do Elf on the Shelf?  If so, what are your elf’s best moments?

 

Happy Christmas’ing

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Signs that You Are a Working Mom

The struggle is real my Mommy friends.  We just celebrated my husbands birthday in November and he really, REALLY wanted to take a weekend getaway. I just assumed that included the kiddo but I was wrong.  After some negotiations we decided to take a day trip that Saturday.  We dropped Zeke off with the MIL that morning.  As we pulled away I saw a sweet, chubby little hand waiving goodbye from the window.  And no, it wasn’t my MIL! We weren’t even out of the driveway before the tears began stinging my eyes.  My poor husband just looked at me baffled.

I’m a working Mom so unfortunately being away from my child is a little too familiar to me.  I start work before Zeke is even up for the day and on a really good night, I get 3 hours with Zeke.  Yep, 3 hours before he goes to bed. That’s it.   On really bad nights, I may get a mere handful of minutes with him.  Literally.  Last night I saw him for 11 minutes.  11!  Needless to say, the weekends are precious to me.  We are a church going family so our Sundays are spoken for and that leaves Saturdays for our 1 uninterrupted day of family time.  So when we took that day trip, I knew I was giving up my one special day with Zeke.  And yes, I gave it up for one special day with my husband.  Like I said…the struggle is real. Whether you are a working mom, a stay at home mom or a stay at home working mom.  Balance, is a struggle.  So to all you working Mommy’s who are struggling like I am, you are not alone and you may be able to relate to the following…

 

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  • You kiss your baby monitor goodbye each work morning.
  • You have done the math and know that exactly 1 quarter of your time spent with your child is in the car commuting.
  • You get a bit jealous when you hear about Stay at Home Mom’s play dates and activities with their kids and other Moms.
  • You have ever prayed that he doesn’t love his child care provider more than you.
  • During the week, you spend more time looking at the picture of your child on your desk than in person.
  • You do your grocery shopping or other errands during your lunch hour.
  • You have ever pumped at work.
  • You have ever cried while pumping at work!
  • You have ever pumped in your car.
  • You have ever cried because you didn’t make it home before your child went to bed.
  • You roll your eyes when a non working or childless friend or relative talks about how busy they are.
  • Anytime you are asked to bring a snack to an event it’s store bought.
  • Ever felt guilty for bringing a store bought snack to an event!
  • When the weekend comes you want to do ALL THE THINGS with you child.
  • You get irritated when you notice all the baby/toddler swim, music, learning etc. classes are held during the work day.
  • You miss your child even though you will see them after work.
  • You forego much needed sleep to wake up early and hit the gym while the kid is still sleeping.
  • Your child care provider has to tell you of a milestone your child hit while you were working.
  • You get a little sad when other parents talk about needing a break from their children.
  • You are conflicted about date nights or weekend getaways with the hubs because you don’t want to give up anymore time with your child.
  • During the week chores only get done after 8 pm, if they get done at all.

 

I could go on, but I’m probably just preaching to the choir.  Oh!  So, how’s this for life…?  Feeling especially overwhelmed last night with being a working mom and what movie comes on?  “How Does She Do It” over course.  Thanks life.

 

Take it easy Momma’s!

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A Few Things You Should Never Say to a Preemie Mommy

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My preemie is now 18 months and a whopping 28lbs!  It’s pretty safe to say that he has overcome his tiny beginning. Even still, I get comments from family, friends and complete strangers that make me scratch my head.  Those comments instantly bring back all the feels from that time when my 4lb 5oz sweet baby boy surprised us with his early arrival and we landed ourselves in the NICU for a lengthy stay.  So here is my list of What Not to Say to a Preemie and sadly enough, they are all things people actually said to me.  

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Overwhelming Amount of Sarcasm Ahead.  Please Proceed With Low Expectations.
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“My baby was early too.”

Usually when someone says this to me, of course, I ask how early.  The usual response is about 2 weeks.  Now, I don’t want to down play anyone’s early arrival BUT by ACOGs (The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) and SMFMs (The Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine) definitions, Early term is 37-39 weeks, Preterm is 32-37 weeks and Early Preterm is before 32 weeks.  Ours arriving at 31 weeks + 5 days, was an Early Preterm, so forgive me if I RDJ your 2 week early arrival.

 

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“Delivering your preemie isn’t much worse than a large bowl movement.”  

I s*** you not (pun intended), this was said to me and with a straight face… A face I almost B!*#@ slapped.

 

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“At least labor was easy since he was so tiny.”

Um…labor is never EASY and don’t ever minimize a woman’s birth story.  It is special and important to her and to suggest that it was less of a big deal, or less difficult than anyone else’s should earn you a slap upside your head (Agent Gibbs style).

 

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“If your baby is staying in the NICU at least you’re getting plenty of sleep.”

Wrong. So very wrong!  This is the one I heard most frequently and irritated me beyond belief.  Between pumping every 2 hours (10x a day because us preemie mama’s often struggle with our supply. Which amounted to about 4-5 hours a day just for a bit of perspective), working part time (see #9), 2 hour travel time between home, work and hospital.  We would usually get home from the hospital at 11pm each night in which it was surely time for me to pump again (it was always time to pump) and I would start each day at 430am and probably got up to pump somewhere in between.  So, no.  There was not much sleep being had.

 

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“Wait until you get out of the NICU and the “real” work begins.”

Because the NICU is really quite a breeze.  (See #4)

 

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“Of course your body bounced back. You’re baby was so tiny.”

Yes, it was the tiny baby and had absolutely nothing to do with the hard work I put in at the gym and good nutritional choices over the 7 months of pregnancy and continued after pregnancy.

 

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“Did he come early because you continued to work out during your pregnancy?”

The answer is NO.  100% no.  All of my activity was cleared with the doctor and it just so happened to be that I had a liver condition brought on by pregnancy that caused the spontaneous preterm birth.  In fact, me staying fit and healthy is thought to have contributed to having such a healthy baby despite such an early birth.  

 

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“You got to skip out on the difficult part of pregnancy.”  

I would have traded anything to be able to experience a full term pregnancy.  Nothing is worth the health of my child.   Plus, a lot of preemie moms, myself included, have a sense of guilt from being unable to carry their child full term.  I may have managed to avoid stretch marks but I have scars on my heart from the preemie experience.

 

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“How could you go back to work while you’re baby was in the NICU?”  

Um…well, I don’t know.  Maybe we have to pay bills, like the kind that come with 31 days in the NICU.  And maybe, just maybe, I want to save as much of my maternity leave for when we brought our son home.  I was fortunate enough to have a job that I was able to return to 3 days after giving birth.  I worked part time all 31 days Zeke was in the NICU.  It saved me almost 3 weeks worth of my maternity leave.  These choices are not easy, so please recognize that everyone’s situation is different.

 

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“Can he come home yet? or When will he come home?”

Okay…this is an appropriate question, it’s just a tough one to have to answer several times a day.  The answer is no and I don’t know.  There is progress and set backs ALL THE TIME.  We were told that Zeke would be released on his 28th day in the NICU.  About an hour after they gave us the good news, he D-sat’d and we were stuck there another 5 days.  It is an emotional rollercoaster but you can rest assured knowing that parents will shout it from the mountain tops (or at least over social media) when they are released from the NICU.

 

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So my dear friends.  If you have a loved one who’s had a premature start, you may want to be a little extra thoughtful with your words.  If you have said any of these to a preemie parent….Don’t worry.  They’ll forgive you.  They just may poke fun at your expense during those late nights in the NICU while they’re getting ALL of that extra sleep. 😉   But lets face it…you owe them that much.  Know that those preemie parents are taking on everything a new parent is dealing with, but pile on top the added stress of living life day by day in the hospital watching their dear baby fight hard to thrive and not always knowing what the next day or even hour will bring.

 

Are you a preemie parent?  Do you have anything you’d add to the list?

Happy Preemie’ing, er….

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Work Out Wednesday & Upper Body Tabata

 

 

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Happy Work Out Wednesday!!  It is only midweek and it has proven to be a tough one.  Every night this week has been a late one.  The hubs has been working with his dad late, we’ve been visiting with the MIL who just flew back into town and tonight we have our church group.  All good things, but even good things can add a lot of stress to life.  With that being said, I need the extra energy pump I get from a good workout.  Enter….Upper Body Tabata (on speed).   Mission accomplished.  Once I caught my breath afterwards, I was feeling pretty good.
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So are you all getting ready for the eating holidays??  I both dread and look forward to this time of year.  How to you stay active and healthy during the holidays?  I need some pointers on how to not wreck all my hardwork!!

 

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Tissue Paper Pumpkins – Easy No Carve DIY Pumpkin

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Well, we’re on the countdown to Halloween and I’m using up all my pretty little pumpkins.   I love pumpkins and every fall I collect them.  We’re talking the real deal too, not the fake ones.  It’s kind of a hoarders habit because I don’t always know what to do with them.  In fact the ones we picked up over the weekend from the pumpkin patch are still just sitting in the garage.  I’m use they’ll find their way to the porch before the trick-or-treaters come.  I hope…

Thankfully this last pumpkin I decorated can continue to live out it’s Fall days without looking like Halloween leftovers.  This fancy little fella looks like it’s ready for tea time.  Like it could get chummy with some fine china!  This gem was made with 6 easy supplies and cost somewhere around 60 cents.  We have an incredible patch near us that had all their pumpkins, and I do mean ALL of them, for $1 each.  The cute little white ones were 3/$1!  I love that place.  If you’re from the Puyallup area, or there about, you should definitely check out Sterino Farms.

supplies

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White Pumpkin (orange will show through the tissue paper)

Tissue Paper

Mod Podge (I use this stuff for everything!)

Sponge Brush

Paint & Paint brush (optional for stem)

I have seen a couple different ways to Mod Podge a pumpkin.  I chose to cut my tissue paper into stripes so that I was able to work with it a little easier and I could chose my pattern as I went.

 

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Brush a thin layer of the Mod Podge on small area of the pumpkin.  Lay you tissue paper over the Mod Podge and smooth down against your pumpkin.  Continue to work in small sections until your pumpkin is completely covered.  It’s okay to wrinkle your tissue paper.  It doesn’t need to be perfect!  (That’s kind of my motto for all crafting!)  Once it is covered paint a very think layer of Mod Podge over your tissue paper to seal it.  Let dry.  If you chose to (and I think it completes the project) paint the stem with a coordinating color.  My paper had gold in it so I used a gold metallic paint on the stem. Plus it matched my Washi Tape Pumpkin that I made a couple of days ago.

Now you have a beautiful pumpkin that can hang around with that fancy dinner china that you only break out for
Thanksgiving and Christmas!

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Happy Crafting!

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Work Out Wednesday – Back and Biceps

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Happy Workout Wednesday!!  I must admit, I am a little off this week as far as my schedule goes.  We had child care fall through on Monday so I got to stay home from work and have a Zeke-Mommy Day!  It was awesome to get a glipse of the Stay At Home Mom life. I loved it!  Maybe one day…a girl can dream!

Well today was Back and Bicep day.  It’s not my favorite day, in fact I used to neglect it big time.  Then, I started changing my goals from things like….I want to drop 5lbs or I want to be a size 2 (um…never happened) to my new goals such as I want to master the handstand, do the splits, do a pull up!  And of course, in order to do a pull up you not only need strong biceps but also a strong back.  So, I started dedicating one of my days to Back and Biceps. Which, quite frankly, I should have been working anyhow.  Below is my routine for my back and biceps

 

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Happy Sweating!

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Washi Tape Pumpkins – An Easy Fall DIY

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I can’t believe it’s already the week of Halloween!  This whole week is like Christmas Eve for me, I just love it that much!  We have made 3 trips to the pumpkin patch and my sweet monster of a toddler has more “punkas” than he knows what to do with.  I picked up a few Jarrahdales and they are my new favorite pumpkin.  They are those eery blue pumpkins that kind of look like a big bruise.  They’re beautiful in the sickly kind of a way.  That has absolutely nothing to do with this post so…moving on.

I was so busy with finishing our family costumes over the weekend that I literally had about 20 minutes to come up with a DIY pumpkin.  I needed a quick, no mess project and this pumpkin DIY is exactly that.

 

supplies

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Pumpkin

Washi or Foil Tape

Scissors

Paint & Paint brush (optional)

Okay…try to follow me here.  This is a tough one.  Peel tape, cut out desired shape, stick to pumpkin.  That’s it!  This is one for the small kiddos too.  I chose to paint the stem in a metallic rose gold to match the tape but it’s not necessary.  I did the very trendy and overly done chevron design.  (Chevron is everywhere but I still love it) Try triangles or stripes.  Pick up some pretty arrow or polka dot stickers.  Whatever tickles your creative fancy!

There you have it.  No carve, no mess DIY pumpkins.

Happy Crafting!

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