Easy DIY Halloween Garland

In the usual fashion, I am doing some super last-minute decorating for Halloween. (hey, 4 days ahead isn’t too bad, right?) I tend to stay away from spiders and creepy crawlies because I don’t need to get the heebie-jeebies every time I walk by. So instead I went with a simple black and white garland that is just festive enough without being overly Halloween themed.

Black and white paper garland
Black and white paper garland

You will need:

  • black and white cardstock
  • a circle punch or scissors
  • white thread
  • a sewing machine

Black and white paper garland

Directions:

  1. Start by punching (or cutting) a bunch of black and white circles from cardstock.
  2. Take 2 black circles stacked on top of each other and stitch through the middle of the circle using a straight stitch.
  3. Then take 2 white circles stacked on top of each other and stitch through the middle of the circle.
  4. Do not cut the thread in between.
  5. Keep adding more pairs of black and white circles, alternating colors, until the garland is your desired length.
  6. Cut the thread, leaving a tail of string at the end.
  7. Starting at the beginning of the garland, gently fold the two sides of top circle in half (upward) so that the thread is on the inside of the circle.
  8. Fold the two sides of bottom circle in half (downward) so that the thread is on the inside of the circle.
  9. Repeat with each pair of circles in the garland.

Halloween Garland
Modern DIYHalloween garland
DIY Halloween Garland

Happy Halloween!

Mini Notebooks - October

Month 10 of the year of mini notebooks project. October. In honor of Halloween.

Yes, Halloween excites me. That whole time of year, autumn, I find exhilarating. A passionate season. The others are so bland. In the fall, you see opportunities for change. Real change. Possibilities present themselves. None of the renewal and redemption cliches of spring.
No. Something darker and more primal and more important than that.
Alice LaPlante

Mini Notebooks - October

You will need:

  • a plain mini notebook
  • white muslin fabric, torn into strips
  • small googly eyes
  • glue (not shown)
  • sewing machine (not shown)

Directions:

  1. Cut or tear your muslin strips slightly wider than your mini notebook.
  2. Sew them onto the notebook using a sewing machine. (For more detailed instructions and photos please see this Mummy Onesie tutorial.)
  3. Glue the googly eyes on top on the muslin strips.

Happy October!

To see the rest of the mini notebooks in this collection, click here.

 

Hula06

Little girls in grass skirts are just about the cutest thing ever. Babies in grass skirts – even cuter!

Last spring we hosted a little luau party for Avery’s preschool friends. While we were planning, we realized that Alessia needed her own mini hula skirt. I thought about just trimming one of Avery’s old skirts down to be small enough, but then I saw this package of raffia at Hobby Lobby and decided to just make a baby sized hula skirt.

It wasn’t hard at all, but it took about 45 minutes to tie all of the pieces on – perfect for watching 1 episode on Hulu!

DIY Hula Skirt

You will need:

  • natural raffia (I found this at Hobby Lobby for $2.99 – and the baby sized skirt took exactly 1 package)
  • scissors
  • thick, soft  cotton string or cord

Easy DIY Hula Skirt

Directions:

  1. Unroll your raffia. It will be bent and kinked from being rolled into a bunch, but we will fix that!
  2. Submerge the raffia in a sink (or bowl) full of hot water. Let it sit for about 5 minutes.
  3. Carefully straighten out the raffia and let it dry on a towel.
  4. Once it is dry, cut it to your desired length. First measure how long you want your skirt to be. Double this number and add 2 inches. For example, I wanted the baby hula skirt to be 10 inches long, so I cut my raffia in 22 inches pieces.
  5. Cut your cotton string to be the length of the baby’s waist plus about 16 inches. Lay the string out. Take once piece of raffia and fold it in half, under the string.
  6. Take the ends of the raffia and fold down over the string and tuck into the loop at the top of the raffia piece.
  7. Pull the ends of the raffia tight.
  8. Repeat until you have your skirt as wide as you need. Trim the ends of your string, leaving enough length to tie the skirt easily.
  9. Tie it on your teeny wahine!

DIY Hula Skirt

DIY Hula Skirt

And now about the luau party!

We were so fortunate in San Francisco to be a part of a wonderful preschool community, and Avery had a great group of friends. One of the parents had an ingenious idea to start Friday night get togethers for the girls, where every few weeks a different family would host all of the girls from 5 – 8pm. The parents were welcome to stay and hang out, or go enjoy a night out on the town without kids. Dinner was served and the girls would usually end up playing dress up, dancing, and having a blast.

Every time the girls were at our house for Friday Night, they all wanted to put on Avery’s hula costumes. Since she only had 2, and there were usually 7 little girls, this was sometimes an issue. So when we were in Maui a few months ago, she spotted some hula costumes at a little shop in Lahaina and asked if she could buy them for all of her friends.

Thus, our idea to turn one of the Friday night get togethers into a luau party was born.

Hula05

I don’t have many pictures of the actual party because I was too busy drinking pina coladas with the other moms…I mean supervising the kids. ;) But in case you are looking to host a super simple, no-stress luau, here is a quick rundown of what we did.

Invitations:

Food:  (inspired by our favorite restaurant in Lahaina, Aloha Mixed Plate)

  • fruit skewers with fresh tropical fruit (mango, guava, passionfruit, bananas, and pineapple)
  • kahlua pork sliders on mini Hawaiian rolls
  • sticky rice and mac salad
  • pineapple whips for dessert

Drinks:

Decorations:

  • fresh, colorful flowers in mason jars
  • garlands made out of shell necklaces

Music:

Activities:

  • hula dress up
  • diy leis with paper flowers and string
  • hula lessons with this dvd

Favors:

  • hula costumes – a huge hit with the girls! We found these at a little shop on Front Street in Lahaina, but similar sets are available on Amazon.

Hula Skirt Set - perfect party favor for a luau or hula party

Hula Costume

Hula03

Pregnancy Essentials
I wrote this post exactly one year ago today, the day before I gave birth to my youngest. Things were a little hectic with having a newborn (go figure!) and I never got around to actually publishing it. I figured that today was a fitting day to finally share.

I should start by saying that I actually like being pregnant. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely do my fair share of complaining. (My belly itches like crazy!) But all in all, it is amazing, and I am so grateful I have been able to experience it twice.

Buying a lot of fancy products really doesn’t fit in with my minimalist tendencies, especially when they are only going to be used for a very short period of time. There are, however, are few things that have made the last 9 months a lot more enjoyable.

Here is a list of my pregnancy essentials:

1. Prenatal vitamins. Yes, you should be eating a high-quality, nutrient-rich, well-balanced diet. But you also need a super prenatal vitamin. I like the Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal Multivitamins because they are gentle on your stomach, include probiotics, and come from raw, real ingredients. They are also vegetarian, gluten free, and dairy free, if those things are important to you. I also take a DHA supplement to support baby’s brain and eye development.

 2. Maternity clothes that don’t look like maternity clothes. I am convinced that there is a conspiracy against pregnant women. Put the word maternity on anything and it instantly doubles in price. And gets about 10 times uglier. During my first pregnancy, I was so excited to grow out of my regular clothes that I ran straight to the nearest maternity store. Then I cried. Everything was awful. I ended up finding a few staples that got me through both of my pregnancies in style. And throughout the 4th trimester, because let’s be honest – I wasn’t ready for regular clothes for months. Some nice under-the-belly maternity jeans are a must. The J Brand Skinny Maternity Jeans have a strategically placed patch of elastic on the waistband that allow them to fit comfortably over your growing belly, but they don’t look like maternity jeans (i.e. no horrible panel over your belly) so you will be able to comfortably wear these until you fit back into your pre-pregnancy jeans, and no one will ever know they are maternity! I also found some awesome long tanks from H&M and Target, that are the perfect length to cover the bottom of your belly even at the very end, and work just as well after pregnancy. Add a few non-maternity maxi skirts that can be worn under your belly and a cardigan or two and you are set.

3. Lotion, oil, or cream. Your skin is going to stretch more than you ever thought was humanly possible. And that doesn’t always feel very good. I like to lather my belly with either organic, cold pressed coconut oil, or super rich and creamy East African Shea Nilotica. Both are super moisturizing, all natural, and have been shown to prevent stretch marks. I ended up making my own belly balm from all natural ingredients that also worked wonders. There are a ton of commercial products that promise to prevent stretch marks, but most contain petroleum products, which I didn’t want on my body, and they are all pretty pricey. (Remember what I said about the conspiracy against pregnant women!?!)

4. A pregnancy journal or app. I loved watching how quickly and drastically my belly changed during each pregnancy, and taking a weekly photo was an integral part of both of my pregnancies. I received The Belly Book as a gift and it was the perfect way to keep my weekly belly pictures and ultrasounds, a well as write down little things that I never want to forget (like when I felt the first kicks). During my second pregnancy I used the Sprout Pregnancy App, which I highly recommend. You can track your prenatal doctor’s appointments, keep track of questions for your doctor, track your weight gain, kicks, contractions, and more. It also gives you a description and an image for what your developing baby looks like each week.

5. A Book for him. If your husband / partner is anything like mine, the pregnancy announcement may throw him into a state of shock. And your 600 page long Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy will do nothing to ease his anxiety. I needed something short, light and humorous, and The Guy’s Guide to Surviving Pregnancy, Childbirth and the First Year of Fatherhood was perfect. He enjoyed it so much that he has actually given it as a gift to many of his guy friends.

6. Pillows. Lots and lots of pillows. Whether you go for a pregnancy specific pillow, or just bring in a few extras from other rooms, pillows will make the difference between tossing and turning trying to get comfy and getting a solid night’s sleep. It is true, you + your belly + the pillows may make it hard for anyone else to sleep in the bed with you. But trust me when I say it’s worth it. Without my millions of pillows and this comfy bra I wouldn’t have ever slept.

7. Crunchy natural remedies. There is nothing worse than being pregnant and getting the cold of all colds. Since I avoided all medications religiously, I relied on daily use of a Sinus Rinse, along with a good salt water gargle to keep the preschool germs away. I also drank hot honey lemon water when I got a little sniffly, which is unavoidable when you have other kids in the house.

8. Yoga, Meditation, and Hypnosis. I have been practicing yoga for years, and continued to attend my normal class 4 times a week until about 2 weeks before I gave birth. I had a wonderful instructor who was able to give me modifications for the things that aren’t safe during pregnancy (no twists!) and I much preferred this to a specific prenatal class. I liked the challenge of my power vinyasa class, and I know that it is because of this practice that I stayed sane during my pregnancy and kept my weight gain in check. (If you haven’t been practicing for long, or are unsure of what is and isn’t safe during pregnancy, I definitely recommend a specific prenatal class.) Additionally, I started listening to Hypnobabies as a way to relax and help me sleep during the third trimester, and relied heavily on it right up to and during my delivery.

Mini Notebooks - September

Month 9 of the year of mini notebooks project. September. In honor of back to school and my baby starting kindergarten.

Education is not filling a pail but the lighting of a fire.
William Butler Yeats

Mini Notebooks - September

You will need:

  • a plain mini notebook
  • a small piece of white card stock
  • colored pencils
  • white cotton twine
  • a new #2 pencil
  • small hole punch (not shown)
  • ruler (not shown)

Directions:

  1. Cut the piece of card stock slightly smaller than your mini notebook.
  2. Using colored pencils and a small ruler, draw light blue horizontal lines across your card stock. Draw one red vertical line about a half inch from the left side of the card stock.
  3. Punch 3 little holes out of the left side of the card stock.
  4. Glue the card stock onto the mini notebook.
  5. Break your # 2 pencil in half, then sharpen it until it is about 3 inches long.
  6. Using the cotton twine, tie the mini pencil onto the mini notebook. Trim the ends of the twine.

Happy September!

To see the rest of the mini notebooks in this collection, click here.