Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Adorable Yarn Pom Pom Flowers

When I saw these lovely handmade flowers on I thought they looked some kind of a retro, vintage-y marigold. I loved the rich saffron color as well. Bottom line: I HAD to figure out how to replicate these! 
I decided my sister's baby shower in a few weeks would be a good reason to make I chose the colors chocolate and ruby. (Tip: I made the mistake of buying really chunky yarn for the brown flowers, thinking I would like it better. Well...long story short I think the end result looks best with very thin yarn)
The first step is to wrap the yarn around your four fingers no less than 100 times. Seriously. 
After you have wrapped the yarn around your hand (anywhere from 100-120 times, depending on the fullness you desire) slide the yarn off your fingers so as to maintain the shape of the bunch. Then take a cut piece of yarn at least 6 inches long, slide one side through the middle of the circle and tie it all together as tight as you can, making at least a double knot. 
Hold the bunch in your hand, holding your thumb over the piece of thread that you just used to tie the double knot. Then take GOOD, sharp scissors (you will regret if you don't follow that step! ;) and cut down the middle of the loop, creating a shaggy pom pom.
Hold your pom pom over the trash can or an area where sweeping and clean up will be easy. Start cutting your pom pom, shaping it into a neat circle and creating the size that you want it to be.
Ok sorry for the yucky trash can shot...hehe...and my purple P.J.'s. But you can see how I am shaping my pom pom...this actually took A LOT more cutting than I expected :/ This is where you will be glad you brought out the nice, sharp scissors! I actually blistered my thumb with my old scissors. Not good. 
After you have your desired shape and size all cut out, then will be the time to fluff out the pom pom a bit. Do this until it is to your liking. I wanted mine to be a bit more fuzzy....but if you want a clean cut look then skip this step completely.
Here is one of my favorite parts because I am the hot glue QUEEN! LOL! It's instant gratification :D I will hot glue anything, and call me weird but I love the smell too! Open your pom pom until the center is exposed a bit, dab a bit of hot glue and fasten it to a twig from your yard, a popsicle stick, craft wood, a piece of rusty wire...or whatever you think will best achieve the look you want. Hold the pom pom tightly onto your 'stem' until the glue dries and..presto! You've got an adorable, budget friendly vase or mason jar filler :D 
I must say the shadow on my wall is giving the illusion that my flowers are a bit bigger than they actually are, and like I said before, I think thin yarn is the way to go :) When I do my ruby colored flowers with thin yarn..I will post pictures of the difference. But the directions I provided will give you the basis on how to make the flower, and you cut and shape them however YOU like!  
Have fun!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Good Golly! Great Finds at Beyond the Rack

So I have been looking for some T Strap Mary Jane's such a these for quite a while. Like, a long time. Sigh...I have not found them yet :( While searching for them today I stumbled upon where they have tons of amazing deals on shoes and clothes and they have sales that last for a certain amount of time where you can snag the best deals on these items. Today I spotted these boots (that come in many different colors) for just $19.99 :O 
I LOVE this top!!!!!!!!!!
They also have some awesome finds for babies and kids! I hope I don't find myself getting into any trouble browsing at Beyond the Rack!!!!!! Hehe ;)
Go here to check out some of these deals:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Just Say Spahhh...Spa Inspired Bathroom

It would be pretty sweet as a mom to get regular spa treatments (at least thats what I think!) Every time I walk into an Aveda salon to buy Shampoo or tea I just want to float away...the soothing music, the candles, and the SMELL: heavenly! But, alas, getting pampered at Aveda is just not in my schedule OR budget! Im guessing thats the case with most of us, right? Thats why I decided to recreate that amazing spa atmosphere at home. Sometimes as moms, the ONLY place we get alone time is the bathroom. I found myself wanting to decompress at night but didnt want to sit in a dingy tub overloaded with foam alphabet letters and rubber duckies. So here are some of the ways I decided to make our bathroom more like a spa retreat! (This is a great way to utilize an area thats already in your house for a "Mommy and Daddy Only" area ;)

It took me a while to collect all the soaps in this wall hanging basket but it was worth every minute because it smells SO GOOD! No need for a reed diffuser or scented plug in, these soaps create that earthy, clean spa smell. What I did was buy soaps (the Aveda ones I got for FREE!) whenever I saw them on clearance or sale, and I bought a few fancy bulk packs at Marshall's and Ross. Keep your eye out for unique bars of soap to start your display. A few other ideas you can do are add plants (like I did) loofas, sea sponges, or glass jars of bath salts. Even wash cloths in colors that match your bathroom are great fillers!
 The next thing I would suggest, to stick with your Spa atmosphere is to use earth colors (or if you like Ocean theme, blue hues with browns and tans). Green is my favorite color so I chose to use wrap my green towels in a twig roll (purchased at Michaels crafts) and I stuck a faux fern leaf in each one.
Now heres the all the packing from your personal hygiene products to create a spa 'product' display in a hurricane vase or extra large mason jar (I call this "UPcycling!"). So dont throw that pretty soap box away, or the empty jar to your hand cream. Make it look like you have a big display of spa worthy stuff. I added dried artichokes, fern leaves and wood pieces as fillers :) *Hint* this is ALSO a great way to use those mini travel size products you have laying around in that drawer somewhere!
The next step: Splurge on a nice soap (or shampoo set, or bubble bath either way) for you and your hubster. It will only cost what you might pay for a trip or two to the fast food drive through (but it will be MUCH more enjoyable for some married people bath time..LOL) You can thank me later!! So skip the drive through trips this week, cook at home and set aside the dough you would have spent and buy a nice product that the kids are NOT ALLOWED to use!!! A few suggestions are anything Aveda..
The California Baby products (yes adults love them too!!!)...
And the Zum Bar goats milk products smell amazing...
The last touch I added was a spa inspired display above my mirror (or you could achieve this by doing it on a small shelf) I leaned a clearance saucer and a few faux plants against the wall. I bought a cascading faux plant at Michaels that hangs down...and I love the end result! Its not quite as relaxing as hanging out at a posh day spa, but this is a very close second because it was done on a budget and I can come whenever I want!!! If you are inspired to do something similar in your home I would LOVE to see pics! 

Oh and I almost forgot, to add the finishing touches...add a fragrant candle, a nice towel for you and your hubby to use, or maybe even his and hers robes. So put the kids to bed, put on a pot of tea, turn the ipod onto something soothing and UNWIND! Enjoy :D 


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

And the OPI goes to...Find Out Who Won!

Congratulations to CaChalker you are the winner of "Go My Own Way" By OPI! I will be messaging you on Facebook tonight with the details :)

Well there's my first giveaway..that was SUPER fun! Thank you all who entered and shared on Facebook... 
Stay tuned for whats next! :D 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Nail It (Giveaway!)

I do my own nails, saves money. Plain and simple. Since I don't go to a salon to get my nails done every few weeks I can afford to spend a few extra bucks on nicer polishes that wont chip. My favorites are OPI. I like Essie as well. Also, playing the harp means my nails have to be cut as short as they will possibly go. meaning no falsies! 
I L-O-V-E orignal ideas like these newspaper print nails. Gosh who thinks of this stuff? Downright adorable! 
Experiment with not-so-ordinary colors. This Jade by OPI is just so pretty! 
Then there's Crackle or Shatter...
And every girl needs a pretty, neutral nude color! 
And of course there are the shimmers...oh the possibilities are endless! 
So here's the get this blog rolling I think it would be awesome to do a fun, girly giveaway..YOUR favorite nail polish! 
1) Figure out your absolute favorite nail polish brand and color (as long as its not discontinued) then come back here and leave a comment to tell me what it is...
2) "Like" The Vintage Fern on Facebook (if you haven't already)...
3) Share this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter with a link...
and VOILA! You're on your way to some spruced up nails a la` The Vintage Fern :D Happy Polishing  Girls!
Find out who wins on December 14th :) 
( PS: I REALLY hope someones favorite nail polish isn't some 60$ bottle of Chanel or something. Cuz if so, I may have gotten myself into some hot water!! LOL lets play nice here people!!! ;) 

The All Natural Christmas Tree

I love Christmas, and Im pretty particular about my decorations...only because I've been fighting eager little hands for the last 4 years (and it felt like every year we added a new set of hands!) to guard and protect my Christmas tree from them and vice versa. Some of the most attractive things to a baby or toddler are twinkle lights, shiny tinsel, and glittering ornaments and all those Christmasy things that dangle and entice them. This year I wanted things to go differently. No mess, no missing keepsakes, no broken ornaments, no babies unplugging lights, and no threat of an 8 foot tree falling onto my kid. I am so excited to share these ideas with you! 
I started with a small tree (I got mine at Home Depot for $19, which is quite a savings compared to the $55 we usually pay for a full size tree) and potted the tree with something I had laying around the garage. (You can use anything that will support the weight of your tree, get creative). Solution #1, I saved money. Solution #2, tree is on my formal table out of reach from curious hands. Solution #3, I still have a living tree that smells like Christmas :)
 Here's the fun part. Choose natural ornaments to adorn your tree. These will most likely be home made, saving you even more money! And if the kids DO get ahold of one of these, there will be no shattered glass, electric parts, or toxic things they can put in their mouths. For these lovely little orange ornaments I took California Clementine Cutie fruits (traditional oranges are too heavy) and pushed whole cloves (.99 a bag at any grocery store) into them in a pattern then hot glued on a twine loop. Helping insert the cloves was so fun for the kids as well. And I cannot describe how wonderful these smell...after Christmas they would make the most amazing fillers for a potpourri bowl or glass vase! Also pictured, you could hang plain pine cones from your yard or cinnamon ones to compliment the amazing smell of your clove oranges :) 
 Another cheap and natural ornament idea is sliced, dehydrated citrus fruits. Slice, and bake directly onto your oven rack. Punch a hole after they've baked and string with twine...BAM! A totally unique ornament! 
This one is great because you can go to your local Home Depot or Christmas tree farm and get the Christmas tree stump scraps for free. They are usually found in a big discard bin near the purchase area. And heres what you do...
Decorate them with newspaper cuttings, scrap book paper, or whatever your little heart desires! Have the kids help for a fun Christmas craft :D 
Acorns with holes drilled thru and strung are free, simplistic and naturally beautiful. Or...
Or dress them up with felt and and twine and you've got yourself some all natural garland!
 If you love burlap like I do, you could create some of these little lovelies as a natural ornament...and burlap is SO cheap and versatile. Check your local hardware store. You can also use burlap as a primitive tree skirt! 
You could also hang small cinnamon bundles for your tree....
OR make them into a star as your new, all natural tree topper!
I hope you enjoyed some of these ideas. I love the fact that they are cheap, household items or stuff you could find on a nature walk. get creative with bringing the outdoors in. The smells and colors are so beautiful and it will compliment your tree and home decor in the most amazing way. Best of all, all of these things are safe around your littlest loved ones (and pets!) 
Merry CHRISTmas! :D 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Don't Let the Cold and Flu Bugs Bite!

Last year our family spent most of the winter (and spring) at the mercy of some sort of illness. I can't describe how frustrating this was and how it took a toll on almost every aspect of our lives. Someone in our family of 7 was sick at almost any given time. No joke! That meant no church, no social gatherings, and grouchy exhausted kids and parents :( So this year I decided to take charge of our health. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure right? I think so... here are some simple and healthy ways (and some of our favorite products!) you can use to keep your family from getting sick this cold season: 
1: This one is a no brainer. When you don't have access to a sink, sanitize! This EO Lavender is our favorite. It smells SO good and doesn't dry out your skin. Almost everywhere we go, I sanitize my kid's hands. And ALWAYS wipe down your shopping cart handles, I cannot stress this one enough! When my youngest son was teething, he always tried to chew the cart handle, and he was ALWAYS sick :P Wipe down public high chairs or carry a cloth cover with you. You never know who or what touched the things we all touch on a daily basis, and there are over 300 variations of the common cold out there. Wash and sanitize!!

2: I just purchased this tub of Immune Boost loose leaf tea at Whole Foods Market. It tastes yummy and contains so many immune supporting herbs such as Echinacea leaf and root, Ginger, Elderberry, Orange and Lemon peel. Another great immune boosting tea that you can find at a regular grocery store is Traditional Medicinals Organic Echinacea with Elderberry. Be sure to drink your tea with raw, organic honey (not the kind you find in the teddy bear bottle! All the of healing properties have been eliminated by processing and refinement) which is known for its amazing antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Make your immune supporting tea even more potent with some vitamin C rich lemon slices :) 
3: Since most of our kids do not like to drink hot tea, I highly recommend juicing. I know buying a juicer can be expensive (I was lucky enough to find my Breville on clearance at an outlet store, my sister found hers at a yard sale!) but its definitely worth its weight in, um, plastic and aluminum ;) We use ours all the time and I could write a novel length post on the benefits of juicing...any and every time I dont feel my best I juice organic carrots with apple or ginger root and its almost unbelievable how fast it zaps the nasty stuff out of me! If you dont have a juicer, keep your eyes peeled for a clearance or used one. If you do own a juicer, dust it off and use it, OFTEN! (ps, juices that you buy at the store are dead juices with almost no nutritional value. Don't waste your money on these or fall for the marketing gimmicks they use!) 
4: The whole family should be taking an immune supplement. The Natures Plus brand shown above is great and I think I got mine on Amazon for under 6 bucks! For Mr. P and I, we take Natrol's immune support or Emergen-C
5: This one my kids L-O-V-E! Stonyfield Farms organic yogurt squeezers. I freeze these little babies and not only does that cut down on mess (have you ever seen 3 toddlers walk around with squeezable yogurt? No bueno) my kids think its a 'popsickle'. It also soothes teething gums or a sore throat while providing their little bellies with the important, friendly bacteria necessary for proper digestion and a strong immune system!
  6: RAW Garlic. Yep, it stinks. And its not very tasty. But as a powerful home remedy, if you feel that cold or flu coming on (yes even the flu VIRUS, garlic is antiviral as well as an antibacterial :) Swallow some crushed pieces of raw garlic in a spoonful of raw honey and do it as often as you can stomach it. It would take me all day to talk about the benefits of garlic, but a few are antiviral, antibacterial, and antiparasitic properties, its used to treat high blood pressure, diabetes, and allergies....It can even be used as a wart remover! Garlic is awesome!!! 
So I hope you find these few tips helpful...I would LOVE to hear about your favorite herbal or home remedies for prevention or cure. Happy Cold and Flu Season (happy because hopefully you wont be sick!) 
Hosea 4:6 "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" God gave us herbs, fruits, vegetables, and even animal meat for food and healing. Educate yourself on some of these amazing healing aspects of God's creation. 
Genesis 1:29 Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food"
1 Corinthians 10:31 "Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God"

Tomato Asiago Soup

We love to eat soup during the winter, and since Mr. P loves Broccoli Cheddar Soup I decided to put some in the crock pot last night so it would be ready for lunch today. As I was putting the finishing touches on the soup I made the horrifying (and disgusting) discovery that several ants came to their demise in my crock pot during the night :O I guess you could say I'm one of those snooty types that doesn't like to eat bugs, so sadly, down the drain went the Broccoli Cheddar :(  
So I had to improvise. I had four hungry people craving something, anything from a sourdough bread bowl over here! So I loosely followed the same method that I would use to make any other cream based soup. I took a few small tomatoes and chopped them, threw in a small handful of chopped onion for good measure (although this ingredient is optional). I sauteed the tomato pieces and onion in a tablespoon of butter until the onion was soft. I also added a dash of garlic powder and dried basil.
After the previous step, I added 2 6oz cans of tomato paste, then 2 14.5oz cans of chicken broth. I let all this simmer for about 15 minutes. Add a cup of shredded asiago cheese and a cup of half and half (you could also use heavy cream which is actually the proper ingredient for a cream based soup but I didn't have any! Half and half worked great) If you don't have asiago cheese Im sure shredded parmesan would taste just as good :)
Let this mixture simmer for about another 5 minutes. If you like your soup thicker, add a bit of cornstarch and mix well. Serve in a sourdough bread bowl (I got mine from Costco) or a regular bowl. You can garnish this with fresh chopped basil for a chiffonade, top with extra cheese or croutons. Cuddle up on the couch (yes, I eat on the couch!) and ENJOY :D
2 or 3 chopped Roma or Amorosa Tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped onion (optional) 
1 tablespoon of butter
2 6 oz cans of tomato paste
2 14.5 oz cans of chicken broth 
1 tablespoon of crushed dried basil (optional) 
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder 
1 cup of shredded asiago or parmesan cheese 
1 cup of half and half or heavy cream 
Serve in a toasted sourdough bread bowl & garnish before serving