Baby Sensory Boards

Art, Baby/Toddler, DIY

3 baby textural sensory boards

Do I still make things? Yes. My mind still has bursts of creativity and the only cure is to make something. Mr. R&R, Rae, and Rose (I’m a huge fan of the Oxford comma) never know what new projects what their arrival after school and work. Some days, it is a contest to see if they can identity all the new projects I completed (I am very determined during Baby Bear’s nap time to make “me” time).


Carpet, wood flooring, cleaning sponges, felts, ribbons, and more

Yesterday’s project was 3 textural sensory boards for Baby Bear. Our adventure began at Home Depot where we obtained free 4×4 samples of carpet, astro turf, and laminate counter tops (and some paper paint cards for another project). I did purchase mounting hardware so I didn’t feel like a total mooch. At Joann’s, we purchased fabric remnants (extra 50% off), clearance fabric, feathers, twigs, ribbons, a nest, and pom-poms. My super deal was a set of (7) 12×12 canvases for $6.24 because the top canvas had a hole, which wasn’t an issue since I was going to be covering the entire area.


Based on the number of different sensory textures I accumulated and the wall space for storing, I focused on creating 3 sensory boards. I affixed all my materials to the canvas using hot glue. Yep, that’s a lot of hot glue (I only burned myself once). I used Command Easel Back Hanging Strips to mount the boards to the wall. I selected these because there were on clearance for $2.54 and because I wanted something easy to remove to place in his lap and reattach to the wall. The sensory boards all are low enough that he can touch them while sitting, but will still work when he stands independently.


Faux leather, astro turf, feather, twigs, and more

I spent a total of $30, but I have extra materials (canvases, fabrics, feathers) that I am sending to my sister-in-law so Baby Bear’s twin cousins can have their own sensory boards. For Christmas, Baby Bear is getting a busy board with latches, locks, and light switches to make motor skill learning fun.

Onto my next project.


My Favorite Things- Gift Edition


Most people are busy shopping for the perfect Christmas gift. Oprah has published her list of Favorite Things to help spark gift giving ideas. I want the Appalachia scented candle by Village Common to remind me of our family vacation this summer to Virginia, but at $52 I must decline. And what woman on your list wouldn’t love Barefoot Dreams Bamboo Chic Lite Pants? I can’t justify $106 for lounge pants. When I win the lottery, everyone will receive gifts from Oprah’s list of favorite things. In the meantime, I am forced to create my own list of Favorite Things.

Since Baby Bear was born 10 weeks early this August, I spend hours in the NICU holding him and shopping online. I embraced the moment to jumpstart my Christmas shopping. The presents are already beautifully wrapped under the tree. If you aren’t an over-achiever like me, don’t worry, I am here to help with my own list of Favorite Things that won’t break the bank.

Rae and Rose’s List of Favorite Things

  • Oh! Susannah’s Pillow Cases are whimsical and fun. Shop the kid and dorm room sections for single pillow cases. The couples pillowcases are great for your best friend that already has everything she needs.

    Photo by OSusannah

    I am in love with the small initial necklace by 39 North Jewelry. The font of the initial is modern and feminine without being cutesy. I think this necklace is perfect for young girls and women who are young at heart.

  • Happy Shoe Day has the latest trends in shoes at reasonable prices. Grab a pair for your bestie, sister, and don’t forget yourself. If you’re wondering, I’m a size 8.
  • Personalized keychains make a wonderful gift or stocking stuffer for grandparents. For a grandma with many young-ins, visit Metal Expressions. Additional washers can be purchased when new grandbabies arrive. Grandpa the fisher may enjoy a keychain highlighting his school of fish by ToshieDesigns.


    Keychain by Metal Expressions

  • Need a unique gift for the sports fan in your life? Check out the print art by Industrial Age. R2-D2 decked out in his favorite team’s colors or maybe a Lego man wearing his favorite baseball jersey. Combine this affordable print with a clean frame and matte from Hobby Lobby for a top-notch man cave gift that won’t break the bank. Note- they accept custom orders.


    Photo by Industrial Age

  • Little girls and teens alike will go crazy for Colorme temporary hair color wands. Search Amazon, or your local hair salon, to find a variety of colors available under $10. I can attest that the purple looks beautiful on dark hair.
  • Don’t forget to order a custom vinyl decal for the Yeti or S’ip on everyone’s list. Etsy has many options. Your friendly Silhouette owner may also be willing to prepare a monogram in return for a Starbucks Caramel Brulee Latte.

Happy shopping and Merry Christmas!

Making Valentines for my Little Love

DIY, Silhouette

Valentine’s Day is one week away. Has the day been over commercialized by Hallmark, florists, and jewelry stores? Yes. Do I still celebrate? Yes.



Cutting the yardstick to create a negative image.

Rose is at a delightful age where she is thrilled to share Valentines with her classmates. I want her to share Valentines that are unique as her personality. I went to my trusty Silhouette and downloaded Valentine card designs. The card is the negative of the cut image. I then cut a slighter larger rectangle in a complimentary color to serve as the backing to the image.


24 Valentines done!

The cards are so simple in design that Rose could easier glue the pieces together herself, but she spent the snow days outside leaving me to glue the cards. Rose did sign the cards and tape cute little Valentine erasers to the back of each card. Why no candy? Because I was already at the dollar store over lunch and I was not in the mood to hit up Target as well.

Rose’s custom Valentine box

 Rose likes the Valentine cards that I made, but she is more excited about the shoebox to collect other Valentines. She hounded me for a week to produce a shoebox that she could decorate. Back in the day, Rae was content using the same decorated box all through elementary school. Rose wants a box that expresses her feelings at the moment. A little bit (or a lot) of acrylic paint later, Rose has a beautifully unique painted shoebox.

If you don’t have your Valentines ready yet, get to it!

My Life as a Mom


Rose asked me today “are you still doing that Rae and Rose blog thing? Is it because you’ve been busy being a mom?” She gets me. She really gets me. Since the Christmas holiday started, I have focused on my biological children and husband, not my blog baby. I do love my blog baby, but I really love being a mom.

My reasons for not crafting and blogging:

  • Cooking: I love cooking. Ever since I received my first microwave cookbook, I have enjoyed cooking for friends and family. My current love is the new Pioneer Woman cookbook. The recipes are incredible! The orange chicken is delish. The risotto as well. Who am I kidding…everything I have made has been a huge hit with the family. For the record, the Williams Sonoma chocolate peppermint cake is
  • Minor Injuries: I’m not a nurse. I’m not a fan of blood either. None of that matters when an earring rips open your child’s earlobe. You’re welcome for not posting pictures. Rose’s ear was repaired today and all is well. My heart was broken when the nurse said I needed say in the waiting room during the procedure. I was told that she teared up while the Novocain was administered, but Rose continues to deny that. I have a picture of her stitched up ear, but I will spare you that photo too.
  • Taxi Service: Kids’ schedules are exhausting. I’m not sure how, but last week I successfully took both girls to the eye doctor, ordered new frames (Rae tried on every single pair!), picked up the dry cleaning, gave Mr. R&R a kiss, and still made it to Wednesday night church activities on time. Mom win. I’m not mentally prepared to escort Rae to the high school open house this evening. How long can I legally keep her in middle school? Tomorrow’s goal is to fix my broken tooth, take Rae to her monthly orthodontist appointment, and pick up Rose by 5:30. Sadly, the days are just as crazy when Mr. R&R is in town.

I’m not making excuses, just reflecting on my life as a wife and mother. My super awesome life.

Polka-Dot Initial Mugs

DIY, Entertaining, Holiday, Paint, Pinterest, Silhouette

Apply the sticker to a basic white mug

The crafting bug bit Fanny and she presented me with a Pinterest project she wanted to create. Fanny decided we were going to make polka-dot initial mugs for each of her employees. I am always game to try a new Pinterest project.



Use oil based paint pens to decorate the mugs


  • Ceramic Mug (Fanny purchased these white mugs at Dollar Tree)
  • Sharpie oil-based paint pens
  • Initial stickers (I used my Silhouette to cut the necessary initials on Oracal 631 removable vinyl. If using regular stickers, Michaels suggests first placing the stickers on a piece of fabric to make them removable from the mug.)



Decorating the first mug

Time to Decorate:

  1. Place initial sticker on mug
  2. Press the pen on the mug to create dots. The tighter the placement of dots, the more the letter will be defined
  3. Use additional colors to add more dots
  4. Allow the paint to dry for about a minute before removing the sticker
  5. Bake the mugs to make the paint dishwasher safe. General consensus on Al Gore’s Internet is to place the mugs in the oven, warm it to 350, bake for 35 minutes once the oven is heated, then let cool in the oven. Note: The paint color will slightly lighten after baking.
  6. Enjoy!



Bake at 350 for 35 minutes

The little kids had a blast decorating the extra mugs. It is beautiful to see 1st graders exercise their creative spirit. When will they be old enough to learn how to use the sander?




A one-of-a-kind Rose creation

DIY Ornament Wreath


$1 packages of ornaments from Dollar Tree

The crafty apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in my family. My mom cross-stitched all of our Christmas ornaments when we were young and even latched-hooked a tree skit.  My sister, also known as The Sister, is now creating Christmas decorations too.

The Sister found the idea for an ornament wreath on a budget, and video instructions, from AJ’s Craft Room.


  • 50-80 assorted sizes of ornament balls (The Sister purchased 15-ct small, three 12-ct medium, and two 5-ct large from Dollar Tree for $5)
  • Metal hanger (Dry cleaners give these away- freebie alert!)
  • Large ribbon



  1. Shape the hanger into a large circle
  2. Unhook the metal
  3. Thread the all the ornaments onto the hanger
  4. Re-hook the hanger
  5. Use the ribbon to make a bow (probably the most difficult step for me)


IMG_3744Additional Tips from the Sister

  • Purchase higher quality ornaments at thrift stores, garage sales, and day-after Christmas sales
  • Ornaments from Dollar Tree are affordable, but …well…hmm….you get what you pay for
  • Look for a combination of shiny, matte, and glitter (that’s right, The Sister likes glitter!) finishes to add more dimension
  • Plastic ornaments won’t break mid-project….arrgghh
  • Use leftover ribbon from decorating your Christmas to create cohesion in your decorations
  • Try other ornament colors for your favorite holiday.  The Sister is dreaming of green ornaments with a shamrock ribbon for St. Patrick’s Day.

Happy crafting!

How to Save Money on Christmas Gifts

Facelift, Paint, Reclaimed, Upholstery

Saving money on Christmas gifts is easy to do when you avoid shopping. Plain and simple. It is a tried and true plan that works every time. I set this budget-friendly plan to action today and worked outside (it was 50 and sunny in December!).



The cowprint vinyl stool was painted to look like wood grain. I don’t even want to know why. 

While Christmas shoppers were scouring the toy aisle, I decided to finish two stools I had purchased over a month ago. Both stools were painted and badly nicked. On a previous project day, I had used paint stripper to remove the top coat of paint and most of the under layers, but not all of the paint. Truth be told, I ran out of sunlight.



The seller purchased this stool at an estate sale. It was sold with a bathroom mat stapled to the seat.

The unfinished stools were directly in my eyesight everyday when I pulled in and backed out of the garage. Overtime, I fell in loved with in the  partially-removed paint look. Back to today. I bonded with the sander and went to work smoothing out the legs and removing some, but not all of the remaining paint. I made to decision to keep some of the layered paint. Crazy, I know.



Rustic and refined

To finish and condition the recently exposed wood, I applied mineral oil to the stools. The depth of the wood grain came to life. Rae is huge fan of animal hides, but even she was happy to see the faux cow go in the trash and be replaced with a romantic and soft pink motif.

I want more warm days before Christmas!

Let it Snow!


When we set out into this journey to complete a craft fair with R&R we knew it would be fun, rewarding and quite the learning experience. We got everything that we came for as we had a blast and learned tons.

One of the things that we learned was that we should have had more snowflakes made!! Rae & Rose prides itself on being rustic and refined, designs that are one of a kind so we thought we should make unique items that people could say they bought from us knowing that it would be the only one. The challenge to this is that we didn’t expect the overwhelming request for more!


There were a few items that people couldn’t get enough of: Nebraska Plaque, Butcher Blocks, and the snowflake.

Mr. Keto was the creative mind and carpenter when it came to the snowflake. He is known to be quite the tinkerer and I would have it no other way – my house is filled with his creations!!

He picks up fencing from various locations and plays with cuts until he gets his desired look. This look required 30 degree cuts of the fencing, specifically using the pickets of the fencing to create a snowflake.

Many of you asked about it after it was gone and now Mr. Keto has made another at the request of Debby, who had bought the one and only. Debby proudly displays her snowflake on her door and I think it makes for a wonderful addition to their home.


Thank you Debby for supporting Rae & Rose and thank you St. John Vianney for hosting a wonderful craft fair!

Our first craft fair is in the bag!

Craft Show

 Thank you to our friends, old and new, who visited with us yesterday at the St. John Vianney Craft Fair.  The texts, Facebook posts, and kind spoken words meant the world to us.


 I’m still in shock that we successfully did this. I consider the fair a success because we met our main objective: to learn. Selling our creations was an added bonus. Mrs. Keto only had to tell me three times to chill out and have fun. I finally did both.


Lessons learned:

  • Practicing the set-up of the booth in advance makes the actual booth set-up a breeze
  • Investing in a dolly (or a flat bed cart) would be beneficial
  • Wi-fi is not reliable; having a phone to process Square credit card purchases over $100 is a necessity
  • $25 in ones and $25 in fives was the right amount of change for our items.  Rae only carried a small amount of coin in her fanny pack at a time (since it is so heavy). Coin was required since we collected sales tax.
  • I forgot to get shopping bags and I told myself it was okay, but then customers asked for them.  Gosh darn it, I knew I needed them.
  • A customer suggested we provide cutting board care instructions. Genius. Why didn’t I think of that?


 Now for the part that people really want to read; who won the give-away!  Background story: On Friday, Sassy J suggested we offer a raffle. Umm, yeah, I’ll get right on that in my spare time. Well, I mentioned it to Mrs. Keto and she did get right on it. Thank you to our new followers who liked us on Facebook. The winner is Jennifer Elliott Osborne. Jennifer won a black walnut meat and cheese serving board.


What’s next for Rae and Rose? We will continue to blog about our adventures in rustic and refined home décor. At dinner last night, we discussed signing up for a spring show. Stay tuned….

Thanksgiving Table Setting


Assorted colors of Longaberger dishes waiting for napkins

Reality hit me this past weekend that I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner in two weeks. Most people would be worrying about what to serve on the menu, but that part is a breeze for me. Thanksgiving dinner always consists of turkey, homemade egg noodles, the best green bean casserolepumpkin pie squares, mashed potatoes, and a dressing recipe that is yet to be determined (the green beans and pumpkin pie square recipes are from my Grandma- I highly recommend them).  Equally important as the food is the table setting. 

Double wedding ring quilted table runner

This summer, my mother-in-law quilted a neutral-colored double wedding ring table runner with matching placements. The neutral color is a perfect compliment to my bold Longaberger dishes. The runner has been the centerpiece of the dining room table all fall, so it only seems appropriate to keep it on the table for Thanksgiving (especially since my mother-in-law will be visiting).  I’m making progress.

Acorns from Hot Skwash by Daria

Table runners are a lovely addition to a table, but that single item alone does not dress a table. While in Sedona over the weekend, I saw acorns from Hot Skywash by Daria. The “silk-velvet acorns topped with real acorn caps” are the cutest little things. The matching pumpkins were like nothing I had ever seen before. I blame my sister for her “oohhhing” and “aahhhing” because I felt compelled to purchase 5 little acorns to adorn a little dish on my dining room table. If only I could have justified a pumpkin purchase. 

The table setting will be charming and the meal will be fantastic. I should probably go purchase that turkey. 

1 Chronicles 16:34 “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”