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.


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!

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

Prepping for Our First Craft Show

Craft Show, DIY

The official countdown has begun for Rae and Rose’s craft fair debut. November 21st is right around the corner. I’m more and more nervous as the day draws near. I’ve been researching “preparing a craft show booth” to make sure I am fully prepared.

Bi-fold closet doors to define the booth space

Display: I purchased bi-fold closet doors from Habitat Restore to define our booth space. The doors have been painted cream and include the R&R logo. The back “wall” of the booth will have fabric in between the doors. I am excited about the atmosphere created by the contrast of straight lined doors against the flowing fabric.

Set-Up: Our entire inventory will attend the show. I intend to stack and display smaller items on top of larger items to 1) allow for more floor space and 2) draw the eyes up. To protect finished surfaces and to make the space more visually appealing, I have purchased remnant scraps of fabric to use as table runners and drapes.

Small portable cart for our “register”. Stain will be applied to the base and black chalkboard paint to the top.

Point of Sale: Our Square credit card reader has arrived and I have already uploaded our inventory list. The inventory tracker is sweet- I can use it for cash and credit sales and it is programmed to calculate the local sales tax (yup- Rae and Rose went legit). Etsy seller Fullofcraft advises craft fair vendors wear a fanny pack instead of using cash box that someone can easily steal. Smart. We have a small stand to represent our “register”. Added bonus- the portable stand includes a bottom shelf that can store packaging materials (I should probably acquire said packaging materials)

Am I ready? Only time will tell. This craft fair will be a learning experience and learning is good for the mind.

My assigned reading:

What to Bring to a Craft Fair written by The “Craft Fairs… It’s a Living” Etsy team

Craft Show Series by Silhouette School

Craft Fair Tips From a First-Timer by Jenny Bartoy

Washing the Washing Machine

Cleaning, DIY

A co-worker is having a new washing machine delivered tomorrow and she bragged about the self-cleaning feature. I was perplexed. Umm, why does a washing machine need to be washed? She was kind enough to inform me that I should be cleaning my washing machine a few times a year. What?!? How did I not know this?

I was in denial. I even googled washing machine manufacturer instructions to see if it was true. (Yes, I thought the cleaning of a washing machine was a conspiracy by the fine folks at Tide to get more money out of me.) LG recommends cleaning a wash tub monthly. Monthly! I’ve been using this washing machine for 1 ½ years and I haven’t washed it. I felt dirty.

Why you need to wash your washing machine according to

“Why” to clean your washing machine according to

Okay, I need to clean it, but why? DIY did a fantastic job of explaining the why. The site goes a step further and provides simple, easy to follow instructions for a natural cleaner using vinegar and baking soda. I don’t have time for that. I need it to be clean now! Target to the rescue; I purchased Tide Washing Machine Cleaner (Amazon Prime has it for less).

After a normal cycle with hot water and the Tide pouch, my washing machine is finally clean. The final instruction is to leave the washing machine door/lid open after each use. Whew, at least I already do that.

Oh yeah, according to Bob Vila, the dishwasher needs to be cleaned monthly too. Crap.

Custom-Made Plaid Lampshades

DIY, Fabric, Lamp
Self-adhesive lampshade

Self-adhesive lampshade

Plaid is back in style and I love it! Plaid is making a resurgence on the fashion scene and if you’ve walked into Target recently, you’ve also noticed that plaid is in style for home décor. I had some lamp bases in need of new shades and I knew that a plaid lampshade was the way to go.

Step 1- Use provided stencil to cut fabric

Step 1- Use provided stencil to cut fabric

The plaid lampshades I found online from various retailers were pricey. I knew I would be much better off creating my own. I purchased self-adhesive lampshades at Hobby Lobby. The same lampshades are available on Amazon, but are much more expensive. When I told Fanny that I wanted to make plaid lampshades, she thought I was crazy, but provided her blessing only if I purchased flannel fabric.

Step 3- Remove adhesive layer

Step 3- Remove adhesive layer

  1. Remove paper stencil from lampshade and place over 1/3 yard fabric.
  2. Cut fabric leaving one inch extra around the edge (for rounding over lampshade).
  3. Remove adhesive layer from lampshade and stick fabric to the lampshade.
  4. Step 4- Glue the fabric on the inside of the lampshade

    Step 4- Glue the fabric on the inside of the lampshade

    Apply a layer of hot glue on the inside top rim of the shade to adhere the fabric. Repeat at the bottom on the lampshade.

  5. Ribbon can be used to hide the edge of the fabric on the inside of the lampshade.

    Step 5- Ribbon to cover cut edge of fabric

    Step 5- Ribbon to cover cut edge of fabric

The process of creating a custom lampshade was easy (I did have Fanny’s help) and the result is truly spectacular. The final lampshades look better on the bases than I could have imagined. Now I’m dreaming of camel check Burberry plaid lampshade.

Classic red flannel mini lamp

Classic red flannel mini lamp

Pottery Barn Gold Hack

DIY, Pottery Barn, Silhouette
Pottery Barn Gold Feather Art

Pottery Barn Gold Feather Art

Growing up, I loved checking the mailbox. I couldn’t wait to see if a new issue of Highlights magazine arrived or if my grandma had sent me a letter. Rae and Rose now take turns checking the mailbox and I still have child-like excitement looking for “my” magazines to arrive: Southern Living and the Pottery Barn catalog. I think most items in the Pottery Barn catalog are over-priced, but I enjoy perusing for style inspiration.

Oh, I wish the metallic finish would have sparkled in the picture

Oh, I wish the metallic finish would have sparkled in the picture

I was recently looking at and saw some wall art that I thought was beautiful, but I almost fell over when I saw the price. The Gold Leaf Bird is a 23″ square giclee print with hand-applied gold leaf with a selling pricing of $299. Ouch. I also liked the look of the Gold Leaf Feather that is 19.5″ x 34.5″, similarly a giclee print with hand-applied gold leaf. The Gold Leaf Feather retails for $399. Double ouch.  I decided it was time for a Pottery Barn hack.

  1. Order black floating frames using Amazon prime. I selected a 12×12 for the bird and 11×14 for the feather.
  2. Use the Silhouette to cut birds on a limb and a feather on gold metallic vinyl by Expression Vinyl
  3. Cut white paper to be the background of each print. For my gold bird, I cut the paper as a 10×10 square to allow the floating frame to show through. I cut the second piece of paper as 11×14 to fill the frame of the feather.
  4. Apply the shiny gold vinyl stickers directly to the white paper. Place it in the frame.
  5. Sit back in satisfaction about how much money I just saved.
Pottery Barn Inspiration and my creation

Pottery Barn Inspiration and my creation

Yes, my prints are smaller than the original Pottery Barn inspiration, but for the price I can handle the slightly smaller size. I can’t wait to see what inspiration I find in the next catalog!

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet” Aristotle

Art, DIY, Paint

For months I’ve been collecting mirrors at thrift stores. I knew I wanted to use stencils and paint the mirrors, but I didn’t have a vision for the exact design. I finally decided this weekend to start painting mirrors with a winter theme.

Stencil applied- ready to paint

Stencil applied- ready to paint

I created stencils of deer, Christmas lights, poinsettias, and “be merry”. I applied the vinyl stencils to the mirrors and Rose and I began painting with acrylic paint. This is where things started to go wrong; when applying paint to stencils on wood or canvas, I have had success letting the paint dry prior to removing the stencil. When the paint dried on the mirror and I removed the stencil, the paint came right off with the vinyl.

One coat of "frost effect" dabbed on the stencil

One coat of “frost effect” dabbed on the stencil

I was terribly frustrated with the results, but I was not giving up. The next day, Rose and I purchased Martha Stewart’s Frost Etching Effect. The frost etching can be combined with acrylic paint to create a custom colored frosted look. Surely, this would be the ticket. I dabbed away and was feeling optimistic. Once again, I waited for the paint to dry before removing the stencil and the paint came off again. Uggghhhhh. I was starting to wonder if this project was even a good idea because my mess was easily cleaned up with Windex.

Oh no! I let the paint dry before removing the stencil. I'm missing part of the "b" and "e".

Oh no! I let the paint dry before removing the stencil. I’m missing part of the “b” and “e”.

In hindsight, I should have taken the time to read the Frost Etching Effect instructions online as step one. The instructions very clearly indicate that I needed to remove my stencil while the paint was still wet. Duh. That makes sense. The instructions also indicate that the paint will cure in 21 days (i.e. the mirror can be cleaned with Windex and the paint won’t come off).

My 2nd attempt at a painted deer on a mirror.

My 2nd attempt at a painted deer on a mirror. The 3rd time will be a charm.

I am not giving up. I know that I can paint the perfect Holiday mirror. I will do it. And while I’m at it, I’m going to double down and try glass etching with Armour Etch too.

Mom said I’m becoming more like Dad everyday. He doesn’t read directions either. (Note: Mother added this comment when editing and didn’t think I would  notice her commentary.)

Stayed tuned.

10 Ways to Decorate a Pumpkin without Carving

DIY, Holiday, Paint, Pinterest

It is now pumpkin season! See that, it’s October 1st. October is pumpkin season. My family will soon be decorating our pumpkins.

Here is my list from the Interwebs of the best ways decorate your pumpkins this October (without carving):

  1. Glittered pumpkins by HGTV

    Glittered pumpkins by HGTV

    Glittered Pumpkins- If you have little girls, you already have glitter all over your house. Why not add some to your pumpkins? A girl can never have too much glitter.

  2. Duck Tape– Seriously? Is there anything that can’t be done with Duck Tape?
  3. Monogramed Pumpkin– Classy. I love it.
  4. Pumpkin by crafty

    Melted Crayon Pumpkin by

    Melted Crayons– I think melted crayons on canvas are so beautiful (I’m a simple girl at heart); melted crayons on a pumpkin…even cooler!

  5. Decoupage– I was sold as soon as I saw Mod Podge as a required material.
  6. Gold! – Oh yeah. How can you go wrong with a gold pumpkin? This would be gorgeous on a table top with assorted shapes and sizes of those silly little decorative gourds.
  7. Pumpkin by unoriginal

    Glitter Monogram Pumpkin by unoriginal

    Glitter and a Monogram– I think I’m in love.

  8. Chalk Paint Pumpkins– These pumpkins exude rustic elegance.
  9. Boo-tiful Button Pumpkin – I am in awe of the creativity that some people possess. Buttons glued on a pumpkin to spell “Boo”. Genius.
  10. Choose your own adventure. Follow these simple steps to prep your pumpkin prior to painting. Our family followed these steps last year and had a blast. We painted the pumpkins white and black for a the base and used assorted metallic tones for details. I tied burlap and glitter ribbons on half of the pumpkins for a little extra pizazz.

So many amazing options! I can’t decide which one to choose this year.

Chalk Paint Pumpkins by

Chalk Paint Pumpkins by

Pumpkin by

Monogram Pumpkin by

Pumpkin by

Button-Boo Pumpkin by

Meet Rae and Rose

Black Walnut, DIY, Facelift, Woodworking

Rae and Rose was simply a dream years ago, but I am so pleased that it is now a reality. Friends continually commented on my unique decorating design (or maybe that was a nice way of saying it was odd?)  and asked “how did you do that”. I decided to blog about my adventures in creating “rustic and refined” home décor. Some projects are created for my home and some projects are created to help spread  “rustic and refined” style to others.

The cast of characters:

Mrs. Rae & Rose: I am the primary blog author, project creator, and photographer. My philosophy when selecting décor for the house is “if you like, go with it”. Favorite project to-date: The paisley stenciled coffee and end table. Designing and applying the paisley stencil was a labor of love, but the outcome was breathtaking.

Childhood red toy barn- perfect to showcase grown-up toys

Childhood red toy barn- perfect to showcase grown-up toys

Mr. R&R: My husband doesn’t know boo about a hot glue gun, but then again I don’t understand how a kreg-jig works. He takes pride in his beautiful woodworking creations. He is meticulous when sanding projects- they are always so smooth! His support of R&R shines through when goes to garage sales to find me potential projects. Favorite project to-date: Rustic Man Basement because it showcases his red toy barn.

Rae: I have a teenager! Rae is skilled with the Silhouette and offers support when I get stumped. She is my photo-assistant when it is time to stage photos (she automatically opens the blinds for natural light). Favorite project to-date: Bench for wedding guests to sign

New dressing stool

New dressing stool

Rose: My sweet little girl provides constructive feedback and project ideas. I am constantly amazed by her creativity. She saw a cabinet door resting on a wood stump and said “Mom, you should attach them and make a table”. Umm, yes. Yes, I should. Favorite project to-date: Reupholstered stool. The stool lives in my closet because she begged me not to sell it.

Mrs. Keto: This guest blogger is my crafter in crime. We share a private Pinterest board to secretly share our crafting ideas. Mrs. Keto’s best words of wisdom “there are no crafting mistakes, simply opportunities to improvise”.

Bearded Barry: I have the best little brother. He provides me honest feedback and fills in as a guest blogger.

Black and white refinished tables

Black and white refinished tables

Fanny: My best friend doesn’t craft, but she supports me 100%. My life goal is to make her a crafter. She is my cheerleader. Favorite project to-date: Black and white coffee and end tables

Goodie: A great friend is a great listener and Goodie listens to my random thoughts about every project before I create it. Favorite project to-date: Painted milk cans because “favorite because it was the first project… and look how much you’ve learned since then.” Aww, that is why I love her.

Black walnut sofa table

Black walnut sofa table

Polly Lolly: Much like Fanny, Polly Lolly is afraid to craft but she knows her way around Pinterest. Her style is exquisite and I look forward to receiving pins from her. Favorite project to-date: Black walnut sofa table

Blog Editor: My mom works hard to make me look good. She proofreads all of my blog entries (she even reads Mrs. Keto’s posts). I couldn’t do this without her love and support. Favorite project to-date: Childrens dressers: Yoda quote and lace stenciled.

What is your favorite project? Comment and let me know.