My Favorite Things- Gift Edition

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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.
    naps

    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

    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.

    r2d2

    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!

My Life as a Mom

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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.

DIY Ornament Wreath

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$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.

Materials:

  • 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

 

Steps:

  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!

Let it Snow!

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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!

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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.

Snowflake

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

Black Walnut Shotski

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Shotski in the making

Shotski in the making

You may be asking “what is a shotski?” I know I did when Mr. R&R first presented me with the idea of making a shotski. The true origin of the shotski is widely debated on Al Gore’s internet, but the item is as simple as the name suggests: a ski with shot glasses mounted atop. I have old wooden skis that I use as front porch decorations in the winter, (of course I do) but Mr. R&R had no intention of using my skis. He wanted to make shotskis using long narrow pieces of black walnut.

Mr. R&R did not hesitate in selecting the shotski boards. He wanted narrow boards with live edges all around. The boards that I originally said looked like bacon due to color and curves ended up being the perfect shotskis.

The black walnut went through the planer to create a smooth level surface on both sides. It was at this point that Mr. R&R fully realized that wood that has been sitting in a barn for 25 years will still have tiny dirt particles that need to be scrubbed off with a wire brush to prevent ruining the wood and the planer blade. The wood was then sanded for a silky smooth finish. Mr R&R claims that sanding is his least favorite part of woodworking, but the results are worth it. The grain comes to life.

Shotski ready to party

Shotski ready to party

The next step was to create a notch to fit the shot glasses. A hole saw drill bit was used to create 4 notches, 20 inches apart (18-20” spacing is the norm to allow shoulder room for the drinkers). The holes do not go all the way through the board, but just enough to create a lip to hold a glass. Both of these black walnut shotskis were designed to the specifications of the new owner; one requested that the glasses be glued into the notches and the other wanted Velcro. No matter your cleaning preference for the shotskis, chances are high that liquid will touch the shotski. To prevent damage, Mr. R&R added multiple layers of poly to the black walnut before adhering the glasses.

Shotski close-up

Shotski close-up

I am biased and think that the black walnut shotski is the most beautiful shotski I have even seen. It’s fun to use too!

Rustic and Refined Love

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Do you follow West End Salvage on Facebook? Have you been to the West End Architectural Salvage & Coffee Shop in Des Moines? Have you watched “West End Salvage” on the DIY channel? If not, finish reading this post and then do all of those things. The guys in the shop are as nice as can be. Rae was mesmerized by seeing a TV star and was granted permission to tour the work shop. We had to drag her out of the store. She was trying to move in.

Letters framed above the bed-- with a heart!

Letters framed above the bed– with a heart!

Mr. R&R visited the store before Valentine’s Day and surprised me with scrap metal letters from West End Salvage. Love them! I had a visual in my mind of the letters hanging above our bed, but I wanted to add a little more definition.  Mr. R&R built me frames to surround each letter. My frame is a feminine egg shell design trim and he chose a more masculine clean lined trim to build his frame. He made simple work of cutting the trim with his miter saw (I’m terrified to touch it). He then stained the frames to match, per my request. I love the clean lines of the frame around the rustic letters.

The highlight of my “love letters” gift is that we hung the letters and frames together. Mr. R&R trusted me to use the hammer and the level. That is true love.

Spring is in the air

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This last week produced plenty of April showers to help with the May flowers. I’m impatient and to went to Lowe’s to buy flowers, in April. I’m a rebel. What’s the over/under on how quickly I kill them?

Spring porch decorations

Spring porch decorations

I love the ease of flowers in hanging baskets, but I wanted to create a larger focal point by the front door. I removed the hanger and placed two baskets in a rustic weathered wooden box. For height, I placed an antique hand cultivator/tiller in the corner (I’m not even sure how it is used). The milk can was a recent addition from Mr. Rae and Rose’s trip to the farm. (I have some ideas to decorate the milk can that I’ll share in future posts).

The pressure is on now to come up with a new decoration for summer (I like to be prepared). I’m open to suggestions.

Happy Spring. Time to go mow.