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Archive for February, 2013

Yesterday’s weather was B-E-A-utiful! My family spent an EXQUISITE morning outside full of sledding, snowball fights, fort building and more!!!

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It was the perfect way to kick off this week.  A week we, as a family, are spending electronic free!  Yes, that’s right, no electronics at all!  I know, it seems almost impossible in this day and age, but we’re doing it.  Our kids were so desperate for electronics yesterday that they were making snow or ice cell phones, kindles, and tv’s…haha:-)

My husband and I have done this in the past but due to how often we were seeing our little brood glued to their Leapster Explorers, DSi’s, Playsation’s, Kindle’s, phones, television, you name it, we decided to make it a family affair.  For one week this family will be free of all electronics except our cell phones, but only for phone calls (we dont’ have a land line)…we aren’t even texting…gasp! (And for you literal people who think as my husband and a few of my close friends do, this only includes gaming/media type devices, we will still have electricity.  I had to throw that in their for a few of my friends…yes, I know how you think;-))

We are going to spend this week the old fashioned way…playing board games or cards with each other, reading books, playing outdoors, etc.  It was really fun to see our kids spending time with each other in a different way than usual.  Instead of playing a game on the Playstation together they played board games or four corners or used their imaginations as they played charades!  I normally have to force them to do this.   I’m really looking forward to what other ways we’ll spend this week together!

My family tried to take my camera away from me, to which I gave a great big, “NO WAY!”  Yes, I know it’s basically an electronic but it doesn’t count.  Too many EXQUISITE moments could be lost in this week where my kids are forced to play with each other or actually use their imaginations!

Also, I’m kind of breaking the “no electronics” rule right now by being on here.   Yes, sadly I will be gone for a week:-(  I wont even be on for WIWW, nor doing my “Exquisite Moments Of The Day” on FB.  But I’ll be back next Monday and I’ll fill you in on my favorite EXQUISITE moments from this week!  Until then…

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c2542caa2b2831ad259d81eed223cd45It’s the second week of WIWW…so it’s lasting longer than when I last tried it out!

I also captured all 7 days of outfits!  This is probably a rarity so enjoy!

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I wore this dress for our annual candle lit Valentine’s dinner.  There isn’t a lot to get dressed up for in our small north western Wisconsin town so this is only the second time I’ve worn this dress since wearing it to my cousin’s wedding last spring.  

Dress – Modcloth

Jacket – Maurices

Heels – JCPenny’s

Bracelet – Claire’s

Necklace – Urban Peach Boutique

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Red & Pink for Valentine’s Day!  And that bottom picture isn’t just to show my shoes, it’s to show you that I’m willing to sacrifice comfort for style.  It’s a good thing my feet are willing to take one for the team so that I can wear heels even in the snow! 

Blazer – Charlotte Russe

Blouse & Jeans – JCPenny’s

Necklace – C/O Old Navy, Eau Claire, WI

Earrings – Maurices

Heels – Gift

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Comfy Friday at home!  The bottom picture is to show you the inside of my heeled loafers.  That cute chevron may be a big part of why I bought these shoes…and no one sees it but me.  Until now!

Cardigan, Shoes & Jeans, Necklace, Bracelet – Maurices

Striped Shirt – C/O Old Navy, Eau Claire, WI

Earrings – Claire’s

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I wore this outfit for coffee with a friend Saturday morning and then modified it a bit for my cousin’s 18th birthday party that evening…

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I switched the scarf for a waterfall necklace, swapped out my owl earrings for some blue bead earrings, the boots for heels and tucked in my shirt to style the same outfit two different ways!

Blazer & Infinity Scarf – Maurices

Plaid Shirt – JCPenny’s

Skinnies – C/O Old Navy, Eau Claire, WI

Boots – Charlotte Russe

Faith, Hope, Love bracelet & Owl Earrings – Francesca’s

Teal bead bracelets & Blue bead earrings – Claire’s

Owl Belt – Gift

Waterfall Necklace – Urban Peach Boutique

Heels – Gift

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What?!  You can’t wear polka dots with stripes?!  Well, call me a rebel then because the polka dot/stripes combo happens to be my favorite combination!  

Blazer & Shirt – Maurices

Jeans – JCPenny’s

Shoes – The Children’s Place

Necklace – Urban Peach Boutique

Earrings & Bangles – Charlotte Russe

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Monday was a gray day and I was in need of some color so layered up to brighten up my day!

Sweater, Jeans & Boots – Maurices

Tank & Scarf – Old Navy

Cardigan & Earrings – Francesca’s

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Shades of coral and neutrals…and, yes, this is the same cardi shown above from Friday.  Don’t judge I’m sure you’ve worn the same clothing item more than once over a 7 day period:-)

Cardigan, Jeans and Shoes – Maurices

Sweater – Francesca’s

Necklace (similar) & Earrings – Forever 21

Thanks for stopping by!

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*All clothing items are listed with where I got them from, with links to the items that can still be found online.  If  the item wasn’t found, sorry no link.  When you see the word similar it means I found something very close to it from the same store and you can click on “similar” to link you to the item.  If you have any questions, please feel free to ask:-)

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I love photography!  LOVE IT!  It’s a field I’ve considered going into since I was in high school and think maybe someday I’ll  become a professional but for now I just take pictures of my family!  I wanted to share my daughter’s 3rd year pictures I took last week, then thought I should share all of my kids most recent birthday pictures.  These aren’t pictures of their parties they are the pictures commemorating them turning another year older!  

Each year in their pictures I try to capture who they are, what things they are currently into and what they enjoy. I let them have a say in their outfit, though I also help to make sure it’s something I’d like them photographed in, and I let them help choose what props they might like to use in their pictures.  I want their birthday pictures to truly capture who they are!

It was really hard to do but I narrowed it down to just 5 of each of them!  

Gabrielle, my artistic 10 year old who loves reading, animal prints and having fun!

(She actually turns 11 in March so I’m going to have to do these again soon. Though I’ll probably wait ’til spring.)

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My sweet, girly, Miranda who loves to dress up, sing and dance, just turned 8 in November!

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My reptilian, amphibian loving little 5 year old being him silly self!  Pierce had to make sure his frog was in some photos too!

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The baby of our family, Elizabeth, was the most recent to be photographed!  She and her best friend, Bear-Bear, whom she received the day of her birth, just celebrated there 3rd birthday!

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This is what makes my life EXQUISITE, these four little cuties and, of course, my hubby!

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I feel so very blessed to have this family and a great camera (and it’s tripod friend) to capture life’s EXQUISITE moments!!!

P1200009My goal is to have a monthly post, that shows off some of that months favorite pictures!  I’m even thinking of creating a photography inlinkz party, so that some of you can show off your love of photography and share your EXQUISITE moments too!  I just have to figure out how to set up inlinkz…

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In this post I mentioned that this is the first year I’ve decorated for Valentine’s Day, but that isn’t entirely true.  I have done a bit of Valentine’s decorating for a tradition that’s now eleven years in the running…

When our youngest daughter was born, we found it wasn’t exactly easy going out on a romantic date on Valentine’s night.  So our first Valentine’s Day as parents I set to work making a nice dinner for the two of us to enjoy in our home and set the table for a candle light dinner.  From that day on it has been a family tradition to stay at home and have a fancy, candle lit Valentine’s dinner!

This year is no different from any other year, besides that we celebrated Valentine’s Day a day early.  My daughter has jazz dance tonight so we wouldn’t have time to fit in a nice meal, thus we opted to have our dinner a night early.  Which means…I spent yesterday baking, cooking and decorating.

I set my table with a runner I made from an old antique quilt and, like every year, I put a beautiful bouquet of Valentine’s flowers right in the center!  My kids always get to choose a rose from our bouquet after dinner, to keep in their room in a small vase.
P1240004On the table runner, is also a few candle sticks in red, at the base of the vase is one of my chunky feux pearl necklaces set about with pink christmas balls, one of my girls pink flower hair clips and my burlap “love” hearts.  Feux red rose petals are scattered randomly on top of the runner.

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Close up of the bouquet and arrangement at it’s base.

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This was my first attempt at tissue paper pom poms and I’ll admit there is definitely room for improvement, but my kids loved them!

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Every family member, from the tall to the small, gets to use our nice dinner wear, complete with a wine glass of their own.  Usually my youngest three kiddos use plastic kids plates and cups, but on this special night they get to use our nice dinner wear.

P1240009I had to get an evening shot right before we ate so you could get a better feel of the ambiance.  Candle light dinner’s really are beautiful!  I really need to do this more frequently than once a year.

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Not only do we set the table with our finest but we take the opportunity to dress up also.  Yes, we’re just in our home but it’s fun to dress up even for an evening in.   Here’s my youngest girlie and I just before dinner…

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All my kiddos waiting patiently as I capture this exquisite moment.

I love that when I told my kids to go pick out the clothes they want to dress up in for our dinner my son came down stairs dressed as the hulk!!!  He even had the mask on but of course had to take it off to eat:-)  So here is the Hulk and three pretty princesses!

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Our main course was a penne pasta bake and garlic bread.  I made a basic garlic bread with mozzarella on it for my kids and my husband and I had this artichoke bread, minus the artichokes. I’m not an artichoke fan.  It was so good and I will definitely make it again.

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Desert was a recipe I found on Pinterest called Raspberry Whip.  However, because raspberries were quite expensive and strawberries were on sale we replaced the raspberries with strawberries.  It was very, very, good!  And I’m looking forward to having some of the leftovers tomorrow:-)

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My kids always enjoy getting to use the little wine glasses, filled with sparkling white grape juice.  My youngest daughter enjoyed toasting and I taught her how to hook arms and drink.  She got quite a kick out of this!

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I also wanted to share this sweet little Valentine our middle daughter gave to us during dinner.  I LOVE that girl so much!

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You see, we have celebrated Valentine’s Day every year, and I do decorate somewhat, but normally it’s only my dinning room table for the one special day of Valentine’s!

So that was last night’s festivities, but I certainly don’t want the actual Valentine’s Day to go by with no festivites. My middle daughter and son will have class parties today, but my oldest daughter is a big middle schooler now and there are no Valentine’s parties when your a big kid…bummer.  And my youngest daughter isn’t in school yet so she has nothing going on to celebrate Valentine’s Day either.

 That’s why I made them all these cute little rolo dynamite sticks that say “You’re The Bomb!”.   I found this idea on Pinterest.

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 I put the dynamite rolos in the little Valentine’s Bin that Elizabeth made for them and they found them when enjoying their breakfast of red heart shaped pancakes, with strawberries, cool whip and chocolate syrup!

Normally my kids help make their lunches but sometimes I like to do something special for them so give them a day off and make it for them.   Today they have a special Valentine lunch of…

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…heart shaped PB&J’s, strawberry fruit roll-ups, strawberry yogurt, a chocolate peanut butter M&M cookie and a CapriSun that has a little Valentine note on it that reads, “Valentine, You Are My Sunshine!!!”  They have no idea what’s in their lunch boxes and I’m hoping they will be delightfully surprised when they open it today!

(This was not a Pinterest idea, it was all my own!  I was creative before Pinterest and still can be:-))

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With That I wish you a…

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As I mentioned last week I’m going to try to move away from individual outfit posts and post only once a week under “What I Wore Wednesday” (WIWW).  My blog is called “Life Exquisite” because I want to capture the exquisite moments of mine and my families lives and share them with you.  Be it crafting by myself or with the kids, things my family is doing for fun, showing off my photographer side (Which is quite amateur I assure you, but fun all the same!) or old favorite recipes and new ones too!

I love fashion!  It is definitely exquisite to me, but it wasn’t the reason I started this blog.  The reason was to “Capture Life One Exquisite Moment At A Time” and posting an outfit every Tuesday and Thursday has made it difficult for me to post more of what I really want.  So I’m giving WIWW a go again!

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I love mixing prints!  This is the first time I’ve ever worn this combo together but it wont be the last!  And don’t you just love these bright red plaid shoes?!

Plaid Shirt – old JCPenney

Striped Tee – Maurices

 Jeggings Similar – Maurices

Flats – C/O Old Navy, Eau Claire, WI

Band and Bracelet – Gifts

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This is my happy gray!  I’m wearing 5 different items of gray, 7 if you count the silver/gray sparkles in my cowl and the gray makeup I wore this day!  I’ve had this sweatshirt since last summer (Scored it for $9 from Maurices!!!) and made myself wait to wear it until this fall.  Although I’ve worn it several times I think it’s making its debut appearance on LE.  It’s also the first time I’ve worn my hair curly in a long time.  I usually just let it air dry into waves but I’ve been trying out new products (my favorite one was discontinued:-() and actually liked my hair curly this day!

Sweatshirt – Maurices

Cami – Maurices

Jeans – Maurices

Bangle – Target

Cowl – Maurices

Boots – Maurices

Nail Polish – Revlon, Silver Sheen

Hmm…do you think maybe I tend to shop at Maurices too much? 😉

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Playing with my editing program:-)

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These pictures lead to a little confession…This has been one of my favorite sweaters since I received it Christmas morning from my parents my senior year of high school!  It’s timeless though, right?  Well, I think so.  It’s thick, warm and cozy and an old friend of mine:-)

Sweater – Gift 

Leggings – JCPenney

Boots – old, JCPenney

Hat & Mittens – old, Herbergers

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I just got this sweater on Sunday at Francesca’s and am already in love with it.  It’s joined my gray one featured in this post as a favorite pull on sweater!  Like my gray one it’s super warm and cozy!

I also love this new wrap bracelet (I also got this from Francesca’s on Sunday.)! There was another one in a bright red that I also wanted that said “Change your thoughts, change your world”.  (LOVE that saying so much!) but it wasn’t in a neutral tone so I went with this one.

Look at that cute little girly!  Love it when she poses with me!  She even put on some lipstick for the occasion!

(I thought there’d be a link for the sweater and wrap bracelet since they are new but they’re not on the Francesca’s website anymore, sorry.)

Sweater – Francesca’s

Tee – Maurices

Jeggings Similar – Maurices 

Boots – Charlotte Russe

Necklace & Earrings – Maurices

Wrap Bracelet – Francesca’s

This is what my fashion posts will look like from now on.  Much more simple because I don’t feel like I have to edit them.  Plus it is so nice using my phone for photos since I’m not as concerned about them looking professionally done.  I’ll be linking up each week with…

What I Wore Wednesday @ 

*All clothing items are listed with where I got them from, with links to the items that can still be found online.  If  the item wasn’t found, sorry no link.  When you see the word similar it means I found something very close to it from the same store and you can click on “similar” to link you to the item.  If you have any questions, please feel free to ask:-)

 

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I’ve been wanting to do this craft with my youngest daughter since I saw it on Pinterest. So simple but so cute! Plus kids just love any craft involving paint!

With her sister and brother making Valentine boxes for school…

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She has been wanting to make one also. So I thought why not turn the Pinterest art into one?! Thus this was pinspired (photo tutorial to follow:-))…

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1. Protect your child’s workspace if you don’t want any paint splatters on the surface being used. I taped down an unused trash bag.
2. Gather assorted paints, something to pour them on to (I used an ice cream container lid.), enough toilet paper cardboard for each color paint (be sure to shape them into hearts) and paper (we used card stock). Pour all the paints onto your lid and place a TP cardboard in each paint color.
3. Allow your child to be creative and have fun as they stamp away!
4. My daughter also used some clear glittery and pink puff paint that I had on hand. She loved squeezing this onto the paper!
5. When your little Picaso is done allow them to dry completely.
6. When they are thoroughly dry fold the card stock in half.
7. Let your child help you punch holes along the side of their folded artwork.
8. Teach them how to sew as they string yarn through the holes! Be sure to tie off each end. Also make sure you leave enough extra yarn on each side to tie it to the back of a chair, as we did, or wherever your child’s lite heart desires:-)
9. Your preschoolers bin is ready for some Valentine’s treats and some love notes from Dad, mom and siblings! Feel free to embellish with a big bow like we did, or whatever else you can think of.

My 3 year old truly had a blast as we worked on this together. She enjoyed the stamping part so much that each member of our family has a Valentine’s bin tied to the back of our dinning room chairs! I’m going to encourage our kids to leave little notes for each other, that say why they love them. I also plan on doing this and am excited for when they discover the notes I’ve already left in their bins!

*My apologies to you who viewed this post right after it was posted.  It’s my first job posting to my blog from iphone and there were a few hiccups to work out.  Hopefully it wont happen again:-)  

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Valentine’s Day is on Thursday and since my oldest daughter has been asking me the last couple of years to decorate for it, I made a last minute decision last week to do some Valentine’s crafts!

Yes, this is the first time I’ve ever decorated for the Valentine’s holiday.  It’s not that I don’t like Valentine’s, we celebrate it every year with a fancy candle lit dinner and fun family time at home.  I just never thought all that bright red and pink fit into my county, primitive decor.  But I found some ways to make it work and make my daughter happy!

One of the reasons I don’t decorate for Valentine’s is because I don’t want to spend money on a bunch of decorations that don’t really go with the country/primitive decor of my home, so I set to work finding things around my house I could use to grunge up and sort of fit in with the rest of my home.  (Sort of, I’m not much of a pink girl, when it comes to my living spaces, which may be another reason I’ve never decorated for Valentine’s Day before.)  The only thing I bought was the M&M’s to fill two of the candle jars on our mantel Lucky for me I already had the gum balls and red hots!.

My mantle is rarely without an old window, I have 4 of them that I circulate and redecorate for the current season.  I came up with the idea of putting the word “Love” in my four pained window and my oldest daughter asked if she could make it

P1230558It was really hard on my OCDness to not offer any advice, because I knew her artsy side wanted to just create on its own so I fought off the urge to suggest how to do it and let her work on it.  She did a pretty good job, didn’t she?!

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My youngest daughter helped me make the jars.  Basically she filled them with the candy while I set to work on decorating the outside of the jars.  But it was a great job for her because it worked with her on her colors while she had to sort through multi colored gum balls for only the pink, white and reds!

I set the jars amidst and on old books, one being a Jane Austin (Romance at its best!) and a very old family bible (The ultimate LOVE story!) with red beads draping without.  Although the bible is typically on my mantel, using books to set the jars on was inspired by this Pleated Poppy post.

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I decorated the jars with scrapbook tags and paper, buttons I had around from past projects.  The first jar holds red, white and pink gum balls and a scrapbook tag with hearts and a big button, tied with jute rope.  The second jar holds red hots and a newspaper flower, with a tiny pink button center that is glued in the center of a pink ribbon bow.  The third jar is filled with Valentine’s M&M’s and wrapped in a cream crocheted band with jute rope flowers that have pink button centers.

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I had just enough of this script fabric (purchased from The Scarlet Poppe a couple of years ago) left over in my fabric scraps to make these romantic hearts.  I wrote the word “Love” on the largest heart with red and pink magic markers then coffee stained all of them, along with some torn strips of scrap pink fabric I had, before filling them with batting and sewing them shut.  I then wrote on the stained pink strips with a black magic marker the words “Be Mine”, “I♥U” and “XOX” on the three smaller hearts and pinned the strips on with rusted safety pins.

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I felt the need to give credit where credit was due and add a couple of pictures of my daughter working on the window.  She even let her little sister help a bit and they had a lot of fun together!

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I also made a few decorations for our dinning room table.  Unfortunately these pictures aren’t the best quality because of the sunshine streaming through my dinning room windows but you’ll get the gist.  Set upon my red woven runner are two bed spring candles and a small primitive white drawer box set with some Valentine fillers.


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I put some red pipberries in the drawer of this primitive box and set the top with an old rusted heart, some cookie cutters and a few burlap “love” hearts I made last week.  As I promised when I posted a picture of these hearts on Facebook last week a tutorial on these will be given at the bottom of this post!

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I was fortunate to find a whole twin size mattress of springs when walking through our woods one day this fall.  I have lots of plans for those springs!!!  So far all I’ve done with them is make these bed spring candles at Christmas time.  Of course I didn’t put them away at Christmas because they can be easily altered for every season or holiday.  For Valentine’s I tied pink ribbon on them and used my Scrabble letters to spell “LOVE” vertically on the middle strand.  I love the game Scrabble so LOVE all the Scrabble crafts and art I see on Pinterest and was super pleased to be able to do one myself!

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I just couldn’t resist adding my sons Valentine’s box we made together last night for him to bring to school today!  I knew he wouldn’t really want something covered in pink and hearts and when I saw this picture on Pinterest…

I was inspired to make this…

My son was THRILLED with his boyish Valentine’s box and was so excited to bring it to school today and show it off!

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And now as promised…

First I pinned a piece of burlap onto a cardboard box.  A pin board would work also, but mine are used for organizing our families schedules, school things, etc, so I used a cardboard box.  Make sure to pull the burlap tight.  If you don’t the burlap will bunch up making it difficult to write on or causing the words you’ll write to look funny and distorted.

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Next I used a black magic marker to write “love” in a few different places on the burlap.  Be sure to space these apart quite a bit so that you don’t cut into the space of each heart.

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After you are done writing on the burlap, remove the pins and take the burlap off the box or pin board.  Set your box/pin board aside, you will not need it again.  Fold a large piece of coffee stained fabric in half and pin this and the burlap together, with your words face up.  (If you don’t know how to coffee stain fabric there is a good tutorial here.)  When I pinned my fabrics together I just put three pins around the three points of the word where I would cut my heart shape from.

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Next I cut different sized hearts around my “love” words.  I didn’t draw a heart on the fabric to follow, I just free handed it, but you can if you are more comfortable with that.

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In these next pictures, close ups of my hands, pay no attention to how badly my nail polish needed to be redone, yikes!

Now unpin your hearts and take the burlap heart and without turning it…

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…simply just place it on the back side of the coffee stained hearts, with the word love facing the backside of the middle heart.

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Pin your three hearts together, with at least three pins, one at each point of the heart.

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Sew a 1/4 inch hem around the outside of your heart…

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…making sure you leave room to turn the heart right side out and for putting batting inside.  You’ll see I left mine pretty small but yet big enough to do this.  The less hand sewing the better!

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Turn your heart right side out by holding the two muslin pieces in one hand and the burlap in the other hand and push the heart through the opening.  This will make sure the word “love” is out.  Be careful to do this correctly so that you don’t end up with the muslin as your two outside pieces and the “love” word on the inside.

noname (6) copyThis is what it will look like when you turned it out correctly…

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Next you will fill your burlap hearts with batting and sew it shut.  Heads up burlap is a bit tricky to hand sew because of how it likes to pull apart.  Last…enjoy your burlap hearts!!!

I hope you enjoyed this post and all of my new Valentine’s decor.  I know my kids certainly are and I’m glad that I finally did this for them!

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