s November 2014 - The Kim Six Fix
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Beautiful Handwritten Notes When Your Handwriting Stinks

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of BIC® for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
Beautiful handwritten notesIt is the season of giving thanks and telling the people around you how much they mean to you.  In the days of texts and emails, there is something extra special about expressing your feelings in a beautiful handwritten note.  BIC Mark-It® markers are a great choice for handwritten notes since they come in 36 beautiful colors, they are acid free and have virtually no odor.

But what do you do if you have terrible handwriting? Your heartfelt declarations may be hard to decipher if your handwriting looks like chicken scratches.  

In this case I wanted to put a little note in my daughters’ lunch boxes, and I wanted them to be as girly and ‘fancy’ as possible, but I don’t have ANY calligraphy skills.. Well, have no fear!  I have a super simple solution.  There is a way to have write with an actual BIC Mark-It® marker and still end with beautiful script text, even if you don’t have the skills!   It is possible!

I knew my die-cutting could cut out beautiful scripts, so why couldn’t it draw them for me?  I would just replace the blade with my BIC Mark-It® marker.

SnoBall Snowman Holiday Tablescape

Use Hostess SnoBalls and HoHos into these darling individual Snowmen. Perfect for your holiday party.
The girls have been off from school for the past week and so we’ve been doing lots of crafts and activities to fill the time.  So when Hostess sent me a box of Hostess SnoBalls and HoHoHos and asked me if I wanted to create a tablescape this year** I knew it would be another great project to work on with the kids.   

We are a Hostess snack cake loving family.. Twinkies, HoHos, DingDongs and Suzy Qs are all really popular in our lunch boxes and as a special treat, so I knew it would be a fun challenge to create a #HostessHoliday. Our holiday meals are NOT formal by any means. We’re a really casual family, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t bring a little whimsey and fun to the table with a SnoBall inspried tablescape.

To make this tablescape even sweeter..it can help you win $1000! You can find more details about that at the bottom of this post.
As soon as we took the SnoBalls out of the box, we immediately knew what theme we needed to use: SNOWMEN! The SnoBalls were the perfect shape for it.  And the HoHoHos were perfect for a top hat.

Brown Paper Bag Place Card and Napkin Holder

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of BIC®. All opinions are 100% mine.
Place card utensil holder
I rarely set a formal table.. and by rarely I mean pretty much never. The one exception is Thanksgiving. I do drag out all the fine china an set a pretty tablescape for that one meal of the year.

Needless to say, I don't have a lot of table decor in my stash, so I have to be creative and think outside the box.  And using what I have on hand often leads to beautiful results. I think this project is a great example of that.

Dollar Store Hurricane Vases with Faux Silverplate Stems

I LOVE decorating for holidays and I am always trying to find vases and candlesticks that can add height and interest to vignettes and mantle arrangements.   I came across these candlesticks during a google search and I thought they would be perfect:
Image Source
I love how they are tall and thin, (perfect for a mantle), they vary in height, and the silver stems anchor them and add interest (instead of a regular hurricane vase which is completely transparent.) 

See? Perfect! Right?


The problem was that (1) they were only available in Europe and (2) they were 68 Euros (or about $90!)  There goes that idea.   Now I was on a mission to knock them off.

First stop? The dollar store where I picked up these two candlesticks and tall vases for $4.

The shape was right, but now I needed to make the stems look like they were silverplate.  Enter metallic spray paint:

A couple coats later and things were looking really promising:

To attach the stems to the vases, I inverted them and used super glue to stick them together.

And once they were dry, they were good to go!

 For a Christmas display I decided to add some cheap plastic ornaments:

 I love how the finish came out:

Not bad for $2 each:

This post was originally shared over on Raising Memories in 2013. 

My Filler Post About Nothing Much Really..

Like today's post title?  Well, I am nothing if not honest. I've been working on a BUNCH of great content, but it just wasn't ready to post this morning, so I thought instead I'd just tell you about a few exciting things that have been happening with me lately.  Consider this like the preview before a movie you've been dying to see.  It may not be why you showed up, but it gets you in the mood for the main attraction.

So what 'exciting' things have I been doing lately? Hmm..

Airstone Stacked Stone Fireplace Update

Thanks for Airstone for sponsoring this post! 
Airstone fireplace makeover
I am so excited to finally share my big fireplace makeover.  It has been half-done for a while now, but today I finally finished it and took some quick photos.  But before I get to the full reveal, I wanted to remind you of the ‘before.’  This is what the fireplace looked like when we bought the house: Living room fireplace before

Silver and Gold Metallic Dollar Store Nutcrackers

Turn dollar store nutcrackers into modern shiny metallic silver and gold faux metal versions.This is one of those posts where you are going to say “Why didn’t I think of that!?!”  It isn’t exactly earth shattering, but it was too cute not to share.

You may not be aware of my slight nutcracker obsession. Every year I take the girls to see the Nutcracker ballet and they each get to pick out a nutcracker. When I get home I write on the Ballet name and the date.. (Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, San Jose Ballet, etc)  This was our collection from 2012.. it is a bit bigger now:

And if a nutcracker collection isn’t enough,  last year I even did a mantel that featured my favorite nutcracker theme “the Land of Sweets”So of course this year I couldn’t pass up the cheap $1 nutcrackers at the dollar store this year: Dollar store nutcrackers

Cut Your Winter Energy Bill By Making Your Home More Efficient

Make your house energy efficient
Now that colder weather is moving in most of us will typically see an increase in home energy usage (and energy bills.)  These increases are typically the result of things like the increased cost of heat (either electric, oil or natural gas), increased electricity usage (with decreasing daylight), and increased water usage (more clothing layers means more laundry!)

So, today I’m partnering with PG&E to share some quick tips on how I make my home more efficient and take some of the sting out of those huge winter energy bills.  I have read a LOT of lists for ways to make my home more efficient, but today I'm going to share with you what I have PERSONALLY done to save money during the winter.  I don't want to recommend something I'm not willing to do myself.

If you need a little motivation to get more efficient, you can win one (of seven) $100 Home Depot Gift Cards by entering the #PEGhome Instagram Photo Challenge on PG&E’s Instagram page (now through November 23rd.)

Blessings Box (Shadow Box Tutorial)

Blessings Box: Write down something you are thankful for every day.  Save them in a shadow box and re-read them at the end of the year.
You know how much I love the Ikea “as-is” section with it’s 50% off cabinet doors and scratch and dent furniture. Well, last time I was there I picked up a couple of shadow boxes for 50% off.  They were scratched, but I knew I could repaint them so they'd be good as new. Scratch and dent ikea frameUnder $5 for a 9x9 shadow box was a pretty good deal.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, but I knew I could come up with something.

Then, tonight a friend of mine posted this on Facebook:

Thanksgiving Mantel: Bringing In the Sheaves

Thanksgiving wheat mantel
Like previous years, I put together a Thanksgiving mantel in addition to my more generic Autumn Harvest version.  After my pallet art didn't work out, I actually had no idea what I was going to do this year until I went to Home Depot after Halloween and they had sheaves of wheat on sale for only 88 cents.  I knew immediately I could do so much with them (and I love the symbolism of harvesting sheaves of wheat at Thanksgiving.)
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
                                                       ~Psalm 126:6
To me that is exactly what Thanksgiving is about.  Be thankful and rejoicing over the abundance of what we have.. as a result of hard work, sacrifice or just blessing.

How to Make a Pallet Wood Sign

Pallet wood sign tutorial
My holiday pallet wood signs have been some of the most popular seasonal posts on the blog and so I thought I would show you a quick tutorial on how I put them together.    Some other examples of signs I’ve used this technique to make include last year’s turkey silhouette (which I featured on my Thanksgiving mantel)

and this illuminated Christmas version (which I also used on my Christmas mantel)

You can see that they can be as refined or as rustic as you make them.  (I personally like them pretty rustic, since that also means the least amount of work for me!)

This year I went BIG and created this giant 3 foot x 4.5 foot sign using the full length of the pallet boards.  It was actually way too large for the mantel so I ended up hanging it on the front walk where I think it looks FANTASTIC.   You really can get the full scale of just how large it is when you compare to the height of the garage door: Thankgiving house sign
My favorite thing about these signs is that my total investment is less than $5.  They would be practically free if I didn’t use stencil materials, but instead free hand painted them.   If I had to buy the lumber to make a sign this large, it would easily be $30-40+ depending on the quality of the boards.
Give Thanks Pallet Art
So how do I get this final product from a grungy old pallet I found behind Costco?  Pile of pallets
It’s is actually a lot simpler than you think.

Thanksgiving Indian Corn from A Starbuck's Bottle

Transform a Starbuck's Iced Coffee Bottle into this adorable Indian Corn craft (perfect for Thanksgiving)  A kid friendly project!

I know some people have jumped whole hog into Christmas, but I am still getting ready for Thanksgiving.  I wanted to do a quick craft with the kids that had to do with Thanksgiving, and after scouring Pinterest I knew I wanted to do something with Indian Corn.    As I was browsing, and sipping on my iced coffee.. inspiration struck.   A STARBUCK’S BOTTLE.

I have been keeping a bunch of empty iced coffee bottles in order to do something similar to the Frappuchino bottles I transformed for Independence day.  Because the shape of these are slightly different, I knew they would work perfectly as an ear of corn.

The other supplies I used for this were green tissue paper, paint (I used spray paint and craft paint, but you could use only craft paint if you wanted kids to do this craft) and some jute twine.
Starbucks bottle thanksgiving craft
This craft can be 100% kid-friendly.  If you prepped all the supplies ahead of time, it would be a great school or scout project since it is easy to get really great results even from young kids.
Thanksgiving kids craft

Rosemary and Sage Herb Crusted Pork Roast (Simon & Garfunkel's Recipe)

Rosemary and Sage Crusted Pork Loin.. Super easy.
I have to laugh, because when I was trying to title this recipe, I couldn’t get the Simon And Garfunkel song** "Scarborough Fair" out of my head. I mean, come on! The ingredient list is the title of their album!
Simon and Garfunkel
And since I’m a dork, I decided just to roll with it.  I think the songwriter was onto something, because that flavor profile is perfect when paired with a pork loin roast.

The recipe is super simple (and a basic modification of Paula Deen’s Herb Crusted Tenderloin).  Baking it for a short period on high heat forms a crust and then reducing the temperature and finishing the pork on low helps keep the pork moist while cooking it all the way through.  You can use a tenderloin with this recipe instead of a full loin roast, but be sure to reduce the cooking time!
Rosemary herb pork loin

Rosemary & Sage Herb Crusted Pork Loin
Boneless Pork Loin Roast (2-4 pounds)
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