"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5


Explosion of Cuteness!

We were so blessed to be able to be with my brother and his family for our niece’s first Christmas!  We weren’t sure what exactly to get her though until one day we were walking around Michael’s and saw a tiny wooden rocking horse. We both stopped and gave each other a big smile, knowing what the other was thinking.

We purchased the horse and decided to paint it and cover it with scrapbook paper. This turned out to be a little harder than it sounded at the time. I didn’t really take any photos of the “during” process, but I’ll walk you through what we did. You could do this with just about anything – a wooden stool, doll house, rocking chair . . . the possibilities are endless!

I don’t have a photo, but when we purchased the rocking horse, it was unpainted and wooden. You’ll just have to trust me on that.

Next, my amazing husband filled in any dents and abnormalities he found with wood putty and then painted the horse green to match her nursery. And then created a template for the parts I planned to cover in scrapbook paper.

And then . . . the horse sat in our livingroom that way for about a month.

Have you ever seen The New Girl?  Sometimes I think they based some of Nick and Jess’s personalities off of James and I. I don’t want to name names, but one of us might sing and dance about what they are doing on occasion, and the other one of us might have a tendency to yell what others would normally say in a calm manner.

For example, one day James came home from work and says “Hey, don’t you think it’s about time that you finish the horse?”

To which I replied “I know . . . I’m just afraid that I’m going to do it wrong and ruin it.”

Ok, now imagine how Nick would say this, because it’s exactly how James said it. “What are you talking about! Look at that horse!  It’s exploding cuteness all over our living room. YOU CAN’T RUIN THAT!”

Oops. I guess I just gave away who is most similar to Nick. Well, to be fair, I might have have done a little song and dance the day we bought the horse.  Moving on . . .

I chose scrapbook paper that matched our paint color and cut out the pieces using the templates James made. This took quite a bit of time, as I wanted to match the patterns up so the seams were less noticable. The plan was to Mod Podge it on, but the glue caused one of the papers to bleed its color a bit, so I just used Mod Podge to glue it only. I used a sponge brush to brush the glue on to the paper and then placed the paper on the horse, smoothing out wrinkles and bubbles. This was the really tricky part—smoothing it out quickly before the paper had a chance to dry, but not so fast that it created more wrinkles and bubbles.

Lastly, we had planned to cover the finished horse with clear sealant, since the Mod Podge made the color run, but the sealant caused the paper to wrinkle, so we ended up just leaving it unsealed.

It’s not perfect, but I think it turned out pretty cute. And Hannah seemed to like it, which is what matters most, right? 🙂

Is it just me, or is she the cutest baby in the whole world?

Thanks for stopping by!

This post was featured on Tip Me Tuesday, Skip to My Lou, Kitchen Fun with My 3 SonsFlaunt it Friday, A Bowl Full of Lemons, and The Frugal Girls.

Crazy Crayons

We’ve been having some technical problems with our computer so I’m a little late getting around to these posts . . . .

We decided to make some of our Christmas presents this last year. Since we knew our nephews liked to color, I made them some crazy crayons!

Here’s my process:

1. First, I chose colors in similar shades, tore off their wrappers, and broke them up into little pieces.

2. Next, I put the little crayon pieces into tin cans (the smaller the can, like a small olive can, the better), putting all the blue pieces in one can, red in another, white in another, etc.

3. I put all the cans on a cookie sheet and then put it in the oven on the lowest heat setting our oven offered, checking every few minutes or so to see if they were melted.

4. Once melted I took out the cans and poured the melted crayons into candy molds, alternating colors in each mold. I found that the crayons hardened back up very quickly so I usually only took one can out of the oven at a time.

I don’t have step by step photos, but here is how they turned out:

If I had taken step-by-step photos, they would have shown the melted crayon I got ALL over the kitchen counters, the floor, cookie sheet, and on me. Let’s just say it was a colorful project. 🙂 I also would have taken one of the burns I got on my wrist from the oven rack. Twice. Be careful pulling those tins out!

If you’ve seen other tutorials, most of them say to put the crayons directly into a mini muffin or cake tin, and then pop it into the oven. I use my mini muffin and cake tins pretty often and wasn’t sure if the crayons would ruin them, so I used a plastic candy mold (do not put these in the oven!). If you have an old mini muffin tin that you don’t care about, I’d recommend that you do it that way. Much less mess!  Otherwise, you can find a plastic candy mold at any craft store.

Good luck! 🙂

This post was featured on Tip Me Tuesday, Skip to My Lou, Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons,  Flaunt it Friday, A Bowl Full of Lemons, and The Frugal Girls.

Standing on the Corner of Drive a Ford and Farmer Road . . .

Another reason why we love Julian . . . this is a real street corner!


If you enjoyed this and would like updates on my photography, be sure to like my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter! Photos are available for purchase at ToniRiggsPhotography.com. Thanks!

We Struck Gold!

Well . . . not really. 🙂 But we did go visit an old gold mine for our anniversary and it was so much fun!  BTW our anniversary was months ago. I’m just behind between the holidays and some recent computer technical difficulties. I am glad to be back to photo editing again!

We visited Julian for our first anniversary and decided it was only fitting that we go back for our 5th. If you haven’t been, Julian is this adorable old mining town that is widely famous for their award-winning apple pie. We like the town because it reminds us of where we grew up. They are close to the same size.

Anyway, this time we decided to go visit the old mine. They actually let you go in! A couple of brothers own the property and have been giving tours for years. It was pretty neat.

A tour bus of senior citizens arrived as we got there so we jumped in with their group. They were hilarious and such troopers. The mine was not easy to get around in and it was dusty and really dark.

We got about (what I perceived as) halfway in, when the tour guide told us that there were several floors of tunnels above us, and several floors of tunnels below us and that we were going to be going up to the next floor. I don’t usually get claustrophobic, but I’m not going to lie—I was starting to feel a little anxious in that small space with all those people, and began to wonder what we would do if there was an earthquake.

Old Mining Equipment

Blacksmith's Corner

We climbed up some very narrow and steep steps to the next floor and the tour guide shared with us that back when the mine was being used, they didn’t have electricity in there. The miners used candles and since candles were expensive, they mostly worked in the dark and only lit them when they really needed too. Then he turned out the lights so we could see how dark it got in the mine. It was super cool, but a little freaky at the same time. One of the older gentlemen behind us shouted. “Don’t touch me there!” Funny guy.

Next, the tour guide lit a candle so we could see how much light it put off. Not very much.

After we got out of the mine, we were shown how to pan for gold.

And we got to see the equipment that crushes the rock and learned how the minerals were separated.

If you are in the area and are interested in mining history, we definitely recommend this tour!

If you enjoyed this and would like updates on my photography, be sure to like my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter! Photos are available for purchase at ToniRiggsPhotography.com. Thanks!

My Hubby is so Handy

I spent some time gardening and pruning the plants last weekend. First of all, it still amazes me that’s warm enough in January to even be out in the garden, but especially to still have one! Our flower pots are still in bloom and we have a yellow pepper that is ready to eat. The tomato plants have several flowers on them. We also have a few strawberries starting to grow. This is exciting since our strawberry plants didn’t produce a dang thing over the summer! Maybe I should just plan on a winter garden next year. 😮  For the expert gardeners out there—if the tomatoes, peppers, and strawberries make it all the way to spring, can I leave them or do I need to dig them out and plant new ones?

As I was doing the gardening, I remembered that I never posted photos of the beautiful wooden planters James made me for Valentines Day last year! Here is our patio with the wonderful planters he built:

He sure is handy. I think I’ll keep him. 😉

And for those of you who might want to build your own planters—once he built them he painted the outside with a sealer and covered the inside with tar.

This post was linked to Tip Me Tuesday.

I Love Clearance Sales!

I’ve been looking for some new serving platters for quite some time, but haven’t found the right ones for the right price yet. Today I was poking around the Christmas clearance section at Albertsons and found this beautiful platter for $5.99!  Can you believe it?! $5.99! I looked for some matching pieces but they had all been snatched up. Oh well, I still think it was a great find.

The photos are from my cell phone and don’t do it justice, but I am one happy camper. Now I just have to find a cupboard it will fit into . . . 🙂

My First Engagement Shoot ~ Rachael and Marco

I usually photograph nature and landscapes but when my cousin asked me to take her engagement photos I couldn’t say no. When I was a little girl, my aunt (Rach’s mom) was one of my favorite people in the whole world. (You still are!) And I remember the exact day that Rachael had grown so big in her belly that I could no longer fit on my aunt’s lap. I wasn’t so sure that I liked this baby who had taken over  her body. However, once Rach was born she quickly became like a little sister to me, and I was so honored that she asked me to take her engagement photos!

Here’s a little sneak peek of their photos. They were all taken at Balbo Park.

Aren’t they a beautiful couple? Congrats on your engagement Rach and Marco! 🙂

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This post was linked to Tip Junkie’s Handmade projects.

I LOVE Fall Leaves!

One of the things I miss most about WA, (besides friends and family, of course) are fall leaves. There really is nothing quite like a sunny and crisp fall day, filled with bright orange, red, and yellow leaves everywhere you look. Fall makes me want to drink hot apple cider, bake cookies, and put on a nice warm scarf. You just don’t get that living in Southern California. I’m not complaining though. It’s pretty neat having 80 degree weather in October.

I decided that this year I was going to find a way to bring fall into our home. I’ve found several versions of this craft floating around the internet. The best part about it—it was easy and FREE! James and I took a walk and gathered up some sticks on a stifling 90 degree afternoon earlier this month, and then I arranged them in a vase that used to hold silk flowers.

Next I took leaves off of an existing leaf garland I had (they just popped right off) and I popped them onto the ends of the sticks. I thought I’d have to hot glue them onto the sticks but the branches were small enough that they fit perfectly over the ends. This is great because if we can’t find a place for them in storage, I can discard the sticks and keep the leaves to use again next year!

If you like the wooden ‘fall’ pumpkins, you can find out how I made them HERE. They were also a nearly free craft!

I took the leftover garland and draped it over the piano.

Now I can enjoy our warm weather and a little piece of fall at the same time. 🙂

What do you enjoy most about fall?

This post was featured on Skip to My Lou, Watcha Work Up Wednesday, Flaunt it Friday, The Frugal Girls, Tip Junkie, and A Bowl Full of Lemons.

Wood Block Fall Pumpkins

There are two things I can’t resist—flip-flops and home decor. Especially, holiday decor. I could really get myself in trouble, especially around the holidays so I’ve been trying to make things, rather than buy. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t, but it always helps to feed my need to be creative.

And some projects take longer than others, lol. I have a lot of great ideas, but there just isn’t enough time in the day! We (yes, my awesome husband helped too!) started this one last year after I saw this neat tutorial. James cut some wood blocks and sanded them, used a dremmel tool to curve the edges, and then banged them up to give them a lovely weathered and worn feel. I took some orange and brown paints (I’m sorry, I can’t remember which colors I used) and mixed them until I found the color I was looking for, and painted the blocks. It took a few coats because the paint kept soaking into the wood. Then I took  sandpaper and lightly sanded the color off the edges. It was almost Thanksgiving by the time we got this part done so the Christmas decor came out and the blocks were tucked into the cupboard until just a few weeks ago.

I’m a terrible painter, so I had secretly been dreading painting the letters on, but James came up with an awesome idea. I printed out the letters in a font that I wanted to use as a template (The one I used is called “A Yummy Apology” and can be downloaded here.) and then he suggested that I put the letters on the wood and trace them with a pen. The wood was soft so it would create an indented outline for me to use when painting. GENIUS! I wasn’t strong enough to get a good indent so he ended up doing that part for me, but it worked wonderfully. I used some white paint I had leftover from another project and easily painted the letters on. Next we found a big stick to use for the stems and James cut them down to size. I hot glued them on the wood and added ribbons, raffia, and silk leaves for embellishment. We’ll spray on a couple coats of sealer before we store them away for next year.

What do you think?  I have four more wood blocks left. What should I use them for?

This post was featured on Tip Me Tuesday, Skip to My Lou, Watcha Work-up WednesdayThe Frugal GirlsThe Vintage Farmhouse, Flaunt it Friday, Show and Tell Saturdays, and A Bowl Full of Lemons

Baby Owl Embroidery!

I actually made this a long time ago, but I kept forgetting to post it. 🙂

Not long after my brother told me that he and his wife were having a baby, I came across this adorable Baby Bird stitchery (she has a free printable pattern and tutorial if you want to make it also!). I wanted to make it for my niece who was on the way, however . . . even though I love being crafty, I wasn’t sure I would be able to pull this one off. I finally decided to give it a try. Knowing that they were decorating the nursery with owls,  I switched out the baby bird in the pattern for an owl. After getting all the materials for the picture, I realized that I should have asked what colors they were decorating with to make sure it would match. My brother sent a few photos and thankfully it matched pretty well with what they had – whew! 🙂 But, there was also a mural on the wall that was almost exactly the same as the picture I was making. Ooops! I didn’t really mean for it to be so matchy-matchy, but by that time I didn’t have time to create a new design, so I went with it.

I think it turned out pretty cute:

Here are some photos of the nursery. Didn’t they do a great job decorating?

And here is my super-adorable niece. I just love her so much 🙂  I could seriously stare at her all day!

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Chic on a Shoestring Decorating