Coffee Break #37
Why, hello November! October flew by in a wink, and now we are barreling toward the busy holiday season! After a week+ with sick kids (and a husband!) at home and more Halloween events than I can count, I’m excited to be sitting down and catching you up on life behind-the-blog. This month, I’m chatting about my love-hate relationship with Halloween and how long DIY projects really take me, as well as sharing a few new favorite home finds. So take a break and catch up with me!
Friends – I’m going to say it. I just don’t like Halloween. I know, I know. I try to put on an excited face for my kids; but every October, I dread the costumes and the trunk displays and the decorations and even the trick-or-treating. I usually breath a huge sigh of relief come the morning of November 1st. Yep, I’m officially a Halloween Scrooge.
I was reflecting on why Halloween bums me out so much. Beyond the fact that I just don’t love orange and haunted, spooky things in general, I think it’s more about the constant push-and-pull I feel between my crafty capabilities and my (lack of) enjoyment with costume-making.
I grew up with a Mom who made me amazing handmade costumes. I can still remember going to the fabric store at the start of every October, paging through all the costume books, carefully picking out the fabrics, and watching her with anticipation all month long as she worked incredible costume magic. I mean…watching a handmade costume come to life is truly an exhilarating experience! Oh, the clever things you can do with felt and glue!
Because I’m crafty and creative and have aaaaaaaaaall the tools and supplies, I want to make that same costume magic for my kids. But I just don’t seem to enjoy it when I do. I’m horrible at sewing clothing, and 99% of the time, I wait until the last minute to get started. So then I feel like I’m trying to create costume amazingness in a pressure cooker. By the time everyone walks out the door, I’m a frazzled mess (even though the kids usually do look pretty cute).
A few years ago, I finally swore off handmade costumes in an effort to not let my grumpiness ruin every Halloween. But every now and then, it’s like I can’t resist the temptation of a good creative project and find myself with a glue gun in hand once again.
It happened this year! Everyone had already chosen simple, cute, off-the-shelf costumes for trick-or-treating. But then we had a family Halloween event to attend. “I can pull together a family costume in a few hours!” I said. “Challenge accepted!”
Three hours later: April and her 3.5 adorable Ninja Turtles walked into the event (Leonardo wouldn’t wear his mask…or his shell); but I was feeling my usual Halloween grumps.
Halloween is like the crafter’s Super Bowl. And while I can’t seem to get enough of all the creativity and cleverness that abounds this time of year, I also need to remember that I am usually happier in the stands…watching the action instead!
Pumpkin Quick Tip!
As much as I don’t love Halloween, I actually don’t mind carving pumpkins. That said, we keep it really simple and usually carve just one as a family.
This year though, my kiddos “picked” some small pumpkins (even smaller than “pie pumpkins” but not as small as the tiny gourd-like ones) at the above-mentioned family Halloween event; and they insisted on carving them. I thought they’d be too small; but sure enough, they were literally just miniature versions of your standard carve-able pumpkin. And best of all, the kids could carve and clean them out completely on their own! After adding tiny little faces, we popped glow bracelets into each one to illuminate them.
Doing little pumpkins just might be the way we go for the next few years until the kids finally agree to get their hands dirty!
How Long Projects Really Take Me
In the age of Instagram Reels and TikToks…where creators show projects simmered down to a cute and quick 90 second clip…I think it can be really deceiving how long home projects actually take. I’ll often get comments from friends, family, and readers about how “quick” I am to transform our homes; but I think you might be surprised how not quick I am in real life.
Next week, I’m going to show you this bookcase makeover. In a series of 20-30 pictures and a 5ish-minute read, I’ll demonstrate this great transformation from start to finish. From your side, it will likely appear that this project took me a day or so. But wanna guess how long this project really took me?
About a month! Seriously! One weekend, I painted the bookcases. The next weekend, I wallpapered the back. On a third iteration, I organized all the toys underneath. And then I styled all the shelves in one final 3-hour blitz. Greg literally walked in and said, “You’re still working on these bookshelves?”
“Yes, Greg. Yes, I am.”
Sure…there are some projects when I put my blinders on, keep my head down, and just get it done. But more often-than-not, projects around here are done little-by-little, ever-so-slowly inching their way to completion. Probably just like the projects in your home!
So next time you watch a reel or even read a post here on the blog and you are tempted to think bloggers have some sort of speedy DIY super powers…remember that we don’t. Projects and improvements take us just as long (if not longer since we are photographing every step along the way)…we just have really excellent editing and story-telling skills 😉
Here are some finds I’m really using and loving this month!
- White Ceramic Hobnail Patterned Pots – Very rarely do I gasp when I open up a product ordered from Amazon, but I sure did when I unboxed these new planters. They are stunning in their simplicity; and their glossy finish looks classy and high-end. If you need some basic pots for indoor plants, I highly recommend them (and now I want to try some of their other styles!)
- Smart Plug-In Night Lights – Our new house gets very dark at night. So to help our kids (and us!) navigate our new surroundings in the dark, we scooped up a set of these nightlights. Not only do they turn on on their own (as the house gets darker), but they emit a ton of light, which is really helpful in curvy hallways and bathrooms.
- Leveret Kids Pants – I originally ordered these because they were the only green toddler pants that could get here in time for Halloween. But when I discovered how stylish and comfy they are, I turned around and ordered a few more colors for the boys to wear in the cooler weather. They are lightweight but still comfy and have just enough style to wear to school, the store, or outings.
- Shortie’s Fall Wax Melts Variety Pack – I recently read a great idea for making your house feel “Fall-ish” without a ton of extra decorations: use your sense of smell! By filling the house with familiar Fall scents, you can invoke coziness and warmth without tons of seasonal decor. So I ordered this set of Fall scents, and we love them! They burn strong and long, and I love swapping out the different scents when we need a change. The kids always think I’m baking something tasty in the oven!
- Jack-O-Lantern Puck Lights – We don’t tend to keep a lot of candles on hand year-round, so it’s always a scramble to light up our Jack-o-lanterns. After a debacle last year, Greg purchased these puck lights, and we finally got to test them out. Not only are they flameless, but they are battery operated and have a remote (so you don’t have to constantly reach in to turn them on/off). My favorite part though…they flicker! So the overall effect really looks like a real flame inside the pumpkin. Order a set now so you have them ready for next year!
You guys always ask the greatest questions, and I love learning what you all want to read more about. If you have any topics or questions you’d love to see me cover, submit them via the (anonymous) form below!
Thanks for being here and catching up with me this month!