Sunday, January 11, 2015

Simply Create a DIY Valentine's Day Wreath

DIY Valentine's Day Wreath Project

Last year my DIY projects consisted of making holiday wreaths for the front door. Here is a refresher for the DIY Valentine's Day wreath. Now is a great time to find Christmas ornaments on clearance and who doesn't like to save a few dollars? The Christmas colors are perfect for a Valentine's Day wreath. For this project you will want to buy shatterproof ornaments rather than glass ornaments. This little wreath also makes a great gift!
After making all of those wreaths last year, I discovered a great way to store them. I use a clothes hanger for each wreath. Place your wreath over the top of a clothes hanger and hang them in my extra closet. It saves space and you don't have to find shelf space or worry that your wreath will be damaged in a box.
60-75 ornaments (depends on the size of your heart and the size of the ornaments)
1 wire hanger or heavy wire to shape in a heart
Hot glue gun and hot glue
Ribbon to use for a hanger

  • Some of my ornaments had secure tops so I did not hot glue them to the ornaments. However, some of them were not as secure so I used hot glue to glue the tops to the ornament base.
  • Bend your wire or hanger into the shape of a heart. You don't have to be exact on this, just a general heart shape will work, it can be a little abstract if you like. My strong helper used a pliers to bend the hanger for this step :)
  • Start by placing the one end of the wire through the tops of the ornaments. I placed mine on one at a time so I could arrange them by turning them. You can leave the other end of the wire open (the ornaments shouldn't fall off or you can bend it if you aren't using a hanger for your wire).
  • Continue to add ornaments to the wire hanger and let them bunch together for a full look. It won't be perfect because the ornaments will move around, it'll still be beautiful.
  • When you reach the end of your hanger, twist one end of the wire over the other end at the bottom of the heart. You  may need to use your pliers for this.
  • I cut a piece of ribbon about 20 inches long and wrapped it between ornaments on the left and right side of the heart at the top and tied a bow at the top.
  • The entire project took me about 2 hours including minor distractions, you know... phone calls, texts, taking the dog out, etc....
  • Total project cost was $7.50. I love that part for this fun little project!
Love and peace,
~ Simply Tammi
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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Simply Decorating With Family Photos

DIY decorating with an old picture frame for border and family photos

Happy New Year everyone!
I made only one resolution for 2015, to do better. I know it may seem like a rather broad concept but I know myself and I don't do well with specific goals in my personal life. I decided that every day there is at least one thing I can do better. Some days it might be small things like taking out the garbage before it overflows and the coffee grounds spill all over the floor, hang up my coat, eat more veggies, read more books, make more homemade get it, right? Then there will be those days that I will have an opportunity to make a difference in a life. It may seem like a small gesture but all of us need more kindness in our day. Maybe smile at a stranger, share a Bible verse, share a meal, tell someone thank you. Who knows? So that's better every day.
My new year starts with organizing, cleaning out and of course more DIY projects! I finished a project yesterday and I have to share it. It began 7 years ago when we moved into our new house. Since day one, I have had a vision of a family photo arrangement above the sofa. So my first project of the new year began two days ago and today my vision is on the wall!

The Family Photo Wall Journey:
My husband painted the living room, dining room and kitchen a light gray color a couple of months ago. I had some wildlife prints on my walls but I wasn't feeling it for this space. So for two months we have had bare walls so I could plan the journey to complete my vision.

I started with an old, chunky, somewhat warped frame that was headed for donation land when I had an idea to highlight the detail on the frame. It was so dusty that I needed to clean it with a damp rag first. Then I wanted to dry brush it with some white paint. I started with a cheap, sponge paint brush (about an inch wide) and poured some white acrylic paint on a piece of cardboard so I could lightly dip my dry paint brush into the paint. I used a paper towel to wipe off any excess paint from the brush and painted lightly over the top of the frame. Within 15 minutes I was done with that step. Depending on the effect you like, you can always apply more paint.
Large frame - before painting

Frame details before painting

Frame after the dry brush painting
My next step was to measure the inside of the frame. I needed to know the size of frames and how many frames would fit in my larger empty frame. I planned to use the empty frame to border my family photos. So I needed 6 frames (8x10). The actual frames measured 10x12 inches. I also knew that I wanted to use 5x7 photos and I wanted white, white, white. I bought 6 white frames with white matting at Michael's (buy one get one free sale).

I probably should have started with this step but I didn't pick my photos until the end. Seriously, I spent 3 hours of my life going through my digital pictures which almost sent me over the edge - ha ha!! I edited the pictures because I didn't want color, I used the black and white setting and printed them on glossy photo paper using my printer. They turned out beautifully and each special photo was now at home in it's own frame.

We centered and hung the large frame first. Of course I would have chosen to "eyeball" the placement of the framed pictures and started pounding the nails but my carpenter husband had to use the tape measure. So after many measurements (which I lost interest in after the first measurement), we eventually had our 6 beautiful family photos on the wall!

Family photo arrangement complete in living room

Enjoy today!
Love and peace,
~ Simply Tammi Pin It

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Simply the Best Minestrone Soup Ever

Simply the best minestrone soup ever!
I decided not to follow an old tradition this year for our Christmas Eve meal. Luckily the guilt didn't last too long - haha!! We usually have oyster stew and a couple of other soups but this year I decided to replace the oyster stew with minestrone soup. I also made cheesy potato and ham soup (for the meat lovers in the family). I baked a smoked turkey for sandwiches, a variety of dips and of course goodies. Most of us still love lefse so I was busy making lefse on Christmas Eve morning. I just don't think I can give up on my lefse! The minestrone was an absolute rock star move on my part (or so I was told). And to top it off with grated Parmesan cheese was the best! My secret for the best flavored soup, use fresh ingredients or frozen from the garden. I know there are many varieties of minestrone soup so substitute as you like. For example, I don't like kidney beans so I use pinto beans or navy beans. I also love that you can make this in one large soup pot! Also a great recipe for our gluten-free family members!
Minestrone Soup Ingredients and Directions:
1/2 shallot, diced (you could use an onion)
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 T olive oil
Over medium heat in a large pan, heat the olive oil and add the garlic and shallots. Stir them around for a few minutes but make sure they don't burn, I cooked mine about 3 minutes. Add the next 6 ingredients and heat for about 15-20 minutes, then add the broth and beans and boil another 10 minutes.
2 cups of sliced carrots or one small bag of baby carrots
1 tsp celery seed
2 cups of green beans (fresh, trimmed and cut into smaller pieces)
2 tsp Italian seasoning (or basil, oregano, thyme and a pinch of rosemary)
3 cups diced tomatoes or a 28 oz. can with the juice
1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes or a 28 oz can
8 cups or 2 boxes veggie broth
2 cans (14 oz each) pinto beans, rinse and drain juice from the can
2 cups (dry) rotini pasta (I used gluten-free) but use your favorite
Salt and pepper to taste
Add the pasta when the soup is boiling and boil for another 7-9 minutes, then reduce to a simmer until you are ready to serve it. I simmered mine and stirred it occasionally for about an hour. When you are ready to serve, don't forget your grated Parmesan cheese as a topping over the soup. Yum!

Blessings for a Happy New Year and thanks for visiting!

Love and peace,
~ Simply TammiPin It