My Fall Bucket List

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two wooden benches outside with fall leaves on the ground
image by Pixabay

Although it doesn’t feel like it in Charlotte (we’re supposed to hit 90 again next week), fall is here. This year, for the first time, I’ve decided to make a Fall Bucket List. I’m hoping that if I have a written list of things I want to do, the season won’t get away from me before I manage to do more than drink a couple Pumpkin Spiced Lattes. So here it is, in no particular order:

1. Go to to the Carolina Renaissance Festival. We used to go as a family every year, but it got too expensive, so we stopped. Every year the kids beg for it, and every year I really want to go… and every year I sadly give up on it. This year, I’ve decided we’re going no matter what.

2. Participate in Inktober. I’m going to take 31 pages or half-pages of my sketchbook,date them, and write the prompts on top, so I’ll remember to do it every day and I won’t have to stop and look anything up. I’ll be able to just draw, photograph, and post. Keep an eye on my Instagram if you want to see my Inktober drawings!

3. Go apple-picking. We’re so lucky in Charlotte to have farms and orchards close by. Some are even within city limits. So I’m going to go pick some apples, drink some hot cider, and eat cider doughnuts. If I’m lucky, they’ll also have a corn maze.

three apples hanging from a branch
image by Pixabay

4. Go to a pumpkin patch. I can’t just pick my own apples- I have to pick my own pumpkins, too! Or actually, let the kids pick their own pumpkins while I sip coffee and take pictures.

a field of pumpkins and pumpkin vines
image by Pixabay

5. Bake fall treats. If I’m going to pick apples and pumpkins, I’ll have to bake things with apples and pumpkins. Like apple muffins, apple bread, apple crisp, and apple pie. And then of course, there’s pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin pie. Since my husband can’t tolerate gluten, I’ll be making gluten-free versions of all these things. I’m looking forward to cozying up in front of the fire and enjoying some home-baked goodies.

a partially sliced loaf of pumpkin bread
image by Pixabay

6. Go hiking. Once the weather is cool enough that I don’t sweat as soon as I walk out the door, I’m going to start walking. With my husband, with the kids, with the dogs, with friends, and alone. Around the neighborhood, along the greenways, in the woods, and hopefully up some mountains. I want to exercise a lot more than I do currently, and I love being out in nature. Except for the bugs. I could do without the bugs.

7. Knit. I really want to knit a pair of socks this year. And maybe a cowl. And hats for the kids. And a couple of coffee cozies to use instead of those cardboard sleeves. And….

a ball of orange yarn
image by Pixabay

8. Make other fall crafts. As a matter of fact, I’m going to post some fall dollar store crafts soon. You might want to join my mailing list so you don’t miss them!

9. Make my home smell like fall. Pumpkin spice. Hot apple cider. Woodsmoke. Pancakes and maple syrup. Fall candles, fall plug-in oil thingies, fall wax melts, you name it, I’m here for it! My house is going to smell like an autumn wonderland.

10. Watch Halloween movies. Can you believe I have never seen Hocus Pocus?!

animated gif of three witches from the movie Hocus Pocus


6 Tips For Cutting Your Own Hair

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After months of hating my fried, dry, breaking, over-bleached
hair, I decided to temporarily give up on growing it long, and gave myself a cute, shaggy, modern mullet.

I’ve been cutting my own hair for at least a decade. I have no formal training. What I have is wavy (and thus forgiving) hair and a “fuck it” attitude. You can cut your own hair, too. I’m not going to teach you how to do that, but what I will do is give you some vital tips.

2013 bob

1. Do your research. Read and watch lots of online tutorials. Look at photos, drawings, and videos. Watch videos of people cutting their own hair as well as people cutting other people’s hair. When you think you’ve seen enough, look at more. While you’re still getting your hair professionally cut, watch your hairdresser and study how they cut your hair.

2. Use decent tools. Don’t cut your hair with the scissors from your desk drawer. Buy haircutting scissors from a beauty supply store such as Sally, or online from Amazon and use them only for hair. Proper tools make a difference.

Image by Jo Johnston

3. There are different schools of though about whether your hair should be wet or dry while being cut. Even professionals vary on this. Personally, I favor dry cutting, especially for beginners, because it’s much easier to see what your hair will ultimately look like when you cut it dry. Whichever you choose, remember that wet hair shrinks when it dries. The curlier it is, the more it shrinks. If you cut curly hair when it’s wet, you might see a difference of inches when it dries.

4. Start slow. Cut off less than you think you want, especially if you’re making a drastic change. To state the obvious, you can always cut more, but you can’t put hair back once you cut it off. Even if you decide to cut more two days later, it’s better than lopping off too much and instantly regretting it.

2016 pixie

5. To cut the back of your hair, you need either a trifold mirror or a patient friend who will hold a hand mirror up so you can see the back of your head while you cut.

6. Remember, it’s only hair. If you give yourself a bad cut, it will grow back.

Dollar Store Crafts for Back to School

Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you buy something through one of these links, I earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you. You can read more about my advertising policy here.

Whew! The first week of school is over, and I’m still alive. Well, my oldest kid, who’s in a dual-enrollment high school-community college program, started in the middle of August, but she doesn’t require much work from me, and definitely doesn’t need me to get up before dawn. My younger two, on the other hand… My middle just started high school, and I’m homeschooling my youngest. This has meant adjusting to early mornings, and a lot more work for me. It’s been so exhausting that my immune system has suffered, and I’m battling a cold.

If you have kids going back to school, or if you yourself are going back to school, you’re probably going through something similar. To make back-to-school time easier, cheaper, and more fun, I decided to show you a couple back-to-school crafts you can do using materials from the dollar store.

Dollar Store Supplies

As you might know, there are dollar stores and there are “dollar stores.” Confused? What I mean is that there are stores like Dollar Tree, where every item is actually one dollar. There are also stores like Dollar General and Family Dollar, where items are inexpensive, but not necessarily just one dollar. And then, of course, there are what people call “dollar bins” or “dollar sections” of regular retail stores, where again, items might be more than a dollar. So, I gave myself a rule to stick to: I would shop in all these types of places, but I would only buy items priced at one or two dollars.

Earbud Holder

Our first project is a super-simple earbud holder made from a pill bottle. Okay, I cheated a little- I didn’t buy the pill bottle at the dollar store. But pill bottles are so easy to get your hands on. I’m sure you have one or can get one from a friend. This cute little container will keep your (or your kid’s) earbuds in easy reach, instead of tangled up and at the bottom of your bag.

This project uses washi tape. Washi tape is basically a decorative masking tape. You can find it at craft stores, discount department stores, drug stores, and dollar stores. I got mine at Michael’s, where they were 3 for a dollar in the dollar bins near the registers. Most of these discounted rolls were leftover Christmas patterns, but with a little digging, I found some non-holiday rolls I liked.

Start by carefully wrapping strips of washi around the bottle, starting at the bottom and working your way up to the top.

Once you’re done, cover the lid with short strips of washi. Because of the round shape of the lid, it will look messy. You want to firmly press down any bits that are sticking up, and carefully trim the excess with a pair of scissors.

Now it’s time to decorate the lid. I found these stick-on jewels at Dollar General, and the colors work perfectly. If bling is not your thing, you can use a sticker instead.

Farmhouse Mason Jar Pencil Holder

I absolutely love the farmhouse aesthetic I’ve been seeing everywhere! This is a super-cute way to store your pencils and pens so your desk stays tidy(ish). I got my Mason jar at Michael’s, but I have also seen them at Dollar Tree. We’re also going to use some wide burlap ribbon, narrow grosgrain ribbon, and glue. I used Tacky Glue, which I found at Dollar General. You can also use a hot glue gun if you have one (you can buy the refill sticks at the dollar store).

First, cut off a length of burlap that will fit around the Mason jar. Using tiny dots of glue along the edges of the burlap, glue the burlap onto the jar.

Let the glue dry for about five minutes. Then cut a lenth of the grosgrain ribbon that will fit around the jar over the burlap. Using tiny dots, glue the ribbon onto the burlap.

Let that dry, and you have your adorable farmhouse-style pencil jar. If your jar has an old-fashioned two-piece lid, you can screw the outer ring onto the jar if you’d like.

Farmhouse Desk Organizer
This is a matching piece that I made with a small wooden box from the Michael’s dollar bin. You could make something similar with just about any box, bowl, or dish you can find. Even a cardboard box could work. Be creative!

First, measure a length of burlap that will fit on one side of the box. Since this box is wider at the top than at the bottom, you’ll have to carefully cut the edges at the correct angle. Using your first piece as a template, cut three more lengths of burlap for the other three sides.

Using tiny dots of tacky glue (or hot glue), glue the burlap onto the sides of the box. Do one side at a time, and let it dry before moving on to the next side.

Once all sides are dry, cut lengths of grosgrain ribbon to fit along the top edge of each side of the box. Using tiny dots of glue, glue the ribbon onto the burlap. Again, let each side dry before moving on to the next. Trim any sloppy edges with a sharp pair of scissors.

You can use this box to hold tape, paper clips, sticky notes, thumb drives, or anything else. I love the look so much, I think I’m going to decorate another dish or maybe a paper tray with the burlap and grosgrain ribbon. Maybe even my bulletin board. It’ll be such a pretty refresh for my desk!

I hope these crafts make the stressful back-to-school adjustment a little more bearable for you!