DIY Wooden Teal Pumpkin | Teal Pumpkin Project

Every Halloween we participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project to promote awareness and inclusion of all trick-or-treaters, no matter their dietary restrictions.  Unfortunately a lot of kids have food allergies, ranging from mild to potentially very dangerous.  These allergies can include dairy, chocolate, nuts, soy, gluten, artificial dyes, and more.  These kids either can't participate in trick-or-treat or have to throw out most of what they get - and when you're a kid that's really rough.  
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DIY Wooden Teal Pumpkin | Teal Pumpkin Project

By having a teal pumpkin out, you're letting kids and their parents know that your house is a safe place to trick-or-treat and you have non-food items available. These can be things like novelty pencils, erasers, stickers, bubbles, crayons, small toys, etc.  You can still give out the usual candy, but it's a good idea to keep the non-food items separate.  This is a great project to allow all kids a chance to feel included in trick-or-treat on Halloween. 

We usually paint a real pumpkin teal each year, but this year the squirrels and chipmunks have been eating all the decorations we put out on our porch (*shakes fist*). So yesterday afternoon during nap time I whipped up a Wooden Teal Pumpkin that can be used for many years to come. And the best part? It cost me NOTHING! I made it all with scraps from our wood bin and paint we already had.

Materials:

How to:

1. Cut your wood scraps down to size if necessary. You need one larger piece for the face, one small piece for the stem, and a piece for the support at the back (the support piece does not have to be triangular, that’s what I happened to have though).

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2. Next attach the support piece of wood to the back of the large piece with a screw or nail.

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3. After that, give it at least two coats of teal paint. Paint it all over, including the sides and back.

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4. Once that’s dry, use black paint to paint a jack-o-lantern face on it and paint the stem piece black as well.

5. Once everything is dry use wood glue to attach the stem to the top of the pumpkin and give a good spray of clear sealer if you’ll be putting it out not under the cover of a porch, etc.

And that’s it! Now you’re ready to put your teal pumpkin out to welcome all kids for Halloween. Happy Halloween!

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FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) has some wonderful resources on their website - including crowdsourcing maps to identify participating houses, printables you can use to proudly show your support and educate others, and fundraising opportunities to help fund food allergy research and awareness.

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Christmas in July Sale!

Christmas in July Sale!  Everything in the Etsy shop (except signs) is 15% off through August 1st. Get a jump start on your Christmas shopping and stock up on ornaments now!  

Just use the Coupon Code "JULY2018" to get 15% off! 

Christmas in July Sale!

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Heirloom Clothing

A week ago our youngest got Baptized.  She wore the same Baptism Dress I did and big sister did, which is so special!  ...However I did have to cut a slit in the slip to get it over her head that morning (she's a big baby!).  So now I’m hemming that, and the dress will be cleaned and put away for their own kids someday. 

Family Tradition:  the Baptism Dress, worn by me and our two daughters.

Do you have any heirloom clothing in your family?  We also have my Grandmother's wedding veil/crown from the 1940's that both my sister and I wore for our First Communions - so very special.   

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Gold-Dipped Birch Egg How-To {As seen in Food Network Magazine!}

A few months ago, Food Network Magazine emailed me and asked if I'd be interested in designing a New Hampshire-themed egg for their Easter issue!  I was completely blown away and honored for the opportunity.  My New Hampshire egg design was a gold-dipped, faux birch bark egg - gold-dipped to represent our State House with it's golden dome, and the birch bark paint finish to represent our our state tree, the white birch. 
Fun Fact:  My great-grandfather was a steeplejack and did the gold leaf on the New Hampshire capitol dome back in the 1920's!  
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Gold-Dipped Birch Egg How-To | As seen in Food Network Magazine!  New Hampshire-Inspired Easter Egg

Creating one of these gold-dipped birch eggs for yourself is pretty simple!  Here's the full how-to:  

Materials:  

Eggnot ready to be painted
  • faux egg (for the Food Network Magazine example and most of the photos in this how-to, I used an Eggnot, a fake ceramic egg - but you could also use a wooden egg. If you use real hardboiled eggs I would not recommend eating them after painting)
  • gold acrylic paint
  • black acrylic paint
  • white acrylic paint (if your fake egg isn't already white to begin with)
  • paper cup
  • thin paintbrush
  • tinfoil to make a stand for the egg to dry on

How-to:  

Adding the gold-dip to the egg.

1.  First, make a tinfoil ring to hold your egg while it dries between steps.  Then if your egg isn't already white, paint white and allow to dry between coats.  It may need several coats of paint.  

2.  Next shake the gold acrylic paint well and pour about half an inch of it into a small paper cup.  Dip the top of the egg carefully into the cup.  (I found it best to to do the gold-dip first, then paint the bark pattern after since sometimes the black lines were visible under the gold-dip.) 
Gold paint tends to be thick and you may have some swirling or thick drips after dipping.  You can try to smooth these out a bit with a paintbrush but it usually looks cleaner if you just leave it as-is, even if you end up with a thick spot within the dip.  After the gold dip, carefully place the egg in the tinfoil ring to dry.  

3.  Once the gold-dip is dry, use a thin paint brush to paint horizontal black lines on the egg, all the way around.  Vary the placement and thickness of the lines a bit to mimic the look of birch bark.  
You may have to carefully hold the egg for a few minutes to let it air dry a bit before carefully setting it, gold top down, into the tinfoil ring to finish drying.  

Hand-painting a birch bark design to the egg.
Gold Dipped Birch Egg drying in a tinfoil holder.

And that's it!  While making them can be tedious with the drying time between steps, it's really quite easy.  And in the event you don't feel like tackling this project yourself,  I have a limited supply of painted Wooden Gold-Dipped Birch Eggs in my Etsy Shop!  

Gold-Dipped Birch Egg How-To | As seen in Food Network Magazine!
  As seen in the April, 2018 issue of  Food Network Magazine !  

As seen in the April, 2018 issue of Food Network Magazine!  

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Honored to Say: “As Seen in Food Network Magazine!”

Incredibly honored and excited to say that I designed and painted the New Hampshire egg for the latest issue of Food Network Magazine!  I was completely blown away when they sent me an email last November, asking if I wanted to be a contributor for this piece (um, YES!) and it’s so exciting to finally see it in print!  Thank you, Food Network Magazine! 

If you want to make your own NH-inspired egg, please check out my full tutorial HERE.  

Birch Landing Home - as seen in Food Network Magazine!  New Hampshire-Inspired Easter Egg
Birch Landing Home - as seen in Food Network Magazine!  New Hampshire-Inspired Easter Egg

PS - Make sure to pick up a copy, so many creative eggs from every state - not to mention all the yummy recipes!

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Goals for 2018

Every New Year, there's an inspiring urge to finally accomplish all that you've been meaning to do.  As someone who tends to get caught up in the everyday, I love this motivation to see the big picture and write down what I'd like to accomplish the coming year.  

Goals for 2018 - Birch Landing Home

First, lets look back at all the great things that 2017 brought! 

The biggest blessing of 2017 was definitely adding to our family with the birth of our second daughter at the end of the summer.  The pregnancy and new baby stage kept me pretty busy throughout the whole year, and so Birch Landing Home took a bit of a backseat for 2017.  Nevertheless, highlights for BLH this year have included being quoted in Parenting New Hampshire Magazine and adding another wholesale account to our roster.  I also got the opportunity to work with some of my favorite international brands including L.L. Bean, Nûby, and Safety 1st as well as many wonderful New England-based companies including Hills & Trails, Woodboogah, and Cobalt Sky Studio.  

Goals for 2018

I have a lot of professional and personal things I'd like to accomplish or improve for 2018 - here are some of them:  

Grow Birch Landing Home More

This past year, Birch Landing Home was put on the back burner while I focused on family.  Family always comes first, but this year I want to get back into the working groove and grow BLH more.  I have some great ideas for new products to add to the Etsy Shop and DIY projects to share on the blog.  I'd also love to do more work with both international brands and New England-based buisnesses. 
(I also have an incredibly exciting collaboration lined up for the spring that I can't wait to share with you all!)  

Get Back into Running

While I ran throughout my first pregnancy, this time around I just couldn't so I stopped running and haven't gotten back into it since.  I don't know if another Half is on the books for this year with the new baby, but I'd love to at least get back into a regular running routine and do a few fun 5Ks.  

Clean House

Going through the house and systematically purging everything in the beginning of the year is something I really look forward to.  It's so refreshing to go through everything and donate or sell whatever you haven't been using for the past year.  Now that we have two kids the amount of "stuff" has exploded and I'm looking forward to getting it under control.  

Make More Time for Family and Friends

We've been so busy with work and our own family we haven't had the chance to visit enough with family and close friends this past year.  We're way overdue to visit some great friends and you can never spend enough time with your family.  This is an important priority for us in the new year.  

Get Up Early

Getting up early before the rest of the house really helps me get a jump on my day.  This was something that had been part of my routine but has fallen by the wayside over the last few months.  There's just something so motivating about getting up before everyone else, enjoying a cup of coffee in the peace and quiet, planning out your day, and getting a jump start on your to-do list.  Days when I get up early are so much more productive and let me focus more on the kids and other important tasks the rest of the day.  

Get Outside More

I'm really looking forward to more hiking and camping trips with family and friends this year.  There have been a couple of hikes that have been on our "to-do list" forever and it's high time we finally do them!  There's nothing better than getting outside to recharge. 

Explore New England! 

One of our favorite things to do as a family is day trips and weekend trips around New England to explore all the great things this area has to offer.  Usually we do a couple trips every year and this year I'd love to do even more if we can - especially in Maine and Vermont.  I'd also like to share our knowledge and put together more New England Travel Guides for the blog.  

What are some of your goals for the New Year? 

Photo from Free Nature Stock

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Cataloging Past Family Christmas Cards

Creating our family's Christmas card each year is a tradition I greatly look forward to.  I especially love looking back at past years to see how much everyone has grown.  I used to tuck these old cards away in a drawer but I've found it much more accessible and enjoyable to put them within reach, displayed in a special photo album.  | This post contains affiliate links |

Cataloging Past Family Christmas Cards

Luckily, we've always done 5x7 inch photo cards which fit perfectly inside a festive perfectly-sized photo album I found on Amazon. If you've done different sized or odd-sized cards through the years, it might make the most sense to use a big scrapbook to chronicle them. Just make sure to order an extra card to add to the album each year and cherish the memories!

Cataloging Past Family Christmas Cards
TIP:  Create a photo album with your family's yearly Christmas Cards

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50% Off Old Inventory!

Way back when I first opened my Etsy shop, I mostly made jewelry.  Since then I've transitioned the shop to home decor items but still have quite a bit of jewelry inventory hanging around.  
With Christmas right around the corner, I thought it would fun to list some of these items at a huge discount to make a little more room in the studio.  In our CLEARANCE section you can find these items listed for 50% off - perfect for last minute stocking stuffers!  

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*All sales are final and purchases made by 12/15 should arrive in time for Christmas, however I am unable to guarantee delivery date.  Jewelry items may have some slight tarnishing.  

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