Silver Lining

Easy Valentine's Clothespin Wreath

January 22, 2015

Recently, my little sister asked why all the crafts I post on my blog are super easy. "Why don't you do a real craft sometime?" she said.

You got me, Emma! She's totally right. I do post easy crafts. It's all I can do! I don't have a huge crafting budget, I don't have the patience to do anything that can't be done during afternoon nap time, and I've sworn off the sewing machine ever since I made Emma a baptism dress and almost pulled all my hair out in the process. (I have since realized that pre-sewn clothes are one of the greatest conveniences of the twenty-first century and vowed I will never again touch a sewing machine.) With me, the easier and simpler the craft, the better!

And so I bring to you the latest product of afternoon nap time: a Valentine's clothespin wreath! 


50-pack of clothespins ($1.50 at Walmart)
4 patterned scrapbook papers ($1 total at Hobby Lobby)
Elmer's glue (or any type of glue, $1)
wreath hanger ($3 in Christmas clearance)
cardboard (I used a cereal box, but thicker cardboard like a shoe box would be nice)

Total expenses: only $6.50!


1. Cut out a one-inch thick circle of cardboard. I laid a mixing bowl upside-down on the cardboard and traced the outline of the bowl. Then I used a smaller bowl to trace the inner circle. Cut out the inner circle so you're left with a one-inch wreath-shaped circle.

2. Cut the scrapbook paper into strips the size of a clothespin. To do this, I measured the width of a clothespin and marked off tick marks with a ruler. Then I cut all four pages at once - I'm all about doing the easiest thing, remember?

3. Glue the scrapbook paper strips onto your clothespins. I dabbed a thin line of glue on about eight at a time. Press and hold for a few seconds to cement the seal. You could also use mod podge, glue dots, or any other type of glue!

4. Clip the dried clothespins onto your wreath, alternating sides. Clip the first one to the inside of the circle, and the next one on the outside of the circle. Inside, outside, inside, outside. This will give you the cool sunburst look. It's also aesthetically pleasing. It's also been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease.

5. Add optional decorations, and you're done! I took off one clothespin at the top to make room for the wreath hanger.


+ Buy two sets of scrapbook paper. That way, you can put St. Paddy's Day paper (or whatever holiday you want) on the reverse side of the clothespins. All you have to do is turn the wreath around and you have another decoration!

+ This would be super cute with a little pink flower decal or something else to decorate the bottom of the wreath. I just worked with what I already had, but I might have to pick up something for my wreath on my next trip to Hobby Lobby.

+ I originally clipped them on an old wire wreath I had. It looks a little more sparse, and you can see the wire poking through, but it is a little larger and neater. Here's what that version looks like:

Happy crafting!
What else should I do during naptime crafting?

two years with our ward of the state

January 21, 2015

I clearly remember the day Jason first came to live with us two years ago.

It was the three-day MLK weekend. It was one of those eye-squinting, sunglasses-wearing bright winter days, with the sun glaring off the snow. We drove up to Logan, where Jason was living, and brought him home. He had one garbage bag full of his possessions that Sam carried in from the trunk. I remember showing him around his new bedroom - that tiny room in the corner of the basement with no windows. I remember apologizing that his bed was just a standard cheap one from IKEA. He couldn't believe we bought a brand new bed just for him.

For the next week, there was that necessary tiptoeing around that you do when someone new moves in. Politely negotiating shower schedules and work/school schedules and food preferences. We explained our routines about dishes and scripture study and taking off our shoes at the door. I remember feeling this need to go check on him at night, like you check on a baby. Sam would talk sense into me. "He's almost a teenager," Sam would say. "He's fine. Give him some space."

And just like that - we were a family of three. We learned how to adjust and how to accommodate everyone's schedules and needs. Sam and I learned how to still be strong as a couple, although it was pretty hard for a while. It began to feel like Jason was part of the family, not just an extended house guest.

Jason is probably the easiest teenage boy ever to live with. He is so incredibly low-maintenance. He takes care of himself. He doesn't ask for much. He does his own homework, and only needs help remembering to get his reading and practice logs signed. The kid needs a brand new wardrobe every few months because he's growing so fast, but I guess we can't blame him for that ;)

But in other ways, living with Jason has been really really hard. It was a big adjustment for Sam and I to go from being a newlywed couple with no kids (I could get a late-night glass of water wearing just my underwear if I wanted!) to having a teenage child. And it's not exactly like there are a ton of other people in our situation that we can bond with.

A major portion of our worryings and prayers and late-night conversations are about Jason. I guess that's what makes you a real fake foster mom (ha) - when a lot of your efforts to go towards a child that isn't even technically yours. Jason came to us with very specific ideas about what he could and could not do, what he did and did not believe, and what he was and was not good at. I've been trying so hard to help him have a more open mindset. Especially when it comes to his capacities - he is so much more talented than he thinks he is!

But altogether, it's been wonderful. Having Jason live with us has been an incredible experience. I will always remember how excited he was when we told him I was pregnant. He paced around the room for almost an hour asking questions and doing his excited hands and asking if he could sleep in the same room as the baby. He has such a fun imagination and wit, and he's always making us laugh. He does his chores without complaining (most of the time, that is!), and he's so good with baby Claire.

The bottom line is: we love him to death. So happy two years to us! It's been a crazy and wild ride, and we wouldn't change it for anything.

Claire is friends with more teenage boys than the average baby ;)

8-bit Einstein

January 19, 2015

In my city, there's a pretty big 8-bit Einstein painted on the side of a business. I'd seen pictures of it everywhere, but I could NOT figure out where it was. First I saw two different bloggers with pictures in front of it. Then I saw it on a Pinterest board titled 'Exterior Wall Art.' I even saw a glimpse of it in the corner of another picture once. So when I finally found the wall, I knew I had to take pictures in front of it! You know, to prove I found it. If you don't take a million pictures and cross-promote those pictures on all forms of social media, it didn't happen, as the old saying goes.

So there I was, making Jason take pictures of me in front of Einstein, and I got to thinking. What's a girl gotta do to get a huge 8-bit painting of her face?

I mean, I know stuff. I know lots of stuff. Stuff that totally puts me on equal footing with Einstein.

I mean, sure, Einstein may have discovered both the Special and General Theories of Relativity. But I discovered the 8-bit Einstein wall all by myself. Which means we're both breaking some new ground.

Einstein may have won a Nobel Prize. I can't compete with that. But I know what a hairbrush is. AND I use it daily. Einstein can't compete with that.

Einstein may have become a worldwide household name, and his work may have unlocked mysteries of the universe previously unknown to mankind. But I know the truth behind the common core (created by communists with the intent to turn all children into brain-sucking zombies). I know. I read an article about it once on Facebook.

See what I mean? I know stuff. I know lots of stuff. I know what happens in the fourth podcast of Serial, which I've started listening to at the gym. I know the bounce-bounce-rock method of calming down a fussy baby (I'm pretty sure I bounce-bounce-rocked my way through Claire's entire first month of existence). I also know the best places to get gas, Indian food, and flavored sodas around here (Maverik, Bombay House, and Sodalicious, respectively).

Yup. I know stuff. So sign me up for the next 8-bit mural! (How creepy would that be in real life though? A gigantic version of my face on the side of a building? Yikes.)

And the best news of all? I'll even tell you where it is! Tweet me or comment and I'll let you know! (I won't put it on here in case you're one of those weirdos like me who make it a matter of personal pride to find it themselves.)

PS see a cool slow-mo video of this wall HERE!
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