My DIY Planner (with free Printables)

ben Franklin

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
Benjamin Franklin 

(can I get an AMEN?!)

It took me many years and a lot of failing before I actually figured out that I needed a plan to manage my time.  As a stay at home mom, I would find that I would not do everything I needed to get done on a daily basis in a timely manner.  I was always getting off track, and before I knew it the towels weren’t folded and it was time to get the kids from school.  As a former school teacher, I found that my classroom was always organized but my home was always in disarray.  THEN…It dawned on me one day that at school I carried out my day according to my lesson plans.  In college student teachers despise the detail and wording of lessons plans but in the everyday reality of my own classroom, it was my savior. 

I have always had a fascination with planners (and all school/office supplies).  I have owned several Franklin-Covey Planners over the years, but always felt like I was only using them for the calendar and address book.  I never used them to their full potential because so much of the planner did not really apply to me.  Not to mention they were expensive.

I have also tried the Palm Pilot PDA thing but could never get the hang of it.  AND the calendar and notes on my iPhone….use it for a while but ended up accidentally deleting everything from it. 

That was when I thought I better go back to writing down everything on paper.  I used a cheap journal from Dollar General to keep track of my monogram jobs and another one for my grocery list.  The small journal type books that could fit in my purse seemed to work well for me.  That is when I started using my grocery list journal to make my daily to do list. Last year around the holidays, I had a weeks worth of to do’s written in it as well as my Christmas list of gifts for everyone. Although everything was in my journal, it was a bit unorganized.  I knew there had to be a better way.  I searched planners and found a lot that were very appealing to me, but again they had a lot of stuff in them that did not apply to my life….and they were very expensive.   

Basically I needed a calendar overview, a grocery list, a daily “to do list”, a holiday menu planner, a gift idea list, a username and password list, and an area for notes (it is in the section of the notes where I keep addresses and notes of important phone calls). I knew that the only way I was going to get what I needed was to create what I needed.  Besides…..I thrive on the challenge of DIY. 

So……I went to Target and bought myself a 5 1/2 x 8×1/2 binder, dividers, a calendar for the small binder and note paper for it.  I then created the other inserts I needed in my Microsoft Office Publisher.  As you can see in the picture below, my binder has a sleeve on the cover so I was able to personalize an insert using my Photoshop program and cardstock. 


I created my inserts in a landscape format  so I can have two copies printed on one sheet of paper. (see pictures below)  I then used my paper cutter to cut them in half (at 5 1/2) so they would fit into my small binder.  I adjusted my hole punch to fit the smaller sized binder.  The great part is that I can print my pages from my own computer as I need them. 

I share with you my inserts. Please feel free to print them as often as you need them.   I hope my simple format can help someone else manage their time.  I do not have copies of the calendar or the note pages since those were purchased from Target in the stationary section. 

Here is my Grocery List.  Notice across the top I have the days of the week for a quick glance of meal planning. 

Planner Grocery List

To print your own copy, click here. Grocery List

Here is my Daily To Do List.  Notice that I have a weekly menu across the top for meal planning. Yes, I duplicate it on my grocery list and weekly to do.   I also added a small column for a quick view at appointments.  I fit all I needed for a week into one page.  I figure I can save paper this way.  I hope my simple format will benefit some of you. 

Planner Daily To Do

To print your own copy, click here:  Weekly To Do List

If you are like me, you try to use the same usernames and passwords for sites.  However, this is not always the safest practice nor is it even possible on some sites.  I am constantly forgetting them.  Here is a chart for sites, usernames and passwords.

Planner Username and Password

To print your own copy, click here: Usernames Passwords

The next two copies will help you stay organized during the hectic holiday season.  Whether the meal planning is for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mardi Gras (in my neck of the swampland, we gather for parades with food and spirits…lots of spirits), Easter or the Fourth of July this meal planning list will help you stay organized.  Come to think of it, it will work for birthday celebrations too.  

Planner Holiday Meal Planning  

The gift planning will work great for birthdays too. 

Planner Holiday Gift List

To print your own copies of the Meal Planning and Gift Planning, click here:

Holiday Meal Planning

Holiday Gift Planning

I use my dividers to divide my binder in the different sections suited for my pages.  I use colorful pens and washi tape to give my planner a splash of fun. 

If you’d like me to design a personalized insert for your binder, please email me.  I can send you an invoice for 6.50 via PayPal and together we can design a personalized cover insert for you to print for your binder.   I can email you a jpeg copy of it.  You can print it on your own computer or at copy store. 


“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”

Benjamin Franklin 



How to Make a Boutique Bow


Cover photoI guess it only makes sense that since I shared with  you how to monogram grosgrain ribbon I should share with you how I make my grosgrain bows.  It’s been on my “How To” to do list, and last weekend I had not one but two request within a day apart of readers requesting steps.  So by your request, below are the steps I take when making my bows. 

Before I tell you the steps, I want to share with you the one most important thing that I have learned over the seven or eight years that I have been making bows……RIBBON QUALITY MATTERS!!!!  I have found that the quality of the ribbon has an affect on how nice the bow will look once it is attached to the barrette.  I order my ribbon from Ribbons and Bows Oh My or Girly Ribbons.  Their grosgrain ribbon has a nice finish to them and a nice amount of stiffness to them that allows the ribbon to hold a nice shape to the finished bow.  I find that the ribbon purchased from Hobby Lobby is flimsy and has almost a sheen look to it.  The ribbon snob in me does not want a sheen to my grosgrain ribbon….YUCK!! 

Ribbon and Bows Oh My carries some colors in Offray which can be purchased at Walmart and JoAnn’s, but I do not get nearly the price nor color  selection at my Walmart or JoAnn’s as I do with RABOM (Ribbons and Bows Oh My).  I am a big fan of their solid grosgrain ribbon. RABOM also has a color card that you can order for their solid grosgrain ribbon.  The amount of different colors is astounding.  Here is my card. It’s several years old so I am sure they have added to it since I ordered my card. 


You will see that RABOM carries printed grosgrain ribbon as well a solid grosgrain.  They also carry other types of ribbon along with all your bow making needs such as the hardware. They even have tutorials. 

Even though RABOM has an extremely large selection of printed grosgrain ribbon, I order most of my printed polka dot and chevron printed ribbon from Girly Ribbons.  I like the painted on/silk screen type dots and chevron stripes from GR.  She also has a “Louisiana Inspired” section of grosgrain printed ribbon.  AND this Louisiana girl LOVES that section.  Just keep in mind that if you iron the ribbon with the painted on/silk screen prints, the iron may melt the dots/chevron stripes some.  Use a cloth over the printed area or iron the backside of the ribbon. 

(Disclosure:  Several weeks back I smashed my thumb in the car door.  It was the worse pain I had ever felt in my life.  It bled for 24 hours and was ugly for about four days. By day five, it looked a lot better.  I credit the Lavender essential oil that I put on it several times a day.  I mention this to you because you may see it in a few pictures.  I did not think of painting it before I started taking pictures.  I hid as well as I could, but you still may see slight bruising of a portion of the nail.) 


2.25″ grosgrain ribbon cut at 43 3/4″ long

1.5″  grosgrain ribbon cut 6″ long (for center knot of bow)  not shown in picture above

sewing needle


8 1/2″ long  x 3 1/2″ wide piece of cardboard  (I taped two pieces of thin cardboard together {making it 1/8″ thick as shown in thumbnail below} with masking tape to give it stability)







long straight pin

pin cushion

3″ French clip style barrette

hot glue gun

Fray Check not shown in picture above

scissors not shown in picture above


Take the ribbon and wrap it around the piece of cardboard (long ways).  If your ribbon is monogrammed, start with the end that is not monogrammed.  Your ribbon should have the monogram face-up as you wrap it around the cardboard. 

013de537f0229d7923080c9059e152aecff8ac1270It will wrap around 2.5 times; ending with the monogram face-up on the bottom edge of the cardboard.  (This monogram font is Mansion Monogram from The Itch 2 Stitch.) If you need tips on “How to Monogram a Grosgrain Ribbon”, please click here

01dc061bb714afc78a460c6395816ab9f073fb2ad7Slide the cardboard from the wrapped/folded ribbon.  Make sure you keep the ribbon folded as you do this. 


Once you have the ribbon from the cardboard, fold the ribbon in half as shown below.


You want to make a crease in the center of the ribbon.

01309bb057247ae1bd4c7ab550153bc8789aecfd48My crease may be hard to see but it’s there.  You’ll see it on your ribbon.  Now, take your straight pin and stick it in center of the crease and poke it into your pin cushion.  The pin cushion will hold the ribbon as you do the next steps. 


Now you will fan out the ribbon to make the bow loops.  The top ribbon (which will be a loop)  and the bottom ribbon (which is a tail) will fan to the left.  The middle portion of the ribbon will fan out the right making another loop for the bottom of the finished bow. 


You’re going to do the same with the other end of the bow, but going the opposite direction.  The top layer (which is the monogrammed tail) and the bottom layer portion of the bow (which is a loop) will fan together to the right. The middle portion of the bow (which is a loop) will fan to the left to make a top loop of the finished bow.  You may need to take the ribbon off of the pin cushion, but KEEP the straight pin in the ribbon.  The pin allows the ribbon’s  center to stay together as  you fan the ribbon.  My straight pin is under my bruised smashed thumb.  I line up all the edges in the center making an “X” shape.  See the below picture. 



I sew a base stitch type stitch through the center of the bow. I start at the bottom and stitch towards the top. 


A loose type base stitch will allow me to pull the thread to crunch the ribbon. I pull it as tight as I can. 


After I pull my thread as tight as I can with my bow crunched in the center, I then wrap my thread around the center several times.  I want to make sure that it’s tight. 


I leave enough of my thread that I can knot it in the back of the bow. I make at least 2-3 knots.  Trim the hanging threads. 

01f0e13af0d0d7dfcd441c4b3313a9d8356cfdca63At this step, you may understand why I say that a good quality grosgrain ribbon matters.  The stiffness in the ribbon will allow you to somewhat shape the loops in your bow.  I play with my loops getting them just the way I like them. Of course you will be limited in how much play you have.  I have made MANY, MANY  bows before I actually figured out that I needed to play around with my loops.  You may not get my look on your first bow or you may not even like my look. You may want to play with the loops to find your own look. No two bows are exactly, but that is okay because no two things are quite alike in nature.  Play around with this bow making method and you may put your own touch on it. 

The bow is now ready for the center knot and the hardware. 

01b419e55e15f9d99cd34243a4d2520de1bbc9199eTo make the center knot, I use a 1.5″ grosgrain ribbon of the same color as my bow.  I like to use the same color, but you can make your knot any color you’d like.  I cut the ribbon 6″ long. 

01137f31dcd4e5acf8e1ba1494aed4c715d67f2722I then fold it in half like in the above picture making it about 3/4″ wide. You could use a 3/4″ ribbon, but I like to have the stiffness and sturdiness that I get when I fold the 1.5″ ribbon in half.  It also makes a perky knot. 

018437a92d2bfdc5cb75710753bf7435dbbe37b989I then make the center knot just by making one loop over.  Make the knot in the center so you will have enough tails on each end to wrap around the center of the bow and around the French clip barrette.  I set it aside until I have attached my barrette. 

01b6ef8ec833fc7228f6d97b1225cbb739b96dfc87I take the flexible arched spine type part of the French clip style barrette out of the barrette. I set it aside until I am completely finished with the barrette.  I then glue with my hot glue the barrette to the back of the bow. Make sure to center it in the center of the bow.  I forgot to take a picture of that actual step but you’ll see it in the following steps.


Now, turn my bow to the front of the bow and place a small dot of hot glue in the center.  I want my knot to be glued down.  Make sure it’s just a small dot of glue or it will ooze out from under the knot.  Hot glue will dry white and be seen on your bow if it oozes out from under the knot. 


 Turn the bow over.  The tails from the center knot will need to be trimmed before they can be glued to the underneath of the barrette. Make sure when you trim the tails that you leave enough to be glued down to the barrette. 

01bf2c6858ae375990bca4fabe717af4b953e68a18I trim and glue one tail at a time.  I do the tail that is towards the bottom of my bow first. 

010c1c81e51ab20edde4b96eee6640d6eaf780d062Then I do the tail towards what is the top of the bow.  Remember the ribbon used for the center was folded in half so a dot of hot  glue will be needed in the middle of the folded ribbon to make it lay flat on the back underneath side of the barrette……confusing?  You’ll see what I mean when you actually do this step. 

01f461630f252051752a165d6a314635f9b7525f9fTurn the bow over and it should look something like this.  BUT before I call myself finished, I like to glue my two top loops down to my  barrette.  Shown in the pictures below. 

01837057d6d281dab2e38bb468c0d9359607b78a66Pull the top loops away from the barrette and add a little hot glue along the top of the barrette.  When you attach the loop, you’ll have a little wiggle room to manipulate the top loop to get it to look just how you’d like it to look.  Again,  you should understand what I mean here when you actually do this step. 


I do one side at a time and allow each side to cool and set before doing the other top loop. 

01f7ea86f368c27c5b5934f0a878813949e46647ceNow you’re ready to trim the front tail.  The other tail is somewhat hidden in the top right hand loop.  It may or may not need trimming.  TIP!!!  Trim a little at a time and look at your bow.  If you think the tail is too long, trim a little more.   If you trim too much all at once you can not put the ribbon back on the tail. I try to keep my tail even with the bottom of the loop on the opposite side. 



016e9bd8c30305aa037907582195c479d198ce685bYou want to “Fray Check” your ends to keep them from fraying.  This should dry clear.  If it doesn’t dry clear, take a little alcohol on a q-tip and run along the edge.  That should aid in making the edges clear. 



This is not the only way to make a boutique style bow.  It’s the method that works best for me.  I have been doing making bows for years as I stated above.  It also took me years to make a bow that I really was proud of…..lots and lots of bows were made in the process.  I hope  you can take my method and make it your own.  If I confused you too much, I will try to clarify my directions…..just send me a comment and we will chat about it.  I’ll try to get my teenager sons to help me put together a video too.  Maybe a speaking and watching tutorial will help. 

Happy Bow Making!!

How To Make a Pillow Sham (an Embroidered Pillow Sham)

Let me start by wishing you a Happy New Year.  I hope this post finds you well.   I know I have been missing in action since Summer.  School began, and I found myself embroidering almost everyday until my children went on Christmas Holiday.  It’s a good thing that I don’t have one of those blogs that get sponsored by brands that expect a post or two a week.  They would fire me. 

On to the topic…

Last year (Christmas that is) I found myself with the idea that I would give personalized throw pillows for gifts for a few lucky ones on my list.  I thought that it would be an easy gift that I could personalize with an embroidery design, family name, initials, etc…  I thought all I would need to do was to go to Hobby Lobby and pick a “ALREADY” made throw pillow sham/cover, come home and embellish it with a design suited for my recipient….EASY- PEASY, LEMON -SQUEEZY right????  WRONG!!!  All of the “already” made throw pillow sham/covers/sleeves’ openings were along the bottom edge and did not allow the pillow case to fit on the hoop of my machine in the direction that allowed my design to maximize the area on the pillow.  I’m not sure if that makes sense but I needed the design going horizontal in my hoop but the opening of the pillow was going to allow the design to be embroidered vertically on the machine which would have resulted in a design being limited in size.  I wanted to use the largest size of my designs.  My largest hoop measures something like 12″wx8″h. 

There WENT my idea of giving personalized pillows as gifts to a few folks on my list…or at least I thought. My husband suggested that I SEW a pillow sham so I could embroidery it prior to stitching the case together.  I am not sure if I have ever told y’all that I do NOT sew.  I can sew a seam in a koozie but to actually have to make something with my normal sewing machine is NOT something I can do.  I can not sew detailed instructions from a pattern. Well, that is not totally true…..I kind of can.  I JUST DO NOT LIKE TO SEW.  However, in this situation, I was either going to DIM (do it myself) or think of another gift.  The easiest solution this time was DIM with a little help from a few Pinterest tutorials in which if  you follow me on Pinterest, you can view them. Those tutorials were GREAT, but none of them gave me the steps that I needed to add an applique. I do not know about  y’all,  but I NEED the step by step visuals of EACH STEP.  At Christmas time, I did not have any brain function to engineer all of this together.  SO…..  I add those extra steps in my tutorial below for you (and I’m not going to lie when I state that this is for ME TOO for future pillow gifts).

I also need to stress that I AM NOT A SEWER FOR HIRE.  I made (and will make) pillows for my gift recipients.  THIS IS STRICTLY A TUTORIAL FOR YOU TO MAKE YOUR OWN PILLOW.  I can applique it for you if you don’t embroidery, but you will need to bring me the material marked with the center. 


1/2 yard of fabric of choice

3/8 or 5/8 double-sided hem tape

pillow insert (I used 16×16) 

fabric marker (disappearing/magic/dissoluble)

embroidery design of your choice

The given..scissors, needles, sewing machine, embroidery machine, thread, straight pins, fabric for applique, stabilizer,  possible iron

Pillow Sham

 To make a case for a 16″x16″ pillow the goal is to have a 15″x15″ pillow sham/case/cover. 

If the pillow insert was 18″x18″ the goal would be to have a 17″x17″ pillow sham.

All sides should be 1″ smaller than pillow so that the pillow is nice and “tart” in the sham.

A half a yard of material will work for one pillow as long as your insert doesn’t exceed 18″.


 Trim your yard of fabric to 38″x16″. TIP: I keep it folded as I trim it 16″ wide.

Then it could be kept folded as you cut the folded piece to 19″ so when you open it up, you have 38″ long.

 IMG_0094.JPGThen to keep the short edges from fraying and to aid in the making of a hem, I prepare the edges to be hemmed with the double-sided hem tape.

I used the 5/8″ tape. It also comes in 3/8″. ( If you use the 3/8″, you may need to cut your material down to 37″x16″.)

Run the tape along the short edges and peel away the backing.


Fold your edge with the 5/8″ tape over so you have a partial hem keeping the hem the 5/8″ of the tape.

I hope that makes sense???…..FOLD OVER 5/8″ don’t fold it over more than the width of the tape.


Do this to both short sides of the material/fabric. 

The tape will stick to your fingers. Be patient!!

Just remember it’s not super glue…LOL!!


Once I have both short edges folded over with the tape, I fold the edges over one more time so my raw edge will be sewn under.

I keep this fold 5/8″ too.


I press this fold with the iron. It would not be necessary but I like to keep the fold in place the best I can without adding another strip of tape.

A few straight pins would hold it in place too.


Once your hems are folded, stitch them with the sewing machine. 

My machine is marked with measurement so I can use them as a guide.  I stitched at the 5/8″ marking. 


Time to fold the short side to create the envelope type back so the center for the embroidery can be determined. 

Please note that the material should be right side facing down as you begin to make these folds because the next few steps is in preparation to find and mark the center for the embroidery.

 The fabric should now be somewhere between 35″ and 36″ long with 35″ being ideal.  With it being 35″, that allows for a 15″ front and the back of the sham measuring 10″ in towards the center to create the envelope type back. 

Pillow fold diagramHere is a diagram.  I hope this helps make it clearer for you.  You may find that your material is a pinch longer than 35″ so you may have one fold at 10″ and the other 10″-11″. The goal is to leave about 4-5″ on each side once you over lap them.  I have labeled the next photo for hopefully a better visual. 

Pillow picture diagram 6

My fabric was a little longer than 35″ so when I folded it in to get 15″ wide, I had an edge folding in 11″ and the other edge folding in at 10″.  This left me with a 6″ overlap and 5″ on one side and 4″ other other.  The ultimate goal is to leave 4-5″ from the overlap to the edges of the pillow.   This will allow for your pillow insert to fit in nicely and then lay nicely without a large gap in the pack. 

Now to mark the  center.

Pillow marking Center

Now that the sides are folded in to create the back of the sham, the pillow shame is measuring 15″x16″

(Remember we cut our fabric 38″w x 16″h when we started so now that is hemmed and folded we have 15″x16″). 

To mark the center, simply fold the fabric in half.  Now the fabric is 7.5″x16″.  If your using a cutting mat with measurement on it like I did, mark the center at 8



I add a few more dots along my centers with my fabric marker to help me hoop the fabric in the hoop straight. 

I also had to put an arrow with my marker to show me which way is the top.** 

** This will only matter if your folded back pieces are not an exact 10″.  Mine were 10″ and 11″ so that will matter when go to sew my sides together after it’s embroidered. 


Hoop and embroidery the design. 

Depending on the fabric a piece of “No Show” cut away stabilizer may need to be added.

  This fabric was a thinner cotton so I floated a piece of it between my fabric and tear away stabilizer. 


The sides are ready to be pinned so they can be sewn.  In this step, the right side of the fabric should be facing up. 

The top of the pillow will be folded back first.  It will overlap the bottom of the pillow on the backside of the sham so it must be folded first. 


 I like to use a yard stick to help me fold. 

This is also the step that was important for me to note which one was folded back at 10″ and which one was 11″.  ASK ME HOW I CAME TO THIS IMPORTANT DISCOVERY!!!!  You might notice that in the previous two pictures the designs are different. I’m sure  you know why….   You will get to see my blooper in the final picture of the deer silhouette pillow.  For my pillows after the deer, I made sure the folds were even, and/or I pinned it both ways:

with the top folded back at 10″ and looked at it from the front to see if the design was centered. 

 with the top folded back at 11″ and looked at it from the front to see if the design was centered. 

My goal here is to save you from bloopers, but you may not have any since  you may be a better “sewing engineer” than I am.


Once the folds are folded back with right sides together, pin it in place. 

I pinned at the hems of the overlaps. 

The sham is ready to be stitched

IMG_0110.JPGRemember I made mention of my sewing machine having the measurement guidelines? I am sure all machines do. 

I have owned two in my sewing life in which both had the guidelines.  

These seams should be sewn at 4/8″ (aka 1/2″).  If a 1/2″ seam is sewn on both sides, it results in a 15″x15″ sham.  

 It is also a good idea to do a reverse stitch over the hem areas. 

There will be a lot of tugging at these points so reinforcement will be beneficial. 



I trimmed the seams with pinking shears to limit fraying.

Now the sham can be turned inside out…over to the right side. 


It is ready for the pillow insert. 


 It will need fluffing (also known as a beating of the pillow) to fill out the sham.


It was a blessing that the blooper pillow was MINE! I really don’t mind since most things in nature aren’t perfect and as far as my husband…..

he has not even noticed that our bed has a new throw pillow on it. 


Any questions….LOL!!! Please feel free to comment or email me. 


JumBOW Dots

bow jumbo dots 2

I think of polka dots as one of those timeless-classic prints, or just dots in general have been a classic print throughout the decades.  Whether it be swiss dots, polka dots or random dots, I find that everyone has a crush on the dots.  The chevron print has become popular over the past few years but has been called a “fad” print, but dots have been around for decades.  When I saw grosgrain ribbon in jumbo dots, I knew my girl had to have several new bows.  I thought they would be cute, but I had no idea that they’d be this cute.  This ribbon is available at Girly Ribbons….and guess what????  Girly Ribbons is a Louisiana Girl!!


If you’d like to order a bow from me, please comment or contact me here on my blog. As you can see from the black/white bow above and the red/white bow below, they are not just for initials. 

To order your own ribbon, visit Girly Ribbon  at .  If you’d like to know “How to Monogram Grosgrain Ribbon” click HERE

bow jumbo dots 1

Home Sweet Home “State” Monogram Hats


 I am so proud of the way these hats came that out I have to share it with you here on my blog.   If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen my latest post on these hats.  It was actually a request from a friend/customer.  She asked for the state of Louisiana to be on her hats, and as we sat with each other talking about monograms for her other items, she had this BRILLIANT idea to add her monogram to Louisiana.  Then as I played with her initials in the state, I added a heart over the parish we live in.  Funny enough….. as I told her I was adding the heart, she laughed because she was wondering silently to herself if there was something I could add to the applique to mark her “Home Sweet Home”.

I also took the idea of putting a heart over the cities/parish and placed a fleur-de-lis over NOLA in honor of beloved Who Dat Nation and a paw over Baton Rouge for all of the tiger fans.



To be able to get the applique as close to the bill of the hat and as large as I could, I created it as a patch and glued it on the hat as I do with the raggy oval and circle patches.  If you’d like a state patch for a hat you have, you may bring me the hat or contact me for a patch. If you choose to apply the patch yourself, I will send instructions on how to apply it with the patch.  I have the designs for most of the southern states.  The heart can be placed anywhere in the state that you call home sweet home. 

I have also recently created a page on the blog under both  “DIY Projects” and “Embroidery”  on How to Monogram a Baseball Cap using Fast Frames.  If you embroidery, you may want to check it out.  

Thanks for taking the time and spending a few  minutes with me here on my blog. 


Show & Tell Friday: Monogrammed Straw Hats

monogrammed hats2

For over a year now, I have admired several posting in my “embroidery group” of monogrammed floppy straw hats. I bought one last summer, hung it on a hook and never monogrammed it until last week when I had a customer bringing me straw hats to monogram.

Knowing they were on their way with the straw hats, I thought it would be a good time to get my floppy straw hat out so I could use it as a “tester”.  Remember in the sentence above I said that I hung it on a hook?  I guess I forgot to mention that since then I caught Hallie “Audrey Hepburn” Parker using it one day back in January or February to play.

My floppy straw hat  was nowhere to be found by the time the customer arrived.  My only hope was to drill Hallie when she arrived home from her last day of school in hopes that she remember where she put it when she was finished playing.  You can imagine how that went with an excited eight year old on her last day of school.  She could not remember where she put the hat on that cold winter day when she pranced around as if she was “My Fair Lady”.

straw hat 5

I looked in all the places that I thought a little girl with lots of junk filled tote bags would have put a floppy straw hat.  I finally gave up on my search.  I  just figured that I would have to practice on one of Kenny’s (the husband… my husband) straw hats that he wears to cut the grass or get a new straw hat to practice on.  It was right about that time that the little girl had to practice her piano.  Like she always does, she wanted to make a deal with me…..she would practice her  piano IF  I got down the ukulele that was on the top shelf in her closet.  Really…a ukulele?  She wanted to play that ukulele that she had to have from one of our cruises to Cozumel. It’s been in her closet forever.  I forgot we had it.  I thought that was WEIRD, and I have been long over making  deals with her, BUT the top shelf of her closet was the one place I had not looked for the straw hat.  AND…………….


Right  next to  the little purple ukulele was the floppy straw hat.  Funny how God does that, huh? It’s also funny that it was so high and behind a pile of folded jeans that there was no way Hallie could have put it there.  It must have been Kenny because I WOULD HAVE REMEMBERED where it was if I put it there.  Hehe!

Audrey Hepburn was such a classic beauty.  She can be found photographed in many straw hats.  I would like to think that if monogramming was the craze back in the day of such a Hollywood Classic  that she too would have had her straw hats adorned with her set of initials.

Straw hat

straw hat 2 straw hat 3 straw hat 4

If you have a tightly woven straw hat and would like me to monogram it, please contact me.  I am monogramming one day a week.  If it is a rainy week, I may monogram twice that week.  LOL!

For tips and/or a step by step tutorial on “How to Monogram a Straw Hat” click here.

Show & Tell Friday: The PINspiration That Started it ALL

Pinterest is a woman’s best friend and a husband’s worse nightmare……or at least that is the way it is in my house.  Y’all know how I feel about Pinterest: LoVe, lOvE, LOVE!!   However, I must say that I only thought I pinned a lot, but I see some of the pinners that I follow have pins in the thousands and ten thousands.  I think I must be a picky pinner.  I have discovered that my pins must have links attached to them with detail about the pin.  I occasionally will pin a photo only, but I  usually like the pins that come attached to a working site.  There is nothing more disappointing than a great pin without the recipe, buying site, or DIY directions attached.  It’s through Pinterest that I have found some wonderful blogs to follow.  There are so many talented bloggers out there.

This particular pin below is from Amy who has a BEAUTIFUL blog, Playing Sublimely.  I must say that this wall is what put me on a mission of Operation Kitchen Cabinet Redoux.  It was my PINspiration.


PINspiration prayer wall from Playing Sublimely.

PINspiration prayer wall from Playing Sublimely.

I know you’re probably thinking that how did a chalkboard wall lead me to redoing my kitchen cabinets, getting new counter tops, an addition to my island, etc…..  Well, it was just one of those things that happens when you begin to think of one thing and it leads to something else and so on and so on.  I had pinned his pin because I thought it was a genius idea to have a chalkboard prayer wall.  It just so happened that I had a tall skinny wall that I thought would be perfect for this.  I am a big fan of writing prayers to Our Father via a prayer journals so this was going to be one way that I could get my children to write their prayers down.  I also thought it would be a great way for us to be reminded daily that He is always in control and that we should be grateful of each day regardless of what comes our way.

One night after the Christmas excitement, Kenny and I found ourselves in Lowes or Home Depot.  Bored out of my mind in there, I wondered into the paint department and  just so happened to be asked if I needed any help.  To my amazement I heard the words come out of my mouth, “Yes, I am looking for chalkboard paint.”  It just came out like a cuckoo bird coming out of the clock on the top of the hour.  So, there I was with chalkboard paint in hand.  I figured how hard could this be……I have painted a few walls in my time!

Once I got home and read the can, I discovered that there were directions on how to prep the wall because for the best results for a chalkboard wall, the walls should be SMOOTH!  Smooth as in no texture on the wall.  This could NOT be correct.  So I hit the best invention since sliced bread for more information on it; Pinterest.  Surely, I would find other chalkboard DIY directions there.  So I searched: CHALK PAINT ……..not chaldboard paint; just chalk paint.  And from my ignorance a new project was born as well as a future blog post.  I had NO idea there was such a beautiful creature as chalk paint that did not require sanding or stripping the old paint off of the surface.  Finally there was a way for me to redo my old white cabinets, and it seemed like one project that  I could handle doing solo. (Solo as in no help from my husband.  I also needed to use doing it solo as my leverage to get those long-awaited for marble counter tops.)  Also thanks to my ignorance, I discovered that there was no other better way to paint a “chalkboard” wall without prepping the wall and making it smooth.  It’s at this part of my story that leads me to… Pinterest is a husband’s worst nightmare.

Above is the wall prior to the chalkboard paint.  Notice that it even has a wall phone on it.  Yes, we may be the only family that still has a wall phone.  We lived through Katrina and had phone  service before we had electricity and had both long before we had Internet and cable.  It’s important to me to have land line communication even if the wall phone is a decorating faux pas.  Please don’t judge….ha!! I NEED MY COMMUNICATION!!!!

Kenny had to patch the wall.  He rerouted the phone to the other side of the wall which WAS our butler’s pantry between our dining room and kitchen.  It since has received a make over which I will share in a future post with the kitchen.  As you can kind of tell, we have an open floor plan in our house.

photo 4He had to sand the texture off of the wall.  Then he applied something he called joint compound to make it a smoother texter. I called it spackle.  I would believe him and not me on this one….LOL!!!  The compound made the wall smoother than it was but it is not totally smooth.

photo 1He then had to sand the joint compound and prime the wall.  Can you say “dust”!!! The dust from the sanding step was almost unbelievable.  I’m not sure you can see the BLACK grand piano that is the neighbor to the wall under construction.  Thank goodness that half of the piano was covered with one of our Christmas trees and a tree skirt.  Yes, I started this project right after Christmas and before I had taken down the decorations.  I thought that was brilliant on my part. Don’t you? As if the Christmas aftermath isn’t enough of a mess in a home.   In my defense, Kenny was on vacation and most of my projects become his projects so he was a must.  photo 3This is the wall painted with two coats of chalkboard paint and  with one stripe painted around the outer edges. photo 4Two stripes around the wall.  I was actually out-of-town in Foley, Alabama shopping with my mom and sisters when this step was underway.  I do love my husband….sweatpants and all!! (above picture..LOL!!) Notice the brown buffet in the background to the left.  It was getting ready for its big make over.  photo 2The wall with two stripes and dots.  I did not trust myself with my handwriting nor my balance on a tall ladder to do the actual writing of verses on the chalkboard wall with actual chalk.  I cheated and used wall vinyl and my Cricut.  Kenny also helped me put that up due to my fear of being that high on a ladder.                                                                                                           photo 1 The bottom of the wall would not have been so bad since I could have done it with both feet on the ground,  but Kenny did the applying of that verse too. I think he had a fear of me putting it on the wall on an angle.  I had the same fear to be honest.  photo 3Here is the wall with both verses waiting for each child’s prayer frame.  Take a look at the buffet to the left.  It is now Emperor’s Silk Red (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint).  The Christmas decorations are down too.  walls 4And the wall today……painted, striped, dotted, vinyled, framed and chalked.  Kenny made the frames with pieces of molding so they would lay flat on the wall.  They came out a little smaller than I had envisioned but that left me with a little room for my yearly photo calendar and important numbers and dates.  It may not be as pretty and perfect as my PINspiration, but I love it just the same.  And most of all,  I love that it was the project from a PINspiration that started it all………..