The Best of Home Crafts by Ali in 2015

It's time to share the Best of Home Crafts by Ali in 2015. The top ten posts that you, my wonderful readers, loved to visit this year.

Home Crafts by Ali 2015 wreath sewing recipe craft DIY

I can't believe that 2015 is almost over with! I thought as a year-end post I would share the 10 most visited posts for the year. I'm glad that you all have visited me throughout the year and supported me with your kind comments.

Here are the 10 most visited posts in 2015 ~

Winter Wonderland

This week it snowed here in Utah. That might not seem like a big deal, but it's been a few years since we have had some good snow in the valley. The last few years there was a light dusting in the morning that had melted by the early afternoon. The snow this week softly fell while we slept on Monday morning, then continued throughout the day. Seeing the snow blanketing the yard and surrounding areas makes it look so peaceful and fresh. With the sunshine sparkling on the snow it is a winter wonderland.

winter snow photographs mountains utah fun

When it is cold outside, I prefer to curl up with a good book and enjoy the snow from the window. This week though I decided to venture out and enjoy the beauty of the snow.

Healthier Breakfast Casserole

Want to try a healthier version of the tasty sausage breakfast casserole that has all the wonderful taste? This recipe is the one that you have been looking for!

breakfast casserole healthy hash brown cheese turkey sausage

My family loves this healthier version of the well known sausage breakfast casserole. This healthier version doesn't skimp on the flavor either. We love it for breakfast on Saturday morning, or even for dinner sometimes. It's tasty whenever you decide to eat it! You can assemble it the night before for a faster breakfast.

A Minted Giveaway

Are you looking for a unique decor piece, gift, or creative card or invitation? Minted offers all of those items on their website. I'm happy to join with Simplistically Living to offer you the chance to win a gift certificate to Minted. I'm sure that you will find items that are perfect for you!

Minted uses technology to allow consumers to discover great creative talent, making Minted a place where artists can learn, gain exposure, and build their businesses. So when you order from Minted you are helping independent artists become known and build their businesses! A great way to help entrepreneurs.

Monthly Blog Check-in & Goals - Month 11

Can you believe that November is over already? Since the month is over, it's time for me to post my monthly check-in and goals update. I'm excited to share some of the ways I helped my pageviews and social media grow.

November was an exciting month here on my blog. I helped promote two giveaways this past month and joined up with two blog hops as well. It was fun to be part of a group of bloggers sharing holiday ideas (one for homemade ornaments and one for holiday recipes).

I had the opportunity to work with Andover Fabrics during the month as well. They had a new fabric line coming out and sent samples to creative bloggers to sew a project and share. It was also part of the giveaway on one of my posts (enter here until 12/14). The fabric they sent was beautiful and I have actually gone to a local quilt shop to buy more of that collection.

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup

Learn to make this homemade cream of chicken soup. With just a few ingredients you will have soup ready to add to your favorite recipe.

soup chicken homemade cream

I love to make casseroles and Hawaiian Haystacks, but hate to buy cans of cream of chicken soup at the store. If you look at the labels of those cans, they have so many ingredients that you can't even pronounce. If you have an extra 20 minutes, you can make this soup yourself next time you need cream of chicken soup for a recipe. And it tastes so much better than the canned ones you buy at the store.

DIY Holiday Decor Mat

When you display your holiday decor, make sure that your wood furniture is protected. You can make one of these easy DIY decor mats to protect the wood from getting scratched.

DIY decor holiday mat Christmas sew easy

Since Thanksgiving night, my girls have been asking to display our Christmas decorations. I have been delaying them because I didn't want my buffet to be scratched. It has been passed down in my family for the last 100 years and I didn't want to be the cause of it getting damaged. I decided to sew a quick decor mat so we could start to display our fun decorations.

My measurements will be for the size I need. You will have to measure your decor to see if you need a larger mat or a smaller one. This is a simple and easy DIY project that will protect your wood furniture from being accidentally damaged. It is double sided, so you can plan use for multiple occasions.

DIY Paper Straw Christmas Wreath

Now that Thanksgiving is past, it's time to look forward to Christmas. The first thing I decided to do to get ready for the holiday was to make a new wreath. I decided to make a paper straw Christmas wreath to decorate my front door.

christmas holiday wreath decor DIY

Last week I went to a craft warehouse and bought quite a few craft supplies that I thought would be useful. I saw these Christmas themed paper straws and immediately knew they would be fun to use to make a wreath. After all the cooking for Thanksgiving, I relaxed by making my wreath.

If you follow this tutorial, you should be able to put together this wreath in about half an hour. It's easy to make and is a thrifty project too. All of the supplies together cost about $7.

Shop Small Businesses

In between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is one of my favorite shopping days - Small Business Saturday. I love supporting small or local businesses when I can. Small Business Saturday is the perfect day to remember to shop from them this holiday season. I feel strongly about supporting regular people like you and me in their creative ventures. Following are some of the businesses I have bought from and had a good experience.

shop small businesses handmade jewelry clothing planners cards

This Saturday there are many Christmas boutiques and expos going on. If you check local or regional events, I'm sure you can find quite a few. I go to these during the year because I love the chance to talk with the person that actually creates the product, finding out what inspires them to create the product and share it with others.

If you don't plan on going out shopping today, you can always find shops online to buy from. I've made a list of some of the small businesses that I love. I hope you find some that you like too!

23 Christmas Books for Every Home

There are so many wonderful Christmas books out there to choose from. I made a list of 23 Christmas books that would be nice to have in your home.

Christmas Books Kids Classics Heartwarming

When the weather starts to get cold, it's nice to curl up with a book. If you have young children, it's nice to read with them too. Reading Christmas books at this time of year is a fun activity. The list that I put together has some fun Christmas stories, some heartfelt Christmas stories, and some religious stories as well. I think there is a little bit for everyone included in these 23 books.

Gifts for Crafty & Creative People

When going to buy a gift for a crafty person, it might be hard to narrow down just the right thing. This list will give you good ideas for big or small gifts for that creative person in your life.

Gifts for Crafty & Creative People - Gift ideas big and small for your favorite creative person

Today I am sharing different ideas for art supplies, craft storage, creative books, tools and machines, subscription boxes and art classes. In each category there are smaller items you can buy for a crafty friend or neighbor, or bigger items for a close family member.

Monthly Blog Check-in & Goals Month 10

Another month has gone by, which means it's time to post my monthly update about my blog. Exciting things from the month, growth of my blog, strategies that have worked (or not), and my goals for the upcoming month.

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My blogging journey in October saw a change in direction for me. Throughout the summer I blogged because I felt pressure; pressure to be successful, pressure to make money, pressure to have more visitors so my stats would be higher and I could get sponsored post opportunities. I spent most of my summer blogging, networking, marketing my posts, and didn't spend as much time with my family as I wanted. Starting in September and continuing into October I evaluated how I was feeling about blogging. I decided that I wanted to blog about things that interested me, that I was passionate about. I would worry less about how many visits each day or week. I would go back to creating those things that I was interested in and hope that my interest in those things would show through into my posts. I wanted to be genuine in what I posted and knew that I would feel better about sharing the content I created because I was passionate about it. I don't want to be so stressed anymore, I want to enjoy blogging and creating. I do still keep track of visits to my page and which posts do well, but I don't get discouraged if I have a day that is down in the numbers.

In October I shared a few recipes that I love, worked on some interesting crafts, and focused a few times on books. I created some crafts at home just because I wanted to, not for my blog.

The exciting thing for October here on my blog was opening a shop. I have loved making these doll quilts and other items. I have some fun new fabrics I will be trying out soon.

My friend Kim at The Resourceful Mama hosted a giveaway on her blog for a Frozen Doll Quilt to help me promote my new shop. I sent her a quilt for her daughter and Kim says that she loves it. I appreciated her helping me out that way. It was fun to have a giveaway be for my own product, and knowing that there are people out there that like it was nice.

Here are what my stats were like for the month.

Those stats reflect the increase in followers. For interaction on social media, I actually had an increase that was quite significant. My re-pins increased by over 20% for the month, interaction on Facebook increased, 12%, and interaction on Instagram increased 32%! What contributed to those factors?

Pinterest - I used 2 strategies for the month.
1 - I made sure that the items I pinned were high quality pictures. If the recipe or craft did not have a good picture I didn't pin it. I also try to visit every pin to make sure that it goes to the right place, has a good tutorial with it, and isn't on an offensive page.
2 - I started using the search function on Pinterest more. I checked to see what was trending on searches or popular pins were at the moment. I noticed that when I did that, most of the pins were re-pinned within about 10 minutes.

Facebook - For this all I did was lessen the times I shared on Facebook. Instead of having a craft, a recipe, a video, and a personal share every single day, I found things that I slowed down and only shared when I found something I thought my readers would like. Facebook is a hard one to work are never sure if anyone will actually see your post. I looked over what people had liked in the past and tried to find things in my niche that they would be interested in.

Instagram - I continued my normal sharing of behind the scenes photos from different projects or shopping. I have had a few people message me telling me that they visited my blog after seeing things on my Instagram, so some of them are clicking over too.

Social Media in general - I realized that I have to tailor my social media sharing on these different sites in different ways. Most of my Facebook people like inspirational or funny videos, crafting memes, dessert recipes, and some of my crafty posts; so I share differently there than I do on Instagram. It's been a learning experience for me.

Income Report:
Shipping - $5.26
Supplies - $8.50
Giveaway sign up - $10

IZEA - $1.00
Sovrn ads - $1.65
Products - $65.11 (book, fabric, markers)
Google AdSense - $.05

Total + $44.05

I succeeded with all of my goals except building backdrops for my photos. I enjoyed the photography class and have been working on using their tips to stage my photos and use natural lighting techniques when photographing my items. I was able to find 2 holiday blog hops and one holiday giveaway.

Goals for November
  • Write posts earlier
  • Provide a newsletter weekly (sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar!)
  • Create Thankful Tree
  • Post on Instagram daily what I am grateful for (#30daysofgratitude_2015)
  • Make sure I enjoy holiday time with my family!
  • Make a sale in my shop!

Top Posts for the Month

There is my monthly check in for my blog. Thanks for stopping by. I would love to hear in the comments what exciting things have been happening for you! Feel free to share your goals for the month too.

Thanksgiving Turkey Soda Bottle Craft

When a group gathers for Thanksgiving, keeping the kids out from underfoot while you finish cooking and setting the table can be a challenge. Keep them occupied by having them make their own colorful turkeys for the dinner table! This fun and creative project will keep them entertained while you finish the last minute holiday prep!

Easy Kids Thanksgiving Turkey Craft

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I am always trying to think of ideas to make holidays a little more entertaining for my children. I decided to have them make these easy Thanksgiving Turkey Soda Bottles. Soda at our house is a treat for my girls and I thought they would love to have their root beer decorated like fun turkeys.

Book Review - Michael Symon's 5 in 5 For Every Season

Using fresh ingredients in recipes always tastes much better than dried or canned vegetables. I was glad to get this book for recipes for the whole year using fresh ingredients in quickly made meals. Read below for my review of this book.

Book review of 5 in 5 For Every Season by Michael Symon. 5 fresh ingredients in each meal made in about 5 minutes.

Sweet Potato Holiday Casserole

Around the holidays there are a few special dishes that we don't have during other times of the year. One of those recipes is this homemade sweet potato casserole. We love the subtle mixture of the sweetness and spice. I know it's Thanksgiving or Christmas when this side dish is on the table.
Thanksgiving Side Dish Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

Sweet potato casserole is a wonderful side dish, especially for people who don't enjoy dessert pies but do like a bit of sweetness. The trick is getting a nice balance between the flavors. Some sweet potato casseroles are way too sweet, but this one is just right for our tastebuds.


DIY Double Sided Holiday Blocks

I love decor pieces that I can keep up for multiple holidays. These double sided blocks are perfect because you can display them for Thanksgiving, then flip them to the other side and you have Christmas decor all ready!

Make your own double sided holiday blocks

Generally for my tutorials I share step by step photos, but I made these blocks 3 years ago and I was so busy chatting with friends that I don't have photos from that night. I will describe it so you can easily make the blocks for your own home. If you decide to make this project, plan on a large chunk of time. You will need to let the paint dry for a while before going on to each next steps.


Cash for Christmas Giveaway 2015

Wouldn't it be nice to have a little extra cash for buying Christmas gifts this year? I've joined 20 other bloggers in this giveaway to provide Cash for Christmas. Enter and you could be one of 4 winners! The giveaway ends Wednesday November 25th so you can have some extra money while doing your Black Friday shopping.

Read about the giveaway, then enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Good luck!

Are you getting geared up for the shopping season? Do you need extra cash for Christmas?? Don't we all!

We are so excited to be giving away $225 in cash prizes for you to use starting Thanksgiving weekend. Here are the prizes:

1 - $100 Amazon Gift Card
1 - $75 Target Gift Card
1 - $25 Walmart Gift Card
1 - $25 Kohls Gift Card

There will be four winners in this giveaway. Each winner will receive a gift card code to use on the online store or in the actual store.

Now its time to meet our wonderful co-hosts who have made this giveaway possible.

                 Grateful {Printable} + $225 Cash for Christmas Giveaway
Starting at the top row we have:
Please stop by and say hi to these wonderful ladies and their blogs.
The giveaway will end midnight on Wednesday, November 25th, the night before Thanksgiving. You will have 48 hours to respond to the email claiming the prize. If you respond right away, we will get you the gift card code promptly so that you can shop with it on Black Friday! If we don't hear in 48 hours, we will choose another winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Paint Swirl Glass Ornament

Have you been searching for some fun and unique ideas to make your own ornaments this Christmas season? I have a wonderfully easy and artistic one for you. Read below to see how you and your children can make your own paint swirl ornaments.

When we unpack the ornaments for our tree and start to decorate, we always take the time to talk about where each ornament came from. Our favorites are the ones we have made ourselves. I have quite a few from when I was little, as well as the ones that my girls make at school or different holiday activities. We decided to make some of our own ornaments at home, using quite a few items we had from home as well as a few from the local craft store.

Prairie Patchwork Piano Runner

Today I am sharing a project that I have wanted to create for the past few months. This past summer we inherited  a piano from my husbands family and I have wanted to make a piano runner for it. This weekend I made the piano runner and I love how it turned out. Don't forget to check the end of my post for a giveaway.

A month ago I was sent this fat quarter bundle of fabric from the Little House on The Prairie® Andover Fabrics Collection. I fell in love with them and spent a few days dreaming about what I would make with them.

The Time Chamber Book Review

Lately it seems as if adult coloring books has become one of the most popular trends. For someone that loves to color but likes something a little more detailed than a princess coloring book, this was wonderful news. Coloring is so relaxing, you get to use your imagination while picking out the colors for the picture, and your project will not get ruined if you are interrupted and have to leave it for a time. Read below for my review of The Time Chamber coloring book.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for writing an honest review of the book. All thoughts are my own and are not swayed by receiving a free copy of this book. This post contains affiliate links. For more information about my Amazon affiliate links, see the bottom side of my blog.

The Time Chamber by Daria Song is a slightly different coloring book. It  has a simple and magical story that goes along with the pictures throughout the book. A fairy climbs through a cuckoo clock into the room of a little girl and explores while the girl sleeps.

Living a Grateful Life

Lately I have been thinking about gratitude quite a bit, about how I can live a more grateful life. Of the things I am grateful for, of how I can express my gratitude, and how I can increase thankfulness in my life. Here are my thoughts.

Mindfully Grateful
I think one thing that helps me to be grateful, is to make time at the end of every day to write down three things I was grateful for that day. It is easier for me to take a look back at the end of the day to reflect on those good happenings. After doing this for a while, I have found it's easier during my day to notice the little blessings throughout my day. What about those hard days when everything seems to have fallen apart and didn't meet my expectations? I admit that it's hard at first to think of anything good. Those are the days when I focus on the fact that my husband did the dinner dishes and both my girls still love to snuggle before bedtime. And really, aren't those the things I should be grateful for everyday?

Gratitude Journal
I've posted before about how I like to make journals (see here and here). Having a gratitude journal is a way to write more in depth about those people, life experiences, and items that you are thankful for in your life. At a later date you can look back at those journal entries and realize how much love and how many blessings you have in your life.

Frozen Doll Quilt Giveaway at The Resourceful Mama

Have  you seen the cute doll quilts I have added to my shop on Home Crafts by Ali? I am excited to tell you that my friend Kim is hosting a giveaway on her blog, The Resourceful Mama, for one doll quilt designed in Frozen fabric. This quilt is the perfect size for an 18-inch doll (American Girl, Our Generation, My Life). It measures 15 inches wide and 18.5 inches long.

My girls love to play with their Our Generation dolls and use a quilt the same size as the one that is being given away. Sometimes their doll is camping and the quilt is the tent, or the doll needs a superhero cape, or the quilt has been a picnic blanket for my girls to have their tea parties on.

12 Cookbooks For Every Kitchen

Tired of making the same meals and looking for some inspiration in the kitchen? See the 12 cookbooks that can help you find some new favorite recipes.

*** This page contains affiliate links. See my Amazon Associate Disclosure in my sidebar. ***

I love books of all kinds. When I tell my husband that I'm going to "just stop in" the bookstore, he knows that means that I'll be home in a few hours. I do have books on my tablet, but there is something about holding a book, flipping through the pages. This goes for cookbooks too. Yes, I do check for certain recipes online, but I like to have cookbooks also that I can pull out and look through.

A portion of my cookbooks are kept in the small cabinet over our microwave. This is only about half of them. There are more on the other side of the cabinet, some in a box, and I also have recipe boxes too.

Delicious Potato Soup

Delicious Potato Soup - a great meal for cool fall evenings

In my home, once the weather starts to get a bit cooler I start to make all of our favorite soups. The first one of the year is always potato soup. It is a quick meal to put together on a busy fall evening that tastes delicious.

My favorite potato to use in soup is Yukon Gold Potatoes. I love their flavor and richness.

Ingredients Needed

8 - 10 medium potatoes - diced (peel if desired)
1/4 onion - diced
1 T butter
2 c chicken stock/broth
3 c water
4 T butter
4 T flour
1/4 t ground mustard
1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1 c milk
2/3 c shredded cheese

Book Review - Instant Happy Journal

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for writing this review.  All thoughts are my own and are not swayed by receiving a free copy of this book.  This post may contain affiliate links.

So often in life, we tend to focus on the not-so-positive things. When I saw this book, Instant Happy Journalby Karen Salmansohn, as one of the options for my monthly reviews on Blogging for Books I decided to order it. I figured that when using this over the year, I would be able to mindfully add happiness to my life. Who couldn't use more happy in their life?

This journal has daily happiness prompters to encourage you to reflect on those things in your day or life that bring joy, love, and happiness.  I think we all get busy in the day to day life and sometimes forget to think about those things. These daily prompts help you focus on the positive, and that can change your whole outlook on life and benefit you in many ways.

How I Keep My Life Organized

A few weeks ago I posted on Twitter and my Facebook page about how excited I was to get my new planner in the mail and I couldn't wait to use it. I had a friend private message me and ask if I was saying those things as a sponsored post or if I really meant it. I told her that I had no connection at all with the company and just loved their products so much and told her how easy it made keeping track of all the many activities we have going on at our house. So this post is really how I feel about their products - it has changed my life and made day to day life so much easier.

Do you have trouble keeping track of all the many things going on in your life? Soccer games, ballet recitals, piano lessons, job deadlines, when the school science fair is, which weekend to take a quick road trip to see family, meal plans for the week, which day you volunteer at the school.....and the list goes on.

I seem to forget which day the library books are due and if I go to the grocery store without a list I forget what I wanted. It's a nuisance and I had searched for ways to stay more organized in my day to day life. I carried around a little pocket calendar, but there was no place to take notes, make lists, or write down all of the different things that were going on during the week.

Blog Monthly Check-in & Goals ~ Month 9

It's time for another one of my monthly blog check-ins. I'm doing it a little differently than I have in past months. I want to share with you the exciting things for my blog over the past month and what has helped me with my growth.

Home Crafts by Ali Monthly Check-in & Goals ~ Month 9
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The first thing I wanted to share with you is that I joined an amazing blogging group on Facebook. The two ladies in charge of the group are so great and want to help us all be successful. It is about getting back to the essentials of blogging. Each month has a theme and we work on different blogging projects every week. In September they wanted us to think about what direction we wanted to take our blog and the best way to fulfill those blogging dreams. Let me know if any of you want an invite to the group, it is for people that have been blogging for years, new bloggers, and for people that haven't started a blog yet.

During the month I designed a new header for my blog, some business cards that match, and designed a new cover photo for Facebook that shows pictures from some of my best posts.

DIY Watercolor Flower Bouquet

Do you love flowers, but hate when they die after a few days? I have a wonderfully easy DIY project for you then. Learn to make your own watercolor flower bouquet that you can display for as long as you like.

DIY Watercolor Flower Bouquet - a simple paint project so you can make your own flower bouquet
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Last week I shared my book review for the book Paper Goods Crafts. I shared a picture of the project I created based on one that was in the book. I didn't follow their directions though, I made up my own and wanted to share with you how you can replicate this in your own home.

Great Books Every Home Should Have

Join me for a look at great books you can read this week or anytime. These are books that would be a wonderful addition to any home library.

Great Books Every Home Should Have
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October is National Book Month. Books are something I'm very passionate about. I feel they are important to the learning and imagination of, well, everyone. This week, October 5th-11th, is Great Books Week. Being a book lover, this is one I was definitely excited to celebrate.

Great Books Every Home Should Have
Original Source unknown
It made me think though, what makes a "great book"? Is it only a great book if it reaches #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list? Or maybe only if it was written 200+ years ago? Or is it a book that you find yourself thinking about, even after you have returned it to your shelf? There are so many books to choose from, and if you look you will find the books that you love, treasure, and deem great.

Blog Buddy Reveal - Becoming A Gilbert

About a month and a half ago, I saw a listing in a facebook blogging group for a sign up for a blog buddy. You would apply, they would set you up with someone you didn't know, then you would get to know each other, encourage each other, become blog buddies, swap sidebar ads, and at the end of the time hopefully find someone that you want to continue being in contact with. The buddy program was hosted by Keeping Up With Ashley and Cody and I can't wait for the next one to start so I can meet another great blogger.

My blog buddy was Sabra from Becoming a Gilbert. Sabra is getting ready to finish college, she has a wonderful blog, she is starting her own photography and design company, she has a cute dog, and totally loves her husband. I have enjoyed reading her blog, texting with her, checking out her Instagram account, and swapping blogs with her.

Oh So Delicious Black Bottom Cupcakes

Are you looking for a wonderfully delicious cupcake recipe?  If so, today is your lucky day. These chocolate cupcakes have the added tastiness of cream cheese and chocolate chips.  Read below to learn to make these oh so delicious cupcakes!
chocolate cupcakes that are the perfect blend of chocolate and cream cheese

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Black Bottom Cupcakes are a special treat at our house.  When my family knows that they are baking, there seems to be extra traffic in the kitchen while waiting for these to cool and be ready to eat. I have never met anyone that doesn't fall in love with these cupcakes after the first bite.

Paper Goods Projects - Book Review

We all have household items sitting in our cupboards or kitchen cabinets that can be used to create art pieces, if we look at them in a different way.  Read my book review of Paper Goods Projects to see how you can transform everyday objects into creative pieces. 

Paper Goods Projects - Book Review.  How to transform everyday objects into creative pieces.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for writing this review.  All thoughts are my own and are not swayed by receiving a free copy of this book.  This post may contain affiliate links.

Recently I received a copy of Paper Goods Projects by Jodi Levine with photography by Amy Gropp Forbes.  Jodi Levine worked for 19 years with Martha Stewart so I immediately knew that she had the talent to share these projects.  I was worried that the projects would be difficult to replicate or too advanced for a novice paper goods crafter, but once I looked through the book I knew that I was wrong.  These projects are easy to replicate for a beginner crafter and even many are for children.

How to Make a Fall Wreath

Join me today as I share with you how to make a wreath to decorate your door for fall. Gather the supplies needed and within about 15 minutes you will have a nice decoration to display on your front door.

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I don't decorate very much for holidays or seasons; I have a cat that likes to jump up on furniture and shelves to knock things over, and two little girls who like to play with our decorations.  One of the things that I do like to display is a seasonal wreath on my door.  I like having a decorative welcome and something that makes our door a cheerful entry to our home.

This wreath is very easy to make.  It will take about five or ten minutes for you to attach the different decorations onto the wreath.  I am not great with bow making skills, so I will include a few links that you can visit to learn to make different bows.  Alright, let's get started.

10 Creative Ways to Store Fabric

Looking for some new ways to store your fabric stash?  Today I am sharing 10 different ways you can keep your fabric organized.

unique and creative ways to display and store fabric stash

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For the past few months, my husband and I have been slowly working on my craft room.  It is a new space for me to plan, create, blog, and photograph.  He moved my large storage cabinet into the room and I spent some time this week putting my fabric back into it.  As I was doing this, I realized that I needed to be a little more organized with my fabric, so I started searching the internet for some inspiration.

I found some wonderful ideas, and decided to share them with you today.  I found ways to decoratively display your fabric, different storage solutions, a great way to make your own mini bolts of fabric, and new ideas for scrap fabric storage.  My scraps are always floating around at the bottom of different project bags, so it was neat to see ways to store them.

How to Sew a Quick Trick or Treat Bag

Join me today for this tutorial and you can learn to make a trick or treat bag in about 20 minutes.

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Every year for Halloween we buy those cute plastic pumpkins for trick or treating.  My girls play with them for a while, then they get broken. This year instead of buying another pumpkin, I decided to make a trick or treat bag.

This was a quick project and I thought that I would share it with you here so you can make your own.  September is National Sewing Month and I have shared a new sewing project each week.  These are easy enough for beginners, but also fun projects for people that have experience sewing.

Oven Roasted Baby Potatoes with Sea Salt

Are you looking for a potato dish that will please the whole family?  Try this basic oven roasted baby potato recipe and I'm sure that it will become one that your family asks for often.

Oven Roasted Baby Potatoes with Sea Salt - a potato dish that will please the whole family

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This is one of the side dishes that everyone in my family loves to eat. These potatoes turn out so tender and flavorful.  This is a basic recipe that pleases all the different taste buds in our family.  There are many herbs you can add to make it have extra flavor, but I've tried that and we honestly love the sea salt and pepper combination the best.  You aren't masking the taste of the potatoes, you are just enhancing the natural tastiness of these young, new potatoes.


Must Have Items for a Guest Gift Basket

When you have guests coming into town, it's nice to put together a little gift basket for them.  It doesn't have to be fancy, just a few items that let them know you are happily planning for their visit.

10 items to buy for your guests

Recently my sister-in-law came to visit for a little over a week.  She lives out of the country so we don't get to see her very often.  I was excited to see her and wanted her to feel welcome at our home.  She had come to visit before, but this time she had a room of her own and I bought a few items for her while she was staying with us.

Sewing for Beginners - Easy Doll Blanket

My girls love having their blankets nearby at bedtime and have been asking me to make their dolls a blanket too.  I sewed one quickly and decided it would be a fast, easy tutorial to share with you today.

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Welcome to week three of my Sewing for Beginners series.  I have shared two other simple tutorials in honor of National Sewing Month.  You can also learn to make a pillowcase and burp cloths.

This tutorial will show you a quick and easy way to make a doll blanket.  This will only take two pieces of fabric and you can add a middle piece for thickness if you would like.  There is no cutting and piecing of squares, rectangles, or triangles to make a quilted blanket.  I have plans to make a doll quilt in the future, but for now I thought this would be a good project for beginners at sewing.

25+ Fun Things To Do This Fall

Our family sat down together to talk about the fun activities we want to do this fall.  With school starting, after school classes, preparing meals, work, and day-to-day life happening; sometimes I forget to write down the fall activities and the season passes by with just a few fun outings.  This year I decided to make a list of some fun ideas, and thought that I would share it with you.

25+ fun things to do this fall

I will share my list with you, then you can print your own copy of my list from the file at the end of this post.

Blog Income, Stats, & Goals - Month 8

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I mostly keep this monthly accounting of my blog for me to keep track of what is going on, write out what has been working, and figure out where I want to go from this point on. I like to share the interesting new social media tips I find in case it can help any other bloggers out there.  In fact, this past month while I was looking through some of my pins, I created a new board on Pinterest that just deals with social media tips for bloggers.  You can find that here. Here is how August went on Home Crafts by Ali.

Sewing for Beginners - Super Simple Burp Cloths

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Are you looking for an easy sewing project so you can make a gift for a friend or loved one that is having a baby?  Then I have a great, easy project for you.  These burp cloths are quick to make and easy enough for a beginner at sewing.  My step-by-step tutorial will help you make your own.  Following are two options for making these.

September is National Sewing Month and every week I will be sharing an easy sewing project for beginners.  These are fun items to make for people with experience as well.  You can visit my Quick & Easy Pillowcase tutorial from last week after you read this one.

How to Make a Spiritual Journal

I like to have a journal for different topics, but I hate having to go to different stores to look at their options.  Usually I don't like the price either.  A few years ago, I started to make my own journals by altering a composition book.  This ensures that I have a journal that I like, and it also fits into my budget. 

As I have practiced making them over the years, my technique has changed.  If you remember a few months ago I shared a post about How to Alter a Composition Book.  For the project today, I have changed a few of the steps.

Yesterday I published a guest post from my friend Sabra, and today I am over at her blog sharing the instructions to make this spiritual journal.  If you aren't interested in making a spiritual journal, you can still follow the steps to make any kind of journal.  You could make a travel journal, a day-to-day journal, a dream journal, a birthday present, or a craft for a girls' night.

Here are a few links to ideas for scripture journal prompts.

Scripture Journaling - Sketch Notes (her site is full of many templates, ideas, & freebies)
Spiritual Art Journal Page (her site has lots of different ideas for journals)
How to Do a Prayer Journal (also a template)

You can find some great free printables for journals if you do an internet search.
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