A porch worthy of Thanksgiving

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Marie Callender’s. The opinions and text are all mine.

Over the past several years, it’s become a tradition to host Thanksgiving dinner at our home for my extended family. I always look forward to preparing for this special day that we all get to spend together.

There have been years in our lives when we have been away on military duty and separated from family over the holidays. So I try to never take for granted these precious moments when we’re all present.

This year, I created a festive Thanksgiving vignette on the front porch, so when folks arrive on the big day, they’re already feeling inspired and in the holiday mood.

Fall-front-porch-decor

For example, I added some pumpkins, a Chrysanthemum, a gourd and a Thanksgiving-worthy wreath.

Mums-and-pumpkins

Fall-front-door

I kept my stenciled dropcloth pillows on the chairs and rocker because I felt the colors and pattern were appropriate for the season. I simply added a fall-inspired plaid throw to the mix.

Porch-rockerPorch-rocker-closeupAs we all gather around the table this Thanksgiving, we’ll be thanking God for the privilege to be together. And we’ll be sending up heartfelt prayers for those brave men and women serving in our military who won’t be able to share a holiday meal with their family this year.

I hope you’ll keep them in your thoughts and prayers, too. One way we can all show our support is by helping out with the USO’s Operation Celebration™ program.

Marie Callender’s is teaming up with the USO to support this program, which shares a bit of home with our troops and helps them celebrate the holidays year round.

Every time you enter a code from specially-marked packages of Marie Callender’s meals or desserts, Marie Callender’s will make a donation to the USO to support USO Operation Celebration™.

Marie-Callender's-Comforts-from-HomeAdditionally, Marie Callender’s is holding a Comforts From Home Facebook challenge, encouraging you to submit your own photos in support of the USO. You should use the hashtag #ComfortsFromHome and share and describe photos that depict what home means to you.

Submitted photos may be featured on-air during special episodes of Kitchen Crashers (HGTV), Hello/Goodbye (Travel Channel), and Guy’s Grocery Games (Food Network).

Kitchen Crashers on DIYNetwork & HGTV – Airing Nov. 9 and Nov. 14
Hello/Goodbye on Travel Channel – Airing Nov. 10
Guy’s Grocery Games on Food Network and Cooking Channel – Airing Dec. 14 and Dec. 19

The best part? Scripps Network will donate $1 to the USO for each photo received (up to $10K)!

Visit ComfortsfromHome.com to learn more about how you can join Marie Callender’s in helping to bring a little bit of home sweet home to our U.S. servicemen and women overseas.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Marie Callender’s. The opinions and text are all mine.

10 easy DIY fall decorations

Today I wanted to share with you 10 easy (and thrifty) DIY fall decorations you can complete in a few hours. Some of the projects I’ve done myself; others are ones I want to try soon. Click on the project title or photo to be taken to the tutorial post.

10-easy-DIY-fall-crafts

1. Easy fall chalkboard art

Fall-chalkboard-art

2. DIY apple candle

DIY apple candle

3. Wooden block letters

Wooden block letters

4. Thankful tree

Thankful tree

5. Festive fall banister

Fall banister

6. Fabric pumpkins

Fabric pumpkins

7. Gilded leaf art

Gilded leaf art

8. Pottery Barn knockoff birch candles

Pottery Barn Painted Birch candles

9. Halloween ribbon wreath

Halloween-Ribbon-Wreath-682x1024

10. Sheet music pumpkin

music-pumpkin2-682x1024

I hope this helps get you in the mood for fall. It certainly worked for me!

Quick and easy fall craft (plus a stain and poly comparison video)

My fall craft mojo has kicked into full gear, mostly because I took a run today that was so freakin’ hot I truly thought I was going to melt into a puddle of my own sweat. Yep. I am now officially ready for cooler weather.

Today I wanted to share with you a simple and inexpensive fall craft you can complete in one toddler nap time. True story.

Fall-chalkboard-art

Supplies you’ll need for this project:

  • Wooden frame (Mine is a Crates and Pallet version – available at Home Depot – but you could use any leftover frame you have on hand, provided it still has its cardboard backing intact.)
  • Chalkboard spray paint 
  • Wood stain in a cherry finish
  • Chalk and chalk markers
  • Regular printer paper
  • Polyurethane to seal the frame (optional)

Below are the step-by-step instructions and a quick video* that shows exactly how I made this craft project. I also include in the video a demonstration comparing a few different stains and polyurethanes.

Step 1: Stain the frame.

Step 2: Spray the frame’s cardboard backing with a coat of chalkboard paint.

Step 3: While the frame and cardboard dry, design and print out the words for your art on regular printer paper. I created my design in a simple Word document.

Step 4: Take a piece of regular chalk and rub it onto the back of all your paper printouts.

Step 5: Position the paper printouts onto the chalkboard-painted cardboard (make sure the paint is dry first).

Step 6: Take a blunt pencil and trace the outline of your printed words. (This will transfer a faint chalk “carbon copy” onto the cardboard. You can see another example of this method here.)

Step 7: Fill in the chalk outline using chalk markers of your choice. Done!

Have you done any fall crafting yet?

*Special thanks to Rust-Oleum for sponsoring the video featured in this post and to Crates and Pallet for providing the frame used for this craft project.