Monday, April 27, 2015

Opp Rattlesnake Rodeo Recap 2015

This is a couple of weeks late, but I'm just now getting around to sharing about this year's Rattlesnake Rodeo. The Opp Rattlesnake Rodeo is a weekend filled with vendors, activities, and music. This year, Gary Allen played on Saturday night, and The Newsboys headlined on Sunday night. (For info or the rodeo, click here.) 
My daughters and my niece enjoying some snacks while listening to some live music.
With my nephew.

My friend, Bethany, and I sang Sunday afternoon. And a big thanks to JC for playing for us and singing with us!


Later that afternoon, we got to meeet the Newsboys. They were so nice. It was an honor to meet them.

Then, we got to enjoy the concert!

I forgot to mention that this day was an icky, rainy Sunday. It sputtered on and off all afternoon, and by the time the concert was in full swing, it was a steady downpour. We sat under a covered area in the stadium, but lots of people were out in the rain. You can see the rain coming down in this photo.

Michael Tate finally got an umbrella so he could venture out on the catwalk without soaking his mic. Throughout the concert, they ended up put an umbrella and plastic over the monitors and in front of the keyboard player because the rain was getting onto the stage. They were troopers playing in the crazy weather and all of those people close to the stage were, too. It was definitely a memorable night.

This part was cool. The drummer's platform raised up in the air.....

...then tilted sideways and started spinning. The drummer never missed a beat. I was impressed.

I'm so glad that the Rodeo started doing family days on Sunday and featuring Christian bands. (Last year was the first year they did that. You can see that post HERE.) It was such a fun day and I'm definitely looking forward to next year. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

I Do BBQ Couples Shower

When I was asked to help plan a couples shower, specifically an "I Do BBQ," I couldn't have been more excited. My sweet client wanted a casual couples shower that was stylish yet laid back.
The first thing I like to decide on when planning a party or shower is usually the invitation. A well-made invitation can be a jumping off point for the design for the entire party. That was the case for this party. We found this adorable invite from Mols Designs and I took the inspiration from that to set the tone for the entire party.

You can order your own I Do BBQ from Mols Designs HERE.
The elements that inspired us from the invite were red and white gingham, sunflowers, and mason jars. We ordered fresh sunflowers and baby's breath for arrangements for all of the tables. I am a firm believer that fresh flowers can go a long way at a party (or even just having a jar or vase of them in your home.) I used mason jars to put the arrangements in, and the guests also drank sweet tea and lemonade from mason jars, as well.

Four tables were set up outside on the beautiful porches. We used white tablecloths and chair covers, then we kept things simple with a red and white gingham runner, party packet place settings, and beautiful sunflower arrangements. 

To dress up the mason jars, I glued gingham ribbon directly to the jar, then affixed a scalloped craft tag to the ribbon with a mini clothespin.  I used a stamp set to embellish the tag with the engaged couple's initials.

The Red Gingham Table Roll was actually cut in half to make the runner. It was a really wide roll and could be used as a tablecloth if preferred. For our purposes, this worked the best. The Striped Favor Bags and Red Stripey Straws were just the things we needed for the adorable party packets.

To download this free printable file, click HERE. For personal use only. Copyright Cultivate Create 2015.

Also, I filmed a short tutorial on making the party packets. Head to my YouTube page to view! If you like it, give me a thumbs up and please subscribe to my channel! Watch the tutorial HERE. (And yes, I have a strong Southern accent, and am a complete goofball as evident in the outtakes at the end. HA!)

Guests were sent home with sunflower seed favors with the sentiment "Let love grow" on the tag. How sweet!

And what would a party be without a fun photo booth? The backdrop is just red tablecloths attached to foam board and propped against the wall. I made the giant sunflowers out of tissue paper. (Tutorial to come soon.)

I blacked out the hashtag, but you get the gist!

Thanks, MA, for modeling for us!

I didn't get to snap any photos of the food all set up, but I did snap this photo of the sugar cookies that were made for the party. Aren't they adorable? There were also sunflower cupcakes that everyone got to enjoy after eating some yummy barbecue!
I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed working on this party! Be sure to like Cultivate Create on FB, follow along on Instagram or Twitter, or join this site to be sure to see future party posts like this one!
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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Dressing Your Now Body

I've had this post simmering in my head for a long while now. It's something I have often contemplated, have been bound by in the past, and now have moved to acceptance of and past my hang-ups about the subject. Now, I will be writing this from my perspective as a "plus-sized' woman, but I think that this is something that we can all relate to, no matter what shape or size.

Over the years, as I have struggled with my weight, I have conversely struggled with dressing the body that I have. After the birth of my children and the immediate years following, while I was in the thick of my struggle, I couldn't bring myself to buy clothes all that often. In fact, my mantra became...

I'll buy clothes when I've lost weight.
In my mind, there were two parts to that statement . One was that I didn't want to spend tons of money on clothes if I was just going to lose weight and then not be able to wear them. Two, I thought that it would motivate me to get the weight off. I would refuse to buy a pair a pants in a certain size, vowing that I would only spend the money on them when I had lost X amount of pounds. I told myself that that made me wise about money, when in fact I was really just punishing myself. Weeks turned into months, months turned into to years of this nonsensical way of thinking. I'm not against rewarding yourself for hard fact I think that if you are on a weight loss journey and go down a size you should reward yourself. Go buy that new outfit and celebrate! But, I had taken my way of thinking to the extreme. I'm sure my friends and family were absolutely sick and tired of seeing me wear the same things over and over and over. I had very little in the way of clothing, not because we couldn't afford it, but because I just plain refused to buy clothes until I had reached certain goals. I'm not kidding when I say that I didn't have many clothes. My closet was very sparse and it was all my own doing. Crazy way of thinking, but I was stuck there for a long time.
Now, I'm not one who thinks that dressing nicely is the be all end all. I don't think that, at the end of the day, it holds a lot of clout against who a person is on the inside. Please hear me on that. BUT, I do think that what we wear can affect us. What's wrong with wearing something that makes you feel good or more confident or pretty? What's wrong with our clothing being a means of self expression? Nothing. What we wear, whether we want to admit it or not, sends a message. We can't stop the fact that we are often judged by what we are wearing. We judge others ourselves, in an instant upon seeing someone, and without even thinking about it. It's automatic.
Somewhere along this journey to getting healthy that I'm on (and will be on for the rest of my life), my view shifted a bit. It's not that I didn't like to dress nicely before. I have always had a love for fashion and makeup. But I did finally get to the point where I decided that I was going to put my best foot forward where I am right now.  No more of this punishing myself and withholding a cute outfit simply because I am in a larger size than I wish. No more waiting to dress the body I hope to one day have....
It was time to dress my NOW body.
There are two things that I think helped me shift my way of thinking when it came to dressing my now body.
1). I stopped putting as much emphasis on a SIZE. I used to get so hung up on what size I wore. I refused to buy a certain size pair of pants simply because of what the tag said. Once I let that go, it really did free me up to buying things that looked good on me, and were flattering my size and shape. I have a pretty large array of "sizes" in my closet right now, things that all fit me. That's because of the difference between sizing in any given store, brand, or manufacturer. I may wear one size at one boutique and have to go up two sizes at another. Is it because I magically gained lots of weight between one store to the next? No. It's simply because of how different brands label their clothes. Also, we all are different shapes, heights, and sizes, and to try to apply a set amount of size charts to the masses is so silly. Try to not get hung on the size, and pay attention to how things fit you.
2). I stopped wanting to hide because of my size, but embraced where I am now. Granted, I am a couple sizes smaller than when I started trying to get healthy, but I still had my same hang-ups about it. I realized that I should stop being embarrassed and start embracing where I am on my journey at this moment and put my best foot forward TODAY! Do I still have a long road ahead of me to reach my health and weight goals? Yes. I haven't lost sight of that, but that doesn't mean that I can't try to be the best me I can be and be proud of that at this moment.
I could go off on a tangent and talk about the difficult logistics of finding cute clothes in plus sizes, but that is another post for another day. We'll stick to the topic at hand. I may be the only person who has ever thought this way, but I have a sneaky suspicion that I'm not. Not matter what your size or shape, or what journey you are on, I want to encourage you! Stop trying to hide until you are at your goal weight, are a certain size, or look a certain way. Stop waiting to dress the body you see in your mind's eye. Go ahead and dress your NOW body!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Experiencing DIY Burnout?

If you've ever lived or are now living in a fixer upper, I would wager that you probably have, at some point or another, been plagued with DIY burnout. As the extremely long list of to-do's, which should be shortening, seems to grow by the day, a feeling of overwhelm and Will I ever get this house finished? seems to creep into our minds and root there.

In May, we will have been in our current house for three years. Three whole years!  (You can check out a lot of our before and after's on the Projects page.) It's hard to believe that, and as a person who has perfectionistic tendencies, it's hard for me to swallow the fact that we haven't accomplished more here than we already have. I'm usually a very upbeat and positive person, but I can also be really hard on myself. So, I've been trying to remind myself just how far we've really come. The way our home looks now is a drastic difference from where we started. And yet, it seems our list hasn't shortened in the least. Instead, once we cross off one thing from our list, we end up adding two more items.

I was just talking to a couple of my friends a few days ago about being overwhelmed with what we still have to do here to be "done." Really, I don't know that anyone ever truly is done but I'd like to be in the vicinity of done. In our reality, we can't pull a Joanna and Chip Gaines and completely overhaul our fixer upper all at one time. This is a process, one that evolves as our family's needs and tastes change.

I've kind of slacked off on our to-do list here of late. I haven't been pushing myself to finish projects that I've started, or even start new ones. Right now, I'm looking at a mostly painted black wall in my office and I just came from our partially finished laundry room a few moments ago. I'm just feet from our front door, which is still in need of replacing, and I'm thinking about my hall bathroom, where the original black and white tile on the vanity has started to fall off just last week. But, I can't seem to get myself to address these things at the moment. I'm just in total burnout mode and I need to find a way to jump start my drive to accomplish some much needed projects around the casa. As of late, I've been content to use my creative juices for parties and gatherings, not all out DIY projects. I think a respite from the push to check things off the list is in order.

What I've decided to do about my DIY Burnout:
*Give myself some time to rest and regroup. Sometimes, I think the best way to get over being totally "over" something is the step away from it for a bit. Just take a breather and be okay with that. I often feel like there is this self-imposed deadline for projects to be finished looming over my head. But that's just it. It's self-imposed. I can choose when and how I want to accomplish a project and right now, giving myself permission to NOT worry about those said projects is a small lift from my shoulders.
*Use sites like Pinterest and Houzz and magazines to get inspired. I feel like my mind has turned into mush after looking at so many paint colors, laundry room and home office options, and bathroom details. I have an eclectic taste and I like a lot of different styles. That makes choosing what direction to go while doing projects difficult. After stepping away from updates and upgrades for a bit, hopefully I can find some much needed inspiration to get me focused in one direction or another for our next projects.

Last year, I wrote a post about buying a fixer upper versus a move-in ready home. I still stand by the things that I wrote there, even during this "burnout mode" that I'm in. I know that it will all be worth it in the end as we create a home that our little family loves to come home to. (You can read that post here:)
Move-In Ready VS. Buying a Fixer Upper

Have you ever felt like this? Are you currently living in a fixer upper and are just as overwhelmed as we are? Or have already completed all of your projects and have some wisdom to share? I'd love to hear about it. Leave a comment below!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Southern Holiday Life

I am so excited to be a contributor for Southern Holiday Life again for this Spring/Summer edition! I had a great time writing my articles and coming up with fun ideas for the readers! Definitely go check it out for lots of fun ideas! Bonus! If you are planning a wedding in the Southeast, this is definitely something you are going to want to read!
Don't forget to go enter the Spring Spruce-Up Giveaway HERE!
View the Digital Edition HERE!

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Spring Spuce-Up Giveaway

I'm so excited to be offering a $20 Lowe's gift card to go toward your next Spring Spruce-up project! Enter to win and tell your friends! The winner will be announced next Thursday. Good luck!

BONUS! Earn 5 extra entry points for becoming a subscriber to my YouTube Channel! Go subscribe HERE!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

DIY Fringe Party Backdrop

Ya'll, I love making DIY items for parties and gatherings. I love being able to use my hands to fashion something that is seemingly plain or ordinary into something with a little more pizzazz. And, I love making things special for guests! I made this fringe backdrop for a party and today, I'm showing you how to make one for your next gathering. It would be great to as a buffet backdrop, a photo booth, VBS decoration, proms. So many options! It looks complicated, but it is really simple, albeit slightly time consuming. It was worth every second!

Gather your supplies: 
*Plastic tablecloth
*About 8 to 10 small packages of Tissue Paper (Depending on the desired size, you may need a little more or a little less).
Here's How: 

 Start with an inexpensive plastic tablecloth and cut to size if needed

Cut tissue paper in half (long way.)

 Starting at the bottom row, tape tissue paper to the tablecloth. Double up tissue paper for a fuller, more dimensional look.

 Once you have taped all your tissue paper in place, you are ready to start cutting the fringe

Using scissors, cut one to two inch strips to make the fringe. (I have since found that Martha Stewart makes a fringe cutter and it can be found at Michael's for $24.99. It might be worth the investment if you are going to be cutting a lot of fringe and will use it for more than this one project. You can see it HERE.)

Now, you are all ready to prepare for your gathering!

I used this backdrop for a graduation tea for my niece (that ended up getting cancelled due to sickness, but that is a whole other story). This party scene and party tips will be featured in the upcoming edition of Southern Holiday Life Magazine! I was honored to be asked to be a contributor once again and I am so excited about Cultivate Create being featured! I will let you know as soon as the digital version can be viewed online.
I also made the fringe tassels and the large tissue paper flowers. I've been asked by a few people how to make both, so I will be posting tutorials for both really soon! I hope you enjoyed today's DIY tutorial! If you have any questions, be sure to comment below! Have a wonderful day!

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Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Spring Break and Easter 2015

Last week, we enjoyed spending family time while my two girls were on Spring Break. We took them tent camping in Florala, Alabama at the State Park there. It was the first time we had ever camped there and the tent camp sites had pretty views. We camped right on the water.

There was definitely an abundance of animal and marine life to keep us on our toes. Within fifteen minutes of arriving, my husband had to kill a snake that was in the water and heading straight for us. I'm so glad I spotted him before he snuck into our camp with us unaware. The ducks were very friendly! Obviously, they are pretty comfortable with humans and get fed by them on a regular basis. I let my girls feed them some bread when we first got there, but pretty soon saw that if we didn't deny them, they would never leave and were even a bit aggressive.

We even found a baby turtle. They loved him and named him Squirt. We didn't take him with us, though. We put Squirt back in his home.

I don't know what it is about camping and gathering around an open fire. It's just so peaceful. I'm glad we took our girls to do this, in spite of all the work putting up the tent and all of the preparation and packing it takes to make it happen.

Truly, the views there are so beautiful! The Spanish moss that hangs off most of the trees almost looks ethereal. I think that, living so close to this site and having been there quite a bit, I almost get numbed to the beauty of it all. But while we were there, I really tried to open my eyes and take in all of the beauty God created for us.

One morning, we enjoyed about a two mile walk from (and back to) our camp site. A lot of the walk was on these little bridges that are right beside the water. It's so pretty. I lagged behind and snapped photos of my little family. I love these photos of my littles holding their Daddy's hands. It's so sweet, and I know that they will grow out of this stage way too fast for my liking.

I also took my kiddos to the movies while they were on break. They have taken after me and are beginning to become movie lovers, for sure.

Easter weekend was so fun! We had an Easter egg hunt at church on Saturday. Sunday morning, we enjoyed a sunrise service at church, then had some of our family over for Easter.

This cracks me up! The picture you get when your six year old is so over taking photos!

After lunch, we hid eggs for the kids. Here Katlyn is in hot pursuit! It was such a beautiful day!

Cousins counting their eggs. This is so stinkin' cute!

So, how was your Easter? How did you celebrate? I'd love to hear!

Check back tomorrow for a fun DIY, and later in the week, for a giveaway you won't want to miss!

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