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My Very Educated Mother copyright 2008-2020. All rights reserved. Powered by Blogger.

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Why I'm Taking a Break From Blogging

Yep, it’s another one of those “sorry I haven’t been around lately” posts that seem to be littering the blogging world these days. It’s spent a good month on my desktop and now, well, here we go.


 Right now, I’m enjoying a break from blogging, or really, feeling pressured to produce a never-ending stream of content. For some time, I’ve been overwhelmed with this unspoken burden to keep up so that I don’t fall to the wayside. It’s had me thinking a lot about what precisely it is that I want to put out into the world. For what do I want to take responsibility? What am I trying to say? What am I encouraging? What legacy are my words creating?
Erin Sipes
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Books for Harry Potter Fans

If You Liked Harry Potter Book Series

Putting together a book list can be a bit tricky. You don't want to suggest books that are a retelling of the same story, nor do you want to give away all the details in your synopses. So with careful consideration, I've brought together a handful of titles that elicit as much excitement for the reader as Harry Potter; and that my family has enjoyed reading.

While I have a sweet spot for hidden literary gems, there's something to be said for award-winners and best sellers. More than a couple of these are classics that everyone should read at some point in their life. And if you're looking for the best Harry Potter projects, tutorials, and lists be sure to check out RaeGun Ramblings Series


Erin Sipes
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Back to School: DIY Pipe Cleaner Notebook

Make your own fuzzy notebook!

When you reach a certain age, i.e. adulthood, the seasons seem to fly by faster. This summer, every time I've looked at the calendar I've been shocked at how few days we have left before school starts. I have managed to sneak in a couple crafts, and this latest project is super easy, colorful, and don't tell the kids-all mine! As with all Craft Lightning projects my rainbow pipe cleaner notebook took less than 15 minutes, minus dry time.

I truly have no intention of sharing it with the kids, instead, I'm going to help them make their own! Here's how you can make one too.
Erin Sipes
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Kids Craft: Firecracker Straw Rockets

Firecracker Straw Rockets - so much better and safer than shooting bottle rockets at each other!

Memorial Day kicks off a trifecta of patriotic holidays, with Flag Day in June and Independence Day in July. So now is the time to get busy with the red, white, and blue crafting and quick projects are always appreciated in my house. I was able to make these firecrackers themed straw rockets in about 15 minutes, and it got the kids out of my hair for at least 30, so I consider that a win. 

Straw rockets are always easy to make, and with a couple additions, we made these a little more firecracker-like. If you're crafting with kids, it may take a bit longer, and I would recommend skipping the hot glue and using a plain school glue. Otherwise, you can have these made and ready to go in no time! Here's the crafty run-down.  
Erin Sipes
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Cut & Paste Home Decor With O'verlays

I received free product in exchange for this post, all opinions expressed are my own. 

You guys know my love of color, remember this gem, Colorful Pallet Table? The only part of my dining room that's plain white are these two cabinets that sit on either side of the door to the back deck. I forgot to get a before image, but don't worry, it's easy to imagine how dull they looked. I'd considered painting the doors but really wanted something more and that's exactly what I got with O'verlays!

As their website explains, "O'verlays are decorative fretwork panels that come in several patterns and sizes. They are light weight, paintable, and easily attach to furniture, doors, walls, and glass." If you visit their blog, there are a ton of different design ideas, and guys these are so easy to use! The instructions are very straightforward, and from start to finish, this entire project took an afternoon. Let me show you how I cut and paste these panels to create super fun and colorful new cabinets.

I decided to paint the panels and add it to the plain cabinet door. So the first thing I did was measure and cut the panels to fit. All you need is a utility knife and a straight edge.

The knife cut completely through the panel with just two swipes and with some of the pieces I was able to just break them off by hand.

You will want to use your razor or sandpaper to trim and smooth any excess.

Next, following the instructions, I wiped the panels down with rubbing alcohol to make sure all dust was removed, and they were clean.

Spraypainting worked beautifully, and since I used a fast drying paint, they were dry and ready to be attached to the cabinet in less than 30 minutes.

Cut and Paste Home Decor with O'verlays!

Finally, I attached the panels to the cabinet. O'verlays recommends some different ways to get this done, depending on what you're attaching the panels to, I used a classic crafting glue and so far so good!

Cut and Paste Home Decor like never before with O'verlays!

I tried to get a picture of the artwork next to these cabinets to give an idea of just how colorful this room has become and how perfect these panels look in it! I'm really happy with how they turned out and encourage you to give them a try!

This month's Fab Furniture Flippin' Contest Hosts are Saved by Scottie and Evey's Creations, be sure to see what they made using Overlays' as well contest entries from around the country! As always you can also swing by the Fab Furniture Flippin' Contest® site for information. If you are a fellow blogger and would like to participate in a contest email info@fabfurnitureflippincontest.com.

Cut and Paste your next home decor project with O'verlays!

Erin Sipes
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Mother's Day Decorating Using Tissue Paper Letters

Decorate for Mother's Day using tissue paper.
I come from a family filled with successful women who are seamstresses, woodworkers, business owners, and all-around makers. Growing up and watching their ideas materialize had a profound effect on me and helped foster my own love for creative living.

Mother's Day is a time to celebrate the women who've impacted our world, the mothers, grandmas, aunts, friends, and mentors. One way I share a special connection with all the creative women in my life is by incorporating a handmade touch in all my gift-giving.    

Tissue Paper Letters

Crafting with American Greetings


  • American Greetings tissue paper
  • decoupage medium 
  • small wooden crafting letters
  • crafting heart
  • food picks
  • dowels
  • scissors
  • Not Pictured: hot glue gun and sponge paint brushes
Crafting with Tissue Paper
First, I went through the packages of letters and picked out the ones I needed. Then I cut up the pieces of tissue paper into smaller pieces and set up a decoupage station. 
Making Tissue Paper Letters
Next, I followed the instructions on the decoupage medium and covered the letters and heart with the tissue paper pieces. 
Adding dowels and picks to tissue paper letters.
Finally, after the letters dried I hot glued them to the dowels, food picks, and even a card envelope. 

How to Use

Now the fun stuff, how to use our crafty little letters in our gift-giving and decorating!
How to Personalize a Bouquet of Flowers
Flowers are a classic Mother's Day gift and the perfect companion to a heartfelt card. To make this gift different we hot glued the letters to our envelope and then glued it to the front of our bouquet. 

TIP: Make your bouquet special by getting rid of the original packaging and re-wrapping the blooms in a few layers of tissue paper. It's an easy way to make a gift extra special! 
Mother's Day Cake Picks
Do you host a Mother's Day brunch? Attach your message to food picks and use them to decorate cakes, cupcakes, or even appetizers. 
Tissue Paper Gift Bag Picks
This is my favorite project using these little letters! It's so easy to tuck a message pick into a gift bag, so everyone knows who it is!

TIP: Save the picks and tuck them into your houseplants for a splash of color. Tissue Paper Letters for Mother's Day

How do you celebrate Mother's Day? 

Tell us in the comments! 

Erin Sipes
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Kids Craft: Egg Carton Dragons

Kids Craft: Egg Carton Dragons

Dragons can be found in myths, stories, and fables from nearly every culture around the world, past, and present. Is it any wonder? No other creature more inspires our imaginations to consider a world of magic. Is it obvious we've been on a dragon kick these past couple weeks?

It all started when we read Herb, the Vegetarian Dragon, from there things took a decidedly reptilian turn, and the next thing I knew we were making dragon poppets and hitting up the recycling bin for this egg carton dragon kids craft.

Here's how to make a fire-breathing beast of your own!

Kids Craft: Egg Carton Dragons

Erin Sipes
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DIY Leather Feather Earrings

It's Craft Lightning time again, and I'm so excited to share with you the 15-minute project we came up with for Mother's Day! Using scrap pieces of leather and basic jewelry pieces you can pick-up anywhere we created these luxurious earrings. I promise you, you're going to want to make every woman in your life a pair of these DIY Leather Earrings, including yourself!

DIY Leather Earring Supplies


  • Scrap Leather
  • Sharp Scissors
  • Earrings 
  • Jump rings
  • Upholstery needle (or tack)
  • Jeweler Pliers 

Cutting the Leather

First, cut out your feather/leaf shapes, I recommend using at least 2 different types of leather* and cutting the different colors/styles in decreasing lengths.

If your scissors are sharp enough you can double up your leather; otherwise, cut one and use it as a guide to cut your second. The beauty of this is that they don't have to be EXACTLY alike.

*Pick up a bag of scrap leather pieces for a steal at most craft stores!

Finished Leather Pieces

Once your pieces are cut, you'll want to put a hole in the top of them using either a very sharp upholstery needle or even a tack, as close to the bottom of your pieces as possible.

Don't be afraid to give it a little stretch to make the next step a little easier.

Attaching Jump Ring

Using the pliers, thread a jump ring through all three pieces of leather and close it up.

Attaching Earring

Again, using the pliers, attach the actual earring piece.

Repeat with the second earring. That's it!

Make Your Own Leather Earrings

Seriously, how much easier could these get? I'm in love with them and can't wait to start making variations of them with different styles of leather. If you've got a little extra time, why not make a matching necklace using the same technique!

Remember to click on the image below for more Craft Lightning Mother's Day projects!

Save money and make your own Feathered Leather Earrings!

Erin Sipes
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Spring Forward Garden Seed Caddy

Keep garden tools and seeds organized and safe in this handy caddy!

Are you ready to spring forward? Earlier this week we adjusted our clocks, and next Monday marks the first day of spring. But in my opinion, the new season doesn't start until my hands are in the dirt planting and plotting our family gardens! 

For me, shopping for seeds is on par with Christmas, so it should come as no surprise I always manage to order too much. Thankfully, seeds can last a couple years with proper care and storage, and I'm so excited to move my collection out of an old shoebox and into this super cute gardening tote. 

Erin Sipes
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Kids Activity: Indoor Games Using Tape

Stuck in side thanks to the weather? Try one of these indoor games to keep the kids from getting bored!

Finding creative ways to occupy your kids’ time is always a challenge, particularly when the weather keeps them indoors. To keep from hearing the dreaded, “I’m bored,” I’m ready to offer a positive option, that’s sure to spark their imaginations.

Playing a game with the kids is like revisiting an old past time, you never remember how much you love it until you’re in that moment. Seeing the kids smile while they laugh about who’s paper airplane flew the farthest or when one of them fell off the “balance beam;” that is a joy!

Erin Sipes
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10 DIY Garden Spray Recipes

In the next couple of weeks, the kids and I will be starting our garden. Things will be okay for a few months and just when our sproutlings are starting to mature the bugs will arrive. The only thing I hate more than pests is mildew. So here are 10 easy all-natural recipes that'll help keep pests and disease away. More than a few of them are also cheap ways to feed your plants!

3 Things You Need To Know About Garden Sprays

1. These sprays are efficient and can keep away beneficial bugs; don't use them unless you have a problem.

2. With most of these recipes you'll want to spray 1-2 times a week, or after a heavy rain, and ALWAYS in the evening.

3. You’ll want to be sure to spray the underside of leaves just as well if not better than the top.

Make-Your-Own Garden Spray Recipes

Bad Breathe Garden Spray: Large onion, 4-5 cloves of garlic, 2 Tbsp peppermint Castile soap, 2 Tbsp cayenne pepper. Mix everything but the soap in a food processor and then let the mixture steep for a few hours (outside-unless you like the smell). Run it through a fine-mesh strainer into an empty gallon jug. *YOU must strain it very well, so you don’t clog the sprayer. Finally, add the soap and enough water to fill the container.

Herbal Spray: Steep half a cup of any strong herb (Sage, Rosemary, Mint, Lavender) in 8 cups of water for 30 minutes. Let cool, strain, and add 1 Tbsp Castille soap.

Aphid Spray: 1 tsp olive oil, 1tsp dish soap, 1 gal of water.

Pepper Spray: 1 tsp Tabasco sauce, 1/2 apple cider vinegar, and 1/4 tsp of dish soap.

Vinegar Spray: 8 parts water to 1 part vinegar (white or apple cider). *Helps fight fungus and get rid of pests.

Baking Soda Spray: In an empty gallon jug mix 1 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 Tbsp vegetable oil, 1/2 tsp dish soap, 1/2 cup of white vinegar, and enough water to fill the container.

Peppermint Spray: 2 Tbsp peppermint Castile soap, 1 liter of warm water.

Epsom Salt Spray: 1 Tbsp of Epsom for every 4 liters of water. *Great for tomatoes, peppers, and roses. Spray every week and a half.

Cannibal Spray: As long as you don’t add any butter or oils you can use the water you cook your vegetables in as a fertilizing spray. Just be sure to let it cool before pouring it into the spray bottle or getting it on the plants.

Fungal Spray: 2 uncoated aspirin tablets in 1 quart of water. *Great for black spot, powdery mildew, and rust in the garden.

Powdery Mildew Spray: 2 Tbsp canola oil, 1 Tbsp dish soap, 1 Tbsp baking soda, 1 gal of water.

*All these recipes are made in a separate storage container and poured into a spray bottle. 
Erin Sipes
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12 Books About Food - Build Your Library Series

Build your home library with this collection of a dozen books about food that your kids are sure to love! via myveryeducatedmother.com
It's not a secret that I love books. Yet, I've never shared a collection featuring my favorites, until now. This year I'm going to start gathering no more than a dozen books on various topics that I love, own, and highly recommend!

To get things started, I'm going with food. Partly because I'm hungry, okay, mostly because I'm starving. These titles deal with food in some different ways, growing food, making food, eating food, and in many cases - NOT eating food!

12 Books About Food

Erin Sipes
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DIY Marbled Bullet Journals

A no frills way of staying organized: DIY Marbled Bullet Journals

In 2016, I learned about bullet journaling, bought a Leuchtturm1917, and quickly dubbed it the year of the Orange Notebook.

Have you started bullet journalling yet?

I gathered together my pile of notebooks and began paring down all the notes I've collected over the years and focusing in on the things I came back to time and time again.

It's been life changing if only for the weight it has literally lifted from my shoulder bag. Mind you, I still have a Family Binder entitled Important S*** but all the other scraps have been collected and cataloged. My anxious-ridden heart sings with satisfaction every time I pick it up!

This year, I decided to introduce bullet journaling to the kids. Instead of buying them fancy notebooks like mine, we DIY'd a couple using a crazy fun marbling technique.

Erin Sipes
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Lace Up Valentine Broken Hearts

Earlier this year I shared a heart shaped basket for collecting Valentine's, so today I'm sharing a project to put inside it and making an announcement.

I'm thrilled to announce I'm a 2017 Design Team Member for EyeConnect Crafts! Beginning next Friday, I'll be posting monthly projects over on the EyeConnect blog. Of course, I'll be sharing about it in the newsletter and through the common social media platforms.

EyeConnect Crafts is a company that specializes in posable and lace-up craft kits. All their products are cut and packaged here in the USA and use thick, 100% recycled chipboard. And on an entirely random side note, the owner and I look similar, are both named Erin, and as my daughter pointed out, we both have an S, E, and P in our last names. Coincidence, you decide? For this project, I'm using the Large Broken Hearts from their Lace-Up Collection.

For this project, I wanted to keep it relatively simple, so we went with a basic splatter paint design. Here are the supplies you'll need to make it yourself.


  • Lace-Up Collection: Broken Hearts, Large
  • Pink and red cardstock
  • Embroidery floss or yarn
  • Red and white paint
  • Brads
  • Paintbrushes and Scissors

 First, we painted our hearts. I've learned from reading previous posts on the EyeConnect blog that it's best to paint BEFORE you pop out your pieces.

Once the white paint dried, we used a brush and our fingers to splatter on the red color. If your paint isn't spraying the way you'd like, try to add a little bit of water.

After the paint had dried I popped out the hearts and used the remaining piece of chipboard as a stencil to draw, and cut out two red hearts.

Once finished I set them aside and began lacing up my heart.

You can do it in a couple different ways, the first heart I laced up like shoes and the second was more like stitches.

Next, I attached the broken heart to one of the red hearts to create a sweet little Valentine's card.

NOTE: EyeConnect Crafts offers mini brads for their craft kits in a wide array of colors. They are too small for the Lace-Up Collection which is why I used a larger brad from my craft closet. 

Once again, my photography doesn't do this work justice. You'd think I'd learn by now that I'm not good at photographing red and white!

Anyway, the kids got a kick out of the moving elements, and I absolutely can't wait to get started on the Totem puppets and other lace-up projects I'll be sharing this year!

Erin Sipes
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Why I Joined Barefoot Books

Exactly a week ago, I stepped into a world I never, ever imagined I’d enter, a direct-sales program.

So, what made me decide to be a Barefoot Books Ambassador? Two things.

First, they’re a quality book publisher specializing in, “…diverse, inclusive and inspiring books.”

When I read that, I thought, “That’s a company I can get behind, tell me more.

I read over every page on the Barefoot Books site, watched all the videos, and came to the conclusion that their dedication to helping young minds become world citizens through literature was a message I wanted to share on My Very Educated Mother (MVEM).

I truly can't wait to start sharing more about literacy, reading, and books!

Second, they had a deal this book-lover could NOT refuse. 
Erin Sipes
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