Our Gathered Cottage » Gathered home and family

I’ve always been curious about Cricut machines but if I’m being honest, I was always so intimidated to get one. I assumed they were a lot of upkeep and super pricey to create one. When Joann’s asked if I would do a campaign using a Cricut Joy, I said yes because this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try one out. I’ll just put it this way…I HAVE BEEN MISSING OUT. This machine is so incredibly simple to use and this is definitely something I will be using quite often.

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For my first project, I wanted to create labels for my spice rack.  I bought new jars almost a year ago and never finished them so now seemed like the best time!  I used writable smart labels to create this project and as you can see in the photos below, it turned out so great!

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Since we are quarantined because of the Coronavirus, I thought making cards with the Cricut Joy would be a perfect second project for the myself and the boys. We’ve really been incorporating snail mail into our weekly routine as a fun way to cheer up someone’s day! The boys loved using the Cricut app to choose a design, follow the instructions, and watch the magic happen!

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As you can see in the photo above, the Cricut app tells you exactly what will come next and it will stop the machine, then give you the next prompt so you know what you need to do next.

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Just watching this machine draw and cut out a design was so interesting and easy!  For me, the step by step instructions on the Cricut app made learning this system so simple for someone who has never used it! Something I noticed about the Cricut Joy is now compact this machine is. It’s small but powerful. For now, I have it tucked into a cute pink tote along with my other Cricut Joysupplies and it takes up minimal room.

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I mean HOW CUTE IS THIS CARD?? I don’t think I’ll ever buy another greeting card again! I love that it the Cricut not only drew the design on the card but it also did a cut out to make it 3D.

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Although this is my very first Cricut machine, I highly highly recommend the Cricut Joy. It’s compact size, easy to learn app, and the fantastic results speak for themselves. I am so excited to keep creating with the Cricut Joy and can’t wait to see how else I can use this in our home!

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I’ve actually been meaning to do a blog post with our weekly homeschool schedule so I’m excited to finally get this out there in hopes that it will help some moms who are going to be temporarily forced into homeschooling right now because of the Coronavirus. We don’t abide by this schedule 100%, that’s what is great about homeschool, you can sort of pick and choose when and what time you do things.

My biggest piece of advice is take all expectations off of what you think homeschool has to look like and really try and enjoy this extra time at home with your kids. This can be a really great experience for your family and filled with fun memories to look back on one day. Homeschool doesn’t have to look like “regular school”. Don’t feel pressured to have everything perfect. Whether your kids stay in their pajamas and do homeschool on the couch or they get dressed and you organize a spot in your home for learning; try and relax and make this new time fun for everyone.

Homeschooling was very overwhelming to me when we first started, some days it still is. Having a schedule has helped me so much because it was a good point of reference on days things seemed to be too much for me to handle. This schedule is probably best suited for ages 3-6, but can be adjusted if you want to modify it for older children. I will also be attaching my favorite free online resources as well! I hope this schedule will help some moms out there and if you end up using it, feel free to share and tag @ourgatheredcottage!

–> Click HERE to download my homeschool schedule

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Here’s a list of my favorite free online resources:

Overall K5 – 5th grade learning/worksheets – Education.com

Handwriting – Create Printables KidZone

Arts/Crafts – 123Homeschool4me Teach Beside Me

Language – Worksheets Worksheets

Reading – K12reader

Math – Worksheets Worksheet K5 Learning

Social Studies – Education.com

As the week goes on, I will try and add to this list of resources! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to shoot me a DM over on my IG @ourgatheredcottage

Amy

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Can you tell just by looking at the photo above that 3 items are spray painted? I teamed up with Joann Fabrics for this project and they challenged me to use Rust-Oleum spray paint to either create or transform a project! If you are anything like me, I love to create beautiful spaces on a budget so I was excited to think outside of the box and incorporate spray paint in a unique way!

For this tablescape, I really drew inspiration from the Rust-Oleum Imagine Sea Glass spray paint. When I spotted it, I knew I had to use it in this project. In the next isle I also found these beautiful textured glass jars and just like that, the entire project came together in my mind. To fully cover the jars, it took 3 completely dried, thin coats. When using any spray paint, be careful not to spray too close or it will create runs which are tough to correct, I made that mistake on the first jar. I love how this spray paint really changed the look of these ordinary jars to something that looked high end and much more expensive.

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Next up, I wanted to try spray painting wicker. Instead of buying new chargers for this project, I wanted to try a set I already had to save money. I have never attempted to use spray paint on this texture but I pictured of a sort of white-washed/distressed charger for this tablescape. I used Rust-Oleum Paint & Primer ivory semi gloss to do this. There was no “going back” on these because I really wanted the wicker to still come through the color. I took my time and did light, even coats until I got the look I wanted. Surprisingly, these turned out even better than I could have imagined. They brought an awesome texture to the look of the tablescape and I love how it turned out!

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I loved the before, but the after is so pretty and unique!

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When I was browsing the spray paint section at Joann’s, I fell in love with this blush pink color from Rust-Oleum’s imagine line. I knew the soft color would fit perfectly in this project. I decided to to spray paint 4 small wooden eggs and used a little different method for spray painting these. I started off with one coat of blush pink and when it was probably 50% dry, I got super close and did a thick coat on one side of each of the eggs. This made a big run of paint and created a really cool, almost marble effect on them. Once they dried and I added them to the tablescape, they were a perfect fit!

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I love the extra detail these spray painted eggs added to the tablescape!

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This was such a fun project and I love how it all came together! If you are looking to create a budget friendly space, I encourage you to incorporate items you already have and spray painting them to give it a completely different look!

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There are many thrifted or repurposed items that I included in this tablescape. When you want to decorate a new space, don’t always feel like you have to buy things brand new.

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Have you ever been afraid of shopping at thrift stores because of what you might bring home? Many people believe that second hand items are much dirtier than brand new items, but I’m here to tell you, that’s actually not true. When you browse through a rack of sweaters at Target and maybe pick up that top, hold it up in front of the mirror..chances are dozens of others saw that top and have done that too. Same goes with shoes, home items, toys, linens, etc. People with colds and germs are all touching stuff you buy from the store. I’m not trying to freak you out, I’m just trying to point out that your every day stores aren’t as clean as you think. The new things hanging from hangers or sitting on shelves are covered with germs and while that doesn’t worry me, it makes me aware that thrift stores are no different than all of the other stores I shop at – nothing is truly ever clean when you buy it brand new.

If you don’t thrift because you worry about the cleanliness of things, hopefully this blog post will change your mind!

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1. Thrifted clothing – My first tip is before you ever purchase the item is to look it over for stains. Although there might be ways to get stains out, I typically steer clear of clothing with stains. Before I wash thrifted clothes, I start with checking through any pockets to make sure there is nothing in them. When I purchase boy’s pants, I actually like to pull the pockets out before washing them so it washes the inside of them as well. *Shoes – I always toss thrifted shoes in the dryer for 10 minutes, then spray them down with disinfectant spray. You can always change out the soles of shoes as well if you feel like they need some extra help. *Purses and bags – I don’t buy a ton of these but when I do, I wipe them down with antibacterial wipes and use a vacuum attachment to get anything else out. If it’s a bag made with a material that can go in the dryer, I toss it in there for a few minutes.

Many people sent in messages about a certain “thrift store smell” on clothes. While I rarely have that on my own purchases, I suggest using a 1/2 C of distilled white vinegar instead of detergent on wash one, then on wash two use normal detergent! This has always worked well for me!

2. Thrifted home décor – Home décor is my favorite thing to thrift because I have put some beautiful spaces together on a tight budget thanks to thrifting! For most décor items I use my household thieves cleaner but if things are a little more “well loved”, I use dish soap and warm water to wash things down. *Antique furniture – Last week I shared a chippy chair I found at Goodwill and how I was cleaning/sealing it! Lead paint can be dangerous so after I cleaned it with thieves, I sealed it with matte polyacrylic so that it safe for my family and it doesn’t continue to chip more. *Upholstered furniture – this one is tough. I really think it comes down to the piece. You can typically tell from the condition if it’s come from a home where it’s been taken care of. In the past, I have used warm soapy water and have had great results. If it’s in really rough shape, just know it might be risky bringing it into your home. * Thrifted boxes, baskets, and trunks – Vacuuming is your best friend for these items. This will remove any sort of dirt of dust that’s built up as well as any little bugs that may have made that their home. If I’m being completely honest I have only found one spider in a basket and that was because I barely looked at it in the store. Again, always look things over well before you purchase them. * Rugs – I have never bought a rug second hand but if I were to, I would clean it outdoors with soapy water, hose it down, then let it air dry if possible.

3. Thrifted Linens – This is probably the most common item I get questions about and it’s also the most simple…just wash it! Curtains, sheets, comforters, throw blankets, etc can be thrown in a load of laundry and treated like any other linens you purchase from the store. *Pillow inserts and pillow covers – I only purchase pillows that have removable covers and so I can wash them separately. You CAN wash pillow inserts but most of the time I just dry them for 20-30 minutes. The heat will kill germs and anything that might be on them. My rule in general is if I cannot wash it, it’s not coming home with me.

4. Kid’s toys – Easy peasy! Just wipe down with thieves or your household cleaner. There might be exceptions to this but for the most part, they are very simple to clean. I got a few questions about books…honestly, I don’t clean them. I don’t clean brand new books so I don’t see the need to do that for second hand ones.

Thieves Cleaner – I got lots of questions about Thieves cleaner in my DMs last week so I thought I would include that in this post as well! We’ve used this as our household cleaner for about 4 years and we will NEVER go back to store bought cleaners. I love that this cleaner is non-toxic and made with 100% plant and mineral-based ingredients. One bottle of thieves cleaner (concentrate) makes around 125 – 30 oz bottles of cleaner which would make it under a dollar a bottle….yes, you heard that right! It also works on pretty much everything so I don’t have a cleaner for every room in the house! We use it on all the surfaces in our home including glass, wood, refrigerator, and even our mirrors. It’s just that amazing and gets bonus points for smelling incredible! You can purchase it here – Purchase Thieves Cleaner

Not all thift stores are created equal – I felt like this was an important part to include because while I’m an avid thrifter, there are stores I refuse to shop at. You can usually tell right away if the thrift store sells most anything they get or they are picky. Right now I have about 3 or 4 on my rotation that I visit weekly or biweekly. There’s typically not a week that goes by that I don’t at least stop into Savers because over the past 3 years I have seen them sell clean, good quality items for a reasonable price. If you haven’t found a thrift store you like, keep looking or even start shopping Facebook marketplace. Don’t lower your standards for a thrift store that sells low quality items. These are also the places that you will typically find things that are dirty and unkept.

I hope if you’ve wanted to thrift but have never ventured out in fear of the uncleanilness of it, I hope this information will nudge you to give it a try. Thank you to everyone who sent in a question for this blog post! I had so much fun answering your questions!

Amy

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Coffee is an experience to me each morning. I love having a space just for our coffee with everything right there to make the perfect cup of joe each day. We are big coffee lovers in this house so having a coffee bar is a must! For the past year we have had a super cute green dresser in this space but it’s always been a bit to wide for our small dining room. Two weeks ago, Curt facetimed me from a Habitat for Humanity and found this darling vintage dresser that was made in the 30’s. We know this because my mom had this exact dresser as a child and it was passed down from her dad; this also made the dresser so much more of a special find!

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I was excited to try out the Mr. Coffee hot cup for a few reasons.  First of all, my family will be in town for the holidays and my dad especially loves super hot coffee.  I have been trying to convince him for years to try out lattes, cappuccinos, or even iced coffee but he loves his coffee black with sugar, my guess is he always will like it that way.  Curt and I like to have a variety of options in our house and since we love it all, this was a perfect solution on the days we just wanted a hot cup of coffee.  The eco friendly Mr. Coffee hot cup is a pod free, single serve coffee machine that offers a 6, 8, 10, or even 12 ounce cup of coffee. This coffee machine provides an excellent tasting cup of coffee because it uses kettle technology to heat it up at the best possible temperature which provides a full-bodied flavor.

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Whether it includes frothed milk, peppermint creamer, or even whipped cream; having a good cup of coffee is the most important part. I hope you enjoyed hearing more about the Mr. Coffee hot cup and you can follow the link here to find out more!

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