How to Polish Silver

A few months ago, my mother-in-law gave us an old silverware set she had found while cleaning out her home. She called to ask if we wanted it and while I’ve never thought about having true silverware, it was a complete set. Why pass it up?

The set had belonged to my husband’s grandmother. Undoubtedly from a time when silver and china were staples to every wedding registry. Today, that’s not something brides and grooms prioritize for their wedding gifts. Everyday dishes and flatware? Of course. But quality, expensive dishware is rarely a priority. We were fortunate to get this beautiful William Rogers and Sons King Edward Silverplated set, which after some research, we found was made between 1936-1951 and was a very popular style of the time.

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7 Current Goals

Ah – Halloween is behind us. Thanksgiving is looming. Christmas is on the horizon. Now that the creepy decorations are safely stored away, I’m taking a moment to refocus and get a grasp on all the upcoming fun. I think it’s good to do this every once in a while – sort out my life and re-evaluate what’s important. I may not always achieve my goals, but at least I have direction.

So with the best-laid intentions, here are 7 goals I’m focusing on right now…

  1. Our Christmas Theme – I’m not ready to announce what our Christmas theme is this year, but I can say, it will be beautiful. I’ve already purchased a number of supplies to get moving on some fun decorations.
  2. Staying Physical – A few months ago, I partially slipped a disk in my lower back. Since then, exercise has been a struggle between physical limitations and fear. Later this week, I have a half marathon to tackle and from there I will focus on proper recovery and rehabilitation.
  3. Bridal Shower / Bachelorette Planning – My cousin is getting married in March and I have the honor of planning her bridal shower and bachelorette party coming up in January. November is the month of laying plans and sending out invitations.
  4. Reading for Personal and for Work – Reading is always on my list. I’d like to read at least two books for pleasure and two books related to work this month.
  5. Creating a Christmas Budget – The key to the success of every Christmas is careful planning. I create a budget and shop early. Hopefully, I can have everything ironed out by mid-November.
  6. 2018 Blogpost Plan – I’ve found I’m more consistent with writing when I have a plan. This month, I’m sitting down to map out a framework for my 2018 posts.
  7. Gratitude Journal – I know this usually comes around during the holidays and should really be done year round. But the holidays are the perfect time to kickstart this habit.

We’ll see where the next month takes me. It’s the last month of my husband’s deployment and the start of our last holiday season in San Diego. I’m grateful to have plenty to focus on to both celebrate and help pass the time before my husband is home.

7 Spooktacular Halloween Posts

Halloween is just a few days away and I’m still soaking up every ounce of spooky fun I can. Follow me on Instagram to see what seasonal shenanigans I’m up to today – @anthropojenic. Trust me… you won’t be disappointed!

If you’re still looking to get into the spirit, why not read up on one of my Halloween posts?

  1. Halloween Spellbook Scrapbook – Learn how to create your own scrapbook that doubles as a decorative spellbook.
  2. 13 Days of Halloween Countdown – We may be well into the countdown to Halloween, but you can get great deals right now on supplies to make this project for next year.
  3. 7 Favorite Halloween Movies – Nothing you gets into the spirit of Halloween like watching movies (all family-friendly, of course).
  4. Simple Paint Pen Pumpkin – Go buy a fake pumpkin on sale and make this cute decor in 15 minutes or less!
  5. 7 Favorite Halloween Decorations – Check out my favorite decorations I’ve collected over the years.
  6. Halloween Witch Cross Stitch Pattern – Hey – while you’re enjoying a marathon of Hocus Pocus on FreeForm, why not cross stitch a primitive inspired witch pattern?
  7. Pumpkin Carving Gallery – Haven’t carved your pumpkins yet? Check out my past designs and maybe you’ll get a little creative inspiration.

7 Favorite Pumpkin Carvings

Can you smell it? Can you smell that tangy, gourd-geous smell? It’s pumpkin carving time!

Every year, I get ramped up for pumpkin carving. I start planning in September, scouring the internet for inspiration and templates. This year was no exception but the brainstorming started with my dog Jax’s costume and then the pumpkin. Officially a fur-mom. Oh, but he’s going to look so cute! Nope… I’m not telling you what it is… yet.

In the meantime, you’ll just have to enjoy these Pumpkins of Halloweens Past. These are my 7 favorite pumpkin carvings.

  1. Lock Shock and Barrel from The Nightmare Before Christmas – This carving was my gateway drug into serious pumpkin carving. If I remember correctly, this pumpkin took me three hours due to small holes but the result was so worth it. If only I had a better camera to capture the awesome design.
    lock-shock-barrel-2008
  2. Rising Ghosts – This pumpkin got such a fun response from trick-or-treaters! The template is from one of those carving books available in the grocery store. The only thing I did differently is carve each ghost as a single piece. Then I used toothpicks to mount the ghosts on the pumpkin as if they were rising.
    flying-ghosts-2010.jpg
  3. Bowser from Mario Brothers – I carved this pumpkin for a work event. We did a Super Mario Brothers department theme and I decided the set-up needed a pumpkin to match!
    pumpkin-carving-2016-bowser.jpg
  4. Slimmer from Ghostbusters – Slimmer was a stressful pumpkin to carve! To achieve his rolls, I had to carve long thin pieces that kept making the pumpkin weaker and weaker. I was super stressed but the finished product was beautiful.
    slimmer-2014.jpg
  5. Scary, Scary Bird of Death (as my best friend calls it) – This raven piece was perfectly creepy. I left bits of pumpkin guts on the inside to add to the effect.
    the-raven-2013.jpg
  6. Eye of Newt – Gosh, this witch was so fun to carve! This pumpkin took the longest of any pumpkin I’ve ever done (I even had to take breaks). But isn’t she just creeeepy?! I’ve often wanted to recreate this pumpkin just for fun.
    eye-of-newt-2012.jpg
  7. The Corpse Bride from Tim Burton’s The Corpse Bride – In honor of our upcoming nuptials, I carved my favorite Halloween bride last year. And watched “The Corpse Bride” about 50 times. Haha.
    pumpkin-carving-2016-the-corpse-bride-3.jpg

Tricks of the Trade:
I get many of my pumpkin carving templates from Zombie Pumpkins.
My Pumpkin Carving Tool Box makes all the difference. Don’t bother buying a new grocery store kit every year. Create a safe place to keep all your supplies and they will last you years! Find out what you need for your tool box here.

You can see all of my Pumpkin Carvings in my gallery here. 

Halloween Spellbook Scrapbook

I’m not a fan of scrapbooking. In my post about our wedding scrapbook, I described scrapbooking as “condensed hoarding”. I find the entire process to be overwhelming – collecting the pictures and stickers, thinking of clever layouts and designs, and ugh! the time it takes to put everything together! However, occasionally, I come up with an idea that is too much fun to resist.

I’ve always wanted to make a spellbook for Halloween decorations, but I couldn’t see putting in all the effort for something that would just sit on a shelf and never be looked at. No matter how many fake potions or spells I put into the book, it would never be looked at. So what purpose could it serve? Why, a scrapbook, of course! Read More »

Halloween Witch Cross Stitch Pattern

One of my favorite crafty projects is cross stitching.  For me, it feels like putting together a puzzle – I can focus on little areas at a time and suddenly a picture has appeared!  Though tedious, learning and mastering cross stitch has taught me patience and acceptance of flaws.  You see, I’m an insufferable perfectionist – but with cross stitch, most errors cannot be seen nor detected.  My cross stitches are riddled with errors, but can you tell? No sir.

I decided I wanted to try making my own cross stitch pattern.  I wanted to create a great beginner’s pattern that required minimal materials.  I did a lot of brainstorming and debating and have come up with a few to finally debut!  Meet the first pattern!

Cross Stitch evokes a vintage, old-world aesthetic and what time of year is this most appreciated?  Well, Halloween, of course!

This Halloween Witch Cross Stitch Pattern was inspired by two greats, Shakespeare and Harry Potter.  Does the witch look familiar?  If so, then you’re a huge Potter-head!  She was inspired by The Leaky Cauldron sign.

Again, this is a great beginner’s pattern.  All you need is an 8″x10″ piece of “Sandy” aida {the fabric}, DMC 3371 {the thread}, a needle and some scissors.  Ready to give it shot?

IMG_9947

$4.00

7 Favorite Halloween Decorations

‘Tis the season to be spooooooky! Over the years, I’ve collected a number of Halloween decorations whether through buying them myself or being passed down from my parents. Opening my large orange bins every year brings me such joy – and not just because they inexplicably smell of stale candy. As I pull out each item, I’m reminded when I got it and begin to dream up its new destiny amongst my home decor. I love this process.

As I sit here admiring all the fun decorations I have, there are a few that hold a special place in my heart. Here are my 7 favorite Halloween Decorations I’ve acquired over the years.Read More »