Posts tagged Fall
Yarn Pumpkin Wreath
Add a touch of fall color to your front porch with this pumpkin wreath!

Add a touch of fall color to your front porch with this pumpkin wreath!

Pumpkins are the iconic image of Halloween for me, and I can't get enough of them right now! We made some jack o'lanterns from foam balls and orange yarn last week, and, as projects some time go, we got hooked in the process. The half sphere makes an easy, mountable pumpkin for any craft. These pumpkin magnets make me smile every time I pass by them.

Have you ever kept going with a process even after a project is complete because the process itself brings joy? My friend, Emily Jeffords, talks about the enjoyment of the process in her work as a painter and entrepreneur, and it resonates with me. On a more basic level, in this process of crafting, I found the rhythm of slicing the foam balls, the meditative nature of wrapping the yarn, and the assembling of mounds of bright-colored pumpkins totally satisfying.

DIY Yarn Pumpkin Wreath from Pars Caeli

DIY Yarn Pumpkin Wreath from Pars Caeli

So, I kept going. And made dozens and dozens of yarn pumpkins. Now we have a vibrant pumpkin wreath to add to our front door. 

DIY Yarn Pumpkin Wreath from Pars Caeli

DIY Yarn Pumpkin Wreath from Pars Caeli

Make one for your home, too! Here's what you need: 

  • Wreath form
  • Foam balls, halved
  • Orange yarn (I used three shades of orange to make the composition more interesting)
  • Glue (craft or hot glue)
  • Scissors
DIY Yarn Pumpkin Wreath from Pars Caeli

DIY Yarn Pumpkin Wreath from Pars Caeli

With the half spheres, wrap yarn around and around like you're creating a ball of yarn. Make sure that you cover all of the white foam as you wrap. Glue the end of the yarn on the back of the pumpkin.

DIY Yarn Pumpkin Wreath from Pars Caeli

DIY Yarn Pumpkin Wreath from Pars Caeli

Once you have a few dozen ready, you can get to wreath making. The amount of pumpkins you need depends on the size of your wreath, as well as the size of the foam balls. I had 3" and 4" sized to help cover a 10" wreath.

TIP: Cover the white surface of the wreath with orange paper so that the gaps between pumpkins aren't so apparent at first glance.

DIY Yarn Pumpkin Wreath from Pars Caeli

DIY Yarn Pumpkin Wreath from Pars Caeli

As you add each pumpkin, you'll see the wreath come to life! My son's favorite color is orange, and he is a big fan of the project. I love the impact that the color statement makes with simple forms. You could add faces to each pumpkin or a select few if you want more of a specifically-Halloween feel.

DIY Yarn Pumpkin Wreath from Pars Caeli

DIY Yarn Pumpkin Wreath from Pars Caeli

As you glue on each pumpkin, be sure to vary the shades of orange so that you end up with a cheerful mixing of the tones. I'm a big fan of how ours pops right off the slate green door! Happy fall!!

DIY Yarn Pumpkin Wreath from Pars Caeli

DIY Yarn Pumpkin Wreath from Pars Caeli

Remember this project I did with tiny balls of yarn? It's a quick alternative to the larger wreath, with the same process!

Happy making!

xoxo, MJ

Learning from Autumn

Not everyone needs them, but I do. The change of the seasons, the turn of one cycle of nature to another.

It's a spiritual revolving for me. My faith has not been a direct, upward climb, but it has been and is a daily cleanse and a foundation of hope and a loud call to love more. With the arrival of autumn, the addition of color, the fall of the leaves, the crisp scent in the air, I am reminded of a deeper change within each of us.

The act of leaves moving from green to yellow or red to fallen forms of themselves, leaving behind a blank tree that must now weather the winter on its own, encourages me to strip away all that is unnecessary and unhelpful. And to remind myself of what I truly need to live the life I hope to.

From Peter Schineller, SJ:

It means a letting go, as the trees let go of their leaves. What are you called to let go of this season? Possessions? Grudges? Status? Can you shed them gently? When I was growing up there was a large tree on the corner of one of the streets in our neighborhood, which always turned red before the others--from the top down. There were other trees whose fallen leaves blanketed the grass with reds, oranges, and yellows. As with a tree that sheds its leaves, perhaps your letting go might make things more beautiful for the world.

How can the season invite you closer to God?

I have plenty that I want to shed this season - some of which I'll be sharing here on Pars Caeli. I'm taking a call from nature to dig into my roots and let go of what has served its time, and to grow stronger for all that is to come.

What will you let fall away? Can you shed it gently?

xoxo, MJ

Welcome to fall wardrobe


The crisp smell is in the air, and we have our first apple picking adventure this weekend. Fall is on its way, and for this gal, I'm welcoming it with wide open arms. The fashions of fall are always my favorite, as we add layers and textures to our closets.


Let's not forget to keep the color going, too! Autumn in nature brings the brilliance of the warm color palette right to our front door so let's celebrate it in our wardrobes, too. I'm dreaming of bursts of blue and hits of pink with the neutral tones of the crunchy leaves.


What are you excited to wear for the fall?


xoxo, MJ
Amazing Bloggers for Fall

Y'all know I love the blogging community with the supportive, creative, hilarious women I have come to know and appreciate. And when I find excellence I'm just no good at keeping it to myself. I've had a handful of local friends lately ask me for new - and great - blogs to dig into in their spare time. For me, this sort of question is in the same line as tell me about your kids... I could go on and on.

And actually knowing the amazing people behind these blogs makes me love them that much more. If you're looking for recipes that taste and look great, create seasonal decor to inspire, or read the latest adventures of successful, smart, and sassy women...follow one of these greats.


Easy overnight cinnamon pull aparts from Melissa at Lulu the Baker.

Mommy Coddle published by Molly with her incredible pumpkin bread.

Joy sharing family secrets with yummy apple butter over on Frock Files.

Alexandra making things fun with upcycled sweater pumpkins over on Alexandra Hedin.

Gorgeous and good for you roasted carrots from Janae at Bring Joy.

Learn the fall essentials with Amy from This HeArt of Mine.


Now go.. and learn and create... and if you visit these ladies, tell them MJ sent you. :)

Happy weekend, friends. Let's make it a bright one.

xoxo, MJ

Gilded Popsicle Stick Garland

Ever since my craft date with Renee, I've been thinking about a fall banner to hang in our home. Homemade pom poms, something catchy in paper? In an attempt to be resourceful, I took a look-see in our craft cabinet to assess: modeling clay, glitter pipe cleaners, some beads...

Bingo: Mini popsicle sticks.

Now before you give up on me, let's look past the camp frames and pencil holder possibilities of the past and consider these magic sticks like small scale wooden pallets. Stacked together, they make a great flat canvas.

Painted with a gold leafing marker? These canvases might even sparkle.


To make your own, pull out your pack of Woodsies mini sticks, some cardboard, twine, glue or Modge Podge, and a gold paint marker.

Stack your popsicle sticks on a narrow piece of cardboard. Glue them in place, making sure to cover the edges of the cardboard.


Draw or stencil letters or symbols on your squares. Paint the remainder with your gorgeous gold marker. If you're really into highlights, add some with white chalk.


Bend the top portion of your cardboard rectangle.


And glue the twine (I braided mine for a bit more heft) to the back, folding the cardboard over it.


 The effect of the gold on the natural wood makes the sheen an interactive element in the banner.


I decided practicing gratitude was a mantra we could all use for fall and all year through. :)


This little project has me thinking of other banners, runner, placecards, and signs I can make using these super inexpensive and super easy to paint popsicle sticks.

What do you have hiding in your craft cabinet that can be reworked into something gilded?

xoxo, MJ

Craft Date: Burlap Placemats

Hi cuties,

Happy week to you. It's the last full one for September, and it's time to get your fall on. So far we have three oversized pumpkins on the stoop, a wreath on the door, and 3 large bags of apples hanging out in our kitchen. We're just beginning to crack open the wonder of autumn.


My pal, Renee, and I decided to get crafty last week, and we were choosing among some ideas we'd seen around the interwebs. Choices: yarn words, burlap placmemats, or concrete planters

With all the supplies ready at hand, we opted for.... drumroll please... the burlap placemats.


Renee was our shopper and purchased all that we needed (though it wasn't much) from the local craft store. Wanna do this craft date with a buddy of yours? Here are the simple ingredients:

  • 3 yards of burlap - we made 10 placemats out of this amount with plenty spare.
  • Paint - we had a variety of colors but opted for the black since it made the biggest statement against the brown texture
  • Scissors
  • Sharpies or stencils
  • Fray stop or clear nail polish
  • Patient friend (not required but makes it much more fun)

First we measured the size of a standard placemat and decided to cut ours to 14" x 18".

Renee has a beautiful home and even more beautiful children (three under the age of 4), and I'd like to take just a moment to thank her for hosting me and for putting up with my very crooked cutting of burlap.

We worked at her dining room table, and I laid out the fabric to get the best cuts. Inevitably the burlap would stretch and pull in one direction or another, and nice straight edges were no where to be found.

But! Never fret. Burlap is forgiving, and for this project we wanted to create a fringe... so we had a little wiggle room (and some repairing trims to do).


Burlap cut to size... To create the fringe on the placemats, pull one string on each edge until you achieve the desired length you'd like.


Next step adding the design. We both wanted words. Renee went with the names of her family members (except for baby E who might not yet appreciate burlap). I went with words of thanksgiving.

These dried really quickly, and we added some fray stop to the border. Simply turn the placemat over and trace along the entire perimeter.


We've been enjoying our new placemats since last week, and the kids have been intrigued with their words at each meal. I love the bit of texture and some homespun goodness all tied together with a fun friend project.

Renee and I had so much fun we're making Craft Date a quarterly gathering. We're currently sketching out the winter project (got any ideas you wanna toss our way?)!


Also the idea of a Craft Date sparked a collaboration with Kim over at Design + Life + Kids. We'll be doing a project next Tuesday for Craft Date... one from the idea files last week... those amazing milk carton concrete pots. If you're dying to make some too, send me a message!!

Have a project on your mind and need a pal to get you motivated to create? Leave an idea in the comments or send me an email at, and we just might be able to set up a craft date, near or far.

Because it's just more fun to do it together.

xoxo, MJ

PS. Renee, you're the best.

All for the love of cord

Please excuse that unintentional day off yesterday! We're back today, and I'm sharing one of my longtime faves for fall - CORDUROY! I've lived in Midwest climates most of my life which means that chilly temperatures are just part of the territory, and for me so is corduroy. I fell in love with its endurance as a little girl in cord jumpers and pants, and as a teenager I tried it in shirts, coats, and skirts.

These days I'm loving cord for the variety - so many colors, wales, and options for fashionable, comfortable, and cozy warm.

Here are my picks for how to wear cords this fall:

What about a cord shoe? These leopard print flats with a sassy bow are from Gap. Or cords in a hot color? Cobalt blue stretch cords featured here are super affordable over at JCPenney. The cord skirt is an easy option from Loft (and already in my closet for the season). And did you know with the right brand, cord can fit you like a glove. I'm oogling this blazer from Boden (as well as a ton of other styles in their fall line).

I embrace my inner cord lover every day with my Skooba laptop bag. I love the chocolate brown and the fun twist on a bag style with way too much black leather in its genre.

Are you with me? Do you embrace corduroy and all its goodness? Or is it a fabric whose days have gone by?



It's a Craft Date


Hey there. Happy week to you! How's September rolling along? Fall is racing in fast and bringing her crisp air and snuggly wardrobes, and I am delighted.

I am also delighted to have a friend. A friend who will craft with me. This week, after much rescheduling and scheming, my friend, Renee and I will break open a bag of supplies and keep our hands busy crafting until we call it a day or a DIY done.

Our plan was to share some pins that have really piqued our interest as of late and decide together on which one was worthy of the craft date. Here are the three projects I suggested. Some of these have been around for a while, and I just haven't had the time to make my own versions.

Which one would you make? Or do you have another project on your mind?

Found via Cottage and Vine

Via Family Chic

Via Martha Stewart

Tune in next week to see what we crafted and just how we did. And if you're lucky enough to have a friend in your life who will craft with you, give them a hug for me. She/He is awesome!!



PS. If you want to make your home a warm, wonderful place to be every day of the year, follow Renee over on Pinterest.

The top 4 for fall

Today, my friends, I have a delightful collaboration to share with you. I've huddled up with three of my favorite stylish bloggers to offer you the Top 4 for fall. These ladies are not fashion bloggers per se; they're classy women who exude a distinctive look. If you are not subscribing to their blogs, I highly suggest you add them to your list. Happy surprises will follow!



We're each sharing a must have for fall fashion. Hop over to Frock Files, Minnow + Co., and Laid Off Mom to see the essentials! (And now that I have these gals snookered in, you just might see a few more Top 4s coming your way.)

For me it's all about some great animal prints for fall. I know this trend has been around for a few seasons. To keep it fresh for 2013, the best way to take advantage of the patterns and tones is through sharp accessories. 



Carried with jeans or a little black dress, this Madison Phoebe bag from Coach is on my wishlist (donations currently accepted)! The slouch and structure are right in balance and the print is beautifully organic. At $350 it would make a big dent in my wallet, but the elegant styling with hints of gold would last (right?!).

Save For It:

The Ashby Calf Hair is a fantastic combo of wearable and statement. These 3.5 inch lovelies add punch to any outfit and are classic enough to last through the trends of a few seasons. I'm saving up for a purchase soon! And guess what, they're from Land's End.

Right Now:

At $9.95, this umbrella from H&M is just right for any of us to add to our fall wardrobe. It's a statement, on trend, and if it grows old for you, your bank account will be no worse for wear.


What's caught your eye for fall? Do share, do share!!

xoxo, MJ



Bring on fall with these Etsy finds

Happy week, friends! Thanks for your understanding with last Thursday's post. I was determined NOT to get another sinus infection and spent a whole lot of time sleeping. Good news - I think I avoided this one!!

Despite the warm temperatures around here, I am still dreaming of fall and the tasty treats that announce the season. My shopping has made a turn to the fall as well, and I want to share some Etsy treasures I've found. It's been so long since I've shown off a curated post (it felt good to indulge in some handmade beauties).

Looking for a giftie for someone special during the season, check out these:


1. A personalized birch vase from Bragging Bags is a sweet way to say I like like you, the old fashioned way.

2. We buy many, many little pumpkins and gourds to set around the house. These three little knit pumpkins from Luna Cab Co will never spoil and find a way to fit into any location.

3. Nothing says fall like color! Hang these fun tissue paper garlands all over. Nice work, Pipsqueak and Bean.

4. Faunay Flora Shop makes these great gold feather bracelets to accent any (and every) fall outfit.

5. Oh the scarves of autumn!! I adore the combination of leather and knit in this one from Three Bird Nest.

6. Jump into a pile of these leaf pillows. Outdoor indoor goodness from Snow Little Shop.

I'll be talking fall all this week - bear with me summer lovers.

Do you change anything in your home or wardrobe to reflect your love of autumn?

xoxo, MJ



Must Dos for Fall

It's the beginning of September, and I've already collected handfuls of red and orange leaves from my trees. It is not yet fall, but I can smell its arrival on the way.

And, friends, I adore autumn. Dare I say, my soul needs it - the colors, the tastes, the fragrance - these carry me through the long bleak sea of gray that becomes our winter months.

I've forced, err urged my kiddos and husband to embrace the rituals of fall, and we've created our own bucket list for the season. Whaddya think?

What are you putting on your list for the season? I'd love to add some new adventures to the list this year!!

xoxo, MJ

Happy Kiddos: Wordless(ish) Wednesday

Happy Halloween. We'll be battling the chilly temps and rain this evening with the same great neighbors with whom we've trick-or-treated for the last few years. It's a tradition now. For just one day I get to be practically perfect in every way. Can you guess my costume?

Are you dressing up today? Celebrating the festiveness of it all?

Last image, before the storm. Fabulous photos courtesy of my new guest photographer, my talented husband (taken specifically for blog purposes, so sweet).


A tri- to try from my friends

Hello Friday. Hello friends. Today we're celebrating National Pumpkin Day. What's your favorite color pumpkin? I'm loving the green ones this year. Tomorrow will bring in National Potato Day. And I have a great way to live this fabulous holiday with a treat below. My hubby is honoring Mother-in-law day on Sunday with his stacks of blueberry pancakes (and a visit from my parents). What are you up to?



My friend, Sheri, over at Donuts, Dresses, and Dirt (great blog name, eh?) posted an easy way to enjoy for all of us to embrace National Potato Day. These yummies come out crispy and are cooked in the microwave!! My hubby and I love sweet potatoes, but our kids are not so keen. Maybe this will win them over? It's all in the name of holiday, you know. Check out the super simple recipe.


My pal Joy from Frock Files is over at You Are My Fave this week sharing a recipe for healthy corn chowder. I am a big fan of corn + soup. Joy made this sweet recipe as a dinner for a neighbor, and you have to check out how she packaged it all up. Do you have someone in your life who could use a surprise dinner? I know I do.


Get ready to pin this one. My gal, Caroline, from Salsa Pie created this fun Face Mat for kids. It's 2D Mr. Potato Head but so much more chic. My kiddos would love this, if they'd be able to get it away from me. I love how she captured so many different expressions in these photos!! Caroline is creating the most amazing crafts these days so if you're not tuning into to Salsa Pie, you are missing out.

That's it from here, friends. We're hosting my parents for the weekend and taking in some fall sites... this just might be our last weekend to do so. What do you have going on?




Make It Monday: Herringbone Tray

Happy Monday, friends!! How was the weekend? We hung around and raked leaves, watched some football, and handled some crafting, too. As y'all know, I'm a great adorer of autumn (yo, Instagram friends are you tired of my leaf photos yet?), and I've been looking for ways to get my indoor spaces decked in color, too, as the leaves now begin to shed their brilliance and Halloween is coming right around the corner.

I don't do spooky or the darkness of Halloween, but I was inspired by the shapes and lines of Landee See, Landee Do's holiday post. And I thought it'd be fun to transform a great tray that I've had for a while and DIY it up.


Here's what I used. This great tray was a DIY present from a dear friend for our wedding. Chris converted a large frame into tray through handles and paint. I added some great colored cardstock in complimentary Halloween shades of orange, black, white, and gray. And pulled out the paper cutter and some glue!


Herringbone has been on the brain lately as I see fall fashions appearing in stores and catalogs. It's a simple geometric pattern that my daughters loved putting together with me.


I love the great graphic quality, and it's the perfect perch for the growing mounds of mini pumpkins and gourds we're accumulating.

I'm also planning on mounding it up with candy (way more than pictured here) for our adorable Trick or Treaters next week!


How do you deck your house for Halloween? 


A tri- to try

Wonder where I live? Right here in the midst of changing corn and soybean fields. And come this time of year they produce the most amazing shade of yellow orange brown (saffron?) that amplifies sunlight from the ground up. It's heavenly.

Happy Friday to you. Are we ready to kick back this weekend?? We're beginning the 3-year old celebrations tomorrow with a visit from the grandparents. My son's birthday is next Thursday, but just like his sisters, he'll likely have at least three (small family) parties along the way. Time to bake some cakes!

In addition to the gratitude I feel for the most amazing son in the world, let us also celebrate Native American Day today. Tomorrow look for wisdom and humor around you as you ring in Confucius Day, honoring the great philosopher. Sunday marks the end of September and National Mulled Cider Day so grab a mug and snuggle up cozy next to those you love!

Here's this week's Tri- to Try. Don't forget that I'd love you to be a part of the DIY date for October, which I'm hosting, and craft something with typography!! If you'd like to post the invite on your blog, please feel welcome to steal the poster jpg that I created for the date!!



Have you ever been over to the Artful Parent site? Click on over and enter into a myriad of amazing projects for children and adults alike. I've been a fan of Jean's for a while, and I'm excited to show you some of the loveliness she's put together for fall. If you live in a part of the world that has leaves changing colors right now, go out and grab an armful and follow along!


Nerd alert here. I loved learning the periodic table. My dad is a chemical engineer, and I was fascinated with his knowledge of these boxes and their abbreviated meanings. I suppose the graphic designer in me liked the sense of geometry, order, and balance, too. Gabrielle over at Design Mom posted this nerd-rrific print of a Periodic Table for kids. Check it out over on Etsy...each column means something different for adults and children, and it's really a great teaching tool and a beautiful reminder. Perfect new baby gift for the geeks that you love. :)


Kelly over at Studio DIY is working up all sorts of Halloween and holiday decor and party ideas. I saw her step-by-step tut on how to make paper spider webs, and I knew we had to try this one at home! It's like all the fun of paper snowflakes without the chill of the impending winter. She posted the instructions over at Amy's blog This HeArt of Mine. Grab your scissors and head over!!

That's all from here, friends! Wishing you a bright weekend.


Changing things up

It's the fresh waft in the air, the undeniably new and dazzling color palette, and the treasured foods and decor that only come around this time of year.

I adore fall. I mean, I love summer, and spring brings such goodness, and there's nothing quite like a bright winter snow. But...

I am an autumn girl.

For a handful of years, I lived in wondrously warm, sunny climates that offered no change of seasons. And though I loved the ocean and swimming pools all year round, I felt incomplete without the shift into cooler temperatures, falling leaves, and apple orchards.

Pars Caeli went through a bit of a seasonal change this weekend. I've deepened the rainbow to reflect our new tones, added some new social media accents to keep you looking and following, highlighted some of my popular posts, and there are many more great additions to come...

When I began the Summer Edition of this blog, I wrote down all the fun experiences we wanted to have for the summer. Well, here we are again, and this post wouldn't be complete without a Fall Adventure List.

I'll be watermarking posts (thanks, Paige!) to make it more convenient for your to share ideas with your friends (or strangers, why not share the love?).

We waved our last goodbyes to summer with a dinner/splash party at our house. 8 kiddos under the age of 10 were fed, entertained, and sweaty (with no minor or major meltdowns) so I consider it a success.

How are you prepping for fall? Any ideas I could add to my list?




Funday Fashion Monday: To the Windy City

Good Monday, everyone! I'm sending you greetings from the lovely city of Chicago. We're enjoying some fun family days here in the city, soaking up a fancy hotel, museums, parks, trains, and boats, too! I love Chicago, and I could really use some time away so cheers to a great few days!

How was your weekend?

I'm not sure what the weather has been like in your part of the globe, but here in the Midwest, we've been experiencing cooler (65 degree) weather and rain. It's put me in the mood for my favorite season, and though summer is so fun, I think I am ready for the beauties of autumn.

Today's look is a transitional summer/fall (or walking around a windy city) ensemble.


Those bright pants: Color blocking! Let's embrace it with some great skinnies!! Seriously, I think every gal should find a fun color of pants for the Fall.

That cool top: I've been eyeing some great Dolman-sleeve tops, and I love the material and neutral tone to this one.

Those shoes: Open toed booties still offer a hint of summer pedicures and the stylings of next season.

This scarf: Stripes and colorblocking. I love tying my scarf around my bag when the sun peeks through the clouds and warms things.

That green handbag: Keep a little green going into the autumn tones. This one is bright and can pack a whole lot in it.

Those pyramid studs: These are from a great Etsy shop in a rose gold. Fun and funky.

What are you most looking forward to wearing this Fall?