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A shower that doesn’t bite.

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I don’t know about you, but a Sunday afternoon baby shower 1-3pm floating just is not my kind of thing.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that necessarily, but I just don’t get down with those kinds of affairs.  I like to throw my showers at night, and on a weekend day.  I think it allows people to feel a little less buttoned up and free to party.  Baby showers don’t have to be totally proper!

And as cheesy as it might feel when you’re planning, people DO love to play shower games.  They don’t have to be fancy either; I’ve played many games of bingo at showers I’ve thrown and attended and I’m always excited to be involved in some activity.  But even more than being involved, people like the opportunity to win a prize.  A prize will drive people do crazy things, and that makes for a lively party.  At the last shower, we played bingo while our mother-to-be opened gifts but that’s only meant for one part of the shower.  I like to have games meant to be played while people mingle.  I think I found one of my new favorites.

 

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So how do you play?  Literally all you have to do is pick up an ice cube and drop it in your drink and let the games begin.  When the ice cube melts, your plastic baby  will eventually float free.  At that point, you’ve won…and all you have to do is yell “My water broke!!”  At this party it was a mad dash to the finish line with a little cheating involved from some but everyone seemed to enjoy it.

I bought the plastic babies from Party City and they were super cheap.  I did try the whole “boil your water first to make clear ice cubes” thing that I saw on Pinterest.  As you can see from the image above, that was not a successful endeavor.  Save yourself the step.  I did come up with this little poem and used a frame I had at home to make it look cute:

“Take an ice cube and drop it in your drink,

Faster than you know and before you can blink,

Your baby will be out right before your eyes,

Be sure to yell, “My Water Broke” to win your prize!”

 

Happy partying yall!

 

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Fondue it Yourself

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Hope you all had a great weekend!  Mine was jam-packed just like last weekend but it was excellent.  I get my weekends so full sometimes that I actually look forward to the work week thinking I’ll only have one thing to focus on.  Is that bad?  The hospital gods will probably see to it that I bite my tongue for that one.  Anyway, I’ve had some time to recollect my thoughts post-party weekend and decided to share a recipe and a DIY project.

A few months ago I inherited a fondue pot and it’s been on like Donkey Kong ever since.  I never realized how easy it was to make fondue or how much people liked it.  I made my own concoction by haphazardly dumping ingredients in trying to get something delectable.  And lucky for me, it was delicious as hell and I got to pretend like it was all due to careful selection of ingredients and strategic proportioning.  It ain’t, it’s a dump job and it works like a charm every time.  But people keep asking me for my “recipe” so I decided to quantify some stuff and make it legit.

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Ingredients:

2 bags of Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips (11.5 oz bags)

8 oz. Hershey’s caramel sauce (found in a 16 oz. jar with the ice cream toppings)

Fisher’s Nut Topping (found in a 6 oz can with the ice cream toppings)

8 oz. Heavy Whipping cream

Directions:

In a pot on medium heat or in your fondue pot, pour chocolate chips in with heavy whipping cream and stir continuously to prevent scorching.  When chocolate and heavy cream have mixed thoroughly, add peanuts and caramel.  It’s just that easy, and serve warm..duh!  Try this chocolate fondue with bananas, apple slices, marshmallows, rice krispie treat pieces, pound cake pieces, and strawberries.

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This little paper rosette bunting is cute as a button and while time consuming, was totally worth it to bring this little vignette to life.  To start, pick scrapbook papers that you love in various colors to fit the need of your project.  If you choose patterned papers just make sure the pattern is small, otherwise, you won’t really be able to appreciate it once the rosettes are complete.  If you use a regular 12×12 piece of paper, you should be able to get four rosettes from the sheet.

Draw a spiral shape on the backside of the paper and cut it out on the lines.

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Start wrapping the spiral on itself making sure that the pattern you wish to have displayed is on the inside as you wrap.

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When you come to the end of the spiral, you’ll have a small flat piece.  Put some Tacky Glue on this flat area and press to the bottom of the spiral to give the rosette some stability.

Once you have all rosettes made, flip them over and glue them to your string to create the bunting.  I used raffia ribbon because it might be visible in some areas and it needs to be pretty.  Plus raffia is flat and gives more surface area for gluing, therefore, more strength.  I used two pieces of raffia ribbon on each rosette versus one piece in the center.  I thought that would make it sturdier and less likely to flip over once it was tied in place on the window frame.

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I tied the two strands into a knot at the end and hooked them around a Command hook I had placed on the window frame.  I then tied a pretty bow to hide my handiwork.  Beautiful!

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Hope you find time this week to make something you love.  Bye y’all!

 

April Showers!

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Happy Monday!!  I can hear you grumbling all the way over here.  Cut it out!  I’m making a return to this blog after a long hiatus due to multiple party planning endeavors.  Don’t sweat it though, I’ve returned with some awesome DIY projects and ideas 🙂  I don’t think it shocks anyone to find out that I love to throw a party.  And more importantly than that, a good party.  It’s pretty easy for me, all I have to worry about is making it beautiful and providing good food, my friends provide the excellent company.  Lucky me. 

Lately, there’s something in the water at work and there are five, count ’em, FIVE pregnant women.  I’m happy to report I drink Mountain Dew and I’m not one of the five just yet.  We set out to throw a sweet shower for our very southern friend, Bobbi, and her little girl we’re dying to meet.   And since it’s well documented that I hate the blue-brown, pale pink color restrictions of the traditional baby shower, we went with an “April Showers bring May Flowers” theme.  We used lots of purple, wildflowers from the local Farmer’s market, and plenty of vintage, Southern-inspired items. 

When you decorate for a party I think it’s important to create moments, or areas of interest throughout your home to draw people in.  I always start with this perfectly situated area of my front porch, out of the way of people trying to get in the house but very noticeable for all party guests.

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I desperately wanted clouds and raindrops somewhere, but my internet search for ideas wasn’t terribly fruitful.  There was a light bulb moment eventually, and this was the result.  I’m so happy with how this version turned out.  I used patterned scrapbook paper to make raindrops to hang by purple baker’s twine from these popular tissue paper poofs.  I’ll tell you right out, I used to make these poofs on my own, start to finish.  But it’s absolutely not worth the headache.  Party City makes kits with three poofs per package for $10 and its not much cheaper to make on your own.  Buy the kit and save yourself some trouble.  I suspended the poofs from Command hooks and added some flowers beneath to maximize on the theme.  My friend had the idea of adding rain boots filled with flowers and I must say, it was brilliant!

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We added another vignette in the foyer with some vintage finds.  The old window frame needed a little TLC but not so much that its charm would be lost.  We adorned it with a handmade paper rosette garland secured with raffia ribbon.  It’s always nice, too, to show off the invitation somewhere.  More often than not, it’ll be the first time it’s seen by the guest of honor…so it’s special.  Wood slices, lace trim, a few live flowers, and a sweet bird’s nest complete this nook.

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It’s important for there to be some form of repetition throughout so your theme is realized.  I also used some wood slices, a birdhouse, and more live flowers to create a small scene atop a vintage stool from my grandfather.  Its sweet!

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Like I said, I like to create moments for the guests, and I want them to find something each time they look a new direction.  There’s a perfect spot in my kitchen for another tall display, so we created more clouds and raindrops.  It’s also pretty smart to ground your decorations in some way if it is hanging from the ceiling like this.  We chose a vintage tin and mason jar to house more wildflowers and a pretty crate to close the gap between the counter and ceiling displays.

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With all parties, it’s always nice to leave with a little something in hand, and I ain’t talking about a plate of leftovers covered in tin foil.  We made treat bags for all the guests and repeated the purple, raffia and lace effect for each, storing them in a milk crate until our guests were ready to depart.

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We also used this sweet pink parasol and mason jar full of flowers to create another vignette, inviting guests to sit and eat in the living room.

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While these “moments” are special, what’s really key is the spread.  The food table can be a statement all its own, and it should be.  A lot of our food kept with the Southern theme too: coconut cake, sweet tea, lemonade, punch, cucumber sandwiches, pimento cheese sandwiches, banana pudding, and ham biscuits for example.  Food and decorations, people will remember…make them remember in a good way.

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Let’s take a closer look.  We added more wood slices to elevate important items, and hid some flowers and nature-inspired things along the way.  Never miss the opportunity to add a little whimsy, and tuck it into some unanticipated places to get the most mileage out of your decorations.  Give your guests something interesting to look at!  I prefer classic white dishes most of the time, but in this case its nice to throw in some other colors and patterns on your dishes to give it that collected, vintage look.

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I also like to place items strategically so there is no front or back of the table and there’s no one area where all the best things are concentrated.  I like things to be pretty all the way around!  I used vintage wooden crates to give the table more visual appeal and different levels of interest for the eye.  One box housed the mason jars we used for drinking glasses.  Now that’s as down South as it gets!  And since one of the shower games had to do with drinking, it only made sense to give it a space on the table.

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 Weird?  Yes.  Fun?  Also yes!

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So as you can see, I froze plastic babies in ice cubes and each guest was allowed one cube to float in their drink.  If your ice cube melted first, you yelled “My water broke!” and claimed your prize.  Which leads me to the beverage bar.  I absolutely love it.

DSC_0741 I wrapped a purple and white chevron ribbon around each dispenser, completing it with a chalkboard disc with the name of the drink transcribed, hanging from a raffia bow.  Simple and pretty!

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And of course, the plates and napkins must be themed too!

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But the key thing you need to remember when you throw a party:  make sure you have people to make it happen,

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make sure you shower the mother-to-be with gifts from the heart,

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and make sure you celebrate a new life with your friends!

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Hope you all have a great week! Stay tuned for future posts with DIY tutorials for the things you see in this blog!

My only Snomageddon Post

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Alright folks, the snow has melted and everyone in North Carolina has returned to regularly scheduled programming.  In case you don’t live here, we received a little slamming from Mother Nature about midweek last week and everything came to a screeching halt.  I mean, if Wal-Mart closes…it is serious.  For the most part, it seems like most people in North Carolina love the snow except for people that have to go to work regardless of the conditions.  But I love it even if I do have to work; it’s so beautiful.  However, I never realized how much I wanted to enjoy the winter weather and sled until Thursday morning when I was officially off work and all the stores that sold sleds were shut down.  So in that regard, it wasn’t fun and I was bummed about it.  Everyone on FB posted videos of them sledding down the hills Clark Griswold style and I was jealous.  But the other thing people seemed to be doing a lot of was making snow cream.  In all my years, I never tried to make it myself.  Thankfully, D knew how and I had all the ingredients on hand.  At least one snow activity seemed within reach.

What you need:

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6 cups of snow

3/4 cup of sugar

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract or flavoring

MIX!

What I think: That stuff is gross.  I’m just going to put it out there and say people make snow cream for the novelty of making it and not for it’s fantastic flavor or texture.  I was expecting Mother Nature’s ice cream or something and I was sorely disappointed.  Dustin wasn’t upset and made me feel better by telling me mostly only children like it.  So it’s no wonder with my refined taste that I didn’t enjoy it, ha.

Now the snow is basically gone and it’s 70 degrees outside in true “End-times North Carolina Weather.”  And I guess I’ll happily trade winter’s snow cream for summer’s margaritas.  Cheers to that!

Winter Wonderland

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Before D and I got married, I swore up and down on all things holy that I would never be one of those women that got all crazy at Christmas…changing the themes and color schemes year in and year out as trends came and went.  I have known people like that and I always thought they had some screws loose for succumbing to the hype and hassle.   If you peruse Pinterest like I do, you know it can be like Christmas Theme Cocaine.  It’s entirely addicting and you I could sit for hours looking at all the things people do for Christmas.  And that makes you want to be different every time your tree goes up.  Prepare yourselves, for I am a monster.

Here’s the part where I make a confession.  I have changed my Winter Wonderland every year.  Now before you full-on judge me, I reuse tons of stuff…I just tweak it a little each time.  But so help me, whatever I did this year, I wanted my decorations to be mostly things I already owned.  I was feeling ill about having enough holiday shit to be a real-life hoarder.  And I got to thinking, what about navy?  Wouldn’t that be pretty!?  I know this is awfully “First World Problem” of me but I nearly had a coronary trying to find navy ornaments and ribbon, and I wasn’t successful until about a week or so ago.  But I think it’s really pretty and I think I’m going to be able to have Christmas with my family in our house this year, so it’s really exciting.

So here’s what I’m working with this year:

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That’s my little foyer table.  I used a hurricane, some antlers from my dad, pine cones, and the ever popular spray painted rubber band vase from Pinterest.  I’ve continued the scheme into the dining room.

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And I’m crazy, and I like my wrapping paper and tags to match my color scheme.  So sue me.

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Since I’m hosting Christmas for my side of the family for the first time in a few years, I wanted it to be special.  I used an early Christmas present from D, the Winter Wonderland Cricut cartridge, to make name tags for our guests.  If you’re wondering, those plates and bowls are from Anthropologie and we love them.  Unfortunately this style, Anatolia, is no longer available.  Placemats are from World Market, napkins from West Elm.

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My centerpiece is a collection of different things.  Apothecary jars are from Homegoods, deer are from Dollar Tree (who knew?!), mirrored trees are from Target, and candles are mercury tealights and the rubber band vases repeated from the foyer, and the burlap runner is one I made and have used again and again.

Since I’m childless this holiday, get ready.  You’re about to get dog-pictured.

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I mean, come on!!!!  You’re welcome.  Roscoe’s not so sure about the Christmas lights yet, he acts like he’s in trouble when I put them near him.  His picture is forthcoming, haha.

Merry Christmas guys and gals!  Have a safe holiday!

The Witching Hour

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Now that I have come down from pre-Halloween anticipation and the subsequent post-Halloween candy coma, I can tell ya all about my Halloween festivities.  I hope you guys all had a great holiday with your friends and family!  After my family’s annual October barbeque and my friend’s chicken stew, it was time to do a little entertaining of my own.  So I set out on my merry way planning a little pumpkin carving night before Halloween.  I invited a small group of friends over, pulled the picnic table out of storage, set up our lawn furniture, and broke the fire pit out of its box for the night.  And of course we prepared the quintessential Autumn foods: chili, apple cider and s’mores.  What’s not to love?!

If I had been on my A-Game I would have remembered to take a picture of the chili before it all got eaten, but I didn’t.  So you’ll just have to take it what it is and trust that the recipe must be good.  I mean, come on, it all got eaten!  Here’s how to make it yourself.  And don’t forget to garnish it with cheddar, sour cream and Fritos.  We like to take it back grade school cafeteria style and make Frito Pie! Update: I made it again and there’s a picture!

DSC_0015The night was perfect.  I made everyone listen to the new Pearl Jam album (as I was anxiously anticipating my concert experience) while we carved pumpkins, and D lit the fire for us.  After we finished carving we sat around the fire sipping cider, listening to music and making s’mores.

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Not too shabby!  Afterward, we walked down to the cul-de-sac to see the Griswolds and all of their holiday stuff.  Their house is lit up like an orange beacon of hope, and I bet you can see it via satellite.  That’s the joke anyway.  They had the same staples: the corpse bride, spiders, rats, goblin babies, you know, the usual.  They added more tombstones to their graveyard and a handmade motion sensitive electric chair complete with a ghoulish victim.  And while I may not be able to compete with that, there’s no shame in my game.  I’m a little more subtle?  Besides, it’s only a competition if I’m winning.

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That’s plenty of flare for my little yard if ya ask me!  I probably waste a lot of energy since most of my decorations are inside because they only get seen by a select few.  Here’s our dining table:

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If you take a closer look you will see that a lot of my “potion bottles” were really inspired by a popular Pinterest pin.  Lots of people paint the inside of mason jars as flower vases and what not.  But have you ever really looked at a liquor bottle and noticed all the intricate lines and curves and decorative parts?  They are perfect for this project.  I got some really awesome bottles from a local antique mall.  I poured various paint colors into the bottles and shook it all around, making sure to cover all surfaces and remove excess paint.  I let them air dry.  I used this stuff last year, and I think the heat in the attic caused some of the paint to crack and peel.  Kind of a happy accident because it actually makes them look cooler.  I also went thrifting and found tons of old books to use as “spellbooks” if you will.  I got lucky, I found books with names like: Snakecharmer, The Damnation Game, Birthright, Superstitious, and The Day of Confession.  Pretty mundane in store, but totally creepy in this setting.

And our china cabinet:

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I also use a lot of my “around the house” decor for Halloween.  Taking candles from around the house, cake stands, and various jars and platters make things look a little more authentic I think…and a little less hokey.

Our foyer:

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And the cutest candy bowl ever?  Direct from Cracker Barrel!  You never know what you’ll find, or where.  Side note: that incredible ginger jar is from Home Goods for a steal!  So proud of that find.

On Halloween night, our friends dressed up and came over to help pass out candy to the trick-or-treaters.  I don’t think the boys care much about that, but they do it to appease us.  Or maybe just me, because I’m a little obsessed with passing out candy.  But the boys did have their night made when a teeny Darth Vader and a Ninja Turtle made their way to our door.  I took one for the team and let the boys handle that.  Those kids probably got a disproportionately larger amount of candy than the other children!  My night was made when one little princess told me, “Lady, your house smells good.”  She ALSO got a disproportionately larger amount of candy.  Be still my heart.  Housewife win!

Afterwards, we hit up one of our favorite downtown haunts for grown up fun.  Oddly enough, there weren’t very many people dressed up.  What’s up with that?  Where’s the holiday spirit?!  Oh well, we still had a great time celebrating with our friends.

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I’m a masquerade raven.

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I could post a lot of other “better” pictures, but this is who we REALLY are.  You are welcome.

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So Happy belated Halloween to you readers!  Hope you had fun!

I saw that on Pinterest (Vol. 2)

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Did you see it on Pinterest?  Did you repin it?  Did you try it yet?

NOOOO, you didn’t try it yet because you binge-pin.  And there aren’t enough hours in the day to bake those miniature cheesecakes, work out until you look like a Greek goddess, decorate your dream home, and host a dinner party with handmade place cards and chandeliers hanging from the trees on a cool summer’s night.  Or maybe you did do all that and I’ll just have to hate you.  Keep it movin’ you heifer.

For the rest of us, I’ve documented two more of my pins and how they worked.

A few months ago, I begged D to let me paint a wall in chalkboard paint.  He was not a fan.  When he fights me on something decor-related, I typically resort to downplaying his opinion by shaking my head, scrunching my face in disagreement, and throwing my right hand in the air saying, “oh, you don’t know.”  Eventually, I convinced him.  Our friends write us messages when they come over and we write funny messages to each other from time to time, so I think we’ve both come to love it.  But I kinda love-hate it because chalkboard walls do not come clean!  You can scrub like Cinderella all you want, sister.  Chalk dust is like glitter.  You think it’s all gone, but it always resurfaces.  Since I like things to be super clean and presentable, I was getting desperate.  

This is my wall.  Do note that everything around the writings from my friends had already been cleaned (eek!):

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NOT clean by my standards, but that was done with just water.  This Pinterest method instructed to use a washcloth wet with water, then dipped in Coca-Cola.  Surprisingly, it is NOT sticky when it dries.  Here are three test spots:

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Much improved!  So I dove in and cleaned everything I could reach at 3AM without D’s help.

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I didn’t want to use all of his coke so I did just one pass through.  I would be homicidal if I found he had used the last of my Mountain Dew on some harebrained idea.  But that’s totally a Pin Win in my book, even with only one attempt.  So if you’re searching for a chalkboard cleaning, use Coca-Cola!

As you can imagine, 49er girls are looking for all sorts of ways to show their Niner Pride for the football games.  And I want my pride to show too, right down to my fingertips.  I love nail polish, but I’m not known for my steady hand so nail art can be a challenge.  I saw this pin that said you can paint a design on a plastic bag and let it dry, then simply peel it off, apply to a painted nail, and seal with a topcoat.  I wanted green hearts for Saturday’s game.  Here we go!

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I will say I had to keep adding coat after coat to get a uniform color and shape.  I had to let it dry overnight because I started this project too late in the evening.  The numbers didn’t work out, they were far too thin and fragile.  But the hearts did well!

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I’ve got nothing but love for the 49ers and this pin, so pin away girls….it WORKS!  If you like these posts, and want to see more like them, let me know in a comment.  If you’ve got a pin you want me to try, I could do that too.  Have a great week yall!  Talk soon!