If you’re guessing we came for the snow, you are 100% wrong.  Although if you ask Harlow, she may very well say she came for the snow.  I’m usually asked no less than 5 times a week, “when is it going to snow mama?  Like my Mr. Al says Boston does?”  We used to watch the Today Show together in the morning, and as we were packing boxes, she’d always hear her Mr. Al talk about all the snow falling.  She’d exclaim each time: “MAMA! He’s talking about MY BOSTON!”

So yes.  She’s might have moved here for the snow. ;)

But in reality, Andy was offered a job that mixed his talents and skills and his heart and hope.  Andy’s work has always been in practical special effects, industrial design and animatronics.  Since I met him, he’s always been working on incredible (and sometimes really strange) projects and jobs.  He would voice to me often how much he loved creating things that made people smile, but how much more fulfilling it would be to use his ability to create something hyper-realistic to help people.  When the opportunity to do that — and to help kids specifically — came available, we took a leap of faith and moved to New England.  

Andy joined a team made up of incredible people doing incredible things.  Harlow loves watching this video and telling people, “my daddy goes to work each day to help kids get better!”  She couldn’t be more proud, and I couldn’t be either.  Here’s a little snippet of what he and the team are up to!

And now because I have no segue from surgical trainers to leather leaf garland….. 

IMG_0115 (1) IMG_2794

I’ll just give you a photo.  I couldn’t be happier about how this garland turned out!  It’s easy for me to fall into the “no need to decorate around the boxes” mood, but it’s amazing how a little seasonal decor can brighten the mood.  I’m chomping at the bit to get Christmas stuff out — and to share with you all! — but I’m trying hard to give the turkey respect this year!


You all know that I love, and I really mean love, cutting unconventional materials with my ScanNCut2.  Leather is one of my absolute favorite materials to work with, and it cuts just beautifully using my ScanNCut2 Machine!  I typically use the deep cut blade, depending on the leather’s thickness.  For this leather (probably about 2mm thick), I used the following settings. 

// depth: 8

// pressure: 8

// speed: 1

*run twice*

Leather often has areas that are thinner and thicker than others, so by cutting twice, I usually catch it all.  Sometimes I decrease the blade depth for the second run.  I’ll share more about how I determine and find cut settings as I dive into my ScanNCut materials dictionary with you all at the start of 2016 — I’m super excited about it!


We gathered leaves from our backyard to use as patterns for almost all of my fall decor!  I scanned them in using the Scanning Mat and the ScanNCut2 RGB Color Recognition scanning feature.  Okay, I know that is a mouthful, but basically it just means that now the ScanNCut2 will pick up on more subtle color differences.  

I resized the shapes for the coasters we made as well!


After I cut out the leather leaves, I used my sewing machine to create the veins.  I’ve included the leaf cut file at the end of this post, and you’ll notice that I created dashed lines for the veining.  My advice is to import the file, move the shapes into place and save.  Remove the outlines and create the dashed lines using a blade depth of about 3-4 (depending on the thickness of your leather and test cuts).  Then open up the original file again — so everything is still in the same place! — and remove the interior dashed lines, leaving the outlines to be cut!  Easy peasy. 

When I sewed the veins, I lowered the feed dogs on my machine, so I could move the leather freely and create organic lines and movement.  I tried to create imperfectly-perfect veining. :) 

For the letters, I cut out fabric using appliqué fusible.  I cut out 2 of every letter — one mirrored — and ironed them together.  I then sewed around the perimeter with about a 1/8″ allowance.  I wanted them to have sort of a scrappy-frayed look.  I’m smitten. 


Attaching them to the string was the easiest task of all.  I kept the extra fabric from the letters and cut little squares/rectangles.  I measured the spaces between the letters and leaves and using the squares, I ironed the string in place on the back of the shapes.  I found the center of my design and tried to measure the spaces from the center of each letter or shape.  

I feel like I’m making this more confusing that it was or needs to be: just decide how long you want the garland to be and how you want the shapes placed….and iron away!  


You can download the letters and leaves here! 

// leaves FCM file

// FALL FCM file

What is your favorite way to decorate for Fall and Thanksgiving?  I’m working on some script name cards that I’ll be sharing next week!  You can download the block letter alphabet that I created last year, here

We are hosting Thanksgiving next week for Andy’s family — we will be eating off of card tables, but that’s not what matters, right? ;)  Tell me: what are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions??  

Happy Wednesday!


I am a paid spokesperson for Brother, but as you can see: I genuinely love my ScanNCut2!

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